The Whisper Within

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


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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.”

2 Chronicles 28:20


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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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Are you willing to crawl towards a better finish even when faced when obstacles?

The saying goes, “You have everything if you have your health…”

Almost four years ago I finished a triathlon and shortly afterwards I started to have weird symptoms; burning, electric shocks, and my body feeling like I was a cell phone set on vibrate. My Chicago doctor blamed it on adrenal fatigue but then the laundry list of symptoms starts piling up like the dirty laundry basket of my two teenage athletes.

The symptoms of vertigo, tinnitus, night sweats, insomnia, and numbness mirrored the dreadful diseases of MS, Parkinson’s, and ALS. I did not recognize my own reflection in the mirror. I am a buck twenty, maybe a buck and quarter on a good day. After losing twenty pounds over a few months, I found myself sitting in the shower, too weak to stand, hoping the shower would drown my wails of anguish.

After months of MRIs, C-scans, blood work, my doctor was fresh out of ideas and handed me a prescription for Zoloft. I crumpled up the scrap of paper, tossed it in the garbage,and with a crooked smirk laughed, “Come on. You know me. I have been through a divorce, my ex becoming a paraplegic, raising the kids alone for the last dozen years as a single mom , a robbery… Seriously, depression? I will walk my way out of this … just like everything else. I will exercise until I feel better.”

As he walked out the door, he cocked his head around the corner, “Let me know how that works for you?”

Well, it didn’t. No flip turns in the pool would turn my sickness upside down. I was stuck running vicious circles at the track, hoping an answer was around the next bend.

Finally, after a year of misdiagnosis, I had an answer. Lyme disease. Yes, a little crawling tick created all this chaos.

Three year later, watching a crew of wetsuits enter the fog-ridden shore of the Pacific Ocean, I was a little jealous wishing I too could dig my toes in the mushy shore and get in the race. Since my restless energy would not be expended, my curious nature got the best of me. Silently I thought, “Why did this happen to me? Why did I need to be on the sidelines?”

In disappointment, I turned and watched athletes from previous heats cross the finish with smiles plastered across their face, proud of their character of “going the distance”. A smirk crossed over my face, as I realized how far I, too, have come. My course was not easy but through some waves, potholes, and flat tires, my character developed .God was using a rough course to design a better me.

Anyone who knows me, would testify that I am a strong individual competitor, not needing or wanting direction.( You don’t get the nickname ” sassy pants” for nothing.) I like to think, I became sick so maybe, just maybe, I could be weak.

“For when you are weak, He can be strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 10

I am better me. I have surrendered that it is ok not to always be the strong one. I will get back in the game. I will walk away and leave Lyme disease in the dust and hopefully, God-willing, swim, bike, and run to a better finish …and maybe, just maybe I will stop being an individual competitor and allow for a running partner to run beside me or better yet run ahead of me to clear the obstacles so I can have an easier finish.

The journey has been long but I am getting better . Day by day,month by month, year by year, I see the progress . And until my body, completely catches up with my brain, I will keep getting out of bed,work hard,and believe the whisper,” I AM WELL.”

” I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Phillipians 4:13

Are you willing to face your obstacles, head- on?

Believe in your inner strength , Your 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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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