A Short Story I Suppose

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, daughters, Faith, family, fear, freedom, grace, heaven, hope, kindness, love, memoir, mercy, painting, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

Iris, Art, and Earl

“Blue Ribbon Girl”

   If she could go without a soul knowing, she knew where she’d run off to.  Down Highway 80 through Savannah, through the mossy oaked canopy, and over the bridge crossing grassy low tidewaters. She would find that old place, the place she felt known.  She would take what she needed, chill some water in the Frigidaire, and have crackers and peanut butter wrapped in her Kleenex, food for the road.  All would be well.  She’d venture down to the lonely October shore and sit on the sand; she would be on the beach. She would wash her feet in the frothy tide. She’d sleep soundly with the breeze, the little clapboard house by the shore, the place she longed for, left her art there, the place where her dreams began. The place where someone else now lives, strangely she decided they would just welcome her in.  She would wake with the autumn crispness and move towards the kitchen, avoiding the tiny room, space where she used to stay. She ached to be there again. She longed to have her fingers, arms. elbows covered in paint, to forgo the brush, blending colors in. She would consider painting again, maybe later. She might allow herself to be taken away, to be lost in the translation of her concerns to thickly layered colors. “Iris”, she might pencil in in the corner, always signing that way. Maybe this evening she thought when the light comes through the sheers just before the day gives way to night. She might settle in then, lose all track of time and heartache. Wouldn’t that be something? Everyone would talk! Iris has up and left Earl, she always had an independent streak!  She smiled, thinking of all the women at the factory, the gossip, the whispers.

     Instead, she drove back home, the little white house, tin-roofed and porch screened in. It was Friday, no telling what was waiting.  Her husband, a carpenter, fisherman, a rounder, and rascal would be waiting.  About thirty minutes away, longer if she could drive like she wanted, slow and smooth in her silvery-blue Impala, if she could she just keep right on going she would.  She’d like to take longer before easing up the hill and cruising, her foot off the gas and over the bridge that marked the creek. She flipped on the blinker, she had to get on home. The highway changed to sandy dirt; the first curve was the sharpest as she passed his cousin’s place. She cracked the window and let the other one down all the way, Remer’s wife would be peering through the parlor window, same time every day, making sure she had come back home. The one perched on the tractor slowing to see her, his baby brother was watching too, knowing he’d made it home from wandering now and waiting for his wife to get her “sorry self” back home. She smiled, satisfied in her last moments of alone. Creating pretty things, little flowery dresses, gingham checked and ruffled, her art, the products made by her hands. Only three days into October and she had made production.

     Her fingers were bent and achy, their tips flattened smooth. One hundred little Christmas dresses from four different patterns and each of them the same except their velvety hue; cobalt blue, rich red, emerald green, or ivory. Some with broad white collars and some with wide sashes for tying bows cinching perfectly around tiny waists. For ten hours a day and a Saturday, she had been taken away to a place that was hers, a place she could be proud of, a place close enough to feel free, free like the painting she used to do.

     She turned onto the path that led her back home.  He might be sitting out back on the steps or she might hurry in past the sight of his broad back in bib overalls, bent over the old table cleaning his fish. She wouldn’t ask him what he had done today, only go about her business, get herself out of her slacks and cotton blouse and into her housedress and slippers, he’d been waiting for his supper. She knew his expectations. She understood her role. 

     As she headed towards the kitchen she remembered, there was no rice for supper! Oh, Lord have mercy!  She had forgotten to cook that morning. Her husband had gone without, no rice for dinner and none waiting for his supper. She turned back towards the hallway and she saw it there, the old rice pot that was always sittin’ on the stove, it had been thrown up against the sitting room wall. Laying there with the sun coming through the picture window, shining like a flash of warning or a lost coin, either way, the rice was not ready, supper would not be on time.  There was nothing for her to do now. She would have to be prepared. Sooner or later he would barrel through the door, overalls half on and half off and the stub of sucked-on cigar loping sideways from his lip. She would know right away; she would detect the smell or not of Pabst Blue Ribbon.   She could only hope there wasn’t a deeper smell, the thick scent of warm bourbon or the belligerent tone of clear liquid, meaning there might be anger and she was surely too tired to take him on. Oh, how she wished her girls were there. But, long gone they were and with husbands of their own, one feisty and determined and the other followed not too far behind.   She hoped the other brother who lived beyond the cornfield might pass through. They would talk of the weather or the crops or the President, move to compare their sorry-ass women, and how their lives should have turned out differently.  But it was looking like a lone night, just the two of them and she had no idea when he might decide to come inside.

She turned to listen, as still as she could be, and decided he must be occupied with cleaning fish or digging bait or maybe brooding in a close to drunken state. She had time maybe, time to get the rice ready, time to pretend she had not forgotten before leaving for work, leaving her husband here. She reached for the Tupperware and opened its lid to scoop out the white grain into the soon-to-be boiling pot of water.

She startled when the screen door creaked. She stood still to measure his mood by the weight of his feet on the porch. She listened as he grew closer, seemed somehow more spring in his step. She’d grown accustomed to the heaviness of his stride, his feet like cinder blocks, the way they seemed so thick, pushing himself along in despair. Her heart was pounding. She listened. He stepped into the kitchen and ambled towards the sink and there he lingered. She felt his breathing on the back of her neck, she noticed the scent of his labor and decided today, maybe he had been working. She opened her mouth not sure what to say or which way she should begin. Before she could speak, he came even closer and then turned, his hand on her shoulder, the other one circling around her waist. He cradled her for a moment and then turned and walked away, left her standing there. Butterflies rose up in her belly and fluttered in dance at her throat.

     She was frozen in front of the stove; the sensation of his touch had overwhelmed her. She looked at the pot waiting for the boiling water and listened as he ran the bathtub water, longer than usual. What in the world, was he not worried anymore about the well running dry? She realized she had more time. She opened the icebox and pulled out a chicken and the beans. If she hurried, the Crisco would be ready about the time the rice simmered down and the leftover lima beans, she would season them with a fresh “strick o’ lean”.  She listened as she worked, his odd behavior allowed her more time. She thought of slipping past the tiny bathroom to the bedroom mirror to check her hair and her face, but she decided not to chance it, he would hear. She never knew really; she was careful not to wake her sleeping giant of a man. Something might set him off and he’d holler loud from the other side of the wall, probably then he’d let her have it, did she just expect him to go hungry again?

    Supper was nearly done ‘bout the time the sky changed from blue to dark and thundering grey. The wind was whipping the loose tin on the back shed and pine limbs were threatening to come through the windows, thick and green they pushed against the windows and then moved away just long enough for her to see where the storm was headed, how long it was staying, the hard rain, the threatening thunder the flash of angry lightning.  He’d be back in the kitchen any minute and he’d tell her he knew it all day, he knew a cloud was making up, he saw it coming. She waited and then continued. She floured the chicken and dropped it carefully in while the beans were warming and the rice was filling up the pot, the water making it thick and the way he liked it, thick and fluffed, not mushed together. The aroma filled the room, a later than normal supper. She was scrambling to move the cast iron from the heat for the gravy when he came around the corner. He walked towards the table, pulled his chair out, and told her, “You ain’t got to make no gravy.” 

    He surprised her when he said softly, “I was thinkin’ all day, I sure hope we get a good hard rain.” then asked her how her dressmaking went today. She answered that it was good, he nodded and then just looked away. He told her he had gone to town and that he talked with a man about helping a man with some carpentry.  Rumor had it that there were new houses coming in just out past the grocery store, that a Yankee from Carolina had bought up all the land and that somebody told them if you need a good carpenter, well, Earl is your man. He told her that he was sure the rich man had been warned, “You just have to catch him sober or not fishin’”. She listened as he continued, remembering her daddy and how she had been warned about his reputation, his family was good people, but the son was rowdy. He was a charmer she remembered, his swagger swept her away, upturned lip with an “I got you girl” smile, he reeled her in. They finished their supper and she rose to clean the dishes as he leaned back in his chair and told her, “You better get on to bed, they’ll be expecting you early again tomorrow.” She paused, “Good night.” she said, and then she barely heard him mumble in reply. She did not remind him she would not be working tomorrow.

The storm had passed, and the windows only open a tiny bit, she listened to the birds in an exchange, singing sweetly one to another, the crickets and the frogs down by the pond would soon join in. Tomorrow she decided, she would go to town, it was Saturday, she might see if he wanted to ride along. She drifted off to sleep, slept like a baby. She woke to the sound of coffee percolating and a strange sense of mystery, of newness, and of intrigue. Coffee and cream and the corn flakes and evaporated milk were placed on the table. No words were spoken between them, unfamiliar and awkward, this new way of them. Not his way to think of fixin’ breakfast.

“I think I’m going to town today.” she offered. He grunted. He had grown accustomed to her independence, gave up on changing or caging her in. She did what her preacher man daddy raised her to do, she was dependable and gave in to most everything, knew when to leave him alone, stay out of his way.  He let her veer off on occasion, it gave him his space. He didn’t know what she was up to, what was happening between them?  He said okay when she out of nowhere asked, “You want to ride to town with me?” then he instantly regretted his answer.  What in the world? That would mean changing his overalls, changing his plans, putting on clean boots, sitting closer to her than he had in years, all enclosed in her car and barely an arm’s length away from her body. He would be the passenger in her beloved Chevrolet. “You ready?’ she asked. He looked out the window and walked away, never gave an answer. She waited. She wondered.  She regretted asking. Then she heard the rusty creak of the old Nova’s door, the pumping of his foot on the gas to give it the boost it required, and the beat-up old chassis backed up and bolted through the field and down the roads, swerving she knew it,  barely keeping it between the ditches.

   She sat as morning changed around her. The corn flakes flat and floating, the coffee cold and the house was again silent. She thought of her life, how it could have been. She remembered the cousin who left Georgia and moved to California, became a designer, famous in a way she supposed. She rose to wipe the counters, poured the coffee out the back door, took the corn flakes down by the edge of the woods, scraped her bowl, left it all there.  She promptly returned to the bedroom, made her bed, knelt down, and prayed. She rose to gather the white blouse starched and waiting and navy slacks, flat shoes. She found her blue cameo pin.  She washed her face, took the bobby pins from her hair, added red lipstick then blotted it to fade to barely there. Dressed and ready, she grabbed her pocketbook and her keys, her little list, her memorandum and she slammed the door behind her. It was only 8:00 in the morning and she knew he would be down by the river; she had the whole day. 

   Iris slid into the seat of her car, glancing down through the field, corn on either side, the road that led to his family. She popped it in reverse and glided back before turning the other way. She had no idea where she was going, she just knew she was going away. She made it to town too early for lunch, barbeque had been the plan for the day. She decided on the café, found a booth, and sat to listen, watch, pay attention to others. A pattern of hers it has always been, comparison of her life to almost everyone everywhere, she was an observer. The waitress served her coffee, toast, and jelly as she lingered. She thought about the possibility, of her husband sitting across the table having a pleasant conversation. She remembered the night before, the glimmer of different, a slight change in him, for them. No idea what to do next, she paid her bill and left, walked out into a perfectly cloudless day, and then started her car to go on her way. Windows down and a scarf tied at her neck, she drove towards the beach and then turned back the other way. Unsure whether to be angry at herself for not going or satisfied that she chose the better thing, she remembered her memorandum and made her way to the McConnell’s Five and Dime. 

   Barely noon, she still had a lot of day. She opened the door, welcomed by a sharp clanging bell. “Well, hello Iris”, she heard someone say and she turned to see an old classmate; the one who left the country and made her way to the big city. She smiled, dreading the questions of how and what in the world have you been doing. She anticipated grand stories of her successful husband, her children, her grandchildren, her brick home, a garden with brilliant flowers, a display of pride, and better than.   Small talk of family and weather led to nosy interrogations she endured. Inquiries of her husband, of her daughters, of their home, and whether she had ever decided to pick back up on painting.

      She answered all of them, made excuses to hurry up her shopping, nice to see you again, say hello to your mama. She watched her walk away, listened as her heels clickety clacked down the aisle, and overheard her words to the cashier, condescension over an apparent mistake in her change. Iris stood for a moment and then decided on a change. She slowly pushed her buggy down one aisle and then the next, forgot about the Pine-Sol and the detergent, continued on her search until she found it, the small section with the thick ivory papers, the colors, and the brushes.  A box of crayons, she opened them and smiled over all the colors before closing tightly the lid and setting them down in her buggy. A large brush for backgrounds and a small for details, two or three more for blending and then tubes, oh so very many happy tubes of paint! She inventoried her list, best she could remember she had all she would need. She paid for her items and danced through the exit doors; going back home, not running away. 

   As fast as she could, she made her way back home, mapped out the afternoon, time allotted her for solitude. She thought of what she might do for a bite to eat, enough to get by until supper, she was excited, so very excited. Barely turning to notice the sister-in-law, the cousins, the brother in the field, she pulled in and unloaded quickly, laid her beautiful things out on the porch. She grabbed the peanut butter and the crackers, ice water, and a banana. Remembered the rice then and considered not cooking but decided it’ll only take a minute, might as well do this for him. It was expected and it required so very little of her, put the water in the pot, the rice does the boiling, cover it with a lid and just leave it there. It will be there for him, whenever and however he comes back in. It was such a little gesture, somehow, she saw it now, as a gift.

     All of that accomplished, she found a big old sheet, spread it out on the floor, and made a place for her paper. She found an old piece of wood, leaned it up against the screen, and with a rusty nail positioned her idea of an easel for her paper canvas. A jar filled with water and brushes soaking, she found an old broken dish and made herself a palette. Vibrant blue was her background and greens, red and purple followed. With no idea of how to begin, what to paint, she simply layered colors. She stood back and admired the symmetry, the way one color spilled over to another bordered by heavy tint turning to faint shade and shadow. She found the box and crayons and added flowing lines in length and layers, she decided they reminded her of gowns. So, she quickly added shoulders, gauzy sleeves over arms, and shapes of faces titled one way or another. She added ruddy cheeks and pale hollowed ones made barely noticeable bridges of noses and only just hints of blue, brown, or green where the women in flowing gowns eyes would be. She sighed, an audible “Ah!” escaped from her lips, and then she felt it, the smile, the filling up because of it of her cheeks. She gazed at the colors, the freedom of them, thick paper flamboyant and joyous colors, all types of stories. She rested then realized the time had escaped her. The dusk of the day was approaching. She gathered her jars and her brushes, stuffed crayons back in the box, and careful not to ruin the extras, gingerly picked up her papers, picked up the unpeeled banana, and nibbled a stale cracker. She scrubbed the brushes and laid them on a dishcloth to dry, turned on the pilot light, and then the burner, the rice, oh, Lord, the rice had to be ready! Hurriedly she finished, put everything away, and decided chicken from last night would be enough, would be okay. She walked out onto the back porch to see the coral sun setting and she breathed deeply, sat down in the place where he’d be pulling in, and rested her bare feet in the soft cool dirt-like sand. Her husband would be home eventually; but she wasn’t worried, not afraid. 

     She made a choice today when she could have chosen another way. She could have chosen rebellion, a trip to Tybee, and come what may. She surely did consider it. She could have chosen pity pouting in the discount aisle and she could have chosen to be a fighter for her freedom. Instead, she chose to gently open her own door.  Iris was daydreaming when she heard the familiar sound of him coming around the corner. She thought to get herself together, to hurry back in, stand waiting in the kitchen in a wifely way.  She stayed still, she waited. He pulled into the driveway and turned to look her way, puzzled for sure, he smiled, and then he shook his head. He walked over to see her and asked, “How was your day?” Before she could answer he told her he was sorry, that he knew she wanted him to go to town today. She smiled and asked about his day, about where he had been. He answered with a grin, told her he drove towards the river then came back to check the pond dam, decided to see the plot of land where the fancy houses would be, and ended up back at his brother’s, just sitting around mostly. She told him supper was about ready and that she had just wanted some air. She reached for her shoes, brushed the sand from her feet, and headed back in. He walked beside her, straight with no sign of stagger and he reached for her hand. She did not know what to make of it, she allowed it, she accepted him then.  As they stepped towards the porch, she saw the makeshift easel, she remembered the painting. He opened the door and held it for her, and he turned, and he saw it and said nary a word.  Supper was different because he kept on being different and when it was done, he pushed his plate to the table’s center and got up out of his chair. 

 She watched as he stepped towards the porch; listened as he stepped back towards her. He carried the piece of wood made into an easel and tenderly placed it with its still moist colors on the sill of the window that looked out towards the field. Then he shifted it left a little before saying, “That’s somethin’ else!  A real pretty paintin’ Iris, why don’t you make another one for here.” She stood up from the table and met him in the middle and she knew in her heart, everything would change from here, her independent streak not broken against her will, but gently set free and blended, the color returning to her story. 

A Children’s Book

Art, birds, Children, Children’s Books, Faith, grandchildren, Motherhood, Teaching, wisdom, wonder, writing

You are loved.

“Look at the Birds” is a book inspired by Matthew 6:26, a reminder for children and the people who love them.

You can purchase a copy by contacting me, in Aiken at 3 Monkeys, in Augusta at Sacred Heart Cultural Center or online at Amazon, Target, Walmart or Barnes and Noble.

I’d love to share this book as a part of your children’s ministry or VBS or summer reading programs by offering bulk purchases of the paperback.

Contact me at ltartandword@gmail.com for more info.

youareloved #lookatthebirdsbook #matthew626

Beach Going

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, contentment, courage, Faith, grace, painting, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

Seems everyone I know has plans to be a beach-goer this summer or has already gone.

This morning, Facebook invited me to revisit a beach inspired post from four years ago. It was interesting to see how my voice is the same me, just a little more grown.

This afternoon, I procrastinated a commission that’s scaring me and I let the colors blue, white, pink and navy calm me, transport me to the shore.

Beach Going

Here’s the June 13, 2017 post:

The Tide

Dedicated to Others and “Aunt Boo”

Angels, birds, bravery, Children, Children’s Books, confidence, contentment, Faith, family, grandchildren, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

The room, the little corner behind the sofa where she sews and sits was spiritual, the window towards the water, a warm aura.

The pauses between her words.

“Comfort” “Special” “This is special.”

“Oh, Lisa, these colors.”

I just listened, smiled, watched her hands turn the pages, fingers starting on the corner edges to move slowly down before turning.

I heard her soft sighs.

My aunt, the one known for the phrase “prayer and patience”, was moved by my book, “Look at the Birds”. It was a different response than I expected.

God with us in the room.

A study I’m doing on freedom prompted a thought last week, a question,

“Think back to a time when, because of a family member or friend, you felt seen and known…and truly loved.” In Touch Ministries, Freedom Guidebook.

I added my answer.

“Her hands on the pages felt as if she was caressing me. Her love for who I had become and seeing her being moved by what I was able to do, as if to say, I’ve been watching, praying, loving and now I see you becoming who I knew you were made to be.”

“Aunt Boo” the verbal and physical expression of God’s affirmation.

A children’s book written to help others know their value is just one of the many little things that is changing me.

I pray changing others.

2 year old Elizabeth does this thing now of let’s put all the babies and bunnies and blankets on the floor. “Lay down, Grandma, lay down.” and the fixing of covers and “babies” becomes a distraction from napping. She held “Look at the Birds” today. We didn’t read it. (No way, that might lead to napping). But, she turned the pages and still loves the hawk most of all.

Lots of people think I wrote this book for Elizabeth. It’s just not so. I’m happy she’ll know her grandma wrote a book. But, this book is for all children and babies. It’s my hope every little hand that holds it and listens to “you are worth more” will never ever forget that truth.

Yesterday, I got a message. A child in foster care carried this book to their new home. I pray it’s read often to him by someone. I don’t know this child. I know the special person who gave him a book.

I worry I’m not so good at this book marketing, spreading the message/promotion.

I promise, the knowing I had a part in helping a little boy in foster care believe he is loved.

It is enough, more than.

(The book is available in lots of places. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart and my website, http://lisaannetindal.me )

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I hope my hope keeps growing.

I hope others see hope in me, my book, my words, my art.

May it not be about me.

Continue and believe.

Still There, Promises and Songs

Angels, Art, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grief, hope, memoir, Peace, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing
morning balloons

I’m ushered forward by the sunrise a few days a week. The road is often mine alone, I’m on schedule for my arrival and with low songs surrounding me, I notice the changing borders, green growth, fields becoming food and trees dotted with coral peaches.

I’ve been tracking an object since I first glimpsed it on Monday. Celebratory balloons, a star and two others, silvery white and deflating, drifted to rest in the high grassy border.

I wondered where it had been, how it ended up here, how long it may be before it’s flat in the ditch or whether the wind might miraculously lift it to cross the road and be found in a better place.

It stayed in the same place and by now it’s likely flat, deflated and hidden.

The happy gesture of someone for someone on their birthday drifted away and deflated.

Maybe there was laughter when the ribbon escaped the grip of a little hand. Maybe the one who tied them to a porch rail tied them too loosely and, oh no they got away.

I wondered about the faces turned towards heaven that smiled as the balloons met the sky and then left them.

Left to wonder what happens now.

I thought of what waiting feels like, waiting for God to take our prayers and hold them for a bit as we long for permission to go safely in another direction or we linger in that place we’ve been kept with no answer, no escape, no clear resolution.

Waiting, I thought feels like hope slowing deflating.

Or it feels like rest.

The choice is ours.

Each day I write “trust” in the spot above the date in my journal.

I hope it sets my tone, positions my soul to be satisfied although waiting. Waiting to see if my words sent to another might be shared, waiting to see if the works of my hands, brushed on paper and canvas might move someone to purchase and move to their home.

I move a new painting into my living room, I want to get a sense of the colors, whether they welcome or comfort. Are there places I missed? Does it tell me the story I hope it tells others.

The Promise

Will someone see “The Promise” of an unclouded day in the same way the hymn came clearly as I decided the sky should be brilliant and cloudless?

Every picture tells a story.

Oh, they tell me of a home far beyond the skies
Oh, they tell me of a home far away
Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise
Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day…(a hymn Willie Nelson sings, my mama’s favorite.)

Everything comes together, God brings all things together.

A verse comes to mind.

The soul at rest is peace.

Like an estate set aside for someone later, a trust to secure a child’s future, God must have things securely waiting for the right time in His sovereignty for me to hold them in my heart, see the reason for the waiting.

Trust is rest.

evening balloons

Like the birthday balloons trapped in the overgrowth and slowly deflating, I can choose the place I’m in as a place of settled trust.

I can wait for the next place God takes me.

I can see waiting as God knowing me.

I’ll take the country road again. I’ll glance with expectation towards the field to my right, the place with the resting balloons.

I’ll be expectant that I won’t see them, that they’ve been caught by the warm breeze of weekend and they’ve caught the attention of another.

Someone like me, feeling deflated by waiting and realizing there’s purpose in pausing and rest never means stopping.

To rest is to trust.

“Let the dawning day bring me revelation of your tender, unfailing love. Give me light for my path and teach me, for I trust in you.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭143:8‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Continue and believe.

A Book I Wrote

Angels, Art, birds, Children, Children’s Books, contentment, courage, Faith, grandchildren, hope, memoir, Motherhood, Peace, Redemption, Vulnerability, writing

The subject line in the email was “I Wrote a Book”, and I attached a bio with background, art and a few words expressing I hoped the recipient and her family are well.

I’m remembering now my first years working with homeless families. She was our emcee and it was one of best fundraisers in history. Her beauty, poise and sincerity added to the success.

Over the years, she remained engaged with our agency and I had many opportunities to talk about tough things on her show.

This would be different. I “go by Grandma” now.

The morning of the Skype call, I moved slowly towards the time, I arranged the room and realized there’d be a toddler nearby. I thought of canceling. Instead, we talked about it, my granddaughter and I.

I moved her coloring pad and crayons to her parents’ bathroom. I changed from my uniform (exercise leggings and T-shirt) to a blouse in my daughter’s closet.

My granddaughter stood beside me as I curled my hair and then added mascara, blush, etc.

The interview began and she played with her “babies” close by.

I was worried about Skype, about the wrinkles on my neck, about my hair because my daughter had no hairspray, about talking too fast or too slow, or too much.

And some of these things are evident in the interview.

More evident though, is the graciousness of Jennie Montgomery, the peace God gave me, the joy over art and more than anything at all.

The surprise of my own voice as I spoke clearly of being loved by God.

The legacy I hope this book leaves, Lisa Anne Tindal is both strong and vulnerable,

she loves her story.

Look at the Birds interview

Trust Over Dread

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, fear, hope, Peace, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.” Psalm 107:2

The spaces I created for newsletter and blog share the word “redemption”. The idea was to share the gift of a closeness with God over time and to write honestly about it.

To embrace redemption as my theme, my guide, my breath of life.

re·demp·tion

/rəˈdem(p)SH(ə)n

noun

1.
the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.

Last month, and the ones before, I wrote mainly about art. I didn’t write redemption stories. Either I stopped believing in them or I felt I’d shared enough. I wrote and illustrated a book, I shifted my sharing to self-promotion. I was told it’s what I’m supposed to do.

It’s mostly an inside job, this enemy I fear called control.

I still get triggered by the mask. Lately, the shame of my “for now” decision against the vaccine is a causing ugly looks and a sense of judgment from others, all leading to isolation, a less obvious trigger.

If you understand, you understand. Otherwise, it makes no sense why you may think things that are not true.

I dreamt last night of bruises on my arms from being held down. My dream me disguised the bruises, made excuses to others about their cause.

I woke and shook off the thoughts, said to myself that is not true anymore.

Nobody held you tightly in their control, you are safe. You are not controlled by others.

Again, this won’t make sense unless you’ve known it.

Many of us fight an internal battle against control, decisions made for you.

We move closer to wholeness when we know peace comes with making decisions with God, quiet ones on your own.

We trust that tiny voice that’s God saying now you have the strength to speak up for yourself, to know your help is from me most of all, it is where you find rest.

Where your trust becomes unwavering faith.

“Faith over Fear” becomes

“Trust over Dread”.

It is awareness of the much to dread, not a whole lot of looking forward to happy according to all we’re told of our country’s condition.

It sort of feels silly to long for things. Some unexpected illness, sorrow or tragedy may knock on your front door or you’ll hear of another injustice and see the hearts of mankind broken and the trend towards true change a bigger obstacle than before.

This is why I’m building up my trust reservoir.

I’m remembering what never runs out, never says I’ve nothing more, never abandons my tender tired heart in need.

It is God’s love and grace.

I wrote 3 words in my journal today. All are distractions to my connection with God.

Distrust

Dread

Drudgery

Then, I added. “Pay attention to the way you approach life.”

Are you dreading the future? Has your hope been stolen? How is it that you know God and believe in Him, have for a bunch of years; yet, you don’t trust as much anymore?

Are you apathetic, exhausted?

Is it because you can’t be sure what life will be like where you are headed or because you’re afraid you won’t look at all like the person you hoped to be next year.

If you feel (with good reason) it is unlikely life will be any better, it is likely you’re incapacitated by dread.

noun

1.
great fear or apprehension

If you have the Bible app, search “dread”. You’ll find God’s conversations with Job, the words of Jesus and other gentle warnings about how it’s not God’s idea for us.

“but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.””

Proverbs 1:33 ESV

My granddaughter was teeny tiny when I first sang “Deep and Wide” to her. Her newborn expression was attentive and calm, enthralled.

“Deep and wide

Deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.”

There is a fountain for us. It won’t dry up, parched by sun or heat.

The river is grace.

It is wide and deep.

It is deep and wide.

Continue and believe,

Trust over dread.

Be attentive to God’s voice in your thoughts.

There’s nothing to fear when we trust God as the maker of our days, the lover of our souls.

Our deep and wide

Safe place.

A Great Affection

Abuse Survivor, bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, freedom, grace, kindness, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing
It is My Story

Twice I saw the man with the cross. Once on the southern part of town, the busy places, the reckless and impatient drivers, the scurrying about grocery shoppers in the days before Easter Sunday.

Then again downtown, on the northern side, blocks from the pretty shops, the sidewalk strollers, he was at an intersection.

The first time, he walked with the wooden cross, a display of his allegiance. He carried the beams joined together and he’d decorated the center with Easter colored florals. I seem to remember he himself was dressed in a jacket and was intentionally put together in a way that seemed to be his best.

At an intersection, two days later, he stood next to a bicycle. The bike, the big cross and this man.

I’d never seen him before.

I waited at the light and glanced to my left. Waiting as well to cross was a man in shorts, unshaven and gazing down at his work-boot clad feet, a faded backpack slipping down from his shoulder.

I didn’t recognize him either. In my years of homeless work I’d seen many like these two, just not them. I thought of their condition, I assumed mental illness and addiction.

I woke with regret over that supposed reason for their condition, their behavior and decision.

I drove downtown and across town yesterday hoping to see one or both.

I didn’t.

The Book of Mark’s introduction in the back of my Bible tells me that the writer is possibly anonymous, theological experts say he wrote his gospel based on Peter’s teaching. I love the tone in Mark’s words. I’m certain I would have been fixed on the words of Peter preaching too.

I read Mark’s description of John the Baptist and I immediately thought of the man on the bike with the flower adorned cross.

“Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.”Mark‬ ‭1:6-7 ESV‬‬

John the Baptist, the son of Elizabeth, the unborn child who was moved by the presence of Jesus while in his mother’s womb.

It was his purpose to go first and then point to the one others like me should follow.

Maybe the man with the cross and the man crossing the intersection began a conversation as I drove home.

Maybe the assumed “crazy” countenance of the one honoring Jesus that day led to questions and then to answers.

Maybe the one I assumed would speak of Jesus was all wrong, maybe the man without the cross was the giver.

Maybe the man worn and weary, walking alone from somewhere had a story to tell.

Maybe the two shared their affection for Jesus.

Andrew Peterson has a voice of comfort, a call to consider love and understanding in most of his songs. Honestly, he beckons us to understand ourselves and then better understand others.

This song, this morning beckons me to consider the ways I don’t understand Jesus’ love for me and then to decide it’s not for me to understand completely, only to accept and believe it.

“And even in the days when I was young
There seemed to be a song beyond the silence
The feeling in my bones was much too strong
To just deny it. I can’t deny this. I’ve been seized by the power of a great affection
Seized by the power of a great affection.” Andrew Peterson

I took time to listen this morning, the song Pandora plays for me often. I remembered telling my first real boss that I chose to work in careers that helped others because of a little girl decision. I remembered being certain that I understood the burdens of other children and as a little girl, I knew I’d be called to help them.

I had no idea back then, that was Jesus calling me tenderly towards today, the notice of other tender hearts, the prayers for people as I see them on the street or downcast in the grocery aisle. The sharing of a book filled with birds for children that closes with the assurance of Jesus.

Not just for children.

I hadn’t thought of that shy little girl that I was for a very long time until I listened.

Listen here: The Power of a Great Affection

Days ago, a conversation sparked a reply from someone. I can’t even recall the reason, only the confident answer.

“That’s not my J-man.”

Some might find that irreverent, casual, or cocky.

Like the man walking the streets of my town bent by his cross, me comforted by a song that brings peace, Jesus is a personal Savior.

We call to him and he answers, answers to even “J-man” I believe.

He loves us just that way.

Personally.

Secretly, He knows us intensely and individually.

Loves us with a great affection.

It has no end.

I pray you know this great affection, that His story becomes yours too.

Continue and believe.

Gentle With Yourself

Art, bravery, contentment, Easter, Faith, grace, Peace, Prayer, Vulnerability, writing
Waiting and Wonder

The azalea bush up against the red cedar fence is still “spectacular”, the word I used with my Master Gardener cousin last week to describe the awe of the bloom.

The below thirty degrees last night didn’t harm it.

The tender white luminescent flowers are lively in the morning sun. Easily, they could have folded their petals over themselves

Hoping to survive, safe and warm, undamaged by the circumstances of the weather.

“Be gentle with yourself.”

I said this to more people than I can remember when I hosted a survivor group for those who were bereaved because of suicide.

I meant what I said although I couldn’t truly understand the challenges they faced. It was what felt honest, my hope for them in their sorrow.

Don’t push too hard, don’t pull away, don’t hide, don’t run.

Stay and in your staying be true to your feelings.

Be gentle with yourself.

Rarely have I said this to myself.

Yesterday, I gauged my progress as an artist and author comparing myself according to virtual images and announcements of others’ success.

Jealousy named itself.

And I paused to learn from it.

God, help me to understand the harm of jealousy, not to others, but to myself.

Help me to understand the damage it brings, always to me and not them.

“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Be honest with yourself gently, grow from what you discover.

Be gentle with yourself.

As gentle as Jesus has been.

Happy Easter, Jesus is love worth knowing, knowing more than anything at all.

Continue and believe.

Prompted by the word, “Gentle”. Thanks Kate for a book I now must read!

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2021/04/01/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-gentle/

I Wrote A Book

Children, Children’s Books, Faith, Vulnerability, writing

If you’ve followed me for very long, you know I’ve hinted at memoir for quite some time and very often been encouraged in that pursuit.

I told my friend the other day,

“This is the first thing I’ve done without hesitation.”

I was referring to publishing “Look At The Birds”, a children’s book.

A message for readers and childten

The book is available on Amazon or through my art website.

https://www.lisaannetindal.me

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1636304346