CHOOSE TO SEE By Lori A Alicea

Choose to see His blessings flow,
God’s promises to keep.
blessing 3Still see His tidal wave of love,
When waves are ankle deep.
blessings 1Choose to see from where they sit,
Advantage of their views.
To understand them, take and walk,
A mile in their shoes.
walk in their shoesChoose to see a father’s love,
In hugs and kisses gives.

His thoughtfulness revealed in gifts,
His life for you he lives.

Choose to see and stand with strength,
Your hero lives within.
hereo 1
You’re capable, you are enough,
Your story waits, begin.
hereoChoose to see and learn from those,
Your generation past.
Their wisdom gained, experience,
This sea of wealth is vast.

Choose to see a child’s joy,
Their laugh, a medicine.
LAUGHTERChoose to see you’re beautiful,
The outward and within.
cova 3Choose to see the little things,
The ties that bind love tight.

A walk, a talk or sweet embrace,
Or close beside at night.

Choose to see their will “I can”,
Though that their size is small.
kizzie 7Release them to the tallest wave,
Or scale the mountain tall.
kizzie 9Choose to see and celebrate,
Uniqueness’s inside.

For those who choose a different course,
Another wave to ride.

Choose to see your confidence,
You’re born for this you know.

So step out in your destiny,
Set free your dreams to grow.
cova 9Choose to see how fast time flees,
Like wind, her curls blow.
bride 5 keepFrom morning rise to evening set,
Your little girl will grow.
bride 1Choose to see the house you live,
Four walls for where you sleep.
home 7As home, a special place reserved,
For all the hearts you keep.
family 2Choose to see how big God is,
He longs to hear His name.
big God is 4Our restlessness His waters calm,
His beauty doth the same.
big God is 1Choose to see His promises.
Fulfilled though wonder why.
Yet wait in hope His promises,
Are written in the sky.
promise 3 (2) keepChoose to see that love is strong,
As ocean waves that flow.
Aloha bids a sad good-by,
Yet greets a sweet hello.

Choose to see the love you share,
Who set your heart aflame.
keep 16

And cherish every smile of theirs,
Who call you each by name.
aloha 10Choose to see when difficult,
When eyes are blind to thee.
Find hope and confidence in faith,
As this is how you see.
choose to see 1

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for,
and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV
aloha keep

BE THOU ENCOURAGED…In Loss By Lori A. Alicea

We are not alone in our tears.
In the lonely midnight hour it seems we suffer in silence.
But be assured and find great comfort as we are not alone in our tears.

Jesus weeps with us. He himself wept, being moved with compassion as Martha and Mary grieved the loss of their brother.  Jesus shared their grief in tears.

Jesus draws near to the broken hearted.
In your tears, Jesus will draw near to you.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV

When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Where have you laid him?  He asked.  “Come and see Lord,” they replied. 

Jesus wept. John 11 32-35 NIV

I never understood earth shattering loss until my older sister Belinda left this earth for heaven. So many years ago, yet seems like yesterday.  She left us at the young age of 44 after being sick her whole life, yet because of her strong will to live and belief in God for a miracle, we had her years beyond what we imagined.  She was the first of our six siblings to go.
xmas and other036A generous friend my sister was while growing up, spending her allowance on me for no other reason than she loved me. We shared a sweet friendship that followed into our adult lives.

I loved my sister’s unexpected long distance calls and hated when our short conversations were over. Belinda was always in a hurry yet I appreciated her small offerings of time.  What I wouldn’t give for a mini talk with my sister, enjoying her laugher on the other end of the telephone.

Goodbyes are terribly painful. Goodbyes open the floodgates of our tears.  You can’t remind the clock.  Wishing is a waste of time.  Life moves forward from the day death closes a door.  It’s not fair.  The answer to our “whys” will never satisfy.  Loss is a bitter pill to swallow.

Though there is rest in our suffering and loss.
There is comfort in Jesus noticing our weeping.
In our grief He is moved with compassion and weeps with us.

There is sweet hope for our tomorrow as..

Weeping may endure for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5 NIV

Joy is not forgetting your loss.
Joy is not pretending your loss ever happened.

“Joy comes in the morning” because if allowed, Jesus is the salve that heals all wounds. Jesus binds the broken and fills the void your loved one left behind with a new song in your heart.

Those who sow in tears will reap in joyful singing.
Psalm 126:5 NIV

All those tears in the night have been accounted for.
Your tears are collected in His bottle, and…
Joy comes in the morning.

Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not recorded in your book?
Psalm 56:8 NIV

 So many years ago, yet seems like yesterday. The deep pain of losing a sister I never expected to endure.  In a former column of mine The Milestones of First Anniversary’s

I wrote:

At her graveside service as Heaven comforted us with a sunny day and serenading birds, its own recipe of chicken soup for the sick at heart.  I couldn’t have comprehended that first year without her, as we fought to get through our first week.
graveyard
Those first few weeks after our tearful good-by when the numbing of the shock had worn off, waves of sorrow crashed over me through unexpected reminders of my sister in resemblances of her children, in each of us remaining siblings and even complete strangers. I barely held it together hearing the mention of her name.
IMG_5956Reading my sister’s obituary with her picture posted seemed so surreal. I struggled to be a pillar of strength for her children embracing the difficult realization their mother was gone.

In the passing of years, you do find it to be true that “time does heal all wounds.”
You miss your loved one in ways mere words can’t convey.
But time in God is good.

He is patient.
God doesn’t rip off the Band-Aid protecting your pain.
He handles you gently and softly, and never in a hurry.

You never cry alone.
Jesus weeps His own tears with you.
In the surrendering of your broken heart there is joy in the morning.

God even breathes his joy in the midst of our good-byes.
I wrote about it in my former column just mentioned.

Though sad was our sister’s “home going party”, before us, a little butterfly circled, showing off as if to tell us a secret.  Flittering free as a child, its interpretative dance reminding us my sister was free from the body that held her hostage.  Cry no more she’s free.

 Since then, I’ve attended a few dance recitals held outside my kitchen window.  A gift from Heaven who enjoys her now, I draw joy again from the well of my soul, prepared to live through the “seconds”.  There’s even peace to write my own lyrics to the song of this butterfly’s dance.

It’s just a little butterfly,
Outside that I can see.
Performing solo with new wings,
A special dance for me.

No music plays that I can hear,
A song there has to be.
A ballerina on her stage,
The audience, just me.

This butterfly is free to fly,
Wherever it may go.
But chose outside my window pane,
That I would somehow know.

Each dance this butterfly performs,
Within my simple view.
To celebrate its freedom wings,
Each time I think of you.        

I still miss my sister after all these years.  Since my sisters death, our youngest sister went home to be with Jesus, leaving another empty chair at the dinner table.  So much to conceive, but Jesus is enough to get us to the other side of pain.  Good-by celebrates the handprints our loved one leaves behind.
No thief can ever rob you of their memory.
david at gravesideIt’s ok to weep.
Jesus did.

Remember that heaven is our eternal home; we are only passing through in this life.
We’re just dropping in to say hello this side of heaven.
One day we’ll all meet Jesus and our loved ones again and..

As the song is gloriously written…

What a day of rejoicing that will be.

Be Thou Encouraged: In the Wait By Lori A Alicea

How long Lord?

We’ve all been that impatient passenger in the long car ride of “wait” where we’ve been wondering, wringing our hands, inquiring of the Lord,

“How long?”
2013 brodie and brystol on purple carKing David asked the same question:

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?  Psalm 13 1-6 NIV

Nobody has been given immunity from the wait. There are no fast passes to the front of the line.  There are no side streets to bypass the bottleneck of “wait”. 

Like little children relentlessly asking in the back seat of a long car ride, “Are we there yet?” God’s answer remains the same.  “I’m neither behind, in a rush or in a hurry.  Be not dismayed in the wait as arrival to your destination is always on time.”
2015 cova in car seatSo then we wait.

In a world where instant gratification is found in the drive-thru lane, a few seconds in the microwave or a swipe of the credit card.

We lose our patience when matters of the heart find us waiting day after day, looking over our shoulder, checking the mailbox or voicemail for any glimpse of a breakthrough, yet still we find ourselves asking,

“How long Lord?”
kizzy car seat 1Five years might as well been a lifetime waiting for God to complete my singleness with a mate, yet the answer remained a cliffhanger, having me wait with bated breath, suffocating in a bubble ready to burst in frustration.

It’s comforting looking backward after the wait and the detailed transcripts of the wait have been revealed. I find that God was faithfully working on my behalf just as His promises said he would be.  I stand amazed in wonderment the lengths my Heavenly Daddy went to, the events that crossed paths in the intersections of my life.  God was at work all along, never off the clock, yet in his silence I assumed and lost confidence and hope that God had forgotten me in the wait.  If only we would hold onto these truths for the next wait.

During the first year as a single mother living in a government subsidized apartment with my two small children, I convinced myself that God’s big reveal for me would arrive before a new lease needed to be signed.

Living in subsidized housing was less than desirable as concrete floors weren’t covered with carpet. Blinds weren’t furnished and we moved in minus some furniture.  With confidence in God’s speedy answers to my deep need for a mate, I felt no need to make our “house a home” and delayed purchasing carpet, furniture or custom blinds for the windows.

To my deepest sadness the lease had to be renewed again, and again for the next three years. After year two, an unwelcome tenant was added to my apartment lease named “hope deferred”.

I wasn’t feeling “hope sick” just yet, but my heart began exhibiting the signs. Every year after another lease renewal my hands did the signing, yet my tears did all the talking,

“How long Lord?”
2019 cumbee valentine ayva in carI think of the children of Israel and their forty year journey in the desert. Mile after mile and the endless walking for the millions of people, herds of animals and pulling all their belongings as their itinerary took them the long way home to the land they were promised.  Surely Moses grew tired of Israelite’s constant whining,

“Are we there yet?”
kids in carI imagine I would have grown weary of the limited menu of manna and quail and no coffee in sight (would have been my gripe) and probably having a good hair day wasn’t even a consideration after the reality of the first week.

But God’s provisions were found faithful throughout their forty year wait.

A pillar of fire kept its post at night and the cloud was faithful to its position during the day. The Israelite’s shoes never wore out.  Meals were never missed.  Consistent provisions were their road signs along the pathway for encouragement,

“The Lord your God is faithful.”

God was beyond faithful to me during my personal wait of five years. We never lacked.  The cupboards weren’t full, yet we never went hungry.  The bank account balance was low, but the bills were paid every month on time.  The car I drove was a few miles ready for the junkyard yet another would be provided.

My heart beat to the empty song of loneliness. I could barely stand the midnight hours alone.  The years were adding up and the finish line of “wait” was nowhere near within my sight.  God comforted though through the prayers of my friends, encouragement cards from my pastor, Friday night time with my sister, her best friend and kids.  God was a true friend through so many people in my desperate time of need.

Year four was a game changer for me. I grew tired of the shell of the house we were living in.  I longed for carpet under my feet, furniture to enjoy and pretty windows to look through.

After four long years I surrendered to the single life and purposed to make our subsidized house a home. Year four, everything came together.  Carpet covered the concrete floors.  Coordinated blinds and curtains were hung and furniture was purchased, completing our home.

That Thanksgiving, my heart was full to the brim of contentment. I raised a white flag of surrender to my singleness.  I rested in the idea that maybe it was just going to be God and me.  The question “How Long Lord” seemed to be answered in the peace of my heart, “We’re here now.”

Isn’t it interesting that when we exhale, let go of our hopes and dreams and fall into the arms of Gods, we hear those words we gave up thinking He’d ever say, “Ok kids, we’re here.”
ethan sleeping in carWhen I least expected and with whom I least expected him to be, God introduces HIM, my man, my completeness, the love of my life.

The wait was over.

I couldn’t believe how perfect my storybook ended.

But before our “happily ever after” began, God had great words of caution, the same words He had for the children of Israel before they entered the land they were promised forty years prior he warned:

…. Praise the Lord for the good land he has given you…

…DO NOT FORGET the Lord your God…

… Remember Him when your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied OR your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt…. (Deuteronomy 8:10-14 NIV)

God tells us not to forget what He has brought us through, a journey endured by His strength, and not our own. It is in this remembrance that gives us hope in the next wait, the next time we’re tempted in a long car ride to ask, “How long Lord?”

Currently, a brand new wait of almost three years has taken us down the long road of the familiar. The scenery hasn’t changed.  We fight succumbing to the sadness of “hope deferred”.  The unknown and weariness of the wait still tempts the question, “Are we there yet?”

Yet that hope of remembrance from twenty-five years ago sustains us.

We hold onto that reminder from God to NOT FORGET His faithful promises, and we haven’t.

We repent many times in wanting to hear God turn off the car keys at our destinations arrival.

But God wants our dependence on Him. He wants to show off in our big reveal.  As in all “waits”, we must surrender to it.  We must rest in the unknown of “How Long”.  We must trust that God is working it out for our good.

Interestingly, I was reminded in a recent Facebook memory of mine posted nine years ago regarding God’s faithfulness to me:

In fifty years of life, thru good times and bad, thru employment and unemployment, when living in government housing and in our own abode, thru high paying jobs and starting over again and anything else I have missed, God has never let us down. He is always faithful and always on time.  God does his best work when times are the worst.  Thank you God for being who you always said you would be.  I have never doubted it.  No reason to.

While wishing we knew “How Long Lord” for this current wait,

We are confident as we hope in the remembrance of God’s promised faithfulness, the promise that sustains us in the wait.

MORE THAN DECORATED TABLES By Lori A Alicea

“Just talk about yourself.”

Those were simple words spoken from my teenage granddaughter after asking her opinion for ideas of a future blog of mine while travelling together to church.

Pondering back over two years of blogs, I wondered if I had ever done just that,

“Talk about myself.”

 I’m sure you have guessed that I am “over the moon in love” with my ten grandchildren as their pictures illustrate and bring to life the words of my many weekly blogs.

The same is also true of my husband David, the man possessing my heart in our twenty-five years of marriage this past October.
25th anniversary - corner david and lori in corner 30
A 25 Year Anniversary Vow Renewal celebration we invited you as our guest to attend in blogs,

SHE DANCED UNTIL MIDNIGHT,
RENEWAL VOWS AND HONOR TO MY BELOVED HUSBAND
and LOVE IS.

In many of my blogs, as in my previous blog to this one,
SMALL BEGINNINGS,

I have encouraged you in pursuit of your dreams, so
it is in this thought that I have questioned myself though,
“Have I ever revealed to you my dreams?”

Maybe indirectly, as written in my blog,
A TABLE SET FOR THE UNSEEN GUEST,
a piece revealing the heart and love of mine for setting and decorating tables and for whom I truly decorate for.

So, at the urging of my teenage granddaughter to
“Just talk about myself”,
I present to you my passion and dream beyond a decade
as written in this blog titled,
MORE THAN DECORATED TABLES.
table centerpiece
“Do you wake up in the morning and go to bed at night thinking about your dream?
Are you willing to pursue it even if you can’t make a living at it?”
Author John C. Maxwell asks that question in his book,
Put Your Dream to the Test.

Allow me the privilege of introducing myself.
My name is Lori A Alicea.
I reside in a small country town.
I have been an event decorator for over a decade.
And
John C. Maxwell, whom if you follow me, is my favorite author and mentor as I quote him often, best describes my passion to a precise-T:

That decorating tables (which encompasses so much more) is what I think about when waking up in the morning and before I go to bed at night, and up to this point although believing that will change, been willing to pursue without making a living at.
IMG_1765An excerpt taken from my blog “A Table Set for the Unseen Guest” details in vivid color my passion for decorating tables:

Nobody loves a party more than I do. I light up like a Christmas tree at the mere mention of making your event dreams come true.  I hyperventilate in the candy store of Pinterest.  I savor the hunt for napkin folds, centerpiece ideas, favors, intimate lighting and linens.  Glue guns are my weapon of choice and I dream in glitter of every color in the crayon box. 

It’s a mystery that setting a beautiful table fills my tank, yet it does. But it’s also the invited list of names I want to overwhelm in the details that motivates my passion, those selected guests who have no idea of the tables prepared just for them.

If truth be told though, some guests rarely notice the trappings of the table. A tablecloth would have sufficed; even a wrinkled one.  The decoration expense might be viewed as a waste and unappreciated favor gifts are left behind by many. 

No matter the opinion though, this event decorator will continue to pour her heart onto her guests, especially the unseen guest whom she truly decorates for, the Lord.

Decorating for me began when my mother passed on her “spirit of celebration” through all our holiday dinners and events; a gift I wanted to pass on to my family.

Soon, I was privileged to decorate for our children’s wedding showers and receptions. Decorating for me is more than creating a beautiful day.  It is about preparing tables with every guest in mind by the displays of my love for them in the details.

Then the babies came and their special events.

Fairy parties

Lemonade-stand parties

Diva parties

Under the Sea parties to name a few.

Last spring, I created the centerpieces for a school auction which benefitted children attending the school. Decorations were designed in my home then mailed in a huge shipment to the school states away, where I flew in town to assist my daughter ‘n law in overseeing and setting up the decorations the day before the auction.

As a military mom, I have decorated for a military Christmas dinner to celebrate America’s finest.

I have decorated for a fundraising event for a candidate running for State Representative, while also honoring a few invited veterans that day during the service.

I was even honored to create a military scene for a men’s event my church had hosted one year.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My most recent and cherished event was designing the decorations for our 25th Wedding Anniversary Vow Renewal.

And all these tables are just a few among many others not mentioned.

After setting and decorating tables for over a decade with great love, joy and passion, I still believed that God wanted more from the gifting He has blessed me with.

That belief was confirmed in a voice mail message from my niece, who after attending a young girl’s tea party with her daughter, could see and imagine me also hosting and decorating tea parties tables for girls.

A voice mail message heard while checking my phone at the grocery store, stirred up excitement as my prayer for the “next step” was answered through an unsuspecting family member.

Tea party celebrations for girls; this felt right, a perfect next step.

As a young girl, I remember the affirmation of being honored on my birthday.
Lori little Birthday cakeAnd after having so many granddaughters whom delighted in the decorations I created for their special events, I decided to pass on that deep love for girls, while silently honoring the little girl I once was and still am inside, by opening up my doors to help little girls believe they are special through the detailed decorations of their tea parties, birthday parties, princess parties or whatever special day they are having.

I began to put my true heart on display through the ground work of launching an event decorating business called

SHE SPARKLES,
Events for Girls We Celebrate.

Pictures for business cards were taken.

My heart through
SHE SPARKLES
Was to remind young girls:

They truly are one of a kind.
Their life has purpose.
Their life has meaning.

They deserve to be celebrated.
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A tax-id was secured.
Early preparations were made.
But sadly, preparations remain incomplete from when they began three long years ago.

What happened?

I didn’t believe enough in myself.
I froze in my confidence.
I stalled to my lack of finance.

Pride put a heavy burden on the backs of my success and gifting ability to make this dream happen, when all along it was God’s dream for me and only He could breathe life into the outcome.

I DISOBEYED.

And yet, I continued to seek another next step for this dream in prayer.
But God was silent in His answer.

I write about the silence of God when praying for the next step in an excerpt taken from my blog

SMALL BEGINNINGS.
You see, when I was speaking to you through my words of this blog, I was actually re-telling my story.

SMALL BEGINNINGS (an excerpt)

Small beginnings require faith and obedience for every step of the way that God has called us to take.

God speaks.
We listen.
We obey.
God speaks the next step.

Sometimes in the dream journey though, it seems as if God has stopped speaking and gone silent, causing us to question the next step.

Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church
Asks the same question in his “Frequency Series” on hearing God:

“Have you ever been in a place where you felt you weren’t hearing God?
Then go back to the last place God spoke to you, and ask yourself, did you obey?”

In prayer, I repented for not trusting God and surrendered to his leading, his equipping, his provision, and gifting. I went back to the last word God spoke to me and chose to obey.  Shoes were laced and I got back in my lane, took the baton for my leg of this dream race, and purposed to run with fury.

I’ve been stirred again to pursue this dream of mine, though all the unknowns and concerns still remain from three years ago. I rest in the peace though that my only responsibility for this race is to put one step in front of the other.  I rejoice in the assurance of God’s faithfulness to my every step of the way.

There is a reserved seat and decorated table befitting every sweet princess.

She’s beautiful.
She Sparkles.
She deserves to be celebrated.

May all her dreams, including mine, come true.
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SMALL BEGINNINGS  By Lori A Alicea

Dreams have to start somewhere.

You enter the race at the starting line like every other runner,
with no fast track to the finish.

Books are written and read one page at a time.

The corporate ladder is climbed one step at a time.

We see ourselves at the mountain peak, yet a “dream come true” takes their first steps at the base.

All leaders share a common story of small beginnings.

Don’t despise your small beginning at the lemonade stand level,
because dreams have to start somewhere,
so why not start with excitement at the beginning.

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…”Zechariah 4:10

ayvas lemonade stand

Your dream’s beginning is a perfect place to write and establish your vision as a road sign of encouragement for those to see who are running this race with you.

Small beginnings remind us that dreams are slow in “coming true.”

Runners grow weary when the finish line is further than they prepared for, a mile marker where some contemplate giving up on their dream.

But your vision’s road sign of encouragement will be that needed drink to quench their thirst of weariness along the way.

ayva lemonade party 14

Write the vision; make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end – it will not lie.

If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:2-3 ESV

Small beginnings require confidence.

Small beginnings require a belief that we are qualified in the first place, a belief that God picked the right person for this dream job when the resumes of others scream more qualified.

When God hand selected Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt’s bondage into the Promised Land, Moses drowning in all of his self-doubt responded,

I have never been eloquent….I am slow of speech and tongue.”
Exodus 4:10 NIV

O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”
Exodus 4:13 NIV

Our God, who knows us more intimately than anyone else when He fashioned us in the womb, should raise a confidence from within that we are perfectly called.

A Heavenly Father wants a childlike trust that in our weaknesses,
He will be our strength.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10 NLT

Dreams are a series of small beginnings.

One small beginning crosses paths with another small beginning, with God at times asking you to reach for more, to swim out into the deep, going beyond what feels comfortable.

Author and Motivational Speaker John Maxwell quotes:
To succeed in life, we must stay within our strength zone, but continually move outside our comfort zone.

When you least expect it, your lemonade stand adds a beautifully decorated table for the thirsty,

And additional yummies to the menu.

Small beginnings require faith and obedience for every step of the way that God has called us to take.

God speaks.
We listen.
We obey.
God speaks the next step.

Sometimes in the dream journey though, it seems as if
God has stopped speaking and gone silent, causing us to question the next step.

Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church
Asks the same question in his “Frequency Series” on hearing God:

Have you ever been in a place where you felt you weren’t hearing God?
Then go back to the last place God spoke to you, and ask yourself, did you obey?”

This happened to Jonah as recorded in Jonah 1-3.

The Lord instructed Jonah to go to Nineva and preach to the people regarding their wicked ways, yet disobeyed and went to Tarshish instead.

A huge storm arose in the boat he traveled and Jonah found himself thrown overboard, swallowed into the belly of a huge fish and deafened by the silence of God.

When Jonah repented, the Lord caused the fish to release him then spoke again the same request that Jonah disobeyed the first time silencing the voice of God, “Go to Nineva.” This time Jonah obeyed.

Dreams can come true but we must remember:
Small beginnings
can’t go any faster than “one step at a time”.

Welcome small beginnings, and not despise them.

Write and establish the dream’s vision as a road sign of encouragement for those that have chosen to run this race with us.

Be confident in our belief that God has called us to this dream fully and perfectly qualified.

Be expecting our small beginnings to cross paths with other small beginnings.

Be faithful and obedient to God’s voice and direction in every step.

Be in great anticipation beyond what you could have ever imagined.

ayva lemonade party 30

Rejoice, because wild dreams from God do come true,
when we faint “not” in our steps of
small beginnings.

WAIT FOR HER By Lori A Alicea

A grandmother’s prayer…

“Wait for her.”

Though you are too young to have entertained a thought about her just yet, too young to catch a glimpse of her loveliness or even imagine her name, I promise you one day the mere mention of her will burst the gates of your heart and flood your tomorrows, so much so that your grandmother in quiet prayer for your future wife she prays,
“Wait for her.”
ethan by wedding dress
When God was “knitting you in your mother’s womb”,
He was also “fearfully and wonderfully making her in the secret place”.

His “eyes kept vigil on your unformed bodies” and
His thoughts of the two of you already “outnumber the grains of sand.”

“All your days have been ordained and are
written in His book before one of them came to be.”
(Psalms 139)

God knows her.
He’s chosen her to complete you.
She’s perfect for you in every imaginable way.

Your grandmother prays for your chaste and faithful heart to
“Wait for her.”
picture 5
Surrounded by your love of sports, bicycle riding through town, summertime at the park and whatever else boys your age like to do, the future of your older self is too far of a distance down the tracks to see.
picture 6The prettiest girl in your life today who has your eyes you call her mommy.
brodie and kristie kissingThe heroes’ keeper of her heart is a man named daddy.
picture 18God has kept your young love for each other a secret and asleep, but a true love nevertheless, promised to awaken the morning of God’s perfect timing.
picture 17You must stay hidden from the thief of her counterfeit.

Swiftly flee from the distractions of delay.

Believe and keep a firm grip on God’s truth that,
“All your days have been ordained”, as well as hers.
“Wait for her.”

In the waiting you’re trusting for God’s introduction to your completeness.

In the waiting you bow a knee in surrender,
“Not my will but Thine.”

In the waiting you forfeit the world’s good for His Best.

In the waiting, your time will come.
picture 15But until then,
Wait for her.
ethan by wedding dressThe wait will be worth it all.

FRESH VISION FOR 2020 By Lori A Alicea

Welcome year 2020, we welcome you with open arms and great anticipation.

You are a brand new year and a new decade and the blank pages of my calendar wait with bated breath for God to unveil the details of the next 365 days of my life and family, so I might capture and record His goodness and faithfulness for our remembrance and encouragement in years to come.
FINAL calendarEver since I was a little girl, I have cherished like gold and hold tight a stack of blank paper in my arms, a brand new journal or calendar where the dam that jams up the words of my heart burst and gush as a raging river onto the empty pages, leaving behind the sediments of sentences, paragraphs and chapters of my thoughts.

At the beginning and birth of every New Year,
I ask God to give me fresh vision for this leg of the journey.

I pray for 20/20 vision that He might bring into focus those things both near and far I have struggled to see in the past.
FINAL featured imageI bow my knees to the plans the “Lord my God” has prepared for me, embracing the hope and future he has promised. May I never waver or question the direction of His voice, as a good shepherd never leads his sheep astray.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
FINAL bible
For this year 2020 I pray that in order to see His vision, I must also hear His vision with clarity when my Heavenly Father speaks. Oh that my ears be unstopped from the cares and worry which deafens His voice from my unbelief and willingness to hand over the reins that lead me.

Oh that I might celebrate the amazing truth that He knows me intimately by name when He calls me by name.

I have called you by name: thou art mine. Isaiah 43:1 KV

That whenever I hear my name in the night as Samuel did, I immediately recognize His voice with my answer,

 “Speak, your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 NIV

Lord, open my eyes that I might see through your eyes the vision prepared specifically for me.  Might I write this vision down as you have requested, making it plain and easy to follow for the race you have called me to run, never wavering to the left or to the right whether your vision for my life will ever come to pass, as You are a God that cannot lie.

And the Lord answered me, and said, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon the tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry.  Habakkuk 2:2-3 KJV

God is not a man, that he should lie… Numbers 23:19

Lord, remind me this year 2020 to humble myself in your presence, to search daily for direction in Your Word, as promises of fresh vision is mine when eyes are solely fixed on you.
FINAL PEW BIBLE GLASSESFor this new year of 2020, I must turn the pages of year 2019, thanking Him for his faithfulness and goodness He has shown me and my family, yet moving on and forgetting the former things of the past 365 days, as He is doing a new thing, a wonderful and marvelous thing.

“Forget the former things;
Do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!…”
Isaiah 43:18-19

Lord, I want my life to count for this new year of 2020.
I want my life to matter, to make and be a difference for Your Kingdom.

But I desperately need a fresh vision from You today.

I need a slice of fresh bread of vision from You, not the day old kind the world has to offer.

Lord, I dedicate this new year of 2020 to you.

Oh, that my words and deeds this year be pleasing in your sight.

May I continue live my life as an ambassador for You.

May I clearly see with 20/20 vision and hear with distinct clarity
Your Fresh vision for 2020 set before me.

May every day this year of 2020 I reply as Samuel did when You repeatedly beckoned him in the night,

“Here I am Lord. Your servant is listening.”