Beauty, Earth and Everything

Art, Children, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, heaven, hope, memoir, painting, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, surrender, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

I’ve removed the fifteen or more books from my nightstand.

Some of them read, some recommended, others opened and skimmed and set aside.

I’m hard on myself as a reader. I’m distracted and mostly too sleepy. They say a writer must be a reader.

Maybe that’s why I’m less afraid to paint.

To simplify. The nightstand now has one framed photo, a lamp, a pen with paper and a paperback collection of Psalms and Proverbs.

“How he satisfies the souls of thirsty ones and fills the hungry with all that is good!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:9‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I’ve taken to the practice of reading at least one verse as soon as I’m settled in bed.

Some nights more. I thumb to the passage chosen by the date and the pages from notes compiled through the years are becoming my sedation, my self-help.

There are pencil scratches, black or blue ink faded to soft grey. There are bold underlines and tiny little star asterisks in places.

The summary of supplication, of suffering questions, or redirection of myself in an achingly sorrowful way.

Remorse, regret, confusion and occasionally a determined commitment to peace, the words warn, these are best kept secret.

Much like Job may have felt, I imagine if he sat with the pages that detailed his friends calling out his wrongs and his reply incessantly saying,

But, none of this makes sense. Why me?

I feel like Job was just that honest.

If you find your old journal or Bible, do you find your honesty to be hard or do you see it as simply honest?

Do you see how far you’ve come or are you hard on yourself that some days you still hurt to comprehend some things?

I fell asleep with a revelation the other night.

I’d read my prayers scrawled in the old book. Concerns so very intimate that only God and I knew and know the reasons.

I realized I had such a yearning for God back then.

I realized I still do.

The thought of my laments and longings documented with pencil or pen gave me a new idea, a different peace.

I was a seeker. I still am.

My soul ached with yearning.

It still is.

I decided it is a good thing to be still yearning, to not be satisfied in who I’ve become, to be certain God’s still what my heart yearns for and the goodness of His gifts to me, to my family, beauty made of so many hard things.

The words to a song you won’t hear on the radio seem to pop up on my Pandora quite often lately.

I drive the morning road, make it to the hill and curve on the dirt one and I slow my arrival because it happens!

The voice of Paul Beloche, so gently and assuredly reminding me of all the beauty God has made of my life already.

In A Million Years

Causing me to imagine the beauty of eternity that is heaven.

Have you pondered heaven more this year and last?

Maybe not, unless you’re 60ish like me. Have you clung less tightly to earthly hopes knowing they pale in comparison to the promises of heaven?

Do you believe in heaven or does it seem like a mysterious place that might be so?

Do you want your life on earth to be forever because there are so many hopes that haven’t come true just yet?

I do sometimes. There are some earthly things I hope to see come true.

You’d find those hopes in my little book if you had the chance to hold it, you might even find your name there.

On Tuesday mornings, I listen to Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, “The Next Right Thing”. Her voice is easy. Her tone is directive as well as gently suggestive. I tell myself “Listen”.

This week’s episode was more practical than prose, a night time ritual that would better our sleep. I recommend it, listen here:

The Next Right Thing

She gave a helpful list with one thing being to ask yourself at the end of the day,

“Where did I see God today?”

Naturally, I loved this, it’s might kind of deep thinker thing.

Tuesday was a “grandma day”. It was so sweet and easy and it was a gift the way the simplicity of the day fell into place.

The moment?

We sat together in the cool castle building dirt spot. To pass the time ‘til Mama drove up, I taught the baby to sift sand from one hand to the other. Teaching maybe the wrong word, I just did it and she followed.

From one hand to the other we just passed the sand between our hands. She looked up, longer than usual, looked deeply into my eyes in a way that said, “This is sublime.”

Yes, this was when I saw God.

God with us.

Heaven met earth and situated itself with us in the Springtime dirt.

Yearning for me not to miss such a beautiful moment on a blue sky day.

And I didn’t and I pray I don’t from now on.

“Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭7:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Lord, may our earthly days cause our longing for you more every day even as we yearn for the incomprehensible promise of heavenly days promised by you.

He keeps his promises.

Continue and believe.

Yearning is peace.

Already Known

Abuse Survivor, Art, birds, Children, Children’s Books, contentment, courage, Faith, family, grace, grandchildren, hope, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder, writing

It’s become the norm for me to wake with a lyric or a verse. I know the song and it sets my tone. I open my Bible app and search for the verse if other thoughts don’t get me off course.

The promise of today is bright sunshine and the Labrador returns with the ball jammed into his cheek. I step outside and decide just a couple of tosses. It’s still too cold, early Friday morning.

Fully Known and Loved

He’s satisfied and so am I. I turn to go inside, my feet numb from the cold hard ground and I see the beauty of what seems to be an overnight changing to green.

I find myself wondering if God is aware. Of my waking on a Friday morning after sleeping hard from unacknowledged exhaustion.

Did God know I’d wake up with the words to a song by J.J. Heller, “You Already Know”? (Yes, I adore her.) Did God know I’d be standing barefoot and I’d listen to Him reminding me of the dangers of comparison?

Does God know how many blades of grass surround my feet? Is he aware of every rain drenched fallen camellia? I believe so.

“But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:30-31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We are important to God. Courage and trust are the evidence of our embracing this as belief.

Hagar, a pregnant mistress in the Old Testament, used by others to fulfill a longing, felt abandoned, rejected, unnecessary. She longed to escape the bitter condemnation of Sarah. She fled into the wilderness.

God met her there. He pointed out the water she’d been thirsting for.

I wondered this morning if she’d been standing near the flow of water and couldn’t hear it or if she’d become so worried, afraid, confused and maybe angry over how her life’s direction had pointed towards self-destruction, that she couldn’t see the provision of God waiting there.

So, God pointed it out. She was changed by seeing that she’d been seen herself.

“So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭16:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In a few weeks, a children’s book illustrated and written by me will be available. I may have chances to share its backstory, a story I only recently realized but God already knew.

“Look At The Birds” is a book born of talks with my granddaughter about birds and talks between God and me about worry, worth and trust.

The Birds

It’s a book with a mission of helping children understand their value is determined by Jesus and no one or no place else.

It’s a message God longed for me, the wife, the mother, grandmother, the author, the artist, to begin to finally embrace.

Maybe other adults too.

Mud and Moon

Abuse Survivor, Children, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grandchildren, Peace, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

The moon is my favorite along with the color blue, the crescent curve and the hue called cobalt.

Crescent moon like a tilted uncertain smile, saying okay hang on, hang on.

And the cobalt like the ink from a broken pen, the thick fluid, jam from a jar.

I love the others, the sky, the teal, the baby; but, the strong cobalt calls me closer.

The half moon or the full in its brilliance are spectacular.

Still, I favor the crescent one.

Today, I watched a toddler persist. The country path that leads to her home had puddles of rain yet to dry up.

We walked towards one, I reminded her of her shoes, not her boots and she approached and then walked on.

One puddle, the largest of all and she paused.

She turned to find a pebble and then “plop” it went in the water and then she found a big brittle oak leaf.

Intent on tossing it into the puddle, she carefully skirted the edge of the muddy water.

But, the wind swept lightly across her little knees and then again and again, the brown leaf was swept up in the wrong direction.

I heard a little sound, like “umph” but, I saw her not frustrated, simply understanding.

Then she came from a new angle and she dropped the brown brittle leaf in the center of the puddle.

There!

Then, we walked on, “ready set go”.

I’m wondering now if there’s a color of water that I love, a thick colored watery taupe.

An oak leaf resting as we walk back by,

The cobalt of the morning sky allowing a strip of coral in.

My day began this way.

I welcomed the beauty, flipped my phone towards the windshield and I sensed the tone for my day.

Persist.

But, persist calmly. Consider what you value.

What you’ve decided decides your value.

Muddy water mid-morning then a cloudless blue sky against white spindly trees, I am reminded of the value I place on things decided by others.

The things I believe might mean my arrival. I remember now the persistence of a toddler when the wind was against her.

The wind picking up the leaf so lightly and the little hand that decided quietly,

keep trying.

Thoughts of an expression, “lightly child, lightly” reminding me to not try so hard that my trying becomes striving, obnoxious, an idol, not a quiet and important mission.

I am remembering the first time I read this thanks to a blogger friend, David Kanigan.

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.” Aldous Huxley

A collision of faith, nature and wisdom plus the plucky persistence of a toddler.

What are you chasing? What have you not valued that is yours?

The writer of Ecclesiastes sounds much like Huxley to me.

Small matters matter.

More than chasing other, anything other than moon and sun and birds and mud puddles.

“I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Being Refined

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, courage, curiousity, Faith, Holy Spirit, memoir, mixed media painting, painting, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing
Beauty Remains

There’s an odd tree near my home. Its branches are grey and twisted and it half stands half reclines in an empty lot.

It is solitary with only tiny tender pines trying to begin their lives nearby, bright green fan like needles on the skinniest of branches.

I’m not an arborist. I know this tree is old, “gnarly” comes to mind. It has pods of some sort and pale white tiny blooms in the Spring. I’ve yet to see it produce a nut or fruit. It still has a few crinkly leaves furled and scattered.

It has lingered long.

Planted in the empty lot or the lot owned by someone and long neglected.

A decade or so ago I began to notice, this leaning tree keeps staying, fascinating me. It is steady although it has no real reason, not attended to by anyone other than God’s good rain and sun.

I’ve just gotten word from a gallery telling me thanks for your submission, our walls are full.

We have enough for display.

I downgraded from a website for my art to Etsy. The decision surprised me with the ease, and the peace, the still today peace is keeping me.

The desire to be an artist feels like an ache, a wound that keeps reminding you to take it slow, slow movements bring lasting health and renewed fervor.

This I know. The change is internal. I am being refined. I am growing. I know because this time, I have told this change, welcome, come on in, stay a bit.

A crazy thing happened on Sunday morning. I heard a sound above my head and thought, an animal in the attic…a big one. At last, I’d convince my husband and he’d believe me, those squirrels are living above our bed.

Later, I went to make the bed and discovered branches curled against my window. The pretty poplar tree had been uprooted by nature and leaned in a precarious way against our home.

Home alone, I walked out in rain boots and pajamas to see the bulbous root upturned and the trunk resting against a patio table. The discarded table saved our windows and our roof. The tree is now cut into pieces by our sweet son in law and only debris remaining.

I am wondering what caused it to fall.

Today, I read a passage in a devotional referencing a verse about being refined.

I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. Zechariah 13:9

I thought of what it means to be refined, how I’d always equated being refined with having more polish, more finesse, what had been started becoming a final result that stood out from the rest. To be refined would feel as close to perfection as possible, a pleasing object to gaze upon, a showpiece worthy of applause.

I know the metaphor of life’s trials and traumas being a symbol of the fire of the silversmith, the heat melting the substance so that it shines smoothly.

Deep Roots, the Gnarly Tree

I’m realizing it’s not about shining, the refining God wants us to understand and allow.

It’s an inside transformation, a change in our souls that leads to changes in mindsets and goals.

A change maybe we and God only know.

To be refined, all impurities are removed from a substance, it becomes internally pure.

A Canon named George Body, born in 1840 describes it this way,

“His loving eye is ever eagerly watching for the moment when the purifying work is done. Then, without a moment’s delay, He withdraws the fire, and the purified soul is removed from the furnace. See, again, it is when the image of Christ is reflected in us, so that He can see Himself in us as a mirror. Raise your eyes, then amidst the flames, and see the Face of Jesus watching you.” George Body

Stand like the old tree, stronger because of the nature of its own depth and fiber and because of the refining hand of God.

The strength is inner, the strength that was brave when it said call yourself an artist.

Keep creating.

“Love Story” 16×20

Keep it quiet. Keep it confident. Keep it grounded.

Remember, your theme is redemption.

Redemption, not kept to yourself.

Find me on Etsy (LisaAnneTindal)

My Father’s World

bravery, confidence, contentment, coronavirus, courage, Faith, fear, happy, heaven, hope, love, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Salvation, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Today, the sun was bright in South Carolina, the Labrador was content but it seemed wrong not to walk him.

I’d gone to church, kinda worried but masked and attended, immersed myself in the rich voices of the singers and I joined in the emotional prayer offered by our pastor.

I opened my palm to heaven in agreement. It felt weak and timid, still, I felt myself hoping …

God please help us all.

I heard the ache in the pastor’s tone. I wondered if he might cry.

A prayer about pandemic and the fears about our country.

Every one is fighting hard battles and there seems no bunker in which to hunker down til the war is done.

My walk that was supposed to be a jog in this time of resolution decided to be take it easy, take the dog.

On the trail I spotted the ebony berries. I remembered the sermon I heard and the one my cousin suggested.

I thought if those berries weren’t on the branches they’d be dried up, bitter and wrinkled.

I thought of the two Sunday sermons.

One about remaining and the other, flourishing.

One talking about connectedness and abiding and the other talking about planting ourselves in the place most likely to keep us growing, make us strong.

And I’m thinking now, I’m staying close, even growing closer and as odd as it may seem if it came from my very own lips.

God is still good and he’s about to become good for so many more.

And my thoughts on that?

Welcome friends.

Welcome to a life led by your Heavenly Father.

Welcome to a life that makes no human sense, welcome to God in you, a quiet sense when nothing makes sense, a whisper in the breeze, a pausing to notice simple berries against green leaves and be reminded.

God is near. I am loved.

Continue and believe.

Planted seeds are about to burst forth. The season to come is one of sweet and miraculous growth.

If you’re curious and need more of these Sunday words I heard:

Search YouTube for TrueNorth Church and Seacoast Church. You can hear both sermons.

God is still good. Be assured.

Growing Hope

confidence, contentment, courage, depression, doubt, Faith, fear, grace, hope, love, Peace, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

Here we are on day 8 of the year with the number that sounded hopeful, a cadence in the sound of its number as opposed to 2020. 2020, the one step forward and one back sort of feel, stuck on the side of the road or bogged down in a farmer’s field.

A year I’d hoped to feel more confidence than persistent dread.

So, it’s gonna be slow growing, the moving into what 2021 has to offer and what I’m gonna need to acknowledge, adjustments to be made with me, within mostly.

No more of this snap of the fingers, all is well and good. No, it’s a practice, an intentional setting my intentions on growing with and at God’s pace.

Changing that leads to blooming and replanting to bloom year after year. Growth that’s not a result of impatience or self-condemnation.

And it’s in the darkness that the growth begins. Dark heavy thoughts that ask why not yet and long to shake off doubtful patterns and to be one and done with habitual self-sabotage to avoid disappointing results.

With God, I’m beginning to know myself well, the things I’m up against, the behaviors that are not for me, are against me.

And Jesus agrees with me so gently.

“Thy faith and thy love and thy hope will grow, the more thou seest the work of God with thee; thou wilt joy in sorrow, and thy sorrow will be turned to joy.” Edward B. Pusey, Joy and Strength Devotional

What feels like trudging forward with no evidence of better, quite possibly worse, causes a heaviness in me this morning.

I turn to another devotional, a popular one, “Jesus Calling” and I’m lighter from reading just one sentence.

“The weaker you are, the more gently I approach you.” Jesus Calling

I know this to be true.

I’m never corrected so harshly by my Savior as I am by myself.

I write the sentence in my journal and my thoughts go to the woman who should’ve been pelted with rocks with Jesus as the witness to her deserved punishment.

I know the passage very well. I imagine her waiting to be punished and gawked over by a large group of better than her in their minds gawkers.

Jesus surprised her, surprised the ones holding the rocks. They all walked away after being told to consider your very own wrongs. The crowd dispersed hearing Jesus tell her to go and be free.

Be free.

“Until finally, Jesus was left alone with the woman still standing there in front of him. So he stood back up and said to her, “Dear woman, where are your accusers? Is there no one here to condemn you?” Looking around, she replied, “I see no one, Lord.” Jesus said, “Then I certainly don’t condemn you either. Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:10-11‬ ‭TPT‬‬

The bulbs on my daughter’s table are covered in bright green moss. They were the same for days, left beside the kitchen window.

The expected brilliant bloom for Christmas festivities didn’t happen, maybe I’d planted them in too shallow soil, maybe over or under watered.

Then, she moved them to a more open space, she cushioned the soil with soft pillows of moss that she and her daughter collected. The moist earth caused the stems to reach up.

Two bulbs now have little baby bumps, flowers soon to burst forth.

I’m believing. Tiny white flowers will flourish. I expect to see them on Monday and I’ll tell my grandchild, look what you and mama and God did! You waited and you helped the little flowers to grow.

Never having planted the winter flowers, “forcing” their indoors blooming, my daughter and I are learning. Once they’ve bloomed, you dig the bulbs up from the dirt and you put them in brown bags.

You save them to bloom again. You anticipate the hope of beautiful future (next year) growth.

Today, when I don’t know about tomorrow and especially not next year, I’ll think of the most quiet thing I know now, these flowers called paperwhites that decided to wait to bloom in January rather than a “forced” December.

The storms of my thoughts are stilled when I remember my strength comes from unseen joy, beckoning me back to a place that is rest, is a haven for sure peace.

“God stilled the storm, calmed the waves, and he hushed the hurricane winds to only a whisper. We were so relieved, so glad as he guided us safely to harbor in a quiet haven.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:29-30‬ ‭TPT‬‬

God’s love is constant. His rescue is sure. His cultivation of us for His glory is patient and gentle.

Settle in. Settle down.

This is grace.

Peace Resolution

bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, hope, memoir, Peace, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing
New Year’s Eve Thought

In a year that was “novel” in so many ways that robbed our peace, being at peace was my solution, at least my constant reset.

I didn’t and don’t watch the news, I stopped scrolling when something was being proclaimed about Jesus that contradicted what God’s word said. I avoided conflict and although I shared my opinions and beliefs at times, I ended up realizing people who disagreed would counter with comments that hurt.

At some point, I decided that people who disagreed and spoke up were just trying to maintain control. I mean, in a year that meant so little control, being ticked off and being outspoken was, I suppose the one thing many people could control.

But, in conversations with others, only just one or two, I kept going back to “being at peace, so that I can be peace for others.” And I learned this was something impossible on my own.

Today, the last day of 2020, God brought it all together. Peace is accepting your present knowing God is protecting you from being damaged emotionally by revisiting your past, saving you from stepping back into it, and trusting that He knows your tomorrow, that your future is providentially good, better than you could create without Him.

So, be at peace in your present. Look for evidence in nature, happenstance and the faces of those you love that say…Jesus is here.

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Thank you for encouraging me this year. Be certain of one thing, the things God tells me to share here quite often astound me! Also, feel like way “too much Lisa”.

Still, someone needs peace too, otherwise God wouldn’t give me words about it.

Happy New Years Eve, be at peace.

Continue and believe.

Think less of what you didn’t accomplish, follow through to completion and more on the things that surprised you as givers of peace picked for you.

I love a vignette! Here’s the third word in the trio of “yearly words”

Victorious2021.

Makes sense although it feels mostly only like “I hope so.”

Tying up the words, “hopeful2019” and “endurance2020” with a stronger faith, one I’m cooperating with towards “victorious2021”

A victory that has no lofty goals, only peace.

Morning Talk

Advent, Art, contentment, courage, Faith, Labradors, Peace, Prayer, Trust, waiting

Because my mood highjacked the majority of my day yesterday, I said to myself.

“Set the tone today, self talk that’s harmful not allowed, only hope.”

So, I was awakened by a phone call that didn’t alarm as was my startled assumption.

Grand Dog

I made extra creamy coffee by mistake; groggy, I added half and half and honey times two.

I sat with the soft blanket and then invited more comfort,

Threw off the throw pillows, spread smooth the quilt, patted the couch cushion and invited the dog.

Stretched out now almost the length with his nose near my hip, I breathe, tell myself to trust, not go all despondent and frustrated over what people are saying, showing in their vacant glances about our coming days.

Sip my coffee, rest my hand on the labrador and journal loosely today’s plans.

Sit with comfort more than a moment.

Beyond this sweet sitting, remember your words.

Endure.

Continue.

Believe.

Now turn to today’s Advent Book, one that was gifted, one you’re wondering if it’s too late to order a bunch as gifts.

Embrace the day’s offering.

The one you loved on this date last year, underlines and sweet red circled words.

Sit a minute more and then, maybe breakfast then art with God, an overdue haircut later.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭40:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The book may be out of stock, it’s worth searching for.

https://g.co/kgs/E9ywBJ

I’m linking up with others through Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word “beyond”.

FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: Beyond

In Time

confidence, contentment, curiousity, Faith, hope, Peace, rest, Stillness, Trust, waiting, wonder

A friend has been sharing the continuous bursting forth of her garden roses despite winter, despite December.

We had our first frost. In Carolina, the southern one, that’s a thing. Although not so much a notable date because of all the other incessant tracking of things.

I walked out to see this bud hoping to open and was awed by its beauty, the tightly wrapped gift of a bright bloom, the tender thorns still soft and not to be avoided.

Look at this, I thought. Growth happens when it’s supposed to.

I listened for a minute longer, snapped a photo.

Remember God.

“Remember.” God

Not for us to know our triumphant season, only to wait to see it in our becoming or to accept the peace to know that our time has already come and we can either simply remember it

or perhaps, it’s actually now.

Be at peace.

Continue and believe.

“Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭TPT‬‬