31 Days, Freely – Start

I’m good at neither rushing nor resting.

I concoct purposeful and passionate scenarios of diligent sticking to something and going long and hard without a break.

I imagine myself contentedly uninterrupted, a book in my lap.

But, both elude me.

Both take practice, commitment, a chance to see the benefit.

Going ahead without allowing hesitation or giving myself reprieve, permission to chill.

I’m sitting home alone, it’s Sunday and it’s sunny. The cool air of the night before has the rooms faintly fresher and the shift of the season quite clear.

Captivated by the book in my lap, “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” by Patti Callahan and tea in a pretty cup, I told myself read a chapter and then go, write a chapter.

Seemed like a good plan, inspirational, my content might flow more freely.

But, I’m three chapters in and still reading. This is a gift, this is a pleasure I’d long thought gone, being pulled in and unable to set a thick book aside.

Now, I’m rethinking the ambition of writing new chapters or layering abstracted thick color on a new something I started.

Instead, I’ll keep reading and when my eyes get heavy, I might dose or I may rise to walk the trail before the sneaking up of sunset.

I may look for them again, the tiny blackbirds up high in an old oak or the surprise sighting of seven or so cardinals all gathered together, red dots bouncing and bobbing against the green.

What I have started I will finish, I’ll come back and I’ll continue.

Fearlessly, faithfully what has begun will continue.

“Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.”

‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Giving myself a little mercy, peace and love on a sunny Sunday.

31 Days, Freely – Audience

Today was a series of exchanges and conversations.

Late last night, I loaded up my artwork and joined today, the morning marketers of creations, all of us gathered on the lawn.

Tell your story. Sing your song.

Questions came with interest, with pause and silent studious stares from steps back as if my paintings displayed against an ivy covered oak were as grand as a gallery opening, big city style, formal and fancy.

Ooh’s and Ah’s.

How did you get started?

What are you writing?

What have you written?

Will you write a book?

Why do you think artists love to paint the pear, most of all?

“Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭66:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I sat with a woman visiting a friend and we compared most everything, why the work we do is “heart work”, that church people can be mean

and that we do find God when we look for Him and then we share what little or large we really know, the God we truly know.

In the sanctuary or on the square.

We share.

Why do some angels have faces and others just an idea or sort of blank slate?

When did you begin painting and why do you call them girls?

And they listened, a mother and a daughter, a widow and an old friend.

My daughter and her husband gave me a Bible with wide margins. I began sketching female figures in long flowing gowns as I let sink in the truth or the grace of each passage until the “girls” moved from the thin sheets in my Bible to canvas layered with lyrics.

The ones with no features leave open the idea, more relatable, emoting grace or joy or what each eye may see for itself.

I call them girls because I consider them sweet, humble, and I guess eternal, ever youths.

“Thank you for telling me your story.” she said, the one who didn’t buy my art; but, declared me an artist.

And I smiled.

I smiled today.

31 Days, Freely – Search

And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:29‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Why do we wake up committed to seeking God? Because it is necessary to know Him, to sense Him.

Only through knowing Him are we able to know ourselves.

Distractions, obligations, the incessant in our faces knowledge of conflict and confusion.

Comments and contributions to subjects that pull us to jump in and join the fight.

It’s so hard to keep the peace.

To keep our peace.

So, I begin today before dawn remembering how I’ve found Him before.

And asking, real early and real honestly.

Help me to find you, Father, in my day!

And oh, I’m so excited to see what good in which places will come my way.

God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice. me

I want to see you God, because I want to fully see me.

31 Days, Freely – Pause

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:18‬

My “life verse” is bordered before by caution and consequence of stubborn rushing ahead and after, with gracious reminder of what good comes from waiting, from being attentive to God.

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine…”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Beware the place you arrive without pause. me

It wasn’t a life-changing yes or no. I’d done my research, asked for input from another.

A nominal purchase, was my pull towards jumping in to the opportunity because of the way it was marketed as invaluable, making possible my impossible success as a writer or

was it fear of missing chances,

not being able ever at all?

So, I paused. I gave the decision space and an honest self examination.

I chose not to make what was touted as essential, a sure path, success in my creative goals.

I let it be, left it alone.

God revealed another way, something I already own.

At my fingertips, the tools and in my thoughts, deeply planted abilities are gradually peeping through towards the light.

I was reminded in my pause.

Can’t believe sometimes, I continue this writing not much more than a journal. So many bloggers, I’m just one and my readership is oh, so small.

Yet, this daily thing is practice and it flows steady, gently from my daily morning pause.

Uncontrived.

I pause, I’m reminded.

Lord, help me not to flee frantically from the quiet place with you, the place where you keep me, continue to make me strong.

Keep me from the need for acclaim. Keep me in the quiet places where I hear you clearly saying, don’t go after that, I have equipped you, see me, see you. You are able, Lisa Anne; but, never, on your own. Let me lead you in the way you know so very well and let it show.

The way of quiet confidence, be willing.

Believe.

Because of mercy, Amen

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

31 Days, Freely – When

“The monarchs are migrating.” I offered as if I knew anything at all about butterfly migration or Fall.

“It’s amazing how far they travel, they’re on the way now,” he added a foreign place I can’t remember and told me how he had read of their journey, how they were created to become beautiful and then to fly.

I know nothing about such things, I’ve only heard about this, I realize.

I sit with my feet in the sand in the place that was clear for us, a wide space, no other people in our space.

They kept flying near along with the dragonfly, landing or flirting with the possibility of resting near my chair.

I tried to capture the image, they only captured my fascination.

Walking, the next day before leaving, I saw another one there. This one, in the rubble of raked debris, just lying there.

The Lab was distracted as I bent to collect it, a small one, I kept it in my hand.

Knowing that it was landed there softly for my finding.

Knowing every little thing on my path is significant to my story.

Yesterday, we gave $5 to a woman with a sign. She reached through my window and I avoided her eyes, “God bless you today for this.” she said and then the light changed and I led us on our way towards food in the hungry and impatient line of cars.

My husband wondered about her worthiness and we both decided his observation might be right.

Then we chose to let go of our judgment, to let be what will be with her intentions, only feel sure ours were good and hopeful and done in love we certainly didn’t consider ever having for her at all.

Not her, nor the shaken young woman, mistaken somehow in her driving, causing our accident. It is best to love her although it makes no sense at all.

I woke this morning deciding not to judge her, nor the others who may have been off track, trying to get back on.

Deciding love is better, costs so very little at all.

When we choose love, people get the best of us, they get to see Jesus coming through because there’s no way we’d ever be so consistent with mercy at all.

“We love because he first loved us.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m not able own my own.

When we love, we aren’t able to judge. When we really love, there’s no sense or room for judgment, at all.

31 Days, Freely – Ask

“Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭9:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We decided against the campus tour when we realized we’d most likely not make it in time.

It was the day after the unexpected, the unavoidable interruption of our day.

The journey and itinerary was wrought with unexpectedness, hurry, and hassle.

We were traveling for a special tradition, beyond excited in a nervous way, an unease that I thought was because of the getting to all the places on time, staying in step with regimented flow.

My son attends a military college. He is a Senior (thank you, Lord) and there would be the ring on his finger by the end of the day. Campus overwhelmed with scurrying excited and prideful parents for Parents Weekend.

We’d wear our fancy dresses, his sister and I, his escorts. He would wear full dress uniform. Two events in one day, we were on track it was gonna be stressful I told my husband, neither of us known for our “go with the flow”.

Pretty day and cool blue skies, we travel the back roads before the busy interstate, a well known path, an oft taken road.

I noticed in my approach, it seemed the driver was considering whether to go. The old sedan eased forward and rested and then, it seems the driver just decided to go.

I screamed, I believe. My foot found the brake and I made my car turn to try and get away, safely away and it pounded to a halt, stopped suddenly in the softness of a deep ditch. The front, the side, the tires splattered black and mangled. I sat and I cried, a scary moan of a cry.

I was afraid and because I couldn’t define just why, decide it’s the fear of missing my son’s big day and I cry and I can’t stop crying.

It seems an irrational thing but I feel irrational, I feel unable to define my fear over the intersection of possible loss of life and life.

My daughter on the same path but a different route finds us with her husband and they help us and it’s a discombobulated mess; but, we make it on through.

We are problem solvers, we make it work.

That’s how we roll!

We make the ceremony. We wear the fancy dresses, he gives us roses and we are good. We are fine.

We fill up the coastal weekend with other, good fancy breakfast, the ambience of dinner and the beach and the dog and shells, big unbroken shells we find.

Home now, I ask the question I asked before.

Why was she stopping, was she easing forward just to see for sure, or did she look once and not again and then, too late, her car crashes into my side?

Why was she tentative or was she distracted or was it as she told us, she never saw me at all?

I ask myself how and why and I’m curious how to measure a split second because it seems that could have made all the difference.

Whether she’d have waited

or continued on.

I hear the words to a song that remind me there’s no reason I shouldn’t now continue on.

It is entirely up to us whether we notice our chances and take them. It’s personal, after all, the believing we can or not believing at all. No one might ever know, whether we believe and take chances, whether we decide still to go, to try, to not simply say no.

Carry on calmly, LT.

There are more things to see, more places to be.

There are chances not to miss the way you have have missed them before, focus flitting towards future and making your every day present a blur.

Slow, steady now. You don’t have to be strong to be able. You don’t have to be wealthy to be willing.

Time and chance, pausing or going forward faithfully, these are encounters, opportunities and interchanges that will happen for us all.

Pace yourself, now.

Continue, carry on easily more aware.

Chance and time are in God’s hands.

Our hope endures.

Our hope endures the worst of conditions.

31 Days, Freely – Talk

It’s Saturday before dawn in a different house than our own.

I keep the dog quiet, keep quiet with him.

Similar routine, just a different setting surrounded by my same books and such.

Quiet, quietly we sit.

God is not found in multiplicity, but in simplicity of thoughts and words. Margaret Mary Hallahan

A coughing sound once and then again, we hope they’ll sleep just a tad bit more.

Because the birds are now talking, sounds like just two or three and the big brown dog shifts to follow, staring stoically towards the terrace as voices from early walkers seep in.

Then he sighs, he’s got me, no worries.

I’ve got him.

I quiet him, hold him steady with one foot over his hips.

He’s good again, we’re good and God is talking, we’re listening.

I’m taking notes, writing thank you’s and feeling loved.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us…”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬