Distance Pursuit

The geese were all gathered on the new neighbor’s lawn.

Looking one to another, they sort of sashayed towards the water.

The newly laid squares of sod already thick like a 70’s shag, I watched their heavy bottoms shimmy as if to get their fins loose.

The water was near, the path was no longer tree filled, the pond was just down and behind the new build.

The environment had changed, still they were intent on their annual season of pursuit.

Same with me this morning.

I found an old photo from a seven year ago beach stay, with the quote by Mark Twain.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Thinking about the distance since then.

The space between what caught my attention and inspired my imagining to only beginning and recently tangible taking initiative.

That space is not seven years worth of big, not necessarily but sometimes true.

It is small. Small like making it through the uncertain woods to step gingerly over river soaked rocks to reach the other side.

The side that causes you looking back from whence you’ve stepped across and recalling the overgrowth, the rocky places, the spaces with sounds like sissing snakes underfoot.

You stepped over and you sense the importance.

You’re being distanced from the you you once only imagined being brave enough to pursue,

The landscape has changed.

You pursue it, the brave world of being, seeing, living…

different!

Continue and believe.

Go the distance.

“This is the way you should go,” Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Linking up with others on Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word, Distant.

Sitting With Your Reply

Two men sat on the ground listening to the chaotic excited and curious crowd.

The disciples and Jesus coming into town welcomed by onlookers, critics and seekers.

Two blind men gauged the steps of the approaching healer. They shouted for his notice.

Others told them to hush their mouths!

Their shouts continued.

They were blind.

Together they must have decided it’s worth a try.

I think I would have too; taken the risk, especially if a friend said “Let’s try. I’ll ask if you will. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. This is our chance. Let’s do it! We might be healed! We might open our eyes and see!”

So, they likeminded, replied to the question from the mysterious healer.

“When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭20:32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

They told Jesus they wanted to see.

And they were healed immediately.

We can go either way with our take on this and other Jesus stories.

We can recall prayers we prayed a long time ago that must not have made it high enough for healing, we suppose.

Or we can sit with this question, imagine ourselves in the presence of Jesus.

Hearing his question.

We can sit a little longer, we can maybe close our eyes and notice only the whirring sound of the room’s electrically run things.

We can notice the quiet as if something’s being offered and if the offering is waiting our taking or our forfeit.

We can sit even a little longer, our every day habitual journal, our little trinkets on the table lamplit, and we are still very quiet.

Settled amazement over this very question awaiting our own current answer.

We can take up our pencil and we might begin on a clean page without other requests, doodles or gratitude tracking.

We can begin this way.

Jesus, I want you to…

Then we can express our secret thing then, the thing others have no need to know or to tell you it’s ridiculous or unrealistic to request such things.

What do you want Jesus to do?

Then we can go on with our days knowing we encountered Jesus today.

When He asked, I answered in a paragraph or two and summed it up with believing.

Jesus I want you to help me believe and to follow where my belief is leading.

To continue.

“Lord,” they said, “we want to see!” Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭20:33-34‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Followed him to believing.

Willing To Be Filled

The heavy midnight rain made the grass thick against my feet.

The hem of my pajama pants is damp from my stepping out.

Effervescent, I thought, the rain has made the ground feel like carbonation causing bubbles and a rising up the rim of the earth to cushion my steps.

Generous was the shower.

I look closer at the petals.

Some drooping with the weight of God’s watering.

Resting.

The rain is clinging to rich green leaves and the pure white bloom is radiant.

Satiated, quenched.

Fulfilled.

“The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.””

‭‭John‬ ‭4:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Effortless, this summer’s abundant growth of flora it seems.

Waiting expectantly, the good rains have sustained the pretty colors.

When the woman at the well met the stranger, she’d been seeking satisfaction from multiple men. I am curious if she thought Jesus was just another at first.

She considered a new perspective. She was intrigued by possibility.

Jesus changed her.

Change comes that way.

We must be a willing participant, honest with our inventory of past mistakes and then willing to see ourselves in new, often briefly emotionally distressing ways.

We acknowledge what God knows of us. We are satisfied by His knowing.

We are growing as we lift our cups, chipped, stained or soiled from past spiking.

We lift our empty cups and we say.

Fill it, Lord.

Fill my cup.

Come and quench this thirsting in my soul. Fill my cup, Lord. I lift it up.

Linking up with others at FMF, prompted by the word, “willing”.

WILLING

Perspective Shifts

What is your filter through which you see?

Two days ago I chastised myself for being selfish.

My quiet time was altered, I longed for a thing I got and when it required so much of me shifting my attention, I got a little hopeless, got a little embarrassed and considered I’m not capable after all.

Then I added to the dilemma, rationalizing my pitiful. It makes me anxious, it feels like attack, I got bitten one time, remember, by a crazy German Shepherd…!

I’m ashamed looking back that I considered my home should not be his.

I’ll not linger here. Let’s just say there was justified shaming and the shaming and the perspectives of those giving it were, well…accurate.

Point taken. No need for further discussion.

It didn’t really hit me until we were alone, the pup and I and over and over my mind verified.

“Selfish, so selfish, so selfish.”

When I told my husband beseeching his understanding…”He won’t even let me read my Bible!”

There was no reply from him other than “Give it time.”

So we bonded that evening, I cleaned up from his accident and then bathed him. (The pup not my hubby😊).

Then a crazy crazy thing happened to say don’t get cocky here, there’s still work to do and patience required.

A blue jay was trapped on our screened in porch. I stood to watch it up high in the corner, turned to get the broom to shoo it to freedom, instead it landed even more trapped behind the grill.

In seconds the puppy pounced!

I freaked out.

I screamed.

This situation grew more intense despite my screaming as the puppy ran through the door and to a private place to finish, to end it.

Crazy how I tried to pry the bird free, pulling nothing from the puppy’s locked jaws but cobalt blue, grey, black feathers.

I was beside myself. There’s a reason my daughter calls me the “crazy bird lady”.

It’s not because of my crazy but my crazy love for birds, my captivating interest in seeing them as if they are my messengers.

The bird was gone, totally gone and in the belly of the pup.

Apparently this is a thing. Google confirmed it.

Although I kept repeating to my husband “He ate a live bird!!!! That can’t be okay.”

It happens. He pooped it out the next day and it was regular, no obvious little bones or feathers.

Thank you, Jesus for that mercy.

So, this perspective thing. I won’t get into too much and thereby add to my shame. My daughter has a newborn. She reminded me about commitment, patience, adjustment.

She also said “Well, you’ve got a huntin’ dog.”

Her husband added in his sweet loving his mother in law in all her exaggerations and crazy ways way…

“Puppies do those things.”

My son’s perspective,

“Dogs will be dogs.”

Okay then.

I’m working through some things I have learned in the last year about the perspective of one who experienced trauma.

Trauma is the reason for so many reactions; but, it can’t become your rationalization for inappropriate behavior.

At the same time it matters. It is a part of my texture, can’t be unwound, unthreaded, “unhappened”.

“My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:20-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’ll clarify:

Puppies nip at body parts because that’s what puppies do. It is play. Puppies do not pounce or bite because they know you’ve been backed into corners and pounced upon by big evil mean dogs who were men.

Our reactions must shift.

My perspective must not default in every situation back to fear, to anxiety to trauma.

More importantly we can’t use our trauma as a scapegoat for unpleasantries about ourselves we’d prefer not to admit.

Like giving up on a commitment or a goal.

Like being afraid when fear makes no sense at all.

Like claiming attack when no one’s against you, you just are still craving rescue.

Still looking in the wrong places to be found.

So, the perspective is shifting. No need to fight anymore. You’re a victor not a victim.

If you’re reading this and thinking that’s ridiculous that she’s comparing trauma to an uncontrollable puppy.

It is ridiculous; but, it’s also real and it’s also changeable when we choose to see from God’s perspective.

The intent of past trauma is to change your perspective of every single soul you encounter from hope to fear.

The enemy longs to keep us tied to fear and sometimes the enemy is deeply embedded.

That is, until we get brave and sick of fear.

I am almost 8000 words into the book God has formed in me about my past trauma(s).

I have finished the proposal and it just waits now for editing.

The original idea was an expose’ of trauma and all the ones who I felt needed reminding in case they needed to remember what kept them from saving me back then.

Sigh, what an undeserving unnecessary story.

That’s not the idea now.

It’s honest and it’s a perspective that calls me out in the horror of it all and more a tribute to the “Jesus in them” despite of it all.

It’s not a shocking story, more a settlement of my story and the redemption and hope waiting us all.

Charlie the pup lies beside me all curled up.

Shortly, I’ll head to my desk to pray and then edit. He will curl up in the corner next to my feet and he’ll be with me.

With me as I change my perspective of victim of trauma to brave child of God and optimistic survivor.

Trauma is a mercy reference.

Oh, and hey…

Happy Independence Day!

In the Waiting

The irony of waiting is that it does not mean doing nothing at all. It means not doing things you know are not yours to do, things like anxiously putting yourself in places that might bring notice, like checking to see if a painting sold when you know you’ll find out at the already established time, it’s not calling four times when the caller shouldn’t be you but from the one you’re set to hear back from.

What waiting is, is knowing God is working and you keep moving you don’t sit still.

You move unburdened because you know He knows.

You left it with Him.

It’s a glorious walk that becomes a free run on a day all of a sudden you notice you’re not as heavy as before, oh, again you can run.

And so you run with music in your soul and your ears. You run. You run as you wait for your triumph to unfold.

He’s in the waiting. Take courage. Stay steady.

“Slow down, take time

Breath in He said

He’d reveal what’s to come

The thoughts in His mind

Always higher than mine

He’ll reveal all to come

Take courage my heart

Stay steadfast my soul

He’s in the waiting

He’s in the waiting

Hold onto your hope

As your triumph unfolds

He’s never failing

He’s never failing.”

Bethel

#takecourage #hesinthewaiting #quietconfidenceartandword

See A Little Listening

I told myself feelings are not facts and I do believe it.

Add that little saying to all the others, Lisa Anne, over time your happy heart will override your frenzied mind.

Will cushion the knowing that’s gonna grow you, will soften the edges of you, will be a plump pillow for your head at day’s end, sweet rest for the soul.

I listen to a whole lot of stuff when I’m walking, wisdom and or lyrical voices.

I’m particular with my listening, not my favorite thing to learn from tones that are “chipper”.

Cut out the pretty words. I crave what I already know, just need a voice confirming on a firmer note.

I’m down to just a few now, podcasts that are good fits for me.

Yesterday, I silenced my phone.

I paused the voice that was the same as so many with a similar exhortation.

I already knew. I already know.

I’ve got extra blank space now. I’m not sure I’ve ever had so much room in my thoughts for things to grow.

I’m challenged to accept the void of activity. I resist the not knowing what may be next or not come at all.

I walked bored with others’ knowledge and I saw the geese behind their mama all swimming in a row.

But, first I heard them, the rhyme and rhythm of their following along.

I paused then walked on.

I turned the steep sharp corner carefully and hearing a rattling engine moved to the far edge of the high grass.

I was prepared; but, not to be startled, an old van, a bearded tank top man and a head down in the darkness passenger in his midst.

“I’m walking.” I answered when he asked if I needed a ride and then added, “I walk everyday.” wishing I hadn’t added that and hoping he didn’t hear.

He drove away.

I approached the place where the Labrador loved to sit and I heard the croak of a frog off someplace and I remembered the creek of my childhood and those simple and yet complex days.

We walked every day. We took off to our simple shady quiet place.

I turned towards home and saw the bright blooms of summer, found the hidden key, let myself in and then double locked the door.

Later, I told the neighbor, I’ll be walking a new way, find cut throughs through yards. She said okay, suggested I leave one ear without music.

I told my husband.

He listened and agreed on new ways to get to the cul de sacs, the neighborhood and finally the trail I love.

I mentally made a plan.

I expected to be afraid in my sleep, awakened by the encounter of the ones in the old tagless used and beat up van.

But I wasn’t.

I considered the possible intent of the man and I am responding accordingly, not afraid,

Just informed.

I’m changing, I’m listening. I’m learning.

Feelings do not write your stories.

Listen more to what you are seeing now.

Your story was written so very long ago by the one who knows you now and then and in all the days to come.

“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Notice the one who takes unending notice of you.

You, who God made fearfully and wonderfully well.

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Accomplishing Little with God – Blog post #821

Have you ever known a leaf to sprout from a tiny brand new planted seed?

A seed like the ones we planted in paper Dixie cups and watched to see the bright tiny green come up from the black dirt?

The butter bean plant would sprout and then we’d watch granddaddy put it in the ground to wait expectantly for the beans.

Waiting back then was so sweet, shellin’ peas and beans and pulling up dirt covered peanuts to pluck them from the green stems as we sat in the back of an old truck.

And later with dirty hands and bliss, we’d eat huge bowls of briny deliciousness.

Maybe children understand process, maybe waiting was learned through simple participation.

Anticipation was not anxious, it was more moving a little closer to what we’d grown to know.

On Monday, God offered an option, pointed me towards a reprieve from my incessant seeking to hurry up and become what I had yet to see.

Pending needs were not being met by responses from others.

Getting things done meant waiting for others to deliver on their part to me.

Then Tuesday came like a gift of a day and I accepted it like the joy it was indeed.

I let unfinished business lie in the places I’d left it, the tasks, the obligations, my initiations towards finishes.

I stood in my morning kitchen and stared at my feet.

Fascinated by the calm colors, the image of me, steady and still, planted.

Told myself, today is for the baby, baby Elizabeth and your girl.

It was a good day for sure!

And now, here’s half a day gone, middle of the week Wednesday.

I’m at a standstill, a snail’s pace, dependent on others.

My to do list with no new strikethroughs!

Unfinished tasks on my mind and underfoot and uncertainty over the current vagueness of my vocation.

Paint, write, assist, consult…which way, which road?

Dropping hints about my skills and being available, my multiple seeds.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Jesus

‭‭John‬ ‭12:24‬ ‭

Have you ever considered “waiting and trusting” a sacrifice?

The sacrifice God wants is my trust, for me not to meander away from who He says I am in futile attempts to hurry up and be a better version of me.

Have you let God plant you in the soil He intends to grow you or do you resist what seems like nothing, impatient and worried?

Has your identity changed, what you were known for been taken, now different?

Does it feel as if your thing you thought was yours has been stolen?

Is it hard to see that God has better for you because you’re so attached to before?

To accomplishing much?

My mama used to say “Turn the page.”

God is saying, I think to me, “Plant new seeds.”

He knows you, knows me. His ways are deeper and higher. His soil is richer.

Know Him, know the best version of you.

Also on Monday, I discovered I have 820 blog posts out in the world.

I have no desire to perform any sort of comparative analysis of me when I began and the me I am now.

I sure hope I’ve stayed honest through them all, that if I leaned toward know it all or cutesy commentary that the handful of readers gave me mercy back then.

And the ones who hung around when I wrote about loving the sky and the sounds of the birds.

No worries, that Lisa Anne is still here.

Here on this Wednesday when I’m at a loss over what to do for an income.

No set vocation and it’s noon and my husband just stood in the doorway to say…”You’re still in your pajamas…”

He smiled when I answered “Yes, things are not coming together again today.”

Strangely for him, he offered no suggestion. He let it rest.

And as he left the room to cut grass or hedges I reminded myself the third day in a row, you’ve done your part, just wait for God to take it wherever it is meant to go.

To grow.

The Clearing

Where are you going? Who are you becoming?

What scared you that is not so scary anymore?

Are you on the cusp of you, giving God the corner piece you held in your palm in your lap at the table, leaving your puzzle unfinished.

Were you afraid to give up the missing piece of your story because it’s been incomplete for so very long?

Being complete will be different, do you worry you won’t fit?

The unafraid puzzle of you?

Someone has trimmed the branches, removed the excess growth from the shrubbery.

The walking trail has clean borders, limbs and weeds are stacked in a corner on the curve pile.

I walk and hear the rustling, turn to see the bird.

Not like before, I’m not startled by the rustling, unable to know what was stirring in the brush.

I’d pick up my pace, oddly thinking I was being pursued and I walked as fast as I could from the source of the noise.

But, yesterday the clearing caused my turning, a small rabbit, baby bunny waiting to be seen and a trio of crows happy to have discovered a nest.

The squirrel in the undergrowth scurried up a tree, a cobalt blue butterfly fluttered past my cheek.

The elusive blue bird again made certain it had been seen.

I walked on towards the wide space grateful for the clearing.

In the evening I drove home later than I’d planned and the traffic was easy, the big trucks staying in their lanes.

I considered the wide sky, the 3/4 moon fuzzy from clouds to my left and drove straight into the place that kept me coming.

Beckoning me forward, causing me to want to call my daughter or anyone.

Have you seen this sky?

Knowing every person on earth should see it, the way God welcomes our notice.

The way He takes fear from our paths, the way He widens our walkways and calls us to see.

To see ourselves bravely and more clearly once we step into His clearing.

And continue.

Continue and believe.

“This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

linking up with other writers who are writing about goals.

My goal?

Faithfulness to continue on brave new paths.

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/06/13/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-goal/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Ask for Awe

I’m prone to exploration of words and their meaning. I read a word and wonder,

Do I really understand this?

I read the word “awe” in a devotional about asking God for what we need.

I proceeded to search and found to be awed means to have an experience that creates a reverential fear, amazement or a word that sounds pretty to me, “wonderment”.

An observation or encounter that prompts the sound, “Ah…”.

As if awe, the experience has a sound all its own.

On Friday as I dressed for dinner with friends and dabbed a scent on my wrist, I told my husband, “I need a lighter scent.”

Then added, “You’re fortunate, you know. Most women don’t go without these kind of things.”

He grunted and added his comparable going without things like boats and such.

I made a list of things that do matter but don’t. Better clothes, better hair, new paint on our dated walls.

A dog.

Less belly fat, better teeth, more art seen and sold, the courage to finish the book, the assurance that my children are okay.

Things on the periphery of my life, details of my days.

God pulled me close, caused me to ask to be closer.

I cried then prayed.

To acknowledge, I want a God experience, an occurrence with the Holy Spirit.

This morning, I asked for awe.

I asked God to show me His glory, like Moses who turned to the bush in the desert to be met by God in reply.

Moses who then told Joshua, keep telling the people to follow, to seek the Lord, to seek to be awed.

“the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

‭‭Numbers‬ ‭6:25-26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To have their countenance changed by grander things than food and water, to be aware of God.

Maybe discontent builds desire.

Maybe grander prayers bring my awareness of the grandeur of God.

I believe it to be so.

Lord, I want to be awed by your glory. I want to be drawn to notice you and to turn, my attention captured until I linger, I turn to see you longer enough to see myself through you.

Lord, show me your glory. I ask to be awed.

Because of mercy, Amen.

The hydrangeas are bluer this year. The blooms are so abundant that my house and my daughter’s are decorated by them.

The ground must be different this year somehow, the soil’s season somehow rich and new.

May I be new as well, may my soil hardened by hardship become more broken and opened to nutrition from you.

May my life yield awesome beauty, healed and healthy because of you.

“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.”

‭‭Hosea‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Happy Sunday, ya’ll!

God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice.