The Whisper Within

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


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Today I called my ninety-five year old widowed client. I reviewed her investments and cash flow needs and then the conversation turned personal.

“How are you Rosemarie?”

“Honestly Lisa, lonely. If anyone tells you that these are the golden years, punch them in the face for me.”

I giggled. We talked some more and then I responded, “Call me if you need anything even if it just to talk.”

Later in the day, I walked up town to pick up my work mail, and bought some stamps. And not just any stamps but Valentine’s Day stamps.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a sucker for love and not the puny Dum Dum suckers but more like the HUGE Charlie and The Chocolate Factory rainbow sucker type of love, and Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday.

I left the post office and mentally made a list of who I would send cards to. Rosemarie for sure. My widow clients.

A smirk covered my face WAIT! What if I made this a challenge?

So here it is. I am challenging all my Facebook Friends to send 14 cards in the next 14 days…AND SHARE THIS to their page.

If my 500 friends send 14 cards, that is over 7,000 cards sent. If they share the ‘What If’ challenge, the results could be endless.

So can you do your part? Send 14 cards & share this post?

Think of ninety-five year old Rosemarie, wouldn’t it be sweet to share love to someone who may be lonely.

Who knows? By giving love you may feel love.

Who’s in? LET’S DO IT !

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12


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Today I received a text from my best friend.

I saw this on my walk, and it reminded me of you.

Why me?

Because you are exuberant and full of life.

My friend continue to text me.

I’m still sad about my brother’s passing. I miss friends. I’m trying everything to get back my joy, burning candles, taking walks, blasting music, etc., but I’m just sad.

I responded Tell God you are sad.

So I’m telling you because I’ve been there. Something I learned is to talk to God like a best friend. I’m sad I’m lonely. I need your help. I’m exhausted.

If you don’t know God and don’t have a relationship with him, my suggestion is to start reading the Psalms.

I started reading the Psalms, when I went through a divorce and really relied on them, God’s word, when my ex became a paraplegic.

During this time, I was desperate and learned that I had a personal friend who heard my desperate cries, and wanted to restore my silly joy.

He did then! And He restores my joy now! He will for you too! Just ask!

“Restore unto me the joy…” Psalm 51:12


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Last weekend was New Year’s Eve. I had a fantastic time celebrating with my friend, Marji, yes in our PJs.

Cheers!

We toasted, giggled, and planned for the year ahead; trips we would possibly take, men we would maybe date, and adventures we would perhaps partake in.

So tonight as I sit in my pjs, yes once again, I am scrolling through Facebook and as expected, my feed is filled with New Year resolutions.

Here are some examples :

-This is the year I’m going to meet my husband.

-This year I’m gonna start my own business.

-I’m going to lose weight.

-I’m going to exercise more.

-I’m gonna get my health back on track.

I…I…I So many I’s!!!

Why do New Year’s resolution fail most of the time?

Because of the I’s!

I have to admit, several years ago, when I was a single mom and my ex became a paraplegic, I believed that willpower, guts, and sheer strength would get me through any trials. I used the Bible verse, “ I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” like armour going into battle.

The problem was the emphasis was on I, not on Christ who gives me strength.

Why did I decide or why do we decide to take the knife in our own hands and attempt to carve out life on our own?

Through time, I learned to say or more realistically, look up and yell at God ,“ I need your help! I’m lost! I’m sad!”

Once I learned to ask for His help,my life may not have gotten easier, but I didn’t feel alone. God was with me.

So you may be thinking, “Well great! Good for you! But I don’t have a faith in God, in fact I don’t even know how to begin? How to let God in?”

Stay tuned for a follow-up blog …can’t wait to share HOW!

But for now, I DO know, going it alone never works because eventually we all get tired, lonely, sad, exhausted, and we need help.

And I have learned this secret, “With God all things are possible!” Matthew 19:26

Happy New Year!


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I have to admit that this morning, getting out of bed, I was not feeling my normal silly joy, but instead was overwhelmed from a night of listening to sirens warning of evacuations for potential mudslides.

I got out of bed and looked up at the ceiling and said, “Ok!God, let’s do this!”

I started my workday, called a few clients, and then decided to call a special client, my brother-in-law.

Before I called, I pulled up his profile and looked at his age, and thought,How is Doug going to be 60? Wait! If Doug is going to be 60, that means my sister is going to be 60. How is this possible?

An image quickly flashes through my memory of a perfect summer day watching my sister Debbie ride bareback her horse,Blazer.

Recalling that memory, I thought, if Debbie was 16 then, I was only 12.

I grabbed my cell phone, tapped my sister’s name and within seconds, we were reminiscing about the good old days.

I hung up the phone and thought, I am going to be 56 next month. Ugh!

I walked to my bathroom and put my hair in pigtails to feel like I was twelve years old again.

I continued working, the rain blew over, and the sun came out. My work day is completed. I look over at my office partner and say, “Kipper time for a walk.”

As I walk down the rain soaked sidewalk I thought,I am not getting any younger. What am I waiting for? When am I gonna start living my purpose?

What is my purpose? To be the best financial advisor? No!

Maybe it is my age speaking or maybe it’s a brand new start to a brand new year? Or maybe it is the realization of friends, family, and clients who have passed this year.

But whatever it is, I want to be silly Lisa who had this contagious joy to share the JOY of JESUS!

What is your purpose? Please comment! Love to hear!

“For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.” Philippians 2:13


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I love the backstory of this picture.

While waiting for our order, Tarah gushes and snaps my picture, “Aww, momma. You look so happy.”

I replied, “I am happy.”

Christmas in the French Quarter

Jake added, “If I had to take a drink every time mom said ‘I’m happy’, I would be drunk and under the table by now.”

I am happy. I am content. I may not have a husband, but I have something better. This! God fills me with JOY and my heart is FULL!

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4


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I’m at the airport, killing time until my flight. I quietly smile as I remember the first night in New Orleans at dinner when Jake and I handed back the menus and, at the same time, said, “Thank you so much!” Tarah threw a smirk at us and said, “Jinx!”

We all started giggling. Our drinks came, and once again, at the same time, Jake and I said, “Wonderful!”

I hear over the airport intercom, “We will be boarding United Flight 2108 to Denver shortly.” I sit back in the stiff airport chair and scroll through my phone; my dimples are exposed as I glance at photos of eating beignets and exploring the Bayou.

My heart is full, but a tightness sets in as I think of hugging goodbye to my kids at security as we roll our luggage to separate planes; New York, Chicago, and Denver en route to Santa Barbara. I hear the flight attendant say, “We are ready to board flight 2108 to Denver.”

I stand, grab my roller board, head to the gate, turn back to look at the line behind me, and think my kids are heading home, and so am I.

As I walk down the ramp, I remember their smiles and think, I am so proud of the wonderful, polite adults they have become, but I sure do miss my babies.

“Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life.” Proverbs 22:6


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Not my usual post, but too good not to share!

Today when I called my client to review her investment accounts,I asked her if it was a good time to talk. 

Her response was priceless.

“Sure! I’m just riding a Ferris wheel at Myrtle Beach!”

I giggled and a huge smile covered my face. BEST ANSWER EVER!

In the spirit of Christmas, it reminded me of the clip below of the movie Elf and why I love doing what I do. I feel blessed and joyful that my client is enjoying her retirement.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Today as I sit on my front porch, the gentle breeze blows, the sun caresses and warms my face, I am filled with simple joy and contentment.

I am not going to write a long blog post about how I feel blessed but let the pictures tell the story.

I had three wonderful days with my daughter, my ex’s sister, ( Julie will always be my sister) and my niece Hannah.

Julie & Hannah
Butterfly beach.
The rose garden & mission.
Thankful.

I take a sip of coffee and look at my view of the still ocean, and a soft smile covers my face. Thank you God for this.

“ Praise the Lord for he is good…” Psalm 106:1


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Last night I watched a Charles Stanley sermon before bed. Here is the link http://www.intouch.org/watch.

His sermon spoke of being stuck in the burden of trying to make a living, TRYING to find happiness, peace, and JOY… and TRYING to accumulate prestige and prominence… and he said to LET ALL THAT GO and LEARN to sing at the TOP of your voice with JOY no matter of your circumstances.

His sermon gave me so much peace that I drifted off to sleep like a swaddled baby.

And for some silly reason, I sprung out of bed this morning with childish unexplainable joy, and my children’s kindergarten song, “Jesus’ love is bubbling over,” ran through my brain, but I couldn’t remember the tune.

I quickly texted my daughter Tarah and asked her to sing the song.

Here is the song. Click on arrow!

So, I know you are probably thinking, “Well, that’s good for you, Lisa. You are silly. You are ridiculous. You have no idea the problems I have. Life is rough for me. I am in a season of ugly.”

Well, I can tell you this, twenty years ago, one of the most brutal times of my life, when I went through a divorce, my ex became a paraplegic, and I was a broke single mom; I remember a guy whom I started dating told me you are one of the happiest people I know. Even though you have all this crap, how are you still happy?

It wasn’t my inner strength. It wasn’t me trying to have a pleasant disposition. It was ALL GOD! I knew my troubles were more than I could handle on my own. I asked God to fill me with unexplainable JOY! And He did! And he does now! But sometimes, I am a spoiled brat, like a kindergartener who wants her toy back, and I scream at God, “GIVE ME JOY!”

 So, as I skip the streets of Santa Barbara this afternoon, heading to yoga, I am sending you all love and asking you to ask the one who sees you, loves you, and wants to help you; to ask Him to fill you with the JOY of JESUS.

Salt gives food flavor. You can BE JOY! Share JOY! You are the salt of the earth! Can you be salty?

“You are the salt of the Earth.” Matthew 5:13

“… I have learned the secret of being content in every situation… I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians4: 12-13


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How to hear God?

Many have asked me, “How do you hear God?”


Well, here is a short story that happened today.

If you don’t know this fact about me, I’m a concert junkie. So last week at the Death Cab for Cutie concert, I was like a teenager at Lollapalooza, standing by the stage, belting out the lyrics to the complete setlist. While I got lost in the moment, I paid dearly for it the next day. I lost my voice. As a friend joked, I am literally The Whisper Within. Haha!

Yes, it has been almost a whole week of having laryngitis. Not fun, for sure, but brutal for an extrovert. Work has been complicated, to say the least. Thank God for email and a really good assistant.

 I have drunk enough tea and honey to fill a swimming pool; today, my frustration got the best of me.

Today, I took a work break, walked Kipper, and asked God, “What should I do? I can’t get in for a doctor’s appointment for a month. Urgent care is usually swamped without an appointment. I know I can try to get a same-day urgent care appointment; if it is, your will let it work out. Let it be the easy button.”

 I walked home and logged into the online urgent care scheduling system. The system had a pop-up window that stated, send code to text. I responded and waited. No text. Tried again. No text. Third time. No text. I thought, “Ok, God, is this your answer?”

 I tried email to get the code and received it. Soon my fingers were typing like I was playing the piano in a concert, fast and furious as I attempted to secure an appointment. I was at the final question, “The reason for your visit.”   I scrolled down all the illnesses listed, COVID, Flu, high fever, etc., and checked the box to OTHER.  A Pop-up window appeared, DENIED. You must call to schedule an appointment.

 Call? Are you kidding me? I slapped my hands on my face like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone and shut my laptop in defeat. But then, I looked at the ceiling and thought, “I wanted the answer, God, and I said if it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t meant to be. You answered!”

So how do you hear God?  I am not special. Ask Him specific questions, and if you believe he will answer you, HE WILL!

Oh, and I will admit, I don’t always ask God to guide me. I am guilty, too, of not listening to Him. One brief example is that I was looking to go on a trip to start a relationship with someone potentially. Everything that could go wrong that week did. Our dog bit someone, the snowblower didn’t work after a massive snowstorm, and the water pipes burst and flooded our house in the middle of winter. I was not supposed to go on the trip.  I didn’t listen, and the weekend was a disaster. God warned me. He knew best.

So yes, God may answer you through hardship.

In this minor inconvenience, God humbles me, teaches me patience, and leads me to be silent and listen for The Whisper Within. Now back to drinking more tea.

“If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him and He will gladly tell you.” James 1:5


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tarah, my daughter, responded, “cute.”

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

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


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This year I collected stickers from all the places I travelled and decorated my water bottle like a second grader decorates their notebook, hopeful for a new school year.

On Saturday, I wandered the quaint Michigan costal village of Saugatuck in hopes of purchasing my sticker souvenir, until one shop caught my eye.

I walked in, browsed, and reached for a sticker at the same time as a young girl handed her sticker to her dad to purchase. As we both waited in line, the banter began.

“Where are you from?”

The gentleman replied, “Toledo. What about you?”

“I used to live in a northwest suburb of Chicago but now I live in Santa Barbara California. Saugatuck is great, isn’t it?”

“Yes it it.”

“What brings you here?”

His eyes lit up like the moon lights a dark sky, “I’m getting married today.”

“Aww! Congrats! So sweet. My nephew is getting married today too.”

Anyone who knows me, knows I am sucker for love and not the ordinary Dum-Dum sucker kind of love; but the HUGE, over-the top Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, rainbow lollipop type of love, so that said, I encouraged the friendly stranger to tell me his story.

He gushed like Buckingham Fountain with pride as he told me about the journey that brought him to co-mingling families and having a beach wedding on Saturday.

He capped off the story with, “… it comes down to faith, hope, and love… She makes me a better person.”

I reciprocated and shared a bit of my journey and the soon-to-be groom replied, “You have to be open to love.”

I felt the nudge like God was tapping me on the shoulder saying, Pay attention, Lisa.

I finished paying for my sticker, walked out of the store with a little bounce in my step, hopeful like a bride on her wedding day.

Later in the day, I ran into the adorable soon-to-be bride and groom and asked to take their picture.

The beautiful beaming bride dished out wisdom like candy on Halloween. She said, “You have to be patient. You have to wait on God. I used to be strong and independent but you need to make space and let someone in.”

My mouth twitched as I thought, Strong? Independent? Let someone in? … GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!

I wished them well, and thought, Wait on God but let someone in.

Later that evening, I celebrated my handsome nephew and his beautiful bride,

Jenny & Jacob

and posed for a picture with my kids.

Tarah, Jake, and I.

As I am writing this, I am glancing at the photo of my children like a momma looks at her newborn baby. I am filled with so much joy and proud that they are living their best life, in New York and in Chicago. As for me, I am content and maybe this is a season of just that, contentment; but as two couples showed me this weekend, life is better with love.

I just felt the whisper It is coming! Wait for it!

“To everything there is a season… a time for love.” Ecclesiastes:1,8


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I am headed to Michigan this weekend to celebrate the wedding of one of my favorite nephews, Jacob.

This afternoon, after I finished packing my carry-on ,I zipped it up and thought, should I park my car at the airport or should I text a friend to drive me?… the airport is only 10 minutes away, I could ask my friend Heidi or I could just pay the 20/day fee?

I scratched my head and thought Ok God, you know I don’t want want to be a burden to anyone, what should I do

Before I could finish my thought I received a text, Hey Lis, when are you going? Do you need a ride to and from the airport?

A smirk crossed my face as I looked up at my ceiling and thought YOU DO SEE ME!

I texted Heidi, YOU and God REALLY love me!

I called Heidi and gave her the details on my trip to Michigan.

After I hung up the phone, I dug through a box of old photographs and found this picture.

Jake, Tarah, and I – MI Summer 2003

I glanced at the photo and thought, my babies.

I studied the photo and recalled that months before this beach snapshot, my ex had become a paraplegic. With no child support, a quick weekend away to Southaven Michigan was all I could afford. Every year the trips to Michigan became symbolic, as if the sun setting over the pier was God saying to me, I got you Lisa.

And he did then… and twenty years later,he still does. He knows my thoughts and answers my requests. Even the silly ones.

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” James 4:3


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Yesterday, I was in planting my fall mums when my cell phone rang and with one syllable I felt transported from my backyard, to my house in Westmont, the house of my youth.

“Lisa.”

“Well hello Amy. How is my girlfriend today?”

Within moments, it was as if no time had passed; as if we were sharing stories, freshman year in the cafeteria line or on the bleachers of a Hornet football game.

“Who did you go to prom with?”

“Who was your big crush?”

“Do you remember that toga party at Knez’s?”

It was like I was fourteen years old again and could still feel my braces getting caught on my gums as I giggled.

We shared memories from our youth but also some of the lows of today; aging parents, work, jobs, life, etc.

I hung up the phone, looked over at my mums and instead of resuming planting, I put down my shovel and went inside.

I thought more about Amy. That girl always could make me laugh.

I dug through my old photo album and found a picture of us. I can still hear “Surprise!!!” echoing the hallway of my childhood home.

I thumbed through the photo album labeled SWEET SIXTEEN PARTY and saw friends of my youth.

As I recalled names of the faces who gathered in my streamer-filled basement, a quiet smile covered my face as I remember how happy I was that night but then another thought entered my mind.

Wait! That was also the same day of my high school conference gymnastics meet.

That meet still ranks as my most embarrassing moment EVER! Let’s just say, “my monthly friend” decided to pay me a visit in the middle of my floor routine. SURPRISE! And this SURPRISE visit was not something that was easily disguised. I remember Amy sitting outside the shower as I cried with utter distress.

I thumbed through some more pictures and thought how could I be SO FREAKED OUT and SO HAPPY all in the same day. And then I heard the whisper, ” With me anything is possible.”

So you may ask, why do I share such raw and personal stories? For likes? For Comments? Self-promotion?

No. None of above.

The reason is simple; to show that no matter what you are going through, or how your day, your week, your month, or yes- even your painstaking year is going- that we have a real and personal Jesus who sees us, loves us, and listens to us.

He wants to help us, if only we will ask.

So if you are stuck in a season of slow bleeding… ( Sorry, I am giggling! God wrote that! I didn’t.)

Don’t be stuck! You have a friend who wants to be with you; whether you are crying in the shower or celebrating a birthday. God is good and will meet you right where you are!

“Many are asking,’ Who can show us any good? Lift up the light of your face upon us Lord.” Psalm 4:6


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you worry about?

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

Will my kids go to college?

Will my family stay healthy?

What do you wonder about?

Think back to your childhood…

What did you want to want to be?

What did you wonder?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

“Lis… Are you alright?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Warning: this blog is self-indulging like a over-flowing ice cream sundae, dripping in hot fudge sauce.Today I am spectacularly,happy!Today is my daughter, Tarah’s 25th birthday.

Last night, I found a picture of us when she was five years.

Tarah & I- my peanut!

As I study the picture this morning a soft smile covers my face. I recall braiding our hair but also that time in my life where things were not so sweet. I was newly divorced, my ex had become a paraplegic, and I was trying hold everything together with a safety pin.

But today, as I received a FaceTime call from Tarah who now lives in New York, I could not contain my silly joy. I was grinning ear to ear as I wished my baby, Happy Birthday!

I know most moms love their kids and are proud of them but I feel something special for my peanut.

Tarah & I in NY – May 2022

Even though on most days we can’t share a picnic blanket like we did in New York a few months ago, we do share something extraordinary.

As I look at the photo above, I know Tarah inherited my silliness, my smile as well as my strong independent nature. I think Boy, am I lucky. It wasn’t easy but she was worth it!

Happy birthday Tarah!


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A Full life. A Full heart.

I’m sitting at O’Hare Airport, waiting for my flight back to Santa Barbara.

As I sip on my mint tea, images like Polaroids flutter through my mind.

I take out my phone and tap my photo app and scroll through the smiles of my high school friends. My dimples raise as I recall the fun night we had as we got together for an impromptu high school reunion.

Hinsdale South class of 1985
“The gang”

I keep scrolling through my photos and I see other smiles, smiles of my sorority sisters, and a fun Sunday gathering. A smirk crosses my face as I recall giggling like schoolgirls as we retold goofy stories of our college adventures.

My sorority sisters.

I put down my phone, lean back in the airport chair and close my eyes. Thoughts of walking in my old neighborhood this past week, flutter through my mind. As I walk down memory lane, I reminisce of boys that I kissed, friends that I had, and backyard tent-outs with the group that I called “the gang.”

It is like I’m sixteen years old again, and just had my first kiss. I’m feeling nothing but butterflies. The innocence of youth.

I hear the flight attendant announce, “We will be boarding shortly flight 742 to Santa Barbara…” I sit up and take another sip of tea and can’t help but thank God for all the lives that have made an impression on my life.

Some were my first loves. Some allowed me to be silly and goofy. Some are my forever friends. They all have touched my life and impacted me to become who I am today.

I look out the window at the plane that I’m ready to board and think, I am pretty lucky. I have lived a good life. I have had a lot of wonderful friends and still have a lot of wonderful friends.

The flight attendant announces,”We are now ready to board flight 742 to Santa Barbara.” I stand up and grab my carry-on and wheel it towards the gate.

I get in line and a quiet smile covers my face, as I see families and couples getting in line around me. I receive a text from a Santa Barbara friend offering to pick me up from the airport.

I smile and think ,I may be single but I am not alone. I am loved. I am cared for. I am blessed.

I pull my rollaboard forward and head toward the plane.

“…a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9


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Today was a perfect day. One thing I miss about living in California is the hot summer days of Chicago.

My dad turned 89 over the weekend but oh boy, does he still love the heat.

Today was no exception. He wanted to sit directly in the sun but I guess my blood has thinned. I asked him if we could drag the chairs and sit in the shade under the Maple tree.

As the wind blew through the Maple leaves, I decided to play some of my dad’s favorite music.

We both got loss in the moment singing along to Summer Wind by Frank Sinatra.

( play video below)

Dad & I singing Summer Wind

We played a few more Sinatra’s songs, singing what lyrics we remembered.
The music stopped but the wind continued to blow, cooling us off.

I took the moment to study my father; his full head of white hair, his wrinkled face, and his hands that are weathered from a life, well-lived.

I glanced away and thought,I leave tomorrow for California.

I will miss today and yes, the Summer Wind.


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

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

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

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

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

– Jake & I having a New York minute.

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

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

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

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

Jake, Tarah, and I enjoying a picnic

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

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

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

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

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

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

I shut my eyes and dream of all the possibilities.

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

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

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

As for me, I plan to be surprised.

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


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This weekend my daughter, Tarah graduated Pace University in New York City.

As I’m sitting here at Denver Airport waiting for my flight back to Santa Barbara a feeling of overwhelming GUSH, passes over me, tears pour out of me, and the ugly crying begins.

I think,why am I crying?, I just don’t know why.

One moment, I am so proud as I recall moments from this weekend, my grown daughter graduating, crossing a stage,seeing her as a woman this weekend who is strong and independent, intergrating her life, into the BIG APPLE, but moments later my emotions are just like the many subways I traveled on this weekend. I have changed stations . I already miss her.

I pull up a video that I saved on my phone . It is of my little girl, dancing on a chair impersonating Britney Spears but with her own style, screaming the lyrics like the front person of a metal band. ( click video below)

My tears have turned to giggles as I think, she was always unique, always creative, always funny, always childlike, always silly. She always had her own style.

The video clip stops and hit play again.

God made her distinct . She was destined to be an actress. 

As I am waiting to board my flight to California, a quiet smile covers my face as I think,THANK you GOD for Tarah ! You made her brave enough to carve out her own original path and take the path less traveled .

I watch the video one more time and remember that time in my life, too. Tarah was just a child.

I shake my head and my lips seal as I think of the crooked path that led to here. 

Twenty years ago, I was newly divorced, my ex had just become a paraplegic. I was broke and didn’t think I would survive as a single mom without financial support, let alone see both my kids graduate college. At times, I could only save 25/ month but I did it.

WE did it ! SHE DID IT! And yes without any college debt.

Tarah, me, and Jake. It has always been…just us.

I look up at the ceiling and think,THANK you GOD! You made Tarah unique for a reason.

I look outside at the clouds passing by and think of my daughter,God had the plan and you were brave enough to live it. You are living an authentic life.

I hear the flight attendant say, “Now boarding to Santa Barbara…”

I think, I miss my girl but I am so so proud of my baby.


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My eyes flickered as a gentle light filtered through my sheer curtains. Monday morning. Time to get up .

Mondays typically have a nice rhythm; work, swim, and then Kipper and I head to the beach. After swimming at the Y, I pulled on my shorts and threw on a t-shirt and hat, and jumped in my Jeep.

As I headed, down the road, I quietly asked God, “Why am I here? Why Santa Barbara? How do you wanna use me?

I waited but heard nothing.

As an elementary school just let out for the day, my thoughts wandered to my own kids. Jake is in Chicago. Tarah is in New York. Why am I here?

Wanting a response I yelled, “Come on! I wanna know why here ? Why Santa Barbara?”

I saw a VON’s sign approaching and thought Bananas . I’m out. I pulled in the parking lot, got out, and within a few minutes my grocery cart was filled and I was checking out.

As my groceries, made their way down the conveyor belt, the girl bagging my groceries said, “I love your purse. It is so cute just like you.” A warm smile covered my face. “Aww thanks! It was a birthday gift.”

We start talking like old friends. As she loaded my groceries in my cart, she leaned in and whispered in my ear. “Thanks for being so nice to me. Right before you came to check out, I said to myself, I need hope. I need to see that someone sees me.”

I looked at her name tag and said, “Karen, can I hug you?” She nodded. I hugged her tight like a favorite teddy bear and whispered into her ear, “I see you. God sees you. You gave me purpose today. I will see you again Karen.”

I pushed my shopping cart out the door and tipped my hat to the sky and thought,You do see me ! You do hear me!

Wanting to remember this moment, I quickly waved a man down in the parking lot and asked him to take a picture of the purse that started it all.

I got in the car, giggled, and threw a smirk at the sky and said, “You do see me God! And you saw Karen too. Once again you never surprise me!”

I pulled out of the parking space and silently thought, I do belong here.

As I made way home, I looked through my windshield up at the clouds floating by, You give me purpose, God.

How does God want to use you ? Are you willing ?

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13


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

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

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

Kris, Jenna, and me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is not too late. Share the blessing.

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


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This morning I received a text from my brother, Roger, with a cute meme . It had me giggling before breakfast.

I quickly texted back. Aww you made me giggle. I am seeing the beauty of my EASY life.

Moments later, I decided to post the meme on Facebook. The giggle was too good not to share.

Feeling a nudge, I added these words, “My brother sent me this today. It made me giggle. Don’t get me wrong I will someday remarry but for now, I am enjoying my singleness. To all my single friends, may you find the EASY JOY, everyday !

Moments later, Kipper and I were off on our walk, and I had a little extra bounce in my step. Who am I kidding ? I felt giddy and skipped and danced my way through the the streets and parks of Santa Barbara.

On my walk, I asked God , “What is my plan? What is my purpose? I thought I heard a quiet whisper …I have blessed you with joy. Your purpose is to share it.

I skipped my way home feeling a little lighter.

I worked, played Pickleball, made dinner, and then read some of the Facebook responses to my earlier post. Many had me giggling like a schoolgirl but one stood out from the crowd.

We messaged back and forth, just light, easy conversation but then one of her responses welled me up with tears.

“It’s funny. I didn’t know, back in the day, that you would be the “sister” that made me remember what it was all about. You are the glue that keeps stragglers like me on the periphery. We aren’t quite gone because of people like you.”

I had a lump in my throat. I felt it. The nudge. The whisper. This is your purpose. This is why I bless you with joy, to share it with others.

I have to admit, this is not the joy I thought I wanted, the joy of enjoying singleness. But today, I feel happy. I feel content. I feel a new sense of purpose, to share the joy that can only be explained as the Joy of Jesus.

So for today, I am enjoying the season of singleness with purpose. Who knows what tomorrow may bring ?

May this season, whatever season you are in, may you be surprised with unexpected JOY !

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”


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Sit down and pour yourself a cold glass of lemonade or your drink of choice, because this one is worth a little indulging and sipping slowly.

I have to admit, a few weeks ago the thought of turning fifty-five did not sit pretty with me. One night, while laying in bed, I looked at the ceiling and yelled, “Come on God. Fifty-five and single. It’s been twenty years. How much longer?”

I waited for an answer but heard nothing . I bit my bottom lip and then lowered my head in defeat, “Well, if you’re not gonna bring me the husband, can you at least restore my joy because I gotta admit THIS HURTS ?”

I turned off the light and went to bed.

The next day, as I took in the smell of my lemon and oranges trees in my backyard, I lowered my eyes, shook my head, and thought why do you yell at God, when he has blessed you so much ? Get over yourself Lisa !

I picked a lemon and then a basketful.

As I sat the basket down on my kitchen table, I thought of the old saying, “ If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

I decided to make some lemonade. With a quick Evite, a guest list, a “lemon-squeezy, easy-peasy” birthday celebration on the calendar, I felt like a little girl with pigtails, skipping through the rest of my day.

As the lemon-themed birthday party drew closer, I thought more and more about the whole, lemon to lemonade theme in my life.

For those of you who don’t know my story here’s the quick sour lemon recap: twenty years ago, I went through a divorce, months later my ex became a paraplegic from a snowmobile accident, his second wife sued me for their accident, I was a broke single mom with no child support, our home with burglarized, and years later I suffered with Lyme disease.

Who would think that would be the easy part of my story? The last several years, in ways I am not ready yet to disclose, life handed me a brand new fresh bag of lemons.

Yes! More sour ! I have to admit I am so grateful for this extra helping of sour lemons. Why? Because through it, God drew me closer to him, rid me of my self-reliance, humbled me , and lowered my pride. Yes, I have retired my sassy pants!

I don’t move until God tells me to move. But when God moves, HE REALLY MOVES!

Remember, I wrote that I yelled at God to restore my joy? Boy! Oh boy ! Did he ever !!

Not only , did I have a fabulous birthday party surrounded by friends who love me…

My lemon-squeezy /easy peasy birthday party !

but received a email from the bakery uptown that I won the princess cake.

God is good ! God is great! He is at work all the time, even through our hard seasons of sour lemons.

Life may be sour but I know this to be true, God has blessed me with good friends and no sugar is needed. Friends make life sweet.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For you know, the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


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This story has a few head-fakes and “meet-cutes”, almost like a silly Rom-Com I USED to love. STAY-TUNED! It is worth a good commercial.

I haven’t blogged in awhile because I haven’t heard God, The Whisper Within, for some time. Probably my fault, because you can’t hear someone if you are not spending time with them. Just like a friend, if you are not spending time in person or otherwise, how do you know what’s going on in their life? Simply put, I know God speaks to me through reading his word but over the last month or so, I’ve been out of touch.

This past week, I am back reading the Bible and listening, and funny, God orchestrated his usual, funny circumstance.

On New Year’s Eve, as me and my friend were walking up the steps from the beach, a man yelled, “Hey Chicago.” Forgetting I was wearing a Cub’s hat, I turned and said, “Oh Hey.” We quickly exchanged information that we both were from Chicago but now live here, we both have an eighty-eight year old parent living back in Chicago, and definitely don’t miss the snow.

I quipped, “Ya, today Chicago is getting snow and that’s probably why I can’t get a hold of my dad. He’s probably out there snow blowing.”

The man remarked, “Your dad is eighty-eight and snow blowing?” My friend retorted, “You don’t know her dad. He’s amazing. He seriously is a cat and has nine lives.” My friend went on to explain that a year ago my dad was hit by a speeding car while he was walking and broke no bones, survived cancer, fell off a ladder, still gardens and donated like a hundred pounds or more to the food bank…”

The man stated, “You know the secret to living a good life is to have a life with purpose. Your dad has purpose.”

The man asked, “Where does your dad live?” I said, “Darien.” He said, “Wow. I grew up in Westmont. Small world.” I giggled and said, ” I grew up in Westmont, too.” He called his mom and asked, “Mom, what was our address in Westmont?” He turned to me and said, “I grew up on Cass Avenue and 56th Street.” I shook my head and said,” I grew up on Cass Avenue by 63rd Street.” I overheard him say to his mom, “I’m talking to this lady, she grew up down the street from us. What was grade school did we go to, mom?”

He looked at me and said, “Did you go to Maercker grade school?… Ah, I probably would not have know you, I’m fifty five and you are younger than me.” I said, “I went Zion Lutheran in Hinsdale and I’ll be fifty five next month.”

As the man continued to talk with his mom on the phone, the wheels in my brain were turning. Same age. We grew up just blocks apart. We both live here. Is this my perfect Rom- Com “meet cute”?

He hung up the phone with his mom and said, “I would love to hear more about your dad, actually MY WIFE, is a journalist and she probably would love to write a story about him. Yep, wife. My Rom- Com perfect ending was over. But I did hear God whisper, ” It will be that easy for you, Lisa. Trust me.”

Here’s the head-fake. This blog is not about me but something bigger.

Last night, I was looking at my daughter’s website and saw a picture that she took of my dad.

I couldn’t help but think of what the man from the beach said about living a good life.

What is a “Good Life?”

Is it having the spouse? friends? relationships? right job? enough money or things?

My Bible devotion today was about relationships. It stated the foundation of our relationship should be with God because sooner or later, our relationship with a spouse, our children, our friends, may break down. I know I have painfully experienced this.

So what is the “Good Life” ?

I looked at the picture of my father and smiled knowing that he exemplifies the “Good Life”, living a life with purpose, for the glory of God.

” …Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” Corinthians 10:13


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Tonight I sat on my front porch, talking with my Chicago friend, Chris.We talked about being “empty-nesters.” Her last son left for college this week and my kids have been out of the nest for awhile. She questioned , “We raised the kids. They gave us purpose but what is next?”

We bantered for awhile,laughing about filling our days with work, pickleball, yoga, swimming, bible study groups, etc. She then said,“ Lis, I’ve read a book about when people had near death experiences, the stories are similar about Jesus telling them to love his people.” She continued, “so maybe our purpose is everyday to get up and ask God to show us how to do that.”

I quickly agreed saying, “Yes, during Covid, before I got out of bed, I would say, “ Show me what you want me to do God and I’ll do it .”

Chris and I made a pact, to ask God every morning that question and then tell each other how God uses us during the week.

So I’m taking this further ….

What if more people did this? What if YOU, asked God,“Tell me how you want to use me today ? Show me how you want to use me God?”

-Maybe it’s just smiling at someone at the grocery store.

-Being kinder to the difficult co-worker.

-Listening to a friend

I do believe, if we ask God to show us, to open our heart, open our ears to REALLY listen, to open our eyes to REALLY see others; He WILL use us to REALLY LOVE others!

I would like to challenge YOU, YES YOU, to be the “WHAT IF” in your community.

I would love to,next week, hear how God used YOU!

Open your heart. Open your eyes. Open your ears and listen to what God whispers to you. The Whisper Within.

Psalm 119:13 “Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord.” TLB


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It has been over a year and half since I traveled by plane. I am sure many of us feel the time lost. I close my eyes and rest my head on the headrest and a soft smile covers my face. I can’t wait to see my children. My family. My dad. I’m going home.

My mouth twitches Is Chicago home?

My lips seal like an envelope. Home?

Quickly images of my Fourth of July backyard party fill my head. I recall giving a toast to my friends, all gathered around my table. In the toast, I reference the movie Under the Tuscan Sun starring Diane Lane as Francis.In the movie, she gets divorced, buys a run-down house in Tuscany, and in moment of weakness, confesses to the realtor that she is sad but wants a wedding and family at this new house; that she was tired of being alone.

I quietly smile recalling telling my friends how at the end of movie, the realtor tells Francis, “I think you got wish.” She smiles, “ You’re right. I got my wish.”

My heart is full as I recalled telling my friends that having my table filled on the Fourth of July brought me so much joy that I feel like Francis from the movie. I got my wish! I continued to say that I had been praying for twenty years for a husband but if I met my husband in Chicago I would not be here and through all the trials and tribulations, God orchestrated a life better than I could possibly imagine and that it was only possible through him.

The evening went on, we prayed.We ate. We danced with sparklers like little kids, and yes, we watched fireworks. The night was magical.

Near the end of the night, my friend’s husband, John, gave me some parting advice, “ When you go back to Chicago, keep your eyes down. We don’t want you finding your husband in Chicago, unless he is willing to move to Santa Barbara.” I remember smirking.

I hear over the intercom, “Please prepare the cabin for takeoff.” I look out the small oval window and see palm trees kissing the blue sky and think Thank you God for unanswered prayers. You knew me better than I knew myself.

Are you willing to wait on God and trust him to provide for you ?

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4