The Whisper Within

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


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This past weekend, I attended my church retreat in the Santa Monica Mountains.

It was beautiful, fun, and restful. As I made new friends and visited with familiar ones, I felt like a kid at camp, sitting on a log, roasting marshmallows on a stick.

Even though I was filled with bliss over the weekend, I admit that yesterday, as I washed my dinner plate, I thought, Ugh! Why do I feel the funk creeping back in? Ugh! You are alone.

I dried my dish and thought of the demographics of the retreat attendees. Married! So many married couples!

I looked out the window and up at the sky and said, “You know what is going on? Let me keep focused on all the good you bring me. Drown negative thoughts and restore my silly, child-like joy.”

Today, as the light filtered through my sheer curtains, a smile covered my face. Morning! I love that God does not allow my hiking boots to get stuck in the mud but gives me clean fresh boots every morning. And like a kid excited to go hiking at camp, I strapped on my backpack, hopeful, for the new day.

I worked and then looked at the clock and thought, 10 o’clock. Time for Kipper’s walk. But before I did, I heard the whisper, call the box office. So, I did!

“Hello! I’m looking for tickets for a Death Cab for Cutie?”

“We have one ticket left in general admission, and we take no phone orders.”

I looked at my officemate and said, “Kipper, let’s go! Time for a walk.”

Kipper must’ve anticipated my excitement because I was not prepared for a run, but Kipper was on a full pace and had me not skipping but jogging down the street in no time.

Eight blocks later, I walked up to the ticket booth and said, “Is that one ticket still available?” It was meant to be. A credit card was handed, I snapped a picture and then sent a text to my favorite concert junkie saying, “Guess who is going to Death Cab for Cutie?”

Tarah, my daughter, responded, “cute.”

As I walked home, I tipped my hat and threw a smirk up at the sky, you do hear me!

1 John 5:15 “And since we know that he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.”


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Yesterday, my daughter who is now twenty-five (How is that possible?) asked me to find a picture of her on the first day of Freshman year of high school. With all the back-to-school posts on Facebook, is it possible she is getting sentimental?

As I dug through boxes, I found this little girl.

2nd grade- Little Lisa – “Jesus Little Lamb”

I examined my 2nd grade “picture day” photo and remembered how I worried about being ugly; recalling being teased and given the nickname “The Bucktooth Beaver.” (Kids can be so mean!) As I looked closer at the photo I also remembered what my Second Grade teacher, Mrs. Succop called me too, Jesus Little Lamb. I grabbed my phone and texted her the picture and wrote.

My beautiful teacher~ I look at this little girl and remember being so worried about the mean girls making fun of me … I worried I never would fit in. But because of your love, showering me with the love of Jesus, I stopped worrying and started wondering, wondering about our Savior, and start wondering more about Him than myself.

The next day she responded telling me it was a privilege to love me and a gift to see really young ones who the world did not know or value.

Her response got me thinking, when did we replace wonder with worry?

What do you worry about?

Will I get the right job? Will my kids get the right job?

Will my kids go to college?

Will my family stay healthy?

What do you wonder about?

Think back to your childhood…

What did you want to want to be?

What did you wonder?

Was it, would I get picked for the recess kickball game?

I admit I was boy crazy since first grade. I wondered if I would get to sit on the bus next to Eric Berg for the field trip.

Close your eyes and think back to maybe the summer of 1981? or 1985? What songs were playing on the radio? What color was your bike that you rode around the neighborhood with your best friends until dark? Did you wonder what high school would be like? Or who you would go to Prom with?

With a new school year starting and none of my children in school, I do think time is passing so quickly.

I am older and my dad is eighty-nine, so I do think about or wonder when he will die. I don’t worry since I know he will go to heaven and enjoy a new life of wonder.

As I am writing this, I am looking at my 2nd grade picture, buckteeth and all, and remembering and thanking God for my sweet teacher, who made a difference in my life, and helped me wonder. ( Yes, you teachers DO make a difference!)

God does not want us to worry but to wonder. I would love to hear what you remember about your childhood. What did you wonder?

“Show the wonder of His great love.” Psalm 17:7


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Today has been a relaxing Sunday. Church. Grocery shopping and then Kipper and I took a stroll through the neighborhood. As Kipper and I wait to cross the street I think, This fits.

But then I recall what I scribbled in my journal last week as my plane was departing New York City.

The plane tilts. The plane straightens. I am on a flight back from New York, headed home to Santa Barbara.

My thoughts wander just as I did this past weekend through the streets of NYC. I look out the oval plane window and recall my kids and I, enjoying the city.

– Three sets of eyes gazing into the fog peering for a glimpse of The Statue of Liberty

– Jake & I having a New York minute.

– Three pairs of somber eyes looking down into the everlasting waterfall of the 911 memorial.

So much to do! So little time to do it! The weekend was packed with excitement just like a sold out show at Madison Square Garden.

I think, I love the city! I miss the city!

A big grin covers my face as I recall what my kids said to me as I skipped through Central Park, “Mom, you are like a character out of movie! So silly!”

Jake, Tarah, and I enjoying a picnic

As I recall that observation I think, I am! My mouth twitches as I remember what the main character Melanie from Sweet Home Alabama says near the end of the movie. She says, “My life in New York works, Jake. But then I come down here… and this fits too.”

My eyes shut. My eyes open. Yes, the beach fits but so does the city.

I look out the window and my thoughts are lost in the clouds. What do you want God? Where do I belong ?

I see snow-capped mountains out my window. Wow! Beautiful!

I gaze closer at the mountain range Who knows where I belong ? I don’t . But I know to whom I belong.

Maybe just maybe I will live part time in Chicago and part-time in Santa Barbara. Who knows?

I shut my eyes and dream of all the possibilities.

So the blog I wrote a week ago isn’t about me trying to figure out where to live, the beach or the city. It is about something bigger.

I have heard from many friends and clients who are trying to plan and figure out “The what’s next ?” We are stuck in the day to day but want to know what the next month, year, or even ten years may bring. Will I marry ? Will I move?

So why am I sharing this? Because through my life journey I know we have a real and personal Jesus, who loves us, listens to us, and wants to guide us. We just need to be open, listen, and believe in THE WHISPER WITHIN.

As for me, I plan to be surprised.

“We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God’s hands.” Proverbs 16:1


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

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

I giggled so hard bringing me back to my childhood.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So let’s giggle more like kids!

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

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


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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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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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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.

rainbow

 

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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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.

IMG_6959

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


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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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Ugh garbage night !

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

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

Crap !

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

” So you must be my new neighbor …”

” Yep, I’m Lisa .”

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

“Nope . I’m fine .”

” Definitely Chicago. Stubborn .”

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

“So, why here ,Chicago girl ?”

” I wanted the simple life .”

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

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

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

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

Wow,this is heaven on earth .

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

Step by step I walked down the cobblestone walkway .

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

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

” Nope . I’m single .”

I leaned down and pet the Cocker Spaniel .

” How old are you , Lisa?”

” I’m fifty . ”

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

I leaned in and hugged the white locks.

So … say hello to Kipper .

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

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

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

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

Psalm 37:4


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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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Today Facebook reminded me of this special day, two years years ago.
July 17, 2015 will forever be etched on my brain. I am so grateful for all my friends who supported me through my journey, my new CA friends, but mostly to God who makes me brave and happy. He had the plan all along.
” The heart that is brave is not ours; it is God’s ” ~ Randall Wallace

JULY 17, 2015
In the last 14yrs, through the divorce,the father of my children becoming a paraplegic,  being a single parent , being broke, dealing with a home robbery, and now Lyme disease, the grace of God sustained my hope and gave me strength to daily walk forward . Well today I did not just walk, I took a leap . I signed a lease in CA  and purchased a one way tix to LAX . Gotta trust God has the plan. So grateful to all my friends  and family who have blessed my amazing journey . I have seen Jesus reflected through you . I may not know where the path is leading but I know who is leading the path . I am ready yet scared to start the next chapter . I will miss you all dearly & until we meet again ” I thank God everytime I remember you .” Phil 1:3

lisa fl beach


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kayak

It is 2 am and I am awoken to my t-shirt soaked like I just jumped in  a pool. (Guess my swimming dream was my wet reality) . This “herxing effect” hopefully is sweating out the toxins and drowning my Lyme disease “bug” in the process. I grab the spare t-shirt and my phone off of the night stand. In hopes to coax myself back to sleep, I peruse Twitter. One of my “friends” retweeted a tweet from a Glennon Doyle. I am not that familiar with her so I click on the link that expands her quote.

“From an early age, we are conditioned to ignore the voice within when considering who we are and what our goals are, and instead to look outward—to our family, friends, church, community, and even our critics. In a million different ways we ask them: What should I want? What should I be? And the more our inner whispers fade from disuse….”

The words voice within & whisper jump off the page and lit up my screen and my brain. (How could it not, when my blog is called the whisper within?) I acknowledge Ms. Doyle’s voice so I continue to read her post.

“…In my latest column for @oprahmagazine, I share my coin-toss strategy — a tool we can use to trick our inner voice into screaming until we can hear her whispering.”

Reading her words, I am back in the deep-end of the pool, drowning in sadness. Why do we need” to trick our inner voice into screaming until we can hear her whispering?”

I am not challenging her words. Maybe they are true but I am asking,” Is that how most women feel? Is that why she has a loyal following of seekers?

I sit up in my soaked sheets and questions spin in my brain like the ceiling fan above. “Maybe it is me? Maybe I was born without the typical “girl” approval -seeking gene? Maybe I am a product of my father, a stoic German, who never allowed for a beer stein to be raised for an Oktoberfest “pity party”? But maybe I am the result of the last fifteen years when I became divorced, financially broke, and my ex became a paraplegic. I learned very quickly when I was caught in the racing rapids of my life there was no time for indecision.   I had to reach for that life- jacket (and fast) or be drowned plunging over the waterfall.

My memory blurs like the ceiling fan blades, as I recall all the potential boulders in my river; divorce, ex a paraplegic, being broke as a single mom with two little kids to raise , a lawsuit from my ex’s wife, for his snowmobile accident, a home robbery, and now Lyme disease.

I let my head sink back into the mushy pillow in surrender. And then it hits me, “The key is surrender. You need to armor yourself with a life jacket.”

I look down at the phone and read Ms. Doyle’s last words, I use it to ask myself what I want instead of asking the world what it wants from me. It helps me forget about being perfect and focus instead on being free.”

This is where I disagree. I do not ask what I want or  what the world wants from me but what does God want for me?

That’s right, I have learned to surrender that someone had all my twists and turns of my kayak figured out. God. He did not allow my kayak to tip. When I went to Him, he jumped in , gave me an extra paddle to navigate and His life- jacket as protection. And he still does.

“If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you.” James 1: 4

No need to trick our inner voice. No need for a coin toss .  And no need to kayak alone. All you need to do is be brave enough to get in the water , seek God in all you do and he will gladly whisper to you.

“Tell me what you want me to do, and I’ll do it” Psalm 119: 13

P.S. This came in HUGE this week as I asked God, “If you don’t want this, take my kayak out of the water.”… And he did.  ” He leads me besides the quiet streams… ” Psalm 23:1

 


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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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Cali!

Funny to think it was five years ago that I wrote this Facebook post.

May 28, 2012

” You know you are living in the wrong place when you you feel complete bliss running the lakefront downtown instead of the streets of Schaumburg.”

That was five years ago when I lived in Chicago … and now I live in CA.

When we were children, we played in the streets. We did not know the meaning of fear. I know I would swing high on a playground swing and when I would reach the top of the arc, I would jump and try to land as far as I could. I was not competing against anyone- except myself . I was not afraid to get a little “road rash”, if it meant a greater achievement for the day. I would dust the pebbles that were embedded in my knees and know tomorrow, I would try for a greater distance.

Can you say this is true for you today? Or have you lost your inner-child like wonder?

Are you just doing enough to get by?

If money, time, and responsibilities were not an option, what would you do to let the child in you free?

God gave you talents and he expects you to use them. You do the world a disservice by not using your gifts. Dream Big!

God knows our heart & plants the whispers, all we need to do is listen … and daily walk forward to get our authentic self .

Yes, the picture is ME-five years ago. I am not afraid to wipe out, dust off the sand, and get back up. It is time to release the child in you and dream BIG! Be brave!

Follow me on Facebook at The Whisper Within.

” Be strong and courageous. The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

 


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North

Facebook kindly reminded me that four years ago today, I was in North Carolina as my son was contemplating University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Duke University as possible college choices. I remember standing clear as as the blue sky in the photo, dreaming of the beach cottage to call mine. I was ready that someday, maybe ten to fifteen years from then, I would retire on the East Coast and be a storybook character in one of Nicholas Spark’s silly romantic novels. My straw hat was ready!

I was wrong. God had completely different plans for me – only two short years later. He moved me from the Windy City to the City of Angeles. How appropriate! He knows I have never been about a big house but more about people with a big heart. He knows my soul and surrounded me with the simple joys of smiles, sea glass, and sand.

judy

This is where my soul meets my body.

“We can make our plans but the final outcome is in God’s hand.” Proverbs 16:9

I am glad  I learned to let go and let God…and that I kept my straw hat handy.

 

 


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  nigeriaRomans 12:6 “We all have different gifts, according to the grace of God given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in portion to his faith.”

February 2013

Ever have one of those days when everything seems so unclear? That everything seems to be a wreck? That there are no answers and you are lacking direction? Well, I seem to be having one of those days… or months. Honestly, I have been having a year like that. Today was no different. The last month or so between, the harassment, the burglary, the investigation, my neighbor Joe dying, life has been simply exhausting. Not to mention I am buried at work, since it’s tax time. But am I complaining? No. Well honestly, a little bit.

What makes matters worse is that it is typical Chicago winter. Cold, dark, dreary, lacking sunshine. Basically the weather is reflecting my spirit, simply depressing.
Every day, I get out bed and force myself to find the joy. Joy in the little things, like a hot shower, a morning run with Hunter, a good strong cup of coffee, yoga, and finally flannel PJs at the end of the day.
Today though I have an unquenchable desire to know why? Why has the last couple of months been so difficult?  Why I am forced to “suck-up” the crap and just “deal?”  Has God left me alone to struggle and why do I feel like Jesus on the cross when he said, “My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?”  Does He think I thrive on chaos? That “happy” Lisa can just take it?Does God even see me anymore?
It always seems like in the shower I do my clearest thinking and praying. I turn the shower on, waiting for it to get to the right temperature, boiling hot. As the scorching water runs down me, it resembles a baptism; baring my naked soul to God.
I have no shame in my aloneness. I expose my frustration out loud to God.
Screaming accusingly at God, “Where are you? Do you even see me anymore? Give me something? Show me something? … I am begging you, (and then louder for extra emphasis I yell) I AM BEGGING YOU, SEND ME HOPE…SOME SIGN that I am NOT alone!”
And just like Eve, I covered myself up in a towel, embarrassed that I was contemptuous toward God and gave in to a pity party.  I brush off my silly request to God, head off to work, and go through the motions of getting by another day without the answers I deserve.
The day passes slowly and I decide that nothing would come of any good today.  How could I effectively counsel and provide answers when I lacked answers in my own life?  Today I was worthless.So I left work early, headed to the grocery store to pick up a couple items.  Little did I know a typical grocery shopping trip would not be ordinary but extraordinarily bizarre. In the express check- out lane, I lug the forty five pounds of dog food onto the conveyor belt and then gently place the dozen of fresh baked chocolate chips cookie alongside. As I look forward, standing in front of me is a middle-aged, African-American woman, heavy set, with deep, dark eyes strikingly wearing an orange and red- designed turban. Some would describe as Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Buttersworth. She looks distinctly at me and quickly references my two items. In a strong, Nigerian or African dialect she comments and points to the dog food and cookies,
“You need to keep the dog happy and the kids happy.” Then adding in a creeping undertone, “You need to keep the dog fed so he can baaark at the burrggllars.”
 I looked at her, dead straight into her eyes, and start nervously laughing, “Ha, well that didn’t work. I was robbed in December. The silly dog did not do anything.”
Without hesitation she reaches over and squeezed my right arm and while still gripping my arm she unnervingly slowly whispers, “That’s because he KNEW the burglars.”

I felt a spine-tingling sensation rush through my bones. Startled and shocked I questioned, “What? What did you say?”Not wavering in her strong conviction, “I SAID… that’s because He KNEW the burglars.”

“Ok… Now that’s crazy.” I declare.

She uncannily continued, “Do you believe in JEESSSUUS?

“I do. I have a strong faith in Him.”

Nodding her head up and down, “Gooood. Gooood. Now… what you need to do… is go get the BLOOD of Jesus and mark your doors… and get Satan out of your house…” Then gripping and squeezing my arm again with her right hand while waving emphatically her left arm, looking straight through me like she could see my soul, in a ghost-like mystic hiss adds, “ because that SATAN he’s a liiaarrrrrr, I tell you. HE’S A LIAR!”

 Those words giving me chills and instantly I felt a shiver rushing through me, goose bumps suddenly forming. Feeling a little creeped-out, but at the same time intrigued by this mysterious woman? I carefully scrutinized her face, her demeanor, her body posture, any clue I could grasp to speculate and evaluate, who was this strange woman? As she walked away, I took one more calculated gaze in her direction hoping to get some kind of answer to what just occurred.
As the young, fresh–faced, check-out boy, started scanning my cookies, he looked at me, shaking his head, he blurts out, “What the hell was that?”
I laughed; shaking my head, “I have no idea…”
Before I could finish my sentence, the mysterious woman appears by my side, grabbing my arm one more time, and with a spine-chilling raspy voice murmurs her warning, “Don’t forget…the dog KNEW the burglars…You need to get the blood of Jesus to keep Satan away because…The devil he’s a LLIIAARR. He’s A LIIIAARR.”
Turning to walk away she looks back one final time at me almost jeering, “ Now…you have good day, you hear?”
If I wasn’t freaked out before, now I was. I felt like I was in the middle of some paranormal activity movie, but in the check-out lane at the grocery store. I finish checking out. Dazed, I kept hearing the hypnotic voice taunting me. What was the meaning of that alarming and unnerving encounter? Was she a psychic seeing my disrupted past? Or was she clairvoyant and predicting and sensing another unfortunate future incident?
Then I recall my morning plea… “Send me sign…do you even see me?”
Was this a sign from God? Was he showing me that he sees me? I don’t know exactly what or who that was but it definitely was some strange connection whispering to me….


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The Whisper Within

What is the whisper within?

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

So what is the whisper within?

I believe it something different. Something extraordinary.

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

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

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

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