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Daily Conqueror Moments

Daily encouragement and inspiration for the warrior in all of us. You can be a winner, a victor, and a CONQUEROR every day of your life. Lisa's posts will help lead the way on this cadence we call life.

Run on, Runner

Lisa Williams

Remember challenging your buddies to a race when you were a kid?

It was usually spontaneous like, “Hey, I’ll race ya to the corner and back!” There was probably a self-appointed race announcer, aka the “On your mark(s), get set, go!” guy. When he called “Go!” you were off like a rocket because you wanted those bragging rights that were sure to follow the winner. Those rights lasted (at least) for the rest of the day.
If you’ve ever run in a race you know it takes a lot of work to prep for it. You’ll hurt yourself if you don’t.
Discipline, effort, and perseverance propel the runner forward. On the days he doesn’t want to run, he laces up those shoes and does it anyway.
Why?
For the win.
I’m sure some of you know the exhilaration of placing in the higher ranks of a race. All of the weeks, months, and sometimes years of consistent personal training make winning all the sweeter.
If you won without it, would it feel like victory for you? Doubtful. Winning a marathon without any work involved would create the feeling that we cheated. That’s no triumph at all.

Friend, the race of life is no different. You can cheat your way to the end if you choose, but regret is a thief that will rob you of your joy in such a case. It’s simply not worth it.


Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
— Hebrews 12:1, The Holy Bible

Endurance can be a tricky thing to master. We often think of it as “go-go-go” but that’s only part of what it means. Another requirement of endurance is rest. Quiet rest and sleep aid in recovering muscle strength, mental clarity, and energy.
Sometimes life throws potholes into our race. We can all get tripped up from time to time but think of how life would be if nobody ever got up from that place in which they’ve fallen.
If you happen to fall, it doesn’t have to be this dramatic big deal. Just get up. If you need help to get up, there’s no shame in that. Ask for it, accept it, and apply it to your next steps.
Maybe life has handed you a mountain to climb. If that’s your story today, don’t despair.
Runner, there’s someone who is bigger than any mountain, and He is a master at moving them. If He doesn’t move it, He’ll walk with you over, around, or straight through it.
Remember, you don’t run alone. There is a Friend who’ll walk with you daily if you’ll let Him. He’ll never force you to, but He longs to show you His compassion and give you His help daily. Which one of us couldn’t benefit from that?

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.
Friends don’t get me wrong. By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward— to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
— Philippians 3:13-14 The Message Bible

One kind of race that you’ll never witness is one in which the participants run backwards. Nope. It just doesn’t happen because 1) Multiple injuries would occur and 2) The human body simply wasn’t created to run backwards. Oh, it’s possible but not without dire consequences.
Friend, this ought to tell you something. You weren’t made to go backwards in this life. You can’t physically visit yesterday, but you can let your mind and emotions dwell there if you’re so inclined. Any time I’ve ever done that it hasn’t served me well. I’ve found it’s best to walk forward with the lessons learned from both victory and defeat. Otherwise, I can get stuck, resulting in my own stagnation. I think that many of us if not all of us, are like that.

Imagine a racetrack in an Olympic sized stadium. Now imagine you’re a contestant on that very track today. Glance over to the sidelines. Who’s there, cheering you on?
Brave soul, even if there’s nobody in those stands for you Jesus, the Son of God is. He is for you, not against you. He looks at you with pride, smiling at His child. He’s saying, “You can do this!”
You take your mark and behold! You look to your right and and He is there, next to you! He is going to run each and every step alongside you! If you trip, He’ll patiently wait for you to find your stride again. If you fall, He’ll offer His hand to help you up, without criticism or looks of disappointment. When you feel the fatigue settling into your bones and you can’t take another step forward, He will not drag you to the finish line.
He will carry you.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
— Isaiah 46:4

Run on, runner. Leave the past behind. He is with you.

xoxo
Lisa

So this is sixty...

Lisa Williams

Maybe you know this part of my story, maybe not.

Fourteen years ago after many years of seeking answers, I was diagnosed with Stage III Lyme Disease. By the time a correct diagnosis came, it had crossed into my brain. It was in my heart, spinal fluid, and everywhere else within my body. 
It was E V E R Y W H E R E. It was even in my bones. 
It was killing me. 
Several Lyme specialists have told me that when Lyme has advanced that far, it's rare that the patient lives through the next five years. Treatment is grueling and oftentimes causes the death of the patient.
My whole world and that of my husband changed drastically. 
At the time of the diagnosis, both my sons, my only living children, were fighting on the front lines of war. I said to myself, "My boys are fighting in that war over there. I'm going to fight just as hard as I can imagine they are. They are not coming home to no mother!" 
So, they fought, unaware that I was, too. 
By the grace of God and the prayers, love, and support of my husband, family, and friends they made it home alive and I am ALIVE, too! 
Great googly-moogly I'm alive to see 60! 
Today, please let me say this to my family and friends: If not for all of your prayers, support, and love I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be here. I love you more than I have words to say it with. 
Lyme Disease is a treacherous enemy. It's relentless. The bacteria that makes up Lyme is smart, multiplies itself, and is formidable and stealthy. Not only have I had a "brush" with death, I've stared it down while saying: "I will LIVE and NOT DIE and declare the goodness of the Lord!" 
So today, with tears welling up in these eyes I'll shout it from the rooftops: LOVE saved me when I was almost dead! 
My God has been so kind, shown such love...I don't have words in any language to thank Him enough. I love Him. I owe Him everything.

So this is sixty. I like it! I think I'll shoot for 70 now. 

xoxo
Lisa 

The Light is Better in Here

Lisa Williams

I remember how I adored watching my mama when she’d say “I’m fixin’ to put on my face.”

Her ancestors hailed from France and settled in Arkansas. When she moved to California with my father in the mid 50’s, she decided it was more refined to lose her southern drawl. Nonetheless, nuances of the South stayed with her.
Her cooking was just one example. She was a culinary genius if I ever saw one. Fried green tomatoes and Okra, smothered chicken, biscuits and gravy, and pie. Oh, the pie!
Like any competent southern woman, she was just as adept at applying makeup and styling her “do.” Whenever I heard her clamoring in the bathroom with her jars, bottles, and tubes of glamour— I’d scurry to the dining room table where she would set up shop.
She owned this thick 12”x12” mirror. The corner had cracked off but no seven years of bad luck for this one. She didn’t give it no never mind. She’d simply finagle it into a Tepco china water pitcher by wrapping a towel around the bottom of it and viola! It, too was magically changed into a makeup mirror to be envied.
“The light is better in here,” she explained, and with a vinyl Tammy Wynette album serenading us, she’d begin.
I found her morning routine to be more entertaining than cartoons and Froot Loops. To see this southern firecracker razzle-dazzle her countenance from her self-described “plain” state to utterly stunning was nothing short of breathtaking. Truth be told, she was anything but plain but her transformation never failed to astonish me.  

Oh, inventors of makeup, we laud thee.  
Women everywhere owe a debt to the likes of ancient Egyptians, Max Factor, and Maybelline for the unequivocal impressiveness contained within the world of cosmetics. Pale skin can be altered into tanned, blonde eyelashes are revamped into black, liquid eyeliner has bequeathed us cat eyes, and entire faces are brightened up with lipstick available in a plethora of colors. It’s simply magnificent!

I’m not quite sure who or what has convinced most women that they aren’t as lovely without it, perhaps the cosmetics industry themselves. This I know for sure; my mother was equally as stellar without a stitch of it donning her French face.

On my 9th birthday she gave me some light pink lip-gloss in a little pot and I was in maquillage heaven. I proudly slathered it on like grease on ball bearings. Lord knows if I had fallen down while wearing it, I might’ve slid face first into the next county.
I was hooked and still am.
To my chagrin, I make this true confession: There might be a small chance that I’m a makeup hoarder.
Okay, maybe I am.
Probably.
Kind of.
Okay, I am.
Makeup hoarder extraordinaire, right here folks.
Like so many other women, I don’t feel as pretty without it.
Today, I’m breaking free from that nonsensical thought process. I’ve been using makeup for 47 full years now and it’s time I let myself believe that the natural way God made me is enough.
My face is pretty enough because God doesn’t make mistakes.
This nose doesn’t require contouring. My cheek bones are good without highlighter. So my bottom lip dips down a little crooked when I smile big; big deal. Without mascara my blonde lashes can hardly be seen. The Irish in me from my dad’s side of the family means I have freckles and pink undertones galore. There may or may not be some gray hairs which serve as the reason why Lady Clairol and I get along so well, too.
Now, Lord knows if I have my druthers I’ll always be-a-wearin’ me some-a-that-thar Sephora. But, I don’t have to just to feel pretty as a peach. Not anymore.

See, God thought it through when he made us. He didn’t just haphazardly slap something together like some cheap apartment building whose contractor cut corners.
You, my friend, are respectfully and wonderfully made.
Besides that, you and I have earned every single line on our faces. I have scars on mine from a car accident. They look like thin creases. Those lines serve as a reminder of the years I’ve lived, and what I’ve lived through. Like you, I’ve laughed and cried so I love those lines for reminding me of the happiness and sorrows I’ve known. They’re all a part of this crazy beautiful life!

Women of the world, can you hear me on this?
If your skin is black, brown, yellow, red, white, or a variation of these. If your hair is straight, curly, short, long, kinky, frizzy, or you’re bald headed. If you’re short or tall, plump or thin: Hear me! You are beautiful, Sister! Please stop letting the world tell you anything less.
Even models who get paid millions of dollars to grace the glossy covers of fashion magazines have insecurities. Why? For no reason or a million reasons, all inconsequential to true beauty.
Looks will fade, even with plastic surgery. None of us will stay young forever.
We don’t need more Photoshop; we need more women to lovingly embrace their own selves. We need more acceptance, friendship, love, and authenticity. Let’s stop comparing ourselves to anyone else and simply be good to each other.
How about this: Be good to you!

Today, the day before I turn 60, I’m bare-faced and my hair in pulled up into a ponytail. I’m wearing the same favorite worn-out tee that I wore yesterday. And, I’m happy because after all these decades I’ve finally learned a secret that has changed me from the inside out.

Here it is:
There is no greater joy than being unapologetically yourself, (flaws and all) and finding out God and your tribe love you completely, unconditionally, and fervently.
 

Come to the place where you accept yourself fully. The light is better in here, Friend. So, go ahead. You can bare your face and your soul because you are flat loved.
Remember that, okay?

xoxo

Sixty-isms

Lisa Williams

On Sunday, I’ll be turning sixty and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it.

Regardless of how I feel, sixty is coming for me. Thankfully, I’m still on this side of the grass and I’ll be celebrating my birthday with as much vim and vigor as a ten-year-old. Well, at least in my aged mind I will be.

I’m alive! WOW!

I still remember…
”Lisa, we have an entire arsenal of antibiotics with which to treat Lyme Disease. But, you have to understand. This is not going to be a cake-walk by any means. You’ve had this infection within your body for years and years. It’s highly advanced. It’s late stage, Lisa. It’s even in your spinal fluid and has crossed over into your brain. This is going to be a fight like you’ve never seen before.
You’re going to wish for death, it’s going to be that hard.
You will want to give up. Don’t. Our Stage III patients who give up usually die. There is no Stage IV.
It’s difficult to survive much longer than five years when Lyme has advanced this far, but we’re going to do our best to save your life,” said the prominent Lyme Disease specialist in 2005.
He and his team of doctors did save my life and I am beyond grateful. I wish there were a better, stronger word for grateful that I could use because the depth I feel is overwhelming- in a good way.

I have wished for death. I’m sorry, but I have wished that my God would simply let me die. Treatment for Lyme Disease is that excruciating. Whenever the Lyme Spirochete is killed, it emits endotoxins and neurotoxins which are virulent to the body. This causes an inflammatory reaction called a Herxheimer response within the body, that is off the charts. The pain is impossible to adequately describe.
Let me put it this way, I’d rather give birth all natural any day of the week, than to experience the Herxheimer response which accompanies Lyme Disease treatment.

In light of having had to fight daily for the past 14 years, simply to stay alive; turning 60 is no small event for me. I feel like there should be some sort of parade, complete with fireworks at the end. Especially for my husband, family, and friends who have stood in the trenches of this war with me since day one.

With sixty comes memories of the things I’ve learned throughout my lifetime, so I’ve decided to share 60 of those things with my readers today.

1) Being the baby of the family never ends and if you’re lucky enough to have big sisters they will always be over protective. Always. There is no getting around it.

2) Sharing everything makes you happier. Except for lipstick and mascara because that’s just gross.

3) Liver and onions will never be good, no matter how it’s cooked. Just accept it.

4) You were not fat in high school.

5) You are not what you weigh, what you do, how you look, what you own, how much money you have, or what broken people say you are.

6) Flippant apologies are cheap and meaningless. The best apology is changed behavior. Accept no less of yourself or others.

7) Not everyone will love you. There will be haters for any or no reason at all. Let them hate and don’t give voice to it. Celebrate loudly your tribe who loves you.

8) Music can heal you. Really.

9) Hugs lower your blood pressure and ease physical pain.

10) Cuddling with a puppy will fix a bad day.

11) Even if there is no proof of God to you, look again. Always look again.

12) You were not an afterthought to God, so don’t let anyone treat you as such.

13) Never ask your husband if those jeans make your butt look big. When you do, you put him in a very precarious scenario and it’s highly unfair.

14) When you truly mean it, you can never overuse the words “I love you.”

15) Always let your conduct match your confession.

16) Bitterness makes you ugly on the outside, too.

17) Happy girls are the prettiest girls. Find your happy.

18) Hurting people hurt people. Be kind, always.

19) Learning gun safety and how to protect yourself is a smart move.

20) Never hate. Nip that thing in the bud the instant you feel it.

21) Forgiveness is for your freedom.

22) Forgiving someone is not the same as condoning their actions and doesn’t necessarily mean they should have a place in your life.

23) Warm cookies and cold milk can save the day.

24) God loves it when you talk with him and is willing to listen to every single word you have to say.

25) When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself this question, “How can I make this world a better place today?” Then when you think of it, go out and do it.

26) Call your parents. You will miss them when they’re gone.

27) Never trust anyone who doesn’t like animals.

28) Never trust anyone who is rude to the restaurant server.

29) Family is everything.

30) Being childlike is good.

31) Being childish is not cute.

32) Never look down on anyone. Only God sits that high.

33) Associate with people who are highly different than you.

34) Old people are a treasure. Old people in a rocking chair are a history lesson.

35) Pass down recipes. Never let them die with you.

36) Be generous with your time.

37) If you see something endearing in someone, say so.

38) Telling the truth doesn’t have to be brutal.

39) Conversations are better than television.

40) Put your blasted cell phone down when you’re with other people!

41) If you’re a woman, never leave the house without lipstick.

42) Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Love does.

43) Laughter should not be an option.

44) Real men do cry.

45) Stargazing will answer a million questions, and give you millions more to ponder.

46) Nobody ever became poor from being generous.

47) Dancing in the kitchen is good therapy.

48) Horses are better at listening that psychologists.

49) If you aren’t making plans to change a thing, then don’t whine about it.

50) Grandchildren are God’s way of making aging up to you.

51) Be grateful.

52) Stay in touch with old friends and be welcoming to new ones.

53) Trust your gut instincts. They’re usually spot on.

54) If you’re afraid do it anyway. Except holding a gigantic tarantula. You get a pass on that one.

55) “Likes” on social media don’t equal love.

56) Go where the love is.

57) Stay close to people who feel like sunlight.

58) Set healthy boundaries for yourself and remember the only people who will be angry for it are the ones who don’t respect you anyway, so it’s a win for you.

59) You are only as pretty or handsome as the degree to which you love others.

60) Every day is worthy of a celebration!

I hope my Sixty-isms have blessed your day. Enjoy this life, y’all and make it a good one. As you’re growing older don’t forget to remember that you are very, very loved.

xoxo

Me+5+years+old.jpg

On the Lookout

Lisa Williams

After forty years of searching, my husband’s biological sister found him.

Try to imagine this.
Let this sink in. Allow yourself to decipher the level of commitment and pure, selfless love here.

You’re just a little kid, but you can’t forget the last time you saw your baby brother.
He was three. You were five. You don’t completely understand why he’s going to live with another family. How could you? You’re a child. You can’t possibly know the ramifications of this moment. Yet, with the resiliency of a soldier, you make a decision:
You simply will not forget. As if it were up to you, anyway. You’re going to be on the lookout for him everywhere you go.
When you’re old enough you begin to look for clues of his whereabouts. You know his first and last name. You even know who his adoptive mother is. You go so far as to visit her workplace and speak with her, to no avail.
What you don’t know is that his middle name was changed, or where he lives. In any case your search is underway. Over the years before internet, you write countless letters to every single man in the state with the same name. You ask most anyone who will, to aid you in your search.
However, your efforts are thwarted for decades. He moves away, and is now completely out of your reach.

You cry. You scream out to God in Heaven. You want answers but none will come. You experience sleepless nights and the burden becomes so heavy you wonder how much longer you can carry it.

Until one sweet day, forty years after the very first whispered prayer to find him, you do.
You can hardly believe it! You must act quickly. You have this one chance, just a single hour or two in which to make the connection.
It’s made.
You Facetime one another.
He welcomes you in as his own sister. You both cry tears of relief and joy. The burden, the weight of the world, is finally lifted.
His vague memories tip toe back in. It’s a sweet dream, remembered from long ago.
You look alike. You talk alike. You are alike! You can’t help but feel as though you’ve known each other forever because you have the same blood running through your veins, and the same endearment beating in your hearts.

It’s nothing short of a miracle. It’s a story of pure, sibling love.

Maybe you know this love in the company of friends who’ve become your tribe. You know the loyalty I speak of. There are those who would take a bullet for you without flinching and you’d do the same for them. My husband was raised in a family with unconditional love, protection, and dedication. He grew up with such gratitude in his heart that it permeates everything he does. He loves his family, and the new family who have come into his world.

And yet, this kind of love is not worthy to be compared to the love with which God seeks after you.

When you’re away from God, He is not the One who has moved. He’s always been there, watching, waiting, and knowing exactly where you are.

We read in the book of Luke, chapter 15:

“Then Jesus told them this parable:
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully carries it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep!”
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

The day in which my husband and his sister were reunited, both of their social media pages blew UP! We all told everybody! Why? Because news this good is impossible not to share with the whole wide world!

Friend, that’s how God feels about you. If you’re away from Him, I promise you this:
He will NOT cease looking for you until He can bring you home to His faithful, loving arms. You are His child, His family member. His love for you is everlasting. There’s nothing you can do to make Him love you less or more. He is love, He thought it up, and He wants to lavish it upon you.
This parable displays a beautiful meaning of God seeking out the lost sinner and rejoicing when they are found. We serve a Good Shepherd whose heart is for us to be found, rescued, and renewed.

He’s waiting, patiently for you to open the door. He’s knocking, He’s on the lookout, and He’ll keep seeking you. He’ll do whatever it takes to find you.

You are so very, very wanted, accepted, and loved.

Worth Fighting For

Lisa Williams

When I was eight years old, a classmate made herself my enemy…

The truth is, at eight years old, I couldn’t truly conceive of what a real enemy was. I just knew that June had somehow manipulated every girl in my class to meet together one Monday morning at recess. Her goal was to cause drama and trauma while drawing attention to herself. Even at her young age, she was good at it.

“Let’s hate Lisa,” I overheard her demand as I approached the group. Every single one of them conceded, led like lambs to the slaughter, because soon, the same thing would happen to each of them.
Except for Wanda and Wendy- twin sisters who had guts and gumption. Nobody was going to tell these two who they would and would not be friends with. They proceeded to put their arms around my trembling form and escorted me away from the robotic crowd. We played tether-ball and laughed for the rest of the hour.

Little did the girls know, I cried the entire walk home that afternoon, and every day after school for weeks. I developed stomach aches and couldn’t sleep. Like every other eight-year-old, I just wanted to be liked and accepted.
June wasn’t having any of that. Her mechanical heart owned a method of operation which was always the same: Coerce weak-minded people to hate other people, then dictate to them when they were allowed to cease the hatred. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, Jaws…er…I mean June would strike again with her hater tactics. Sounds like some adults I know. So sad to think this happens among children, too.
The rejection became more than I could bear and I soon feared going to school.
Then one day out of the clear blue, June invited me to her birthday party. My mother instructed me to accept although I couldn’t for the life of understand her reasoning.
Until the day of the party when I saw her from outside through a large window. She was in June’s house, speaking rather fervently to her mother. I stood there amazed as my mother spoke unabashedly. Unafraid.
In that moment, everything about my mother spoke to me of bravery. If she had considered the fact that June’s mother might’ve been a bully, too, she sure didn’t care. There she was, sticking up for me like a mama lion.
I saw June’s mother lower her head and shake it back and forth. Then, she called June and I in from outside. Right then and there, she reprimanded June for her cruel behavior and demanded, in no uncertain terms, that she apologize and do her best to change.
June did change, but so did I, and I learned so much from my mother that day.
I learned that some things are worth fighting for. June’s friendship wasn’t. Wanda’s and Wendy’s was. According to my mother, my friendship was a treasure that the girls in my class didn’t recognize or deserve and I shouldn’t give it away so freely to those kinds of people ever again. And, I didn’t.

Toxic people prey on others like vipers. They’ll do most anything, cross any boundary lines, in an attempt to dominate and control you. They don’t care about you or your needs. They disregard your feelings as easily as gum on the bottom of their shoe. They focus on themselves and are often so incredibly self centered that they are unaware of how selfish they really are. They seem to see other people as puppets or tools, rather than as living, breathing, feeling beings.

It seems like toxic people zoom in on those with low self-esteem. When you can’t show love to your own self, it’s hard to stand up for your own best interests. You may often second-guess whether you should walk away from toxic relationships. You might doubt your gut instincts and ask yourself if maybe your perception is askew or maybe you did something to deserve to be treated with such disdain and disrespect.
When the person you’re dealing with is a hater, be assured that the issue is within them, and is not the result of anything you did or didn’t do.
In this life, it seems the haters are everywhere. We hear about them on social media, television, and radio all day, every day. So, I want to issue you this challenge: Don’t give the haters any more attention. It is not deserved whatsoever.

Then, ask yourself this:

What’s worth fighting for? Probably things such as your peace of mind, your family, real love, freedom, friendships, and career.
What’s worth celebrating? Probably those very same things.

So, know your worth and don’t give any more of your energy over to the haters. Set up your boundary lines and don’t compromise them. Don’t give one more piece of your precious heart and soul away to the “Junes” of this world.
We all have them. You can see them coming a mile away. Those people who we want to run away from the instant we see them. Sometimes, the most toxic people of all come disguised as the people we think we love the most.
You are free to dismiss them from your life without fear. Those who refuse to support you, who say your dreams are “too big”, are committed to misunderstanding you, who can never be happy for you, and just flat make you feel badly about yourself and your life in general.

Forgive yourself and forgive them, no matter whose fault it is that your connection must be severed but make no mistake, toxic relationships must be severed completely.
I’m so serious. Run quickly away from the toxic person in your life but if that that person is you, face yourself.
Face and confront the parts of you that are telling you that you just don’t measure up. Deal with every last one of your insecurities, your doubts, and the feeling that you will never be enough. Face those issues head on, one at a time until you have victory over those haggard thought processes. Get help if you must, but don’t allow yourself to remain defeated. You were born for victory and freedom from self-sabotage.
If there is one toxic person you absolutely need to let go of, it is the person you were in your past. Today is a new day, live in the here and now.
Go where the love is. Stay close to the people- (The Wanda’s and Wendy’s of the world) who feel like sunlight, those who are a safe haven. People who love you with open arms and support you unconditionally. That loyal tribe who make you feel like you are perfect just the way you are. Who help you to see your real strength. That you’re brilliant, and sparkling, strong, fierce, and worth fighting for. Those are the ones to allow in.
Delete, block, unfollow, unfriend, and forget anything and anyone that makes you feel anything less than totally loved and accepted.

You deserve someone in your corner, to stand up for you like my mother did for me.
You are worth fighting for.
Remember that.
You are loved.
Remember.

xoxo

Going Steady

Lisa Williams

Yesterday, my husband asked me to “Go steady” with him…

“But, we’re already married,” I laughed.
“But, I’ve never given my class ring to another girl. Or woman. And when I saw it at my mom’s place, I knew there was only one person I’d ever want to go steady with. You.”
“Do you know that no other boy has ever given me his class ring?”
“I did not know that. I figured your folks probably had to take out a second mortgage on the house for crates upon crates of yarn and nail polish.”
“Oh my sisters got the rings, but me, not one. Nope. Never.”
“Well, will you go steady with me Lisa?”
“I’d love to!”

I have to admit I was a little giddy. After all, I had never experienced such a thing. To some extent receiving a class ring was a right of passage.
The ceremony included the careful unfolding of a triple layer of newspaper upon the dining room table, a skein of yarn, and a couple bottles of nail polish in your color choice. If the boyfriend was present, this ritual probably included my father cleaning his guns on the living room floor, for good measure.
Once the appropriate amount of yarn was carefully measured, it was intricately wrapped around the underside of the ring. Then it was slathered with layers upon layers of nail polish to secure the yarn in place.

Oh how I wanted to partake in my own ring wrapping ceremony! And you know, talk with my hands more often so that everyone would notice. However, of the two serious boyfriends I had during my three years of high school, no class rings were bequeathed to me.

Apparently, I would’ve gotten one of them, but big-dumb-dummy-girlfriend-before-me threw it into a field upon breaking up with my beau. WHAT? Didn’t she know the cardinal rule of going steady? You never, ever, under any circumstances destroy the poor boy’s ring! No matter the reason for the break up, it was understood that class rings cost a pretty penny and upon breaking up shall be forthwith returned to it’s rightful owner. Sigh.

After high school graduation, I never gave the absence of a class ring on my finger another thought, until yesterday when after all these years, I finally got mine.

“It’s way too big for you, Darlin’. You can put the yarn and polish on it iffin’ ya wannna,” my southern boyfriend said with a smile.
“No. It’s too pretty. I’ll just wear it on my thumb. In the house, so I don’t lose it.”
“If I had somehow known you back then, would you have said yes when I asked you to go steady with me?”
“My love, as the poet once said, I’d choose you again. Over and over. In a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds. In any version of reality. I’d find you and I’d choose you.”
“Me, too.”

Oh my friend, if you’re one of the millions of people who are unsure about how loved you are, please allow me to dispel any notions you may have of this lie. Because the fact is, you are loved but there are innumerable reasons why it’s sometimes hard to believe it.
But, we must believe it, in the core of who we are. Otherwise, we suffer needlessly.
Broken relationships, inner hurts, lies we believe, and emotional wounds can all contribute to what we believe about ourselves. Even our own bad decisions have an impact on what we believe.

When I wasn’t ever given a class ring, I never considered that it wasn’t my fault. I concluded that I simply wasn’t good enough. I’ve since learned that wasn’t true at all. Boyfriend #1 never got a class ring because his folks couldn’t afford it. Boyfriend #2 lost his class ring because of the reasons mentioned above.

Of this you can be certain; there’s a Love so pure, so steady, and so extravagant that no class ring, no diamond, or diadem is worthy to be compared to it. It’s unchanging and dependable. It took place upon a cross, with a ring of thorns about Jesus’ head.

Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 136:26

Endures forever. That means He’s never going to break up with you. He’s already given you the greatest demonstration of His love that anyone could ever give; His very life.

Accept it. God is crazy in love with you and He’s not about to terminate the relationship. In fact, He protects the relationship, delights in you, and sings you love songs.

The Lord your God is with you. The mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you. He will renew you in His love. He will rejoice over you with songs of joy.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness, and justice, in love and compassion.
Hosea 2:19

Isn’t that amazing news? He is going to go steady with you forever and ever. He is that friend who stays closer than a brother. He can be relied upon in every situation. He’ll never betray you, leave you, dishonor you, or give you a single reason not to trust Him.
He will always cherish you, do right by you, and take good care of you.

Write it on your heart, you are so very, very loved and nothing can separate you from it!

The House Story, A Promise Kept

Lisa Williams

Has anyone ever broken a promise to you? Have you ever broken one?


I can raise my hand on both counts. A broken promise just plain hurts. Depending on the promise made, who made it, and their relation to you, it can be devastating.

Breaking a promise brings such guilt and shame, it can be hard to forgive yourself.

Thankfully there’s Someone who never, ever breaks a single promise and forgives those of us who have.

What I’m about to tell you is a true story. It really happened and is not make-believe. Trust me, you want to know about this.

One day, shortly after my husband and I had moved into our new home in 2005, I picked up my bible when a small piece of paper slipped out and landed on the floor. I bent over to pick it up. Looking at it, I saw a little scribbled drawing of a house on it.

This looks like our house, I thought.

Standing there holding that 3 x 4-inch scrap of paper, I remembered why it was tucked safely within the pages of my bible.

It would be helpful if you would go with me for a few minutes back to the year 1996. It was mid-morning and my little townhouse rental was quiet as the boys were in school. I began talking, out loud to my Savior, the Lord Jesus.

“Good morning, Lord. Thank you for this day, your love, and your mercies that are new every morning. Father, may I tell You something? Kind of a secret desire of my heart? It’s something that has been there for a long time. Lord, you’ve always been so good to me, and you’ve always met every need I’ve ever had, but Lord, there’s one thing that I don’t have that I’ve wanted ever since I was a little girl.
I don’t mean to make demands on you, Father. I’m not “naming and claiming” anything. I know you are God, and I am your child. I know that you are kind so, I figured it wouldn’t hurt a thing to just tell you about this.
Heavenly Papa, I’d really like to have a house of my own.  I’d love it if You would provide one for me. I don’t have the money to buy one for myself, so I’m asking You to provide one for me if it’s in your grace and will. In the precious name above all names, the name of Jesus, Amen.”

Just then, I thought I heard the Lord speak softly to my heart, “I will give you a house, and it will be a blessing to you and a gift to you.”

I answered, “Lord, if this is really You speaking, please tell two other people who I’ve never met the same thing and have them tell me as confirmation. It’s not that I don’t trust You, Lord, it’s just that I sometimes don’t trust myself.”

About two weeks later, I went to my friend Pat’s house and we had a time of prayer together. While I was there, Pat introduced me to her friend Debbie, whom I had never met before. As we were praying, the room became very silent. I opened my eyes, and Debbie was looking at me.

She said, “Lisa, concerning a house, the Lord would have you to know that He is going to give you a house, and it shall be a gift to you. He wants you to know that you can believe Him when He tells you that He’s going to do a thing.”

I was so glad to hear that word of confirmation from Debbie. That was one person giving me confirmation—now I just needed one more.

About two weeks later, as I was getting ready to go to the ladies Bible study that I went to every week, I asked the Lord for one more confirmation regarding the house. I went to the Bible study and there was a guest speaker that morning. I didn’t know Chris, but she shared an amazing testimony about how God had healed her from Scoliosis. She showed us her before and after x-rays and the doctor’s report, and it was absolutely astounding what God had done for her. The fact that her spine was no longer wracked with Scoliosis, no longer contorted out of shape, was so amazing that the doctors who treated her could not explain it. 

They called it a medical miracle.

After the study, the ladies there were encouraged to gather into groups of three and pray for one another. Chris happened to be in my group, and she prayed for me. After the prayer had concluded, she looked at me and said, “While we were praying, Lisa, I saw a vision of a house. It was a beautiful house with two pillars in the front, but it wasn’t what the house looked like that was important. What was important was that the glory of God was resting all over this house, and the Lord wants you to know that this house is for you, and it will be a gift to you. Is that significant to you?”

“Yes!” I beamed.

When Chuck and I decided to purchase a house in Colorado Springs, I went out looking at homes one afternoon. When I walked into this brand-new house, it seemed so perfect for us, and I felt peaceful inside of it. I called Chuck on the phone and told him all about it, to which he replied, “Well, darlin’, I think that you are a virtuous, capable woman of God. Proverbs 31 tells me that ‘She considers a field and then buys it.’ You are a Proverbs 31 woman, and I’m going to leave this decision up to you. If you love the house, then I will buy you the house. You won’t have to make one payment on it, because I will give it to you as a gift.”

I had forgotten all about what God had said to me in 1996 until that little piece of paper with the drawing of the house on it fell from my Bible. I took it outside to my front yard and held it up. I looked at it, and then I looked at the front of our house, and they looked the same to me. To this day, my husband has not allowed me to make one single payment on the house, because as he said, it was a gift to me.

The Bible says that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled it brings a tree of life. When this desire of my heart to have my own house was fulfilled, it felt like a tree of life was growing up within me. I felt special and loved by God and my husband. It made me happy to know that even if I had forgotten a promise that God made to me, He had not forgotten.
My husband and I have had many visitors in this home, and all of them have told us that they felt the peace and love of God here. God kept His promise to me and gave me a gift that brought me so much joy. It was not just the house in and of itself, but the fact that God did not forget me that has blessed me the most.

Friend, rest assured that Jesus can be relied on in every situation. Some of the processes we go through really hurt like the dickens, but Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

On this you can be sure:  He will never forget you or the promises He has made to you.

 

You are so loved.

 

Do-Over

Lisa Williams

Didn’t sleep well last night.
Lying in bed, random thoughts popped right up into my brain like a Jack-in-the-Box.
Things I had long forgotten. Regretful words I had spoken as a teenager. Words long since forgotten by their recipient.

I wish I could have just one do-over. I’d go back in time and choose not to say that thing.

There’s a very good chance, like 99.9% that the thing which I said has, over the years, become so small in the mind of the hearer that it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s not that I never apologized, but I still want that one do-over.
They deserved better.

So, yes please, and thank you to one single do-over. And about a million others.

I could take back the thing.
And with just one more…I wouldn’t have sassed and exasperated my father on a hot day when he asked me to rake leaves. If I could do that one over, I’d have offered to rake them, pull weeds, then feed and water all the animals without being asked.

“You work so hard, Dad. You deserve a break. How can I help you out today?” I’d say with a smile.

Could I have three? Three do-overs? Please?
Because then I could’ve also told my mother I was proud of her. I would’ve encouraged her to sing with me. She had a beautiful voice. I’d have listened to her more, and not avoided the hard conversations. I’d have been patient enough to let her teach me how to sew. She really tried.

Maybe if I can have three, four or more won’t be too much to ask for.

I’d have been a perfect mother for my children, appreciated my big sisters more, not gone out with a few men who were wrong for me and I them, and gotten my degree in fashion design or journalism. Or both!
I would’ve studied harder in high school and college. Complained less, worked harder, I would’ve shown up and been present in the moment, made amends where I’d caused offense, and shown more appreciation for my employers.
One do-over would never be enough but God knows if I had one or one million, I’d probably make all new mistakes and just need more. And more. And more.

All of us do.
We need days upon days of grace. Thankfully, God gives us new chances and mercies every single morning. Yes, each morning brings with it the already fulfilled promise of new mercies.

Lamentations 3:22-23 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.


All of the do-overs this world could possibly afford me wouldn’t be enough. There’s not a thing I can do to pay for my wrongs and earn my way into Heaven. Jesus did it all. Everything needed to cover my sins has already been completed. For that amazing grace and love, I owe Him my all. We require eternity to have adequate time to praise, thank, and adore Him for all that He is and all He has done for us.

His mercy, grace, and kindness are more powerful than any do-over we could ever dream up because His shed blood cleanses us completely. Over and over, and over again.
Let that love sink into your soul today.

You are so valued and precious to Him!

Conquer This!

Lisa Williams

Growing up, I was always thin and fit. So, what happened?

Well, there was that one time in high school when I thought I was fat. I was so “fat” in fact, that I covered my body with bulky overalls. I wore them almost every day to cover my perceived disfigurement. The only thing they did for my frame, was make it look larger than I actually was.
Before the age of sixteen, I was told almost daily by someone or another that I was “skinny.” Bullies in 7th grade often told me I looked like a boy. I was teased relentlessly. Truth is, I did have a boyish figure long after all of my friends had gained curves. I felt ugly and I believed every negative thing said about me. It didn’t matter who said it. I found it easier to believe the lies, rather than the truth that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
For me, body image equated into personal value. I had to be thin but not “skinny.” And God forbid I should ever become (GASP!) “fat.” I’ve since learned that there are worse things I could be.

Throughout my twenties I was in daily diet mode. Even at my height of 5’ 9”, 132 pounds was too fat. Then I joined a gym when I turned thirty. In my early 30’s my weight fluctuated between 150-160. My Body Mass Index was 22%. Nothing on my body jiggled. My muscles were toned and I was in the best shape of my life, but Lyme Disease was lurking within my body and the fatigue I felt daily was overwhelming. Even so, I pushed through in order to try and stay healthy. Doctors told me my symptoms were all in my head. My weight yo-yo’ed without explanation. My thyroid was non-functional but I didn’t know it yet.
Then came my 40’s and with that decade came a correct diagnosis for the overwhelming pain and fatigue I experienced from sun up to sunset. I had Stage III Lyme Disease and it was negatively affecting everything regarding my health.
Every. Single. Thing.
Every muscle, tendon, ligament, organ, and ability was severely challenged. My brain was swollen. I could barely move without help, and soon I couldn’t do any of the things I had once been able to freely accomplish.
I felt my body had betrayed me as it packed on the pounds. No longer was I capable of weight lifting or strenuous aerobics. Starting well before the diagnosis, within just a few years I went from a size 8/10 to an 18/20. I hated myself for it and shame began to engulf me.
See, I based my worth and value in numbers. Numbers that have nothing to do with who or Whose I am. Numbers on a scale and clothing label didn’t have power to define me, but I didn’t know that.
I didn’t love myself at a size 8, or 18. I believed the lies.
Then, something beautiful happened.
A man loved me so much that he married me knowing I was very sick. When I gained weight, he loved me through it, in spite of it. His love convinced me of my value. He still found me sexy and gorgeous in spite of the excess flab on my once fit body.
Here I am, fixin’ to turn 60 years old in August. I’m working out again and eating like I love this temple God has given to house my soul within. I’ve changed the way I speak about myself. Now, I talk about me as I would a trusted friend. I’ve stopped the destructive patterns of giving up. Even though I didn’t see progress for a long time, with the encouragement of dear friends, I’ve kept going.
It’s paying off!
Body image is a delicate thing. Society tells women false things about beauty. Unless you’re a certain size you’re often deemed as unintelligent, lazy, ugly, and/or careless. The truth is so far from that! Even top models are plastered with makeup and photo shopped into a phony sense of perfection before they are “good enough” to grace the glossy pages of your favorite fashion magazine.
I just want to be healthy again, in every way. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. So, I’m going for it but this time it’s not to gain acceptance, love, value, or self-worth. I already possess those things.
How?
By simply believing and accepting what God says about me.
The Bible has a lot to say about who you are, and it’s paramount that you believe these truths. If you don’t, the world will tell you lies upon lies about who you are, how much you’re worth, and who you “should” be.
Here’s just one of the magnificent truths you can take for your own and hold onto:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16

This is going to be a lifelong journey. It won’t end when I reach my goal weight. I’m making lifestyle changes, reapplying what I once knew, as well as learning new ways of gaining my personal fitness and health back. It’s freeing and I’m enjoying this way of being.

With God’s help, I am conquering this area of weakness in my life. When I am weak, He is showing up and He is strong!
Below is an image of how “fat” I was in high school. May God help us to see ourselves as He sees us and that we can believe and receive how much He loves us.

1976 McLane Winter Formal.jpg

Hide and Seek

Lisa Williams

When a four-year-old wants to play hide and seek, you don’t ask questions- you just play along.

When my grandson wants me to play, he’s oblivious to the fact that I am 55 years his senior. He believes in me, and seems certain I possess the same energy as he.
When Hide-and-Seek is on his mind, I have to mentally prepare myself. No kidding.
He’s faster than a speeding ticket, more powerful than a Tesla, and can leap tall laundry baskets in a single bound. I’m telling ya, the kid is a miniature Chuck Norris. After you’re plum worn out he’ll still have more energy than the Flash; after all, he’s four.
One day, he decided that he wanted to hide under his blanket. Convinced I couldn’t see him, he sat giggling under his fortress.
”Aiden? Aiden, where are you?”
”I’m gone, Nana! You can’t find me!”
Knowing he wanted me to give in, I called “Olly, olly, oxen free,” thinking he would throw off his cover and let me in on his stealthy hiding place. I laughed when he decided to stay there a little bit longer, content as a bug in a rug. About ten minutes later, he decided to reveal where he was, and asked if we could watch Paw Patrol.
Sometimes, I wish I had a hiding place that rendered me invisible to the world. Maybe a magic blanket that I can crawl under for just a little while, where nobody can find me. A place where Lyme Disease and other painful things can’t invade my space.
Have you ever felt that way? I’m sure most of us have at one time or another. There is no such place, and if there were, it might prove to be more than slightly destructive.

Thankfully, there’s a safe, peaceful refuge we can turn to. A place that’s never crowded, where we’re always welcome. There’s a hiding place within God’s love and grace. In fact, the Bible says that He is our hiding place.

You are my Hiding Place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7

When you take the time to be quiet and still, alone with God, you’ll find that He is a friend who stays closer than any other. He’s loyal, and He can be depended on in every situation. You can turn to Him like a child turns to a loving parent. When you’re lonely, hurting, bewildered, or perplexed He’s there, Friend. You can run to Jesus when you’re happy, glad, angry, or spent. No matter your state or your lack. He doesn’t care if you dress up or not. He doesn’t look at the amount of money in your bank account or lack thereof. He simply loves you more than your finite mind can fathom. He longs to have compassion on you, so go ahead. He’s waiting for you to talk to Him, to hand over everything that weighs you down- those heavy burdens that you were never meant to carry alone. Hand it over to His hands, they are stronger, and more equipped to work it all out for good.
As you hide away for a time in His love, why not seek Him? You’ll find Him there, in that quiet place.

You will seek Me and find me when you seek Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 20:13

Hide-and-Seek for you, child of God, is not a game. Rather, it’s necessary for life, peace, and stability in rocky places.

You are so very, very loved.


More laughter from The Chuck and Lisa Show

Lisa Williams

To conquer life’s tough moments, you’ll require large doses of laughter. So, here are some funny bits of our life, to bring laughter to yours.

Me: I want to buy Patriot and Wrigley, oh and Wrigley's foal due in June, too.
Chuck: I hope you have a big suitcase of cash laying around someplace then. We can't do that right now.
Me: But it's my right to buy more horses!
Chuck: *Laughing* Your right? How do you figure?
Me: Baby, I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--
Chuck: *Laughing* So you think it's your Constitutional right to buy more horses?
Me: Absolutely!
Chuck: Well, I hope there's something in there about your right to find some money for those horses, too.
Me: Well, in Article IV Section 1 it says that Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public. I'm the Public so please give me a Credit Card to buy my horses.
Chuck: Good Lord, woman you should've been an Attorney. But we're not getting more horses now because it would infringe upon my Constitutional right to pursue happiness by paying my bills. Court adjourned, Counselor. But nice try!


Very early this morning, (Seriously. We’re talking the butt-crack of dawn here.) Chuck locks himself out of the house in the garage. I'm utterly passed out after a night without any sleep at all. He called my cell, but I had it turned off.
So, how does he get my attention to let him back into the house? You guessed it, he honks the horn of my truck.
Over, and over, and oooooooooooooooooooover.
I woke up, startled. At first I thought, I wish our neighbor would stop honking his horn. The ungodly blast continues until I go downstairs and realize it's coming from our own garage. Perplexed, I opened the door to the bellowing thunder of the horn that was so loud I swear people in China heard it. I’m surprised that our windows didn’t implode and our roof didn’t cave in. It’s quite likely that my hair will never be the same. I’m pretty sure it’s permanently blown straight back by the earsplitting clamor emanating from the garage.
He's sleeping out there tonight.


Me: I think we should buy a weighted blanket. 
Chuck: Since you're so cold all the time, the blankets you have on our bed already weigh 50 pounds so I think we're good. 
Me: Nuh uh. 
Chuck: I need a crow bar just to get out of bed. 
Me: Nuh uh.
Chuck: You can't think of anything else to say, can you?
Me: Yes I can.
Chuck: Well? I’m waiting.
Me: Nuh uh.
Chuck: Told you so.
Me: Nuhhhhhuhhhh uhhhhhhhhh.


Chuck: Dang, you're pretty. I'm gonna kiss you now.
Me: Okay!
Chuck: Wait. I just ate garlicky food. Let me rephrase. 
Me: Okay.
Chuck: Dang, you're pretty. I'm going to brush my teeth and then kiss you!
Me: Okay! 
Chuck: You're so agreeable, too! Win. 
Me: Okay!


Me: I may have served way too much Butter Chicken on your plate, sorry.
Chuck: You really ought to be more careful. Let’s EAT.
Me: The recipe only called for two tablespoons of butter, though, so I guess it’s not that bad.
Chuck: How can they, in good conscience, call it Butter Chicken, then? What were they thinking with only two tablespoons. Pfffft.
Me: Welp, I dunno but that’s just what the recipe called for.
Chuck: Look, let me apologize in advance.
Me: Why?
Chuck: Because I feel dizzy.
Me: Oh NO! Are you okay? How can I help?
Chuck: Don’t you dare help me, Darlin’!
Me: Huh? Why not? Wha…?
Chuck: I feel like I may trip and fall…
Me: Well, then, quit being stubborn and let me help you!
Chuck: …into the pot with a cube of butter!
Me: Why, I oughta!
Chuck: Put more butter in the sauce?
Me: 🤪


Me: Chuck when I get well can we get a Harley?
Chuck: When you reach remission, you can have any Harley you want.
Me: Really?!
Chuck: Sure, Hotwheels are on sale at Walmart all the time. 
Me: 🤬

Laughter does good like a medicine. - Proverbs 17:22

Harley.jpg

The Chuck and Lisa Show

Lisa Williams


For my husband Chuck, and I, laughter is not an option. Here’s a few highlight reels of the comedy we experience in our lives.
- Enjoy!







Chuck: I'm dying 
Me: You're not dying. You have a cold.
Chuck: I haven't been able to breathe all day.
Me: It's 6:30 am. 
Chuck: I think my fever has spiked since you took it last.
Me: I took your temperature less than 5 minutes ago. It was 98.6.
Chuck: It's at least 105. That thermometer must be broken. 
Me: It's not broken. You don't have a fever. 
Chuck: My lungs could be in danger. 
Me: You probably have Ebola and it's very likely that your spleen needs to be removed. Your liver may fall out at any moment. You look like you might also have rickets, bubonic plague, the measles, impetigo, rubella, polio, and PMS.
Chuck: I knew it.
Me: My brain hurts. 
Chuck: Oh don't tell me you're getting sick, too!





The other day in a galaxy close by…
Chuck: Is that piece of lasagna still in the fridge?
Me: That is not the lasagna you're looking for. 
Chuck: Your Jedi mind tricks won't work on me, woman!
Me: *Holding lasagna* You want this don't you? Take it! Take it and strike me down and your journey to the Dark Side will be complete!
Chuck: No! I'll never join you! 
Me: Oh! I'm afraid this lasagna will be fully operational by the time your friends arrive!
Chuck: Friends? Who said anything about friends? Now give me the lasagna! There's still good in you, I feel it!
Me: Rock, paper, scissors?
Chuck: Sure.


Chuck: Hey, Baby what's the title of the new kid's book you're writing?
Me: Sorry, I can't divulge that information until the book is ready for production. 
Chuck: Aww I already know what it's about so come on you can tell me!
Me: Ahh but you don't know what it's about. You only think you know.
Chuck: Huh? Wha...??!
Me: Who is the biggest movie teller in the history of mankind? Who can't NOT tell what happens in the next scene? And who spoils movies I haven't seen because he has no self control in that area? WHO?
Chuck: *In Eeyore voice* Me. *sniff* It's me.
Me: I rest my case.
Chuck: Maybe you should've been an attorney. 
Me: If I had I'd have prosecuted you for movie telling. 
Chuck: Go write your book! 
Me: Don't make me kill you off in my novel. 'Cuz I'll do it. Don't think I won't.


Chuck: Wow.
Me: What?
Chuck: The grout on the kitchen counter tops really needs a good cleaning. 
Me: It's totally clean. 
Chuck: It's all brown.
Me: The grout IS brown.
Chuck: I know! We need to steam clean it or something. 
Me: No, I mean it's really brown.
Chuck: That's what I said. It's so dirty that it's brown.
Me: No. I mean. The color of the grout itself. It's always been chocolate brown. It's not dirty. That's the natural color of the grout. Brown. Brown, brown.
Chuck: Has it always been that color? 
Me: For 13 years now. Brown. Chocolate brown. 
Chuck: You don't say. 
Me: 🙄



—Laugh, it’s good medicine and it drives the haters insane!

-Lisa


Bad Moon Rising

Lisa Williams

I see a bad moon a rising….

I remember in 1981 being deeply affected by the John Landis movie An American Werewolf in London. Although it was a comedy-horror flick at which I laughed, I had horrific nightmares for several weeks afterward. It was then that I learned, most profoundly, that I am much too sensitive to watch horror movies.
Maybe it was because there was something beyond realistic about the transformation which the main character, David, went through during the full moons phase. It's no wonder the movie won an Academy Award for best makeup and special effects; it indeed was brilliant work. One of the things that struck me the most, was that deep-down David was a good guy. He had no desire to be so sick, twisted, and evil. He never wanted to kill dozens of people or wreak such havoc wherever the creature in him went.
Once he finds out what he is, he loathes himself and desperately seeks a cure, even attempting albeit, unsuccessfully, to kill himself. At the end of the movie, we find David has transformed yet again into the hideous werewolf. He is appeased momentarily by the voice of his fiancé and calms down long enough for police to shoot and kill the creature, killing him as well.I may be nuts, but I understand David much more than I wish I did.

I see trouble on the way…

A change comes over me when the moon is full. It wasn’t a werewolf’s bite which caused my affliction, but that of an infected deer tick carrying Lyme Disease.

I try to hide away during the full moon’s phase so that no one will see me in my altered state.

The transformation is painful. My body is wracked with such pain that my cries resemble howling. Unexpected groans escape my pursing lips as my limbs quake, cramp, and tremble. My muscles feel as though they are burning, or what I imagine it would feel like to be on fire anyway.
I am taking on a metamorphous. I no longer look or feel the same.

Invisible ropes pull my body in different directions, making me clumsy and slow. Unlike David, super strength is not part of this deal. Quite the opposite. My body grows frail and numb, except the regions that are writhing in pain. I feel as though I'm dragging thousand-pound cinderblocks from my ankles when I move my legs, and my wrists are somehow tied down to my sides. Lifting my arms proves an impossibility.
My senses of hearing and sight become heightened to the point that I hide from the light and cringe at loud noises. I begin to wonder if I will ever again feel normal or if I’m always to be a shameful creature marked by sweaty bangs plastered to my flustered, rash covered skin, and glazed over eyes void of light.

Don’t go around tonight, it’s bound to take your life…

My mind moves in a fog; I rock back and forth like an insane woman; it numbs the excruciating pain that is swallowing me alive. At times my thoughts are savage. I am easily angered, and the least infraction can cause inner rage. I am like a zombie for whom there is no known cure, searching for my burial site.  I can't think straight; can't remember what I said or did mere minutes ago. In my head, it's night, and the moon only serves to highlight and thicken the murk so I cannot find my way.

Claiming that a moonlight metamorphosis is responsible for ungodly pain levels sounds mad to those who have never experienced it. It doesn't matter. Those of us who have suffered this fate are accustomed to being accused of mental and emotional instability. We are used to being thought of as attention-seekers, but we know the truth.

There are two apparent similarities between the full moon and the reproduction cycle of Borrelia Burgdorferi. First of all, they both occur on an average of every 30 days. During this phase, NASA scientists will tell you that the gravitational pull of the earth increases. In turn, this alters our bodies internally even though we may not notice it, much like the ocean tides. We can't feel the gravitation pull, however animals (including bacteria) certainly can. Many mammals only mate and reproduce during a full moon cycle.
 Secondly, the full moon changes the atmosphere around us. This has to do with the electromagnetic field around Earth which has a subtle, yet tremendous impact on our bodies at the cellular level. Electromagnetic energy increases and animals migrate and mate. So does Borrelia bacteria. It’s during this time that Lyme bacteria are rearranging and reproducing in one’s body around the full moon.

There’s a bad moon on the rise…

So, I'm not crazy or rabid. I'm just fighting, like so many others with this hideous disease. I'll keep fighting. To educate others, to help impact prevention, and to live unencumbered and free of the transformation that the full moon does to my body. Maybe someday I’ll be able to sing a different song about the moon, a song about flying among the stars, love and kissing.
I hope. To the moon and back, I hope.

Two thousand and nineteen

Lisa Williams

Welp, for better or worse 2018 is over. Here’s a few things to ponder and apply to your life so that you can walk right in to 2019 better prepared.

2019 won’t be drama free, but it can contain less of it.

Life contains drama now and then. It doesn't mean you caused, invited it, or associated with it. It's likely that none of it is your doing. Life can just be that way sometimes. You can't always control that.
What you can control, though, is the amount of drama that you attach to the drama itself. 
You have the power to calm yourself. You really do. 
Talking to everybody and their brother about drama gives it more power and drains you of yours. 
You can choose not to stir things up by not talking about it. A lot of life's drama is really at a volume level of a 1 or 2 and we pump up the volume and blow out the speakers on that thing by talking about it too much. 
Have you prayed about it as much as you've talked about it? 
What's in it for you if you attach drama to a dramatic situation or circumstance? Rather than allowing yourself to get drawn into stressful, whirlwind-ish emotional upheaval, let today be the day that you decide not to panic. Begin to choose to quiet your soul and practice good self care for your own well being. 
Take a walk, listen to music. Sing! Work out, dance, drink more water, breathe deeply, eat healthy. Get more rest, hug your children, volunteer. Get a manicure, go the beach or the mountains and if there’s nothing like that where you live go to your favorite place. See a funny movie, volunteer, visit a friend, talk to a horse, read a good book, laugh a lot, speak your love. 
Talk with God.
In so doing you will build your own strength while starving the drama of its. 
You will feel better and you'll thank yourself later. Really. 

2019 will require you to love deeper and bigger than ever before.
Why? Just watch the evening news for that answer. My mother used to sing a lot around the house when I was growing up. Her favorite song sums it up quite nicely.
What the world needs now, is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.
Love means including everyone, no matter how different from you they happen to be.

2019 might mean walking away from toxic people.
What? Didn’t you just say to love everyone? Why yes, yes I did. However, you can’t love others effectively if you don’t love yourself. Loving yourself means drawing boundary lines and not allowing toxic people to steal your peace of mind or happiness.
Loving some people means loving them from ————————————--> way over here.

2019 holds new beginnings for you.
New beginnings can happen to you no matter your age, economic status, religion, gender, or a million other things. If opportunity isn’t knocking down your door, go knock on it’s door! If your ship hasn’t come in yet, what’s stopping you from swimming out to it?
If you have a dream, it will remain a dream until you take the steps necessary to turn it into a goal and walk that goal out to it’s fruition. Writing it down helps.

2019 can be as happy as you make it.
Happiness really is a choice and once you learn that you hold the power to your own happiness, you’ll start to see your life change for the better. Don’t wait for “someday” to be happy.
Break out the good china now. Wear that special perfume just because it’s Tuesday and you’re alive. When life throws you a curve ball, use a different bat. Decide to look at the positive. Decide not to panic. No, we can’t control everything, but we can control our own reactions. Practice self-control and listening to the voice of reason within your mind. Build sand castles, fly kites, breathe fresh air, be child like but refuse to be childish. Life is too short not to be happy, so find your happy and live it each day. If you wake up sad, combat it with beautiful music and make the decision to let go of the negative and focus on what is going right in your life. You can either reflect on two thousand nineteen reasons to be negative or two thousand nineteen reasons to be glad. Your choice will affect everything.
Most of all, don’t forget this one very important truth: You are so very, very loved.

May this be the best year of your life! Happy New Year!
#DailyConquerorMoments

Shine

Lisa Williams

 While most of my friends are getting ready for Christmas soon, I'm getting ready for Hanukkah. While I have nothing against giving gifts and eating together with my family on December 25th, pondering the miraculous birth of Emmanuel leads me to believe that Jesus Christ most likely was not born on that day.
History tells us otherwise. Common sense says that If the shepherds in Israel were out in the fields watching their flocks by night, it would not have occurred in freezing cold winter, when no grass grows in the fields.
The birth of Jesus Christ was most likely in the springtime, around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. I will wish Him a happy birthday anyway and be grateful that He was born and that pure Love came to Earth but I won't participate in the frantic, materialistic greed that often accompanies it. I can do without the commercialism. To me, this time of year is about family, friends and celebrating that love and I know they feel the same way.
Hanukkah means something different to me, yet, it too is about a celebration of a miracle that occurred. It’s about a military victory that still affects us all.
Some people think Hanukkah is “The Jewish Christmas.” Nope.
Hanukkah marks the Maccabees' long-ago defeat of the larger-than-life Greek-Syrian army that had invaded Israel. The Maccabees were just a small group of Jews led by Mattathias Maccabee and his five sons, including Judah Maccabee. They organized themselves into a guerrilla army and, with God's help, proved stronger than their powerful enemy.
Following the Maccabees' victory, the Jews rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and, once again, were able to worship freely.
I once knew a Christian pastor who said he thinks that Hanukkah is really a critical holiday for Christians, too. “Why?” I asked — I knew about the reference in John chapter 10, but nothing more. He said that if the Jewish Maccabees had not risen up against their oppressors, then secularism and paganism would have controlled the Jewish people. And if it would have controlled the Jewish people, Jesus would not have been able to be born as a Jew, to live a Jewish life, to see the Temple, and have the Bible. Judaism would have been wiped out.
He's right. Hanukkah is an important holiday.
There is an attempt in every generation to rid the world of the Jewish people. Then there are those who want to accommodate, negotiate and be flexible. Still there are those who say they can do that sometimes, but there are times when you must draw a line in the sand.
When they try to take away my faith I cannot accommodate, I cannot adjust.
I cannot, I will not- compromise.
The Maccabees drew that line in the sand, and they triumphed. If not for their triumph, Judaism would have been gotten rid of by those authorities, and Jesus the Jew would not have been around 165 years later.
Hanukkah is an eight-day holiday because we see in the Bible that anytime there was a dedication of the Temple, it was an eight-day celebration. So, when they regained the Temple and took out all the impurities and idols, they had a celebration that lasted for eight days. And this is more than just the celebration of victory in a physical battle. Zechariah 4:6 says, "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty." This became an important verse for Hanukkah, and is in fact written on the menorah in Jerusalem that stands across from the Knesset, Israel's parliament. It serves to remind us not just of the military victory, but of the ultimate triumph of God and the spiritual victory of the Jews over their oppressors. 
Although Hanukkah celebrates a military victory, its major symbol — the Hanukkah menorah, or Hanukkiah — reminds us of the miracle of the oil. As the Jews purified the Holy Temple, they found only one flask of the oil for the eternal lamp — enough to keep it burning for just one day. But a miracle occurred, and the oil lasted eight days and nights until more oil could be brought from afar.
That miracle explains why we celebrate Hanukkah for eight days and also why Hanukkah is called the Festival of Lights.
The Hanukkah menorah holds nine candles, one for each of the eight nights and an additional candle that’s used to light the others, called the Servant Candle. One candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, two on the second night, until all eight candles are lit on the eighth night. 
Hanukkah is a time to celebrate with family and friends, to eat yummy holiday treats, to give gifts (especially to children) and to play fun games such as the dreidel game.

 For me, it’s a time of re-dedication to God, a time to celebrate for eight nights all of the miracles he has done in my life and to thank Him for the gift of life, love, family and friends.             
The Festival of Lights or Feast of Dedication is mentioned John 10: 22-23 records, "Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade." (NIV) As a Jew, Jesus most certainly would have participated in the Feast of Dedication.
The same courageous spirit of the Maccabees who remained faithful to God during intense persecution was passed on to Jesus' disciples who would all face severe trials because of their faithfulness to Yeshua HaMashiach . (Jesus, the Messiah) And like the miracle of God's presence expressed through the eternal flame of God burning for the Maccabees, Yeshua became the incarnate, physical expression of God's presence, the Light of the World, who came to dwell among us and give us the eternal light of God's life.
This season, shine your own light. Shine your kindness, your love, and your truth. Not just for 8 days, but for every day.
Just shine, in that you’ll find your own victory.

Ninja Gnat Returns

Lisa Williams

A few minutes ago in a galaxy close, close nearby…
The adventures of Ninja Gnat continues.
“What?” you ask. “What is this Ninja Gnat you speak of?”
(Cue dramatic music for effect. Which effect I’ve no idea, but people are reading so cue it please. )

Here’s the 411.

It all began many years ago in the Midwest, when an otherwise normal looking gnat was found in our humble Ohio abode. Thinking he was a box kicker gnat, I smacked him and thought that was the end of it. I should be so lucky. It turns out this was no ordinary gnat. They say cats have nine lives? If that’s true, this gnat has 9,000. He’s come to be known as: (Is the dramatic music cued?)
Ninja Gnat.

He’s the Army Ranger of gnats.
In revenge of my attempt at smackage, Ninja Gnat began stalking my then thirteen-year-old son.
It followed him to school one day, which was against the rules. The drama-trauma of that event had caused us both to block it out of our otherwise normal minds. Until this year.
Yes, children it was one fateful day in late September of aught ‘18 when my son, the former Army Ranger (whom I’ll simply call Ranger in order to protect his identity) and I experienced a new encounter with the gnat from he’ll.
The time had come for us to talk it over and one day, when he happened to be at my house, we did.

Me: There's a flipping gnat that's been in the house all week! Every time I try to kill it, it disappears. 
Mike: Yeah, that's my gnat. (Oops. I guess the cat’s outta the bag on concealing Ranger’s identity)
Me: What?
Mike: It's been haunting me since middle school. I think it found me when we lived in Ohio and it's pretty much been stalking me ever since. I tried to beat feet and escape his wrath but it followed me to boot camp and overseas. When I returned to the USA, I got off the plane and there he was to greet me. No, not my Grunt brother. The gnat. 
Me: Kill it!
Mike: Impossible. Believe me, I've tried. It's useless. He'll outsmart your every move.
Me: A ninja gnat?
Mike: I'm afraid so.
Me: Well, darn.
Mike: *In the most somber tone ever* I know, Mom. I know. (Dun dun duuuuuun!)

Welp, over a month had passed by and pretty soon we thought maybe we’d seen the last of Ninja Gnat. Until this morning while drinking my Black Rifle coffee. There he was, in the cup sipping it like he owned a franchise. Now, I’m tryin’ not to get wrapped around the axle but this gnat had it comin’ and I don’t mean a day at the spa. I tried to kill it, but the sally flew out of the cup and up my nose. I lost my coffee and a good deal of snot. I’m not sure he’s even been blown out. No telling what this gnat will do up there.
”Gnaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!” I screamed in fury as I opened a package of bug juice.
I’ve made it my mission to destroy Ninja Gnat. If it’s the last thing I do.
Meanwhile, I’m off to purchase stock in Raid and Kleenex.

(No xoxo this time. I can’t appear soft. Ninja Gnat may be watching.)


Warrior

Lisa Williams

It’s you.

You’re fierce yet fragile. You see open doors of opportunity within your grasp but you navigate them carefully and stealthily. Not every door is for you. You know this because you’ve stepped through a few before that you shouldn’t have.
What’s behind door number three? you wondered. Only to find that behind that door was no prize. You won’t waste your precious time like that again. You know your value now, so you demand better of yourself.
Now, you understand the prize of patience. You believe that waiting is pro-active. Why? Because within a season of stillness, there are treasures to be found.
Clearer thinking.
Fresh vision.
Strategic planning.
Preparation for soaring like an eagle.
Deeper fellowship with comrades.
All of these are brought to the table in the midst of the wait. It’s in the quiet that you drink deeply from the well of creativity and peace. The noise of the world’s demands are silenced and you can breathe fresh, clean air— and that freely.
The stale is gone, the new has arrived. You can smile at the sky above and earth below as you walk forward. You have no fear of the future, because you know who holds it.
The warrior knows that in every grown-up there remains a child. Therefore, time for play, laughter and fun are paramount. The warrior cannot live without it.
Remember that love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, humbleness, kindness, and self-control are really battle tools. Wear your armor. Not to keep love out, or to harden your heart but to enable you to take your stand. You don’t even have to fight. You just have to stand. You don’t require any other weapons. Having done all that is required of you, just stand strong in the strength which is a gift to you. With that, you will win.
Warrior, don’t forget to love yourself as much as you love others. Know where you belong for that is enough.

The warrior is you.

xoxo

Heaven's Asphalt

Lisa Williams

What do you love?
What causes freedom to pulse within your veins? Where can you go to hide away from this world’s noise, to decompress?
Since I was a girl, for me it’s been the great outdoors. Give me the mountains, the ocean, the countryside and all the animals that they contain. They call to me, they cause me to think clearer, and breathe deeper. I believe that nature by it’s very existence heals people and animals. It’s a glimpse of the beauty that abides in Heaven, which, I believe is a real, live place.
I’d be content on this earth to be continually barefooted and fancy free. Give me shelter under a gazillion stars, a garden, animals, and a simple life. That’s enough for me and it began when I was a child.
Ours was a middle class family of six, whose vacations involved camping, hiking, and swimming in oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams. Back then, we never could’ve imagined the hidden dangers lurking within the grassy meadows and trees of the forests we visited. Yes, way back in 1971 there were ticks which carried Lyme Disease in those California woodlands. Neither my parents, their friends, family, or doctors knew a thing about Lyme Disease. So, when a tick that was carrying Lyme bit my arm when I was twelve years old, we didn’t sweat it. When the bite mark grew and resembled a bulls eye, we still didn’t worry. When I came down with flu-like symptoms, my parents thought I had the flu. The fact that nobody else got it was attributed to luck.
The years that followed brought with them a host of health problems for me. I had difficulty concentrating, and learning. I experienced headaches daily. Participating in sports for any length of time was next to impossible due to severe fatigue. I didn’t dare try out for the track team, when running one lap winded me. I rarely slept through the night. Insomnia was quite common. I didn’t know that it wasn’t normal not to get strep throat every six months. My back often hurt and I developed stomach issues.
How in the world I lived to be 46 before a correct diagnosis is beyond my realm of understanding. At the time, I was dying.
Maybe I lived that long because after that fateful camping trip to Mammoth Pool, California, I was on antibiotics every 6 months or so. Or maybe there is a greater power at work here.
Often times now, test results regarding my condition are bleak. They say things I wish were not true. I do everything the doctors tell me to do, but, according to the test results I have not progressed. If that is true, I ought to be dead.
But God…He has another plan. He has kept me alive against the odds. I’m convinced that I won’t breathe my last breath a second sooner than I’m supposed to and when I do, He will take me Home.
Home, where they pave the streets with pure gold. Home, where gates are made of pearls. Where we will only know happy tears, and peace uninterrupted.
Think about that for a minute. The materials we use to pave roads here on Earth are the cheapest we have; cement, sand and crushed rocks. The materials used to pave the roads in Heaven are pure gold.
That’s Heaven’s standard. Pure gold for streets. Pearls for gates. (Revelation 21:21)
That gives me hope like nothing else. God has prepared a place for me and spared nothing for its beauty, and that includes divine health. No more sickness. No more dis-ease. We will know ease, peace and love so divine this writer cannot find the words to describe it. We will know God face-to-face. That’s the real beauty of Heaven, the One who created it. That’s what makes life on Earth worth living, too. His love is all over this planet. I take that love with me, along with the love of friends and family.
That’s how I’m going to win. That’s the medicine that saves me.

Dear God,
Please pave my soul with love as transparent as the gold in heaven. Purify me as such. Walk the streets of my heart and own every cobblestone and grain of sand. Help me to love as Heaven loves, and to abide in You always.
Amen.
xoxo

Choose Love

Lisa Williams

The other day I visited my son and his family. I actually felt strong enough to watch my grandson for awhile. Before I drove back home, my son and I sat and talked awhile. We spoke among other things, about how much we both miss my dad. It's hard to believe he's been gone over 8 months now. We talked about how we are both like him in some ways and how neither of us can bring ourselves to delete his number from our phone contacts. We agreed that Sam Elliot's character on The Ranch reminds us of my dad; the veteran, the cowboy, the legend.
What I wouldn't give for 5 more minutes with my dad and mom. They were married over 32 years when mom died. I can't wait to be with her again. She was so amazing!
It seems like they did everything well. Cooking, gardening, fishing, and a million other things. They made the best homemade blackberry jam ever, and Sunday morning breakfasts were the best. They went all out. Biscuits and gravy, sausage or bacon, waffles and fresh fruit. It was "Here's the funny papers, girls." and "Kmart is having a sale on fishing lures." Sometimes we'd go on over to Kmart and he'd buy me a large bag of popcorn for a dime that I didn't have to share with my big sisters.
Sometimes we'd go fishing on the weekends and God knows with four daughters it's a miracle he caught any fish at all with all the chatter. He'd always offer a dollar for whomever caught the first fish. Then we'd buy 100 pieces of penny candy. Great googly moogly, the sugar rush!
These memories are so sweet they make me cry. Partly with gratitude and part with longing for just one more day with Mom and Dad.
I wonder what they're doing up there in Heaven tonight. I wonder what they saw the first 5 minutes they were there. I wonder when I'll see them again.
For those who have perfect health and for those who don't, take it from someone who has experienced a great deal of loss: Choose love. Choose it every time. It doesn't mean you have to allow toxic people into your world but...
Remember to hold tight to your loved ones. Forget petty offenses. Forgive. Love big. Be mushy. Say words of celebration and appreciation for who they are. Don't shy away from the words "I love you." Always hug hello and goodbye.
Cherish every moment.

xoxo