Sweet Remembering

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It was late, almost dark.

The clouds were enormously ominous, a bunch of ’em all gathered up together and I could hear my mama saying,

“Looks like there might be a cloud makin’ up over there.”

The geese were holding a meeting in the grassy field. I brought the leash closer and said quietly, “Good boy.”

We hadn’t meant to scare them, we were just strolling lazily, Colt and I.

But, they congregated and flew up and away together with loud flaps and a chorus of harmonious fly alway song.

I was glad to see them because I heard my mama say,

“There they go.”

I remembered my morning prayer written in my journal, “Lord, send a little reminder today, that all is well and help me to see it clearly.”

And I heard my mama saying now, “It’ll all be fine.”

Lightning in the distance, I turn uphill towards home, cutting short our walk.

I’m content…under heaven.

Geese, storm clouds, and memories of mama.

Thank you, God.

That which was bitter to endure

may be sweet to remember.

a proverb

Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee as we think about loved ones and heaven.

if you fear death, are puzzled by heaven, or wonder if you’ll live forever – #tellhisstory

Walking under Pink Sky filtered in the Gray

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Late summer days felt long last week.  I walked late in the evening, forcing myself to move, not sure I’d be better for it.  Two days with music and Colt, the humidity still as ugly and thick as sludge.  Returning home, up the curvy hill, feeling nothing more than well that’s done for today. Heavy, exhausted and thinking about way too much, my days ended that way early last week.

Then, on Thursday I walked alone.  It was even later than before and I was embraced so sweetly, feeling change in the air, a wispy cooler breeze.  My walk, more patterned, the sound of shoe firmly hitting pavement, tap the ground with toe, raise the heel, walk on Lisa, walk on.

I walked head up, glancing one side then the other encompassed by sky, cloud and treetop; I began to let go the piles of mental junk mail, recycling the good.

The sky is changing now with the season.  The blue is more azure, the clouds more shadowy gray and foreboding and just at the right time of day, a tapestry of a sweetly, subtle pink in contrasting texture.

And so, that evening I had space enough to ponder faithfulness, of God.20150902_200624-2

How every morning last week, the geese flew over our back yard when Colt and I were out. I’d stop to listen as they approached and say to myself “Here they come. ”  not in my voice, but my mama’s.  I was taken back to the dock and the  contentment of simple expectation fulfilled, of geese flying over a pond, a simple sameness, a faithfulness.

A gift every morning. God’s, the geese and mama’s gift to me.

I thought of how these last weeks, God kept me still and quiet and waiting.

Less adamant in my jumping ahead.

I sense God now, in this time of change, guiding me.

The things that troubled, somehow have become smaller, resolved or resolving.

I topped the hill on our curvy road and looked ahead, almost evening then.  I stopped and waited, hoping to prolong the view.  This view, a faithful sky, a sunset and the promise of a flock of geese in the morning.

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Psalm 36:5

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Because, God is faithful.

Because God believes in us even when we don’t believe in ourselves.

Sovereign over us…all around us.

Thank you Jennifer!

Thank you Jennifer!

When God Calls You to Do Something Crazy? Go Ahead and Do It. — #TellHisStory

Feelin’ 55 and Flawless, my birthday song

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My family…God has blessed me with a good life!

I was anxious and grouchy last night (again).

Worried about how I might look today, needing a haircut, needing the right outfit, needing not to be discombobulated and nerved out!

I had an important speech to give about our important work with homeless families.  I needed to quiet the chubby, shy,  girl and become the professional, outspoken and articulate woman.

Man, that can be a challenge lately!

Problem is I had to be up at 5:15 on my 55th birthday.

I was grouchy going to bed and most likely annoying everyone around me discussing my changing appearance and my fatigue.

For weeks I had been announcing that I would be “double nickels” to the point of most everyone wishing it had come and gone. No matter what my husband said, I would snap back,  “I see the changes, there’s no need to tell me it’s not true.”

“I have a mirror, I am really aging. I might let my words get ahead of my thoughts. I either talk too fast or my slow southern drawl kicks in. And my hair, oh,  I need a haircut. Cover the arms, elongate the neck, keep my hands still, keep my shoulders back…they’re recording this for the campaign, it’s important!” I said.

“You’ll be fine.  I’m sorry you have so much stress on your birthday.” he said.

I needed to sleep last night.

I tried.

But, too much noise,  thinking, planning, and doubting kept me awake. I had one of those nights when the alarm is actually good, at least the struggle is over. Finally permission to give up on drifting into more than a few minutes of sleep. First thought this morning?  A song, a happy little upbeat song

Lying there in the quiet, early morning darkness, a set of lyrics phrase popped up and I’ve been celebrating all day this permission to have a happy birthday.

Words from a song I stopped to hear on Sunday, turned it  up loud glad to hear it again, twice on Monday.  Car singing, shameless stoplight karaoke:

“No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless”
Mercy Me

So I navigated my morning with the words becoming more real with each repetition. The gift of a song you can’t get our of your head, the message of grace, of God’s opinion of me on my birthday and every day.

What a gift, to be seen as flawless.  The cross has made me flawless.

Short of time, no leisurely coffee sipping couch morning;  I scribbled a quick journal entry prayer marked 8/11

Lord, help this be the year I truly see me as you do.  Help me to embrace the me that you would have me be, made me to be.” 

I remembered a special gift then. I paused to notice the words on the pretty little cross, slowing down to recall the verse.

The words beckoning me to believe the phenomenal love of  God.  The cross, a birthday gift a few years back from my soon to be son-in-law, hangs in my bathroom,  supposed to be a daily reminder.20150812_082309_kindlephoto-22573737

18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Ephesians  3:18-19

 

The meeting was good.  I made it on time. I choose a bright pink dress instead of beige or black and I used words that made sense!  My hands were still and  people were attentive. I used words that made sense, and were impactful.

The right words at the right time are a blessing according to the Book of Proverbs…another gift!

“The presentation, the organizer of the event said, was flawless.”

“Thank you, Lord for words to songs, words on crosses.  Thank you, Mercy Me and you, Lord, for the intricacies of my mind.  For planting a song in my mind and on my heart today, a birthday song.”

A song of  “Good morning, Lisa.  Remember you are flawless.”

“Could it possibly be
That we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional
Kind of love would be enough

Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless.”

Read more: Mercy Me – Flawless Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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Key Lime Cake…my girl can bake!

Happy Birthday, me!

Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee

Three of the Most Important Words You Could Say – #TellHisStory

Thank you Jennifer!

Thank you Jennifer!

content in my distraction

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There was a red bird outside my window this morning. I heard its chirping and stopped to listen. I pushed back from my desk, opened the shutters and stopped, captivated by its visit.  Bright, confident, vibrantly bouncing around in the straw.

My mind moves lately from one to another thing, the bane of the multitasking and distracted life.  It’s my current place in life, engaged daughter and youngest entering college.

Last night, planted next to the checkout at Target,  a friend and I shared wisdom over the need to rest, to look away from the current inundation of horrific.  We agreed that we’d be quite content to withdraw to our homes, to draw into and near to God.  We wondered if this might be the only sound place of solace. We agreed we should and we could do this.

Let’s just stay in our quiet place;  stay home, curl up on the couch, kneel down bedside.  Avoid the news, the media, the social sucking in of our minds via handheld places of informative anguish. We might withdraw, we decided.

But wait, there’s a birthday coming up tomorrow, her daughter and  “Lisa, you have your daughter’s wedding to plan, What fun!” she said.  Our conversation and our faces changed as we shifted to the good, to the peace bringing, soul touching, warm smile bringing happy things.

Glancing towards my desk this morning, ready to begin my list of to do’s.  I had committed in prayer to remain focused, to avoid distractions and to honor God in my work. I placed my yellow mug down next to my collection of peaceful things.  The things that make me smile, a reminder note to “be still” and a mug, both gifts from my daughter. A perfectly hollowed out bird nest cushioning baby bluebird feathers and I thought “this little vignette is my happy way of life”.   This is rest for my soul,  pretty and peaceful in the impending and overwhelming now. I’m hoping God has planted  a collection of joy on my friend’s path today and that she’s stopped to notice already.

My friend has had a hard year.  She is thin. She is tired.  Her eyes have an appearance of long, heavy nights. “It all caught up with me this year, Lisa.”  she said.  I asked, wondering  “Like the empty nest is so much more empty than you thought it would be?”

She agreed, nodding without words, her eyes becoming watery and I wondered if these words were hard or just hard truth.

Her son, same age as mine, should be headed to college.  He ended his life three years ago. I cherish the story of her son. I’ve heard it many times, no less difficult in the repetition. I am honored to be a listener of her cherished story.

I was there to shop for my son, entering college in three weeks. My dread of the coming Matriculation Day changed to an embracing of the gift now, of accomplishment and challenge.

I asked about her kind and quiet husband then,   “I saw the mission trip pictures.” I said, adding “the one with the child looking up at him, he seemed so serene”.  She smiled then and said her husband may have found peace in Africa.  His journey has made a turn. His path seems more peaceful, she said.   She turned a corner too, a hard road she saw him travel she’ll travel now, she hopes for not so long.

My sweet and wise cousin sent a photo the other day. She’d spent the day in Charleston and thought of sending a picture of the college campus soon to be my son’s home.  She thought of me, she said as she drove past the gated entrance.  She rethought the idea, suddenly though.  Later,  she says knew why. Her daily routine, out walking her dogs, a hot and dry day, eyes cast downward, she thought of me again and smiled.

Nestled in the brown, dry pine needles, crisp and crunchy leaves, she found a brilliant feather. She texted me: ” I saw this and thought of you. I love you.” I imagined her stopping to look, deciding which path to take and then pausing there, thinking this is for Lisa.

She texted: “Walking dogs , saw this pretty feather , thinking of you.”

Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, walk there, you’ll find rest for your soul. Jeremiah 6:16

I’m sharing my story in a link-up with other wise women who are most likely distracted, yet content.

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/tellhisstory-does-god-care-about-your-happiness/

Thank you Jennifer!

Thank you Jennifer!

happy slumber

Slumbering

Slumbering

Last year this time, I headed home down ice abused streets.

Glancing towards windows as I drove.

Hoping for homes illuminated by the magic of electricity.

Ice ravaged our trees, our streets, tested our Southern spirits.

Walking into my den, I’m greeted by a den floor covered in mattresses.

Every blanket, quilt, afghan, cover or spread.

Beautifully, tidy and pretty.

My daughter has made our beds…and I am greeted with love and happy colors.

Everyone’s recalling the storm of 2014.

And I, this morning, in the quiet of early am cherishing this…

The time we slumbered together next to the fire.

When Heather made the beds.

Remembering now, my eyes moisten from the sweetness.

The happy place in the storm.

The happy slumber.

 

 

Inside Voices

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What if we used our “inside voices”? Not that voice that means, speak softly, don’t yell…the one that would speak the ramblings and longings of our souls. What would it sound like, what would we say?

People call me the voice of reason. I’ve been told I’m a good listener and that I give good, honest advice. It’s really just a culmination of career, life, and lots of alone time thinking that equipped me, I think. Still, I have questions,doubts, conflicts, fears that circle around at times yet linger unspoken. My discontented thoughts are commonplace lately causing me to linger on the pictures in my mind of how my life should be, what I desire.

Desires like writing instead of working; being a mom who stays home; taking time to prepare meals; signing up for art lessons; or on the spur of the moment painting the den…don’t we all want different, better, more?

I envision a redo of the guest room, a loveseat added, bed removed, soft dove colors, a desk, a lamp…all positioned for random glances towards open windows. I dream of this in fact and then get moody knowing I have a job, demanding and valuable. I covet the lives of writers who in my mind, dip rather than hurriedly down coffee in their quiet little, decorator friendly abodes. Don’t we all think other’s lives are exactly as we imagine and so much better than our own?

So, tonight as I walked…cool breeze, amazing soundtrack in my ears…not my typical deeply, soul-searching lyrics; but, happy songs about joy and precious love of God…I was able to switch that mindset from “cannot continue” to ” keep trying, keep trusting, change will come when it should.”

I thought of this scripture (not sure of book, chapter and verse). My God will provide a way out…Will not allow me to be tempted more than I can handle.

What this means to me is….I am still where God wants me. My “for such a time as this” is still this time, this place, this vocation.

And I remind myself, that God knows me and my inside voices of good, bad, moody, dissatisfied, doubtful, and exhausted and that he keeps on loving me and keeps His promises!

Yet, I am confident that I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27: 13-14