Here Again

For a day, almost two, this site sort of went away.

Went back to an old image, an old place.

I thought I’d downgrade.

Not having a whole lot of “Lisa money”.

Regret came real quick when I saw the ads about toes and fungus.

‘Bout the same time my cover image with my very own coral painted toes in the green clover changed to a long ago cover, grayish colored journal.

Did it matter I wondered and decided it did. Writing here since 2013. How degrading a steward of my words I’d be if I didn’t give them a happy place to be.

So, lesson learned.

Don’t panic.

Revisit.

Begin again.

Keep making your reader curious.

Keep writing in a way that doesn’t put your words in the last chance clearance aisle.

Because, if you’ll allow yourself to believe it.

You’re not there either.

You’re making your way to the front of the store display.

Celebrate with me, if you will the places God keeps placing me:

An article in Fathom Magazine and a featured artist in a real live gallery!

God keeps giving me reasons to continue.

Continue and believe.

In the Pause

If I hadn’t stepped away from the large canvas covered in colors I’m not happy with

I’d not have texted my daughter to check on her daughter’s fever.

I’d not have gotten her good word,

Walk it out. HB

If I hadn’t told her I was unhappy with the painting.

If I hadn’t said “Yep.” with such resolve I may not have walked at all.

It’s cold.

Not too cold.

Sun still and I told myself as I struck out I’d been walking this way for a while.

This walking strongly, walking as a prescription, walking fast, walking with a song.

Long time.

If I hadn’t decided to pause to notice the squirrel I’d not have tilted my face to find the 3/4 moon against blue vastness.

I wouldn’t have lingered happy with the way the sun glazed the crinkly branches.

I would not have noticed the male cardinal on the tip top skinny gray and fragile limb.

Color so red. I rested.

I paused and then walked.

Again.

If the sun had not been fading down I’d not have seen my shadow like a reflection on the side of a house.

The shadow showing in the forward force of my arms, my legs, my shoulders, what I felt.

Determination

And going, going.

If I hadn’t taken the long way around over dread of sundown, I’d not have heard the few lines about story in a song.

Bear your cross as you wait for your crown. Tell the world of the treasure you’ve found. Elevation Worship, Come to the Altar

No, if I’d not paused from frustrated creating, I’d not have been restored.

To again be creative.

Different, new.

Growing.

Bursting in a slow promise.

Walking, a pause at the altar

Laying down burdens and writing new stories.

Pausing for treasure.

From 1 to 700 or More – Good Things

Last night my husband agreed.

You’re not tech savvy, are you?

I’m not. I don’t worry over linking my Pandora to a blue tooth speaker. Oddly, curious over this blog though, this morning I delved into the tab marked stats.

The same husband who pointed out my ineptness over speakers told me he read my blog the night before.

His comment?

How was Panera?

One thing for sure, he’s predictable, and a non-restaurant dining fan.

Oh well.

I began blogging in 2014. The most viewed post had 127 views. I began with 1 follower and five years ago had over 2700 viewers in some way shape or form.

I wrote about work, about suicide, about my children, our dogs, about my growing understanding and often doubtful relationship with God.

I had a tendency to center my content. I guess I thought that was cute (?)

It was unnecessary and well, amateurish and unskilled. I began using my own photos back then and I still do. I sort of love this way.

My most read post was about my children and a blogger who had asked for prayer for her son.

Read here:

Most read in 2014

I’ve come a long way. It’s nice to see my writing is an indication of this.

I am glad I kept blogging. It could have easily been just one of those trendy things I copied my daughter on.

She, once was a blogger. She shared such good words and beauty.

She and my son are very good writers. Maybe future bloggers, writers, story and wisdom sharers.

They’d say.

We got it from our mama.

And I’d say and mean it…”Well thank ya!”

I’ve come a long way.

They have too, daughter who teaches 1st graders and a sweet sweet mama to a little baby named Elizabeth.

Son who survived, no excelled at The Citadel, a military college and is in the home stretch of grad school for CPA.

Both are well and love me well.

Both have grown.

Haven’t we all?

Happy New Year with new chances for good writing, good things, just good!

Thank you, important to me, precious reader!

New Year Word

What do you know of yourself because of 2019?

How can you be honest with you?

It is good to understand your ways, good to be truthful with yourself, good to right unintended wrongs.

I can be distant, lose connections, be a not so dependable friend.

I’ve got some notes to send, some catching up to do with my “colors” the women who supported me through the years.

In a way the year has felt like an onslaught, a flood, a deluge of concerns along with a swift flowing stream of so much love.

My word was “faithful” in 2019, meaning I was faithful to keep pursuing God’s way for me and knowing He was gonna be faithful in His care for me.

Just kept on going, kept being buoyed in the storms, safe and learning.

We went out to the country the day after Christmas. Because of the rain we expected the dam would have bursted and his parents’ pond might be empty.

But it wasn’t, we walked together towards the edge, following the sound of bubbling, the soft yet strong flood of overflow towards the wide tree planted creek.

So, no problem. We stood and then stayed a while. It was quiet, tucked away in a back corner of his parents’ land.

The dock seemed more brilliant in color, the sun and shade mixing the tint to an almost feminine green, green like the color of spring, green like soft velvet.

The pads on the surface some with long weedy tendrils were situated softly, not overgrown in a cluster.

Okay alone.

.

Mostly single floating blooms.

The little bridge he built of old wood was bordered by stone he made from bags of cement.

But, it didn’t seem manmade. It looked as if the water’s edge was made of a beautiful white stone, marbled by harsh weather.

A lily pad top was resting, its softness molded into stone.

Must’ve been forced from the pond by the flood of water and somehow rather than drown in the rushing torrent, it was found pretty by me.

I knew the sight was meant to be mine to see. Other than just a bit of nature, there was something else for me.

I choose not so seriously a word every year. I don’t spend time in prayer or take time to decide. It’s always just happened to be found and I decided it made sense.

And then, it has.

It does.

In my Bible next to the verse I call “life”, I’ve penciled the last few years in.

“Breakthrough”: 2017

“Still”: 2018

“Faithful”: 2019

“Endurance”, I’ve decided, my word for 2020.

Because I could settle with the good enough I know, my life is good, my family, my marriage, my children.

My art, my piecing together of words into sentences, stories.

All of the former would be wasted in my settling, if I didn’t endure to the calling forward.

My breakthrough in healing over past trauma, my getting better at waiting, not forcing, of being “still”. My grasp of God’s faithfulness and my ownership of it.

After all this time, I believe it’s not just for others, that He loves even me.

So, endurance?

Yes.

Endurance like the pond’s flower, not resisting the strong rush of water, being pliable, being carried to a safe place and resting there to be seen as strong and surrendered to whatever.

What still will come.

He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground which will be rich and plenteous. Isaiah 30:23

The seeds from my breakthrough were scattered, not wasted and there was a stagnant period that felt like a flailing of me and my value.

Still, I waited.

It was unpleasant and heartbreaking at times. Waiting felt like being nothing, doing nothing, like the end of possibility because of my age.

But, I painted still and I was frantic over every chance to be seen as important, either a writer or an artist.

I was pitiful at times, seeking pity from others too.

None of this stopped God from holding on to His hope for my purpose. I was persistent although struggling, what He saw was that I was “faithful”.

Now, days from a new decade, I’m seeing joy in all of it. Being chosen for exhibits, an idea making sense and being well received, a 2020 calendar, a different perspective on the “Colors” memoir manuscript.

A brave goal by the end of January, 30 pieces to launch a more serious art website. (?!?)

I was brave in 2019. I made choices I would have never made before, choices that are not the choices of a timid victim, choices that said “victim no more”, no longer controlled by fear.

2020 will be a year of remembrance, I’ll be buoyed farther from the safe and hidden shore and I’ll not expect unwavering tides or resting ease.

I’ll go where his faithfulness has brought me and I’ll trust with endurance the newly emerging artist and writer, woman of me.

I’ll endure to see more clearly what God made me to be.

Because of mercy, I’ll continue. LT

Now I rise from my “morning spot” to tackle to the waiting list in my workroom, newly cleaned, brushes washed, desks rearranged, laptop and manuscript newly placed.

A letter for my “colors”, finish two commissions, one of which has made me feel so ill-equipped and then begin the first of 30 new pieces.

I’ll begin today and then

Endure.

the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina

Must Be Me

The geese were carrying on a lively conversation over my shoulder.

I stopped on the curve. I owed them my attention. They used to captivate me so.

And now don’t really.

Not sure why.

The dangerous turn where people just don’t care.

Drive way too fast, using our quiet neighborly place as a shortcut, cut through, toss your trash and beer cans out place.

I paused to talk with the father and daughter in their yard. The little girl’s a twin and her sister’s got a fever. She’s solving a mystery her daddy told me.

The result of a week filled with “Scooby Doo”.

I watch as she pieces together her clues, little slips of paper her daddy hung in the trees, hid near the wagon.

I notice he’s patient.

His twin daughter, the one most inquisitive.

“Merry Christmas” she told me, three times or four.

Then her daddy, a police officer reminded me to be careful, people drive too fast and then he told me that when he sees me walking he prays I’ll be safe.

I told him I have to walk, don’t worry, I’m careful.

I’d be a shell of myself if someone told me to stop walking.

So, I walked at dusk on Christmas Day.

It was joyful.

Cutting short my route because of talking to the daddy and daughter and well, because I’m slow now, slower than three months ago.

Vertigo scared me then gave me permission to eat bread.

Sandwiches, I decided.

I’ll just eat sandwiches now.

And it’s been six months since my feet have stood still on either side of the number on a scale.

Last week someone told me to keep being me.

Just be you. DK

I have been thinking of it since.

So, today is day two of walking solitary again with words or music in my ears.

My bones feel inflated, the rub of joints and hips; but, today was better than yesterday and so on and so on.

Thinking I’m not able but trying anyway.

30 feet or even less, the left heel moving weight to the toe and then the right and the left and the bounce, bounce of the headphone wire against my chest.

I’m elated although I don’t go far.

The geese caused me to pause as I rounded the curve.

The sky has swept the slate clean and I can’t explain it but there’s a freedom in my feet.

There’s a light sense of new as the horizon replied with a sky that said love.

And I’ve added maybe 90 seconds of running to a 15 minute walk and I’ve given myself permission to be okay with the accomplishment of that.

Okay because it is me and I, after all.

Must be me.

And someone told me to keep being me.

Someone else told me they pray for me.

Neither of the two I will forget.

No, I’ll keep going.

Keep going towards you, Lisa Anne. You’re closer than you’ve ever known.

I’ve just read that DK who can’t fathom how significant his three words were…the just be you that has set the tone for my 2020 thoughts, has experienced loss on Christmas Day and so, I pray for him. I pray for peace in a time and a thing that makes no sense, the heavy weight of his loss. I will pray the kindness shown to the one he’s lost will be in turn, known by him.

One or Both?

I’ve just scribbled out the words to my December newsletter.

Months ago I considered quitting.

Quitting because of my perception of a very low number of readers.

Okay, not perception.

Reality.

Now, I’m in a new place.

Not just a cute ending to a post but a decision.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

Still, there are timely decisions to be made and those decisions don’t feel insignificant.

They feel like the can’t avoid nudging in my journey in writing and in art.

Deadlines and expiration dates, a place that’s not working when people ask

where can I find your art?

And I’m so unskilled when it comes to technology.

Plus, I’m not rich.

I am leaning in to 2020 with the awareness of the need to be more visible.

More confident…a little less quiet?

To take myself seriously.

To understand that’s not pride; but, it is that same surrender.

Surrender, the word you keep circling in your journal.

Surrender and acceptance of God’s call for me to continue.

Create art and words that tell redemption’s story.

Emanate from the mercy you’ve been shown while making others curious over God.

Curious over mercy.

Advice?

I could use some.

Stick with WordPress and try again to make it a place for art and words?

Switch to just basic WordPress, no art, no buying, just blogging about God and love and small things?

Create a separate and clean space for art, commissions, engagement?

Professional.

I read or heard last week or the one before and I’m believing it:

To be an artist or any creative you must take your creativity seriously.

I’ll add my takeaway.

Others knew you when art or writing were just “hobbies” or eccentricities of you, you deep, you, inside your head too much. Many still believe this is true. Don’t be sidelined or offended.

Take your art seriously. Others will eventually. Often it’s strangers who believe most in you, the you you’re becoming.

If you’re one of my strangers, allow me to make this my Merry Christmas and Happy New decade and year to you!

Thank you!

Thank you for helping me continue!

I hope you do too.

Your Gift

Whether you believe or not

It is true.

You’re gifted.

Your gift?

Your story, the truth of it, what that truth has taught you, what God desires you not keep boxed up.

Your gift is your belonging because of or despite your story.

You’re gifted with stuff you should never stuff down

Nor keep tightly wrapped

Nor keep it hidden in the darkness of your heart.

The events that made you, the hard, the happy, the glorious.

There are times I believe it’s essential to remember the before things, it’s beneficial to not forget the ugly so that you can smile when you communicate to others the pretty.

I told a story twice yesterday. The story of this drawing, a drawing in my Bible, a print I call a “margin girl”.

The professional gently turned the pages of my Bible, she positioned the page on the scanner.

With the first of my five she asked what I called it and I answered.

Made well.

The drawing depicts the story of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s garment and was made well.

We examined the print closely together, the lines so clear, the color so vivid.

I thanked her.

I told her that this is one of my favorite stories.

She paused and said she didn’t know it.

So I told her.

I told her I wonder if the color is too graphic, the deep red that encircles the woman’s gown that represents blood, years of incapacitating menstrual flow.

She listened as I continued with remembering how Jesus was intentional in finding her. He wanted her to know her faith had made her well.

Told her.

Go in peace.

Later, I sold this print and three others. I stood with two women who knew this story and now, the story of God and my art.

Now, they know that little bit of my story.

Not kept hidden, wrapped tight or concealed for dread of paralyzing trigger.

No, our stories are gifts.

We’re gifted and we’re givers.

Share your story, feel your soul open wider, your heart expand to allow others in.

Know the glow they’re seeing, the soft fire in your eyes.

No, you don’t see what they see.

But, oh my goodness you surely feel it.

So, that thing or things that made you stronger, wiser, sure ‬‬and surer of mercy and grace?

Give it to others.

“And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:50‬ ‭ESV

Your gift.

Share and give.

And continue.

Continue and believe.