The Whisper Within

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


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I don’t know why these leaves on the sidewalk gave me comfort today.

Maybe they reminded me of fall in the Midwest. Or maybe just maybe it is a reminder not to get stuck in a season. With a new season anything is possible. Hope is a season away.

“To everything there is a season…” Ecclesiastes 3:1


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So I gotta admit this week the pain crept into my “happy space” and it was unexpected and unwelcomed like the flu in the middle of August. I cried, and it was not a pretty cry with tears flowing softly down my cheeks, wiped away with one little Kleenex. No, it was the downright, face contorting, ugly cry.

My soul was in need of reinforcement so I pressed the button on my cell phone in hopes of reaching my college roommate, Kristin. When she answered my call, I was hyperventilating, choking out my words, or should I say inaudible sounds and syllables sounding like a first-time mom giving birth.

“Lis… Are you alright?”

I finally gathered some composure and said, “No, I hurt. It’s been twenty years this week that I have been divorced.”

She listened but she knows me, I am stubborn and even though I love parties, I am not a willing participant in any sort of PITY PARTY. I deflated any balloons that would be used for that kind of party and dished back a big slice of “GOD’S GOT ME” cake.

She responded, “Yes, I know, Lisa. You know God has you but it is ok to tell God you are sad, that you thought by now you would be married.”

So I did! That night, I made some tea and went to my sacred space and told God, “I’m sad. I hurt. Fill me with JOY!”

The very next day, for reasons I can’t explain, I was back skipping the streets of Santa Barbara. I was like sixteen year old me, before a Turnabout high school dance. I may have been dateless but it didn’t matter because I knew I had lots of friends who allow me to be silly Lisa and dance without a date in sight.

So today, I have to admit I woke up and took a selfie before I went to church.

No filter was needed. I am joyful. I am happy.

Praying for a husband isn’t REALLY my focus anymore. I pray more to be filled with joy and if my SOON-to-be husband wants to join me in this wonderful journey called life; that would be wonderful TOO… but if not, I know, I am LISA, a BEAUTIFUL CHILD Of GOD!

And just like the ending of the movie Sixteen Candles, when Jake Ryan waited outside the church for Samantha; I believe my happy ending will be unexpected and welcomed and as easy as my mom inviting the “new church family from Omaha” over for dinner. When “Farmer Ted” walked in the door, I was “ALL- in.”

So today, I know God will continue to surprise me, fill me with joy, all because I am willing to give him, my ugly cry.

“And the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it.” James 4:3


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Today. As the light filtered in through my sheers curtains I stretched out my body like a rubber band and thought, Yes! A full nights sleep!

I reached over, grabbed my phone and quickly texted and thanked my friend Jen for her prayers. She responded, Lucky! I slept well until 1:30, then was up the rest of the night.

I responded, UGH! That’s my prayer for YOU tonight! LET’s do this God!… Oh I just heard God say- you are prayer penpals!

She texted back, How do you hear him?

I responded a long winded text of something to the effect of I’m always asking, questioning, and listening for Him, basically spending time with him, talking to Him like a best friend.

Moments later, I started “the scroll”, yes the five minute Facebook scroll of who is doing what. Today’s feed was filled with cute back-to-school pictures.

I LIKED a few and then decided one friend needed a personal touch. I texted, Good morning! Saw your beautiful girls are off to school. How are you?

Within seconds my cell rang and I answered, “Well, what a happy surprise, Kyla”

We spent the next hour REALLY connecting, REALLY sharing the REAL. It was not Facebook pretty. We did not wait to scroll through our photo app to get the right picture, instead we showed the ugly, the just out of bed, no-make-up and hair mangled look.

Even though, we live hundreds of miles apart, I felt like she was on my front porch sharing a cup of coffee. After an hour we hung up and got on with our day but my mind was still drawn back to that conversation. As I poured another cup of coffee I thought, We all want to connect hence the allure of social media and Facebook but are we really connecting or servicing up LIKES and comments like an appetizers, a quick fix, when we long for the main course?

I am guilty of this. How many likes? Who commented? What did they say?

As I walked into my office, I thought of what Jen asked me, “How do I hear God?”

Even though I enjoy Facebook, or the quick text from a friend, those are just stars stickers on the top of a homework assignment, where as my deep friendships are those who sit with me in the boring History lectures without a sticker in sight.

The same is true with God. He wants not the quick prayer, the quick request. He wants us to talk to Him like a best friend. He wants OUR TIME. Our Truth. I’m Happy. I’m Sad. I hurt. He doesn’t want our Facebook pretty.

So the question I have for you, who do you do life with? Hundreds of friends or those who you share deep personal connections with? Do you give your friends or God the time they deserve or are you just serving up a LIKE or a prayer, not lingering and enjoying a slow cup of tea or fine wine at the end of a day?


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I can’t believe I wrote this five years ago. I have learned so much since then and appreciate my journey as a single mom. Jake is now twenty-six living in Chicago and Tarah is twenty-five living in New York. GOD has been with us every step of the way.

AUGUST 9, 2017

Climbing through the tattered rubble this morning, I lost my footing on the steps of the Acropolis. I sat on the marble steps and watched my college kids race to the top. I wipe my smirk and sweat from lips. I no longer see Ancient Greece in the distance but visions of Mickey & Minnie dance in the haze.

Even though the long day of Disney left my kids acting like Grumpy;they were not faking it – I was .

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Unknown to them we were not on a magical kingdom ride since I was Cinderella about to lose my Prince Charming. Soon I would be like Snow White lost in the forest. We were tossed on the Mad Tea Party Ride, spinning like cups, ready to vomit, until the ride broke. This is where the beauty started.

Sixteen years later, as I watched my kids race to the top, I kicked the rubble at my feet, adjusted my sun hat and my focus.

Off in the distance, I saw the masterpiece of the ruins, The Pantheon and my kids. I climbed each step like an Olympian, torched raised high in victory .

We stood firm on the marble as the fellow tourist took our photo. That moment like the monument was HUGE!

We survived the merry-go-round of life.

No more faking smiles.

No more standing on shaking ground.

Sometimes you need to fall, breakdown, and kick some rubble to appreciate the beauty .

I may love the beach and the sand but ” In Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

There is beauty in the breakdown.

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About a week ago I received a sweet card that stated :

May you receive abundant blessings in return for the special way you expressed His love.

It was from my dear friend Kris, thanking me for time she and her beautiful daughter Jenna spent at my house over spring break. She enclosed a picture collage of our few days together.

Kris, Jenna, and me

I reread the personalized message she wrote and then notice this Bible verse.

I was welled with tears of joy. I recalled what one of my Santa Barbara friends said to me when I questioned, “Why here? Why Santa Barbara?”

Her response was, “Because everyone who comes to your house, you will bless and tell them about how God has blessed you. I am renaming your house THE BLESSINGS HOUSE.”

As I pondered this further, I sat on the ground with legs crossed, looked up at the sky and asked, “Is this it God? You bless me so I can bless others?”

Waiting for God to answer, I remembered sitting unknowingly next to a pastor on a plane ride and he stated, “You know Santa Barbara is one of the most unchurched places in America… I think that’s why you are here.”

I whispered Is it God ? You bless me so I can bless others?

So, this blog is not about God blessing me with a cottage by the beach, even though I am grateful for that, it is about a much bigger blessing and purpose.

The purpose is share the love and joy of Jesus…And there is not a better time than now, with Easter around the corner.

Who can you bless? Who can you invite to Easter service? Who needs to know the why your heart is filled with joy, stuffed like a plastic Easter egg with chocolate?

It is not too late. Share the blessing.

“ I will bless you… and you will be a blessing.” Genesis 12:2


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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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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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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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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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Kipper, looks back at me as if to say,”Come on. Time for the beach.”

She knows the afternoon routine and doesn’t want to wait. Within minutes, my companion is buckled to my left and my Jeep is in drive but then a oil change light illuminated.

My eyes shifted to my left. Jiffy Lube.

Sorry, Kipper. The Beach can wait.”

I pull in Jiffy Lube.Hand the attendant my keys, and Kipper and I walk to a grassy area nearby.

A few minutes pass and a young man joins us.

“Nice looking dog .What kind is it?”

“German Shorthaired Pointer.”

“It kinda reminds me of my girlfriend’s dog. She has a Weinheimer.”

“They’re cousins. Both hunting dogs.”

A baseball cap lowered, ” I am really gonna miss her dog.”

I studied the fresh face. “The dog or the girl?”

His head sunk.” Long distance relationships can work, can’t they?… I mean with FaceTime and texting …”

I sealed my lips in a soft smile.”Ya, it’s not like when I was your age. I had to write a letter and wait a week for HOPEFULLY a response.”

His chin raised. “Ya. It can work.”

He paused and I saw him studying my wrinkles as he asked,”…but what happens if our beliefs don’t match?”

I cocked my straw hat at the sky Really God, the faith question at Jiffy Lube?

I stared at the white eyes of his eyes. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I am a Christian and want to marry a Christian. She isn’t. Can she change?”

My mouth twitched.” Umm, truthfully I don’t want to influence you but I was married…Have two great kids, about your age, from the marriage but we didn’t share the faith.”

His eyes seemed to study my wrinkles further.” So you weren’t equally- yoked?”

He took off his cap and combed his fingers through his hair and shook his head in defeat.”We aren’t equally-yoked either.”

“I am sorry. I have been single for fifteen years. I am waiting for someone who shares my faith.”

He smirked.” Your Boaz.”

I giggled.” Yes, I’m waiting for my Boaz.”

He put his cap back on.” As you should.”

I walked away. An oil change? Or a call for change?

What about you? Are you waiting for change or should you ?

As for me,I will wait for the Whisper Within.

But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently.” Romans 8:25


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Happy Independence Day! Are you taking advantage of your freedom?

Happy Fourth of July. As I walked by flag-adorned lawns this morning, my thoughts brought me back to our forefathers. They fought for independence and to not be held hostage to England. They wanted a fresh start, to escape. My mind jumped like a cricket on the grass as I recalled a time I wanted to escape.

This was fifteen years ago:

As a single mom,with money being tight, the kids and I rarely ever ate out. But tonight I did not have the energy to cook, so I took the easy way out for a change and ordered a pizza. Parking the car in front of Jake’s Pizza Parlor, it should have been a routine pick-up, but it was anything but routine. Walking in with Jake and Tarah, looking at the cashier, I said, “Hi. I’m picking up our pizza.”

“Okay. I’ll be right back.” Then I saw it on the wall. As the man walked to the back of the store, I saw it clear as day—a flyer that read:

“ John, a thirty-seven-year-old police detective, is paralyzed from the waist down after a February snowmobile accident in Wisconsin. He is a fourteen year veteran of the department, battles escalating medical costs from his permanent spinal cord injury.

On April 6th, a benefit will be held.

Smack dab in the middle of the flyer was John’s picture in black and white. As the pizza guy laid the pizza on the counter, Jake, tugged at my jeans and pointed at the flyer, and asked, “Mommy, why’s Daddy’s picture on the wall?”

Suddenly, I lost my appetite.

As I was fumbling through my purse trying to pull out my wallet, I caught the pizza guy looking at me, dumbfounded. His face was stone cold. He glanced down at receipt outside the pizza box, then looked up at me.

Jake always demanding answers to his questions. He tugged at my jacket and once again asked, this time a little louder, “Mommy, why’s Daddy’s picture up there?”

The pizza guy looked at the picture then into my eyes. I did not say a word. He quickly covered his mouth with his hand and closed his eyes ever so briefly. Looking down at Jake, then at me, almost right through me, his eyes offered condolences. He then pleaded, “Please just take the pizza. It’s on us.”

I did not know what to say except the obvious, “Thanks.”

By nature, I don’t play needy, but needy was being dished my way and it was a very deep dish, indeed.

Back then, I felt held hostage to my life in Schaumburg. I needed to escape. I hated that my life, my story, was plastered around town. The only escape I could afford as a single mom, was a short ride around the bend to South Haven, Michigan. In Michigan, my monkeys and I were free and happy.

That was my story but I like our forefathers I opted for a different ending. I decided to dump the bitter “tea” and start drinking coffee. Are you free or are you held hostage to your “England” and to your past? Is it time to dump the tea and start drinking coffee?

Don’t wait until you hear the loud boom of fireworks to claim your freedom. God’s loudest directions are through his whispers. What is God whispering to you? Believe and trust the Whisper Within.


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“Hey, Mom can we go to Mc Donald’s?”

“Sorry, Peanut. Not today.”

“We never go.”

“Tarah, you know mom can’t afford that.”

I looked at the rearview mirror. Umm, my boy. He gets it. I’m doing my best to just hold everything together with a safety pin. First the divorce. Then the accident. Their dad, my ex is a paraplegic. And now I’m broke. When does it end? 

I pulled through the library drive- thru.

“Hello. I’m picking up movies.”

Across the way, I see a Harry Potter movie poster in the window. Only $3.69 a rental. Nope, sorry Blockbuster; the library is free.

 The library clerk handed me the movies. “Ok kids, just one more stop.”

We entered the red dot store. Oh boy, not the dollar bin.Stick to the list and only the list! The basket was filled, but then a wheel came off my cart.

“I want gum.”

“Stop it Tarah! You can’t have any.” He straightened his baseball cap and grabbed her hand.

Buuutt I waaanntt it.”

“Tarah. No. Mom’s in line. We need to go.”

“But Jake, there are Pokemon cards for you.”

I pushed the cart to the side and got out of the checkout line.

“It’s okay, mom. I don’t need anything.”

I dropped to my knees, folded his little body into mine and whispered, “I love you, Jake Gunnar.”

“I love you too, Mommy.”

“You’re my good boy.”

 Inches away, this Hallmark moment was contrasted. Keds were stomping and pigtails were beating the tile floor.

I scooped Tarah up, pushed back my cart, and in one big swoop, threw her on my hip. “Well, we’re out of here.”

I waved my point-finger in Tarah’s face. “That was not nice.”

“Yeah, Tarah. You know Mom can’t buy that stuff. Gosh!”

“Okay. Jake. That’s enough.”

I started the car, turned on the radio and cried. Help me, God. Life should not be so rough. I looked in the rearview mirror.

“Mommy, are you alright?”

“Yeah, honey.”

“Don’t worry, Mommy; ‘God will meet all your needs.’ Philippians 4:19.”

I looked over my shoulder. “What did you say?”

“God will meet all your needs. It’s our memory verse this week.”

It was It’s a Wonderful Life moment.

“Daddy, teacher says every time you hear a bell ring an angel gets his wings.” And George exclaimed, “That’s right! That’s right!”

I closed my eyes, wiped my tears, and squeezed his hand. “That’s right. That’s right. Thank you, Jake Gunnar.”

“No problem, Mommy.”

I backed up the car and looked up at the clouds. Nothing gets pass you. God had the small details of my life and used my own little boy to teach me the biggest lesson.

That was fifteen years ago, and today, just like that moment, is HUGE!

Fifteen years ago, I went through a divorce, months later my ex became a paraplegic. I struggled trying to raise two little kids. I spent nights at the kitchen table teaching math while trying to balance a dwindling checking account. The calendar was always packed; even when bank account wasn’t. I never thought I would survive those years, let alone, ever see the day come when my children would graduate college.

Well, today is that day. Through the grace of God, WE did it.

Yes, Jake worked his butt off at Purdue. I worked my butt off teaching him, saving for him, and paying for his college. But God did his part too. You see, God gave me enough strength. I heard him whisper, “I got you, Lisa. Now get out of bed and do it.”

And God did bless my little engineer, with the gift of math and science. Funny, to think seventeen years ago, I saw his gift ( see the video) and today, Jake is a Purdue University engineer graduate. And if you are wondering , yes,I cried like a baby .

God really does have the plan. Can you trust the Whisper?

“ And we know that all things work together for good, for those who love God.” Roman 8:28

 


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How do you talk to a best friend?

Do you have to be somewhere special?

Do you need to arrange a special time?

Do you have to prepare a special speech?

Do you get nervous telling your best friend bad news?

Do you get excited to tell your best friend the good news?

Who do you call when you need the really hard advice ?

Yep, a best friend !

This is how I talk to God … like a best friend .

When my ex had a snowmobile accident leaving him a paraplegic and I, a single mom, was headed for financial ruin with two little kids in tow … I yelled at God ,”Do you see me ? I need your help … come on !”

When his second wife sued my home owners insurance for HIS accident AND won … I looked up at the sky and yelled,”THIS ISNT FAIR … Show me ,you’re with me .”

When my kindergarten girl was banging her head on Target’s floor because she wanted gum but a tile away was soft hazel eyes saying,”I don’t need anything Mom ,” I silently begged with tear-filled eyes ,”Come on God ! Life shouldn’t be so hard … I need help!”

And years later,when my business grew, I allowed my lashes to fall as I saw my picture in Chicago Magazine as one of best financial advisors in Chicago ,”This was ALL YOU, God .You rescued me.”

And when I walk on the beach and look up at the sky ,”YOU did this . You brought me here .”

So on National Day of Prayer, I’m challenging you .

Don’t go anywhere special .

Don’t think of the right words.

Don’t arrange a special time.

Talk to your best friend .

Tell him ….

I’m lost.

I’m sad.

I’m happy.

I lost my job.

I’m broke.

I feel my life is going nowhere.

I love my life.

Like a best friend, he wants the real you … the good, the bad ,and the ugly.

Some of you may say, “I pray but I don’t hear answers back .”

Well, I do find, the time I do hear answers ,are when I’m quiet .

Not praying in a pew in church .

Not praying in bed before I close my eyes .

But in nature ,walking .

And yes ,my daily walks on the beach are my best conversations with God . I simply say, “So here’s what’s going on ..”

My friends say I’m like Batman and I have a direct signal to God.

I don’t know about that, but I do know, as I walk ,a quiet calmness comes over me that can be only described as the Whisper Within…

Hope you,too, can hear the whisper.

“Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything and you will feel his peace .” Philippians 4:6


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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


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I did it. I finally did it.

I laid my scissors on the table and looked around the garage; empty boxes and paper tossed about.

The last box .

I open it up and found what I have been searching for ; a journal from my Florence vacation. I brushed my hand across the supple suede, lifted it to my nose and breathed in the leather, like an aphrodisiac luring me in .I open the pages; exposing the crisp creamy white, begging to be defiled .

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I laid the journal off to the side and stared at the last table in the garage to be let go . Why didn’t I leave this a month ago at the curb in Westlake? There is no room for this in Santa Barbara.

A smirked crossed my face as I remembered what a friend said while packing me, “Nothing significant from your past can go to your future?”

“What d’ya mean?”

“Come on, Lis. You wonder why you don’t have a boyfriend? You still have your old bedroom furniture from Chicago. Let it go.”

With a quick press of the app, I uploaded a photo and tagged it. Free. I let go of my past and opened up my future.

I glanced down at the journal on the table. I turned the page. Time for fresh start. This is saved for something special.

And just like the last unopened box …Maybe, just maybe, God is saving the best for last too. It may be what I was looking for all along.

God has written my story already. I just need to be patient and let him fill the pages.

“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was written in your book.” Psalm 139:16

Can you let go and let the magic begin?


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Disclaimer: the blog is longer but like the  Chicago Cubs winning the World Series at the bottom of the tenth inning ,this blog ( hopefully ) will not disappoint . Pull up a chair, pour your favorite beverage, and get ready to enjoy the extra innings.

I am analytical to a fault. I guess it is habit of my day job being a Certified Financial Planner®. I love to crunch numbers and thrive on spread sheets. I have been called endearingly “Mrs. Right Now” – Yes, I like to “ get it done” and check the box but as a planner I have learned sometimes the plan changes without your permission, as did my own plan.

How so?

Here’s the quick “After the Game” recap for those of you who were not an active viewer of all my strike outs and losing seasons.

Fifteen years ago, I went through a divorce, months after, the father of my children became a paraplegic, I struggled financially raising my two little kids as a single mom, was sued by his second wife for his accident, survived a home robbery, and now have been battling Lyme disease for the last few years. It was not the easy pitch I wanted.

Like a suffering Cub’s fan, I would quip, “Well, there is always next year.”

cubs

As I waited for my winning season to begin, I dug deep, played hard, and trusted that someday God would grant me a victory.

I had my sights on always winning my ” World Series” and to not settle for ordinary.

Six years ago, Pastor Hudak, my Chicago pastor, when I was advising him on his pending retirement said, “ How long ago was John’s accident?”

I rolled my eyes, “Nine years ago.”

“How have you stayed single, Lisa? You really are spectacular.”

Biting my bottom lip to fight back the tears I said, “It hasn’t been easy. I think God has forgotten me.”

Putting his hand over my shaking hand, he said, “Oh, Lisa. He hasn’t forgotten you. He has big plans for you. Your husband is not here. He  is where you are going to be. “

Shaking my head , I asked,“Where am I am going?”

With a comforting smile he said, “You love to run on the beach. I think you are moving to the beach someday. He’s not here. He’s there. It’s coming.”

Well today, like for the Cubs, is a HUGE day. Tonight, the Cubs are headed to the playoffs after winning the World Series last year and I am getting ready to wave my W banner too.

Why?

About two years, I jumped from Chicago to California. And like the Cubs, just making it to the playoffs, this was HUGE. But my dream was to live near the beach and win my own  “World Series”.

For the last six months, I spent most weekends looking for a home by the beach to call mine.

The season seemed so long. I would lose securing a contract to buy, one house after another even when my stats were good. I bid over market. I would throw in a letter of “pick me” hoping a bunt would advance me across home plate. Sometimes even God intervened. When I was the only team playing or bidding on a house, he would give me information, to back out of the batter’s box.

God did not allow me to wave my W flag but taught me patience instead. He loved building the excitement through defeat. Running the bases to be tagged out as I slid into home plate was not the fun I signed up for but I learned to dust of the dirt, wrap up my scrapes and wait for the right pitch or house.

What if the Cubs swept the Indians in the World Series? It would not have been as much fun. Instead God allowed the heavens to open up, come pouring down, and create a rain delay. Why? Because he loves the dramatic.

And boy, I have had enough drama to fill a good series.

So today, the Cub’s playoffs begin and through my numerous “a swing and a miss” times a bat, today I am crossing home plate. When God moves; he moves…. And quickly. It wasn’t long after the rain delay in Cleveland that Cubs became World Series Champs. And the same for me.

Yes, I am realizing my dream. I am moving to the beach and as some call it, “Santa Barbara, heaven on earth.”

So maybe my pastor was right. My husband wasn’t there… but maybe he is here. It’s coming.

Doing a walk-through of my house, my real estate agent quipped, “Lisa, there are two sinks in the master bathroom…. Maybe he is coming.”

With a giggle I replied, “Great. I’ll just spit in one and keep the other warm for him.”

The Cubs waited one hundred and six years to win the World Series. I have waited fifteen so what’s another season?

Time to quit checking boxes, be patient, and wait for God to orchestrate the surprise in His dramatic fashion.

Hebrews 12:1 “Let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.”

Whatever your current situation … kick back, pour yourself a cold one, and enjoy your view.    Trust that God’s timing is always perfect. Go Cubbies!santa barbara

 

 

 

 

 


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south haven

Happy Fourth of July. As I walked by flag-adorned lawns this morning, my thoughts brought me back to our forefathers. They fought for independence and to not be held a hostage to England. They wanted a fresh start, to escape. My mind jumped like a cricket on the grass as I recalled a time I wanted to escape, roughly fifteen years ago.

 As a single mom, with money being tight, the kids and I rarely ever ate out. But tonight I did not have the energy to cook, so I took the easy way out for a change and ordered a pizza. Parking the car in front of Jake’s Pizza Parlor, it should have been a routine pick-up, but it was anything but routine. Walking in with Jake and Tarah, looking at the cashier, I said, “Hi. I’m picking up our pizza.”

“Okay. I’ll be right back.” Then I saw it on the wall. As the man walked to the back of the store, I saw it clear as day—a flyer that read:

               “ John, a thirty-seven-year-old police detective, is paralyzed from the waist down after a February snowmobile accident in Wisconsin. He is a fourteen year veteran of the department, battles escalating medical costs from his permanent spinal cord injury.

  On April 6th, a benefit will be held.

 Smack dab in the middle of the flyer was John’s picture in black and white. As the pizza guy laid the pizza on the counter, Jake, tugged at my jeans and pointed at the flyer, and asked, “Mommy, why’s Daddy’s picture on the wall?”

Suddenly, I lost my appetite.

As I was fumbling through my purse trying to pull out my wallet, I caught the pizza guy looking at me, dumbfounded. His face was stone cold. He glanced down at receipt outside the pizza box, then looked up at me.

Jake always demanding answers to his questions. He tugged at my jacket and once again asked, this time a little louder, “Mommy, why’s Daddy’s picture up there?”

The pizza guy looked at the picture then into my eyes. I did not say a word. He quickly covered his mouth with his hand and closed his eyes ever so briefly. Looking down at Jake, then at me, almost right through me, his eyes offered condolences. He then pleaded, “Please just take the pizza. It’s on us.”

I did not know what to say except the obvious, “Thanks.”

By nature, I don’t play needy, but needy was being dished my way and it was a very deep dish, indeed.

 Back then, I felt held hostage to my life in Schaumburg. I needed to escape. I hated that my life, my story, was plastered around town. The only escape I could afford was a short ride around the bend to South Haven, Michigan. In Michigan, my monkeys and I were free and happy.

That was my story but I like our forefathers I opted for a different ending. I decided to dump the bitter “tea” and start drinking coffee. Are you free or are you held hostage to your “England” and to your past? Is it time to dump the tea and start drinking coffee?

Don’t wait until you hear the loud boom of fireworks to claim your freedom. God’s loudest directions are through his whispers. What is God whispering to you?

Follow me on FB  @ The Whisper Within.


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farmers mkt new

It is Sunday . I am a habit of creature . The above picture is my Sunday ritual – church and then the farmer’s market .Nick, my avocado farmer said ,”You are my favorite customer . You are always so happy . I think we need to take a picture and show your Chicago friends how happy you are.”

I am happy. 

This simple life is what I craved. I wanted lazy weekends relaxing at the beach or adventurous ones maybe hiking a mountain.judy-and-marji

I recently moved from Chicago to California and God surrounded me with two friends, Judy and Marji, who live their dream every weekend. They hike and kayak almost every weekend. They know how to rejuvenate. Do you?

Here are 7 weekend activities to create a more productive work week.

1 ) Sleep in . Give your body & your brain permission to relax. In our ” high productivity ” go- go – go” society – we lack the downtime & therefore our mind, body, and spirit suffer. 

 2)Create alone time and read outside – the view helps relax the mind.

3)Go for a walk or hike with a friend – sharing laughs & stories. The time spent with Judy and Marji lift me up, plus I get benefit of the endorphin release. Bonus.

4)Have a Sunday ritual – whether it is attending a farmers market, going to church , or going for a bike ride .

5)Do your laundry- clean your house but only for an hour. Yes, you heard me right I find I have a better work week if my physical space is not cluttered .- cluttered house equals cluttered mind .

6)Take time to hug someone . Lacking personal contact is the biggest emotional drain. How often during the work day do you hug someone ? You have to get it sometime .

 7)Go to bed early. Turn off the news, quiet your mind, and envision what a happy work week looks like .

What can you add to the list ? You need to create your own joy .

You are the only one who is responsible for your happiness . Give yourself permission to rest . 

” And on the seventh day .. God rested .” 

Are you brave enough to live the authentic life your heart desires ?

What is your soul whispering to you ? Will you listen ? 

 Follow me on FB at the Whisper Within .

 

 


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Featured Image -- 1628

“Blessed is he who is kind to the needy.”—Proverbs 14:21

 My eyes were captivated with the water fountain eight floors below. As I gazed out my floor-to-ceiling windows, I caught my reflection and smoothed out my navy blue suit. It had been so many years that I had been out of the business suit that I was not sure the suit would suit me anymore. So many questions filled my thoughts. Will I be able to fit in at Waterstone Financial Group? Will my co-workers like me? Respect me? How about the clients? Will they accept me? Can I do it all—be a mom and full time financial planner? How do I use the copy machine? Where’s the bathroom? From the complex to the simple, the questions all seemed overwhelming.

“Do you have a minute? Can I come in?”

“Yeah sure, Steve”

“So how is it going for you so far, Lisa?”

“Pretty good.”

“Good. I’m glad. I know I really don’t know you, but I’ve heard good things about you.”

“You have?”

“Yes, just a little bit. I’ve heard you’re very smart and good at what you do.” He paused and then slowly added, “But, more importantly, I’ve heard that you have a caring heart.”

“Thank you. I’m flattered.” I felt a mild blush color my cheeks.

“Lisa, I was wondering if I could ask you a favor?”

“Sure.”

“There’s a little old lady up in Rockford whose husband has recently passed away. She’s called several times to another Waterstone representative but is not getting a return call. She needs help reregistering her account to reflect her husband’s passing. I know there really is no money in it for you, and that it is a good hour away, but I was just wondering if you would be so kind? She really could use the help.”

Without hesitating, I responded, “Of course. I’m happy to help.”

“Thanks, Lisa. And, if I haven’t told you already, as the president of Waterstone, I’m happy to have you on board. You’re a good addition to the office.”

As he walked out my office door, I thought, this whole work thing just may be… good.

Saturday came, and I was so busy getting acclimated to the new work environment that I almost forgot it was my birthday. After an hour drive, I made the left-hand turn that brought me straight into a trailer park. I thought to myself, Well, this is not the normal office visit for most CFPs®, but what would Jesus do? He always said to be humble and help the poor and widowed, so I guess I am being called to do both.

Upon arrival to Marilyn’s trailer home, I took a deep breath. Alright, if this is where you want me, God, so be it.

Who am I to question God and his motives?

At first glance, I came to the conclusion that Marilyn was a sweet old lady. She was wearing a blue flowered house frock dress, a navy blue long sweater, and slippers. She made no pretense on her appearance or who she was but simply greeted me warmly, “Hi Lisa. Thanks for coming out. Did you find my house okay?”

“Yes, thanks, Marilyn. No problem.”

Pointing to the kitchen table she continued, “Is this okay? Can we sit here?”

“Yes, this is fine.”

“I know I didn’t know your husband, or you, for that matter, but I’m sorry. I’m sure it hasn’t been easy.”

“No. It has not been easy, but thank you.”

“So, Marilyn, I printed off a copy of your last statement; here it is.”

Taking out her reading glasses, she took the folded copy, peered at it and said,

“Yep, that’s about right.”

“Looks like you and your husband had a trust, with both of you as trustees.”

Chuckling, she added, “If you say so; all of this confuses me.”

Her face started to deflate like an innertube. She let the tears flow down her cheeks.

I leaned forward, reached out, and covered her hand with mine. “You’re going to be alright, Marilyn.”

“I don’t know. I’m alone, and I’m not sure if I can even live on what I have.”

Putting my CFP® hat on, it was time to ask the hard questions. “So, you are concerned about how you’re going to live? Let’s talk about it, Marilyn. My job is to help you live and be happy. Is it okay to ask you some questions, so I can see if I can help you?”

“Sure.”

“So, let’s start out with what you spend; do you have any idea?”

“Yeah, kinda. My place here is paid for, so there is no mortgage. Ummm, let me go get my bank statements. That will tell me what I spend.”

“Yes, that’s the best place to start.”

As Marilyn made her way to a back room, I took a quick glance around. Her “happy abode” mirrored a typical elderly lady’s home, with plenty of knitted afghans and dollies in sight. Nothing looked like it had been updated in years, but I am sure she was comfortable in her humble surroundings.

“I think I found what you were looking for.”

Sitting down a little closer to me, she put down the bank statement on the kitchen table.

I nodded. “Yes, that will help.”

Putting on her readers she said, “Let’s see, it looks like I spend about three thousand dollars a month.

“Okay. That’s a good start. Do you know what income you bring in Marilyn?”

“What do you mean, Lisa?”

“Well, do you receive Social Security payments?”

“Ya, I know I used to get around $2500 when my husband was alive but now, I think it is half the amount since I won’t get his anymore, will I?”

“No, Marilyn, I’m sorry. You get to choose either his or yours, but not both.”

“Ya, that’s what I thought. So, if that’s the case, how am I gonna live?”

“Umm I am not sure. So let’s see, we do have these investments…” I showed her a copy of the most recent statement. “We could have the dividends paid to you as an option but that won’t make up the difference. We may have to start selling some of the investments to give you additional income.”

“Oh, no. My husband said never to sell any of the investments. He always said to hold on to them. It was our rainy day money.”

“But Marilyn, I know your husband would hate to see you like this, worrying and all.”

“I’ll manage, don’t worry, Lisa. Why don’t you just help me get my husband off the account for now? I’ll worry about everything else later.”

“Okay, Marilyn, if you insist. We’ll start there. By any chance, do you have a copy of Burt’s death certificate?”

“I do. I’ll be right back.”

As Marilyn made her way to the back room again, vibrating sounds emanated from my purse. Leaning down, I pulled my cell from the side pocket. Glancing at the screen, I spotted a text from my friend, Chris: ‘Hey, Lis, are we still on for your birthday? Dinner and a movie?’

I quickly typed back…Yes. I think. I’m in a meeting. It’s taking longer than I thought. I’ll text when I’m finished.

As I put my phone away, Marilyn walked in the room, dragging her feet, almost tripping on her slippers. “Here, Lisa. Here is the death certificate.”

“Okay, Marilyn, I need you to sign this form stating that you want to be listed as the only trustee of the trust. Sign right here, Marilyn.”

I noticed her hand shake a little. I was unsure if it was nervousness or arthritis.

Marilyn signed on the line and then slid the paper over to me along the oak wooden table.

“Good. That will be updated on Monday.”

“Lisa. Thank you. You were kind enough to come out. No one would even return my call.”

“It’s okay, Marilyn. I think this is how God has called me to serve.”

“Oh, Lisa, I don’t really know you, but I feel lucky to have met you. It is rare to find someone who truly cares.”

“Thanks, but I have to admit I’m a little worried about you. How are going to survive?”

Marilyn put both her hands on the kitchen table for leverage and then pushed her chair away from the table. “I’ll be right back.”

Her house dress swayed from side to side as she made her way to the back room.

What’s she up to now?

As she made her way back to kitchen table, I noticed Marilyn not only had a white shawl covering her shoulders but a stack of white papers, about six inches high, covering her forearms.

Releasing the papers to me she asked, “Do you think these could help?”

I took the stack of papers and placed them on the kitchen table.

“So, will they help?” Marilyn asked with round eyes.

I looked at the stack in front of me and realized they were not just any papers but stock certificates of AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.

“Marilyn, where did you get these?”

“Burt always had them in a box under the bed. He said just keep them. They were for a rainy day. So do you think that maybe they are worth something? That they could help me?”

“Oh my goodness. Yes, Marilyn.”

I quickly pulled up Bloomberg on my phone and researched stock quotes to obtain price information. Taking out my calculator, I did some quick estimations on what all the paper in front of me equated to. A million dollars’ worth of stock? Not believing my eyes, I added the certificates up one last time. “Marilyn, these stocks are worth about a million dollars.”

“What?” Her eyebrows shot up in shock.

“I said that these stocks are worth a million dollars. Marilyn, you’re a millionaire.”

“Are you sure? It can’t be.”

“Yes, I’m sure. You’re going to be fine, Marilyn.”

Her face became flush and her eyes began to water. “Oh my God! I don’t believe it. Burt always said to save the box for a rainy day.”

“Well, Marilyn, today it’s not raining. It’s pouring!”

I went on to explain the formalities of how I would reregister the physical stock certificates into book entry form, start paying the dividends to her in cash, and establish a direct deposit so that her income worries would be no more. She would have a comfortable and secure retirement.

When all the business was done, Marilyn walked me to the door and hugged me. “You truly are a gift.”

“Today’s my birthday. You were my gift, Marilyn. I was happy to help.”

 

Driving out of the trailer park, I shook my head, looking at my humble surroundings. Who would have thought that this is how the day would turn out?

I guess I should never question how, when, or where God wants to use me. Heck, I am sure even the stable owner never thought his barn would be the birth place of Jesus… and, like that miracle, today felt like a miracle too, delivered for a sweet old lady, named…. Marilyn.

As the old saying goes, it is better to give then to receive. No birthday cake or presents were needed. This birthday girl adorned a giant smile, and not even a party hat would make her outfit more complete.

 


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wish

2002 was the year my life forever changed… divorced and shortly afterwards my ex became a paraplegic. That year, I had learned to scrimp on everything and live off very little. McDonald’s was an infrequent dining experience, free videos from the library saved a trip to Blockbusters and the hefty $3.69 rental fee, garage sale shopping became an art form, and trips to Target were only made to acquire necessities. My kids were five and six. We were team, poor but surviving. I thought for sure I would remarry and pretty quickly,but my plans were not God’s plans.The financially worry was taken off the table but he never let my potential husband pull up a seat to join me, even for dessert.  By 2010, when my first born entered high school I made a deal with God, “I get it. You want me to stay single. Fine. I’ll take your deal and raise it by two chips… but by the time I’m 50 I don’t want to be dating.”

Well, this week I turned 50 … and without a husband in sight. I thought God forget to deal me my cards.  Before I could blow out my birthday candle a friend reminded me , “Lisa once again you were not specific with your prayers to God .You said you did not want to be dating and you’re not!” The room of friends giggled like schoolgirls at a sleepover.

As I blew out my candle I was eight years again with braces and pigtails making a wish. I know it is bad luck to tell your wish but my wish doesn’t need any luck. You see,  I no longer wish for a husband (Oh I still want one )… but I wished that I keep surrendering to HIS Plan. I see God has granted me all my wishes in HIS time.  The beach. The mountains. And good friends.cambria

I know God loves me and knows my heart.  There are no more deals since I am waiting for the real deal( and so should you!)  Proverbs 20:24 ” I don’t know where the path is leading but I know who is leading the path.” I am 50 and happy. No deals. No wishes.  Only God’s whispers.  I will bravely cross the bridge to the other side and willingly walk to where God is leading me. Can you be brave enough to wait and listen to the Whispers Within?cambria-bridge

 

 

 

 


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angels-2

A year ago, as I was about to move from Chicago to LA a friend said, “ Pollyanna, you are too kind . You will be eaten alive. No one in Los Angeles is nice.”

Well a few Sundays ago, my friend was proven wrong. I was sitting at The Malibu Farmer’s Market enjoying a Greek salad, like my grandma Genevieve used to make, when an unkempt man approached me. He sat down at my table and said, “That looks good. I am starving. Do you have any money so I could buy one?”

Before I could answer, a gentleman approached the table and said, “If you’re hungry, I would be willing to share my sandwich.” The homeless man, got up and walked away.

I asked the kind stranger, “You want to join me?”

For the next two hours Robert and I shared stories like old friends. He told me a miraculous story about a life- threating car accident when his car was hit by a twenty -five foot truck and spun like a carnival ride gone crazy. He remembers not much more until he was surrounded by dozen or so white coats. The head of trauma said, “What God do you pray to? Because he or she really loves you. Protection shields are covering you that we’ve never seen before. It is a miracle you are alive.”

My open-mouth response was, “Wow.”

Robert continued to tell me that the over the next couple of months, his bruises never had a chance to heal since that was only the first of three car accidents!

We continued to share stories and then he asked me, “Do you know what Schomer means?”

“Shoemaker.”

“Yes, but it also means to guard, watch, or preserve The way you embraced that stranger you have spiritual kindness about you.”

I blushed with embarrassment, “I did nothing~ you were the one intervening.”

We laughed as kindred spirits until it was time for him to head back home. As Robert stood up from the table he said, “Lisa, I want to tell you one more thing. I wasn’t planning to come here today but something nudged me, last minute, to turn into the farmer’s market.

I said, “We were supposed to meet. That is how God works.”

Robert walked away and I thought, here is a man who has suffered so much but he is sympathetic to the homeless, shares his gentle spirit without restraint, and lifted up a stranger. Robert was a gift that afternoon, like an angel.

Hope is right front of you. You have to be willing to open your heart or invite it sit at your table.

Hebrews 13:2 “Don’t forget to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this, have entertained angels.’

This Midwestern Pollyanna knows that I am home. I have become me. I have arrived in the city of Angels.


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Love Always Wins !

jociLove Always Wins.

Tuesday, was Election Day but to me it was so much more. If you believe in hope and Love read on… but if you don’t stop right here! You have been warned this post has more saccharin in it than could kill a mouse.

I woke up today and decided to get balloons and streamers to host my first “pity party” I grew up with a strong German father that such festivities were not allowed in the house, let alone near the driveway. Well, sorry to disappoint you dad but today I could not leave all the crap at the curb. I was dealt a bad hand and today I was asking God to reshuffle the deck.

What kind of hand was I dealt, you may ask? Well for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of playing euchre with me and are new to my table, I give you a quick recap of the previous tournaments and losing hands.

Fifteen years ago, the first hand the dealer dealt was divorce. I asked for extra cards and was dealt my ex becoming a paraplegic. Every time I sat to play, the crazy cards delivered something fun a quick recap for those keeping score at home; Divorce, ex become a paraplegic, financially broke, a lawsuit from my ex’s crazy second wife suing somehow my insurance from his snowmobile accident, burglary, and now Lyme disease.

So the past few weeks, even though I get IVs twice a week and are on two different antibiotics to kill the Lyme, have a recently added a third antibiotic to deal with another infection, had a back tooth pulled from Lyme too, I was great ! I was willing to sit down at the table and like my Grandma Laura from Ohio used to say while shuffling the deck  I stoically said, “Let’s play cards!” That was until poison ivy !

So yes, poison ivy made me want to blow my party horn directly at God. I yelled, “Seriously, Do you see me God?”

Lacing up my Brooks, I decided to go for a quick run, Before I could even turn the corner, there was Huey my beautiful old gentleman neighbor with arms outstretched, “ Lisa! I have missed you.”

With a bear hug he continued, “Just seeing you makes me happy!”

As I release my stout friend, I allowed my tight- mouth smile to open and say, “Aww Huey. Thanks, I feel the same about you.”

As I walked away, I looked up at the sky as tears evacuated my eyes and with a smirk said, “You do see me!”

Later that day, I was dealt a few aces under the table. I received a call from a California friend who was on vacation in Hawaii. She called to say that she felt pushed to call me today. Was I alright?

Then to round out my playing hand, I received two Jacks (right and left bower) of the trump card later that afternoon. The highest cards!! (Sorry if you have never played Euchre!)

As I walked to my doctor’s office, I saw Jaci, my beautiful warm-hearted nurse standing with out-stretched arms. As she wrapped her arms around me I could not helped but feel loved.

Within seconds she presented me with a Cub’s World Series t-shirt. She said, “You gave me a Ferris Bueller’s list of what to do on my Chicago vacation, how could I not repay you?”

I don’t cry easy but today I could not contain my joy. Jaci is a gift to anyone who is lucky to come in contact with her lovely spirit. She epitomes the saying, “Beautiful inside and out.”

I responded by saying, “I feel loved.”

She said, “You get love because you give love.”

Yes! LOVE ALWAYS WINS!

Today I did not hang streamers or blow up balloons- there would be no pity party! As my stern but strong grandma Laura used to say  hitting her hand swiftly on the table while playing euchre, “ Here, here now! Quit the table talk! Let’s play cards!”

“We are pressed on every side by troubles but we are not crushed. We are perplexed as why things happen but we don’t give up and quit.” 2 Corinthians 4: 8

“Stay away from complaining and arguing … in a crooked and depraved world so that you may shine like a beam of great light!” Philippians 2:14-15

 

Deal with the hand you’re dealt! LOVE ALWAYS WINS!

 

 

 


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blinkGo ahead and blink.

As a CFP®, I am analytical to a fault. I love to crunch numbers and have  all the data  add up before I draw any conclusions.  However, I know some of my best decisions happened in a blink of an eye.

One of the best books I have ever read was “Blink,” The Power of Thinking, Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.  Mr. Gladwell distinctly writes, “Our unconscious reactions come out of a locked room, and we can’t look inside that room. But with experience we become experts at using our behavior and our training to interpret-and decode-what lies behind our snap judgements and first impressions.”

Malcolm’s “Blink” is right on the money.  I had too many strange coincidences to ignore the signs as I was contemplating a move from Chicago to Westlake Village, CA,  July 2015.

As I wrote in a previous blog, I had the coincidental pleasure of meeting Gregg Vanourek, an inspiring author and professor, just as I was contemplating this move. Read blog at link below.

https://thewhisperwithin.live/2016/09/15/sleepless-to-serendipity/

 

Greg said, “Lisa the Brave, Lisa the Happy. You need to do this.”  He was the first sign I received that weekend. The signs continued.  I decided to try a few Churches in the area, one in particular, Calvary Community. After the service, I went up to Pastor Shawn and introduced myself.  The conversation went something like this.

“Hi. I am visiting from Chicago and may be looking to move here in the Fall.”

Pastor Shawn reaching out and shaking my hand he said, “Chicago? I was just there last night, a town called Schaumburg.”

I felt the chills up and down my spine, “Schaumburg? Really? That’s where I am from.”

Pastor Shawn looked quizzically at me, “Really? I was there for an Iwana’s conference in Streamwood.”

“Well, thanks for the sermon. I may see you in a few months. We shall see.”

I closed my eyes, slightly nodded my head and walked away knowing I received another confirmation. I spent the remainder of the day looking for a place to live. After viewing rental upon rental, my agent and I were parked in a driveway of the last home. I was exhausted and didn’t even want to go in.I walked into the last place. blink. It just felt right. I knew it was the one.

Later that afternoon, while signing the lease the real estate agent asked, “So tell me about your kids?”

“My daughter is LA at Otis College of Arts in Design and my son is at Purdue.”

She said, “Purdue? My son went there and now he is professor. What is your son studying?”

“Engineering.”

Looking astonished she said, “My son is an Engineer Professor.”

Blink. It happened again. I knew this move was the right decision and being blessed by God. Once all the contracts were signed, I decided to take a drive. Years ago Colorado was on my radar screen to move to since I love the mountains. North Carolina was also a possible destination since I love the beach. Looking in my rear view mirror, I saw the Santa Monica Mountains, in front to me I saw the crystal sands and the turquoise waves  in Malibu calling me, calling me home.  Tears ran down my face as I realized God knew me better than I knew myself. He gave me both the mountains AND the beach. It has been worth the journey seeing this is what God had planned for me, after being a single mom for almost fifteen years.

Amazingly, the following week my home in Chicago sold. A few weeks later as the moving company was packing up my belongings one of the movers commented, “Well, don’t worry .Rob told us to take good care of you.”

Looking puzzled, “Rob?”

The mover confirmed, ” Yes, Rob . He said he was your ex’s roommate in college.”

Blink. Unknown to me  the President of the moving company that I hired was not only a fellow Leatherneck, WIU alumni, but my ex’s roommate who I spent a lot of  time with my Senior year. Another sign God was orchestrating this plan. Proverbs 20:24″ Since the Lord is directing our steps why try to understand everything that happens along the way?”

With a Blink of an Eye…everything changed.

The power of “Blink” was overwhelming or as I like to call it the whisper within.

So in career, life, and maybe even in love trust your “blink” instincts. Have you experienced a blink moment, where no analysis or spreadsheet was necessary it just felt right? Feel free to comment .


3 Comments

Sleepless to Serendipity

life-book

Serendipity: Luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for; A fortunate happenstance. (Merriam-Webster)
I tossed. I turned. I took Sominex. Nothing worked. Not even the softest 1000 thread count sheets and cloud-like down comforter could lull me to sleep and finally ease my restless mind. As I pulled back the stiff tan curtains and stared at the mountainside, the morning sun came blasting in and exposed my doubtful mind, “What am I doing in Calabasas, CA? I am crazy? I can’t do this but this is all this I dreamed about.” Just then I hear my cell ringing. Walking in a daze over to the night stand, I see the name “JULIE” on the phone and quickly answered.
“Hey, how are you doing?” Julie asked.
“Not good. I didn’t sleep a wink.”
“I figured you didn’t. That’s why I called.”
“Julie, I gotta admit, I am nervous. I have been praying for an answer, for a sign.”
“Are you kidding me? Lisa, seriously some people pray that they get one sign in their whole life. You get three in a week and you are still questioning God to show you more.”
Bowing my head down, my mouth twitched in defeat, “You are right. Thanks Jules. I am going to go for a walk and hopefully get my answer.”
After pressing the end call button, I let the phone fall onto the comforter. I peeled off my pajamas hoping the doubt from that sleepless night would leave me too. Quickly, I threw on my running shorts, laced up my Brooks, threw my hair in a messy bun, and headed out the door. All good intentions of a run to clear my head was detoured with the smell of bacon. Grabbing a plate at the buffet line, I loaded up on bacon, pancakes, fruit, almost everything; until not a trace of the plate was exposed. Heading out the glass door, I made my way to a round table outside by the pool to take in the sunshine.
As I was sipping my coffee, a stranger walked by and with a pleasant smile said, “Wow, that’s how you should eat breakfast. Outside.”
Quickly the jovial stranger walked away but in a few minutes, he appeared balancing a plate full of breakfast and a coffee cup headed in my direction. “Do you mind if I join you?”
“No, of course not.”
Sitting poolside, the gentleman did not put his toes in but jumped in my pool of thoughts, “So what are you doing here?”
“Well, I am from Chicago, but I am thinking of moving to WestlakeVillage/Thousand Oaks area. I may sign a lease today.”
“Really? That’s where I grew up but now live in Sweden.”
“Sweden? What are you doing here?”
“Family wedding…but the real question is what’s your story? Why are you moving?”
With a smirk I said, “My story? Do you have five minutes or five hours?”
“Let’s go for 5 minutes.”
I proceeded to tell the friendly stranger my story, “About fifteen years ago I went through a divorce, my ex became a paraplegic, I grew my business, and as a single mom went through the rollercoaster of raising my kids by myself. I always said that when they got to college I would do something different. So I guess here is different.”
“Wow that is not a story. That’s a book.”
“Ha, Ha. Funny you say that, I wrote a book about all my strange coincidences.”
“Well then, you need to do this!”
Looking at the outgoing man, I lowered my head and softly answered, “Thanks. I probably will.”
Picking up his plate… he sincerely said, “Lisa the Brave, Lisa the Happy. Let’s exchange emails.”
A few days later I have to admit I had to know who this inspirational stranger was so I Googled him. He is an author, a leader, a teacher. I have read his book, “Life Entrepreneurs – Ordinary People: Creating Extraordinary Lifes. ”  By Gregg Vanourek .One of the best books I have read about carving a life for yourself filled with passion and happiness. It asks the question, “How can we live extraordinary lives?” One of the best quotes in the book is, “Once we have a clearer sense of who we are and what we need and value, we become more awake to opportunities that may rise that resonate with what we want to do with our lives.”
How ironic, just as I was contemplating a life change, God led Gregg to me;the inspiring author of “Life Entrepreneurs,” a book that inspires courage to pursue the passionate life you were meant to lead. Gregg inspired me to walk forward and carve out the life I desired. Pick up his book; it could lead you on the journey that you have been searching for. Gregg left a footprint on my life. Inspiring book. Great author. Better person.
“If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him and he will gladly tell you.” James 1:5
Once again I asked for a sign and God answered. Some call it serendipity or a strange coincidence. I like to call it the whisper within.
You can follow my blog at http://www.thewhisperwithin.live
This was not last sign from that crazy weekend. Stay tuned for future blogs …

 

 

 

 

 

 


5 Comments >

 

Cali!

Silly Lisa…learning to surrender.

I know with all certainty, through my journey ,that we are all connected.  God has put individuals along my path; however the reason I may not discover until years later.Sometimes it took a whole decade to discover  why…

Rolling up my yoga mat and wiping the perspiration off my forehead… who am I kidding? More like toweling off  after a long shower, with my body drenched in sweat, I step outside into a beautiful Chicago Spring day to feel the wind at my neck, cooling me off. Standing outside, enjoying the breeze is my yoga teacher. With gratitude I comment, ” Thanks, Corey. Great class!

Looking over he says, ” I notice something about you. You can do the  poses but you don’t know how to practice yoga.”

Looking over at my teacher( who I admired , may I add), ” What do you mean? I don’t get it?”

” Yep. ” he quipped.  “Like I said you don’t do know how to practice yoga. You don’t release. You practically hold your breath during the poses.”

I tried to offer an explanation, “I guess it’s the years of being a gymnast, I would hold my breathe before tumbling passes.”

” No, it is more than that. You need to learn to surrender, ” Corey said.

Feeling slightly offended, I tried to defend myself, “Hey, you don’t know me. I have been through a lot .” My frustration sparked my spontaneity to continue, “A divorce, my ex becoming a paraplegic, being a single mom for the last dozen years, running my own business. I am strong. I don’t need to surrender. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13″

Shaking his head slightly, the master yogi responded, ” Strength is in surrendering.”

Knowing I was not going to win this battle,  I conceded. I nodded my head and said, ” Alright, see ya Corey.”  and walked away.

Fast forward, to 2014, After a year of MRIs, Cat scans, blood tests, numerous doctors, no one could figure out why I was sick.Finally in 2015, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease  It was humbling. I was no longer strong physically or mentally… and ” Sassy pants”, as some of my friends call me, did not exist.  It was humbling  but truthfully it was the best thing that could happened to me .

I finally learned to surrender. ” For when I am weak , then I am strong-the less I have, the more I depend on God.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

So today, in yoga class, as I am laying in savasana(  translated :the dead mans pose for non yogis) I thought about Corey, my master yoga teacher, and silently I laughed . He was right ! There is strength in surrendering! As I lay on my mat I took a deep breath in and finally released a HUGE exhale.  Thanks Corey!And as I looked at the ceiling… my eyes try to penetrate through to the sky to the heavens and thank the one who knows my heart and keeps me surrendering. Namaste.

 

 

 


14 Comments >

lisa buck tooth

Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I was different but not in the normal way that one wants to be. My first recollection of this was in second grade. I was not pretty by normal standards in fact my nickname was “Buck Tooth Beaver”. Kids can be so cruel. If I couldn’t be the “pretty girl” at least I could be the “smart girl” or “nice girl”. At times it was very painful to be teased, but at other moments I knew it was NOT who I was. I knew deep in my soul that I was special. My second grade teacher, Mrs. Succop told me so. (God bless her, wherever she is today!) She wrote on my report card,” You can truly tell Lisa has Jesus in her heart through her words and actions. She is Jesus’ little lamb.” (I think my mom still has that report card today if you want to see it! Ha!)

Mrs. Succop had the kindest spirit and inspired me to have a caring heart. She was an example of a servant and I wanted to be like her. Years later, as a CFP®, I take my calling to serve very seriously. I am blessed to serve wonderful clients who have trusted me through the good and bad times of the stock market…. And some downright UGLY times.

Sometimes you have to go through a little ugly to end up prettier on the other side… Growing up on five acres in rural Chicago, my dad taught me and my three siblings that horse manure made the crops grow. Sometimes you just have to dig deep, shovel the sh##, and be patient and the garden would flourish. Same can be applied to investments. Even though last August the market stunk like manure; the DJIA was around 15,400 but if you dug deep and did not abandon your crops, a year later The DJIA(8/29/16) closed at 18,668. History has shown that some of the ugliest sectors, the year following can be the best sector. Will this be true for oil investments?

Patience paid off for my clients this year and patience also paid off for the little eight year old, “buck tooth beaver” . I embrace the hard lessons. God sometimes brings us through the tough times, to build trust. As a CFP® I am thankful my clients have learned to trust me and know that eventually things do turn around…and I am thankful for those mean girls too. They gave me the motivation to work harder, be smarter, but most of all, just like my childhood days shoveling manure in the barn, they dished me the crap… so I could blossom. I learned the hard lesson that with the right amount of “crap”… eventually everything would be smelling like roses.

…Romans 8:28 “And we know God works all things for good for those who love him.”… EVEN The Bad stuff!

So what is your ugly story? How did your “bad” turn to good? Where did patience finally pay off?

You can follow my blog at http://www.thewhisperwithin.live