The Whisper Within

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


13 Comments >

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

I’m not perfect.

Let me say again. I am not perfect.

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

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

“Perfect? Why did you think that?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is this you God?

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

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

I AM HUMBLED.

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

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

img_7927
God has humbled me and made make a softer and a more vulnerable girl.
What is God whispering to you? Are you willing to listen?

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


4 Comments >

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)

 


7 Comments >

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


10 Comments >

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!

IMG_7240

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.


10 Comments >

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.

IMG_6958

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


9 Comments >

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


6 Comments >

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.


12 Comments >

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.


11 Comments >

“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

 


2 Comments >

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


3 Comments >

This blog may not sit well with some of you . I don’t always have my Sunday church dress on . Sometimes the sassy pants do come out of the closet.

A ding and a text .

What’s up Middle Seat ? I’m in Schaumburg – thinking of you .

The corners of my mouth turned North.

Colin.

My lashes fell and then flickered towards the sky catching the light filtering through the palm tree envisioning that plane ride , four years ago .

“Excuse me is this seat taken ?”

“Umm … I don’t know .”

“Well, my tv screen isn’t working and my Denver Broncos are playing for the championship. It will be a long flight to Chicago if I can’t watch the game .”

A seat is filled. My Kleenex is filled . And then the questions began .

“Hey, you’re crying . Are you alright ?”

My mouth twitched. A bottom lip is bit and then I spilled the story .

“So you knew this guy twenty years ago and now you both wanted to see if it could be something now that you’re both single … AND …?”

” AND … I am crushed. I don’t know …”

“I am sorry . No guy is letting a girl like you get away … unless he wants to . It’s over .The sooner you get over this, the better .

My mouth sealed like an envelope . He’s right .

Two hours passed and two strangers became friends .The banter was as sweet as cherry pie.

And soon I heard,”Prepare the cabin for arrival .”

The plane landed . Luggage was wheeled to the terminal .And a smile was waiting , coaxing me over .

“Ms. Schomer, you are the most interesting girl I have ever met. I have a feeling this could be something worth pursuing, what do you think?”

I threw a smirk and then I leaned forward and allowed for my lips to graze his.

” Wow! Like I said, Middle Seat, one of the most interesting girls I have ever met. Let’s keep in touch .”

Life is unpredictable like that plane ride.

Did God intervene for me that day, sending over a seat- mate , to show me a little hope is around the corner or at the next boarding gate ? You never know.

Take the middle seat . You just may find yourself sandwiched between hopeless and hopeful . Who knows, you may double your chances for a connection. Hope may be a seat a away .

But until the real thing sits besides me in my row, I will get out of bed, walk forward , and happily anticipate the unexpected, The Whisper Within…and so should you .

“I will wait for the Lord .” Psalm 24:17


8 Comments >

A paw is pointed . A gardener is stalked . And a face is licked.

“Aww, who do we have here ?”

I tipped my baseball cap .

” This is Kipper .”

” Well, Kipper, I’m Jeannie . I grew up in Santa Barbara and know everyone so you must be new here.”

Seventy years of Santa Barbara history was shared . My Chicago story was shared . And then a ,”Welcome to Santa Barbara, Lisa . You are so normal and we need more normal here .”

Soon paws were trouncing down the hill, dragging a leash and Asics behind .

The day went on and a mailbox was shut . A mailbox was opened and envelopes were retrieved .

“Hey Joe, happy Friday . How are you ?”

“Truthfully, my feet hurt. Kinda tired from dragging the mailbag today .”

A moment was shared. A smile was shared and then, ” Lisa you are so sweet . Have a great weekend .”

I watched the mailbag saunter down to the next mailbox .Being a mailman is a lonely job .

The workday was over and my nightly ritual was in motion .

Sand between toes .A ball is tossed and floppy ears running toward the tide ,but then a hiker’s backpack drew in a bark .

“Can I pet your dog ?”

I adjusted my straw hat . ” Sure. Kipper sit .”

The scruffy beard and flannel looked up ,” Wow . You are a real California girl .”

My lashes fell ,” Actually I moved here from Chicago .”

” Well that explains the niceness .”

One more pet and then a head was cocked and paws were trouncing towards a seagull . My toes walked away but my straw hat looked back at the flannel and thought …. We all want to be seen . Today I was seen and it felt nice .

My toes sunk deeper in the sand and my mind sunk deeper too .

We are all starving for attention . Social media feeds this . How many likes ? How many followers ?

I have been told by a potential publisher that I need more followers . I get it .They want a book to be profitable. What about me ? Do I need more followers to make a difference ?

Jesus only had twelve followers and yet their love changed the world .

Everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants to be seen. It’s like we are sitting impatiently on our kindergarten mat for ‘Show and Tell’ with an arm raised saying,”Pick me . Pick me .”

Everyone sees and loves Kipper . But maybe it is Kipper who sees them first as her tail wags with enthusiasm that could slice steel as she willing takes the first step toward every stranger as if to say ,” I’m Kipper . I like you . You are someone I want to know .”

What about you ? Can you expose your soft underbelly , take a risk to REALLY see and REALLY love those around you .

I double dog dare you .

Open your eyes . Open your heart .And listen to the Whisper Within.

“Don’t pretend to  love others. Really love them .” Romans 12:9


Leave a comment >

I looked at the calendar . Tax time has been brutal and it is always is …but I love what I do . It’s the final week !

Ahh two more days and then it’s “me time “. A massage . Yoga. Beach time.

A text and then a suggestion .

“Lisa needs to walk in the mountains. Be at peace and pray . After tax season of course- maybe a yoga retreat . Be like Jesus and withdraw to the wilderness …. Fill up your tank .”

I put down my phone and bit my bottom lip.

Go into the wilderness ?

Fill up my tank ?

Jesus went to the wilderness to pray . Later he went to the garden to pray before the cross with his friends . His disciples were his warriors.

My mouth twitched . Who are my warriors ? Who fills up my tank ? Where is my wilderness ?

I opened up the backdoor and found my wilderness.

My morning coffee . My morning peace .

I laced up my Asics and found my second wilderness, a park, blocks away .

And later that day, I walked my wilderness, step by mushy step .

I thought about what my friend said ” Go into your wilderness and pray .”

Umm pray . Listen . Surround yourself with friends …

How about all three ?

When Moses was fighting a battle he needed his friends .

“When Moses arm grew tired …Aaron and Hur held up his hands.”Exodus 17:12

What are you battling ?

Who will hold up your hands ?

I looked at the turquoise ripple crashing over my toes. I have friends . We all need help …

A text . An idea. And a welcome reply .

Life is busy . How about a once a week text of prayer requests and then pray for each other at the same time ?

YES ! Let’s do it !

So how about you ?

I am challenging you this week to DAILY find your wilderness and surround yourself with your warriors .

Can you find two or three friends to start a text chain of prayer requests ? DO IT !

Get lost in your wilderness and listen to your whisper within !

” And we are confident that he hears us whatever we ask for anything that pleases him .”

I John 5:14


2 Comments >

A ding. A text. And then a picture.

IMG_5455

April 9th in Chicago. Will it ever end?

It’s Cub’s home opener; of course.

Sorry , About the snow , Jen.

I wiped the sleep from my eyes. Grabbed my journal. Grabbed my pen.

Wonder.

This weekend was all about wonder…

-My Chicago friends wonder will the snow will stop falling? Ugh!

-Another friend wondered when would God bring a husband into her life.

-Pulling weeds for a service project, my fellow volunteer wondered “Will he text me back?”

-A client wondered “When can I retire?”

-I wondered “are my kids in college happy?”

-Will my book get published?

Wonder.

Why do people go on vacation?

To wonder. What does a Cancun turquoise tide look like? What does a hot dog at Wrigley taste like? What does sweat pouring down your forehead, from hiking Yosemite, feel like?

When and why do we stop wondering?

Yesterday, I peeked over my cup of coffee and witnessed a couple eating breakfast outside a café. Newspapers in front. Not a glance. Not a smile was ever shared. They lost the wonder.

Wonder.

How do we not lose the wonder?

I thought about my week…

I wondered about the purple cauliflower making its way down the conveyor belt in front of me at Trader Joes… is it any good? So what did I do? I asked the bushy eyebrows with wavy hair…he responded convincingly. Yep, I ran back for a bunch.

I wondered if a mountain covered in California poppy really looks like a hillside from the Sound of Music? It does.

I wondered,with leashes intertwined and sand-filled paws flopping around at the beach…why did they choose a Labrador, or a Golden, and why did I choose Kipper, my German Short-haired puppy? We all had our reasons.

Wonder.

Life is a series of wonders.

If we fail to wonder, relationships die. Our joy dies.

As another friend put it. “It’s all in the wonder…the why. The where. The when, God?”

I have learned to wonder and have been known to question and sometimes yell at God but lately before I get out of bed I ask this…

“What do you want me to do today, God?… Because I’ll do it… Tell me.

I am learning to be in the wonder. Stop questioning. But instead enjoy the wonder.

Can you?

This week as you make your way in world…really see people. Wonder. What makes them happy? What makes them sad? Why do they always sit in that seat on the train? How are they today? Maybe ask them.

Get lost in the wonder. You may surprise yourself and those around you .

“Blessed be the Lord, who alone works wonders.” Psalm 72:19


4 Comments >

I looked at my computer screen. This has been a long week …. and it’s only Wednesday

How many of you feel this way ?

Is it me? Or tax time – my busy season?

Another call. Another email.

How do we not lose our joy?

A smile. A good cup of coffee. Looking forward to 5 o’clock?

Umm, my 5 o’clock is not until April 17th. I flip the calendar…3 more weeks…

A phone rings.

“Lisa, I need to review your taxes…”

A calculation. A scenario. And then a question.

“Lisa, I noticed your charitable contributions. You moved to California two years ago but you still give to St. Peter’s in Schaumburg.”

My heart fluttered.

“ John , you probably don’t know… fifteen years ago I went through a divorce and months later, the father of my children became a paraplegic. Jake was seven. Tarah was only five…”

I felt like I swallowed a mouthful of marbles.

“St. Peter’s saved me children .”

“ Saved your children ?”

I bit my bottom lip. Tears rolled down my cheek.

“Yep, the teachers surrounded my kids with so much love…Jake is graduating in engineering from Purdue in May. What they did they did for my kids, I can never repay them. I will always give back to St. Peter’s.”

“Wow, Lisa. Did I ever share with you my St. Peter’s connection?”

“A St. Peter’s connection?”

“Yes, my great- great grandfather Frederick Wilhelm Richmann was one of the first pastors as St. Peter’s back in 1858. He wanted the school to be a place we’re children were loved .”

My dimples turned North.

“Lisa, can I share this story with my mom? She would be so happy to hear her grandfather’s legacy of loving children, lived on. Your children are proof.”

I hung up the phone and then it hit me. St. Peter’s mission is “ Loving people. Serving the world .”

I took a moment to slow down in my fast paced environment and relish the last fifteen years.

I can’t help but think, would my kids be the same had they not grown up with people who embraced them with such a loving and nurturing manner, especially at such vulnerable and chaotic time in their young life?

How do we not lose our joy ?

As Mother Theresa said, serve the one in front of you. Or do what Jesus what do, kindness with a smile served up on the cross.

Happy Easter!

“Let is not get tired of doing what is right for after awhile we will reap the blessing, if we don’t get discouraged and give up.” Galatians 6:8

Can you let love be your greatest aim? I intend to.

A special thank you to all the St. Peter’s teachers who made a difference .

Here’s the link to the history of St.Peter’s & Pastor Richmann

https://www.stpeterlcms.org/Page/110


3 Comments >

A cart is pushed . A number is pulled . And an order is placed.

” I’ll take a half of pound of honey roasted ham .”

” Sure thing . You aren’t from here …”

Oh boy ! Here we go again…

Yes, I do live here but I’ve just moved from Chicago …”

” Have you found a church ?”

A half pound of ham, salami & then an invitation to a church and a women’s retreat .

” Sandee, how did you know that you could talk to me about God ?”

” I saw a kindness about you . A genuine smile when you came to the deli counter .”

I pushed my heavy cart out the door but my load somehow felt lighter .

A threw a smirk at the sky . How do you do it God ?

Groceries are unloaded . My Jeep is parked . And my thoughts are overloaded and spilling on the church pew .

I closed my eyes . Taxtime . Pay bills . Do laundry . Ugh ! Focus !

“Today is Palm Sunday …

The message was read.

Jesus command two of his disciples .” Go to the village and find and untie a donkey & bring it to me …. tell Jerusalem her King is coming and will be riding on the donkey .”

It hit me . Didn’t the disciples think this was weird ? Didn’t they think … I don’t want this job?

I am sure . But what about you ? What about me ? What is your donkey ?

What in your life are you questioning ? A job ? A relationship ? A path leading nowhere ?

What is God telling you to do ?

The donkey was for Jesus to ride, like a parade ,through Jerusalem but getting the donkey was not the glamorous job .

I know myself sometimes I am searching so hard for the end result that I miss the daily journey of just being .

Being kind. Being open . Really seeing the one in front of me .

Maybe right now, you are getting the donkey … stuck in a somewhat useless path … but who knows the donkey may lead to a parade .

I left church and thought about Sandee , the deli girl . She just serves the one in front of her . She is obedient in the mundane … serving kindness , one slice at a time .

What is your donkey ?

Open your eyes . Open your heart . Serve the one in front of you . What is your heart whispering to you ?

Who would think a stinking donkey would end in a parade? Happy Palm Sunday …. from my palm tree to yours .

” Whatever you do,do it as if serving the Lord ” Colossians 3:23


1 Comment >

Sometimes it takes a lifetime of being patient to figure out the simple is all you need . The beach . These smiles . My pup.

” And we know it all things God works for the good of those who love him ” Romans 8:28

What is your simple ? What is your heart whispering to you ?Comment below


4 Comments >

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


8 Comments >

Happy Valentine’s Day, my favorite day of the year.

I remember as a kid decorating a shoebox and excited for it be filled with paper hearts. Yep, I am the biggest hopeless romantic. Just ask me how many Rom-Com DVDs I have in my collection, I dare you.

On Valentine’s Day, I am confident of this one certainty: true love does exist. It is extremely rare but oh, so, spectacular. I received my first lesson in love from the 1974 movie adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Robert Redford, need I say more. My heart was swayed at the mere age of seven.

“He knew when he kissed this girl… his mind would never romp again…”   Gatsby has ruined me.

 But honestly, I wasn’t feeling it this year. Don’t know why…

My shoebox was empty and so was my heart.

But then…I came across a lone red envelope sticking out of my mailbox… And it hit me. The memories of past crushes, past loves, cutting out paper hearts, and a subtle secret kiss that no one saw. And suddenly my shoebox was filled to the top.

IMG_4638

I walked to my mailbox and took out my cards. One struck in me in particular. “Here’s to the girls who takes on the world and fights for what they love.”

 What do I love? Who would I fight for?

 Here is a smattering of pink frosting…

  • A boy with a smirk and girl with a smile who once were glued to my hip, but now are miles apart.
  • A stranger who joins me picking up sea glass on the beach.
  • Friends who gave me a bike with a basket.
  • A kind smile across a room of yoga mats.
  • A text from a girl who shared the nickname “Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam.”
  • A girl who screams, “Riehm!” as I pick up the phone.
  • A girl who chased me with snakes but calls me Baby doll.
  • And the one who knows my heart and whispers to me…

I am loved and so are you. There is someone today who is wanting to get your scribbled name on the bottom of a Peanut’s Valentine.

To get love; you must give love. So, get busy!

“If I do not give love, I am nothing.” I Corinthians 13:2

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Would love to hear about your most memorable  Valentine’s Day memory…. Please comment below.

 


4 Comments >

This week I had a birthday. I saw this little girl . I found this little girl .

Do you remember what you were like as a child ?

I do . I loved doing cartwheels . I still do ! I enjoy the moment of silliness .

Funny , I forgot I liked to make up stories about a ZONY . Yep , a cross between a zebra & a pony . It’s a real thing . Google it ! Yep , I forgot I enjoyed writing .

The purest sense of who we are is as a child . Our gifts. Our talent . Our love . Never lose that innocence & wonder .

So this week, get out the shoebox or album and find a childhood photo .

What were you like? What did you like to do ?

My hope for you this week is that you rediscover the silliness that made you , YOU !

Would love for you to comment on what made you happy . May you hear the whisper .

“… And Jesus said ,” let the children come to me ..”


9 Comments >

A Christmas alone.

A Birthday alone?

No way. Not this year.

I love Christmas. I hate Christmas. For all my single friends… You get it! The pure joy of the season makes me happy; but if I heard one more time at Christmas, “Are you dating anyone?” I would’ve had to shoot my own eye out…

I crave companionship like a Chicago deep dish pizza. So, over the Holidays, I stuffed myself with the oozing cheese… But then I came home, and the companionship craving crept in like the flu in July; unwanted and unexpected.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have a beautiful full life but every once in while the breeze blows and whispers, “How can you be happy if you are alone?”

So, I yell at God, “When are you bringing me a companion?”

I hear his quiet reply, “You again? I already brought you your dream, the beach, and you’re still begging for more?”

So, I throw smirk at the sky, “Fine. Here’s my deal? If I’m supposed to stay single for the next five years, I want a really big sign. I want a really big piece of sea glass… and not ANY sea glass. I want the rare find, aqua blue.

So, for the last few weeks, I combed the beach. I dug in the sand. I walked miles along the shoreline looking for the rare find. I filled a jar full of sea glass; but no blue.

IMG_4505

I gave up. AND then … YEP! One afternoon, at the bottom of the stairs, when I was not looking, I practically stepped on my precious find; a big piece of aqua blue perfectly glistening in the sand.

I picked it up and threw a smirk at the sky. Yep, I know. I know. Quit digging. Quit searching. When the time is right, you will make it easy, and put the rare find, right in front of me.

I got my sea glass AND then…IMG_4502 (1)

An email. An invite. A birthday date. Birthday Alone?

No way. Not this year.

Is he “The rare aqua blue sea glass that I have been waiting for?”

Tuesday is right around the corner and time will tell.

Otherwise… I am happy. I am content. No more digging. I will wait for His Whisper .

“I will wait on the Lord…” Psalm 130:5

lisa beach


2 Comments >

I consider myself a fierce competitor personally and professionally. I am an athlete that would rather hobble to the finish line than quit.

In my triathlon days, my performance was eighty percent training and twenty percent affected by outside factors; rain, heat, wind, and sometimes potholes.

I have learned that outside factors are out of my control and can affect work, projects, and even love. This past week I faced resistance in several areas of my life. It was like I was competing in a triathlon. I finished the swim course with ease but as I jumped on my bike I encountered a pot hole and then a flat tire. In one situation, I was accused of using my “flowery disposition and “spirituality” to my advantage.

Wow, naïve of me to assume that kindness and a willingness to serve would be a disadvantage and attempt to kick me back to the start line.

I jumped off my bike, threw it over to the side and decided to run to the next course – the next event. Even though I am solid solo competitor, this was not an individual race but more a relay race requiring team participation. Yes, a group project and unfortunately I had an unwilling team member. The finish line kept being moved. It was time to stop at the water station and take a break.

Maybe it was time to quit asking. Quit knocking. Maybe God was allowing the resistance. Maybe God was telling me that I was taking on too many projects.

I have always said, “If the road you are on is filled with potholes, it is God’s way of saying the path under construction. Do not remove the orange cones and road blocks. God will direct you to a smoother path. You just have to be prepared to take his detour.”

Maybe the answer was no because God was clearing the potholes and leading me to a easier course.

Psalm 27:4 “I will wait on the Lord.”

In work, are you frustrated? Without purpose? Are you in the right job? Best work environment? Or does something else garnish your talents?

In projects, are you facing resistance? Is something not going smoothly?

In love, is the relationship not connecting? Is it too much work? Are values not aligned?

We live in an imperfect world but God’s timing is perfect.

God has changed me over time. I no longer run instead I walk or hike. I can’t bike since I am used to flat Chicago streets, not a hilly California course. Throw me in the pool – there I will swim like a dolphin.

In work, projects, but especially love, find your joy. Allow the easy. Know when to stop for water, change the course, or stop the race all together. Not every finish line needs to be crossed.

What is God telling you? Wait on the Lord and he will whisper to you.


7 Comments >

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


5 Comments >

A journey . A week. A moment .

So a week ago I just returned from evacuating from the fires of Santa Barbara, not excited to be heading to the bitter cold of Chicago.

I said ,”Never again am I coming back to Chicago in the Winter .” The cold. The snow . The rush .

But a friend said,” Be expectant!”

A few spontaneous meetings and chance interactions later my icy heart was defrosted .

Here’s ten gems that friends and strangers shared with me:

1. The trip isn’t about you …it’s about what you can give to others.

2. Find joy in a moment . Don’t focus on the past or crap of tomorrow . Just the moment .

3. What you want in your 20s, is not what you want in your 30s. What you want in your 30s, is not what you want in your 40s . What you want in your 40s, is not what you want in your 50s .You need to be constant evolving .

4.Love the ones that God has given you .

5. You deserve BIG LOVE; wait for it !

6. The right guy, job, or house will be natural, easy .You will feel it .

7. Be around people who don’t steal your energy but multiply it.

8. Don’t measure a year by what you’ve done but instead by how you felt or how you served .

9. Open your HEART, then lose the letters H & T . You are left with EAR. Open your ears and you will hear God speak to your heart .

10. Whatever you wish for, believe it is coming .

What number speaks to you?

Open your heart . Open your ears. And let the whispers inspire you in 2018 . Be expectant…I am !

“ Wait on the Lord . Be courageous. He will open your heart .” Psalm 24:17


3 Comments >

I evacuated as a precaution yesterday from #thomasfires. I am home now . I do not worry . “ … for when your way is rough… your patience will grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems . For when your patience is finally in full bloom you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete .” James 1:4 #santabarbara