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.
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.
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.”
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
The morning is grey with a veil of warmth shielding the pines across the way.
My grey cat is missing, meanwhile a pretty black one with a flash of white on its chest is slowly deciding I’m friendly.
But, I’m hoping for mine, the kitten I named “Georgia”.
I am waiting for the amaryllis forgotten and found to be vibrant again.
I’m waiting with sweetly surprised expectation, the Christmas of 2020 bulb potted and forgotten is now fat with rebirth.
Pray, trust, wait.
Despite the warning of afternoon tumultuous thunder, the choir of birds are singing a sort of suggestion just for now,
Lisa, this is heavenly.
So, I listen.
I’ll return to my place of painting and wait for my visitor, a mourning dove who danced for me yesterday.
Softly, it stayed longer than I’d have expected.
Strong in its message to me, a message of peace is what I took it to be because of its color, a blue grey white blend, acrylic mixture for the sky I may paint.
Hoping my landscape says “peace”.
Because of its visit, the surprise of its lingering
Then the cardinal, brick-colored breast, careening alongside longer than usual and I noticed God,
“Mama.” I thought and “it is well”.
Keep trusting. Keep waiting.
The Book of Luke, Chapter 13 suggests the same.
A parable about a fig tree about to be uprooted, tossed away because of its fruitless condition and then the one about the mustard seed. Luke shared the story Jesus used to help us understand that growth that starts small can become immeasurably large by trust and faith.
Persistence, a peaceful persistence.
Two trees, a barren fig tree and one that grew so beautifully that birds built nests and started families there.
“He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18-19 ESV
The kingdom of God is here. It is us, all of us seeds of its faithful and kind growth.
A woman bent over for eighteen years because of “disability of spirit”, Luke shared her encounter with Jesus in the middle of the two parables.
I love the placement, it makes faith even more a promised instrument for change.
Jesus, the bringer of change broke the rules and healed this woman on the Sabbath.
“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” Luke 13:12 ESV
I’m fascinated by this healing.
Eighteen years of her life, this broken spirited woman walked bent by her load, face to the ground.
She was healed immediately and glorified God, according to scripture.
I wonder how.
Was she a seamstress?
Maybe a writer, maybe a helper of others, maybe she was simply a teller of her story.
I’d love to know if she worked with her hands, strangely, I believe so.
I guess because of the resonance for me of her healing.
She’s relatable. I want to believe she’s like me and I, like her.
Yesterday, I edited a painting I felt was contrived. Calm came as I changed what was finished, but after all, not.
“Spring” became “Birdsong”.
Like a seed of faith, a barren tree, a discarded and forgotten amaryllis bulb, and a woman disabled by a spirit that told her she was unable for eighteen years
We can grow, there’s planting, reviving, unearthing and thriving in every single soul.
Pray, trust, wait.
Participate in God’s healing.
“As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.” Luke 13:17 ESV
“And Job died, an old man, and full of days.” Job 42:17 ESV
The dark age spot on my right cheek has garnered by granddaughter’s attention. She’s announced to her mama that I need to see her doctor.
She’s reached the age of noticing, good things, flaws and unspoken thoughts too.
Last week, I saw a little boy I first met in 2019. He remembered me. He announced to his mama, big sister and me, “She looks older!”
We laughed at his precocious behavior and I came back with “Well, I’ve been through some stuff…you know…Covid!”
Then we all just nodded towards one another and got back to the reason I was there, a family adopting this sweet and observant sibling.
A trip through my phone’s photos confirmed my aging. But, also how the world gone awry because of pandemic changed other things too.
Look back, see if your face and others’ seemed to see things differently back then.
2017, 2018 and ‘19 early.
Less vacant expressions as now, less steely clinched jaws in posing, less uncertainty in linking arms in photos and less open and freely given embraces.
More hesitance, more lost eyes seeking something, what…
Less of need to tout your faith that was bigger than fear. More sure of sure footing and solid faith.
So much more sure, it was less necessary to announce it. I suppose I should say what’s clear, these words are realizations of myself.
Someone will know maybe upon reading this. Was Job sitting in a pile of sorrowful ash-covered questions the entire book of the Bible marked by his name?
Job, a man who honored God was the chosen soldier of faith to see if he’d surrender the battle or hold on unwaveringly to his relationship with Holy God and faith.
Stricken by the trial and test, his life gone awry.
His wife told him give up and die; his friends hung with him for a bit until saying clearly it’s you that’s wrong.
“And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.” Job 2:13 ESV
I wonder if he just kept sitting, unable to stand when his friends became devoid of empathy, questioned his plight.
“But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed. Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?” Job 4:5-6 ESV
Monday was a dark blue day, I named it. By evening the blue lifted.
Tuesday, before breakfast, we baked a promised cherry pie and then “skipped to my Lou my darlin’” together.
Something’s happening, last month it was chocolate meringue. Little things, joyously small, sweeter than the cliche’, I’m doing them, I’ve decided.
Baby steps towards allowing joy, being less afraid something or some world event will snatch it away.
My wondering over the trials of Job came as we set out barefooted. The ground was cool and my granddaughter ran way ahead, stopping here and there to gather sticks.
I’m a lover of his story, longing to understand more is the pull of me towards my Bible. I’ll not find details of when he found the strength to stand up, but I can still wonder and I can allow his struggle and recovery to help me recover.
How long was his lamenting conversation with God and was his rising again gradual or all of a sudden…were his feet weak and prone to wobbling or was his recovery smooth and sudden?
I told my cousin yesterday, I feel like we’re all in recovery and we’re apt to slip ups, prone to dismay. We need to say so, if just to ourselves and wait, watch and know the fog will lift, we will see clearly how to walk again.
I’m growing, but not fully grown. I’m walking with strong stride and steady steps, but still not able to walk on my own.
We wound our soft sticks together into an oval, twisted the knotty vines and tangled branches. I carried hers and she, mine.
Laid them on the counter among the flattened wildflowers from our pockets and we drank lemonade on the porch steps together.
Singing a silly sweet song and talking to the crows
This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through and you belong among the wildflowers, Lou, Lou skip to my Lou
became our Tuesday song.
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 ESV
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.
“And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.” Romans 5:4-5 NLT
As quickly as possible, she glided just in front of me, eye level. The robin with the determined forward facing beak and the copper like an old country barn belly intersected my path.
Last night I dreamt of white camellias mixed in with the crimson ones, a dream that followed a nightmare so vivid I sat straight up and startled my husband. He called me from work, confused over the brazenness of a bad dream occurring after I’d had such a love-filled day. He was worried.
Told him I was better. Thoughts we hide away like to come to the surface, I suppose. They refuse to go unattended. They become weapons in the hand of our enemy until we bravely surrender them to God in a lamenting letter or prayer.
So, I journal. I sit. I give God time to come and comfort.
Simplicity is calling. I heard the birds waking up early outside my cold quiet home and I let my pen rest, closed my journal.
Could this be prayer?
Prayer mostly listening, uncomplicated by words or prescriptive wisdom?
I listened as the birds continued singing.
We looked for ponds yesterday and found them on the narrow country roads.
The sky was as blue as a diamond found next to the ocean.
The ponds as flat as stepping stones, little rippling at all.
“Here’s another one!” I announced to my granddaughter and she gazed so sweetly satisfied in our togetherness in noticing the water.
Yesterday, the robin met me and I kept driving to see my daughter and hers, felt the determination of a bird assuring me, better is coming.
Soon, it will be Spring. I saw other birds on Saturday, but it’s the robin I’ll remember.
The robin saying, “Set your intention. Your story is not yet finished.”
Your teachers are everywhere, saying this is the way, keep walking in it. (Isaiah 30:18)
Life is a beautiful, simple adventure.
Plump robins, blue skies scattered with white puffs, happy green fields anticipating Spring and flat fishing ponds hoping to be spotted, evidence of good, evidence of God’s intentional nature.
And interspersed in the noticing, friends I feared I’d forgotten too long remembered me, separately in the same day and I was a tiny bit amazed.
God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice.
Yesterday morning, I journaled a tender question. I asked God if my friends I call my “colors” are disappointed in me.
Time so quickly passing and I’d lost touch, gotten complacent with our stories and wondered if it matters.
One by one, I heard from four friends yesterday. Two of them, it had been over a year or more. I share such a tender question here so that you’ll see, along with me.
Once I was a member, although not fully eligible to join, of a community of people who gathered over grief.
I was the leader, though never feeling equipped. Often, I thought to advise or redirect which led to empty gazed expressions from those mourning a loss due to suicide.
It was simply better that I just sit with them, that I listen.
Often listening lasted too long for me.
Moments between a gut-wrenching story and the responses of others stretched out long around the conference table.
Still, sitting still together in silence was best.
On Tuesday, my granddaughter who’s two and a half going on twenty asked to get closer, get closer to the little birds.
I saw one bird on a thin branch. She spotted its companion nearby. We walked carefully, me instructing her, “Step up high, high knees, watch your feet, be careful!”
We walked over limbs, pine tree remnants and broken up soil in the place where the land is being cleared for changes, her future and her family’s.
I thought of, am thinking of David, of the psalms. One in particular I cling to and others so honest we’re reluctant to say we can relate.
“I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.” Psalm 102:7 ESV
We found our footing atop a little high place she called the mountains and we saw the sparrows before they flitted away.
In the margin of my Bible there’s a sketch here, a rooftop with a solitary bird brings me comfort, tells me others understand.
I have a very old Bible, an estate sale find. Once I thought to find the owner’s family, now I have decided it’s mine.
In this old Oxford Bible, a leather woven cover soft over the thin yellow pages, I find papers, a teacher’s identification card, and a lesson plan marked “January”, a typewritten script for 5th grade students on the color wheel.
The owner of the Bible I found was an art teacher.
Underlined in faded red, she must’ve wanted to express the importance of colors developing, merging, being strengthened when placed alongside or blended together.
I found it fitting to tuck the funeral pamphlet of my mama’s service here.
Here in January.
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.” Psalm 138:7 KJV
Today, I journaled prompted by more ancient words, the quote in my “Joy and Strength” devotional.
Let them be strangers, your dark thoughts. Believe them not. Receive them not. Know them not. Own them not. (Joy and Strength, Isaac Pennington)
“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT
Continue and believe. Share your sorrows. Listen and agree.