Tag Archives: GOD
Today is another rainy day in…opps, I almost wrote Chicago. Santa Barbara. I feel like I am back living in the Windy City instead of sunny California.
Work finished so I made a pot of chicken soup to feel right at home.
As the soup simmered, I listened to a podcast, “How do I know if I’m hearing God?” by one of my favorite pastors, Charles Stanley.
I know many of you have asked me, how do I hear God or as I say, hear the Whisper Within?
Well, if you want to know, then listen to the podcast. The link is below.
I love that Charles Stanley says ( not to discourage attending church),“ Why go to church and spend an hour and walk away with nothing? That’s a bad investment. But what about spending an hour and having God pour truth into your life.”
Church can be like a party where you don’t know anyone there so you may end up feeling more lost, more alone.
Or it can be like attending a concert to a musician that you don’t know the music.
The best way to get to know a new musician is to listen quietly or dance silly in your own home, before experiencing the big concert.
You would not attend a concert to Death Cab for Cutie, if you knew none of the music, so why would you go to church if you don’t already have a relationship with God?
How do you get a relationship with God? Well like listening to new music, you play around with it.
So how do you start listening to this NEW ARTIST and dabble in His music? I’m gonna make it easy; start with Proverbs or with the Psalms. I started reading the Psalms when I was sad and the Proverbs when I needed direction.
Then once you experience God on your own, there’s nothing better than being in a big community of other “concert goers” who love Death Cab for Cutie, or God, just the way you do.
Make yourself some chicken soup, relax and put your feet up, grab a Bible, and ask God to speak to your heart.
And Listen to the Whisper Within.
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8
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
Today I received a text from my best friend.
I saw this on my walk, and it reminded me of you.
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
Last weekend was New Year’s Eve. I had a fantastic time celebrating with my friend, Marji, yes in our PJs.
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!
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.”
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.”
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,
and posed for a picture with my kids.
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
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.
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
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.
“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
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.
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
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
Today. As the light filtered in through my sheers curtains I stretched out my body like a rubber band and thought, Yes! A full nights sleep!
I reached over, grabbed my phone and quickly texted and thanked my friend Jen for her prayers. She responded, Lucky! I slept well until 1:30, then was up the rest of the night.
I responded, UGH! That’s my prayer for YOU tonight! LET’s do this God!… Oh I just heard God say- you are prayer penpals!
She texted back, How do you hear him?
I responded a long winded text of something to the effect of I’m always asking, questioning, and listening for Him, basically spending time with him, talking to Him like a best friend.
Moments later, I started “the scroll”, yes the five minute Facebook scroll of who is doing what. Today’s feed was filled with cute back-to-school pictures.
I LIKED a few and then decided one friend needed a personal touch. I texted, Good morning! Saw your beautiful girls are off to school. How are you?
Within seconds my cell rang and I answered, “Well, what a happy surprise, Kyla”
We spent the next hour REALLY connecting, REALLY sharing the REAL. It was not Facebook pretty. We did not wait to scroll through our photo app to get the right picture, instead we showed the ugly, the just out of bed, no-make-up and hair mangled look.
Even though, we live hundreds of miles apart, I felt like she was on my front porch sharing a cup of coffee. After an hour we hung up and got on with our day but my mind was still drawn back to that conversation. As I poured another cup of coffee I thought, We all want to connect hence the allure of social media and Facebook but are we really connecting or servicing up LIKES and comments like an appetizers, a quick fix, when we long for the main course?
I am guilty of this. How many likes? Who commented? What did they say?
As I walked into my office, I thought of what Jen asked me, “How do I hear God?”
Even though I enjoy Facebook, or the quick text from a friend, those are just stars stickers on the top of a homework assignment, where as my deep friendships are those who sit with me in the boring History lectures without a sticker in sight.
The same is true with God. He wants not the quick prayer, the quick request. He wants us to talk to Him like a best friend. He wants OUR TIME. Our Truth. I’m Happy. I’m Sad. I hurt. He doesn’t want our Facebook pretty.
So the question I have for you, who do you do life with? Hundreds of friends or those who you share deep personal connections with? Do you give your friends or God the time they deserve or are you just serving up a LIKE or a prayer, not lingering and enjoying a slow cup of tea or fine wine at the end of a day?
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.
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
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
This week I was in the attic and found a box full of random pictures of the last twenty or thirty years.
As I scattered the pictures across my kitchen table I recognize most of the people in the pictures and thought, How lucky am I that I’m still am friends with a lot of the people in the pictures?
I grabbed my iPhone took a few pictures and sent it to those in the photos with a text saying something to the effect of, “Those were happy days. Good memories of you.”
The responses varied from sweet to silly. Some reciprocated by sending photos back to me. One in particular warmed my heart as she responded, “Thanks for the walk down memory lane.”
She then reciprocated and send a picture of her own to me.I was stunned It was like opening a time capsule.
I quickly texted back, “Love, love, love this photo. It was John Guido’s wedding. I sat with my ex at that wedding even though we were already three months divorced.”
I looked closer at the photo remembering that I was recently divorced and I asked myself Why did I look so happy? I think I was at peace and I was hopeful for the future. I believed God had good things for me.
I remembered that wedding and celebrating the wonderful couple that now been married eighteen and half years. It was a joyous occasion. I was glad that I could sit next to my ex and feel fine.
I looked closer at the photo and thought Wow! I was only 35 and now I’m 54. Never thought I’d be single almost 20 years!
Within moments a small smile covered my face. Thank God I did not remarry back then. What I wanted in my 30s is definitely not what I need in my 50s. Back then I may have had a faith in God but I wasn’t looking for a strong Christian man, let alone a warm body to sit next to me on the pew.
God was in the delay. He has been working on my heart and my desires; to be with a man who not only adores me but adores God. So today, as I got ready for church, I looked in the mirror and felt hopeful again. God knows what he’s doing.
I stepped outside and snapped a selfie and thought,I am happy. I am healthy. I am hopeful.
So today, for those of you who are single and wondering what’s taking God so long? Don’t give up hope! Believe that God has good things in store for you ! Maybe just maybe, like me, he is changing you for good. I believe the wait will be worth it !
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, in his word I put my hope.”Psalm 130:5
I got admit this happened last week but I’ve been so swamped with work, in a good way, that I haven’t had time to write. But maybe God was in the delay because the eve before Thanksgiving I have a lot to be thankful for. But what happened last week was a great reminder that God has ways to bring us joy, happiness,and the unexpected coincidences. So here’s what happened last week…￼￼￼￼￼￼
Today The Dow Jones industrial hit an all time high. As a CFP, this is￼ pretty exciting stuff￼￼.
I got admit I love the majority my clients and really enjoy working with them but sometimes there’s a bad apple and that’s just part of life. It’s still isn’t fun.￼￼
After work￼￼, I shut off my computer, ￼changed into a swimsuit, and after a ten minute ride in my Jeep,Kipper and I were at the beach. This beach is an off leash beach for dogs. ￼￼ I took Kipper’s leash off and within seconds she was sprinting down the beach and trouncing in the water￼￼.
I couldn’t keep up. I wouldn’t dare try. I walked by three young girls and they asked,”Is that your dog?”
I nodded and one of them said,”I’d like to have half the amount￼ ￼of energy. Your dog is just so happy here.￼￼”
I smirked,”Ya, me too. I wish I had that kind of energy. And yes, the beach is her happy place.”￼￼
I said goodbye, walked away, found a spot down the beach, dropped my towel, drop my shorts, took off my t-shirt, ran into the water,and submerged my body under a wave￼.
When I came up for air, I couldn’t help but let out a happy scream. The water was freezing. Someone said today it was only 56° in the water.
After about thirty minutes at the beach, it was time for Kipper and I to go home.￼￼ As we we’re leaving ￼I walked by the girls again ￼and waved goodbye.
One of the girls said,”You look like a little kid out there dunking yourself in the water.” I said,”I’m not a little kid I have adult kids probably around your ages. They are twenty-three and twenty-four.”
They shook their heads and said,”No way.” We all laughed, they told me their ages and their names and yes,they were between the ages of 24 and 25 right around my kid’s ages.￼
They asked about my kids and they said they must be full of joy to have you as a mother . My heart sunk,”I can’t tell you how much that means to me . Today was a very rough day. Someone was trying to steal my joy. It hurt. But hearing you say that I am filled with joy makes me happy. We need to really love each other and be happy . You all did that for me today .Meeting you today was just what I needed. ￼It is a good coincidence￼.”
Diana said,” I don’t believe in coincidences.I believe God orchestrates these kind of meetings.”
I quietly smiled,”Me too.”
“You are a gift to me today,”Julia said “I will remember this moment for the rest of my life.”
I asked to take their picture so I could remember them and and how these three beautiful strangers change my mood,changed my perspective, and help to restore my joy. They were a gift to me and because of their easy and open conversation, and loving hearts, my joy was restored.
Kipper and I walked down the beach and I waved goodbye.
I looked up at the sky and silently whispered, “Thank you God for Julia, Diana, and Cherith.” I looked down at my furry friend,”and yes, thanks for Kipper.”
￼￼￼So the eve before Thanksgiving, in a strange year of missing family and friends, can you really love,show extra kindness, and share happiness to those who may be strangers but may need it more than ever ?
Can you love like Kipper?
“You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Today I called one of my clients to review her accounts. “Hello, Bea! How are you?” After we exchange a few pleasantries, and reviewed the business at hand, Bea and I discussed how COVID was affecting each of us.
Bea explained, “I don’t like being quarantined but I have had opportunities to help others in this independent and assisted living facility.”
She explained that there was a sixty-nine year old lady who is legally blind and the staff is having difficulty administering her eyedrops . They asked Bea whether she would be willing to help out because they have heard that she is a kind soul. Bea further explained,”Do you know for the last nine years the lady has lived here without leaving her room and that she has had no friends? But all that has changed, she’s not only let me administer the eyedrops but now we walk almost everyday together. I guess that’s why at eighty-seven years old, why I’m still here. I still have a purpose. My purpose and the bottom line is to show love and care for others. And that’s what you do, Lisa. You care for me.”
I hung up the phone and later on in the afternoon￼, went for a walk uptown and thought about the earlier conversation. It occurred to me that last night I wrote in my journal, What is my purpose? What is your will God, for me?
As I passed a church, I saw a sign that read this :
YOU ARE NOT TOO OLD
AND ITS NOT TOO LATE
I took a picture and then smiled at the sky. Yes, that’s the purpose ! To love and serve others. Bea has it right !
It IS all about love! How are you loving and helping others ?
“It is God himself who has made us… and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.”￼
Ephesians 2:10￼ TLB
This morning Kipper and I were on a morning walk when I saw a piece of paper laying on the sidewalk. I bent down and read the note.
It read: Tom- I love you with all I am or will ever be. You are my protector, lover, best friend, and so much more, and I am so happy that I am truly able to be your wife now too!! I am so happy to have found my soul completion. Love you forever!
Love and peace
Reading this notes filled me with so much hope￼. I thought Love does exist.￼
I quickly took a picture of the note and texted it to some of my single friends with these words, Saw this on my morning walk. Praying this perfect love for you. Feeling hopeful!￼
The text ￼responses from my four of friends varied from:￼￼
Heart and peace sign! I hope Tom feels the same and he accidentally dropped it? I would keep a note like that.
But why was it not saved in a safe place by Tom?
Aww!How sweet! LOL, maybe he didn’t feel the same and threw it out his car window!￼￼￼￼
Awww.Tom needs to learn how to hold on to things like this. LOL. Leah is like, “You lost my love note?” Tom’s like oh crap! I lost her note￼￼!
My response :
LOL! He probably kept it tight in his pocket at all times but it fell out while he was walking and now he is distraught wandering the neighborhood trying to find it.YEP! I’m A HOPELESS ROMANTIC!
I looked down at the note and thought, I hope Tom finds his lost note. ￼
Kipper and I continued on our walk.
I threw a smirk up at the sky and silently thanked God for the sign and thought, True love does exist.
Love, Peace and Hope IS just a step away. IT IS COMING !
Can you believe God has good things for you ?
“For I 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.”
Today is Good Friday. This past week, I walked by this cross several times and thought of Jesus and his ultimate sacrifice so that we, as Christians, may have eternal life. Jesus was the ultimate example of suffering for your friends.
The story while it is quite familiar, always amazes me, that even Jesus suffered so greatly that he could not carry his own cross but needed help. Simon, helped carry Jesus’ cross.
Who helps carry your cross?
Ultimately, we all have the opportunity to go directly to God in prayer but we also have each other to help when our sufferings are too much to bare alone.
Who helps carry your cross? For me, I know. They are just a prayer or text away.
Are you willing to put the heavy cross on your back and carry it for a friend? Are you willing to sacrifice comfort to be a comforter?
Happy Good Friday! There is no Easter without the sacrifice.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NLT
I gotta admit, I wrote this blog months ago but never posted.Why ? Because I would have to completely rip-off my band-aid and show my ugly scab. Well, today I am ripping off the band-aid. Let the bleeding begin.
I’m not perfect.
Let me say again. I am not perfect.
Yep, several times this week I was told that I acted,or tried too hard to be perfect;not showing signs of weakness or sadness.
Here’s the week recap:
My thirteen year neighbor girl came over for dinner. We laughed.We giggled and then she said,”I have to admit I was nervous coming over to see you. You seem so perfect. You are actually fun and easy to be with.”
“Perfect? Why did you think that?”
“I don’t know you seem so put together; like always taking Kipper, your dog, for walks at the same time everyday .Organized.”
“Oh,trust me I’m far from perfect .”
Later in the week at a doctor’s appointment my doctor asked, “How are you feeling?”
I quickly responded,”I’m fine.I’m staying in the joy.”
“Staying in the joy? Lisa, it’s ok to say you hurt. In fact it is healthy to talk about it .Why do you feel like you have to hold it together?”
I lowered my head,“I don’t know. I feel the need to not complain about my sickness .”
“Lisa,it is ok to say you hurt . You aren’t perfect.”
Then today I opened my manuscript for my book. My editor had comments peppered throughout about me being self-admonishing and prideful. Ouch ! This hurts!
I looked at the computer screen, “Am I?”
The whole reason I have wrote the book is that others may trust God no matter what is tossed at them…it’s not supposed to be about “look what I have done but what has God accomplished?”
Maybe memoirs just suck. MAYBE memoirs are self-absorbed.
I walked the beach and cried .
I am sorry. I am so so sorry, God.
Is this you God?
Did all the years of hold everything together as a single mom, did I have too much pride? Did I put too much emphasis on the “I ” in the Bible verse,” I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength,” instead of on Christ?
Was my Lyme disease sickness allowed to prick at my pride?
In the Bible, Paul was afflicted with some disease so that he would not get puffed up.His disease was meant to humble him.
I AM HUMBLED.
For those of you who knew “sassy pants ”, that girl is gone. I am leveled. I am just me. And yes, I hurt. I am messy, just ask my kids about some of my eating habits or ask my friends the condition of the inside of my Jeep; far from perfect. And like Paul in the Bible, sometimes I am lonely.
Yes, I still desire a husband but maybe,just maybe, I WAS (emphasis on was) too independent, too self-sufficient to let a guy take care of me. I wanted to keep control.
Well, that girl is gone! I am ready to relinquish the reins and have someone take care of me for a change. The Band-aid is off. I willingly expose my scab, ugly and all.
As I walked the beach tonight I heard God whisper, “Get rid of your pride. You are not perfect.”
So here I am. No filter. No make-up. Just me.
God has humbled me and made make a softer and a more vulnerable girl.
What is God whispering to you? Are you willing to listen?
“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (TLB) 2 Corinthians 12:10
Tonight I walked the beach with my loyal companion,Kipper,and took in the spectacular view. The beach. The mountains. And even a rainbow .
I snapped a photo and texted it to my kids. Tarah quickly texted back. “That picture makes me so happy. You really did it mom .You achieved your dream.”
My mouth twitched and tears formed as I watched the tide roll in.
I texted back. “Aww Tarah! You are making me cry. I forget that I did . You are right ! This was my dream !”
She responded. “I can’t thank you enough for the life you created for me. You had the courage to better yourself.”
I focused on the rainbow and then texted her back.”Thank you for reminding me. Yes, courage. God gives me strength to walk in his faith.”
I watched the sunset and thought, “I may have Lyme disease but You brought me here God. You make me brave. You brought my dream. You will heal me.”
“Be strong and courageous and get to work. Don’t be frightened at the size of the task, for the Lord my God is with you.”
1 Chronicles 28:20
Today was not exactly a good day. I may not have children playing ball in the house but I do have Kipper, my rambunctious German short-haired pointer. Her energy definitely overflows her dog bowl and today was no different.
As I am working from home, I see her pacing the floor, stalking a small object, and then springing into action. I think to myself, What is she trying to catch? And then I see it. A fly.
My eyes divert back to my computer screen until I hear a crash. I walk into the next room and see Kipper’s eyes, telling half of the story.
Guilty! I question my puppy thinking she can answer and then survey the room.
Ugh! A cracked window!
I roll my eyes. Great! I walk back to my computer and quickly Google, window repair.
Within an hour, a glass repair man arrives, an estimate is received, and then a story.
“Lisa, you were so nice to work with. I am so thankful that God brought me to your house today. You see, I have six children and fifteen grandchildren. One was just born the other day. Do you want to see him?”
He scrolled through his phone and proudly showed me. “This is Samuel, named after the prophet.” He continued on, “Truthfully I don’t want to be doing this. I want to be a pastor, administer and pray for those with health concerns.”
I responded,”If that is your desire, God will honor it. It’s Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.(ESV)'”
The man openly started crying and then he grabbed my hand, and started praying, “Thank you God for Lisa. Please Jesus, I want to be a Pastor…”
The prayer was over. He gave me hug and headed out the door; leaving both of our hearts cracked open.
It has been four years that I became sick with Lyme disease. I have tried to stay patient and daily stay in the joy but the last few weeks seem like a long, drawn-out Chicago Winter, filled with endless days, weeks and months of snow, gray, and bitter cold with no sunshine in sight.
But just like Groundhog Day, after a long Winter spent in a cave; this past week I saw some light. Yes, a new doctor.
She reviewed my new labs and uncovered some hidden new facts to work with.
Sitting in her office, I felt like a bursting daffodil popping through a light Spring snow as I lowered my chin and said, “I WILL get better. God loves me. He sees me. He will heal me.”
She responded, “Oh, Yes, Lisa. I love your faith. I am a believer too.”
My lips sealed tight. “Ugh! My faith is all I have… My friends and my church in Chicago have all been praying for you ; let my doctor have wisdom.”
I saw her face become flush.” Wow, I am so grateful for you.”
My eyes watered, ” No, I am SO grateful for you.”
She walked me towards the door and hugged me .
I looked at her with soft eyes and said, ” I love that you hugged me .”
“I love hugs too, Lisa. First I will take care of your health and then I’ll help you with the husband.”
I backed away, cocked my head, and asked, “The husband?”
“Yes, the husband.”
I walked outside and made my to my car and questioned, Why did she say, the husband?
And then tonight, as I walked my neighborhood I saw a quaint hotel setting up for a beautiful outdoor wedding.
I wandered through the white chairs, bookmarked with lavender and ivy. Wow, simply beautiful.
As I a strolled through the adjacent garden, with tables adorned with white linens and peonies, I looked up the sun, Maybe this was why I moved to Santa Barbara … health and who knows maybe a husband?
I felt the wind whisper …
IT IS COMING! Health and a Husband.
I feel it. I know it. Patience.
God’s timing is perfect. He has the plan.
“Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble and prayerful always.”
Romans 12:12 The Living Bible
This evening,as I walked the beach,I thought, “Wow, I can’t believe a year ago I put an offer on a house to move here.”
A quiet smile came over me as I surveyed the stretch of sand. I looked up at the clouds and asked “Why did you bring me here, God? Why Santa Barbara?”
I thought of my neighbor Heidi.She said, “Lisa, why do you have to have a purpose for being here? After everything you have been through, maybe God just wants to bless you. Maybe this is just for you to enjoy.”
Later that night,as I was dragging the garbage cans to the curb,a neighbor asked,”How was your day?”
“ Fine.” I quipped. “ How was yours?”
She walked closer to me with her head hanging low, “I lost my job.”
My heart sank. I knew she was a single mom and had heard she just battled cancer.
I walked over and hugged her.
I told her that I knew her story and then shared my own. Then I asked if I could pray over her. I wrapped my arms tight around her and poured out my heart, begging God for mercy.
Moments later, she wiped her tears and said ,”I don’t know why I lost my faith in God but thank you for praying with me. Lisa, I’m so happy you are my neighbor.”
I walked away and thought, “Why me? I have spent a lifetime asking “why me” for the bad stuff; why am I questioning the good stuff, too?”
As I sat on my front deck, I thought about what Pastor Greg said to me years ago as I was leaving Illinois and moving to California and questioning the plan .
I remember asking,”How will I know that this is the right thing?”
With a gentle sincerity he offered,”Don’t worry.Don’t question the plan. God will use you where you are – you just have to let him.”
He was right and so was Heide.
Maybe God wanted to both use me here and bless me,by bringing me here. I just need to let go, stop questioning the why, and enjoy.
As I watched the sunset, I saw the beach in front me and a life with a purpose, to serve the one in front of me… and then heard the whisper “…or maybe just serve the next door neighbor .”
Moving here was HIS plan.
Are you open to surrender and wait for the best plan?
What is your heart whispering to you?
Live in the joy.Live with purpose. Live your best life.
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Happy Independence Day! Are you taking advantage of your freedom?
Happy Fourth of July. As I walked by flag-adorned lawns this morning, my thoughts brought me back to our forefathers. They fought for independence and to not be held hostage to England. They wanted a fresh start, to escape. My mind jumped like a cricket on the grass as I recalled a time I wanted to escape.
This was fifteen years ago:
As a single mom,with money being tight, the kids and I rarely ever ate out. But tonight I did not have the energy to cook, so I took the easy way out for a change and ordered a pizza. Parking the car in front of Jake’s Pizza Parlor, it should have been a routine pick-up, but it was anything but routine. Walking in with Jake and Tarah, looking at the cashier, I said, “Hi. I’m picking up our pizza.”
“Okay. I’ll be right back.” Then I saw it on the wall. As the man walked to the back of the store, I saw it clear as day—a flyer that read:
“ John, a thirty-seven-year-old police detective, is paralyzed from the waist down after a February snowmobile accident in Wisconsin. He is a fourteen year veteran of the department, battles escalating medical costs from his permanent spinal cord injury.
On April 6th, a benefit will be held.
Smack dab in the middle of the flyer was John’s picture in black and white. As the pizza guy laid the pizza on the counter, Jake, tugged at my jeans and pointed at the flyer, and asked, “Mommy, why’s Daddy’s picture on the wall?”
Suddenly, I lost my appetite.
As I was fumbling through my purse trying to pull out my wallet, I caught the pizza guy looking at me, dumbfounded. His face was stone cold. He glanced down at receipt outside the pizza box, then looked up at me.
Jake always demanding answers to his questions. He tugged at my jacket and once again asked, this time a little louder, “Mommy, why’s Daddy’s picture up there?”
The pizza guy looked at the picture then into my eyes. I did not say a word. He quickly covered his mouth with his hand and closed his eyes ever so briefly. Looking down at Jake, then at me, almost right through me, his eyes offered condolences. He then pleaded, “Please just take the pizza. It’s on us.”
I did not know what to say except the obvious, “Thanks.”
By nature, I don’t play needy, but needy was being dished my way and it was a very deep dish, indeed.
Back then, I felt held hostage to my life in Schaumburg. I needed to escape. I hated that my life, my story, was plastered around town. The only escape I could afford as a single mom, was a short ride around the bend to South Haven, Michigan. In Michigan, my monkeys and I were free and happy.
That was my story but I like our forefathers I opted for a different ending. I decided to dump the bitter “tea” and start drinking coffee. Are you free or are you held hostage to your “England” and to your past? Is it time to dump the tea and start drinking coffee?
Don’t wait until you hear the loud boom of fireworks to claim your freedom. God’s loudest directions are through his whispers. What is God whispering to you? Believe and trust the Whisper Within.