The Whisper Within

" Believing that God powers strange coincidences and the journey that lies ahead."


The Whisper Within

What is the whisper within?

Some say we all have that little nagging voice that tells us right from wrong. It is the gut feeling you have deep inside your soul that something just isn’t right. Some call it a sixth sense or is it a sick sense? It is your conscience? Do you believe we all are born with a good and righteous morality? Or ethics? Are you capable of listening to your heart? To your soul? Do you believe in dreams? Or in signs?

So what is the whisper within?

I believe it something different. Something extraordinary.

Something that cannot be simply explained through a Google search or Wikipedia entry but through a life being led.

At this stage of my life, after journaling a decade of “strange coincidences”, I feel compelled to open the tattered, beat-up, spilled on, read and reread pages of my journals and share the recollections of “the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I Believe GOD powers strange coincidences and the journey called life. This will be a weekly blog of  stories that inspire hope, love, forgiveness, and anticipation of the joy that lies ahead.


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Sometimes it takes a lifetime of being patient to figure out the simple is all you need . The beach . These smiles . My pup.

” And we know it all things God works for the good of those who love him ” Romans 8:28

What is your simple ? What is your heart whispering to you ?Comment below


Ugh garbage night !

Yep, we all do it , but mine is a bit tricker than just dragging the bins to the curb . I live on a hill .

So one bin down . Then I’m down . And then the garbage is spread on the sidewalk like a Thanksgiving feast in reverse .

Crap !

Light blue Converse are sprawled and a set of work boots come walking .

” So you must be my new neighbor …”

” Yep, I’m Lisa .”

” I’m hearing Chicago or New York … can I help you ?”

“Nope . I’m fine .”

” Definitely Chicago. Stubborn .”

A crooked smirk is thrown and a strong hand pulls mine .

“So, why here ,Chicago girl ?”

” I wanted the simple life .”

” The simple life ? Don’t you know that Santa Barbara is heaven on earth ? There is even a secret stairway that will take you to a view that’s just like heaven . It’s right up the hill .You should wander .”

A fire . An evacuation. A mudslide . An evacuation . Yep, this is paradise .

But a few months later, I wandered, step by step . A secret stairs led to a secret park . I took in the view .

The beach. The mountains . The sun setting over the horizon .

Wow,this is heaven on earth .

A deep breath in . A deep breath out. Time to go .

Step by step I walked down the cobblestone walkway .

A glance. A smile . And then a story . Her white locks drew me in .

“Hi Lisa . I’m Nan. So nice to meet you …. You’re from Chicago? I grew up right outside Chicago in LaGrange . I moved here when I was sixty- seven after my husband passed .Why did you move here, Lisa ? Did your husband get a job transfer ?”

” Nope . I’m single .”

I leaned down and pet the Cocker Spaniel .

” How old are you , Lisa?”

” I’m fifty . ”

” You’re just a baby . I’m ninety . Do you know the secret to being happy ? Get a dog not a man . ”

I leaned in and hugged the white locks.

So … say hello to Kipper .

I prayed for companionship and God brought me a dog . Next time I yell at God ,I’ll learn to be more specific in my prayers .

Have I given up on love ? Heck no ! It IS coming .I will be patient and wait for the real thing. God knows my heart and will fulfill my desire .

In the meantime, someone or something has to keep this Chicago girl warm during a BRUTAL Santa Barbara Winter.

” Take delight in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desire .”

Psalm 37:4


Happy Valentine’s Day, my favorite day of the year.

I remember as a kid decorating a shoebox and excited for it be filled with paper hearts. Yep, I am the biggest hopeless romantic. Just ask me how many Rom-Com DVDs I have in my collection, I dare you.

On Valentine’s Day, I am confident of this one certainty: true love does exist. It is extremely rare but oh, so, spectacular. I received my first lesson in love from the 1974 movie adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Robert Redford, need I say more. My heart was swayed at the mere age of seven.

“He knew when he kissed this girl… his mind would never romp again…”   Gatsby has ruined me.

 But honestly, I wasn’t feeling it this year. Don’t know why…

My shoebox was empty and so was my heart.

But then…I came across a lone red envelope sticking out of my mailbox… And it hit me. The memories of past crushes, past loves, cutting out paper hearts, and a subtle secret kiss that no one saw. And suddenly my shoebox was filled to the top.


I walked to my mailbox and took out my cards. One struck in me in particular. “Here’s to the girls who takes on the world and fights for what they love.”

 What do I love? Who would I fight for?

 Here is a smattering of pink frosting…

  • A boy with a smirk and girl with a smile who once were glued to my hip, but now are miles apart.
  • A stranger who joins me picking up sea glass on the beach.
  • Friends who gave me a bike with a basket.
  • A kind smile across a room of yoga mats.
  • A text from a girl who shared the nickname “Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam.”
  • A girl who screams, “Riehm!” as I pick up the phone.
  • A girl who chased me with snakes but calls me Baby doll.
  • And the one who knows my heart and whispers to me…

I am loved and so are you. There is someone today who is wanting to get your scribbled name on the bottom of a Peanut’s Valentine.

To get love; you must give love. So, get busy!

“If I do not give love, I am nothing.” I Corinthians 13:2

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Would love to hear about your most memorable  Valentine’s Day memory…. Please comment below.



This week I had a birthday. I saw this little girl . I found this little girl .

Do you remember what you were like as a child ?

I do . I loved doing cartwheels . I still do ! I enjoy the moment of silliness .

Funny , I forgot I liked to make up stories about a ZONY . Yep , a cross between a zebra & a pony . It’s a real thing . Google it ! Yep , I forgot I enjoyed writing .

The purest sense of who we are is as a child . Our gifts. Our talent . Our love . Never lose that innocence & wonder .

So this week, get out the shoebox or album and find a childhood photo .

What were you like? What did you like to do ?

My hope for you this week is that you rediscover the silliness that made you , YOU !

Would love for you to comment on what made you happy . May you hear the whisper .

“… And Jesus said ,” let the children come to me ..”


A Christmas alone.

A Birthday alone?

No way. Not this year.

I love Christmas. I hate Christmas. For all my single friends… You get it! The pure joy of the season makes me happy; but if I heard one more time at Christmas, “Are you dating anyone?” I would’ve had to shoot my own eye out…

I crave companionship like a Chicago deep dish pizza. So, over the Holidays, I stuffed myself with the oozing cheese… But then I came home, and the companionship craving crept in like the flu in July; unwanted and unexpected.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have a beautiful full life but every once in while the breeze blows and whispers, “How can you be happy if you are alone?”

So, I yell at God, “When are you bringing me a companion?”

I hear his quiet reply, “You again? I already brought you your dream, the beach, and you’re still begging for more?”

So, I throw smirk at the sky, “Fine. Here’s my deal? If I’m supposed to stay single for the next five years, I want a really big sign. I want a really big piece of sea glass… and not ANY sea glass. I want the rare find, aqua blue.

So, for the last few weeks, I combed the beach. I dug in the sand. I walked miles along the shoreline looking for the rare find. I filled a jar full of sea glass; but no blue.


I gave up. AND then … YEP! One afternoon, at the bottom of the stairs, when I was not looking, I practically stepped on my precious find; a big piece of aqua blue perfectly glistening in the sand.

I picked it up and threw a smirk at the sky. Yep, I know. I know. Quit digging. Quit searching. When the time is right, you will make it easy, and put the rare find, right in front of me.

I got my sea glass AND then…IMG_4502 (1)

An email. An invite. A birthday date. Birthday Alone?

No way. Not this year.

Is he “The rare aqua blue sea glass that I have been waiting for?”

Tuesday is right around the corner and time will tell.

Otherwise… I am happy. I am content. No more digging. I will wait for His Whisper .

“I will wait on the Lord…” Psalm 130:5

lisa beach


I consider myself a fierce competitor personally and professionally. I am an athlete that would rather hobble to the finish line than quit.

In my triathlon days, my performance was eighty percent training and twenty percent affected by outside factors; rain, heat, wind, and sometimes potholes.

I have learned that outside factors are out of my control and can affect work, projects, and even love. This past week I faced resistance in several areas of my life. It was like I was competing in a triathlon. I finished the swim course with ease but as I jumped on my bike I encountered a pot hole and then a flat tire. In one situation, I was accused of using my “flowery disposition and “spirituality” to my advantage.

Wow, naïve of me to assume that kindness and a willingness to serve would be a disadvantage and attempt to kick me back to the start line.

I jumped off my bike, threw it over to the side and decided to run to the next course – the next event. Even though I am solid solo competitor, this was not an individual race but more a relay race requiring team participation. Yes, a group project and unfortunately I had an unwilling team member. The finish line kept being moved. It was time to stop at the water station and take a break.

Maybe it was time to quit asking. Quit knocking. Maybe God was allowing the resistance. Maybe God was telling me that I was taking on too many projects.

I have always said, “If the road you are on is filled with potholes, it is God’s way of saying the path under construction. Do not remove the orange cones and road blocks. God will direct you to a smoother path. You just have to be prepared to take his detour.”

Maybe the answer was no because God was clearing the potholes and leading me to a easier course.

Psalm 27:4 “I will wait on the Lord.”

In work, are you frustrated? Without purpose? Are you in the right job? Best work environment? Or does something else garnish your talents?

In projects, are you facing resistance? Is something not going smoothly?

In love, is the relationship not connecting? Is it too much work? Are values not aligned?

We live in an imperfect world but God’s timing is perfect.

God has changed me over time. I no longer run instead I walk or hike. I can’t bike since I am used to flat Chicago streets, not a hilly California course. Throw me in the pool – there I will swim like a dolphin.

In work, projects, but especially love, find your joy. Allow the easy. Know when to stop for water, change the course, or stop the race all together. Not every finish line needs to be crossed.

What is God telling you? Wait on the Lord and he will whisper to you.


27 years and 2000 miles apart.

It all started with my blog post. 10 wisdoms I learned in #Chicago.

A follower commented,” Your faith and perseverance are impressive…I should add impressively optimistic for Cub’s fan.”

I responded and then he private messaged me.

Dan: Had no idea you had this in you when we worked together.

ME: We worked together? Help me I’m getting old…

Dan: Yep, 27 years ago at Canon in Downers Grove.

What? Now I need the story

ME: How did you find my blog? How did you know it was me?

Dan:One of my buddies and I were talking about one hit wonders and the song “Rock Steady” came up. I searched it and came up with the Whispers as the group that sang it. When I searched “The Whispers”, I believe your website came up before I hit the letter “s” in Whispers. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link. I thought I recognized the name Lisa Riehm, as someone I worked with at Canon. I have a really good memory for names and faces, I thought your face looked familiar. I went to the photos and when I saw the Hinsdale South HS photo, I knew it was the young lady I worked with at Canon.

Who would guess? Twenty-seven years and two thousand miles apart, two co-workers would reconnect.

“Since the Lord is directing our steps why do we question everything that happens along the way?’ Proverbs 20:24

Strange coincidence, maybe? But it does make you wonder. Doesn’t it?Santa Barbara sunset