The Whisper Within

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


A ding. A text. And then a picture.


April 9th in Chicago. Will it ever end?

It’s Cub’s home opener; of course.

Sorry , About the snow , Jen.

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


This weekend was all about wonder…

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

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

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

-A client wondered “When can I retire?”

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

-Will my book get published?


Why do people go on vacation?

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

When and why do we stop wondering?

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


How do we not lose the wonder?

I thought about my week…

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

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

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


Life is a series of wonders.

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

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

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

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

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

Can you?

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

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

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


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

How many of you feel this way ?

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

Another call. Another email.

How do we not lose our joy?

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

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

A phone rings.

“Lisa, I need to review your taxes…”

A calculation. A scenario. And then a question.

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

My heart fluttered.

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

I felt like I swallowed a mouthful of marbles.

“St. Peter’s saved me children .”

“ Saved your children ?”

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

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

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

“A St. Peter’s connection?”

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

My dimples turned North.

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

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

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

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

How do we not lose our joy ?

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

Happy Easter!

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Oh boy ! Here we go again…

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

” Have you found a church ?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Today is Palm Sunday …

The message was read.

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

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

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

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

What is God telling you to do ?

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

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

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

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

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

What is your donkey ?

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

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

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

1 Comment >

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

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

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


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


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.


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.



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

Do you remember what you were like as a child ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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