Walk Easy Towards Good

Your hope will not be disappointed. Proverbs 23:18
Your hope will not be disappointed.
Proverbs 23:18

I only made it through 9 of the 31 days “of UNimpressive writing”.

 I neglected to announce to the hundreds of bloggers who all, in their own voices, committed to write for 31 days  on topics  of  “inspiration”.

I just stepped away from the challenge, no need to acknowledge a surrender or writer’s defeat.  I just decided to go at my own pace.

Less demand, more heart.

I continued to write, though hoping to avoid the pull of being “impressive”.

One lapse into writing to impress and one follower, kindly and honestly picked up on it.

His honesty is and was a gift.

Otherwise, on this day 26 of 31 I’ve been content in my writing. My words have continued to be honest, to attempt to point to God’s place with me now as opposed to where I’ve been, and to write bravely with confidence in such a way that someone may read and stop to think, just to think.

Either, can’t believe she had the courage or lack of discretion to write about that or I have felt the same way and I’m glad I’m not the only one.

My aim, the transparency of a writer’s heart exposed to the world like a house made of windows with no drapery.

There has been purpose for pain and for pleasure on my journey. I am led to share the stories reframing  of God’s hand, his constant redesign.

And so I walk slowly, writing along the way.

I heard the sweetest story yesterday about a baby excited to walk. The grandmother, my friend with an honest and earthen voice, told all of us ladies in the choir that “He’s learning to walk!”

We all sighed a collective and excited reply,  “Awww.”

The grandpa wanted to buy him shoes right away, make his legs good and strong, saying  ” We got to get him going, help him learn to run !”

To which grandma replied,  “Oh no, let’s take our time, let him walk.”

This morning I prayed a request to just handle whatever shows up in my life.

To respond and adjust in a way that demonstrates faith in God.

Consistency and persistence, growing more important than ever somehow.

Baby steps are good.

Slow moving, tenuous steps, cautious enough to anticipate.

Steady and strong enough to run.

So much talk I have of faith, trust, courage, honoring God and yet I get all twisted and tangled in why I stumbled back there, back then…

Or how I’m ever going to make it  to wherever and whenever.

I read this morning about a runner,  concerned over impending rain.

A brilliant writer whose images literally pull me to his words.

Words, so subtly strong, they sink down and ease me to a powerful place of insight, never jolted or pushed.

Offering a chance to understand, never a demand.

Running. With Rain.

I’d like to grow in this way. I’m humbled that he has read my words, has shared them.

Just keep moving forward, Lisa… keep moving through, noticing the beauty.

Keep writing, painting, loving, trusting, holding fast to faith; in life, in God.

Run when you can; but trust your walk,  pausing just long enough to grow strong.

Or waiting there, stepping forward only towards Good.

Linking up with others who write at Jennifer Dukes Lee, Tell His Story.  Read her important and wise advice on friendships here, http://jenniferdukeslee.com/the-five-friends-we-all-need-tellhisstory/

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Not so Far Ago

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I looked at a photo from the beach today.

Austin grinning a big, carefree little boy smile and Heather, beautifully classic and on the cusp of womanhood.

God really blessed me, when he chose me for them.

Their smiles so close, I ‘m there now, right now…not at all so far ago.

Felt so close, not long ago at all.

As if I could turn my head to look back, allowing my feet to follow.

And be right there again on the beach, chasing birds.

This evening the clouds were heavy with grey white borders.

Like the remnants of an overnight fire.

Beautiful, soft and white against widespread blue.

I remembered mama when I turned to see the moon.

The moon, almost full. I felt her near.

I wondered then if the rain to come on Tuesday would obscure its fullness.  Would the sad, grey dark of rain clouds obscure its shine?

I walked on towards home  prolonging my return.

Stopped to look towards a yellow leafy tree and felt it then, the change in air, brushing my cheek as I paused.photo 1-8_kindlephoto-919356

A lightly cooler wind, as if God had suddenly, quietly moved up next to and beside me.

And I continued to think of my mama; sensing her now, again.

And turned to notice the changing clouds and continued towards home.

I noticed the red geraniums, a tradition for mama.

They’ve  lasted through summer and into fall, and so I stopped to prune the brown and brittle leaves.

Looked up and saw the moon again, had followed me home.

and I think of mama.

Not so far, not far at all.photo 3_kindlephoto-1004488

Long ago; but, not so far ago.

 

 

I could turn my head, or glance just slightly upward, so still and quiet in just a moment’s time, five years feeling like five minutes.

I know she’s not so far away.

The moon, the clouds, the sky…and the Lord.

Stilled and quieted myself like a small child is quiet with its mother,

like a small child is my soul within me.

Psalm 131:2

 

 

Grateful Pauses

Last week, I decorated jars.

Attached pretty slips of paper on twine wrapped greenery.photo-11_kindlephoto-23408621

Greg added little openings in the jar lids and I smoothed out the paper labels Heather made, “Give thanks” labels for  front.

Took them downtown, added a little sign to sit beside with Quiet Confidence, Isaiah 30:15 and my name

Calling them “Gratitude Jars”.

I need to make my own now, label it and become diligent in daily recall of blessings.

On my way home a couple of weeks ago, I stopped; another car and mine, waiting for light to change.

Two men on the corner, one helping the other.

One, shaky in his walk, clutching his brown bag, being led by the other down the sidewalk.

For just a minute, I wondered if I should be afraid, should flip the door lock.

I didn’t.

I watched, pausing to remember my daddy and a time he needed my help to walk, memories of his unsteady days.

This was the week of the remembering him 17 years gone.

And the memory of holding him up had nothing to do with drink.

I paused to watch and smiled.

It was a sweet, solemn time.  He had surrendered to love, help and grace in his last months of life.

Another time, similar in scene,  came to mind.  Again, in the car.  This time, Heather, Austin and I.  A man holding a cardboard sign, dressed in clothes that were a little scary and looking towards our car as we approached.

My daughter and I remarked something; I can’t remember what now, not at all kind, I recall.

My son, probably around 8 spoke up as clear as a bell from the backseat…”What if he’s Jesus?”

And the car fell silent.

Pausing to remember even now, the conviction in his voice as he chastised us.

I headed home, the two men in the distance.

Thinking of my son now, knowing he still believes in what he said that day.

I will remember this as a  “Grateful Pause”photo 2-5_kindlephoto-23184054

Last Sunday, “Mr.Bill”  had Children’s Sermon.  He’s the best. He’s animated, unpredictable and loves to surprise them.

I always listen intently and watch their faces as I sit in the choir loft.

His props are the best.  This Sunday, he pulled out a shovel.

He asked the group, “How many of you like to dig in the dirt?”

He paused.  I paused.

And the sweetest memory came to rest.  My eyes misted up just a little and I saw my Heather Analise.

Blonde, blue-eyed, wearing a sun hat.  The two of us sitting together in the sandy field for hours on end. She digging in the sand.  Me, digging my heels into the cool earth while she loaded dirt in her little shovel and then moved it to a pile, only to wedge her little shovel into that pile and move back to the other.

Hours on hours of the nothingness of our blissful play in the dirt with my daughter.

I pause even now, remembering and grateful for the sweetness of my life.photo 1-7_kindlephoto-23255186

A grateful pause.

Grateful Pauses,  I’ll label my jar.

I’ll jot these  stories down and drop them in.

Then, I’ll watch and listen, pausing for more chances to be grateful.

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— Psalm 103:1

Linking up with Tell His Story writer, Jennifer Dukes Lee

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/the-best-seat-in-the-house-tellhisstory/

Humility, a New Path

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It occurred to me today that moving through change towards your heart’s desire is simply just to keep moving.

I wouldn’t have expected both desires to begin to grow stronger at the same time.

Saturday,  I wrote for two hours and then I painted for three.

My writing was good for me, it was representative of my heart.

My art, tedious and detailed causing me to almost quit

Instead I sat it aside, went back and then

Leaning it against the wall for a long look, I was satisfied in its message.

This morning, I woke thinking of humility vs. insecurity and I determined the difference.

Humility is strength enough to move towards accomplishment with no concern for acclaim.  Humility is simply patience on the path while listening to God’s quiet direction forward.

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Growing up along the fence, I would have missed this if I had not decided to take just a few extra steps to a place in my own backyard.

What does God have for us that’s just a few extra steps off our habitual or unbelieving path?

Beauty and wisdom are found in the places we avoid, are afraid of and for me, maybe you…the impossible places.

A friend said to me on Saturday, “You should be published.” And I smiled and instead of saying, “Oh, it’s hard or maybe or I doubt it” I said,

“God is moving me to the place of His purpose.”

You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Proverbs 19:21

Persisting

There are a few, maybe more than a few things I am persistent in.

I always make my bed, taut linens, perfectly smoothed quilt.

I pray every morning in the shower, like singing it’s a place to be secret, a sanctuary.

I journal, sometimes half-heartedly,  gratitude and anxiety.

I walk in the evenings, if daylight allows.  My walking, sometimes good and refreshing, sometimes nothing more than prescribed discipline.

Yet, I persist.

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I walked yesterday evening.  The sky was clear, the roads quiet and empty. I looked for pink skies and found only icy blue.

Earlier than usual, a warm afternoon and the sparrows were gathered,  moving tree to tree in rapid little sweeping flight.

Landing for just a second or two before gathering again to rest in brief refrain.  I caught sight of one resting up high on skinny branch.

Reminding me of rest, of waiting, of listening and trusting.photo 1-6_kindlephoto-41021794

Persisting.

Scribbling, quickly this morning

Again my thoughts on persistence.

It may take years and years and many types of trouble, calamity, crisis and question to truly understand the value of prayer. 

Because the answer holds little value, is really no more than change in circumstances. God loves us so, so much that He will bless us with reprieve, with clarity, with relief.  

Still, this is not the significance of God’s longing for us to discover through prayer.  God’s desire and constant beckoning of our hearts is for us to lay our hearts bare and broken before him…to persist there in that place…aligned with Him. To be fully content in simply abiding.

To return to rest in the safe place of God.

To persist in pursuit of the peace of God.

To be hid in the shadow of His wings and that be all we need to keep us confident and courageous as He bends to listen, protect and strengthen.  This is design and desire of God.

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I am praying to You, because I know You will answer O God.  Bend down, listen as I pray.  Your unfailing  love is wonderful and You save with Your strength those who seek you as a refuge.  Guard me as the apple of Your  eye.  Hide me in the shadow of your wings.  

Psalm 17: 6-8

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Linking up to Tell His Story with other writers, persistently praying.

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/for-those-times-when-you-dont-see-a-happy-ending-to-your-story-tellhisstory/

Art and Soul

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My friend told me, “Your art is very calming.”

I paint with all my heart, usually start a painting and finish it in a day.

I’m frantic in my process; yet, oblivious,  content.

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I paint as I write. Honest, brave and from my heart.

Otherwise, it’s contrived and it’s letters, words and colors.

Not art.

Not soul.

I sold a painting today. It’s one that I loved.

I have only recently been brave enough to share my art, my soul.  Continue reading “Art and Soul”

Richly Beautiful

I walked again on the beach this morning.  The birds were gathered, foamy white gathered at their feet.

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The air was cold, crisp and damp.

Just a few people out, dogs, toddlers and joggers.

I’d grabbed a jacket, thrown on over T-shirt and pajama pants; my only thought, just to walk on the shore.

I’m thinking now, what freedom…to be unconcerned about appearance,  seeking only to be filled, fulfilled, connected to God.

I’m not quite sure if it’s age or wisdom or wisdom because of age.

I care a little less about appearance in comparison to other women; still,  not nearly enough yet.

I sat next to  and walked amongst throngs of women this weekend. All moms of a Citadel cadet,  all shown up, fixed up.

There to see ours sons, while looking at each other.

Beautiful women, tall, thin, heavy, dressy, sporty, dresses, shorts jeans, heels, flats, fancy sunglasses, perfect hair, ponytails and buns.

Women, looking for sons and looking at each other.

I was an overweight teenager. I spent hours looking at Glamour magazines, longing to be thin, pretty,  a “Glamour do”.

I learned to starve. I learned to starve more and I had more clothes than most, yet never enough.

I lived this way for too many years.

I sat just behind a woman about my age this weekend in a football stadium. I fixated again, it had been awhile. I found myself longing for all she seemed to be.

Her purse, its label, one that comes with a price..around $599.00

I noticed her wristwatch, casually resting against a delicate gold bracelet. Her jeans were smooth in texture, a fabric akin to dry cleaned slacks.  Her thin belt, a correspondent to flat leather shoes.

Her cardigan, loose on shoulders fit perfectly to show the subtle gold looped chain that centered itself against crisp white top.  Her earrings, thin hoops of gold accented her cheekbones and spoke of casual femininity.

I thought,  ” I’d really love a watch like that.”

I’ve not had opportunity to splurge. I’ve not been afforded with riches or income that allow spending without concern.

I’ve become content in the extravagance of a mom who wants her children to have more.  I have seen goodness, the goodness of enough, of God.

So, I sat there in the stadium and I thought in a new way,  to visualize her riches on me.  I wondered if life might be better.

I saw myself wearing her watch. Rising from my seat, reaching for the soft leather of her purse, my purse. I pictured me in her outfit; I imagined my face framed by soft cardigan and pretty earrings…

And I realized; clearly, nothing changed.  I am me.

She is she.

This morning, I read only one devotion, my routine different because of travel. I read from Jesus Calling.

Found feather
Found feather

I read of God illumined in me, of His gift in me…Beautiful.

In me, with me. I gently laid the feather found. This one, washed and covered in gritty sand.

I settled it there to rest.

Battered and imperfect, redeemed.

Beautifully redeemed.

For it is not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you have been redeemed . I Peter 1:18

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Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee to Tell His Story.

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/six-words-that-can-make-all-the-difference-today-tellhisstory/