The Whisper Within

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


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I wrote this four years ago but the lessons still hold true.

Tonight, I stroll on the beach, with my straw hat pulled over my brow hoping to get some relief from the triple digits. But not a breeze in sight as sweat drips from my forehead and pours out of my armpits, soaking me like I was fresh out of a shower. I can’t help but wish for a little ice cream or gelato to cool me off.

Ironically, this weekend was Gelato Festival in my new home town but as I passed by the tables, I did not allow for creamy colors of the rainbows to lure me in.

Why? Because I was too busy doing what adults do: being adults, prioritizing life over fun.

With each step I took on the mushy shore, I contemplated this. Why did I lose my fun nature for the routine of responsibility?

My mind drifted like the waves and pulled me back and found a simpler me, sitting on the stone wall of a little Italian town.

I recalled laughing with my mouth wide open, indulging on lavender and blackberry gelato stuck to my teeth. My daughter, thinking it was hilarious,made it part of her Snapchat story.

 

 

Seeing the video, I giggled too; embracing the image of spontaneous silliness.  Later that night, sitting on an a cobblestone street in San Gimignano, I replayed the video and laughed at the seeing the fifty year old me, feeling like I was sixteen; messy and all.

Messy is good. What was my “messy”?

Fifteen years ago I went through a divorce and months later my ex became a paraplegic. As a single mom,I could not afford a McDonald’s twisty cone for my kids let alone a trip to Italy indulging in the World’s Best gelato.

In the last fifteen years here’s seven things I learned:

1) Be real. Your family, your colleagues, your clients, don’t need and don’t want perfect – they want real.  Share your shortcoming. Be vulnerable to show your “ugly food stuck-in-your -teeth” smile.

2) Timing is everything. When the kids were little, I saved for their college, even sometimes as small as 25/ month and our fun was free concerts at the park with a McDonalds twisty cone for a treat. Only now, after years of sacrifice and knowing that their college is paid for, did I finally indulge in the big treat; Italy.

3) Admit your faults. I love food, but I am a messy eater. I don’t do pretty. But it’s funny, my friends know this and are willing to offer me a napkin and help me clean-up. Yours may too but you have to be willing to accept the help, from co-workers, friends, and family.

5)Smile a lot . Hard to be mad or disappointed when someone offers you a smile or a gelato cone.

5)Laughing is contagious; enthusiasm is too. On a hot Summer night, ice cream lines are long and get longer because of the excitement of eating together. Not as much fun, eating alone a big bowl of delight, is it?

6) Embrace the ugly. Life is not perfect. Sometimes you may need a napkin to prevent the dripping, but the next sweet taste could be around the corner. Take the bite

7) Do life like you mean it. Italians eat because they enjoy it! Kids eat ice cream with their full mouth. No tiny licks.

Are you really enjoying your life? Your work? Your relationships?

I remember my first boss at Van Kampen Investments now Invesco said I me some thirty years ago, “Don’t burn out. Find the little victories and celebrate.” My celebrations always included ice cream. Heck, my first boyfriend worked at Baskin Robbins. Back then, I would choose my cone based on the prettiest color in the case. My favorite was Daiquiri Ice – kind of like gelato. I guess the girl really hasn’t changed much except to switch from ice cream to gelato.

So tonight, as I strolled on the mushy shore of Butterfly Beach, I tipped my straw hat and thought, I am the sixteen-year-old girl trapped in a fifty-year old body. I am the best Lisa; silly, messy, and needing a friend who can offer me a napkin.

Choose with your eyes. Commit with your heart. Life, work, and relationships are messy. Embrace the messy and the kid in you; buried in an ice cream cone or gelato. The choice is yours. Let’s have the contagious joy that children have just like Jesus intended .

 

 ” Let the children come to me… ” Matthew 19:14

 

 

 


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Tonight I sat on my front porch, talking with my Chicago friend, Chris.We talked about being “empty-nesters.” Her last son left for college this week and my kids have been out of the nest for awhile. She questioned , “We raised the kids. They gave us purpose but what is next?”

We bantered for awhile,laughing about filling our days with work, pickleball, yoga, swimming, bible study groups, etc. She then said,“ Lis, I’ve read a book about when people had near death experiences, the stories are similar about Jesus telling them to love his people.” She continued, “so maybe our purpose is everyday to get up and ask God to show us how to do that.”

I quickly agreed saying, “Yes, during Covid, before I got out of bed, I would say, “ Show me what you want me to do God and I’ll do it .”

Chris and I made a pact, to ask God every morning that question and then tell each other how God uses us during the week.

So I’m taking this further ….

What if more people did this? What if YOU, asked God,“Tell me how you want to use me today ? Show me how you want to use me God?”

-Maybe it’s just smiling at someone at the grocery store.

-Being kinder to the difficult co-worker.

-Listening to a friend

I do believe, if we ask God to show us, to open our heart, open our ears to REALLY listen, to open our eyes to REALLY see others; He WILL use us to REALLY LOVE others!

I would like to challenge YOU, YES YOU, to be the “WHAT IF” in your community.

I would love to,next week, hear how God used YOU!

Open your heart. Open your eyes. Open your ears and listen to what God whispers to you. The Whisper Within.

Psalm 119:13 “Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord.” TLB


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It has been over a year and half since I traveled by plane. I am sure many of us feel the time lost. I close my eyes and rest my head on the headrest and a soft smile covers my face. I can’t wait to see my children. My family. My dad. I’m going home.

My mouth twitches Is Chicago home?

My lips seal like an envelope. Home?

Quickly images of my Fourth of July backyard party fill my head. I recall giving a toast to my friends, all gathered around my table. In the toast, I reference the movie Under the Tuscan Sun starring Diane Lane as Francis.In the movie, she gets divorced, buys a run-down house in Tuscany, and in moment of weakness, confesses to the realtor that she is sad but wants a wedding and family at this new house; that she was tired of being alone.

I quietly smile recalling telling my friends how at the end of movie, the realtor tells Francis, “I think you got wish.” She smiles, “ You’re right. I got my wish.”

My heart is full as I recalled telling my friends that having my table filled on the Fourth of July brought me so much joy that I feel like Francis from the movie. I got my wish! I continued to say that I had been praying for twenty years for a husband but if I met my husband in Chicago I would not be here and through all the trials and tribulations, God orchestrated a life better than I could possibly imagine and that it was only possible through him.

The evening went on, we prayed.We ate. We danced with sparklers like little kids, and yes, we watched fireworks. The night was magical.

Near the end of the night, my friend’s husband, John, gave me some parting advice, “ When you go back to Chicago, keep your eyes down. We don’t want you finding your husband in Chicago, unless he is willing to move to Santa Barbara.” I remember smirking.

I hear over the intercom, “Please prepare the cabin for takeoff.” I look out the small oval window and see palm trees kissing the blue sky and think Thank you God for unanswered prayers. You knew me better than I knew myself.

Are you willing to wait on God and trust him to provide for you ?

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4


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I have to admit that yesterday was pretty magical. I met my small bible study group for outing at beach. We played a few games of spike ball and then the real fun began.

We ran in the water, swam, and some started boogie boarding. Being a Chicago native, I was curious, I watched, and then my curiosity got the best of me. A friend loaned me hers, and with just the first ride, I was hooked. ( click on video arrow )

I giggled so hard bringing me back to my childhood.

Later that night, I was on a group text chat with my fellow boogie boarders. That was so much fun. I think I will buy myself one.

One my friends responded,Maybe Santa will bring you one .

The next morning, I opened the front door to let Kipper my dog outside and she instantly was barking. I stepped outside to find a surprise on my front porch.

I walked back in the house bent over, grabbed my stomach and start giggling . I walked outside, and noticed not one but TWO boogie boards and the sticky note read From Santa.

I texted the group right away and none of them initially fessed up but then I figured it was a young man in the group. He said, “You have always encouraged me and been like a mom to me. Because of your example, I will wait on God for Him to bring the right woman in my life. Heck if you can wait for as long as you have, I can too.” I smiled and told him thanks. He then added, “ I can’t wait to dance at your wedding.”

I ended the call, looked up at the sky and thought You do see me God.

So let’s giggle more like kids!

Love more like kids! And believe like kids not in Santa Claus but in a God that sees us and loves us !

“Let the little children come to me, do not stop them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are like children.” Matthew 19:14


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This week I was in the attic and found a box full of random pictures of the last twenty or thirty years.

As I scattered the pictures across my kitchen table I recognize most of the people in the pictures and thought, How lucky am I that I’m still am friends with a lot of the people in the pictures?

I grabbed my iPhone took a few pictures and sent it to those in the photos with a text saying something to the effect of, “Those were happy days. Good memories of you.”

The responses varied from sweet to silly. Some reciprocated by sending photos back to me. One in particular warmed my heart as she responded, “Thanks for the walk down memory lane.”

She then reciprocated and send a picture of her own to me.I was stunned It was like opening a time capsule.

Chrisy and I at John & Karen’s wedding. November 2002

I quickly texted back, “Love, love, love this photo. It was John Guido’s wedding. I sat with my ex at that wedding even though we were already three months divorced.”

I looked closer at the photo remembering that I was recently divorced and I asked myself Why did I look so happy? I think I was at peace and I was hopeful for the future. I believed God had good things for me.

I remembered that wedding and celebrating the wonderful couple that now been married eighteen and half years. It was a joyous occasion. I was glad that I could sit next to my ex and feel fine.

I looked closer at the photo and thought Wow! I was only 35 and now I’m 54. Never thought I’d be single almost 20 years!

Within moments a small smile covered my face. Thank God I did not remarry back then. What I wanted in my 30s is definitely not what I need in my 50s. Back then I may have had a faith in God but I wasn’t looking for a strong Christian man, let alone a warm body to sit next to me on the pew.

God was in the delay. He has been working on my heart and my desires; to be with a man who not only adores me but adores God. So today, as I got ready for church, I looked in the mirror and felt hopeful again. God knows what he’s doing.

I stepped outside and snapped a selfie and thought,I am happy. I am healthy. I am hopeful.

So today, for those of you who are single and wondering what’s taking God so long? Don’t give up hope! Believe that God has good things in store for you ! Maybe just maybe, like me, he is changing you for good. I believe the wait will be worth it !

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, in his word I put my hope.”Psalm 130:5


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Two weeks ago, on Easter, I gave a testimony of my faith. I debated on whether to share it or not. Last night, while tucked in bed, reading the Bible,I got my answer.

“But how shall they ask him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? ” Romans 10:14

I took my pen and wrote in my journal ,”Why would I keep this a secret?”

My mind quickly jumped to the second grade song I used to sing, “Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine! ” This song is about telling people about Jesus.

So in my second grade spirit… here’s my five minute testimony of how God has made a difference in my life. My testimony starts around the eight minute mark. May you discover the JOY of Jesus.


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I gotta admit, I have become a wimp. It’s raining here in Santa Barbara.I’m not used to rain and either is my dog Kipper. Neither of us want to go outside. To my Chicago friends, please don’t hate me!

After work today I did what most people do on a rainy day, clean house. I pulled down the attic ladder and within minutes start digging through old boxes.

Why did I haul so much crap from Chicago?

As I dug through the boxes, I came across an old photo of myself from high school taken after a football game and a Hornet’s win.

I didn’t think about being happy back then. I just was.

As I climbed down the attic ladder, I smiled contently and thought how much healthier and stronger I am than five years ago when I moved from Chicago and was first diagnosed with Lyme disease.

God is healing me !

I don’t think about Lyme disease everyday like I used to. I don’t wake up feeling like the flu, burning like a match, and experiencing shocks like I am plugged into an electric socket. I am laughing more, being silly, and feeling joyful.

I am feeling like the seventeen year old girl in the photo, just happy.

God is restoring my joy !

” A joyful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22




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Today started out like a normal workday making calls and following up with clients but then my normal routine took a turn.

I called a client who I knew was alone. She recently lost her son and her mother. We exchanged greetings and then I told her,”Merry Christmas. I know that it has been tough year but I want you to know that you are loved. ” She started crying and that’s what it occurred to me that there is probably many more who feel this sadness and loneliness this year with Covid that need to hear they are loved.

Here’s some of the list from my calls today:

– A client who was isolated in a nursing home

– a lonely widow

– a client suffering with cancer

One client in particular made an impact on me. I knew he recently had lost his wife of sixty years . I told him I’m sorry again for your loss and Merry Christmas. He said it meant a lot and wanted to share a quick story. He said not only was his wife the love his life but she was the only girl he ever kissed. They dated since they were fifteen. This teared me up.

His story blessed me.

So am telling you, it’s not too late! Who can you call and make a difference and share the true joy of Christmas? You have two full days. Can you make them count? Can you cheer somebody up?

” Is there any such thing as Christians cheering each other up? …”Philippians 2:1


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I got admit this happened last week but I’ve been so swamped with work, in a good way, that I haven’t had time to write. But maybe God was in the delay because the eve before Thanksgiving I have a lot to be thankful for. But what happened last week was a great reminder that God has ways to bring us joy, happiness,and the unexpected coincidences. So here’s what happened last week…

Today The Dow Jones industrial hit an all time high. As a CFP, this is pretty exciting stuff.

I got admit I love the majority my clients and really enjoy working with them but sometimes there’s a bad apple and that’s just part of life. It’s still isn’t fun.

After work, I shut off my computer, changed into a swimsuit, and after a ten minute ride in my Jeep,Kipper and I were at the beach. This beach is an off leash beach for dogs.  I took Kipper’s leash off and within seconds she was sprinting down the beach and trouncing in the water.

I couldn’t keep up. I wouldn’t dare try. I walked by three young girls and they asked,”Is that your dog?”

I nodded and one of them said,”I’d like to have half the amount of energy. Your dog is just so happy here.”

I smirked,”Ya, me too. I wish I had that kind of energy. And yes, the beach is her happy place.”

I said goodbye, walked away, found a spot down the beach, dropped my towel, drop my shorts, took off my t-shirt, ran into the water,and submerged my body under a wave.

When I came up for air, I couldn’t help but let out a happy scream. The water was freezing. Someone said today it was only 56° in the water.

After about thirty minutes at the beach, it was time for Kipper and I to go home. As we we’re leaving I walked by the girls again and waved goodbye.

One of the girls said,”You look like a little kid out there dunking yourself in the water.” I said,”I’m not a little kid I have adult kids probably around your ages. They are twenty-three and twenty-four.”

They shook their heads and said,”No way.” We all laughed, they told me their ages and their names and yes,they were between the ages of 24 and 25 right around my kid’s ages.

They asked about my kids and they said they must be full of joy to have you as a mother . My heart sunk,”I can’t tell you how much that means to me . Today was a very rough day. Someone was trying to steal my joy. It hurt. But hearing you say that I am filled with joy makes me happy. We need to really love each other and be happy . You all did that for me today .Meeting you today was just what I needed. It is a good coincidence.”

Diana said,” I don’t believe in coincidences.I believe God orchestrates these kind of meetings.”

I quietly smiled,”Me too.”

“You are a gift to me today,”Julia said “I will remember this moment for the rest of my life.”
I asked to take their picture so I could remember them and and how these three beautiful strangers change my mood,changed my perspective, and help to restore my joy. They were a gift to me and because of their easy and open conversation, and loving hearts, my joy was restored.
Kipper and I walked down the beach and I waved goodbye.
I looked up at the sky and silently whispered, “Thank you God for Julia, Diana, and Cherith.” I looked down at my furry friend,”and yes, thanks for Kipper.”
So the eve before Thanksgiving, in a strange year of missing family and friends, can you really love,show extra kindness, and share happiness to those who may be strangers but may need it more than ever ?
Can you love like Kipper?
You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 10:19