The Whisper Within

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


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North

Facebook kindly reminded me that four years ago today, I was in North Carolina as my son was contemplating University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Duke University as possible college choices. I remember standing clear as as the blue sky in the photo, dreaming of the beach cottage to call mine. I was ready that someday, maybe ten to fifteen years from then, I would retire on the East Coast and be a storybook character in one of Nicholas Spark’s silly romantic novels. My straw hat was ready!

I was wrong. God had completely different plans for me – only two short years later. He moved me from the Windy City to the City of Angeles. How appropriate! He knows I have never been about a big house but more about people with a big heart. He knows my soul and surrounded me with the simple joys of smiles, sea glass, and sand.

judy

This is where my soul meets my body.

“We can make our plans but the final outcome is in God’s hand.” Proverbs 16:9

I am glad  I learned to let go and let God…and that I kept my straw hat handy.

 

 


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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

 

 

 

 


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tri

I consider myself a fierce competitor personally and professionally. I am athlete that would rather hobble to the finish line than quit.

In my triathlon days, my performance was eighty percent training and twenty percent affected by outside factors; rain, heat, wind, and sometimes potholes.

I have learned that outside factors are out of my control and can affect work, projects, and even love. This past week I faced resistance in several areas of my life. It was like I was competing in a triathlon. I finished the swim course with ease but as I jumped on my bike I encountered a pot hole and then a flat tire. In one situation, I was accused of using my “flowery disposition and “spirituality” to my advantage.

Wow, naïve of me to assume that kindness and a willingness to serve would be a disadvantage and  attempt to kick me back to the start line.

I jumped off my bike, threw it over to the side and decided to run to the next course – the next event. Even though I am solid solo competitor, this was not an individual race but more a relay race requiring team participation. Yes, a group project and unfortunately I had an unwilling team member. The finish line kept being moved. It was time to stop at the water station and take a break.

Maybe it was time to quit asking. Quit knocking. Maybe God was allowing the resistance. Maybe God was telling me that I was taking on too many projects.

I have always said, “If the road you are on is filled with potholes, it is God’s way of saying the path under construction. Do not remove the orange cones and road blocks. God will direct you to a smoother path. You just have to be prepared to take his detour.”

Maybe the answer was no because God was clearing the potholes and leading me to a easier course.

Psalm 27:4 “I will wait on the Lord.”

In work, are you frustrated? Without purpose? Are you in the right job? Best work environment? Or does something else garnish your talents?

In projects, are you facing resistance? Is something not going smoothly?

In love, is the relationship not connecting? Is it too much work? Are values not aligned?

We live in an imperfect world but God’s timing is perfect.

God has changed me over time. I no longer run instead I walk or hike. I can’t bike since I am used to flat Chicago streets, not a hilly California course. Throw me in the pool – there I will swim like a dolphin.

In work, projects, but especially love, find your joy. Allow the easy. Know when to stop for water, change the course, or stop the race all together. Not every finish line needs to be crossed.

What is God telling you? Wait on the Lord and he will whisper to you.

Follow me on Facebook at : The Whisper Within

 

 


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Snow vs. Beach – Evil vs. Good

beach-vs-snow

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

Mine read:  December 3, 2012

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

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

“Mom, you may want to come home.”

“Jake are you alright?”

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

“What?”

“Yeah. We’ve been broke into.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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angels-2

A year ago, as I was about to move from Chicago to LA a friend said, “ Pollyanna, you are too kind . You will be eaten alive. No one in Los Angeles is nice.”

Well a few Sundays ago, my friend was proven wrong. I was sitting at The Malibu Farmer’s Market enjoying a Greek salad, like my grandma Genevieve used to make, when an unkempt man approached me. He sat down at my table and said, “That looks good. I am starving. Do you have any money so I could buy one?”

Before I could answer, a gentleman approached the table and said, “If you’re hungry, I would be willing to share my sandwich.” The homeless man, got up and walked away.

I asked the kind stranger, “You want to join me?”

For the next two hours Robert and I shared stories like old friends. He told me a miraculous story about a life- threating car accident when his car was hit by a twenty -five foot truck and spun like a carnival ride gone crazy. He remembers not much more until he was surrounded by dozen or so white coats. The head of trauma said, “What God do you pray to? Because he or she really loves you. Protection shields are covering you that we’ve never seen before. It is a miracle you are alive.”

My open-mouth response was, “Wow.”

Robert continued to tell me that the over the next couple of months, his bruises never had a chance to heal since that was only the first of three car accidents!

We continued to share stories and then he asked me, “Do you know what Schomer means?”

“Shoemaker.”

“Yes, but it also means to guard, watch, or preserve The way you embraced that stranger you have spiritual kindness about you.”

I blushed with embarrassment, “I did nothing~ you were the one intervening.”

We laughed as kindred spirits until it was time for him to head back home. As Robert stood up from the table he said, “Lisa, I want to tell you one more thing. I wasn’t planning to come here today but something nudged me, last minute, to turn into the farmer’s market.

I said, “We were supposed to meet. That is how God works.”

Robert walked away and I thought, here is a man who has suffered so much but he is sympathetic to the homeless, shares his gentle spirit without restraint, and lifted up a stranger. Robert was a gift that afternoon, like an angel.

Hope is right front of you. You have to be willing to open your heart or invite it sit at your table.

Hebrews 13:2 “Don’t forget to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this, have entertained angels.’

This Midwestern Pollyanna knows that I am home. I have become me. I have arrived in the city of Angels.


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Love Always Wins !

jociLove Always Wins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I responded by saying, “I feel loved.”

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

Yes! LOVE ALWAYS WINS!

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 


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  nigeriaRomans 12:6 “We all have different gifts, according to the grace of God given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in portion to his faith.”

February 2013

Ever have one of those days when everything seems so unclear? That everything seems to be a wreck? That there are no answers and you are lacking direction? Well, I seem to be having one of those days… or months. Honestly, I have been having a year like that. Today was no different. The last month or so between, the harassment, the burglary, the investigation, my neighbor Joe dying, life has been simply exhausting. Not to mention I am buried at work, since it’s tax time. But am I complaining? No. Well honestly, a little bit.

What makes matters worse is that it is typical Chicago winter. Cold, dark, dreary, lacking sunshine. Basically the weather is reflecting my spirit, simply depressing.
Every day, I get out bed and force myself to find the joy. Joy in the little things, like a hot shower, a morning run with Hunter, a good strong cup of coffee, yoga, and finally flannel PJs at the end of the day.
Today though I have an unquenchable desire to know why? Why has the last couple of months been so difficult?  Why I am forced to “suck-up” the crap and just “deal?”  Has God left me alone to struggle and why do I feel like Jesus on the cross when he said, “My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?”  Does He think I thrive on chaos? That “happy” Lisa can just take it?Does God even see me anymore?
It always seems like in the shower I do my clearest thinking and praying. I turn the shower on, waiting for it to get to the right temperature, boiling hot. As the scorching water runs down me, it resembles a baptism; baring my naked soul to God.
I have no shame in my aloneness. I expose my frustration out loud to God.
Screaming accusingly at God, “Where are you? Do you even see me anymore? Give me something? Show me something? … I am begging you, (and then louder for extra emphasis I yell) I AM BEGGING YOU, SEND ME HOPE…SOME SIGN that I am NOT alone!”
And just like Eve, I covered myself up in a towel, embarrassed that I was contemptuous toward God and gave in to a pity party.  I brush off my silly request to God, head off to work, and go through the motions of getting by another day without the answers I deserve.
The day passes slowly and I decide that nothing would come of any good today.  How could I effectively counsel and provide answers when I lacked answers in my own life?  Today I was worthless.So I left work early, headed to the grocery store to pick up a couple items.  Little did I know a typical grocery shopping trip would not be ordinary but extraordinarily bizarre. In the express check- out lane, I lug the forty five pounds of dog food onto the conveyor belt and then gently place the dozen of fresh baked chocolate chips cookie alongside. As I look forward, standing in front of me is a middle-aged, African-American woman, heavy set, with deep, dark eyes strikingly wearing an orange and red- designed turban. Some would describe as Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Buttersworth. She looks distinctly at me and quickly references my two items. In a strong, Nigerian or African dialect she comments and points to the dog food and cookies,
“You need to keep the dog happy and the kids happy.” Then adding in a creeping undertone, “You need to keep the dog fed so he can baaark at the burrggllars.”
 I looked at her, dead straight into her eyes, and start nervously laughing, “Ha, well that didn’t work. I was robbed in December. The silly dog did not do anything.”
Without hesitation she reaches over and squeezed my right arm and while still gripping my arm she unnervingly slowly whispers, “That’s because he KNEW the burglars.”

I felt a spine-tingling sensation rush through my bones. Startled and shocked I questioned, “What? What did you say?”Not wavering in her strong conviction, “I SAID… that’s because He KNEW the burglars.”

“Ok… Now that’s crazy.” I declare.

She uncannily continued, “Do you believe in JEESSSUUS?

“I do. I have a strong faith in Him.”

Nodding her head up and down, “Gooood. Gooood. Now… what you need to do… is go get the BLOOD of Jesus and mark your doors… and get Satan out of your house…” Then gripping and squeezing my arm again with her right hand while waving emphatically her left arm, looking straight through me like she could see my soul, in a ghost-like mystic hiss adds, “ because that SATAN he’s a liiaarrrrrr, I tell you. HE’S A LIAR!”

 Those words giving me chills and instantly I felt a shiver rushing through me, goose bumps suddenly forming. Feeling a little creeped-out, but at the same time intrigued by this mysterious woman? I carefully scrutinized her face, her demeanor, her body posture, any clue I could grasp to speculate and evaluate, who was this strange woman? As she walked away, I took one more calculated gaze in her direction hoping to get some kind of answer to what just occurred.
As the young, fresh–faced, check-out boy, started scanning my cookies, he looked at me, shaking his head, he blurts out, “What the hell was that?”
I laughed; shaking my head, “I have no idea…”
Before I could finish my sentence, the mysterious woman appears by my side, grabbing my arm one more time, and with a spine-chilling raspy voice murmurs her warning, “Don’t forget…the dog KNEW the burglars…You need to get the blood of Jesus to keep Satan away because…The devil he’s a LLIIAARR. He’s A LIIIAARR.”
Turning to walk away she looks back one final time at me almost jeering, “ Now…you have good day, you hear?”
If I wasn’t freaked out before, now I was. I felt like I was in the middle of some paranormal activity movie, but in the check-out lane at the grocery store. I finish checking out. Dazed, I kept hearing the hypnotic voice taunting me. What was the meaning of that alarming and unnerving encounter? Was she a psychic seeing my disrupted past? Or was she clairvoyant and predicting and sensing another unfortunate future incident?
Then I recall my morning plea… “Send me sign…do you even see me?”
Was this a sign from God? Was he showing me that he sees me? I don’t know exactly what or who that was but it definitely was some strange connection whispering to me….