And yet, it’s been rare to meet a child who dares to share.
Babies are born selfish. They want what they want, Day or night, And scream until they get their way.
Not much changes through the years.
For Christmas, my adult daughter buys her two young girls the same gifts to eliminate the tug-of-war fighting over toys they cry to share. The grandparents and aunts and uncles are asked to do the same.
Why do we hold on tight to what is ours, Instead of sharing or giving our blessings away?
But still, these truths of Jesus are written,
…It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35 KJV
As a young girl during the song services of the old hymns when we as a family sat together and took our seat on a wooden pew near the front each week.
The words on those reverent pages sounded a different tune over the years and stirred a desire for Jesus to shine His bright light from my life much like the morning rays glaring through the stained glass windows on each side of our Southern Baptist church, and make me a blessing to someone today.
MAKE ME A BLESSING By Ira B. Wilson (1909)
Make me a blessing, Make me a blessing. Out of my life, may Jesus shine. Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray. Make me a blessing to someone today.
Oh, how God has blessed us.
Our good Father blesses the desires of His children.
But we are also blessed to be a blessing to others.
In big ways; in small ways.
From our abundance; from our sacrifice.
It was a few days before Christmas of 2022, and I was in the salon getting my hair colored and cut when I met an older woman widowed for about a year.
Speaking out loud her Christmas list she said,
“All I want for Christmas is a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles, homemade bread AND (very specific), homemade strawberry / rhubarb jam.”
Being about 80 years young, she said it made her sad that women don’t make food from scratch in the kitchen these days.
So, I looked at this beautiful grandmotherly type and took her number and said that I would be delivering her “dream-come true” meal after the New Year.
So interesting that God loves to meet our needs and desires with great detail.
Not only do I made noodles and bread from scratch, I always freeze strawberries and rhubarb in the summer so I can make jams fresh and as gifts in the winter.
After the holidays, I delivered Miss Emily’s Christmas wish in a bag.
She asked, “How much did she owe me?”
I told her the Bible says, “…remember no more the reproach of your widowhood, for your Maker is your husband. Isaiah 54:4-5 NIV
I also reminded Miss Emily how God is her husband thru the hands and feet of others.
I looked at Miss Emily with a smile, “Dinner is on God.”
I made enough soup, bread and jam for three other widows in my neighborhood.
I thanked the Lord for being such a great husband to so many, and how He overflowed my basket and opened my eyes to how He created us blessed to be a blessing.
You just can’t out give the Lord.
Give, and it will be given to you… A good measure, pressed down, shaken together And running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38 NIV
Our seeds of generosity over a lifetime become a forest.
May the old hymns never go out of style in our hearts…
Back in the day before GPS, I’m certain those traveling drove in the wrong direction at least once or twice in their lifetime.
Admitting why we were lost is a different story depending on who was retracing their steps.
We thought we knew the science of reading a map…
We were much too embarrassed to ask for directions…
We didn’t understand the compass…
We resisted our pride to turn around…
Years ago when courses where charted before a long trip of vacation, you put your directional trust in a map and a compass; never leaving home without them.
I flunked a hard lesson one year when my married sister and husband trusted this teenage sister for directions to a place I’d been many times before; a simple drive across states which should have only taken a few hours.
Confident in my back seat driving and feeling no need to consult the map, the adult behind the wheel continued to drive until finally he did an about face of direction after multiple hours passed beyond our time of arrival.
The joke is I almost took the family to the border of Canada because I saw no need to turn around and ask for help.
In the military when the command of ABOUT FACE is given,
A soldier turns 180 degrees from their position of standing at attention, causing a change of direction.
When the command of ABOUT FACE is given in the army of God, a soldier is called to repentance…
To turn around…
To change direction…
To have a change of heart…
To make a U-turn in their life…
Towards an almighty God…
Repent, then and turn to God… Acts 3:19 NIV
The wages of sin is death, But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NIV
An about face most assuredly could save your life; a lesson learned at a child’s swim birthday party I attended three years ago with my toddler granddaughters.
Incognito as a lifeguard for those two year old ducks who call me Gaga, I ensured their safety as they swam and splashed among the other ducks in the in-ground pool.
With the birthday party about to begin, one of my granddaughters already seated at the table (minus her life vest), waited for the candles to be lit, as her mother helped nearby.
Holding my other wet granddaughter now wrapped in a warm towel baked by the afternoon sun, we walked over to see the chickens a distance from the pool.
Preoccupied with the bundle in my arms, I hadn’t notice nor had anyone else that granddaughter No. 2 left her seat at the table and now stood beside the edge of the pool to watch the older children at play.
Walking back to the party I panicked instantly after noticing my granddaughter and began to run frantically with the other in tow towards the child without her life-vest, calling out for her to TURN AROUND from the pool and run towards her mother.
Unable to catch the attention of my preoccupied granddaughter, I screamed for my daughter to rescue her child.
Captured in slow motion and a replay I wish to forget, our little duck fell into the pool.
Within seconds, my granddaughter was safe in a mother’s arms after jumping in the pool for her, thankfully after turning around to see the danger.
A situation God calls us to turn around from…
To change direction…
To have a change of heart…
To make a U-turn in their life…
TO REPENT FROM…
To lament over; to grieve over; to ache over; to mourn over.
Repentance which can only be birthed from Godly sorrow of our sin.
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV
A 180 degrees change in our position causing a new direction towards an Almighty God of abundant life; not death.
May we move quickly whenever the Commander orders our about face.
Every bride remembers the moments, the details, the highlights, the princess day she dreamed as a child playing in real time, filling up her album of memories as a grown woman on her wedding day, so a bride might hold them, cherish them, and reminisce over them for a lifetime.
Yes, every bride remembers…
Every bride remembers the man who loved her first during the milestone dance with her father, replaying their rehearsals for this day when a little girl followed tippy-toe to the music on her daddy’s feet, a man who held tight to the hands and child in his arms all those years of his daughters growing up.
A bride remembers…
A bride remembers and dares not forget the Princess Dance her father escorted her to…
Where a wrist corsage of roses befitting royalty is presented…
Where a little girls twirl captures the beauty of her princess self and daddy’s attention, whose words of her loveliness causes the seeds of a father’s affirmation to take root and bloom into the daughter’s womanhood.
Where the pages of a magical event is written for the two of them, a storybook for their eyes only to remain under lock and key and tucked inside the jewelry box of a daughter’s impressionable heart forever.
A bride remembers…
A bride remembers another dance not with her father, but grandfather she affectionately adores.
The ambiance of the princess castle captures the awe of a little girl’s attention as when she attended the dance with her father.
While though a Daddy Daughter Dance is presented for daughters and daddy’s who long a magical evening together, there are special pages of a little girl’s fairy-tale reserved especially for memories between a granddaughter and the one whose heart she wraps a special love around; her papa.
An evening among princesses who share the spotlight of sparkle…
An evening of fine dining together where dinner and dessert can be eaten in any order the princess wishes…
An evening where the belle of the ball and her storybook prince dance until the fairy-tale clock strikes midnight…
Every bride remembers…
Yes, every bride remembers the man who loved her first.
Whether her daddy…
Whether her grandfather…
Whether an important male figure in her life…
A bride will always remember the man who loved her first. The one who risked embarrassment for a smile.
May the daddy’s, the grandfathers, the uncles, the male pastors or teachers, those important men in a daughter’s world realize he hangs the stars of his love in the midnight skies of her eyes.
May this princess never doubt her beauty, her worth, her value, her place in your life.
May this princess feel safe in your arms, be confident in your love and be introduced to the truest love of her Heavenly Daddy.
May she never go lacking or searching for your attention.
May this bride always remember at the dance with her father…
My daddy loved me first…
MY DADDY LOVED ME FIRST By Lori A Alicea
The first to lay your eyes on me, The first my heart to seek. The first to ever hold my hand, Or kiss my chubby cheek.
You’d blink; your little girl would grow, I’d chase you every chance. On tippy toes I’d follow you, Our Daddy Daughter Dance.
The years will pass; I’ll soon be grown, Our heart of tears will burst. But yet remains our memory, My daddy loved me first.
The splashing of water spills over from bucket to bucket, colliding with one another from broken sisters lowering their needs into the well of this woman’s life, drawing forth a cup of refreshment from the Lord she was offering.
To quench a lonely heart…
To survive another day…
To give hope for tomorrow…
To encourage the discouraged…
From a well that never went dry in the Lord, we drank.
I knew her well.
Pastor of Ladies Ministry; we called her Pastor Sue.
In her china cabinet of Ladies Ministry, each broken china doll was displayed as beautiful; never acknowledging the cracks of our lives, only giving us a special place and purpose to belong, to find healing, to be loved.
And that we did.
A newly single mother with two small children and walking thru doors of this church for the first Sunday that week thirty-three years ago, I hadn’t realized how parched and thirsty for a drink from the Lord I needed.
When you’re tilling up the fields of new beginnings, one fails to assess their “strength of heart” when those children you hold in your arms depend on their mother from fainting not.
A cup of cool water filled to its brim was handed to me as I stood in my brokenness at the well of this woman’s life.
Ladies ministering to ladies…
Continually pouring into our cups from the buckets drawn from God’s love the ladies served…
Being the example before us, Pastor Sue served from the posture of servant as Jesus served.
With an open hand Pastor Sue she gave, she lavished and poured out generously as Jesus did so with his life.
Pastor Sue taught us daughters by example and portrait titled Virtuous Woman from the gallery in her role as wife, mother and friend.
Pastor Sue drank from the well of Living Water, and served those desperate for a drink from the same well in her life.
As a young mother I watched and learned and I drank; eventually pouring into the cups of broken women thirsty and desperate for a drink themselves.
I’ve never forgotten the friendship and deep well of Pastor Sue’s life.
Facebook photo from Tina Freeman
She modeled a life of Christ that had you thirsting for more of Him.
Pastor Sue took us to the shallow wells of bitterness, wells of rejection, the wells of sorrow, we might drinking from.
Then showed us how to close up those wells, and take us to the deep places, where the splashing of water spills over from bucket to bucket, colliding with one another from broken sisters lowering their needs into the well of this woman’s life, drawing forth a cup of refreshment from the Lord she was offering.
The pages of Pastor Sue’s life are found and read from the scriptures where the older teach the younger the truths of a virtuous woman; an amazing read which still has a place on the shelf of this mother, now grandmother’s heart.
These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. Titus 2:4-5 NLT
Only forty seconds old and you changed my life forever.
”It’s a boy!”
During those forty seconds after you took your first breath at 5:55 pm on February 24, 1983, a ninth month surprise announces I’ve given birth to a baby boy.
Forty years ago there were no routine ultra sounds or gender reveals to prepare a parent or nursery in advance for a child’s arrival.
Yet, while carrying this miracle inside of me, a mother dreams and wonders through her babies kicks, rolls, sleeps and hiccups, introducing herself as she rocks, reads and sings to the child she has to herself for forty beautiful weeks.
At twenty-two years of age and enduring twelve long hours of natural labor, I held in my arms a baby boy wrapped in a blanket; wrapped in my heart.
A few weeks after your birth, your parents vowed to raise you in the wisdom and admonition of the Lord, dedicating back and recognizing you as the gift from God from which He gave.
…Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Luke 2:22 NIV
Mother’s never count, but those kisses, hugs, stories, and midnight watches in her math, calculates at a minimum, forty times a million throughout your lifetime.
In a child’s short life, a mother begins to feel the tug and letting go of her heartstrings, when forty rollovers become forty scoots, which become forty crawls into forty steps; a slow progression thru the years when a child finds and gains his wings from the nest he calls home.
Sharing the nest with his sister five years younger than he, our son’s personality and plan on his life as well as hers, began to unfold before our eyes.
Approximately forty hours of teaching each week over the school year for the next twelve, it was evident in a mother’s blink through the yearbook; our baby boy was growing up.
Those first few steps you took when learning to walk became miles and miles away from our grip. Yes, letting go is inevitable, but the evidence before my eyes was raw and real for this mother to process.
“Letting go, meant letting God!”
Words I’d embrace on my knees as our son drove up the two acre drive way heading for college, not realizing at the time this picture was taken, home for him would never be our address, as a series of graduations would re-locate our son from one corner of the map to the other.
Home for our son now grown into this handsome man a mother hardly recognizes from the child she gave life to, is the United States military, for which he proudly serves.
Looking back in the rear view mirror of my son’s forty years of life, as delighted as I am of his accomplishments, he still remains my son, the accolade I am most proud.
A four generational picture honors the roots of our son, for which he celebrates.
Then, there’s the crazy, free spirited son of ours who continues to enjoy life into adulthood…
On his favorite childhood toy…
By not cutting his hair for twelve months in college…
By climbing a mountain with his best friend, without a guide and in a snowstorm….
By becoming a third generation bee-keeper, though highly allergic to bees…
By surfing among the sharks when stationed in Hawaii…
Yes, our free spirited son has lived a life of accomplishment and adventure; yet our greatest joy is embracing him as our son, and now father bringing adventure to four children of his own.
Today, our son Jacob James C England celebrates his fortieth birthday. A mother can hardly believe it when his first birthday celebration seems like yesterday.
Forty years of time is now behind you son, and forty years (plus) of road waits in front of you with a blank itineraryto be mapped out. If I could wrap and present a gift to you on this milestone birthday of yours, it’d be the same words of wisdom I’ve been speaking since you were born…
Never forget what the Lord has done for you.
Praise the Lord for the favor, the abilities, the knowledge, the opportunities, your salvation, for which He has generously given.
Praise the Lord for the good land he has given you. Do not forget the Lord, Obey his commands, That your heart won’t become proud. (Deuteronomy 8)
18But remember the Lord your God, For it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth… Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV
A BIRTHDAY BLESSING FROM YOUR MOTHER AND FATHER…
May the Lord bless you with favor and protection. May the Lord be pleasing, merciful and compassionate towards you, bestowing His approval and peace over your life.
The Lord bless you And keep you; The Lord make his face shine upon you And be gracious to you, The Lord turn his face toward you And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26 NIV
I remember being that inquisitive young girl with my grandmother, asking her question after question about love and courting back in her day.
What an heirloom to pass on through the generations; a love story continuing in the chapters of your children’s lives, your grand-children and the greats beyond them.
Matters of the heart are timeless through the centuries of calendars, as we’re all looking for love to share our lives with; it’s just the specifics which date the romance.
Recalling one indelible detail I held onto from those conversations with my grandmother regarding her courtship with Papa, she recounted how he flirted for her attention by riding pass the window on horseback, while shooting his rifle in the afternoon air.
What a keepsake in my hope chest of memories, if only I had taken the time to record my grandmother’s accounts in its entirety on paper.
I didn’t want to make the same mistake with our love story, as stories are those sacred pages written in the family Bible, the history of our lineage documenting the faithfulness of God for the generations beyond our life to take comfort in, to hold onto, to mine the wisdom and believe for themselves when their hearts begin their travels of looking for love.
I was twenty-eight years old and looking for love.
Newly single and a mother of two young children, I was looking for love, but didn’t want to find love in all the wrong places, as my two year old daughter and seven year old son’s future depended on me while I depended on God with the matters of my heart for their sake, as well as mine.
I wish I could have held the hand of the twenty-eight year old version of me during those lonely evenings when the children slept, and uplift her continence to remember, this too shall pass.
I would reassure her that Valentine’s Day won’t always be celebrated seated at a table for one.
I would remind her in this painful separation from love…
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart… Psalms 34:18 NKJV
I would shower her with hope for the new beginnings God has already planned for the three of them.
Although not to overwhelm, I would save the part of the five year wait ahead of her,
Instead, I’d bring a mother’s comfort in the wait she currently endures,
But those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings of eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and be faint. Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
It was in the waiting where I struggled most.
With my love language being quality time, I longed to share my life with someone wanting the same.
In looking for love, a tug of war with God over the reins of my heart was a constant struggle, yet peace waited for me in my surrender to His control.
In looking for love, somehow I believed I knew what was God’s best according to me,
and wrote about it during the fourth year of my wait, on March 7, 1993.
GOD’S BEST ACCORDING TO ME By Lori A Alicea
As I sit and ponder, And search to see. What truly is God’s best, According to me.
It all comes to mind, In my quiet place. I begin to know him, And sense his face.
He’d have a beard, Kept up each week. To be ever soft, Against my cheek.
He’d stand so straight, But not too tall. And have arms of strength, To protect us all.
He’d enjoy the laughter, And enjoy the peace. And enjoy it with measure, That never would cease.
He’d be so excited, About the children I’ve known. And would treasure their being, And make them his own.
He’d be the likeness of Christ, And bear his name. And be the priest of our home, Just the same.
He’d cover me with prayer, At the start of each day. And I’d feel his compassion, By the words he’d say.
And more important than ever, More important to me. Would be his race towards Jesus, And the heavenly.
And all this is beautiful, What a dream he’d be But this is only God’s best, According to me.
My thoughts are so limited, And ideas so few. And all this together, Would not be dreams come true.
For just as the heavens, Are higher than the earth. So are His ways far greater, In value and in worth.
For it is he that knows my desires, For only he can see. What truly is His best, For me.
And even though on paper, My special needs I state. I must allow the matchmaker, To select my mate.
Another year of waitingon God and with God still remained.
In looking for love, God longed to reveal His heart of love to me before I shared my heart with another.
…God is love. 1 John 4:8 NJKV
“Why did this journey take five years?
I will have to ask God someday when we meet face to face, as the answers haven’t yet been revealed.
But I must confess this five year quest in looking for love developed in me “a strength and confidence” in God I had never known before.
This was so worth the wait.
A wait and our complete love story written in this former blog titled…
SO WORTH THE WAIT
By Lori A Alicea
TRUE LOVE WAITS.
True love “waits on God” for His perfect best, for however long it takes.
True love “trusts in God” the steps he’s planned for your journey, resisting the lead when guided thru the “wrong way appearances” of the back roads.
True love “believes in God” that He hasn’t forgotten you during the lonely hours spent by yourself.
True love “rests in God” no matter our tears as He notices and collects them all in a bottle where not one is lost, recording this in His book of remembrance. (Psalm 56:8 TPT)
True love waits.
Waiting though is easier said than done.
As a single mom of two I never imagined a five year wait for “God’s best in marriage.”
Twenty-eight years old and starting over again was never my plan, nor was it God’s plan. Nevertheless, I am a “lady in waiting” for the second time.
I must confess the countless lies I believed regarding who would want me and my ready-made family. God reminded me over and over though the double blessing His “hand-picked man” would receive bringing all three of us into his life.
For most of the time I didn’t sense the loneliness of my life surrounded by sisters, a great family, church, a few dear friends and all my time filled with the responsibilities of raising two small children.
During the summer months most days on my calendar were filled with Little League. It helped having somewhere to go at night and on weekends, at least for the summer.
School and shift work kept me exhausted but I always saved a reserve of my time, energy and love for that little girl and boy who needed me to be present in their day. We had to go on and God would want us to enjoy life and be thankful in all things.
Holidays were the hardest though, especially at Christmas. I found joy in the decorated trees trimmed with bright lights and sparkle. I loved the Christmas music played on every station. I found warmth beside the fireplaces lit for the ambiance of the season. I too shopped and baked and hid those gifts under the tree. But I wasn’t sending out Christmas cards from the “two of us”. I didn’t share a kiss with anyone under the mistletoe. When you’re not a couple at Christmas you feel like that burnt out strand of lights that went dim on the tree. People aren’t watching, but in your loneliness you just imagine that they are.
Year after year when the New Year’s Eve clock counted down to midnight, I held on to the promises of God that this year might be different.
GOD’S WORD KEPT ME HOPEFUL AS HE IS FAITHFUL
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; Psalms 130:5
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desiresofyourheart. Psalm 37:4
One day I decided to write God the “desires of my heart”. These desires surely pale in comparison to His Best, but these words longed to give a voice to my heart.
GOD’S BEST ACCORDING TO ME Written March 7, 1993, One year before God’s Big Reveal
By Lori A Alicea
As I sit and ponder,
And search to see.
What truly is God’s best,
According to me.
It all comes to mind,
In my quiet place.
I begin to know him,
And sense his face.
He’d have a beard,
Kept up each week.
To be ever soft,
Against my cheek.
He’d stand so straight,
But not too tall.
And have arms of strength,
To protect us all.
He’d enjoy the laughter,
And enjoy the peace.
And enjoy it with measure,
That never would cease.
He’d be so excited,
About the children I’ve known.
And would treasure their being,
And make them his own.
He’d be the likeness of Christ,
And bear his name.
And be the priest of our home,
Just the same.
He’d cover me with prayer,
At the start of each day.
And I’d feel his compassion,
By the words he’d say.
And more important than ever,
More important than me.
Would be his race towards Jesus,
And the heavenly.
And all this is beautiful,
What a dream he’d be.
But this is only God’s best,
According to me.
My thoughts are so limited,
And ideas so few.
And all this together,
Would not be dreams come true.
For just as the heavens,
Are higher than the earth.
So are His ways far greater,
In value and in worth.
For it is he that knows my desires,
For only he can see.
What truly is his best,
And even though on paper,
My special needs I state.
I must allow the matchmaker,
To select my mate.
God is a personal God.
He cares about our thoughts and desires.
One year later
When you least expect, God shows up on the scene of our life.
In our waiting, may we wait with EXPECTANCY.
Be ever confident that God hears and answers our prayers.
And SUDDENLY God shows Himself faithful
By SHOWING up with His Best for my life.
IN A SUDDENLY MOMENT – LIFE HAS NEW MEANING
Song “Suddenly” by Billy Ocean
Video Courtesy of Brad Ebert
As wonderful as this “dream come true” appears, I’m mortified to say I almost MISSED and PASSED UP the best blessing of my life in David when I questioned God and his choice. How dare me but I did. Everyone in my life, especially my pastor, was aghast at my indecision.
God reveals His best after five years of waiting on Him yet I fought an inner battle waged on myself whether I could receive this amazing man into my life as well as my children’s.
Faith required me to believe what eyes couldn’t see.
My trust in God required blind eyes walking.
Another song of my heart is written.
The War of My Own Will
By Lori A. Alicea
I toss and turn and try to sleep,
The night it seems so long.
I try and figure out myself,
To see what might be wrong.
But harder that I make it seem,
This mountain or this hill.
I know I’m fighting deep inside,
A war of my own will.
I see things as I know I should,
I hear His guiding voice.
But oh the path I’d rather take,
The trails of my own choice.
It all just seems so right to me,
The pieces I make fit.
But why can’t I rest peaceably,
And sleep a little bit.
The answers that He has for me,
No doubt will be all right.
But war of my own will goes on,
I can’t give up the fight.
My fight with Him will have to stop,
But who will have to die.
Though all along this fight is with,
One, Me, Myself and I.
He never makes me eat His will,
The restaurant is free.
This gentleman just holds the door,
And only waits for me.
I feel this way as others have,
I know I’m not alone.
For His own Son did feel the same,
His will He did make known.
For in Gethsemane He prayed,
In sorrow He did spake.
If it is possible for me,
This cup I plea you take.
The troubled Son was overwhelmed,
His face fell to the ground.
But in the midst of darkest times,
No chains would make Him bound.
For He did yield His life to Him,
To save the life of mine.
When with His lips He spoke these words,
“Yet not My will but Thine”.
To be like Him, the war would end,
The peace that would be still.
The only words my Father wants,
From me is, “Yes I will”.
After much prayer and repentance, I’m at peace to embrace a new chapter in our life.
Two months after our first date on Valentine’s Day, David and I became engaged and married eight months later on October 15, 1994.
Becoming a family of six, blending lives and hearts meant years of God touching and healing our brokenness in discovery of a new beginning for all of us.
God is so good and faithful.
You can trust Him.
During the lonely five years of my wait and wonder,
God was writing our love story.
I couldn’t see it.
I couldn’t imagine it.
But in the silence God was singing a song on our behalf.
He was preparing our new beginning.
We just had to wait for it with great expectancy.
9 “What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[a]—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV
David my love,
YOU WERE SO WORTH THE WAIT
28 YEARS LATER
We are still Living Happily Ever After
SOME WEDDING FUN
Twenty-eight years ago bride and grooms couldn’t afford the high cost of videographers; our wedding included. David and I just wanted to get married. All the extras came as love gifts from the hearts of family and friends.
Our sweet nephew Adam, all of twelve at the time, blessed us greatly when on his own initiative visited guest after guest at the reception to record wedding wishes from them to us with a hand-held recording device called a Talkboy.
Listening to these well wishes the “old fashioned” way, I captured a few of them for our delight as parents cherish hearing their children’s voices from twenty-four years ago. Included are a few family members as well.
Have grace for the misgivings of old technology.
Our nephew Adam / Well Wishing Recorder
Daughter Candace’s Well Wishes
Son Jake’s Well Wishes
Daughter Audra’s Well Wishes
(I guess I’m an aunt now…lol)
Son Nathan (No Well Wish Recorded)
Nephew Adam / Well Wish Recorder
Nephew Adam / Recorder stopped any Well Wish that wasn’t PG rating with this:
Nephew Adam / Recorder even got comments from the little ones
A question I’m certain we’ve asked the Lord a time or two in our lives.
A three letter word our small children relentlessly ask and as parents, we do our best to give them understanding.
As children in the family of God there are those heart cries, those desperate why’s which appear to have fallen on deaf ears, gone unanswered, or possibly delayed indefinitely by our Heavenly Father, buckling us at the knees in surrender for answers,
“Why Lord? Why?”
We drink from the cup of unanswered questions, and long for empathy, clarity and comfort from God to quench our thirst.
Why were our parents, our siblings and a host of loved ones taken too soon from us Lord? Why did they have to suffer first before the angels escorted them back to You?
Why all the divorces Lord?
The ash heap of pain still smolders.
Why doesn’t the lighthouse of home illuminate the pathway for our prodigals return?
The finances, the dark clouds of the world, the everyday struggles.
“Why Lord? Why?”
Yet, we are not alone in our questions.
A man of God named Job in the Bible had questions also.
Job was prosperous in wealth, in health, and in family.
But in a test of Job’s faith, God allowed great loss in his life; his children, his money, his possessions, his health; now gone. (Job 1 & 2)
Yet Job didn’t curse God, but he did question his suffering.
Why Lord? Why?
During this season of unanswered questions and loss, all that remained in Job’s life was God.
Author Corrie ten Boom said it best in our loss…
You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.
Job realized the questions he asked, he asked amiss.
Instead of Why Lord? Why?
The question became Who is God?…
When God revealed Himself in his own set of questions…
Where we you when I laid the earth’s foundations? Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set, Or who laid its cornerstone –
While the morning stars sang together And all the angels shouted for joy?
Who shut up the sea behind doors When it burst forth from the womb… Job 38:4-8 NIV
The Almighty Father continues to speak to his servant Job in chapters 38-42.
Job realized in understanding
Who God is,
Who created all things…
Who has us and our circumstances in the palm of his hands…
That a deeper relationship with God awaited Job during the testing of his faith.
Author and Missionary Elisabeth Elliot Who suffered great pain and sorrow herself is quoted…
Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I’m willing to take because I trust Him. Because I know that what God wants for me is the very best.
In the midst of unanswered questions Lord, we can trust you.
You’ve had my best interest already written in your book before the world had taken form.
Jesus himself even prepared and encouraged our lives for pain when he said,
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
The answers to our whys might not be revealed until we meet our Lord face to face.
Glam table touches of Valentine sparkle and chocolates…
Obviously missed were the couture dresses, swag bags and the paparazzi…
But great appreciation overflowed from leadership hearts towards those diligently committed each week for the sole reason of honoring God by serving his people.
Then Sunday came…
The serve team took their place as they do week after week; not for accolades, not for fame; just a servant’s heart to be found faithful to their post.
Chuck was no different.
He attended the Day at the Emmy’s. Facebook photo from Rachael Tucker
He was seen serving the very next day at church.
A true patriot; Chuck was faithful to God, family and flag, who never went AWOL to his post.
Chuck could always be found…
Leading worship in our life-group on Tuesday evenings…
Keeping the church safe through the undercover security team on Sundays…
Fathering and loving his family no matter the day…Facebook photo from Ken Steorts
If Chuck was needed for any reason at all, look no further than at his post.
Yet, when Tuesday came only two days later, his post was found unattended, unmanned by our patriot, as Chuck had taken a brand new post in heaven.
With no warning to prepare for, God received a committed servant for Himself.
During the home-going service honoring Chuck as a veteran of the faith that he was, I kept remembering a man who showed up week after week, with my final sighting of him standing at the sanctuary’s entrance, praising God while keeping his post.
When our appointed time comes as it did for my friend,
Let it be said of us from those who’ve been watching…
Our heirs… Our family… Our co-workers… Our friends… Our God… Those unaware to us…
That we have been found faithful.
(an excerpt from a song echoing the same)
Find Us Faithful By Steve Green
May all who come behind us find us faithful…
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey…
Yes, our brother in Christ was remembered faithful. Chuck left behind his footprints for others to believe.
Chuck’s life was a true inspiration for those left behind to continue their journey of faith reflecting the character of God as He is faithful.
Even still, the presence of Chuck is terribly missed though we are comforted in our confidence we’ll see him again.
Life is a vapor; our time is accounted as a mere breath.
…a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14
Our days are already numbered and we know not when the Lord will stop counting.
Singers Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote and said it best in this song regarding the fleeting of time, a handful of moments in our hands.
We Have this Moment By Bill and Gloria Gaither
We have this moment to hold in our hands And to touch it as it slips Through our fingers like sand Yesterday’s gone And tomorrow many never come
But we have this moment today…
May the moment we have in front of us become a great memory.
May the fullness of our heart be love, peace and joy with those in our circle of influence.
Because when the unexpected time comes and the Lord is ready to receive us…
May the examination of our life be found not wasted…
You can’t help yourself but feel the love when Diva enters the room, as her littlegirl on the inside lights up and takes center stage as well as your heart.
Diva’s live to the full for which we might want to take notes from her effervescent personality.
Divas are confident and self-assured in her lane, with “Minnie Me” watching and keeping score.
Diva’s stand out among the crowds who notice her on and off the field as a cheerleader in the stands of this game called life.
She loves to laugh and for whatever reason, others embrace the fun no matter their age.
Wherever Diva goes, the little girl who refuses to grow up is following along as well.
Adults, who left behind their wonder and fascination in a child’s toy chest, can reacquaint themselves with their inner child again by hanging out with a Diva.
Diva’s love the spotlight and why not?
Where there are dark clouds and gloomy skies in a person’s day, why not be a bright star to cheer to them up.
Oh risk the fun and take a ride with a Diva.
You’ll discover your happy place the moment you take your seat.
Class is always in session with a Diva.
Their cuteness is contagious and these little Diva Darlin’s graduate in the Sciences of Smiles.
There’s a Diva hidden in all of us.
You’ll find her crowned in “bows and sparkle”, even among our furry friends;
Celebrating each other on Diva Day.
Look no further than your own back yard for a Diva.
A lamppost of love that never dims…
A fountain of joy which never runs dry…
A smile for days…
A ride for a lifetime…
Someone who brings out the best in all of us…
A song was even written with a Diva in mind…
Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.
Well it’s you girl, and you should know it,
With each glance and every little movement you show it…
Love is All Around By Sonny Curtis
Intro song to Mary Tyler Moore show (Made famous when I was a teenager)
I must confess, this blog is a request by my Diva daughter for her birthday we recently celebrated a few days ago on January 18, yet Diva birthdays last for days.
Divas are confident in what they want.
Quite opposite of her mother, I laughed when she blurted her request without blush. But how could I refuse? My daughter blessed me in the asking.
While I could write a book about the amazing mother my daughter is to her three children, living in color with them through the traditions she’s created throughout the year, the illustrations of memories they’ll keep for a lifetime.
This childlike gift about my daughter is one of the characteristics I most hold dear about her. She opens my eyes to see the world from a little girl’s point of view, always at play, enjoying her life.
If my Diva daughter bottled this recipe which holds the world captive in her hands; she’d be rich.
Although, we’re all rich aren’t we when we celebrate the love, the laughter, the joy and the smile in each of us.
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.
Here is written a tribute to the simple touch of a mother to her daughter; a memory only they could understand, remember and cherish for a lifetime.
THINK ON THESE THINGS! By Lori A Alicea
A mother’s moment with her girl, Each morning does prepare. Creates a bond between the two, While brushing through her hair.
The mirror reflects a princess heart, In both, though one is grown. Inside you find her noble crown, Where royalty is known.
With bows and braids and pony tails, And polish on her nails. A storybook of mother’s hands, Is penned in great details.
This simple act of washing hair, Her nearness valued much. A child remembers thru the years, A mother’s tender touch.
A mother’s hand keeps hold of you, She’s close beside your chair. Recalls her smile while looking at, A clipping of your hair.
Oh daughter, you are beautiful, No one can dare compare. Oh listen to your mother’s words, Each time I dry your hair.
My little girl, sweet princess one, With bows and matching socks. Record these memories of us, The days I dried your locks.
Your eyes, the windows of your soul, Reflects a heart burned bright. Your hair, a princess crown to wear, These mother’s words I write.
Your smile of bright and sunny skies, At night, a light show made. I love our mother / daughter time, Your pony tail I’d braid.
My daughter’s grown before my eyes, Our clothes and makeup share. But like a little girl she sits, To let me brush her hair.
I pray you’ve heard the Father’s love, These mornings just us two. The honest things, the pure and just, The lovely things of you.
In words of doubt recall these days, Our time around your chair. And think on things of good report, Each time you brush your hair.
Finally, brethren… Whatsoever things are true… Whatsoever things are honest… Whatsoever things are just… Whatsoever things are pure… Whatsoever things are lovely… Whatsoever things are of a good report… If there be any virtue… And if there be any praise…