The Whisper Within

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


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This morning Kipper and I were on a morning walk when I saw a piece of paper laying on the sidewalk. I bent down and read the note.

It read: Tom- I love you with all I am or will ever be. You are my protector, lover, best friend, and so much more, and I am so happy that I am truly able to be your wife now too!! I am so happy to have found my soul completion. Love you forever!

Love and peace

Leah

Reading this notes filled me with so much hope. I thought Love does exist.

I quickly took a picture of the note and texted it to some of my single friends with these words, Saw this on my morning walk. Praying this perfect love for you. Feeling hopeful!

The text responses from my four of friends varied from:

Heart and peace sign! I hope Tom feels the same and he accidentally dropped it? I would keep a note like that.

But why was it not saved in a safe place by Tom?

Aww!How sweet! LOL, maybe he didn’t feel the same and threw it out his car window!

Awww.Tom needs to learn how to hold on to things like this. LOL. Leah is like, “You lost my love note?” Tom’s like oh crap! I lost her note!

My response :

LOL! He probably kept it tight in his pocket at all times but it fell out while he was walking and now he is distraught wandering the neighborhood trying to find it.YEP! I’m A HOPELESS ROMANTIC!

I looked down at the note and thought, I hope Tom finds his lost note. 

Kipper and I continued on our walk.

I threw a smirk up at the sky and silently thanked God for the sign and thought, True love does exist.

Love, Peace and Hope IS just a step away. IT IS COMING !

Can you believe God has good things for you ?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11


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Today Facebook reminded me of this key date.

Five years ago, I arrived in California. It was a dream- No! It was a prayer answered. Most days,I can’t believe that I really live here.

Last night, I watched the movie, The War Room. It is about asking God to fight our battles through prayers. The beach was just a want not a need. God answered that want. I am humbled by this. It got me thinking of all the prayers he has answered. Here’s some of highlights.

-Eighteen years ago, I went through a divorce, I worried and prayed,”Let my kids be happy.”

– A few months after a divorce, my ex became a paraplegic in a snowmobile accident, as a single mom, with my financial planning business in its infancy, I struggled financially. I know I prayed endless nights just to have enough money to get by and pay for groceries.

-As a single mom, I wanted my kids to go college but didn’t think I would ever have the finances for them to do so.

-Six years ago I became unexplainable sick. I lost about twenty pounds and didn’t know the battle I was fighting was Lyme disease and mold toxicity.

-Five years ago, I wanted a better quality of life to live life with a chronic disease and to be near my daughter who was going to be attending college in California.

– For the last eighteen years, I prayed for a husband, a companion.

So how did God answer?

He answered in HUGE ways!

Today Jake is an engineer in Chicago and Tarah is finishing college in New York.For the most part, both are happy.

Financially, we survived as a family, even though the year of the accident, I only made roughly ten thousand dollars. God provided for me and my children, day by day, just like manna from the sky for the Israelites.

He provided the dream and moved me to the beach so even with a chronic illness, I can walk everyday . For that I am so grateful. I may not completed healed from Lyme disease but am stronger, healthier, and enjoying swimming, yoga and playing pickleball. Heck, I’m even get some of my sassy pants personality back.

And about the husband… I finally have met someone …. PSYCHE!

NOT YET ! It IS coming !

God is not tired yet of me asking for the husband! He likes hearing from me and YOU!

God knows my heart and desires and I believe he will answer the small and BIG PRAYERS !

Can you trust God with the HUGE desires of your heart?

What prayers has he answered for you? I would love to hear. Comment below.

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4


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Today, Facebook reminded me of a post that I wrote ten years ago today. It read:

Headed to South Haven, MI today. Once again makes me wonder,why do I live in Chicago? I am a beach girl.

When Facebook reminded me of that memory, I smiled and quietly thanked God. He moved me to the beach.

As I waited, for my Keurig to dispense my morning coffee, I thought about this further.Moving to the beach was something I desired. It was just something I wanted. It was not a need.

As I sat at my desk, sipping my coffee, I thought, If God took care of this want, he has the big stuff.Truthfully I needed this reminder. I think through my sickness,I haven’t forgotten or doubted this. God has my needs.

He has your needs too.

What do you need?

Ask God. He never gets tired of hearing from us.

“And my God will supply all your needs…” Philippians 4:19


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This past Friday, a friend and I connected through text. Because of the Chicago rains,her house had flood damage. Ugh! The May rains! Not fun!

We texted back and forth for the next several minutes and then she said something that struck me, “…you are a joy giver but don’t forget to let others bring you joy.”

Am I joy giver? Do I not allow others to bring me joy ?

The next day I received an expected card in the mail with the simple words Thinking of you . A soft smile came across my face .

Monday, I received a text from my dear college friend, Wendy, who I haven’t heard from in over a year. Just seeing her name across my screen, warmed my heart. I felt loved.

Today, I received a voicemail from a widowed client, saying she was enjoying reading a bible verse booklet I gave her years ago and wanted to let me know she was grateful to have it in the lockdown. Hearing her voice, I closed my eyes and was filled with gratitude and thought God is with me.

Kipper and I went for a walk and thought about joy .Three times in the last few days I was showered with JOY ! I am a lucky girl !

Can you despite this season of rain bring joy to others ?

Can you bring the joy to maybe one person this week? Or maybe two ?

Please share your ideas on how you bring the joy to others.

“The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Nehemiah 8:10


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I am sitting on a bench on my front deck and even though I am outside, I still feel contained. Dont we all?

As I take a bite of my cereal, my mind starts wondering and the flood gates open.
When will I be fully- healed?
When will I get married?
When will the lockdown be over?
I’m sure you have a WHEN.
I’ll be happy WHEN this happens…
I feel with the lockdown in place many of my friends and family feel we are all stuck in the hallway without the lights on, looking for the front door to open. We are stuck in the waiting.

I take another bite-full of cereal and it occurs to me that I have to stop thinking about the waiting and just be happy today. Maybe God is teaching me patience in the waiting ? Maybe he is preparing something better for me on the other side of the doorway as I wait.

Right now, we are all waiting for the lockdown to end, but what is God teaching us in this time of waiting?

Maybe patience ?

Maybe to trust him even though the hallway is dark ?

What is he teaching you ?

For me, I know he is saying,” I got you, Lisa. Just wait.”

God has you too. Trust the day to day, even when it is hard and yes, sometimes boring.

Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10


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This blog is deeply personal and from the heart. You  have been warned.

Today is my mom’s first birthday in heaven. I woke up and felt the heaviness of the day. I called my father and cried. I miss my mom.

I went for walk and remembered all the good things about her, especially all  the things she did for the Easter holiday. Even though we did not grow up with a lot, my mom made sure on Easter that me and my sister had a new Easter dress and my brothers had a new shirt or tie. It was more than the things she did but how she made us feel.

I will always remember her huge smile when she welcomed me with my own children into her and my dad’s home.

I loved watching her say with pride, ” I made pastichio .” as she overlooked a dining room table adorned in white linen and china, set perfectly for Easter. I loved seeing her face light up as she passed out homemade Easter baskets that she made for her eleven grandchildren. I loved watching her hug them as they said goodbye.

I walk up near the Mission cross, I miss my mom. IMG_0131

I look up to the sky and cry. Happy birthday, Mom!

I feel like I  can almost see her.  I imagine her looking down on me, smiling. Healthy. No longer in pain. I cried a little more thinking You’re with Jesus, mom. Lucky girl!IMG_0146

I look at the cross and reflect on the meaning. Because of Jesus’s death and resurrection. we all have a chance to go to heaven. We just have to believe.

I walked away thinking of the crazy world we live in today with shelter- in-place. Ugh, this would not have been good for mom.   I walk down the street and think Thank God there is a heaven Thank God you are there and not here. I miss you mom. Happy Birthday!

Today I am thankful for the Cross. Oh! that wonderful Cross.

 

 


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So as I write this from my front porch, attempting to feel connected with the outside world, the phrase that keeps replaying in my brain like a rollercoaster loop is “Day by Day.” This is torture.  I don’t know about you, but initially I woke up happy. I went for a run, showered, and cleaned house. All the normal routines of a normal Saturday but then the weight of reality set in. I’m sheltering-in-place. What can I do today?

I haven’t blogged in a while; not much to say, I guess. But today, I do have something to say. As I pound on my keyboard, I see a FedEx truck start unloading packages, mostly bearing the famous Amazon symbol and I think to myself, This is hard.

Being an extrovert, I miss people. I miss social gatherings. I miss going to yoga class. I miss swimming at the Y. I miss hiking or walking with friends. I miss a simple dinner out with a neighbor. I miss THE EASY!

I know for a lot of us, this is HARD! I think the hardest part is not knowing when it will end. If you love the torture of a rollercoaster, you know eventually the ride will be over. I am remembering my own kid’s births. Yes, the delivery was painful but I knew eventually it would be over and I would have a bundle of joy placed on my chest. So how do we not lose the joy?

This morning, while still tucked under the covers, I started rattling off to God a list.

Thank you for SLEEP! Thank you for sunny days. Thank you that Tarah is here. Thank you I can still go for walks.

It is so easy with the constant barrage of news, viral feeds, and endless Facebook posts, for our thoughts to go negative. Believe me, I have had my moments of THIS SUCKS! Sitting in my wicker chair I thought I would share some of my joys and things I’m thankful for instead:

~My daughter,Tarah, is here from New York. Thankful she is not THERE but HERE.  Her sense of humor gives me hard belly laughs, plus she likes to dance so most afternoons we throw on the music and have a “dance party” on the deck. And as you will see, as I am writing this post, Tarah’s silly antics of dancing on the deck, once again has me in stiches.IMG_0065

~I am thankful for my single ladies in my neighborhood who daily we text each other or walk by each other’s house and ask to visit with each other from the sidewalk to the front porch.

~I am thankful for puzzles, endless “movie nights”, feeling the sun on my face as I walk Kipper, and pulling weeds until my hand aches.

~I am thankful for this time to Zoom with college sorority sisters, Chicago friends, and my women’s bible study group. Seeing smiles of people I love never felt so good.( I do miss hugging, though.)

I take a sip of tea, and a couple walks by my house, stop, say hello, and introduce themselves. We exchange small talk and agree that the best thing about this social distancing is that people are becoming friendlier, kinder. We all agree that we should continue this long after the social distancing ends.

Day by day, I am hopeful this will end and we will get to the other side of this mess but in the meantime how do you not lose the joy?  Please share ideas, recipes, activities, things that you are thankful for. I would love to hear how you are coping… day by day. Hoping you find some easy joy!

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Today as the light filtered through my sheers, I sent a text to a friend .

Praying your week goes easy. Love you my beautiful friend.

Within seconds I received a text back .Thank you!!! Your prayers helped me last week so keep them coming .

A soft smile covered my face as I thought, God you do hear me .

Then I silently sent my own requests. Let the stock market go up,at least let it not be crushed today, give me wisdom to guide my clients, and protect the world from the spread of the coronavirus.

I started the workday, logged on my computer,and saw on Bloomberg, that stocks were opening up positive. Most market indexes were up. I sighed a sign of relief after last week’s steep market sell-off.

Before I called my first client I prayed, God let my words be your words .Give me wisdom .

And he did .

The day went on and when I watched the ringing of the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange, I couldn’t contain my excitement as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a record gain, up 1294 points, a five percent market gain. YES!

Now, I don’t believe that God should be played like a magic eight ball and that we should keep shaking and praying until we get the right answers. I do believe; however,today that God wanted to show me that he hears me, he listens, and he is in charge. He gave me some hope and the hope was started with a text from a friend saying that her prayer was answered.

That’s the power of prayer.

What if we all took a moment to pray over our friends and see the power of prayers answered? Are you willing to see the proof of the power of prayers ?

Try it this week .Will you ?

“Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

My Hope Is Built on Nothing Lesswritten by Edward Mote.


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I went to bed last night and like a kid on Christmas, anticipated my favorite day of the year. My Valentine’s Day cards were sent by mail, some were hand delivered in the neighborhood, and others were passed out at my bible study and game night. All that was left to do was sleep and anticipate the unexpected .

But before I went to sleep, I did ask God, please fill me up with love and your joy .

This morning as I walked the Kipper my German short-haired pointer around the neighborhood, wearing a red t-shirt ( of course), a construction worker yelled out, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

I turned back and said, “Same to you.”

A few blocks up I noticed, two ladies hugging and telling each other that they loved each other. As I passed, they wished me Happy Valentine’s Day as well and asked if they could hug me. I received my group hug, backed away a little overwhelmed, and said, “This. This is what is all about . We need to really love each other .”

I went home and start receiving and reciprocating texts filled with heart-filled messages and smiled a quiet smile.

Today random strangers made a difference in my life. What about you? There is still time to smile and say, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

You could be the difference in someone’s lonely day. A call. A text. A hug. It’s really simple.

As I sit on my front porch and reflect on the day, my thoughts go back to last night’s prayer, to be filled with love and joy.

God does not disappoint . He does hear me and loves me. Today I was loved.

I know I desire to be married but until my husband arrives I will be content in knowing God is with me .

“Be delighted in the Lord, then he will give you all your heart’s desire.”

Psalm 37:4


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christmas-tree
    I wrote this blog a couple years ago but I think it still holds true in my heart. Christmas can be a lonely time of year. Take an extra moment to be kind, really notice and love others. May the joy of Jesus inspire you .

December, 2016

 This may come to a surprise to my friends but I don’t like Christmas. I would rather “shoot my eye out,” than walk into a mall at Christmas.  Any single person knows what I am talking about; couples walking hand in hand, fused together like conjoined twins. This week as I sat on the couch watching The Holiday, surrounded in wadded up tissue from nursing a cold, the sadness crept in; tiptoeing around my Christmas tree like the Grinch. Not even Jude Law’s dreamy blue eyes could spark excitement. The holidays can be simply depressing for the single person.

Attempting still to get in the mood, I resorted to the classic, It’s A Wonderful Life. No matter how many times I have seen it, the ending still grabs me. I feel like I am swallowing marbles and my eyes are pools of emotion every time I watch it. That’s when  Christmas hits me like Santa’s sled going full steam.
     We know the reason for the season but in a commercialized world we need to make the joy ourselves. So, I wadded up my tissue and threw them in the trash along with pity and heard God whisper down the hall. I made little booklets that read, “You have been a gift to me. In turn, I want to give you a gift of my favorite Bible verses.”
Here were some of the responses:
“Your booklet helped me this week” ~ my massage therapist
“The best gift is when you give of yourself” ~ a client
“Thank you for the reminding me, that the thirteen-year-old me had good instincts. I can’t imagine how someone from so long ago and so far away could feel as connected right now, but I do.” ~ a High school friend.
Sitting on the bathroom floor, letting the tears pour down my face, I was transported back to high school Biology class with my braces, pony tail, and all. We all want love; whether we are thirteen or a hundred and thirteen.
 There is a week before Christmas and someone you may know may be lonely. I “triple dog dare you” to reach out and make a difference. Do you bake?  Bring cookies to a neighbor. Write a note “You are loved this Christmas.”  Give an extra Christmas hug.

 Be willing to give love. “No man is a failure who has friends,” God whispered to me. What is God whispering to you?

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Philippians 2:1 “Is there any such thing as Christians cheering each other up.”
I don’t like Christmas. I love Christmas. Be willing to find the true magic of Christmas


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Tonight as I was watering my plants on the front porch, I heard, “Is this 1740?” I turned to see a UPS driver carrying a package. I turned and said, “Yep,” as I made my way down the porch steps.

The driver handed me the package and I quickly tore open the yellow envelope. “Oh, it’s my Lyme disease book .”

He questioned ,”You got Lyme disease ? Where did you get it?”

I nodded and explained how I moved here from Chicago and was bit by a tick in my backyard and contracted the disease.

His head hung low, “So sorry honey . I’ll be praying for you .”

I turned to walk up my steps but then looked back and yelled out, “Hey, what do you need prayers for ?”

His eyes lifted off his hand- held computer, “What did you say?”

I walked until I was standing face to face with the delivery man and then asked again, “I said, What do you need prayers for ?”

His head hung low, “Truthfully, I want a baby. We’ve been trying…”

His voice trailed off as he shook his head, “I don’t want to be forty and just starting a family .”

I asked his name and shared mine. We hugged and agreed to pray for each other.

I gotta admit, I have learned to live with Lyme disease but I truly want to be fully healed. I believe God can and will do that. It is the hope I cling onto.

As I walked up the stairs to my house, a quiet smile covered my face as I silently thought Hope. Hope today was delivered right to my front porch . It is coming .

I sat on my wicker chair and thumbed through my book, and thought, What If we all took the time, like the delivery man to say the simple words , “I’ll pray for you ,” and REALLY meant it .

What about you? Are you willing to do it?

We all need hope and you, like the UPS delivery man, may be the special delivery of hope that someone needs. Open your mind. Open your heart and listen to the whisper within.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1


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My eyes suddenly flickered open this morning . What the heck was that dream? I turn on the light, sit up, grab my journal and pen on the nightstand,and start scribbling my thoughts.

I just had the weirdest dream. I was drowning in a ocean. Struggling to swim in a storm. My arms were grappling at waves as my head fought to not go under. Then suddenly unknown hands dragged me to the shore. I got in my car only to see a tornado in my rearview mirror. I pulled over and ran into an unknown house and hid under a table .

I stopped scribbling and rubbed my eyes and thought, That was weird.

Morning came and I went about my workday but tonight as I walked the beach I thought more about the dream.

Dreams. They are weird, aren’t they ?

I looked at the waves in front of me and remembered that today Facebook reminded me of a memory from two years ago today. It was the day I moved to the Santa Barbara .

Moving to the beach was a dream but the lingering dream is to be cured from Lyme disease.

As my toes mushed in the sand, I thought , Last night’s dream,was that you God? Are you trying to tell me everything is going to be alright, that you have me?

I threw a ball to Kipper and watched her splash in the waves

and then looked at the sky. If you could make this dream come true … then you got Lyme disease !

I may have my beach home but I would trade it in to be fully healed. IT IS COMING !

Hope is in the hallway of this thing called life . Until the next door opens, keep trusting, keep believing. God does have the plan. He does have our dreams.


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One of my favorite quotes comes from my daughter,Tarah,” It’s just a day.”  What she means is, simply if you are having a bad day, it’s just one day. It will pass. Tomorrow may be something completely different.

Well, the last couple months, I have to admit I have been in a lot of pain. Not fun! But today I felt like the dark clouds were lifted and felt nothing but sunshine.

As I ran the streets of my neighborhood with Kipper, my running partner at my side, I almost could hear Tarah’s voice,”It’s just a day.” Yes, but today is a good day. With each step I wondered why is today different. I mentally reviewed my list.

-Was it my 9 hours of sleep?

-Is it that I started running again?

– Was it the B12 injection for pain?

-Is it my “happy playlist” on my phone?

-Was it the walk on the beach last night?

-Is it that the stock market is having a banner year?

I looked down at Kipper and commanded, “Kipper home.” As we trotted home I thought, It’s just a day but today there are no red cross-out lines across my page but a gold star next to my name. I looked at the sky and said, “Thank you God.”

So this is me, no filter, no worries, and yep, no husband YET ( It is coming! LOL.) I am trusting God’s plan, through pain, topped with a heaping pile of hope. God has us day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. It’s just a day.

“This is the day that the Lord has made . We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 TLB


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Yesterday, I went berry picking so tonight I sat on my deck plopping them into my mouth. As I savored their sweetness, I thought why isn’t life always this sweet ?

Well, because it isn’t . We all suffer one way or another and in this past week I felt my bad symptoms intensify;burning, electric shocks, vibrations. I have to admit, I did beg God or tell God,”Enough! Have mercy. How much longer must I suffer? Why do you allow me to suffer?”

As I plopped another raspberry in my mouth, I thought of who God put in front of me this past week; others who suffer, one way or another,like myself. Here’s a list of a few:

A colleague inquiring about his wife’s weird symptoms of numbness, tingling, electric shocks,and vibrations; symptoms I feel most days from Lyme disease.I told him,”Scary stuff. Let me know if your wife needs a doctor or someone to talk to.”

A client who just retired with her husband expressing joy that they bought the fifteen acre ranch in Montana ,”HE is so happy but truthfully, I am lonely.” Do I understand loneliness? Yep, you bet. I told her I would pray for HER JOY!

A parent who is having difficulty raising his teenage boy, “He’s just a jerk.” I quickly replied, “Don’t beat yourself up.They all are at the age. You will get through it and trust me they become sweet again.”

So as I plopped a black raspberry in my mouth, I thought why isn’t life always sweet? Because it isn’t. Sometimes life is painful and hurts. I know God allows suffering so that we may help, encourage and love those around us, with greater understanding. Who can you help through your trials? Be open, God may want to use you.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.


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I look at finding blue sea glass as rare, like hearing God.

Tonight, as I walked the beach, I said,” I need you God and looked down at the sand and there it was. Undeniably blue. Blue sea glass.

Keep asking. Keep looking. Keep believing in The Whisper Within.

“You will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you . You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13.


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Today I swam laps at the YMCA.  I showered, got dressed, and wandered over to the dressing room mirror. As I smeared lotion over my face like I was finger-painting, I stared at my reflection in the mirror and laughed out loud seeing my eyes circled with indentations made by my swimming goggles.

To my left, a lady asked, “What’s so funny?”

I shook my head and replied, “Look at all these wrinkles. The googles didn’t help any.”

She quickly unzipped her cosmetic bag, handed me a tub of lotion, and said, “Try this. I swear by it . It’s a miracle lotion.”

“Miracle lotion?  Ya, I could probably use some, if I’m ever gonna date.”

She touched my shoulder and asked, ” You’re single? So am I. Are you trying?  Are you on any site?”

I shook my wet head of hair. “Nope.”

“Me neither. My husband died of cancer twelve years ago and I have been raising the kids by myself since then. What’s your story?”

“Well, I got divorced seventeen years ago and shortly afterwards my ex became a paraplegic. So ya, I have been raising the kids since they were five and six.”

We exchange details and discovered both our son’s were engineers back in Chicago and New York and our daughters are here in California. We both agreed we have a good life but miss companionship and can get lonely sometimes but have to trust God for the plan.

I touched her shouldered and said, “You know what I say before I get out of bed?”

She didn’t let me finish. The New Yorker quickly replied, “I say,’ How do you want to use me today, God? Show me.”

I giggled and hit her shoulder, “You stole my line. That’s exactly what I say.”

We laughed, hugged and exchanged phone numbers.

I grabbed my gym bag, headed out the door, and smirked at the sky. You do see me, God. You do hear me.

I jumped in my Jeep, pulled down my car mirror and thought That’s some lotion. A kinda miracle lotion.  

Before backing up, I received a text ‘Great meeting you. A walk on the beach soon!’

I thought I may want less wrinkles but I need companionship. We all do. God knows my heart and will bring the one who falls in love with my heart, wrinkles and all. No miracle lotion will be needed.

“God will meet all your needs.” Philippians 4:19

God can even use face lotion to connect strangers.
Be open. Be willing. Be expectant.


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This morning, I received many texts of snow-filled pictures from my Chicago friends and family. ” Snow! Ugh! Look what you’re missing .”

As I laid in bed, I thought I miss the snow.

Ok . Maybe not driving in it and shoveling it, but I miss snowy days, when you have an excuse to do nothing and stay inside. When I lived in Chicago, I always felt the urge when the sun was shining to make the most of it. Well, it really is always sunny here in California so I feel guilty staying in on a sunny day. I know, poor me. Yes, I am a stinker.

But this morning was different in a good way.

This morning the sun was not filtering through my sheers slowly waking me up, but the gray foggy mist lingered.

I looked over at Kipper as she was draped in a sheet with her head resting comfortably on my belly.

I grabbed my journal. I grabbed my pen and the scribbling began.

I miss snowy days.

An hour passed. Then another. I read. I journaled and Kipper did not move .

In my mind, I visualized the list I wrote the night before of everything I wanted to accomplish today.

Then it hit me, this is what I craved. This is what I needed. A snow day.

Even Kipper did not want to move.She gave me a look that said,”Seriously, mom, let’s stay in bed.”

So in honor of my Chicago friends, I stayed in my Pjs and made some pancakes. As I drank my coffee and enjoyed the fog, I heard the whisper that said, quit pushing. Quit trying. Be quiet. Be still.

Enjoy the snow day.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Psalm 46:10


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Today is Good Friday.  This past week, I walked by this cross several times and thought of Jesus and his ultimate sacrifice so that we, as Christians, may have eternal life. Jesus was the ultimate example of suffering for your friends.img_5258

The story while it is quite familiar, always amazes me, that even Jesus suffered so greatly that he could not carry his own cross but needed help. Simon, helped carry Jesus’ cross.

Who helps carry your cross?

Ultimately, we all have the opportunity to go directly to God in prayer but we also have each other to help when our sufferings are too much to bare alone.

Who helps carry your cross?  For me, I know. They are just a prayer or text away.

Are you willing to put the heavy cross on your back and carry it for a friend? Are you willing to sacrifice comfort to be a comforter?

Happy Good Friday! There is no Easter without the sacrifice.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NLT

 

 

 

 

 


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About a week ago I wrote on my Facebook page:

“Sometimes you get your dream but realize, you are Dorothy and ‘..there is no place like home.’ I am moving back to Chicago.”

Within minutes the floodgates were open as I was bombarded with texts, private messages, and phone calls; pretty much all saying the same thing, “WHAT THE HECK? What is going on ?” Even my own children texted each other. “Has mom lost it ?”

What occurred to no one was the date of the post, April 1st.
Yes, it was an April fools joke, but was it ?

I have to admit, I love Santa Barbara. I always dreamed I would end my days walking on the beach, and most days, watching the sun kiss the ocean goodnight, does not disappoint. I did think however, I would be walking hand in hand with my husband doing this. Yep, not yet.IMG_7824

So in the past few weeks, something crept in my thoughts, kinda like the rain in Santa Barbara, unexpected and unwarranted. I missed home. I miss my parents, my family, and my friends. As I tied my running shoes this morning I questioned, “Do I really belong here, God? Umm, not sure anymore. I am not feeling it. Are you with me, God? What is your plan?” I grabbed Kipper’s leash and soon, my German short-haired running partner, and I were out the door.

A few blocks from home, a lady being pulled by her Husky yelled, ” Hey neighbor.” I waved and Kipper and I crossed the street. A few blocks later, a man stepped out of his parked car and  blocked the sidewalk and asked, “Are you, Lisa?”

Puzzled, I asked how he knew my name and he quickly explained that he met me a year ago when Kipper was just a puppy.We exchanged pleasantries and soon Kipper and I were back on our morning routine. As we neared home, another neighbor stopped to say hello and wanted to know my story. The short conversation ended with a gentle smile and her nodding, “We should go out sometime, Lisa and better yet, we need to get you out dating.”

I giggled and walked away.

The day went on. I worked and once again Kipper and I headed out the door for a walk. Just as we walked down my outside stairs, Heide from my Bible study group passed by my house with Cooper, her Golden Retriever, and she invited us to join them.

A quick walk and then a glance at my phone Oh! I gotta go. It’s book club night.

At the library, we sat in a circle, shared our perspectives and our insights on Less by Andrew Sean Greer. The hour was over and as I walking away,  Libby quickly tracked me down ,her hand touched my shoulder and said, “Hey Lisa! It was nice to meet you. I hope you come back next month and since you’re new in town, if you need a friend, I would like to get to know you better, maybe hang-out.” I nodded, smiled, and walked away.

As I walked over to my Jeep, I received a group text from ladies I met outside my home the previous week while pulling weeds, “Free on Friday?”

As I recalled all the events of the day, I threw a smirk to the sky, and silently acknowledged, You do see me. You do hear me. I do belong here. You have provided friends.

Driving home I recalled what Brenda, another neighbor, another Chicago transplant, said to me a few weeks ago,”Moving ain’t for sissies, let alone as a single woman. But you did it! It takes work but you did the work and now have friends.”

I parked my Jeep and walked up the poorly lit staircase to my home, and I thought of my birthday a few months ago.

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I do have friends. Next is the husband .God has the plan.
Can you trust the plan even when you are feeling lost in the dark, walking up poorly lit stairs?
“ The Lord will accomplish what concerns me.” TLB
~Psalm 138:8

 

 

 


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Today, I walked Kipper around the park and wondered, What is my purpose, Lord?

As Kipper sniffed the grass looking for a critter, I stood in front of the fence and looked out far for answers. How do you want me to best use my energy God? My mouth twitched as I pondered the answer. I love my job and my clients. I run every morning. I swim. Hike. Do yoga. I am in book club, a movie club, a bible study… so why do I still feel unfulfilled at times? Am I just trying to fill a void?

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Kipper pulled on her leash so I walked away from the fence but my thoughts still lingered. I know! I should be grateful God but why today do I feel kinda empty? Discouraged?

We left the park and drove away. At a stoplight I asked, What do you want, God?

Then I heard a whisper. It was almost straight from a voice like Clarence the angel telling George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life. Lisa, you really have had a wonderful life.

I looked in the rearview mirror and caught the image of the mountain I just hiked and then the whisper continued. No, Lisa it is not about the beautiful place but about my people. How have you made a difference?

The light turned green and I thought about George Bailey in the Christmas classic. He had a wonderful life because of difference he made in his friend’s and family’s lives.

Later tonight, as I was getting ready to be a greeter as part of the welcoming committee for new residents who have moved to Santa Barbara, I thought, Maybe I’ll meet new friends? Maybe a love interest?

I looked at my reflection in the mirror and felt guilty as my conscience whispered to me. This isn’t about you.  It is about them, the newcomers. I applied some lipstick and looked in the mirror and asked God, then how do you want to use me?

I heard the whisper. Be warm. Be kind. Be inviting.

I headed out the door with a little bounce in my step and felt happy, purposeful.

So I am asking you… Do you feel discouraged?

What is your purpose? Have you made a difference like George Bailey?

Or will your life be just a scrapbook or Facebook record of all the things you’ve done, the places you visited, instead of the people you have touched with your heart.

I know I am constantly searching for my purpose and it changes with each season; frustrating at times that’s why just like today I look up and say, “How do you want to use me God?”

Ask that question and he will show you and bring you purpose. I am wishing that for all of you. I am challenging you daily before you get out of bed ask, “How do you want to use me God?”

“If you  want to know what God wants you to do, ask him and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give bountiful supply and he will not resent it.” James 1:5

 


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I am the silly, hopeless romantic who eagerly admits that Valentine’s Day is my favorite day. You have four more days to make someone happy, so get busy!

The Whisper Within

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…

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I gotta admit, I wrote this blog months ago but never posted.Why ? Because I would have to completely rip-off my band-aid and show my ugly scab. Well, today I am ripping off the band-aid. Let the bleeding begin.

I’m not perfect.

Let me say again. I am not perfect.

Yep, several times this week I was told that I acted,or tried too hard to be perfect;not showing signs of weakness or sadness.
Here’s the week recap:

My thirteen year neighbor girl came over for dinner. We laughed.We giggled and then she said,”I have to admit I was nervous coming over to see you. You seem so perfect. You are actually fun and easy to be with.”

“Perfect? Why did you think that?”

“I don’t know you seem so put together; like always taking Kipper, your dog, for walks at the same time everyday .Organized.”
“Oh,trust me I’m far from perfect .”

Later in the week at a doctor’s appointment my doctor asked, “How are you feeling?”
I quickly responded,”I’m fine.I’m staying in the joy.”

“Staying in the joy? Lisa, it’s ok to say you hurt. In fact it is healthy to talk about it .Why do you feel like you have to hold it together?”

I lowered my head,“I don’t know. I feel the need to not complain about my sickness .”

“Lisa,it is ok to say you hurt . You aren’t perfect.”

Then today I opened my manuscript for my book. My editor had comments peppered throughout about me being self-admonishing and prideful. Ouch ! This hurts!

I looked at the computer screen, “Am I?”
The whole reason I have wrote the book is that others may trust God no matter what is tossed at them…it’s not supposed to be about “look what I have done but what has God accomplished?”

Maybe memoirs just suck. MAYBE memoirs are self-absorbed.
I walked the beach and cried .
I am sorry. I am so so sorry, God.

Is this you God?

Did all the years of hold everything together as a single mom, did I have too much pride? Did I put too much emphasis on the “I ” in the  Bible verse,” I can do everything  through Christ who gives me strength,” instead of on Christ?

Was my Lyme disease sickness allowed to prick at my pride?
In the Bible, Paul was afflicted with some disease so that he would not get puffed up.His disease was meant to humble him.

I AM HUMBLED.

For those of you who knew “sassy pants ”, that girl is gone. I am leveled. I am just me. And yes, I hurt. I am messy, just ask my kids about some of my eating habits or ask my friends the condition of the inside of my Jeep; far from perfect. And like Paul in the Bible, sometimes I am lonely.

Yes, I still desire a husband but maybe,just maybe, I WAS (emphasis on was) too independent, too self-sufficient to let a guy take care of me. I wanted to keep control.
Well, that girl is gone! I am ready to relinquish the reins and have someone take care of me for a change. The Band-aid is off. I willingly expose my scab, ugly and all.
As I walked the beach tonight I heard God whisper, “Get rid of your pride. You are not perfect.”
So here I am. No filter. No make-up. Just me.

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God has humbled me and made make a softer and a more vulnerable girl.
What is God whispering to you? Are you willing to listen?

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (TLB) 2 Corinthians 12:10


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They say it never rains in Southern California but today it not only rained but stormed. I felt like I was back in Chicago, as the grey dark clouds hovered, the rain came down in buckets, and the power went out several times throughout the day.

Later this afternoon, I walked along a mountain path with Kipper, my German short-haired companion and thought of what a friend asked me.  She questioned, ” I haven’t seen you blog in awhile. Why?” I simply answered, “I am still talking to God but I am not hearing any answers.”

As Kipper and I shuffled along the path, I looked at the sun beaming through the clouds  and thought, I am not hearing you God. I am in pain. I want my Lyme disease to be gone. If you are going to fully heal me this year. Let me see a sign. Let me see a rainbow.

For the next thirty minutes, I dragged my feet  pass park benches, statues, and bridges. I pulled my baseball cap down to keep the sun off my face. I was nearing the end of the trail and the end of my senseless optimism.  And then it happened.  A sideways rain was hitting my face. I looked at the sun over the ocean and spun around like a little girl, with arms outstretched, looking for the rainbow. And there it was. A rainbow. Faint, maybe difficult to see if you were not looking for it. Kinda like God.

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I adjusted my baseball cap and quietly smiled and thought You do see me. You will heal me.

“If I have found favor in your eye, then show me a sign… ”  Judges 6:17(ESV)

 


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Tonight I walked the beach with my loyal companion,Kipper,and took in the spectacular view. The beach. The mountains. And even a rainbow .

I snapped a photo and texted it to my kids. Tarah quickly texted back. “That picture makes me so happy. You really did it mom .You achieved your dream.”

My mouth twitched and tears formed as I watched the tide roll in.

I texted back. “Aww Tarah! You are making me cry. I forget that I did . You are right ! This was my dream !”

She responded. “I can’t thank you enough for the life you created for me. You had the courage to better yourself.”

I focused on the rainbow and then texted her back.”Thank you for reminding me. Yes, courage. God gives me strength to walk in his faith.”

I watched the sunset and thought, “I may have Lyme disease but You brought me here God. You make me brave. You brought my dream. You will heal me.”

“Be strong and courageous and get to work. Don’t be frightened at the size of the task, for the Lord my God is with you.”

1 Chronicles 28:20


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Today was not exactly a good day.  I may not have children playing ball in the house but I do have Kipper, my rambunctious German short-haired pointer. Her energy definitely overflows her dog bowl and today was no different.

As I am working from home, I see her pacing the floor, stalking a small object, and then springing into action. I think to myself, What is she trying to catch? And then I see it. A fly.

My eyes divert back to my computer screen until I hear a crash. I walk into the next room and see Kipper’s eyes, telling half of the story. IMG_7241

Guilty!  I question my puppy thinking she can answer and then survey the room.

Ugh! A cracked window!

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I roll my eyes. Great! I walk back to my computer and quickly Google, window repair.

Within an hour, a glass repair man arrives, an estimate is received, and then a story.

“Lisa, you were so nice to work with. I am so thankful that God brought me to your house today. You see, I have six children and fifteen grandchildren. One was just born the other day. Do you want to see him?”

He scrolled through his phone and proudly showed me. “This is Samuel, named after the prophet.” He continued on, “Truthfully I don’t want to be doing this. I want to be a pastor, administer and pray for those with health concerns.”

I responded,”If that is your desire, God will honor it. It’s Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.(ESV)'”

The man openly started crying and then he grabbed my hand, and started praying, “Thank you God for Lisa. Please Jesus, I want to be a Pastor…”

The prayer was over. He gave me hug and headed out the door; leaving both of our hearts cracked open.


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It has been four years that I became sick with Lyme disease. I have tried to stay patient and daily stay in the joy but the last few weeks seem like a long, drawn-out Chicago Winter, filled with endless days, weeks and months of snow, gray, and bitter cold with no sunshine in sight.

But just like Groundhog Day, after a long Winter spent in a cave; this past week I saw some light. Yes, a new doctor.

She reviewed my new labs and uncovered some hidden new facts to work with.

Sitting in her office, I felt like a bursting daffodil popping through a light Spring snow as I lowered my chin and said, “I WILL get better. God loves me. He sees me. He will heal me.”
She responded, “Oh, Yes, Lisa. I love your faith.  I am a believer too.”

My lips sealed tight. “Ugh! My faith is all I have… My friends and my church in Chicago have all been praying for you ; let my doctor have wisdom.”

I saw her face become flush.” Wow, I am so grateful for you.”

My eyes watered, ” No, I am SO grateful for you.”

She walked me towards the door and hugged me .
I looked at her with soft eyes and said, ” I love that you hugged me .”

“I love hugs too, Lisa. First I will take care of your health and then I’ll help you with the husband.”

I backed away, cocked my head, and asked, “The husband?”

“Yes, the husband.”

I walked outside and made my to my car and questioned, Why did she say, the husband? 

And then tonight, as I walked my neighborhood I saw a quaint hotel setting up for a beautiful outdoor wedding.

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I wandered through the white chairs, bookmarked with lavender and ivy.  Wow, simply beautiful.

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As I a strolled through the adjacent garden, with tables adorned with white linens and peonies, I looked up the sun, Maybe this was why I moved to Santa Barbara … health and who knows maybe a husband?

I felt the wind whisper …
IT IS COMING! Health and a Husband.
I feel it. I know it. Patience.
God’s timing is perfect. He has the plan.

“Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble and prayerful always.”

Romans 12:12 The Living Bible