Arriving

Angels, courage, Faith, hope, love, marriage, Prayer, Vulnerability, wonder
Horn Creek Church, est. 1790

At first, I felt feisty. I felt fearlessly intrigued and the winding, hill and valley narrow dirt road was pretty. I continued and looked to either side in careful glances so as not to slip from the narrow path to a deep crater ditch.

Either side of me, vast open and clearings, fields with little treehouses on stilts for sighting and shooting deer.

No sign of life anywhere.

Then, the drop into the valley followed by a sharp curve and another hill.

Stuck, bogged down and panicked, when I slowed over fear over when will this road be over.

This road Waze instructed.

My destination, a wedding.

My “grandma car” SUV adorned with stickers on the carseat window and Chick Fil A prizes strewn all over. My blue Toyota Highlander was trapped in thick play-doh like clay.

No cell service. No idea what to do. Who might ever find me?

My face began to flush and I prayed and prayed as I turned the wheel right then left then right then reverse then right foot pressed to the floor. My torso rocking in a rhythm that matched. My body and my will with all my heart was pushing.

Then inching, inching, inching.

I had not stopped trying.

I didn’t succumb and I broke free.

Tentatively, not taking for granted the rescue I’d achieved, I drove into the clearer, strewn with pebbles road.

I arrived with gift under my arm as the bride was stepping up into the chapel on her daddy’s arm.

Someone offered me a seat.

A precious wedding it was.

Joy, laughter, love, elegance and simplicity with an aroma of longstanding faith in a family.

I’ve told the story more than necessary.

About this road called Yarborough.

The scariest abandoned road, the adrenaline rush of a woman alone and inept, but rescuing herself.

The arrival.

The union of two precious souls, in a restored and resurrected building,

new again surrounded by unchanging old.

House of God by way of a wretched and dangerous road, a road taken wrongly.

And with uncertainty.

Nonetheless, I arrived.

And I continue.

Glad In Them

Angels, bravery, Children, contentment, daughters, family, grandchildren, hope, memoir, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder

I didn’t expect to be emotional.

I thought, I think… this is good, no surprise, exciting, you get a break to paint or to do whatever.

But, that’s okay. Last days are good, are meant to be noticed and honored.

Remembered.

Honored with the grace of two breezy morning walks, odd finds, two morning glory flowers, yellow leaves and some important to remember instructions about songs.

Today had me thinking of last days, last things.

Odd, some may say, but I miss the meetings when I offered up my space and the mothers, fathers, friends and others who introduced themselves with the story of the loved one who chose suicide.

I don’t miss the stories, I miss the significance of their sharing. I miss being invited to join them. I miss showing up.

I don’t miss the trying to turn left from Aiken Middle School’s exit to take my son home, but I miss my on the cusp of manhood son and his four or five tightly knit rascally buddies with baseball on their minds and ambition on their fearless shoulders.

I don’t miss walking into my daughter’s room and discovering the clothes explosion covering the floor hasn’t given me a path that’s clear, but I miss her just down the hall, I miss climbing into her tiny bed to talk.

I don’t miss the DFCS court days and the half-hearted or no show biological parents intent on being defended just for the happenstance chance of maybe the judge will give us a fourth chance. But, I surely miss the children, the ones I advocated for and often buckled into my car if “on call”.

I don’t miss the home visits that scared me s**tless, but I treasure the eyes that met mine and saw concern, an unspoken love and hope that life could be better.

I don’t miss board of directors meetings or foreboding financials, but I do miss the allegiance and commitment together to mental health.

I still get the “seriously?” looks when I retell the reason I retired, a child welfare and nonprofit leader, at 58 years old.

I made a promise to my daughter. My mama did the same. I’ll share the responsibilities with my “tag team” other grandmother (“Gamma”) and I will help care for my daughter’s daughter.

By the way, do you know the importance of the first three years of a child as far as strong love and bonding?

It’s important. They’re important.

The one I call, “Morning Glory”, the one who told me today,

“Grandma, you and the baby can find morning glories and you can’t sing “Rise and Shine”, that’s Gamma’s song.

Yours is “Jesus loves Me”!’”

The grandbaby I retired early for begins pre-school on Thursday.

Today was my last 5:15 a.m. alarm to arrive and send off to work my Literacy Coach daughter.

It was special.

Today and Monday.

Who knew, Elizabeth, God or had they talked already?

She added wings to an angel drawn with a stick in the sand. We decided dragonflies and butterflies are cousins. She told me my hair is long, long like her mama. She asked me to braid her hair and she told me she had a “happy” dream, a slide went into heaven and there were children there and it was beautiful.

She told me “Jesus, is up, up, up and way, way up there.”

And when I asked, she was smart enough to know my crazy hoping for the reply so spectacular,

“Have you seen Jesus?”

“Well, no,” she answered. “He isn’t down here, he’s up there…the rocks haven’t been moved again.”

Yeah, I had no words.

I listened. Again, listened.

I pushed her in the swing too small, sized for the baby because she wanted to be little.

Then, we got all gussied up and had salad for lunch and frozen strawberry slushy ice cream.

Oh, and we got shoes, red ones for school.

No matter the mood, red shoes can change it, right?

Today was my last “grandma day”, not for long, just a break or as needed.

I told Elizabeth I wanted it to be special.

This last day of 5:30 rising and driving out to the country, the place I named “pretty”.

Walking with a tiny baby close to my chest to racing with a toddler in a princess dress, seeing who can find a feather, a rock, a weed that’s a flower and pausing in the shadow of “That’s your favorite tree, right, Grandma”?

She said, “Memories, Grandma.”

Yes. I said “Yes.”

Morning glories I’ll never let go.

“Never go backward, only forward.” Grandma Bette aka my mama

Elizabeth Lettie goes to preschool, excited and

I will be.

So will I.

In a book there are flowers, a feather, a seed pod we call gumdrop and a plan to print photos, put them in a book called “Morning Glories”

Stories, songs, smiles, schedules and little things that are still secrets between E., God and I.

These are days the Lord made. We have rejoiced and we have been glad in them.

This baby has changed me forever. They say it’s that way. No need to wonder. I’ll hold fast to what I believe.

Babies are God’s answer, saying

Life continues and life is good.

You’ll never pass this way again.

Continue and believe.

Stilled

Angels, confidence, contentment, Faith, grace, hope, memoir, mercy, Peace, Redemption, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

“because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:78‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To ease into the end of yesterday, I sat on the steps of the pool. It’s one of “my things”.

I let the cool water calm my aching legs, notice my toes.

The clouds and tops of trees, a mirrored reflection for filtering my thoughts and pausing.

I listened to a meditation that led to being brave enough to believe in right next to me nearness of God.

I prayed, longingly and admittedly a tad half-heartedly

maybe it will be.

Eyes tightly squeezed, I felt warm tears stream down toward my chin. I opened my eyes and a butterfly danced then rested, yellow and payne’s gray paint color bordered.

The meditation ended.

I lingered, amazed yesterday evening.

The presence of God in a butterfly on an old overgrown shrub, the softness of its appearing, the grace of the the Amen,

It’s because of God’s tender love that you cried.

Were stilled.

Be still.

Stilled.

Remember and rise.

Be expectant. God is near.

Here’s the guided meditation app.

https://www.pauseapp.com/

Powerful Things

Abuse Survivor, Angels, Art, birds, contentment, courage, Faith, family, grandchildren, hope, memoir, mixed media painting, obedience, painting, patience, Peace, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder

I did the most silly, most powerful thing the other day. I changed the description in my Pinterest profile back to what it was originally.

Powerful? Silly? Yes, both. I edited the words characterizing me as an author and artist and I went back to the grander aspiration.

Hope.

Works on Paper

Lisa Anne Tindal, artist returned to “Artist and writer longing for a little white house near the ocean.”

Longings leading my heart back to me.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭16:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Come back, daughter.” my Heavenly Father keeps saying to me.

My Notes app became my diary at the beach, a call to smaller, more lasting things.

Nothing aspirational only thoughts of those around me, my line of thinking, line of prayer meandered from galleries, Italian art tours, and pricing my art in a way that measures its worth not just a sale.

We walked down the quiet street and discovered a white heron, gracious in its stance. The creek was quiet, the bird shaded and shielded by old overgrown cedar limbs as I knelt with a three year old resting against my chest.

I told her I was so happy for this gift, this peace today in a white elegant bird.

So, my prayer because God hears them. If possible and good for us, I’d love to have a seaside house for those I love to gather.

To gather again.

To search for the white bird daily.

White Bird

To paint on paper bags, be surprised by God again, to be visited by birds and song.

Aspirations so small and mighty.

So settled, not seeking.

So confident of my heart’s desires being known by my very kind Father.

Last weekend, I responded to the question of when I became an artist with the truth of flunking out of college, losing my art scholarship because of hard things and harm and then working hard as a helper of families before, in my 50’s, coming back to art.

There’s truth there, but even more in the realization,

I’ve always been an artist in the very same way I was told “You’ve always been brave.”

Paper Bag Works

I did a powerful silly thing. I changed my Pinterest bio back to the true, although dreamy thing.

To be an artist with a little white house near the ocean.

To gather. To paint.

To search for the white bird with my family.

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Keep On

Angels, daughters, Faith, family, grace, grief, memoir, Motherhood, Peace, Redemption, Trust, wonder

There are four words I treasure and a couple of other phrases too.

“Continue and believe.”

“It wasn’t God’s intention.” and “Keep on.”

The first I came up with to remind myself not to give up on life, myself or my God. The second, wisdom from a friend, helps to make sense of horrific happenings that make no sense at all.

Helps to reconcile what shouldn’t have happened, what went wrong, how you were wronged or what damage went unattended.

Trauma is not God’s intention for us. We move and breathe in a world that’s mean as hell.

When we choose to keep on, we’re deciding whatever “it”’ is or was, was not God’s intention.

There’s solace in this decision, sort of heavenly.

The third, from my mama, mostly unspoken but demonstrated by her tenacity

and stubborn resolve.

I put geraniums in clay pots every summer because I decided they are “mama’s flowers”.

I feel she sees me and sometimes I know that she does.

Mama’s last car was a green Chevy Geo, I think. It was small like a Nova or a Corolla.

She commanded the road, striking out on her own for a couple years, driving as fast as she wanted.

Get in the car and go seemed to be her philosophy.

Yesterday, I got steadily closer to a Chevy Impala driving too slowly. The construction ahead told us to move over. The Chevy just kept on creeping, the shape of the driver was either short, small or leaning in a relaxing swagger I noticed as I came close.

I passed and looked over and in a flash, I saw my mama. The woman with the short hair and the handicap card on the visor had one hand on the wheel and the other lifted to wave a “Hey, girl.” to me.

I wondered where she was going, all alone on a Friday morning. Maybe to get a breakfast biscuit, maybe just gettin’ out for no reason.

I saw her independence.

I saw my mama.

I pulled into the station for gas and as I turned the gas lid to lock, the Impala strangely pulled in behind me.

The woman with the happy cheeks and the knowing eyes waved again and nodded as she smiled, laughing alone in her car.

Just for me.

God was with her and somehow she knew I needed my mama.

The woman in the Chevy saying,

“Keep on, Lisa Anne. Keep on.”

Continue and believe. This is God’s intention.

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Broken Prayers

Angels, Children, courage, Faith, family, hope, memoir, Peace, Redemption, tragedy, Vulnerability, walking, wisdom, wonder

“Let’s go on a walk! Get your shoes!” she called out and off we go in a burst of unbridled energy, her heels in the air.

And we walk on the roads bordered by shiny wheat tops and we stay in the “middle….middle, middle, middle”, a song we made up because of country roads, high grass, deep ditches and crawling critters.

We walk a long way.

We’re looking for morning glories.

We spotted one last week.

We caught a butterfly once.

She was tiny then, barely toddling. Her face was a mixture of elation and question. She held that blue edged creature and then we let it go.

Her feet slowed to a pause. “A butterfly!” she spotted and I saw that its bottom wings were torn, sort of shredded.

I picked it up and it sat as if glued to her small finger. Five minutes or more, we talked about it, the broken wing somehow and how I wasn’t sure if it could fly.

Rust colored wings, more moth than butterfly and small, very tiny. It seemed as if my granddaughter was comfort, was safety, was in a way, angelic.

It was mysterious.

It rested, not as if helpless, more assured.

I’ve been thinking about a feeling of vague dread, of inability to put three thoughts together, of being numb to possibility.

When possibility has been so very true for me.

I thought “learned helplessness” and reminded myself of the meaning.

There, that’s it. That’s the feeling, the lack of mental, physical and emotional resources to believe in good again.

Learned helplessness, lulled into a state of whatever I can do or should…

Would it even make a difference?

I wonder if we’re all learning that we’re helpless, that we’re not difference making people after all.

We laid the butterfly down gently and unsure whether it would go to heaven or fly, we told the broken creature goodbye.

Learned helplessness, the two words that made sense to my processing all that’s gone wrong.

The remedy? Recognize it, journal about it, pray, accept what you cannot control.

Therapy, and medication in difficult to treat with self-care because of significant trauma.

This afternoon, I bought apple juice boxes, a book about travel and a flamingo towel for a toddler.

Checked my phone to see notifications on FB and saw “Pray for Texas”, looked further to read the news, the horror, the inconsolable tragic event.

And began to feel sick. Began to think of the innocence of children, the way our world is and has completely set its intention on stealing it.

I can’t adequately add to this conversation. I really can’t.

These are times that words like peace in times of trouble, hope enduring or all things being made new and made sense of by God

Just don’t seem sufficient.

Seem more “who am I to say these things?”

After all, I had a three year old wrap her arms around my neck today and say “It’s a secret, I love you. I love to the moon.” and then say it again, and again.

I felt God near. I felt it was His idea, maybe she saw her grandma feeling slightly broken and held me close.

“I love you.”, not a reply, totally unsolicited.

No words for the Texas tragedy.

I love the Psalms and I treasure the words in red, but just one thought remains.

Pray.

“pray without ceasing,”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Pray. It’s “all you can do” and it is everything you can do.

Pray.

We Don’t Know

Angels, Art, Children, curiousity, daughters, family, grace, grandchildren, heaven, memoir, Prayer, Stillness, wisdom, wonder

“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

People watching must be a generational thing. Gift or curse?

It can go either way.

My granddaughter loves to sit on the front steps, at the foot of the walking trail, on every bench on the sidewalk of every busy street or tiny town square.

She’s watching.

Cars, people, birds, puppies or any thing that captures her curious attention.

My grandmother was the same.

Plus, she’d strike up a conversation with any stranger she’d catch in a pause. They’d be trapped into listening. She might talk about us, or she might talk about her two daughters or she might just go on and on about embroidery or fabric or her support pantyhose the doctor prescribed.

Yesterday, I complained to others and myself about a woman who invited herself to my lunch table. She reeled me in talking about painting. My voice joined in. We compared our stories about creativity.

But, then she kept on.

And on and my information overload anxiety coupled with my not so sweet fatigue of “too much peopling” likely began to show on my face.

Soon, their lunch was done and her husband introduced himself to a lone diner, an older gentleman in plaid shirt and old black glasses, shoes worn down from shuffling.

I noticed.

He was thrilled when the woman began talking. There was no disdain over too much peopling as they lingered at the bar.

Later, my daughter and I shared similar but separate stories. Two women in two different grocery stores we concluded were wealthy because of their attire and because of the cash in hand. But, both wore signs of something wrong in their expression, something that said wealth or whatever couldn’t fix it.

I wondered.

I remembered the lunch counter talker, the way she’d comforted her husband as she shared just enough information for me to know that he’s a cancer patient. I remembered her caress of his bandaged and blood dried arm. I thought of her whispering something as she looked closely at the bend near his elbow.

The grocery store women, the waitress with the earrings in her cheeks for dimples, the woman who talked too much in the restaurant.

All made in the image of God.

Sheep like me in need of the shepherd.

In need of someone to talk to ‘cause we’re lonely, in need of grace as provision when what we own isn’t enough, in need of acceptance when we long to be accepted.

Myself, in need of a sweet repentance when my conclusions about others are tainted by anything other than love.

A love that loves to notice, invites conversation and a love that is patient and tolerant, curious authentically even

When “peopling” feels too much.

Lord, help my noticing of others always have the aroma of love.

And help me continue this “generational love of peopling ” that my Grandma started.

We miss you down here, Doris Evelyn Peacock.

Such a Love, Pristine

Abuse Survivor, Angels, Art, birds, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, happy, memoir, painting, patience, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, surrender, Trust, Vulnerability, walking, wonder, writing

I found two feathers walking yesterday and then a third. The first pair were mostly grey and I held tightly to them as I walked. No pockets in my clothes, I held on, clutching them gently. I rounded the corner to the steep hill and decided to drop them, said a prayer of 3 words, “art and writing” and walked on.

Walking on as I decided against more hills, I let my feet take me towards home. I glanced down in the grassy border and spotted the third feather, a white one. Pristine and soft as velvet, I gathered it up. It was pure and undamaged in a way I’d never seen. I walked on home with great wonder over the assurance that my 3 word prayer had been heard.

I added the feather to my collection, cherishing the words of victory and the promises of Jesus.

Shortly after, a friend I hadn’t spoken to in many months called to say she had an opportunity for me to speak to a group of women in October. “Would I pray about it?” she asked. Two thoughts linger, there’s that open door and I am willing, not sure fully able, but willing. A third, October gives me even more time for courage, grace and healing, God’s wise provision.

“All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What we see as too damaged or defeated in our hopes to keep moving forward, God sees as victory for us, a peaceful one.

I pray you keep pursuing this peace or that you seek it if you never have. I pray for you my prayer for me.

Lord, help me keep walking towards you, towards peace. Help me to remember I am yours.

Radiance

Angels, birds, courage, curiousity, grace, hope, Peace, Stillness, Vulnerability, wonder
The Cardinal Tree

On the curve before the yellow house adjacent to the bare tree peach orchard is a place of radiance.

Afternoons and occasional mornings, the cardinals flutter in front of me.

Several, seven or so.

A flash of happy crimson.

I love to think they know it’s me, that it’s not just their scheduled gathering that I pass by happenstance.

I love to believe, a group of red birds may be just for me,

Intentionally.

As if they know, Lisa will be passing by, she may have the baby.

She may be alone. She may be tired.

Perhaps, she’s hopeful.

A college of cardinals, waiting just for me.

Speaking bird language.

Here she comes! Let’s fly upward, let’s make a happy scene!

Let’s show her we see her.

Let’s encourage her to carry on.

“Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Light and Life, These Days

Angels, birds, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grace, grandchildren, memoir, Peace, Prayer, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

I wonder if I’m more observant of the light because of darkness so early or if it’s a needy seeking of quietness with myself leading to peace with God.

I found a feather next to the pretty bottle we store our found feathers, my granddaughter’s sweet solution I adore.

Left for Finding
Light of the World
Known

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
‭‭John‬ ‭1:4-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

And God said, “Let there be light.” and there was light. Genesis 1:3 ESV

Thinking of light and darkness like knowledge vs. mystery or questions vs. answers, certainty vs. doubt, I found John 1 and had a quiet little cry.

We don’t know it all, but we do know light, love and hope.

Light is trust.

“We are conformed to Him in proportion as our lives grow in quietness, His peace spreading within our souls.” T.T. Carter, Joy & Strength devotional

In quiet confidence is your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)