The Whisper Within

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


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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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I wrote this four years ago but the lessons still hold true.

Tonight, I stroll on the beach, with my straw hat pulled over my brow hoping to get some relief from the triple digits. But not a breeze in sight as sweat drips from my forehead and pours out of my armpits, soaking me like I was fresh out of a shower. I can’t help but wish for a little ice cream or gelato to cool me off.

Ironically, this weekend was Gelato Festival in my new home town but as I passed by the tables, I did not allow for creamy colors of the rainbows to lure me in.

Why? Because I was too busy doing what adults do: being adults, prioritizing life over fun.

With each step I took on the mushy shore, I contemplated this. Why did I lose my fun nature for the routine of responsibility?

My mind drifted like the waves and pulled me back and found a simpler me, sitting on the stone wall of a little Italian town.

I recalled laughing with my mouth wide open, indulging on lavender and blackberry gelato stuck to my teeth. My daughter, thinking it was hilarious,made it part of her Snapchat story.

 

 

Seeing the video, I giggled too; embracing the image of spontaneous silliness.  Later that night, sitting on an a cobblestone street in San Gimignano, I replayed the video and laughed at the seeing the fifty year old me, feeling like I was sixteen; messy and all.

Messy is good. What was my “messy”?

Fifteen years ago I went through a divorce and months later my ex became a paraplegic. As a single mom,I could not afford a McDonald’s twisty cone for my kids let alone a trip to Italy indulging in the World’s Best gelato.

In the last fifteen years here’s seven things I learned:

1) Be real. Your family, your colleagues, your clients, don’t need and don’t want perfect – they want real.  Share your shortcoming. Be vulnerable to show your “ugly food stuck-in-your -teeth” smile.

2) Timing is everything. When the kids were little, I saved for their college, even sometimes as small as 25/ month and our fun was free concerts at the park with a McDonalds twisty cone for a treat. Only now, after years of sacrifice and knowing that their college is paid for, did I finally indulge in the big treat; Italy.

3) Admit your faults. I love food, but I am a messy eater. I don’t do pretty. But it’s funny, my friends know this and are willing to offer me a napkin and help me clean-up. Yours may too but you have to be willing to accept the help, from co-workers, friends, and family.

5)Smile a lot . Hard to be mad or disappointed when someone offers you a smile or a gelato cone.

5)Laughing is contagious; enthusiasm is too. On a hot Summer night, ice cream lines are long and get longer because of the excitement of eating together. Not as much fun, eating alone a big bowl of delight, is it?

6) Embrace the ugly. Life is not perfect. Sometimes you may need a napkin to prevent the dripping, but the next sweet taste could be around the corner. Take the bite

7) Do life like you mean it. Italians eat because they enjoy it! Kids eat ice cream with their full mouth. No tiny licks.

Are you really enjoying your life? Your work? Your relationships?

I remember my first boss at Van Kampen Investments now Invesco said I me some thirty years ago, “Don’t burn out. Find the little victories and celebrate.” My celebrations always included ice cream. Heck, my first boyfriend worked at Baskin Robbins. Back then, I would choose my cone based on the prettiest color in the case. My favorite was Daiquiri Ice – kind of like gelato. I guess the girl really hasn’t changed much except to switch from ice cream to gelato.

So tonight, as I strolled on the mushy shore of Butterfly Beach, I tipped my straw hat and thought, I am the sixteen-year-old girl trapped in a fifty-year old body. I am the best Lisa; silly, messy, and needing a friend who can offer me a napkin.

Choose with your eyes. Commit with your heart. Life, work, and relationships are messy. Embrace the messy and the kid in you; buried in an ice cream cone or gelato. The choice is yours. Let’s have the contagious joy that children have just like Jesus intended .

 

 ” Let the children come to me… ” Matthew 19:14

 

 

 


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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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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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Are you willing to crawl towards a better finish even when faced when obstacles?

The saying goes, “You have everything if you have your health…”

Almost four years ago I finished a triathlon and shortly afterwards I started to have weird symptoms; burning, electric shocks, and my body feeling like I was a cell phone set on vibrate. My Chicago doctor blamed it on adrenal fatigue but then the laundry list of symptoms starts piling up like the dirty laundry basket of my two teenage athletes.

The symptoms of vertigo, tinnitus, night sweats, insomnia, and numbness mirrored the dreadful diseases of MS, Parkinson’s, and ALS. I did not recognize my own reflection in the mirror. I am a buck twenty, maybe a buck and quarter on a good day. After losing twenty pounds over a few months, I found myself sitting in the shower, too weak to stand, hoping the shower would drown my wails of anguish.

After months of MRIs, C-scans, blood work, my doctor was fresh out of ideas and handed me a prescription for Zoloft. I crumpled up the scrap of paper, tossed it in the garbage,and with a crooked smirk laughed, “Come on. You know me. I have been through a divorce, my ex becoming a paraplegic, raising the kids alone for the last dozen years as a single mom , a robbery… Seriously, depression? I will walk my way out of this … just like everything else. I will exercise until I feel better.”

As he walked out the door, he cocked his head around the corner, “Let me know how that works for you?”

Well, it didn’t. No flip turns in the pool would turn my sickness upside down. I was stuck running vicious circles at the track, hoping an answer was around the next bend.

Finally, after a year of misdiagnosis, I had an answer. Lyme disease. Yes, a little crawling tick created all this chaos.

Three year later, watching a crew of wetsuits enter the fog-ridden shore of the Pacific Ocean, I was a little jealous wishing I too could dig my toes in the mushy shore and get in the race. Since my restless energy would not be expended, my curious nature got the best of me. Silently I thought, “Why did this happen to me? Why did I need to be on the sidelines?”

In disappointment, I turned and watched athletes from previous heats cross the finish with smiles plastered across their face, proud of their character of “going the distance”. A smirk crossed over my face, as I realized how far I, too, have come. My course was not easy but through some waves, potholes, and flat tires, my character developed .God was using a rough course to design a better me.

Anyone who knows me, would testify that I am a strong individual competitor, not needing or wanting direction.( You don’t get the nickname ” sassy pants” for nothing.) I like to think, I became sick so maybe, just maybe, I could be weak.

“For when you are weak, He can be strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 10

I am better me. I have surrendered that it is ok not to always be the strong one. I will get back in the game. I will walk away and leave Lyme disease in the dust and hopefully, God-willing, swim, bike, and run to a better finish …and maybe, just maybe I will stop being an individual competitor and allow for a running partner to run beside me or better yet run ahead of me to clear the obstacles so I can have an easier finish.

The journey has been long but I am getting better . Day by day,month by month, year by year, I see the progress . And until my body, completely catches up with my brain, I will keep getting out of bed,work hard,and believe the whisper,” I AM WELL.”

” I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Phillipians 4:13

Are you willing to face your obstacles, head- on?

Believe in your inner strength , Your Whisper Within.


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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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How do you talk to a best friend?

Do you have to be somewhere special?

Do you need to arrange a special time?

Do you have to prepare a special speech?

Do you get nervous telling your best friend bad news?

Do you get excited to tell your best friend the good news?

Who do you call when you need the really hard advice ?

Yep, a best friend !

This is how I talk to God … like a best friend .

When my ex had a snowmobile accident leaving him a paraplegic and I, a single mom, was headed for financial ruin with two little kids in tow … I yelled at God ,”Do you see me ? I need your help … come on !”

When his second wife sued my home owners insurance for HIS accident AND won … I looked up at the sky and yelled,”THIS ISNT FAIR … Show me ,you’re with me .”

When my kindergarten girl was banging her head on Target’s floor because she wanted gum but a tile away was soft hazel eyes saying,”I don’t need anything Mom ,” I silently begged with tear-filled eyes ,”Come on God ! Life shouldn’t be so hard … I need help!”

And years later,when my business grew, I allowed my lashes to fall as I saw my picture in Chicago Magazine as one of best financial advisors in Chicago ,”This was ALL YOU, God .You rescued me.”

And when I walk on the beach and look up at the sky ,”YOU did this . You brought me here .”

So on National Day of Prayer, I’m challenging you .

Don’t go anywhere special .

Don’t think of the right words.

Don’t arrange a special time.

Talk to your best friend .

Tell him ….

I’m lost.

I’m sad.

I’m happy.

I lost my job.

I’m broke.

I feel my life is going nowhere.

I love my life.

Like a best friend, he wants the real you … the good, the bad ,and the ugly.

Some of you may say, “I pray but I don’t hear answers back .”

Well, I do find, the time I do hear answers ,are when I’m quiet .

Not praying in a pew in church .

Not praying in bed before I close my eyes .

But in nature ,walking .

And yes ,my daily walks on the beach are my best conversations with God . I simply say, “So here’s what’s going on ..”

My friends say I’m like Batman and I have a direct signal to God.

I don’t know about that, but I do know, as I walk ,a quiet calmness comes over me that can be only described as the Whisper Within…

Hope you,too, can hear the whisper.

“Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything and you will feel his peace .” Philippians 4:6


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south haven

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 a 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, roughly 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 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?

Follow me on FB  @ The Whisper Within.


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img_3639

July 4th 2001. Not single yet… but definitely beach bound.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who make hard choices !
Because I loved my kids …the benefits of being raised by a single mom …
1) You learned if you didn’t get up for school a bucket of water would be dumped in you .
2) You learned that mouthing off would result in a “free pass” to walk to school in the middle of winter .
3) You learned that misbehaving at x-mas eve service would earn you the ” push-ups for presents ” prize.
4) You learned that NOT learning math was NOT an option- I was not afraid to be called a math nazi .
5) You learned if something stunk – it was time to crawl under the deck to see what creature was rotting – usually a raccoon .
6) You learned how to earn a wage at 8 & 9 yrs old – I think $5 is a fair wage for staining a deck .
7) You learned summer was not a vacation from homework … that worksheets before breakfast is part of life .
8) You learned that no matter what , WE were a team – poor but surviving .
9) You learned that I was always in your corner .I would pour every ounce into you – but you had to do the same – FOR YOU !
10) You learned that I love you – no matter what ! #mothersday #momlife #mom #singlemom
Congrats to all the moms who make it work!


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blinkGo ahead and blink.

As a CFP®, I am analytical to a fault. I love to crunch numbers and have  all the data  add up before I draw any conclusions.  However, I know some of my best decisions happened in a blink of an eye.

One of the best books I have ever read was “Blink,” The Power of Thinking, Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.  Mr. Gladwell distinctly writes, “Our unconscious reactions come out of a locked room, and we can’t look inside that room. But with experience we become experts at using our behavior and our training to interpret-and decode-what lies behind our snap judgements and first impressions.”

Malcolm’s “Blink” is right on the money.  I had too many strange coincidences to ignore the signs as I was contemplating a move from Chicago to Westlake Village, CA,  July 2015.

As I wrote in a previous blog, I had the coincidental pleasure of meeting Gregg Vanourek, an inspiring author and professor, just as I was contemplating this move. Read blog at link below.

https://thewhisperwithin.live/2016/09/15/sleepless-to-serendipity/

 

Greg said, “Lisa the Brave, Lisa the Happy. You need to do this.”  He was the first sign I received that weekend. The signs continued.  I decided to try a few Churches in the area, one in particular, Calvary Community. After the service, I went up to Pastor Shawn and introduced myself.  The conversation went something like this.

“Hi. I am visiting from Chicago and may be looking to move here in the Fall.”

Pastor Shawn reaching out and shaking my hand he said, “Chicago? I was just there last night, a town called Schaumburg.”

I felt the chills up and down my spine, “Schaumburg? Really? That’s where I am from.”

Pastor Shawn looked quizzically at me, “Really? I was there for an Iwana’s conference in Streamwood.”

“Well, thanks for the sermon. I may see you in a few months. We shall see.”

I closed my eyes, slightly nodded my head and walked away knowing I received another confirmation. I spent the remainder of the day looking for a place to live. After viewing rental upon rental, my agent and I were parked in a driveway of the last home. I was exhausted and didn’t even want to go in.I walked into the last place. blink. It just felt right. I knew it was the one.

Later that afternoon, while signing the lease the real estate agent asked, “So tell me about your kids?”

“My daughter is LA at Otis College of Arts in Design and my son is at Purdue.”

She said, “Purdue? My son went there and now he is professor. What is your son studying?”

“Engineering.”

Looking astonished she said, “My son is an Engineer Professor.”

Blink. It happened again. I knew this move was the right decision and being blessed by God. Once all the contracts were signed, I decided to take a drive. Years ago Colorado was on my radar screen to move to since I love the mountains. North Carolina was also a possible destination since I love the beach. Looking in my rear view mirror, I saw the Santa Monica Mountains, in front to me I saw the crystal sands and the turquoise waves  in Malibu calling me, calling me home.  Tears ran down my face as I realized God knew me better than I knew myself. He gave me both the mountains AND the beach. It has been worth the journey seeing this is what God had planned for me, after being a single mom for almost fifteen years.

Amazingly, the following week my home in Chicago sold. A few weeks later as the moving company was packing up my belongings one of the movers commented, “Well, don’t worry .Rob told us to take good care of you.”

Looking puzzled, “Rob?”

The mover confirmed, ” Yes, Rob . He said he was your ex’s roommate in college.”

Blink. Unknown to me  the President of the moving company that I hired was not only a fellow Leatherneck, WIU alumni, but my ex’s roommate who I spent a lot of  time with my Senior year. Another sign God was orchestrating this plan. Proverbs 20:24″ Since the Lord is directing our steps why try to understand everything that happens along the way?”

With a Blink of an Eye…everything changed.

The power of “Blink” was overwhelming or as I like to call it the whisper within.

So in career, life, and maybe even in love trust your “blink” instincts. Have you experienced a blink moment, where no analysis or spreadsheet was necessary it just felt right? Feel free to comment .


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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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July 4th 2001. Not single yet… but definitely beach bound.

 

I was not planning on blogging today but then  found  this picture . Looking at it  I see so many ironic messages . I was alone  even though I was married . I was headed to the beach; my happy place then and now.  The smiles were contagious . How could I be sad when I had my two greatest  gifts by my side? Even though the picture is faded and blurry,  I remember the day very clearly.  This was the day I found out that I needed to be brave and be single. Little did I know HOW brave I needed to be. Months later, I was divorced, financially broke, and my ex became a paraplegic.

” Always be full of Joy in the Lord; I say it again rejoice! Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything” Phillippians 4:6

Some say, ” Fake it to you make it,” or “A smile disguises a broken heart.” But I disagree. You don’t need to fake it.  TRUST God will give you answers and the courage to daily walk forward. He gave me the special gift of the Holy Spirit to guide me daily on my journey through the good, the bad ,and downright ugly.

Fifteen years later, I am still not married but I am not alone. Even though my kids are both in college and not glued to my hip, their smiles still make me contagiously happy. I don’t just visit my happy place on occasion , I moved there. Yes, to the beach. The picture is clearer now, too- literally and figuratively.

“Philippians 4:12 I have learned the secret of being content in every situation … I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”

 I trusted God  and he has given me the strength to be single. He whispered to me then that I would be alright and today I hear him loud and clear!  God has used my time of being single for a purpose. As a CFP(R) I teach  Women and Investing seminars to educate woman how to be financial independent. In addition, I lead a  single woman’s small group. We inspire each other to be strong and  be content – just where we are.

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All Grown up !


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Sleepless to Serendipity

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Serendipity: Luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for; A fortunate happenstance. (Merriam-Webster)
I tossed. I turned. I took Sominex. Nothing worked. Not even the softest 1000 thread count sheets and cloud-like down comforter could lull me to sleep and finally ease my restless mind. As I pulled back the stiff tan curtains and stared at the mountainside, the morning sun came blasting in and exposed my doubtful mind, “What am I doing in Calabasas, CA? I am crazy? I can’t do this but this is all this I dreamed about.” Just then I hear my cell ringing. Walking in a daze over to the night stand, I see the name “JULIE” on the phone and quickly answered.
“Hey, how are you doing?” Julie asked.
“Not good. I didn’t sleep a wink.”
“I figured you didn’t. That’s why I called.”
“Julie, I gotta admit, I am nervous. I have been praying for an answer, for a sign.”
“Are you kidding me? Lisa, seriously some people pray that they get one sign in their whole life. You get three in a week and you are still questioning God to show you more.”
Bowing my head down, my mouth twitched in defeat, “You are right. Thanks Jules. I am going to go for a walk and hopefully get my answer.”
After pressing the end call button, I let the phone fall onto the comforter. I peeled off my pajamas hoping the doubt from that sleepless night would leave me too. Quickly, I threw on my running shorts, laced up my Brooks, threw my hair in a messy bun, and headed out the door. All good intentions of a run to clear my head was detoured with the smell of bacon. Grabbing a plate at the buffet line, I loaded up on bacon, pancakes, fruit, almost everything; until not a trace of the plate was exposed. Heading out the glass door, I made my way to a round table outside by the pool to take in the sunshine.
As I was sipping my coffee, a stranger walked by and with a pleasant smile said, “Wow, that’s how you should eat breakfast. Outside.”
Quickly the jovial stranger walked away but in a few minutes, he appeared balancing a plate full of breakfast and a coffee cup headed in my direction. “Do you mind if I join you?”
“No, of course not.”
Sitting poolside, the gentleman did not put his toes in but jumped in my pool of thoughts, “So what are you doing here?”
“Well, I am from Chicago, but I am thinking of moving to WestlakeVillage/Thousand Oaks area. I may sign a lease today.”
“Really? That’s where I grew up but now live in Sweden.”
“Sweden? What are you doing here?”
“Family wedding…but the real question is what’s your story? Why are you moving?”
With a smirk I said, “My story? Do you have five minutes or five hours?”
“Let’s go for 5 minutes.”
I proceeded to tell the friendly stranger my story, “About fifteen years ago I went through a divorce, my ex became a paraplegic, I grew my business, and as a single mom went through the rollercoaster of raising my kids by myself. I always said that when they got to college I would do something different. So I guess here is different.”
“Wow that is not a story. That’s a book.”
“Ha, Ha. Funny you say that, I wrote a book about all my strange coincidences.”
“Well then, you need to do this!”
Looking at the outgoing man, I lowered my head and softly answered, “Thanks. I probably will.”
Picking up his plate… he sincerely said, “Lisa the Brave, Lisa the Happy. Let’s exchange emails.”
A few days later I have to admit I had to know who this inspirational stranger was so I Googled him. He is an author, a leader, a teacher. I have read his book, “Life Entrepreneurs – Ordinary People: Creating Extraordinary Lifes. ”  By Gregg Vanourek .One of the best books I have read about carving a life for yourself filled with passion and happiness. It asks the question, “How can we live extraordinary lives?” One of the best quotes in the book is, “Once we have a clearer sense of who we are and what we need and value, we become more awake to opportunities that may rise that resonate with what we want to do with our lives.”
How ironic, just as I was contemplating a life change, God led Gregg to me;the inspiring author of “Life Entrepreneurs,” a book that inspires courage to pursue the passionate life you were meant to lead. Gregg inspired me to walk forward and carve out the life I desired. Pick up his book; it could lead you on the journey that you have been searching for. Gregg left a footprint on my life. Inspiring book. Great author. Better person.
“If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him and he will gladly tell you.” James 1:5
Once again I asked for a sign and God answered. Some call it serendipity or a strange coincidence. I like to call it the whisper within.
You can follow my blog at http://www.thewhisperwithin.live
This was not last sign from that crazy weekend. Stay tuned for future blogs …

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Cali!

Silly Lisa…learning to surrender.

I know with all certainty, through my journey ,that we are all connected.  God has put individuals along my path; however the reason I may not discover until years later.Sometimes it took a whole decade to discover  why…

Rolling up my yoga mat and wiping the perspiration off my forehead… who am I kidding? More like toweling off  after a long shower, with my body drenched in sweat, I step outside into a beautiful Chicago Spring day to feel the wind at my neck, cooling me off. Standing outside, enjoying the breeze is my yoga teacher. With gratitude I comment, ” Thanks, Corey. Great class!

Looking over he says, ” I notice something about you. You can do the  poses but you don’t know how to practice yoga.”

Looking over at my teacher( who I admired , may I add), ” What do you mean? I don’t get it?”

” Yep. ” he quipped.  “Like I said you don’t do know how to practice yoga. You don’t release. You practically hold your breath during the poses.”

I tried to offer an explanation, “I guess it’s the years of being a gymnast, I would hold my breathe before tumbling passes.”

” No, it is more than that. You need to learn to surrender, ” Corey said.

Feeling slightly offended, I tried to defend myself, “Hey, you don’t know me. I have been through a lot .” My frustration sparked my spontaneity to continue, “A divorce, my ex becoming a paraplegic, being a single mom for the last dozen years, running my own business. I am strong. I don’t need to surrender. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13″

Shaking his head slightly, the master yogi responded, ” Strength is in surrendering.”

Knowing I was not going to win this battle,  I conceded. I nodded my head and said, ” Alright, see ya Corey.”  and walked away.

Fast forward, to 2014, After a year of MRIs, Cat scans, blood tests, numerous doctors, no one could figure out why I was sick.Finally in 2015, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease  It was humbling. I was no longer strong physically or mentally… and ” Sassy pants”, as some of my friends call me, did not exist.  It was humbling  but truthfully it was the best thing that could happened to me .

I finally learned to surrender. ” For when I am weak , then I am strong-the less I have, the more I depend on God.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

So today, in yoga class, as I am laying in savasana(  translated :the dead mans pose for non yogis) I thought about Corey, my master yoga teacher, and silently I laughed . He was right ! There is strength in surrendering! As I lay on my mat I took a deep breath in and finally released a HUGE exhale.  Thanks Corey!And as I looked at the ceiling… my eyes try to penetrate through to the sky to the heavens and thank the one who knows my heart and keeps me surrendering. Namaste.

 

 

 


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Misery To Ministry… Just Another Sleepless Night.

I call it the gift. The gift is my unadulterated skill to fall asleep anywhere, anytime…within minutes. I embrace my talent without any shame. I could be on a plane and before the pilot can announce, “Prepare for take off, ” I am already sound asleep, mouth wide open like a big mouth bass, letting the drool dribble down my chin like a hook is stuck in the back of my throat.  This was my gift… until unexpected  about a year and half ago, the Grinch appeared and robbed me. And just like a wide-eyed  Who from Whoville, I was left with an empty stocking hanging on the fireplace mantel with only the Grinch’s stench left behind.  No, I take that back, he filled my stocking  with an expected present… insomnia. insomnia-math-skills Continue reading