The Whisper Within

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


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Happy Thanksgiving!

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.

Julie & Hannah
Butterfly beach.
The rose garden & mission.
Thankful.

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


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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


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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


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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.”


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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,

Jenny & Jacob

and posed for a picture with my kids.

Tarah, Jake, and I.

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


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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.

“Lisa.”

“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


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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.

2nd grade- Little Lisa – “Jesus Little Lamb”

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


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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


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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?


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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.

Chrisy and I at John & Karen’s wedding. November 2002

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


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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


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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

Leah

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.”

Jeremiah 29:11


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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.”


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On Memorial Day, can’t help but be grateful to the service of those who laid down their life for our freedom .

And to the greatest sacrificial love, Jesus . Without his thorns; we would not have roses .

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

-John 15:13


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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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Happy Valentine’s Day, my favorite day of the year.

I remember as a kid decorating a shoebox and excited for it be filled with paper hearts. Yep, I am the biggest hopeless romantic. Just ask me how many Rom-Com DVDs I have in my collection, I dare you.

On Valentine’s Day, I am confident of this one certainty: true love does exist. It is extremely rare but oh, so, spectacular. I received my first lesson in love from the 1974 movie adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Robert Redford, need I say more. My heart was swayed at the mere age of seven.

“He knew when he kissed this girl… his mind would never romp again…”   Gatsby has ruined me.

 But honestly, I wasn’t feeling it this year. Don’t know why…

My shoebox was empty and so was my heart.

But then…I came across a lone red envelope sticking out of my mailbox… And it hit me. The memories of past crushes, past loves, cutting out paper hearts, and a subtle secret kiss that no one saw. And suddenly my shoebox was filled to the top.

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I walked to my mailbox and took out my cards. One struck in me in particular. “Here’s to the girls who takes on the world and fights for what they love.”

 What do I love? Who would I fight for?

 Here is a smattering of pink frosting…

  • A boy with a smirk and girl with a smile who once were glued to my hip, but now are miles apart.
  • A stranger who joins me picking up sea glass on the beach.
  • Friends who gave me a bike with a basket.
  • A kind smile across a room of yoga mats.
  • A text from a girl who shared the nickname “Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam.”
  • A girl who screams, “Riehm!” as I pick up the phone.
  • A girl who chased me with snakes but calls me Baby doll.
  • And the one who knows my heart and whispers to me…

I am loved and so are you. There is someone today who is wanting to get your scribbled name on the bottom of a Peanut’s Valentine.

To get love; you must give love. So, get busy!

“If I do not give love, I am nothing.” I Corinthians 13:2

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Would love to hear about your most memorable  Valentine’s Day memory…. Please comment below.

 


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I turn the last page of the book, The Circle Maker , and set it on the sea glass table beside me. I recline in the wicker lounge chair and take a deep breathe in. A combination of salt and rosemary lingers in the air as I take in the amazing balcony views of the Greek island of Mykonos.

I am a million miles from home but which home? The new home I have made in Los Angeles, the city of angels or the place of my childhood and last 48 years, Chicago, the Windy City.

Mykonos is so windy I feel like I am being whipped like a sailboat on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Mykonos’ intoxicating turquoise waters lures me in, completely heavenly like the city of angels, Los Angeles. I observe the palm tree branches blowing in the breeze and think of my friends from Los Angeles to Chicago and like Mark Batterson, the author of The Circle Maker encouraged, I circle them with prayer.

I text :
“I read an amazing book on this trip called The Circle Maker. It is about an old testament man, Honi, who circled his prayers. He asked persistently for rain. Right now I am thinking of my friends from the West Coast to the Midwest; and circling them and their families with prayers of love, peace, and safety. I hope you feel lifted up .”

 

The response was overwhelming …

‘I do 🙂 you helped me through 24 hrs of travel. Just driving from airport home!!!! Had a weird delay at Charles de Gall, somebody left an unattended bag and it was creepy…felt uncertain with all the issues there this summer. Thanks for the circles :-)’

That’s amazing!! I feel peaceful this morning and optimistic. 😊 Thank you. I will read too and you are in my circle. 🙏

Thank you for sending love our way! Everyone woke up so happy and full of life this morning. Today is my Birthday and this was my first text .

‘Nice to hear from you! When I got your text just now I was outside gazing at the stars after my walk, thank you for your prayer!’

 

As the texts came in, I thought of how blessed I am. If I did not have this patio quiet time how could I lift up my friends to the one who hears me?
This alone time is all mine. No husband. No kids. Just me and the wind.

I picked up my book, glanced one more time at the cyan blue Mediterranean Sea and felt the wind whisper, “Your time is coming. Soon.” God’s timing is always perfect. The winds are changing.I will wait for the soft calming breeze.
“He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.”
Psalm 107:29
“God is for you. If you don’t believe that, then pray small timid prayers; if you believe it, then you will pray big audacious prayers…Who you become is determined by how you pray.” ~ Mark Batterson author of The Circle Maker
I challenge you all to boldly circle your friends and family in prayer . Would love to hear your stories . Email them at laschomer@twc.com .

By the way, I have not lost my sweet tooth. I still crave a husband like the scrumptious taste of baklava topped with a creamy side of vanilla ice cream.IMG_2504


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Do you remember what you were like as a kid ? I do . Summers meant riding my bike around until dinner time and then back out , giggling at whatever silliness crossed my path .

I can still feel my pig tails whipping my face as I would swing for hours , challenging myself to jump off the swing. Each day brushing off the pebbles embedded in my knees, trying to reach towards the personal best .
Do you hear your silliness calling you ?Why not unleash that kid tonight & give him/ her a pass to swim past dark ?
I think your boss will understand . Just tell him my child was whispering to me & I ran to answer . What is your Whisper Within ?


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marshmellow2           My email inbox is already stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey with “Black Friday” sales. I can’t help but envision Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory screaming, “I want it now.” I would put money on it that Veruca would fail the marshmallow test, but how would you fair?

The first “Marshmallow Test” was a study conducted at Stanford University . Kids were given the choice of eating a marshmallow right away or if they waited fifteen minutes they would receive two marshmallows. The purpose of the original study was to understand delayed gratification. The study found that children who could wait tended to have better life outcomes, educational attainment, and health.

How can you benefit this holiday season by delaying instant gratification?

1) Fitness: Before you put on your fuzzy slippers, wrap yourself in a Snuggie, and plop yourself down on the couch to watch TV after work, go for a thirty-minute walk to avoid the winter weight. Eccles. 7:18 “Live a balanced life.”

2) Relationships: The holidays bring out tempers. Instead of lashing out immediately or sending a harsh email. Write the email but do not send it. Wait, your emotion will hopefully pass to preserve the relationship.  How about a little Christmas kindness? Proverbs 12:16  “A fool is quick-tempered; a wise man stays cool when insulted.”

3) Love: I know the holidays can be lonely but wait for the real thing. Don’t settle for a “New Year’s Eve date.” Be confident to be alone, not fearful that you will never find love. 1 John 4:18 “Perfect love has no fear.”

4) Finances: Do you want the iPhone 7? Or the new Lexus wrapped in a bow? Put your wants on hold until they become a need. You will have more money to save or invest. Start small, how about no peppermint mochas or salted caramel lattes for the month of December and save that money in jar?

My clients who are disciplined and delay a purchase until it becomes a need and not simply a want, are successful investors. They set a budget and stick to it. By systematically paying themselves first, they save more and retirement can be achieved.

What is your score from 1-10 on your ability to delay gratification?  Can you wait for the second marshmallow? Feel free to comment your score.

Proverbs 25:28 “A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city without walls.”

 

 


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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!