The Whisper Within

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


Leave a comment >

img_3639

July 4th 2001. Not single yet… but definitely beach bound.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who make hard choices !
Because I loved my kids …the benefits of being raised by a single mom …
1) You learned if you didn’t get up for school a bucket of water would be dumped in you .
2) You learned that mouthing off would result in a “free pass” to walk to school in the middle of winter .
3) You learned that misbehaving at x-mas eve service would earn you the ” push-ups for presents ” prize.
4) You learned that NOT learning math was NOT an option- I was not afraid to be called a math nazi .
5) You learned if something stunk – it was time to crawl under the deck to see what creature was rotting – usually a raccoon .
6) You learned how to earn a wage at 8 & 9 yrs old – I think $5 is a fair wage for staining a deck .
7) You learned summer was not a vacation from homework … that worksheets before breakfast is part of life .
8) You learned that no matter what , WE were a team – poor but surviving .
9) You learned that I was always in your corner .I would pour every ounce into you – but you had to do the same – FOR YOU !
10) You learned that I love you – no matter what ! #mothersday #momlife #mom #singlemom
Congrats to all the moms who make it work!


11 Comments >

Featured Image -- 1628

“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.

 


7 Comments >

wish

2002 was the year my life forever changed… divorced and shortly afterwards my ex became a paraplegic. That year, I had learned to scrimp on everything and live off very little. McDonald’s was an infrequent dining experience, free videos from the library saved a trip to Blockbusters and the hefty $3.69 rental fee, garage sale shopping became an art form, and trips to Target were only made to acquire necessities. My kids were five and six. We were team, poor but surviving. I thought for sure I would remarry and pretty quickly,but my plans were not God’s plans.The financially worry was taken off the table but he never let my potential husband pull up a seat to join me, even for dessert.  By 2010, when my first born entered high school I made a deal with God, “I get it. You want me to stay single. Fine. I’ll take your deal and raise it by two chips… but by the time I’m 50 I don’t want to be dating.”

Well, this week I turned 50 … and without a husband in sight. I thought God forget to deal me my cards.  Before I could blow out my birthday candle a friend reminded me , “Lisa once again you were not specific with your prayers to God .You said you did not want to be dating and you’re not!” The room of friends giggled like schoolgirls at a sleepover.

As I blew out my candle I was eight years again with braces and pigtails making a wish. I know it is bad luck to tell your wish but my wish doesn’t need any luck. You see,  I no longer wish for a husband (Oh I still want one )… but I wished that I keep surrendering to HIS Plan. I see God has granted me all my wishes in HIS time.  The beach. The mountains. And good friends.cambria

I know God loves me and knows my heart.  There are no more deals since I am waiting for the real deal( and so should you!)  Proverbs 20:24 ” I don’t know where the path is leading but I know who is leading the path.” I am 50 and happy. No deals. No wishes.  Only God’s whispers.  I will bravely cross the bridge to the other side and willingly walk to where God is leading me. Can you be brave enough to wait and listen to the Whispers Within?cambria-bridge

 

 

 

 


7 Comments >

 christmas-tree
     This may come to a surprise to my friends but I don’t like Christmas. I would rather “shoot my eye out,” than walk into a mall at Christmas.  Any single person knows what I am talking about; couples walking hand in hand, fused together like conjoined twins. This week as I sat on the couch watching The Holiday, surrounded in wadded up tissue from nursing a cold, the sadness crept in; tiptoeing around my Christmas tree like the Grinch. Not even Jude Law’s dreamy blue eyes could spark excitement. The holidays can be simply depressing for the single person.

Attempting still to get in the mood, I resorted to the classic, It’s A Wonderful Life. No matter how many times I have seen it, the ending still grabs me. I feel like I am swallowing marbles and my eyes are pools of emotion every time I watch it. That’s when  Christmas hits me like Santa’s sled going full steam.
     We know the reason for the season but in a commercialized world we need to make the joy ourselves. So, I wadded up my tissue and threw them in the trash along with pity and heard God whisper down the hall. I made little booklets that read, “You have been a gift to me. In turn, I want to give you a gift of my favorite Bible verses.”
Here were some of the responses:
“Your booklet helped me this week” ~ my massage therapist
“The best gift is when you give of yourself” ~ a client
“Thank you for the reminding me, that the thirteen-year-old me had good instincts. I can’t imagine how someone from so long ago and so far away could feel as connected right now, but I do.” ~ a High school friend.
Sitting on the bathroom floor, letting the tears pour down my face, I was transported back to high school Biology class with my braces, pony tail, and all. We all want love; whether we are thirteen or a hundred and thirteen.
 There is a week before Christmas and someone you may know may be lonely. I “triple dog dare you” to reach out and make a difference. Do you bake?  Bring cookies to a neighbor. Write a note “You are loved this Christmas.”  Give an extra Christmas hug.

 Be willing to give love. “No man is a failure who has friends,” God whispered to me. What is God whispering to you?

.
Philippians 2:1 “Is there any such thing as Christians cheering each other up.”
I don’t like Christmas. I love Christmas. Be willing to find the true magic of Christmas


3 Comments >

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!”


10 Comments >

cubs
The year was 2003 when everything changed for my beloved Cubs and for me.    It was a bone-chilling, blustery February day that life as I knew it would never be the same. I can still hear the phone call from thirteen years ago, clinging to my memory like the ivy on the brick walls of Wrigley Field.
     I was newly divorced and financially broke, single mom of two young children when I was confronted with the news that my ex had a horrible snowmobile accident, leaving him a paraplegic. That was the same year my beloved Cub’s heart was broke as well. When Bartman leaned forward to catch Marlin’s second baseman, Luis Castillo’s, foul ball. His attempt distracted Cubs left-fielder, Moises Alou. Marlins wound up scoring eight runs that inning. The Cubs lost. They were eliminated the next night. The curse lived on or was it really a curse?
    I don’t believe in “The Bartman curse,” and I don’t believe the curse of the Billy Goat either. I am hopeless optimistic like a loyal Cub fan at Wrigley; who waves the W flag when their precious Cubbies are losing 8-0 in the bottom of the ninth.  I believe that even if you are dealt a bad pitch or someone plays interference, you always have a choice to dig deep, brush the dirt off, play a little scrappy, but get the job done.
   That’s what I did, without a relief  pitcher in sight. Thirteen years later, I see how things turned around for my kids and me; as well as the Chicago Cubs. My kids, Jake and Tarah ,are both in college and the Cubs are in the playoffs, hopefully, heading to the World Series.
 How does one keep walking forward with hope when your world seems hopeless?
1) Get out of the dugout, (or your bed) every day. You may fall on your face but at least it is momentum in the right direction.
2) Never settle. Wake up every day and say  “Nothing but greatness today.” Play like a champion.
3) If you are unsure of an answer – Do nothing! Don’t try to pick up a “new player” or spouse. That is not your answer .
4) Be open to change. The best plans change without your permission. You need to be flexible to adjust. You need to know when it is time to steal 2nd.
5) Write down your thoughts every day.The Good, the bad & the ugly. See your progress. What are your stats?
6) In this time of transition – be the best you. The Cubs may not have always have a winning team- but they are the best team at Wrigley.
7) Do everything without complaining and arguing. Nobody likes a poor sport!
8) Always believe you will win. Get The W flag out and start waving. Fake it until you feel it. 9) Trust the plan. No matter what it is. You may not agree with the GM or God but they are in charge.
10) Allow yourself to be sad but you need to get up and take another swing. You could hit a home run.
11) And lastly as a “suffering cubs fan”  there is always next year!… Hopefully this is the year!
 I know I said 10 ways… but the 11th is the bonus! Hoping  me, you, and my beloved Cubbies get  an extra inning – if it means winning.
UPDATE : This was written pre- World Series . 2016 was the Cub’s  year & mine as well ! Here is hoping the winning streak continues in 2017!
Follow me on Facebook at : The WHISPER WITHIN .
You can follow me on twitter: @lisaschomer0206