The Whisper Within

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


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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.


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I got to admit, I haven’t blogged in a while. Work. Kids. Family. Life. These have taken the wheel and blogging ,well, it is not even in the back seat but has been riding cargo,stuck in the trunk.

But tonight, I made room to reflect and allow for my thoughts to move up to “ shot-gun.” Yep, riding next me as an active passenger in my congested life.

Here’s what this week brought.

I walked into a church. A new bible study. A women’s group. I took a workbook and took a seat .

“ Hi! I’m Cindy. I really need this group because I am a widow and been raising my kids since they were seven and eight.This group kept me grounded.”

My mouth twitched.

“Wow,me too.”

“You’re a widow?”

“No, but definitely a single mom.”

My shoulder was touched and a tear formed in my eye.

It was like the seat had a reserved sign that read,“ Sit here. Welcome to Santa Barbara.”

I drove home and thought about random seats.

Indianapolis.A month ago. And an empty airplane terminal seat.

“Is this seat taken?”

A fresh freckled-face smile coaxed me over.

“No, you can sit here.”

Her nervous chatter was like her jaw,chomping gum.

“I’m 18. I’m headed to Australia for the summer. My mom doesn’t want me to go but I need to pursue my dream .She thinks I should do something practical but I love music…”

I listened. I nodded . I smiled.

“God gave you gifts and he expects you to use them. You will be great. You need to be happy.Your mom will understand.”

Tarah chimed in,”Yes,my mom always says to dream the big dream.”

Her lids lowered and a soft smile appeared.

“Thank you. Honestly kinda nervous about the trip. Sorry for talking your ear off. It’s just that my dad is a cop and he was injured on the job and is on disability. This trip is a lot of money for my mom.”

I glanced at the ceiling. Seriously, God, a cop who is disabled ? Same as my kids’ dad. Did you plan this?

“Oh, honey. I understand but your mom wants you happy.”

We hugged and departed.

A seat. Yep, a seat brought strangers together.

Who knows maybe our hope down the road depends on our seat choice?

Sit next to a stranger. Listen. Really hear them. You may help someone take the next corner with ease versus bouncing around in cargo.

“Is there anything as Christians cheering each other up?”

Phillipians 2:1


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“Hey, Mom can we go to Mc Donald’s?”

“Sorry, Peanut. Not today.”

“We never go.”

“Tarah, you know mom can’t afford that.”

I looked at the rearview mirror. Umm, my boy. He gets it. I’m doing my best to just hold everything together with a safety pin. First the divorce. Then the accident. Their dad, my ex is a paraplegic. And now I’m broke. When does it end? 

I pulled through the library drive- thru.

“Hello. I’m picking up movies.”

Across the way, I see a Harry Potter movie poster in the window. Only $3.69 a rental. Nope, sorry Blockbuster; the library is free.

 The library clerk handed me the movies. “Ok kids, just one more stop.”

We entered the red dot store. Oh boy, not the dollar bin.Stick to the list and only the list! The basket was filled, but then a wheel came off my cart.

“I want gum.”

“Stop it Tarah! You can’t have any.” He straightened his baseball cap and grabbed her hand.

Buuutt I waaanntt it.”

“Tarah. No. Mom’s in line. We need to go.”

“But Jake, there are Pokemon cards for you.”

I pushed the cart to the side and got out of the checkout line.

“It’s okay, mom. I don’t need anything.”

I dropped to my knees, folded his little body into mine and whispered, “I love you, Jake Gunnar.”

“I love you too, Mommy.”

“You’re my good boy.”

 Inches away, this Hallmark moment was contrasted. Keds were stomping and pigtails were beating the tile floor.

I scooped Tarah up, pushed back my cart, and in one big swoop, threw her on my hip. “Well, we’re out of here.”

I waved my point-finger in Tarah’s face. “That was not nice.”

“Yeah, Tarah. You know Mom can’t buy that stuff. Gosh!”

“Okay. Jake. That’s enough.”

I started the car, turned on the radio and cried. Help me, God. Life should not be so rough. I looked in the rearview mirror.

“Mommy, are you alright?”

“Yeah, honey.”

“Don’t worry, Mommy; ‘God will meet all your needs.’ Philippians 4:19.”

I looked over my shoulder. “What did you say?”

“God will meet all your needs. It’s our memory verse this week.”

It was It’s a Wonderful Life moment.

“Daddy, teacher says every time you hear a bell ring an angel gets his wings.” And George exclaimed, “That’s right! That’s right!”

I closed my eyes, wiped my tears, and squeezed his hand. “That’s right. That’s right. Thank you, Jake Gunnar.”

“No problem, Mommy.”

I backed up the car and looked up at the clouds. Nothing gets pass you. God had the small details of my life and used my own little boy to teach me the biggest lesson.

That was fifteen years ago, and today, just like that moment, is HUGE!

Fifteen years ago, I went through a divorce, months later my ex became a paraplegic. I struggled trying to raise two little kids. I spent nights at the kitchen table teaching math while trying to balance a dwindling checking account. The calendar was always packed; even when bank account wasn’t. I never thought I would survive those years, let alone, ever see the day come when my children would graduate college.

Well, today is that day. Through the grace of God, WE did it.

Yes, Jake worked his butt off at Purdue. I worked my butt off teaching him, saving for him, and paying for his college. But God did his part too. You see, God gave me enough strength. I heard him whisper, “I got you, Lisa. Now get out of bed and do it.”

And God did bless my little engineer, with the gift of math and science. Funny, to think seventeen years ago, I saw his gift ( see the video) and today, Jake is a Purdue University engineer graduate. And if you are wondering , yes,I cried like a baby .

God really does have the plan. Can you trust the Whisper?

“ And we know that all things work together for good, for those who love God.” Roman 8:28

 


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This blog may not sit well with some of you . I don’t always have my Sunday church dress on . Sometimes the sassy pants do come out of the closet.

A ding and a text .

What’s up Middle Seat ? I’m in Schaumburg – thinking of you .

The corners of my mouth turned North.

Colin.

My lashes fell and then flickered towards the sky catching the light filtering through the palm tree envisioning that plane ride , four years ago .

“Excuse me is this seat taken ?”

“Umm … I don’t know .”

“Well, my tv screen isn’t working and my Denver Broncos are playing for the championship. It will be a long flight to Chicago if I can’t watch the game .”

A seat is filled. My Kleenex is filled . And then the questions began .

“Hey, you’re crying . Are you alright ?”

My mouth twitched. A bottom lip is bit and then I spilled the story .

“So you knew this guy twenty years ago and now you both wanted to see if it could be something now that you’re both single … AND …?”

” AND … I am crushed. I don’t know …”

“I am sorry . No guy is letting a girl like you get away … unless he wants to . It’s over .The sooner you get over this, the better .

My mouth sealed like an envelope . He’s right .

Two hours passed and two strangers became friends .The banter was as sweet as cherry pie.

And soon I heard,”Prepare the cabin for arrival .”

The plane landed . Luggage was wheeled to the terminal .And a smile was waiting , coaxing me over .

“Ms. Schomer, you are the most interesting girl I have ever met. I have a feeling this could be something worth pursuing, what do you think?”

I threw a smirk and then I leaned forward and allowed for my lips to graze his.

” Wow! Like I said, Middle Seat, one of the most interesting girls I have ever met. Let’s keep in touch .”

Life is unpredictable like that plane ride.

Did God intervene for me that day, sending over a seat- mate , to show me a little hope is around the corner or at the next boarding gate ? You never know.

Take the middle seat . You just may find yourself sandwiched between hopeless and hopeful . Who knows, you may double your chances for a connection. Hope may be a seat a away .

But until the real thing sits besides me in my row, I will get out of bed, walk forward , and happily anticipate the unexpected, The Whisper Within…and so should you .

“I will wait for the Lord .” Psalm 24:17


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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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Today, I needed to take a break from work. Coffee wasn’t the drug I needed to get rejuvenated.  I knew a walk would do the trick after stepping outside and feeling the warmth of the sunshine on my face. Heading around the corner, I saw a man standing on a driveway looking in my direction.

He said, “Hi. Are you taking a meditative walk?”

Looking at the stranger I asked, “Excuse me what did you say?”

As he walked around his carpet cleaning van, coming closer to me, he repeated the question, “Are you taking a meditative walk?”

I admitted my truth, “Yea. I needed to relieve some stress.”

He says, “What I do is look up at the sky and ask for help, His Ever Lasting Presence.” He then added, “You know how to restart your day?  Hugging.” Without hesitation the man leaned and wrapped his arms around me.

After a few seconds I pulled away and with a gentle smile said, “Thanks I needed that.”

The older, weathered-looking man glanced back at me and asked, “What’s your name?”

“Lisa, and yours?”

“Pete.”

“Nice to meet you meet you Pete.’

The stranger confidently added, “Lisa, our paths crossing was no coincidence. It was God knowing we both needed a hug to restart our day.”

As I stepped back to examine the worker all I could say was, “Wow.”

He then added, “I know, kinda crazy getting advice let alone a hug from a complete stranger.”

Silently I laughed and with a smirk added, “No, you obviously don’t know me. I hug and talk to strangers all the time.”

With an inviting smile Pete added, “Me too. You see I am trying to turn over a new leaf. I spent time in jail and daily I am trying to do good, even in small ways.”

God has the small details in our life and can use anyone to make a difference. You just need to be open to it and keep looking up for HELP, His Ever Lasting Presence.  Do you have a story that a complete stranger made a difference? Feel free to share in the comment section below

 


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A few years ago, I had a day as surreal as a Stanley Kubrick film. As I dug in my purse for change to pay for my Heath bar, a stranger behind me laid a dollar on the counter, purchased my candy bar, and told me to “Pay it forward”.  I turned to him, dumbfound and quipped, “Thanks.”  I walked away, savoring the sweet taste of chocolate, and shook my head in disbelief.

Later that afternoon, I drove down Schaumburg road, and made my way into the snow-covered parking lot of a laundry mat. I pulled my laundry baskets out of my trunk as the bitter wind punched my cheeks. Why did my water pipes break this week? Why did my life have to be this hard?

Within minutes the washing machines were jammed with my dirty clothes, but it was my emotions that were burst and soiled. In the next thirty minutes, I watched my clothes being tossed against the glass round window, flopping around without any clear direction, mirroring my haphazard day. Just then a wind gust blew the door open and a lady dressed in red flannel PJs bottoms and a black wool coat, walked in. Within seconds she was crying with despair,

“Thunder and Lightning ran out of gas and are stranded.”

“Who are Thunder and Lightning?”

Between broken sobs she continued,” They are my twin girls.”

“Really? Thunder and Lightning?  Where do they go to school?”

“Schaumburg High School. They are Sophomores. They are track stars.”

Lines on my forehead formed like an EKG read-out,” Oh, are they? I have a sophomore girl at Schaumburg, too. Her name is Tarah.”

“You do? Maybe my girls know her.  They are on the track team and are wicked fast… but they need help. Do you have any money for gas?” She pleaded, “I am a single mom. Please can you help me?’

Her eyes melted my soul like whip cream on hot chocolate. I reached in my wallet and took out a ten-dollar bill. “I am a single mom, too. This is for your girls.”

She hugged me like a momma who just found her lost child at Disney World,” Thank you. Thank you.”

I watched her walk out of the frosted glass door and disappear into the blizzard. I dialed Tarah on my cell.

“Tarah do you know any girls called Thunder and Lightning at your school?”

“Yeah, mom. They are track stars, why?

“Never mind… I’ll see you in a bit.”

Pressing the end button on my cell phone, I looked up at the ceiling and laughed as I thought of the gentleman who said, “pay it forward.”  I felt an unnerving stillness come rush over me like a gentle brook streaming over a rock.

As I left the laundry mat, the snow continued to fall making the roads slick. I stopped at a stoplight right by Schaumburg High School just as a car skidded into me tapping my bumper. As I walked to rear of my Murano, I saw a nervous chubby cheeked face looking down at the dent and then his hazel eyes quickly darted to meet mine. With his corners of his mouth turned down he uttered, “I, I am so sorry,” As he tugged at grey knitted cap, he lowered his head and closed his lips like a trap. Looking up at the rosy cheeks I asked, “Are you hurt? Are you ok?”

In confusion, he replied, “Yes. I am fine.”  Looking down at the silver dented bumper and then up at the boy, “Well, it’s only a dent. No one was hurt. Forget about it. Just be careful.”

His hand brushed to push his mocha colored bangs to the side and added,” Are you serious?”

I nodded. “Yep.”

“Thanks. I just got my license and my dad would kill me.’

I shuffled through the snow-covered street and made my way back into my SUV right before the light turned green. As I sat for a moment, I realized that I was given the gift to” pay it forward.” not once but twice.  I released my right foot from the brake pedal and pressed the gas pedal down. As I drove into the intersection, I looked up at the sky and smirked knowing that angels were probably smirking too.