Profit and Loss


I’ve been told I should paint

something 

other than 

angels. 

And so, I consider the landscape. I think

in terms of abstraction. Thick paints, maybe floral; perhaps, a rooster or crow.

Then, someone who sat with her daddy today

until the moment he became breathless.

She messaged me to say,  “I look at your angels and feel at peace.”

And I want to say, me too. 

But, that feels self-serving. I don’t. 

Instead, I say “I am so very sorry for your loss.”

 because

I remember

and I am. 

Steady Now

My little Gideon

I almost slipped. The floor causing squeaky basketball sounds, “shuffle, shuffle…squat, shuffle, shuffle, squat!”

My right foot almost folded. I paused in the repetition, considered faking injury, dropping out. 

Began again though, doing this push me farther than before thing. 

Getting stronger, not smaller, I’m changing me for the better. 

Inside too, I woke with this song this morning, “O’ Come to the altar…O’ what a Savior…hallelujah !”

Setting the tone, making steady the way I’m walking today. I pray and I say thank you for teaching me to persist. 

I say thank you for fresh perspective, music in my ear and a tiny Bible close to my work with words that my eyes land upon, saying “I’ve got you…you got this!”

A new idea, I’m excited, plans to prosper them! 

Plans, Passages, Prospering

Keep me steady now, Lord.  Day by day, dear Lord I pray. 

Music, scripture, prayer and persistence.

Steady now. 


Linking up with a community of ideas and grace and writing for Five Minute Friday! 

Visit here:  FMF 

Like the Mornin’

I’m gonna do my very best.

I declare. I am. 

Decided, just now, to live more like the morning.

Easy like Sunday or Wednesday or Tuesday,

Mornin’.

Try to live all day “easy peasy” like the thin lines on the blinds becoming silvery gray, drawing me to wake and early, saying let’s go and see.

Morning, takin’  it easy on me.

Time for anticipating, of dark coffee, pink pencil and the corner sofa spot where the tall thin lamp shines down in a quiet welcome, come.

I’m gonna live like morning all day if I can.

To be less frustrated by the unexpected unfriendliness of the day, I’ll turn back to my morning page reread and I’ll decide,

Okay, show me again. I know I read it in your book, underlined, recorded and thought for more than a second…this is God and this is good. This is for me.

No more gettin’ sidetracked by demands and details, brain overloaded from multiple tasks.

I’ve decided to try, too good not to, just try to break the habit of thinkin’ dread and despair and doubt. The things that come out most every middle of the day, like a prisoner breaking out, they’re gonna make their mischief, stir up stuff.

I’m gonna try, here and ready to begin yet again to be unswayed by patterns or people or less than promising plans.

Give me back my morning, no kidding.

I will surely thank me.

If I can live like morning for just a little bit longer like the summer sunrise lingers lazily deciding,  I’m staying up late, I’d surely be more contented come the night.

I’d stretch out my morning mind and soul, establish new ways.

I’m gonna live like the morning, savor it like creamy brown coffee, the color of thick chocolate shake.

I’m gonna cup my cup of morning and do better, I decide.

Less straining towards back home to sigh and declare oh, another day, another day…

Live easy like the mornin’,  yes, so much less me, so much more Him.

“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭143:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬ 

Discovering this Thursday morning, a beautiful and oh, so timely post about joy and suffering at quietlyreminded.com 

What a pretty place to visit, art and words and grace and truth! 

 
Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee as she writes about family.

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/just-needed-someone-love-god-made-family/

Oh, My, Goodness and Thank You Wow

What does one say when a respected blogger, ever thought provoking in his content, and simply breathtaking in his visuals decides to share your words? 
It’s been a long day | Live & Learn

It’s been a long day

You say “Oh, My, Goodness!” and then since he’s a New Yorker, you explain to him that oh my goodness means wow, thank you, wow! And you hope he smiles to have been schooled in all things Southern. 
Again, I am thankful and amazed of the ways God continues to “enlarge my borders”.

More or Less

img_7445

Tiny House

Off to the side, a brilliant flash of blue and I’ve given up on capturing the shot with my phone. 

I’ve learned the “momentary-ness” of the bluebird is in itself a message, there will be chances again, encounters with happy bird. 

I think of my cousin; she sits on her porch and thinks of life and loss and love and our Lord. 

I remember the bluebird resting on her lantern, she told me so.  

It meant something to her in that very moment, did me too. 

We’d waited to walk until after the rain, the labrador’s paws searching for shallow puddle and hoping for pond. 

I remembered the nest I found and I wondered if this is where the sparrow came from, the one who rustled the bushes, startled by my search for tennis ball. 

I thought of the sparrow all week, strangely contemplating the words of Jesus. 

“Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31

‭Because, most days I’m in the middle, more or less assured.

I  believe the middle must be me, must be that place of  humility that doesn’t look like insecurity. 

Days little things flit by like a bluebird. Little truths I must hold fast, must chronicle somehow.


My daughter, my guide, my wise gauge saying “too much, Lisa” or “Let, that go.” when I complained of lack of a thank you for a painting. 

Then she countered it with “your angel ministry has impacted so many people…”

She’d never called my art my “ministry”.

Oh.

I’d thought she thought that too much me.

Like blue or red bird unprepared to see, those are words I cherish. 

My son encouraging me to “give it time”, this first real commitment to my health, the healthy way.  He sees me sweaty. 

He sees me trying, won’t let me be weak. 

Like mental bullet lists, this momentary really only “secondary”  stuff is making me brave. 

Making me believe I’m worth more than I believe. 

So, we ventured down towards the pond, Colt’s leash taut with the pull of high grass and cool water. 

The frogs were singing, the thickness of humidity making their song deep down and hollow.  

The lab tilts his head, meanders towards the sound, two, three times, comes from the water then goes again, a lazy dip. 

I don’t worry with sticks or retrieving, just let him dip down, then walk my way then go back to cool again, again. 

The hill back up feels steeper. Did we choose a different angle back home? 

Slowly, we reach the pavement and again, a thought.

So significant, I wondered if others have such thoughts. 

Thoughts so true and clear and with no one around, just you and the wide open whatever and wherever that all of sudden, 

You utter, “Ohhh.” as your thought becomes voice and makes a sound.  

A sound that starts up high like an excited revelation but, then drops to a sauntered fade of realization that says but, what if, not possible or “Oh, well.”

These are the moments, I believe, that 

God says, “I know, child. I know.”

I’d seen a tiny truck on the interstate, driving too slow, I passed and glanced over longing to see a handsome frame like my daddy’s; but, not so.

This, I remembered walking Colt back home. 

The thought of my father became a sound and it validated my longing. 

I touched it, not for long and I could let it go, acceptance again. 

It was beautiful in its comfort. 

Oh.

Confirmation like feather then, grace resting in His understanding of me. 

“I know it’s hard, hard for you to know,

To believe you’re worth more than the sparrow. 

Let me show you.

 You are. Fear not the voices inside that shout out to turn back from where I’m leading you.

Utter “Oh” but, never “Oh, well.”

Look at the sparrow, Lisa Anne; consider the lily.

Remember the writer, her message last week. “You were MADE for this.”

Remember these truths more, 

Your fears, less. 

Happy Father’s Day in heaven daddy. 

Linking up with The Mom Gene to share my Sunday Thoughts, a new group for me. Happy to find it. 

The Essence of Days

Forward with Grace

Wouldn’t it be phenomenal to carry around all day…all the day long, 

the little confirmations

epiphanies 

the truths spoken by another

that happen to be gracefully

placed in your lap?

Most especially the ones that ease your mind

lessen the pressing pressure of what next, what now, what if and what if not? 

The ones that make resting and trusting and doing just our small part in this ginormously, great big world more like grace and less like not enough, even drudgery? 

God is for us. God is with us. 

Step easy, Lisa, tell others the same, that 

there are places He is preparing. 

Seemingly insignificant or maybe no step at all; yet, even my planted feet and heart in places I think dull and lowly are privy to the light.

We are not meant to be seen as God’s perfect, bright shining examples, but to be seen as the everyday essence of ordinary life exhibiting the miracle of His grace. 

Wisdom from Oswald Chambers

The seemingly useless steps are taking us to places we’ll be a light, maybe be warmed by the light of another. Then, round the corner and look back, enlightened. 

I believe this. 

I am trusting this as truth. 

I just keep taking the next step knowing there’s no call for standing in the crowd and recounting my failures, there’s no retribution that demands I shrug off the notice of the works of my hands. 

There’s no need to deny or lessen the good by stepping back into my wanderings to tell of the bad. 

There’s grace in the ordinary life I live that just needs to live, knowing it’s all miracle, all of this beautiful stuff every morning. 

All the days long. 

A wise man I read as often as possible shares occasionally, using the phrase “Miracle, All of It” and gracious his words are beautiful and true examples! 

The everyday essence. Bird nests discovered, things coming through, us being children of God, dogs snoring, eyes waking, happenstance meetings to discover “me too”. 

No accidental occurrences. 

Miracles

of grace. 

And us happy all the day because of them. 

This is God’s desire,

I believe. 

The Tide

I’m not at all a deep water person. I see my family riding the waves when I sit all alone and I’m the watchtower one, keeping head count, strong shoulders popping up from the deep.

They’ll stand and talk, drift away. I glance towards my book, but not for long. I hurry to take account of them again, my family out in deep, dark water hoping for strong waves to ride.

I’ll join them sometimes; but, only for the sake of taking part. The pull back towards the unknown keeps me near the shore. The way the water causes me to plant my feet and pause makes me uncertain.

Still, every summer I get a little closer to letting the tide take me where it may, a little more adrift, a gradual and deeper depth.

As a little girl, I almost drowned and it seemed no one noticed soon enough.

This is why I’m hesitant to go too deep. I resist the pull of let’s go farther out, let’s explore new places and experience new opportunities and challenges.

Take more chances.

I worry over the steadiness of my feet.

Lately,  I took some chances and went out to ride the waves, played around in the deep with other brave and happy swimmers; but, decided no, you should just sit it out.

You’re not quite ready, head back to shore and think about this a little while longer, maybe you can try again.

So, like finding my place from the water amongst all the bodies and chairs, I headed back towards safety.

Stopping where the tide hit the backs of my calves and nearly knocked me down, I braced myself for a minute lest I fall embarrassed by my lingering and dropping back.

I stepped from the cool water and back to my place, the place of feeling safe but, wishing I’d have gone farther.

I settled apart from the others, the sea teasing and taunting me for my lack of courage.

There’s a song Mark Hall and Casting Crowns sings called “That was Then”… Goes on to say “This is Now”.

Standing at the water’s edge
I dropped my dreams when I dropped my nets
No hesitation, no regrets
I followed You
But that was then
And this is now

Now is when you forget how strong you were before because you forgot the one who made you believe you could.

Or maybe now is when you ventured out all cocky without your soul tethered to your anchor.

This morning, I’m acknowledging my progress.

I’d love to say “finally” as if it might never happen again; but I know I’m new at swimming in this ocean.

I can’t ever stay steady focused or brave in my stepping  out on my own.

This is my 499th post and regardless of where I’m going in this writing journey, where I’ve been and who I am now seems to be most relevant to me this morning.

Because, more than becoming a better writer, a more polished and creatively appealing assembler of words, I have grown in my understanding of God in this thing I still call my uncovered treasure from tiny God-planted seed.

I stop now, because I sense my rambling, my lack of creative and skilled elimination of repetition. Apologies, my work is in progress.

I wonder again though, just how far God might take me, how much farther out he might point my steps if I’d stop reminding him that I can’t swim.

Yesterday, I prayed “Lord, thank you for slowing down my success. Thank you for drawing me back. Give me strength to stay near.”

I’ve had some special opportunities in writing and painting happen for me.

Yet, I got caught up in the excitement looking for the next big wave.

Then, the river seemed to dry up, stopped its flow.

So, I prayed.

By day’s end someone commissioned five paintings.

I returned to “boot camp” to continue my commitment to make my body an acceptable living sacrifice and in between these two steps I had the courage to ask for writing help and signed up for a mentor.

Trusting the tide.

“Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:133‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee. her post challenges us to think of what lies we are telling ourselves about ourselves. A very timely one for me.

Read here: http://jenniferdukeslee.com/six-words-can-make-difference/

The Way

My soul waits

 
I suppose I’m gonna have to search and find it.

Maybe spend the afternoon half watching, half drifting in and out. 

Because, I can’t stop my mind from singing the song. 

A pretty little thing, got me thinking in a way down a path of payin’ attention all day 

Must be somethin’ meant for me to see and know. 

“O’ Brother, where Art Thou ” there surely must be more to your funny film. 

More to the story.  More to mine. 

Starting with my Bible now, and from there every little thing, I’ll be focused in an easy way, open to noticing sweet small things, good things, Good Lord. 

Settin’  my mind to know the way. 

Take a listen, Alison, classic and early. 

Good Lord, show me the way!

I’ve sketched a girl, an angel and just below the place my journal rests I notice the bold verse. 

Yes. 

In your word, I hope. 

Little Whiles

I stopped in at the art store, the time of the month to collect on any art sold. 


I looked towards “my wall” and there they were, “all my girls”. 

We talked of business being slow and of shoppers being a little scarce. I listened, and for a second drifted towards the pity place. I turned to leave and said ” See you soon.” Then stopped, turned back and she looked up from her work to hear me announce…

“It’s never been up to me, what happens with the paintings. I’ll keep painting and see where God takes them next.”

No reply from the shop owner just a nod that said “I know, Lisa. I know this because I know you.”

What I expect gets all messed up in the mix of what comes true. You’d not believe the number of angel paintings I’ve sold or given as gifts if I could recount . You might not believe either that God led me to love writing, rekindled two flames from tough times. 

You might, no should believe there have been days marred by thoughts of others thinking I think too much of myself, my words, my canvas. 

You would be correct. Certainly days that prideful and glorious expectation took all the joy away and made it prideful pursuit to sustain my worth instead of gentle and humble, happy revelation of  what God could do through my hands and thoughts. 

Yes, plenty of moments of “too much Lisa”, not enough Jesus. 

So, he causes a pause in the fury of it all, the addiction of being praised and noticed. 

I’ve learned to love the pause; I know it’s wisdom and wonder and wonderful. 

That I’m writing and painting and waiting seems to be my place now, a slight lull, a place of a simmer.  

So, I know, the embers are there and I’m expecting God will decide when and how the fires will burn, burn for Him. 

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://www.fiveminutefriday.com

Linking up with others to write prompted by “expect” . 

Driving the Train

My “Jesus Calling” devotional just lit a fire down in my soul, a warmth bubbled up and found its way to the bottom of my lashes. 


Little cups slowly filling with the hot need to pause and realign my heart, my thoughts, my confidence. 

So, I let it happen as I saw her there, my mama in the conference room. My big brother trying to figure out the “unfigurable”. This doctor and that one, then another. 

My mama found the right time in awkward and helpless pause of them all and said.

“Not a one of us is driving this train. God’s driving this train.”

My mama always spoke the truth. I believe she’s been watching me feel less than capable, wavering unsteady on the cusp of hard but good things. I believe she sees me about ready to retreat; and she’s proud of me that I haven’t. 

I believe she knows I won’t. 

My world’s not falling apart, some of the details are just tediously unpleasant and tough. Requiring a steadfast stance, a throwing off of the burdens of second guessing and scared. 

I have a life I never fathomed possible. 

So many thankful things. 

The way my husband has endured so much.  The way my son-in-law looks after my girl. The way my son is focused and committed but not in a way that’s crazy obsessive to his future, the way my daughter demonstrates loving her husband.  It’s a pretty love they have, I’m thankful to sit back and see. 

The way today is the first morning in a week I did not wake to a pile of labrador poop. So, I’m thankful for rice and Pepto this morning. I am. 

But, I tell you something!  I dreamt an awful outrageous dream just hours ago filled with trauma and memories and somehow they all mingled with today stuff and yesterday junk.

But, wake up oh, sleeper Lisa! 

Acknowledge you took some bad things to bed with you. Don’t lie there all day! 

Now, let them go and let God! 

He’s got the whole world in His hands.  It is absolutely not up to me to hold it all, hold it all together or figure it out. 

Not my place now. 

Knees down, hands open, face to heaven. 

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Enjoy the ride, the driver knows the way. 

Who is in charge of your life? If it is you, then you have good cause to worry. 

But, if it is I, then worry is both unnecessary and counterproductive…

back off a bit, redirecting your focus to Me.  

Jesus Calling