The Whisper Within

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


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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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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.

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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.

 


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27 years and 2000 miles apart.

It all started with my blog post. 10 wisdoms I learned in #Chicago.

A follower commented,” Your faith and perseverance are impressive…I should add impressively optimistic for Cub’s fan.”

I responded and then he private messaged me.

Dan: Had no idea you had this in you when we worked together.

ME: We worked together? Help me I’m getting old…

Dan: Yep, 27 years ago at Canon in Downers Grove.

What? Now I need the story

ME: How did you find my blog? How did you know it was me?

Dan:One of my buddies and I were talking about one hit wonders and the song “Rock Steady” came up. I searched it and came up with the Whispers as the group that sang it. When I searched “The Whispers”, I believe your website came up before I hit the letter “s” in Whispers. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link. I thought I recognized the name Lisa Riehm, as someone I worked with at Canon. I have a really good memory for names and faces, I thought your face looked familiar. I went to the photos and when I saw the Hinsdale South HS photo, I knew it was the young lady I worked with at Canon.

Who would guess? Twenty-seven years and two thousand miles apart, two co-workers would reconnect.

“Since the Lord is directing our steps why do we question everything that happens along the way?’ Proverbs 20:24

Strange coincidence, maybe? But it does make you wonder. Doesn’t it?Santa Barbara sunset


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I did it. I finally did it.

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

The last box .

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

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

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

“What d’ya mean?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you let go and let the magic begin?


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

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

How so?

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

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

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

cubs

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

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

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

I rolled my eyes, “Nine years ago.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 


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As you head into your work week, can you be like Polly and accept the easy cracker?

I used to love the sweet taste of ice cream but lately salt is what my body craves.  As I dove in the salt water pool today, I caught a mouthful of salt in my mouth that awoke my senses.

After a few laps, my memory recalled another sweet or should I say, salty memory.

I was not in a pool swimming laps but walking laps at “Home of the Hornets”, that’s right my old high school alma mateur, Hindsdale South, with my friend , Mary Flanagan.

Let me take you back to July.

As Mary and I walked around the hurdles of the track field, reminiscing about classes and crushes, we passed by some young boys who just finished soccer practice. One sweaty boy, called out to us, “Hey, would you like a Saltine?” Mary and I stopped in our track.

I blurted out with a side smirk, “What? Is it laced with something?”

The lean athlete responded, “Come on. I’m eating it.”

The optimism of his youth lured me in or maybe with each step towards him I was losing some of my cynicism and willing to become like him, open and carefree

Mary and I walked over and each took a cracker.

We chomped on our Saltine, almost spitting as we laughed and we walked away.

I felt like I was sixteen again, wearing my cheerleading skirt and cheering for the big game. Life was easy at sixteen. It still can be …cheerleading

Career, relationships and life should be that easy or do they feel like you are running the hurdles?

Funny, in high school I was more individual participant; long jump and gymnastics were my events; but maybe high school was preparing me to be an entrepreneur. I excelled when I don’t have to rely on the performance of others.

Ask yourself where do you excel?

Is your best event a relay race? Do you excel jumping hurdles and the difficult course? Or is your race more like the fifty-yard dash to accept the easy cracker as a reward at the end of the race?

At sixteen, I was probably more the sweet girl but this week, I realized being a little salty is a good thing. Or maybe I am like my favorite ice cream, peanut butter and chocolate, the perfect combo of sweet and salty.

But maybe I don’t have to be salty or sweet. Maybe through a sixteen-year-old boy offering me a cracker, I can learn to accept the easy.

There may be hurdles in life but be willing to walk around them otherwise trying to jump over the hurdles you may end up with road rash.

This week, can you accept the easy cracker that God is offering or whispering to you? Honor your saltiness.

Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.square-crackers1-640x480


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I turn the last page of the book, The Circle Maker , and set it on the sea glass table beside me. I recline in the wicker lounge chair and take a deep breathe in. A combination of salt and rosemary lingers in the air as I take in the amazing balcony views of the Greek island of Mykonos.

I am a million miles from home but which home? The new home I have made in Los Angeles, the city of angels or the place of my childhood and last 48 years, Chicago, the Windy City.

Mykonos is so windy I feel like I am being whipped like a sailboat on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Mykonos’ intoxicating turquoise waters lures me in, completely heavenly like the city of angels, Los Angeles. I observe the palm tree branches blowing in the breeze and think of my friends from Los Angeles to Chicago and like Mark Batterson, the author of The Circle Maker encouraged, I circle them with prayer.

I text :
“I read an amazing book on this trip called The Circle Maker. It is about an old testament man, Honi, who circled his prayers. He asked persistently for rain. Right now I am thinking of my friends from the West Coast to the Midwest; and circling them and their families with prayers of love, peace, and safety. I hope you feel lifted up .”

 

The response was overwhelming …

‘I do 🙂 you helped me through 24 hrs of travel. Just driving from airport home!!!! Had a weird delay at Charles de Gall, somebody left an unattended bag and it was creepy…felt uncertain with all the issues there this summer. Thanks for the circles :-)’

That’s amazing!! I feel peaceful this morning and optimistic. 😊 Thank you. I will read too and you are in my circle. 🙏

Thank you for sending love our way! Everyone woke up so happy and full of life this morning. Today is my Birthday and this was my first text .

‘Nice to hear from you! When I got your text just now I was outside gazing at the stars after my walk, thank you for your prayer!’

 

As the texts came in, I thought of how blessed I am. If I did not have this patio quiet time how could I lift up my friends to the one who hears me?
This alone time is all mine. No husband. No kids. Just me and the wind.

I picked up my book, glanced one more time at the cyan blue Mediterranean Sea and felt the wind whisper, “Your time is coming. Soon.” God’s timing is always perfect. The winds are changing.I will wait for the soft calming breeze.
“He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.”
Psalm 107:29
“God is for you. If you don’t believe that, then pray small timid prayers; if you believe it, then you will pray big audacious prayers…Who you become is determined by how you pray.” ~ Mark Batterson author of The Circle Maker
I challenge you all to boldly circle your friends and family in prayer . Would love to hear your stories . Email them at laschomer@twc.com .

By the way, I have not lost my sweet tooth. I still crave a husband like the scrumptious taste of baklava topped with a creamy side of vanilla ice cream.IMG_2504


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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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south haven

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

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

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

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

  On April 6th, a benefit will be held.

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

Suddenly, I lost my appetite.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow me on FB  @ The Whisper Within.


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farmers mkt new

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

I am happy. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Follow me on FB at the Whisper Within .

 

 


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

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

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

“Yeah sure, Steve”

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

“Pretty good.”

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

“You have?”

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

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

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

“Sure.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who am I to question God and his motives?

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

“Yes, thanks, Marilyn. No problem.”

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

“Yes, this is fine.”

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

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

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

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

“Yep, that’s about right.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sure.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

I nodded. “Yes, that will help.”

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

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

“What do you mean, Lisa?”

“Well, do you receive Social Security payments?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I do. I’ll be right back.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Good. That will be updated on Monday.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s she up to now?

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

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

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

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

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

“Marilyn, where did you get these?”

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

“Oh my goodness. Yes, Marilyn.”

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

“What?” Her eyebrows shot up in shock.

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

“Are you sure? It can’t be.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 


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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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Snow vs. Beach – Evil vs. Good

beach-vs-snow

The other day, Facebook had an event reminder, “Things that happened on this day.”

Mine read:  December 3, 2012

“Always have to believe that God has the big plan and a reason for everything. Our house was broke in today. Just one more reason for God leading me out of Schaumburg to a better place. Blue skies are coming !!!”

I remember the day so clearly. Driving home from work I received a call from my son.

“Mom, you may want to come home.”

“Jake are you alright?”

“I’m fine but… um… the back door has been kicked in.”

“What?”

“Yeah. We’ve been broke into.”

“I’m on my way. Get out of the house, right now. Wait on the driveway.”

On my short drive home, panic overtook. All I could think was Could this really be happening? Really God? Here we go again.

      I arrived home to see my six-foot son standing like a military officer, commanding control, protecting,    and guarding his post. I pulled in the garage and walked in the house. As I entered the crime scene, I felt a chill that was not related to the cold air penetrating my family room from the exposed backdoor.
I brought my hands up and covered my mouth,“Oh my God.” Shaking my head, my eyes drifted and saw Jake standing beside me, trying to be the  brave “man of the house.”

“Wow, looks like they just kicked-in the door. This isn’t right.”

Jake leaned in, comforting me. “It’s okay, Mom.”

“Jake, I don’t know anymore.” In disgust, we both walked away from the door, the entry point of evil.

     Five hours later all the formalities of finger prints, photographs, and investigations were completed. It was time for bed.

For some reason, I did not worry since I knew God promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
 I laid my head on my pillow and glanced around my chaotic room. I felt the hope, the peace, and the comfort that could only be explained as the whisper from within. I felt safe. Evil would not dampen my hope and win out. What the devil intended for destruction, God used as construction.

Did I know four years ago when I wrote that Facebook post that God had big plans for me and was moving me to the beach? Hell no, I barely knew a little over a year ago. But He did. He knew my heart and gave me the mountains and the beach.mountains

“And we know in all Things God works for the good of those who love Him” Romans 8:28

 


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marshmellow2           My email inbox is already stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey with “Black Friday” sales. I can’t help but envision Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory screaming, “I want it now.” I would put money on it that Veruca would fail the marshmallow test, but how would you fair?

The first “Marshmallow Test” was a study conducted at Stanford University . Kids were given the choice of eating a marshmallow right away or if they waited fifteen minutes they would receive two marshmallows. The purpose of the original study was to understand delayed gratification. The study found that children who could wait tended to have better life outcomes, educational attainment, and health.

How can you benefit this holiday season by delaying instant gratification?

1) Fitness: Before you put on your fuzzy slippers, wrap yourself in a Snuggie, and plop yourself down on the couch to watch TV after work, go for a thirty-minute walk to avoid the winter weight. Eccles. 7:18 “Live a balanced life.”

2) Relationships: The holidays bring out tempers. Instead of lashing out immediately or sending a harsh email. Write the email but do not send it. Wait, your emotion will hopefully pass to preserve the relationship.  How about a little Christmas kindness? Proverbs 12:16  “A fool is quick-tempered; a wise man stays cool when insulted.”

3) Love: I know the holidays can be lonely but wait for the real thing. Don’t settle for a “New Year’s Eve date.” Be confident to be alone, not fearful that you will never find love. 1 John 4:18 “Perfect love has no fear.”

4) Finances: Do you want the iPhone 7? Or the new Lexus wrapped in a bow? Put your wants on hold until they become a need. You will have more money to save or invest. Start small, how about no peppermint mochas or salted caramel lattes for the month of December and save that money in jar?

My clients who are disciplined and delay a purchase until it becomes a need and not simply a want, are successful investors. They set a budget and stick to it. By systematically paying themselves first, they save more and retirement can be achieved.

What is your score from 1-10 on your ability to delay gratification?  Can you wait for the second marshmallow? Feel free to comment your score.

Proverbs 25:28 “A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city without walls.”

 

 


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Love Always Wins !

jociLove Always Wins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I responded by saying, “I feel loved.”

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

Yes! LOVE ALWAYS WINS!

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 


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jacob

Relishing in Rain, Rainbows & the Rare Event!

I have been single for fifteen years so I am always looking for signs that I am on the right path. Some people wait to see one sign in their whole lifetime.A friend says I’m greedy. I get three in a week and I am still begging God for answers. This past this week, my greed factor was escalated.

On Monday, as I bent down to tie my  running shoes I was happily surprised to see rain outside. That’s right, the rarity of rain! It is true it really does not rain in Southern California and this Chicago girl misses the sweet taste of raindrops christening her face. The moment was sweet but short-lived because as I turned the corner, a second display of extraordinary was flaunted; a rainbow, biblically announcing that hope was in the horizon. Letting my mouth give  way to a smile, I let my running shoes guide me home.

A few days later, I received another rare sign as I received this text from my nephew, Jacob.

“Hey, Aunt Lisa! I’m in LA. Going to see the Cubs. Wanna join me?”

Jacob, a lifetime Cubs fan, flew in from Denver to see his beloved Cubbies in the playoffs for the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Within seconds I responded,” SURE! Send me your ticket.”

With seconds, I had a picture and moments later, I found a ticket one seat away from him for only $80! Talk about luck or a perfect sign.

Without hesitation, I texted, “I’M IN! SEE YOU AT 5!

Sharing the once in a lifetime experience of watching my beloved Cubbies in the playoffs with my nephew was rare and simply priceless.

Sitting in the stands, I became a little reflective on all the good in being single for fifteen years.

“There is a right time for everything and a season for every activity.” Ecc.3:1

Embrace your single time!

  1. Be content in who you are. Be ok sitting alone in the bleachers.
  2. Being alone means no bathroom lines like at the ballpark and you avoid sticky shoes or sticky floors from a miss-aimed toilet.
  3. Eat what you want, when you want. You want a helmet full of nachos washed down with a “soda” of choice, do it!
  4. No need to ask permission to do anything. I want to go to the game, I go to the game.
  5. You are a free agent, not tied to any team. You have options to move from Chicago to Los Angeles (like I did!)
  6. You get to play the field.
  7. Embrace the dugout. Hang out with your teammates and have some fun!
  8. Stay in the game! Work out like a player. Do not get out of shape like a retired manager or someone who is out of the game.

Do I want companionship? Heck ya, just like my Cubbies want to be World Series champions!!

Is this the year of the Cubs or me? Either way I came to play, enjoy the game, and enjoy the moment.I will wave the white W flag not in surrender but in victory; because just getting to participate in life is winning. I am patient like the Cubs; it took them 71 years to attend the rare dance of the World Series  but just like finding that perfect mate, tonight  will be SWEET.

So YES, I believe in Rain, Rainbows, and the Rare Event!

God’s timing is perfect.

Now, “Let’s Go Cubs!”


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img_0280

Today, I needed to take a break from work. Coffee wasn’t the drug I needed to get rejuvenated.  I knew a walk would do the trick after stepping outside and feeling the warmth of the sunshine on my face. Heading around the corner, I saw a man standing on a driveway looking in my direction.

He said, “Hi. Are you taking a meditative walk?”

Looking at the stranger I asked, “Excuse me what did you say?”

As he walked around his carpet cleaning van, coming closer to me, he repeated the question, “Are you taking a meditative walk?”

I admitted my truth, “Yea. I needed to relieve some stress.”

He says, “What I do is look up at the sky and ask for help, His Ever Lasting Presence.” He then added, “You know how to restart your day?  Hugging.” Without hesitation the man leaned and wrapped his arms around me.

After a few seconds I pulled away and with a gentle smile said, “Thanks I needed that.”

The older, weathered-looking man glanced back at me and asked, “What’s your name?”

“Lisa, and yours?”

“Pete.”

“Nice to meet you meet you Pete.’

The stranger confidently added, “Lisa, our paths crossing was no coincidence. It was God knowing we both needed a hug to restart our day.”

As I stepped back to examine the worker all I could say was, “Wow.”

He then added, “I know, kinda crazy getting advice let alone a hug from a complete stranger.”

Silently I laughed and with a smirk added, “No, you obviously don’t know me. I hug and talk to strangers all the time.”

With an inviting smile Pete added, “Me too. You see I am trying to turn over a new leaf. I spent time in jail and daily I am trying to do good, even in small ways.”

God has the small details in our life and can use anyone to make a difference. You just need to be open to it and keep looking up for HELP, His Ever Lasting Presence.  Do you have a story that a complete stranger made a difference? Feel free to share in the comment section below

 


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Sleepless to Serendipity

life-book

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

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Cali!

Silly Lisa…learning to surrender.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


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Misery To Ministry… Just Another Sleepless Night.

I call it the gift. The gift is my unadulterated skill to fall asleep anywhere, anytime…within minutes. I embrace my talent without any shame. I could be on a plane and before the pilot can announce, “Prepare for take off, ” I am already sound asleep, mouth wide open like a big mouth bass, letting the drool dribble down my chin like a hook is stuck in the back of my throat.  This was my gift… until unexpected  about a year and half ago, the Grinch appeared and robbed me. And just like a wide-eyed  Who from Whoville, I was left with an empty stocking hanging on the fireplace mantel with only the Grinch’s stench left behind.  No, I take that back, he filled my stocking  with an expected present… insomnia. insomnia-math-skills Continue reading


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A few years ago, I had a day as surreal as a Stanley Kubrick film. As I dug in my purse for change to pay for my Heath bar, a stranger behind me laid a dollar on the counter, purchased my candy bar, and told me to “Pay it forward”.  I turned to him, dumbfound and quipped, “Thanks.”  I walked away, savoring the sweet taste of chocolate, and shook my head in disbelief.

Later that afternoon, I drove down Schaumburg road, and made my way into the snow-covered parking lot of a laundry mat. I pulled my laundry baskets out of my trunk as the bitter wind punched my cheeks. Why did my water pipes break this week? Why did my life have to be this hard?

Within minutes the washing machines were jammed with my dirty clothes, but it was my emotions that were burst and soiled. In the next thirty minutes, I watched my clothes being tossed against the glass round window, flopping around without any clear direction, mirroring my haphazard day. Just then a wind gust blew the door open and a lady dressed in red flannel PJs bottoms and a black wool coat, walked in. Within seconds she was crying with despair,

“Thunder and Lightning ran out of gas and are stranded.”

“Who are Thunder and Lightning?”

Between broken sobs she continued,” They are my twin girls.”

“Really? Thunder and Lightning?  Where do they go to school?”

“Schaumburg High School. They are Sophomores. They are track stars.”

Lines on my forehead formed like an EKG read-out,” Oh, are they? I have a sophomore girl at Schaumburg, too. Her name is Tarah.”

“You do? Maybe my girls know her.  They are on the track team and are wicked fast… but they need help. Do you have any money for gas?” She pleaded, “I am a single mom. Please can you help me?’

Her eyes melted my soul like whip cream on hot chocolate. I reached in my wallet and took out a ten-dollar bill. “I am a single mom, too. This is for your girls.”

She hugged me like a momma who just found her lost child at Disney World,” Thank you. Thank you.”

I watched her walk out of the frosted glass door and disappear into the blizzard. I dialed Tarah on my cell.

“Tarah do you know any girls called Thunder and Lightning at your school?”

“Yeah, mom. They are track stars, why?

“Never mind… I’ll see you in a bit.”

Pressing the end button on my cell phone, I looked up at the ceiling and laughed as I thought of the gentleman who said, “pay it forward.”  I felt an unnerving stillness come rush over me like a gentle brook streaming over a rock.

As I left the laundry mat, the snow continued to fall making the roads slick. I stopped at a stoplight right by Schaumburg High School just as a car skidded into me tapping my bumper. As I walked to rear of my Murano, I saw a nervous chubby cheeked face looking down at the dent and then his hazel eyes quickly darted to meet mine. With his corners of his mouth turned down he uttered, “I, I am so sorry,” As he tugged at grey knitted cap, he lowered his head and closed his lips like a trap. Looking up at the rosy cheeks I asked, “Are you hurt? Are you ok?”

In confusion, he replied, “Yes. I am fine.”  Looking down at the silver dented bumper and then up at the boy, “Well, it’s only a dent. No one was hurt. Forget about it. Just be careful.”

His hand brushed to push his mocha colored bangs to the side and added,” Are you serious?”

I nodded. “Yep.”

“Thanks. I just got my license and my dad would kill me.’

I shuffled through the snow-covered street and made my way back into my SUV right before the light turned green. As I sat for a moment, I realized that I was given the gift to” pay it forward.” not once but twice.  I released my right foot from the brake pedal and pressed the gas pedal down. As I drove into the intersection, I looked up at the sky and smirked knowing that angels were probably smirking too.

 

 

 

 


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I am an unapologetic hugger .  One Sunday  when ” sharing the peace”, instead of stretching my hand out , I looked into the soft, gentle blue eyes of the stranger,  leaned in and gave the petite frame an embracing hug. After the church service the lady said to me, ” What a lucky coincidence to sit next to you today. I just lost my husband and I really needed a hug.” Looking straight into the white of her eyes with conviction added, “There are no coincidences. This I know to be true.”

That happened, almost a year ago. It was my first Sunday  in Westlake Village, CA after moving from Chicago.  A year later, Hilda is not only attends the small group that I lead but has become a good friend. God does have the big and small details of our life. This I know to be true.

 

hug


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Watching for Road Construction…

If the road you are on is filled with potholes, it is God’s way of saying the path is ” under construction”. Do not remove the orange cones & road blocks. God will direct you to a smoother path. You just have to be ready to take His detour.” – Lisa Schomer

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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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