WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? By Lori A Alicea (Part 2 of 3)

Discovering those beautiful diamonds of God’s goodness and faithfulness while mining my rejection!


WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? By Lori A Alicea (Part 1 of 3)

I questioned my mother’s love for me…

Mother didn’t drive for many years when we were young and with dad working around the clock, mom walked us to a country church we attended one block away from home.HOUSE on Brook Drive

Behind our mother we ducklings followed single file behind her to our neighborhood lighthouse for Christ.

There was a season years later when mother stopped going to church, yet our love for God kept us walking.

Mother’s six kids all walked an isle of salvation following in water baptisms, and passing on a passion for Jesus to their families.CHURCH - 1st Baptist Church of South Haven

By Lori A Alicea

As an adult looking back on my life, I wish I had “seen things more clearly” while growing up with my four sisters and brother.Lori Siblings

Surrounded in a house with five other siblings, there were many opportunities to be selfish.  Children tend to see their cup half full, but now as an adult I know my cup had always overflowed, realizing I had more of everything money couldn’t buy, and that was having each other.

If only our eyes could naturally magnify the treasures of life.  If only our naked eye could see the “little things that matter”.  Too bad life doesn’t issue a pair of glasses that allows us to “see things more clearly”.

I think back then and smile remembering those late night talks with the two sisters I shared a room with, while trying to get the attention of the other two down the hall.  Or the times our brother conned us into doing his chores, promising his allowance, though never paying like he said.  I guess we girls just loved to make our only brother happy.

Then there were our countless meals around the table, always sitting in the same exact seat.  It was this sacred time spent together where the memories we now tell our own children were made.


For years, mother sent her children to church camp to experience Jesus and outdoor cabin living.

One summer in 1973, and even though I always loved God, I finally surrendered my life to Him at camp with the scripture:

That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:9 AMPChurch Camp

Summer Camp – 1973
(I am standing on the top row, last on the right)

Looking at this younger version of myself back at summer camp, I wish I could talk to her and warn her with flashing lights of things to come. With eyes visibly shut, I want so bad to sound the alarm and awaken her spirit, because in four short years, a teenager’s journey is about to take a dangerous turn.

Her parents will divorce and six months after that, an innocent sixteen year old is startled from a deep sleep and jolted to a horrific nightmare of attempted rape by her mother’s second husband.

A horror flick in black and white without sound and not a soul able to hear my screams; I was too terrified and frozen in fear to cry out.

Why Lord? Why?

The scriptures remind…

In the world ye shall have tribulation;
But be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world.
John 16:33 KJV

In days, weeks and years to come, I was comforted in a Father’s promise…

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted…
Psalm 34:18 ESV

The Lord indeed was near and intervened in my rescue before the nightmare played out its final scene of terror.

A few days later my sister and I found refuge at our newly married sister’s house with our younger sister living now with dad, closing the door of home behind three young girls forever as our mother asked us to leave.HOUSE on Fox River Rd



After eleven years of marriage, I found myself a devastated single mother raising a baby girl and little boy in a two bedroom apartment located in a government housing community.  I never wanted to be divorced.

I was on my own for the very first time in my young life of twenty-eight years.

My family helped me unpack and put everything away on moving day; albeit I didn’t have much.

After the last family member left for home following the move, the sound of prison doors shut in my heart.

A few hours prior, I left behind the peace and tranquility of life in the country; and now my new residence in the city was deafening to my ears with the fire station nearby.914DBD72-2889-4CE0-95C2-B65C899067E3

A glimmer kept me hopeful though as my initial lease allowed the contract to be broken without reason before the first thirty days expired.

Surely my husband would return for his wife, baby girl and little boy when the silence echoed in every room of the house from our absence.

Yet, the showers of a broken heart flooded my soul after our thirtieth day in the apartment lapsed.  He never came back for us.

This government apartment would become our new address for the next five years.CANDY JAKE 007

It’s time to get off the bus now for a moment and stretch our legs.

This part of the tour is complete and you might be wondering why we stopped here in this town recently devastated by a Kentucky tornado; in particular, this house whose roof was relocated somewhere else in the neighborhood.

Feeling like I lost everything; my home, my marriage, my self-worth; I needed to be reminded when Jesus is all you have left, you come to realize Jesus is all you need.

Seated at his piano following this Kentucky tornado, a man named Jordan Baize comforts himself after losing his earthly possessions by playing the song,

There’s Just Something About That Name.

Let’s gather around the piano with him and sing…


By Bill and Gloria Gaither

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus;
There’s just something about that name.
Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all Heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
But there’s something about that name.Piano player




WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? By Lori A Alicea (Part 3 of 3)

Discovering those beautiful diamonds of God’s goodness and faithfulness while mining my rejection!


Part 1 of 3


Part 2 of 3

WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? By Lori A Alicea (Part 2 of 3)

All Aboard!

God has taken his seat on the bus and the VICTORY LAP begins with our new Tour Guide ready to reveal the bigger picture of my life with every site we re-visit.

The old hymn we six siblings sang in harmony together while seated side by side on the wooden pew of the old country church our mother walked us to begged to burst forth from my soul, “OH VICTORY IN JESUS!”  

There is about to be an exchange of…


to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.
The oil of joy instead of mourning,
And a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair….
Isaiah 61:3 NIV

With shovels and pick axes in hand, we are entering the mine of my rejection, about to discover those beautiful and precious diamonds of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

As we think on those things which are…

Of a good report…

Of virtue…

And are praiseworthy.

Whatsoever things are true, 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, think on these things.
Scripture Philippians 4:8 KJV

Mining for answers of all my questions, our Senior Pastor counsels his flock to turn around and look back a generation or more to understand the “whys” in our life, because the…

Iniquities of the fathers are visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
(Exodus 20:5)

Without God, history repeats itself as fathers bequeath to their children and children’s children the tainted wells of their life as an inheritance for the generations beyond them to drink from.  Pastor also encourages us to “stop up and close off” for good those old wells of bitter water and dig anew that we might leave a (spiritual) inheritance to his children’s children to draw from instead.
(Proverbs 13:22)

Sadly, I found the answers to my “whys” while digging three generations back.

Not wanting to face this part of the tour alone, I found it comforting to share my seat of VICTORY with the (memory) of two other innocent girls whose pages of their childhood story were drenched and stained from those tears of sorrow similar to mine; my sisters Belinda and Mary.siblings belinda mary

 Together, we will hold each other’s hands from across the seat and look through the “windows of our past” without being afraid anymore, because God is about to reveal the scenes and details He was fully present in, though we were unaware.

 I take this VICTORY LAP for my daughters and granddaughters and also for my two sisters who suffered this part of their life in silence, that their legacy gain their wings for their daughters and granddaughter who continue the journey beyond their mother’s and grandmother’s life.

Reading our story, one might ask themselves, “Why does a loving God allow such heartache on innocent girls?”  Our good daddy replies to His daughters,

“It rains on the just and the unjust.”  (Matthew 5:45)

While God never promised a life without us “getting wet” from the tragedy’s of the world, He did promise to hold the umbrella and weather the storm with us.


Re-visiting our childhood home, I soon discover God’s hand of protection on our life when mother asked us girls to find another place to live following the assault from my step-dad, as our family home caught fire some time later and the flames began and ignited from my childhood room.

I was also heartbroken to discover my mother’s parents drank from the well of abandonment when as a baby, my grandmother left my mother in the crib to cry for hours without comfort as my grandmother left her alone during the evenings of dating.

My mother’s unrelenting cries of hunger and desperation for her mother’s arms could be heard and felt from the open windows of the neighbors, who offered no assistance to a child left alone.

Wanting also to hold and protect my mother close when I realize there were relatives in her life who drank from the well of sexual abuse.

The iniquities of the parents visit the third and fourth generations.
(Exodus 20:5)

After forty-plus-years I was finally brave enough to dig for answers regarding the man who assaulted an innocent girl while she slept.

A faithful Father protected and spared His daughter that night from the evils of my step-father when I discovered he left a party a few years later and raped two women at knife point; although the charges were never upheld in court.

My Pastor always reminded us,

Without God, we are all capable of the unthinkable.”

Though divorced by this time from my mother and decades since we last saw our step-father, he now lay in the hospital bed and within days of his death, my mother worried of his salvation.

As it is not God’s will that any should perish, but have everlasting life, my mother made a difficult request of us adult children to visit and say our final good-byes to him at his hospital bedside.

 Believing love never fails, we trusted our kindness might stir man’s heart for eternity.

Not forgetting our roots and heritage to a child’s promise of blessing in honoring their parents, even the office of mother and father when the emotions are too painful; we adult children visited our step-father with a pure heart to honor him in our final farewell.

Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Deuteronomy 5:16 NIV

Taking in the final days of this man I once knew as step-dad, who now struggled and gasped to breathe for a single sip of coffee, the difficult memories I carried for decades in my heart’s pocket became a mere blur to this unknown person bloated at the abdomen, dying from emphysema.

Noticing the well wishes on the night stand for my step-father caught me off guard and took my breath to realize they were greeting cards the grandchildren gave him years ago when they were little.

We were the only family this broken man had ever known.

Born as an innocent boy with a story being written from the same God and pen in His hand who was also writing mine, yet still a boy on the inside who was never loved to life; as his own father drew from the well of alcoholism and child abuse.

We children honored this man and our mother by attending his funeral.

The blessings were ours for the taking in our honoring.

Regarding my mother, I grew up without ought or an unforgiving heart towards her; how could I?  She was a woman who introduced me to Jesus by taking me to church, sending me to camp, joining us at Vacation Bible School and so much more.

The same Jesus who forgives me of my trespasses when we forgive those who trespass against us. (Matthew 6:12)

Yet sadly, I don’t believe my Mother ever forgave herself or moved beyond the ash heap of ground zero from the spiritual fires her choices cost her family.

 I grieve for mom and my sisters Mary and Belinda who left this earth suffering in the silences of their past when God longed to touch their brokenness with the healing salve of a Fathers’s love.

We each hold keys to the gates which unlock those secret places we dare not allow any to trespass; but we must be willing to relinquish and surrender these entrances of our lives for freedom’s sake.

Mother looked at me for the remainder of my life without her glasses, never noticing how God turned my mourning into dancing, gave me beauty for my ashes, how God made something beautiful out of my life.


Four years before my mother died, her address changed to a nursing home and I offered to pack up her house. Before the details of my mother’s life was photographed and chronicled on a spreadsheet for future gifting to her heirs, I asked the Lord a question while sitting in my mother’s chair.

By Lori A Alicea

Lord, is there anything among my mother’s things that you want to give me?

We didn’t grow up with riches, but we were rich in ways money could never afford. Any lose ends from the fray of my memory have been tied in a bow, leaving only good thoughts under the cloak of my childhood.Lori Siblings

I needed God to complete the sentence relationship of mother and me with not a “period”, but possibly a heart emoji, a kiss of the heart, or a gift of affection.

Sixty-five boxes in total. I held in my hands the last remaining treasure among mother’s sixty-five boxes.
Boxes 3
An old jewelry box filled with mother’s mismatched pieces of costume necklaces, earrings, rings and broaches, jewelry I remember mother wearing vividly when I was growing up. A jewelry box displayed on her bedroom dresser, a familiar piece I cleaned for decades as mother’s housekeeper. I knew it well.

The hidden finds inside this jewelry box rewinds the 8mm collections of me as a child playing dress up with mother’s baubles and beads.

I sigh…I take a breath…There it was.

Like an old photograph buried in the dust of time prompting a double-take and closer view, I stopped in the moment to remember.

Held in my hands a gift from God, bewildered I hadn’t noticed it during my years as mother’s housekeeper, even more bewildered this gift was in plain sight during the packing.

A sweet sixteen present from her mother and father, A birthday celebration for my mother, A beautiful watch with the inscription and sentiment I had never read before, “To Our Loving Daughter”.

Beholding this gift up close I knew without question, God didn’t want to give me treasures, God wanted to give me words, God longed to breathe these words of affirmation upon my life, “To Our Loving Daughter.” Most endearing of all was the phrase, “To Our”, received as two people, my mother and father, my heavenly Father.

God redeemed our relationship symbolically with a watch (gift of time, my love language) that was given on my mother’s sweet 16 (about age I was when the incident with my step-father happened. The watch face was broken, but God redeemed my sweet 16 with the inscription on the other side.
Anniversary picture
ME AND MOTHER’S BOXES (excerpt ends)


Mining my life of rejection through the relationship with my father, God revealed to me how dad drew from a dry well and couldn’t quench my thirst for love and affirmation.

As an adult, I found enough grace for dad and his “lack to see me”. I soon questioned in secret, “What affirmations failed to be poured into that little boy’s life who one day became my dad?”

By Lori A Alicea

Aware through a cancer scare years prior to his actual graduation to heaven, I feared the uncertainty of his days and losing dad without him hearing how I felt.  So, after Thanksgiving one year, I decided to surrender in an advent calendar, titling it “Twenty Five Things My Dad Did Right”.

As a parent myself I strive to give my kids the best of me, though acknowledging I’ve made my share of mistakes.  Having grace for his, I decided for every day leading up to December 25, I’d give dad a gift of my appreciation.

Opening up a daughters treasure chest, I wondered if there were 25 memories tucked away.  But in turning the key to my heart, I marveled at what I had saved.

Like running into the kitchen each Sunday afternoon from church, faithfully finding that one piece of toast dad hadn’t eaten for breakfast.  I always believed he left it for me.

Or realizing after graduating from high school and college just how smart dad really was, though never receiving either diploma.  Dad could fix anything, and I truly admired that.

How could I forget dad adoring me in my wedding dress, setting aside his pain as we had buried grandma earlier that morning.

Christmas, when it came, dad declared he’d received the best gift of his life, presenting the advent calendar to us all.  “Tis the season” as dad seemed to stand a little taller, dad seemed to come to life.

The bells of Christmas rang a new message for me that year.  Maybe dad was never daddies little boy and couldn’t give me a love he hadn’t known.  When dad came to life that holiday season, I believe this little girl did the same.


Weeks leading up to my father’s passing, I kept thinking of Jacob’s story from the Bible who gathered his sons around the death bed where he blessed them individually.

I also longed a father’s blessing.
dads house 4
By Lori A Alicea

Bless me father.”

Oh, that you would bless me.”

Visiting dad for what would be my last day to see him alive and heartbroken over dad’s visible frailty and sagging T-shirt hanging over his protruding bones, I began to lose hope of a Father’s Blessing. But unbeknownst to me, a blessing awaits its reveal.

There’s one fact I’m certain about God my heavenly father, he loves his little girls. No matter her age, weight, social status, marital status, degrees or lack thereof, etc., God is smitten with his girls.

God smitten with “this little girl” heard my prayer that summer and answered me days before my father’s death in a small but impactful way; not at my father’s bedside, but kitchen table instead.

God’s choice of the kitchen table for a Father’s Blessing tied years of my fondest memories, as at this table dad handed out our Christmas gifts each December.  I loved that my heavenly father chose this memory backdrop and used the same chair dad sat in for years during our Christmas exchanges to bless me.
xmas at dads
Seated around the table were me and my dad, my step-sister and dad’s caregiver. Just having small talk, dad asked his caregiver to help him up and assist dad to his room. Back in his seat, dad handed me a framed letter and asked, “Would you please read this to me?”

Not a crier by nature, I fought to compose myself when dad asked me to read a Father’s Day gift I gave him a year ago. Always drawing a blank when buying dad’s gifts, that Father’s Day I felt led from God to honor my dad’s military service; a conversation we never had; but I never asked either.

Accompanied with a flag that Father’s Day, I never seen dad so emotional.

We are told by God to give Honor to whom honor is due. (Romans 13:7)

Honor was due my father; an accumulation of years due.

These same framed words dad gave back to me and asked me to read at his funeral.
IMG_3715Dear Dad,

For 54 years I have celebrated you as my dad and all that you have sacrificed and contributed to my life. You have been a great provider. You have protected me when I have needed you to. You are always a phone call away. And you have been a friend throughout the years.

But the one attribute of my father that I have not celebrated until today is your service in the military. Until I became a mom with a son serving in the military, did I fully appreciate the sacrifices of a member in the military.

I am sad to say I know nothing about your time in the navy, but that’s because I never asked. But I do know you actively served, and for that, I salute you today and thank you for


I am giving you this gift as my way of saying thank you for your service.

Happy Father’s Day

Love, Lori and David

You may be wondering, “Is that it! Is that your Father’s Blessing?”

The true Father’s Blessing revealed itself during the packing up of dad’s house.

Sadly dad “said a lot again” when we kids realized there wasn’t a single picture, card or memento saved and left behind of dad’s six kids, or crowd of grand-kids and great-grand-kids. Not one.

Except the letter of mine that dad framed and hung in the entrance of his room.

I won’t add to dad’s heart as his heart was a locked door for most of our relationship. But a Father’s Day present became a Father’s Day Blessing that summer of 2016.

An added bonus discovered deep in my father’s attic was his old fashioned lunch pail, a true treasure I kept to remind myself what a “standard of excellence” looks like.
Dad was buried with Military Honors. In death our father received the military honor due him in life.

During the years that an earthly father “didn’t see” her, a little girl;

A heavenly father couldn’t take His eyes off of her.

A Father’s Blessing I am truly aware of when I sleep and when I slumber.

If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? Luke 12:28 Message

A FATHER’S BLESSING (excerpt end)


I’ve been asking this question most of my life to myself, but sadly, I never inquired of the Lord.

The Father answers a daughter’s question, though not with rebuke, but with love and gentleness as a good daddy does.

“Daughter, you been asking the wrong question all these years.  Instead, I long you to ask of your Father, WHO AM I IN CHRIST?  And then He answers…

THE GOD WHO SEES (excerpt)
By Lori A Alicea

You knit me in my mother’s womb,
And wonderfully I’m made.
Created me so fearfully,
The days you watched, you stayed.

Not hidden in this secret place,
Your works, I praise for these.
Your eyes they saw my unformed self,
You are the God who sees.

How precious are your thoughts of me,
More than the grains of sand.
My days are written in your book,
One mind can’t understand.

You see me when I sleep at night,
You see when I’m awake.
You are the God who sees it all,
You see each breath I take.

Yes, I am yours and you are mine,
My heart, you have the keys.
You’ve drawn me Oh Beloved One,
You are the God who sees.

Psalms 139; Genesis 16:13; Solomon 6:3

I have grown into a woman fully aware of the love God has for me.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with loving kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

So, what about that red hair, green eyes and face full of freckles?
ALICEA David Lori
I asked the question years later in my life, and it’s amazing when you ask the simple questions God longs to hear, the answers He generously gives.

Our good Father whispered and pointed to the mirror of my reflection:

Oh daughter, your red hair is a gift from me; only 2% of little girls are strawberry blonde; red hair with green eyes are even more uncommon.

And those freckles…God leans in close to tell me a secret…

Your mother told you those freckles were kisses from the S U N.

Well actually, your freckles are sweet kisses from my S O N.

All grown up when I could have changed my hair to any color in the rainbow, I kept the gift God gave me…
David and Lori together 3
Yes, God is so good to me.  As a child I sang in Sunday School those exact words:

By Paul Makai
God is so good.
God is so good.
God is so good.
He’s so good to me.

God is a good Father to all His children.  He longs for His sons and daughters to climb on His lap and lean into His love.

He even blessed me with a Cinderella love story in marriage nearly twenty-nine years ago. wedding all kids

At our 25th Anniversary Wedding Vow Renewal we sang the words of a good and faithful God:

The faithfulness and goodness of God has followed me my whole life.  The faithfulness and goodness of God has followed you too.

I want my daughters and granddaughters and girls and women alike to rejoice in the God who made them fearfully and wonderfully…

Missing teeth and all…

THE GOD WHO SEES (excerpt ends)

Rosalee praising Jesus

Thank you to everyone who found a seat on this tour and “lifted me up” with your presence as my honored guest.

It was in the turning and sharing of these tear stained pages of my story that I might give hope to someone else who suffers in silence.

What was intended for my harm, God turned it around and used it for my good.  (Genesis 50:20)

WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? By Lori A Alicea (Part 1 of 3)

Discovering those beautiful diamonds of God’s goodness and faithfulness while mining my rejection!


One summer morning a few years ago, I was honored to speak to a young mother’s group at my church called Just Among Moms.

Wanting to minister to a place of relevance with these nursing mothers who were much younger than my daughters, I went to my knees in prayer for divine direction from God.

Not wanting to go THERE and open up those old dusty chapters of my life’s story,

Yet God reminded me of His freedom and power to others
By the word of our testimony
(Revelations 12:11 NIV)

Hence the title of my message to those young mothers hungry for a NOW word from God:

Discovering the beautiful diamonds of God’s goodness and faithfulness
While mining my rejection!
By Lori A Alicea

Together, we are taking a tour down the streets and sights of my life from the perspective as I saw and experienced them dating back to before I was ever born.

I will introduce you to the joys and sorrows, the highs and lows, and the valleys and oh the gorgeous mountain tops of my experiences growing up.

You will discover soon enough how the treacherous travels through the valleys can leave you stranded if you’re not willing to continue the journey and walk in the steps God has ordained for our life.

Because you see, there is always a bigger picture to our story.

There is a VICTORY LAP to take with God as our tour guide if we are willing to stay seated, who will give us the breathtaking Birdseye view of our life from beginning to end, a storybook filled from cover to cover, with pages authored and written with the pen in His hand, telling of His goodness and faithfulness thru our own personal story.

Ready or not!!!
All aboard!

The time is now to take our seats on the bus.

If my husband only knew I was driving for this tour he would tell you all to

Get out while you can!”

Because when I drive…

The air conditioner can be cooling…

But the windows are rolled down also,

Allowing the fresh air to blow thru our hair.

Seat belts must be fastened.

Hands stay inside the vehicle (per the safety police).

Cell phones off and quality time is on.

Enjoy your coffee, hold hands, and be at peace…

I stop for every rest area we see.


Questions I’ve been asking and struggling with for more than 40 years of my life.

Questions God will answer as our tour guide on the VICTORY LAP.

One of my favorite songs I remember singing as a child seated on the pews of the old country church my mother took us to was Blessed Assurance, especially when getting to the chorus…

This is My Story
Written by Fanny Crosby
Composer Phoebe Knapp

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

I praise the Lord with my song…

This is My Story…


My mother’s life began among the stained glass windows and church pews where her own mother played piano. A surrendered life to God in salvation and baptism would be the spark that set Kingdom brush fires in the hearts of her future children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, only to set aflame those generations beyond her life.

Now, growing up in a family of six children, my mother passed on her old fashioned, spiritual heritage to us; the pews, the stain glassed windows, and hymns we’ve treasured throughout our lives.

My heart still leaps when I hear The Old Rugged Cross, How Great Thou Art, and I Surrender All played from the piano during worship at church. These songs never collect dust or lose their power. They resurrect that old reminder that God never changes; He is good and faithful yesterday, today, and forever.

So many questions though…

I questioned how God made me as a young first grader.

THE GOD WHO SEES (excerpt)
By Lori A Alicea

As a first grader I remember it all too well.

Maybe a bit dramatic for a little girl that young, but my emotions were real and tucked away in the jewelry box of a child’s heart for years.

I’ve never looked at myself through the lens of vanity, but I noticed early on that girls with more friends than me were blonde, blue eyed with creamy, clear skin.

I faced the mirror with red hair, green eyes and a face full of freckles; and as a student in the first grade, I also confronted my reflection, weeping from the sight of a few missing teeth.
Lori little 3

Kids are cruel to each other, especially when your hair is red, or strawberry blonde as they called it back then, with green eyes and freckles to match.SCHOOL Paul Saylor Elementary

As a young girl I sobbed an ocean many times before the Lord,

Why did you make me this way?”

But God is a God who sees.

You are the God who sees me.
Genesis 16:13

I didn’t understand at this early age how I was fearfully and wonderfully made, formed and created in the perfect image of God; who kept a nine month vigil while knitted in my mother’s womb.
(Psalm 139)

Yes, God is a God who sees; whose fatherly love dried the eyes of His daughter when she least expected it.

THE GOD WHO SEES (excerpt end)

I questioned my earthly father’s love.

By Lori A Alicea

I am the daughter of a navy seamen.

Dad never abandoned his six kids and that said a lot.

Dad worked hard and provided well with his two jobs; one at the mill and the other a mechanic at home; usually seven days each week.Midwest Steel

Our cupboards were full and we as a family never lacked. Dad lived only what he knew; to work hard. What dad didn’t know though that while appreciative of his hand, I desperately wanted his time and his heart instead.

As a little girl I needed a daddy to tie ribbons in my hair, to hold me in his lap, to tuck me in at night, and when I grew up, to dance with me at my wedding.

While I believe my father did his very best and I never dishonored him for where he lacked, it just made it difficult in my life to relate to him and Daddy God.

The sun-up, sun-down hours my father worked took its toll on a lonely young girl longing for his attention. Watching my father from the kitchen window looking into the garage where he worked as a mechanic for a second source of income, I always wished my dad would take a day off and spend it with me.

A FATHER’S BLESSING (excerpt end)


Parts 2 and 3 TO BE CONTINUED…

BENCHED!  By Lori A Alicea

We’ve all served time on the bench.

Whether we’d like to admit it or not,
We’ve taken our place at some point in our life on the bench…

When we didn’t get the promotion…

When somebody else got the job…

When we didn’t make the team…

When we didn’t get the part in the play…

When we were overlooked…

When we were miscalculated…

When we were misunderstood…

Each sending us to the bench with unanswered questions of why?IMG_2582

The bench became a familiar place on the field of my writing career very early in life.

I shared a few innings with the crowd in the stands back then…

By Lori A Alicea

I’ve had a love affair with words my whole life.

From an elementary age I began authoring short stories, poetry, and creating homemade cards for my mother on her birthday and Mother’s Day.

Teachers honored my early writing efforts with epic FAILS on my assignments believing I had copied my work. As a child I didn’t understand it nor did they understand the tears of a young girl attempting to bloom.USE THIS FLOWERS

The defeating words and bad calls from my childhood teachers benched my spirit before I was ever drafted to the team.USE THIS BENCH

But now as an adult I realized God was validating a writer’s call through the blind eyes of my teachers.

(end excerpt…)

Thankfully, God brought someone in my life who shared a love and passion for the game of writing; my older sister Belinda.

We spurred and encouraged one another for years to take our step of faith and try out for the team.

Sitting the bench before the draft ever took place; we dreamed about our books and promised to each other with an oath that we would write.

The innings continue in the game of my writing career…

By Lori Alicea

My sister Belinda and I loved to write.

Our affection for words and the impact they had on others led to many conversations about the books we wanted to write.

Belinda being sick most of her life, her biggest dream was to write of her Lupus journey, detailing the highways and byways, dead-ends and disappointments, and signs and wonders during her time in the trenches, battling the disease.

Without question, Belinda knew God wanted to use her story to encourage others whose hourglass of hope seemed to be running out of sand. Belinda had a story to write; she had a song to sing. Yet she put it off for tomorrow, though sadly, tomorrow didn’t come when God called her home on August 3, 2004; she was only 44 years old.Belinda's grave

Her untimely departure is our wake up call to:

Number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalms 90:12 NIV

None of us is guaranteed tomorrow.

You do not even know what will happen tomorrow.
What is your life?
You are a mist that appears for a little while then vanishes.
James 4:14 NIV

Months after her death, I honored our promise to each other to write a bi-monthly column in the local newspaper titled “Little Things.” The hope of my opportunity would be to encourage others to look at the little things before them; God’s reminder how full the baskets of our lives truly are.

A column also written to draw attention to the roses, our garden of the simple, the seemingly insignificant, yet the wonderment to discover if you allow its beauty to entice your curiosity to stop and smell them.

A column is born,
Little Things.”

(excerpt from

By Lori A AliceaColumn pictures

Sadly, that opportunity ended after eight short months and the newspapers rejection letter had me questioning if I really had anything to say after all.

(excerpt is paused…)

Being taken out of the game with so few attempts at the plate, and now warming the bench for however many unknown innings crushed my spirit as the game continued to play out in front of me.

But yet, you endure to trust God; you give Him glory in our lack of understanding.

You warm the bench as unto the Lord.

However difficult, you encourage from the bench.

You smile until your heart catches up with your face from the bench.

You remind yourself from a quote taken from the movie:

Facing the Giants
By Alex and Stephen Kendrick

If we win, we praise Him.
If we lose, we praise Him.
Either way,
We honor Him with our actions and our attitudes.

Even while you’re benched.IMG_2582

Sadly, I quit the team from the bench; even though God did not give me permission to remove myself from the roster.

(excerpt continues…)

Fourteen years later and the pages of my book remained blank. I immersed myself in event decorating to detour my creativity from the pen. I avoided conversations that might question my writing status, yet God’s voice and whispers can’t be silenced and His “pricks of my heart” for those waiting for my words kept me uncomfortable.

Six years ago we moved to a town with its own country cemetery. Day after day passing this small plot of buried loved ones, I thought of my sister often and her unfinished book as well as mine. Becoming more evident as I neared retirement age, I would also:

Die with the music still in me…
Oliver Wendell Holmes

If I refused to tell my story.

CROPPED ONEIf I refused to answer the call on my life.

I had to come to the end of myself and wave the white flag of surrender to God. No more idling. I put my car of writing into gear and engaged the GPS wherever my call would lead.

I desperately prayed the cry of my heart:

Lord, forgive me for the years I have squandered and redeem what has been lost. Breathe new life into the dream you dreamed for me before I was ever born.”

No one is ever too young; no one ever too old to be used by God.

There isn’t a dream too dusty to be taken off the shelf and watch it explode in “fireworks finale fashion” before your eyes.

It just takes a burning desire to want what God wants for us, which is our passion and surrendered heart to enlist back into His army to win the Kingdom war using our dreams. In the end when our tour of duty is finished, we can proudly stand before our General and say,

I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”
John 17:4 NIV

Lord, burn a flame in me.”

I’m leaving the bench…”

I’m warming up to take my rightful place at the plate.”

I’m saying YES TO MY CALL.”IMG_2583

Hence, the birth of this weekly blog titled Apples of Gold Encouragement.

I’m getting back in the game.IMG_2584

Reflecting back in 2004 as I arrived in Tennessee a few days before my sister’s funeral, I inquired of my niece if her mother left anything behind she wanted me to see. My niece remembering her mother and our love for words gave me the Acknowledgements and the only page of the book my sister began to give birth to.

My sister kept her promise to write.

Being asked to speak at my sister’s Home Going Celebration, I thought it fitting and proved to be powerful, to read the Acknowledgements, those loved ones she gave thanks to while journeying those grueling miles battling Lupus.

(excerpt ends…)

As I face the mirror as a sixty-two year old writer with oceans of words yet to be spoken; the waves which dance to remind me of the paragraphs, the stories, and poetic songs still making their way to shore.

While my name hasn’t taken its place on the New York Times best seller list as of yet, I am reminded though…

A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.
Proverbs 18:16 AMP

If my gift makes room for me on the field or on the bench, it is irrelevant where I play when God is the coach, as He knows what’s best for the team.

From the Will and Testament of my life I have bequeathed my family heirs an inheritance of words inspired by the Lord and lived out in my earthly years as an encouragement in their glove to hold onto in the innings of their own personal game.

I pray the generations beyond my life find their position on the field wherever God has placed and called them.

Even during the times of trusting while sitting on the bench.USE THIS BENCH


Found was a needle in a haystack I wasn’t even looking for.

An unearthed treasure discovered from a box whose bottom dropped out as I was moving it in frustration thru a crowded storage unit to gain access to another.


A time capsule of old worn out video clips whose quality had faded and diminished during its burial among fluctuating temperatures, yet this digital scrapbook documenting the miles of memories of a cross country team our son ran with, would find a crowd of parents and team members seated at a front row seat to the premiere re-showing of their life from almost twenty-four years ago, albeit through the scratchy lens of an eight millimeter movie without sound.

Cast in the movie yet not visible on screen is their cross country coach and leader of their miles of memories.

Known to most of the team as Mr. Hattabaugh or Mr. H. to others; but all agreed they loved him most as coach.

5D674B0A-05BF-4E7F-AEF2-93B418405EF3Providing a never ending supply of Gatorade and heart for those who put in their miles of his Do Run Run Club, this coach could be seen running in the rear with the new kids on the team to encourage them to the finish line of their days training; then icing his aging knees and hips in private when the others were outdoors jumping on the trampoline.

Once the school bell rang and a meet wasn’t scheduled, the route through the country roads of the team’s practice had them passing by our house and waving at this mother who smiled and returned the gesture through the open view of them through her kitchen windows.

Occasionally a few of the runners would break from the pack for a cold drink of freshly pumped water from the well, or a homemade blueberry muffin I usually had on hand for those unexpected visits of those high school boys I couldn’t resist.

With runners dressed in the school colors of green and orange on race day, spectators of moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and even principals at times held nothing back when cheering for their own.

There were picture takers, sign holders, video recorders, obnoxiously loud cheerleaders (like myself), pain to the ears cow bell ringers, and horn blowers of all kinds; whatever it took to see your teammates cross the finish line first.

Just like that, the race is over.

Yes, every race in life has a finish line.

Cross country seasons have a finish line until the following year.

High School seniors also have a finish line to cross over into college, the military or a job in the market place.

Catching our senior runners and remaining teammates celebrating and retrieving their cars in the parking lot for their final day of school had me holding back a few tears and wanting them desperately back at the starting line of high school.

B68BD3C8-B46C-41C5-8AF3-B8DA1A771C0DCelebrating his 70th birthday party he threw for himself, the coach is gathered around a few of those runners he trained on the cross country field.

The team’s love for the coach was still evident from the handprint he left on their lives from twenty-four years ago.

The same could be said for those runners unable to attend.


That first cross country season after every remaining runner graduated to the next race of their life, the silence of our house without the invasion of high school boys was deafening.

My husband and I longed for the team to wave at us parents watching them with jubilant smiles as they passed by our kitchen window those years of fall afternoons.

Sadly, I stopped having blueberry muffins on hand for those unexpected visits of runners.

We said good-by with heavy hearts to the house we raised our children in.

We eventually moved from that old country town we loved dearly; but the beautiful remembrances remain.

We celebrate the coach who attended each team member’s high school graduation open house.232840A8-6A33-4CFB-9DFF-4C0412A72BC4

We honor the sacrifice for the coach and his family to drive six hours away for our son’s long distant wedding nuptials.

We can’t thank Mr. H. enough for never forgetting those who loved him as coach.

Yes, when the coach gave the team their miles of memories,

He also gave me mine.5E4B0045-EBEB-4608-99A3-C0BCD39C89CB



My husband has learned to look away.

Patrons near our restaurant table raise their eyebrows with questions.

Social etiquette might suggest it improper or rude to the chef.

While most prefer ketchup, there’s nothing more satisfying to my palate than a French fry dipped in salt.

black berries near salt
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Yes, call me the big dipper.

If ordering fast food and handfuls of salt packets are missing in the bag with our French fries, the birds are swooping low to eat my share I’ve thrown to the ground.

photography of seagulls on seashore
Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

Fries without salt is bland, boring, has no kick, is disappointing, and doesn’t put me on a scavenger hunt for those hidden at the bottom of the take-out bag.

Such is the culinary spice God has called us Christians to be in this world; salty.

You are the salt of the earth…
Matthew 5:13 NIV

salt pepper and flowers in pot on table
Photo by Mathias Reding on Pexels.com

The flavor of Jesus in our lives should have others asking when they taste a small sample of our love,

What’s different about you?”

They won’t be able to pin-point at first that secret ingredient which whets their appetite for more (of Him); but they’ll ask.

clear glass jar lot
Photo by monicore on Pexels.com

Onlookers nearby will raise their eyebrows with questions and want what those sitting at our table are having.

two persons in a restaurant
Photo by Igor Starkov on Pexels.com

Being a big dipper in His Word and prayer will retain our saltiness and flavor for Jesus to taste good to those hungry for Him.Praying at altar 2

We are warned though to guard the seasonings of our heart from becoming watered down and tasteless when we’d rather blend in with everyone else instead of standing out in the crowd for His name’s sake.

time lapse photography of people walking on pedestrian lane
Photo by Mike Chai on Pexels.com

Without salt, we become bland and boring, living a life of disappointment and without kick, affecting no one for Jesus.

Without salt, we are those cast away fries for the birds; becoming of no value to God.

photography of seagulls on seashore
Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to the thrown out and trampled by men.
Matthew 5:13 NIV

But how does the salt shaker from the spice rack of our heart become full again?salt and pepper shakers

How can the tasteless become flavorful once more for Jesus?

Might it be through the salty tears from our Godly sorrow?

Might it be from the salty watershed tears of a repented heart?

Peter wept bitterly after denying he knew Jesus three times to save his own life following the Lord’s arrest.

close up photo of man crying in pink shirt
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the world the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times. And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Luke 22:60-62 NIV

Yet in our own life…

Do we deny Jesus as Peter did when we fail to speak up for our Lord at work, when our job might be on the line if we do?

Do we deny Jesus as Peter did when we keep His truth to ourselves instead of confronting what’s contrary to God’s heart?

Do we deny Jesus when we stop needing and meeting with Him in our prayers, stop seeking for Him in the scriptures, and finding no reason to gather with the saints on Sunday?lito and theia praying

Do we deny Jesus as Peter did for our safety’s sake instead of risking prison or our very life when Godly truth in a dying world is desperate for it?

Are we tasteless if others aren’t wondering…

What’s different about you?”

Oh, that we weep those salty tears from our Godly sorrow.

Oh, that we weep those salty watershed tears of a repented heart.

Oh, that we weep bitterly as Peter did from the weight of the denials of our Lord.

unhappy unrecognizable woman leaning on tree and crying
Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

But praise be to God for the Lord is faithful to forgive us again and to use us again as he did for Peter, when Jesus asked him three times over with His statement of love…

Peter, do you love Me?”
Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my lambs.”
(John 21)

shallow focus photography of white sheep on green grass
Photo by Kat Smith on Pexels.com


Everyone needs to know they have a seat at the table.”

My words prompting a last minute dash to the store for extra plates and napkins after coming up short while setting the table for our family Easter dinner this past Sunday.IMG_1737

There’s a deep sense of belonging when the well-thought-out guest list includes your name, a seat at the table and a place in the heart of those gathering together.IMG_2122

Dining at the head table are our four family pillars; one patriarch and his three devoted sons to their father, with his beloved wife and two other sons now taking their seat at the banqueting table with Jesus.

Though falling short in our imperfections,

Yet still,

Our family is a circle of strength;
Founded by faith,
Joined by love,
Kept by God,
Together forever.
Author Unknown

We worship with one another.
We pray for one another.
We love one another.
We have room for mistakes of one another.
We forgive one another.
We are a blessing to one another.

We each have a seat at the table.

Circled in strength,

The family prays, loves, makes room and forgives for any empty seat at the table once the dinner bell has rung.

The Shofar is blown to call their loved ones back home to the table.IMG_1697

Joined by love…

Strike outs in life won’t get you ejected from the game…

Neither will personal fouls.

The family prayers will always follow those taking a detour away from home.

Founded by faith…

You’ll be kept in the batting lineup for another chance at the plate until you hit a home-run in your walk with God.

Yes, we all have a seat at the table.

Sadly, some give up their seat to make room for the next generation, leaving her likeness, depositing her love for the kitchen, and giving charge over the dinner bell to her oldest granddaughter.

The family has grown and so has the dinner table.

Taking their seat at the kids table are fourth generation world changers for the Kingdom and the legacy of our family.IMG_1732

Kept by God,
Together forever…

Yes, God has set the banqueting table for each of us.

If we ever believe the lie in our unworthiness to take our seat at the table,

We are reminded in the Bible about Mephibosheth who was such a person, crippled in his feet and thinking to discredit the thought that there was even such a seat for him at the table.

Yet King David, desiring to show kindness to his loyal friend Jonathan thru his son Mephibosheth, the grandson of King Saul who wronged and sought to kill King David,

He said, “Mephibosheth!”
Your servant,” he replied.

Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “For I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
2 Samuel 9:7 NIV

For those still feeling undeserving to take their seat at the table, Jesus will carry you instead and all your brokenness to your seat, to dine with Him forever.

Lyrics by Steve J. Hindalong / Marc Byrd / Leeland Mooring

I was carried to the table
Seated where I don’t belong
Carried to the table
Swept away by His love
And I don’t see
My brokenness anymore
When I’m seated
At the table of the Lord.



We’ve all been born with a longing for God.

A God centered void reserved in our hearts when He created us.

white wooden door with heart shape while looking the stars
Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

That secret place He kept for Himself where our aching, our hunger, our groaning, our desires for something more calls and pulls on our heartstrings, unaware in the beginning though these longings are unable to be satisfied by the things of the world, but by a relationship with Him.

He has planted eternity (a sense of divine purpose) in the human heart (a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God)…Ecclesiastes 3:11 AMP

The longings of our secret place are gently stirred with God’s hand in His pursuit of our hearts; His wooing us to Himself.

person rising hands forming heart silhouette
Photo by Martijn Adegeest on Pexels.com

God is an intimate Father who personally knows His sons and His daughters each by name, whose voice is no stranger to His children’s ears either.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me…
John 10:27 KJV

We hear Him;
We know Him;

We want to follow Him.

sheep in meadow
Photo by Diogo Cacito on Pexels.com

But our hearts deceive us and entice us at times to crowd the secret place with those desires and lies of the world instead.

Make no mistake; God does not share Himself with anything but Himself. He is a jealous God.  He will step aside until we give our Lord complete surrender to the secret place of our heart.

You shall not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…Deuteronomy 5:9 NIV 

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9 NIV

The pleasures for a season are unable to satisfy for a lifetime.

Money and things…
The lure of our flesh…

Only God can bring us true fulfillment.

We don’t realize it but we’ve always been looking for God; just looking for God in all the wrong places when we choose the path which tempts us down the road of our destruction.

There is a path before each person that seems right,
But it ends in death.
Proverbs 14:12 NLT

We are sheep without a Shepherd when we travel the path of our choosing.

There’s a cruel world out there ready to devour us when we go it alone without God.

Sheep have no sense of direction…
Sheep are wanderers…
Sheep are followers…
Sheep are unable to defend themselves.

selective photography of white lamb on hay
Photo by Paul Seling on Pexels.com

There’s a tug of war with the world for our heartstrings, but God is relentless in His quest for the longings of our secret place.

He’s the author of our aching, our hunger, our groaning, our desires for something more and His undying love for us will go to extreme measures to seek us out.

Reckless Love
By Cory Asbury

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie you won’t tear down
Coming after me…

two man hiking on snow mountain
Photo by Flo Maderebner on Pexels.com

Our Shepherd will leave the ninety-nine sheep to go after the one which has strayed; not returning until His lost sheep has been found.

The journey back to the ninety-nine sheep, the Shepherd keeps that which was lost safe and close to Himself.
(Luke 15:4-7)

a man carrying a sheep
Photo by Katakam Sai Swaroop on Pexels.com

God is longing for a surrendered heart to cry out for Him….



He refreshes…
He guides…
He comforts…
He protects…

Our cup overflows in Him…
(Psalms 23)

Growing up during a Sunday morning altar call in our small Southern Baptist Church with those wooden pews and stained glass windows of home and organ quietly played as the Lord wooed our hearts to Himself for the secret place…

Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling
By Will L. Thompson

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me.
See on the portals
He’s waiting and watching
Watching for you and for me.

Come home
Come home

Ye who are weary
Come home.

That Sunday while God beckoned His children to Himself through the song playing in the back ground…

Come home…
Come home…

This thirteen year old took those steps of surrender to an old fashioned altar to make a public confession how I gave my life and heart to Jesus at church camp a few days prior.

macro shot of heart shaped cut out
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Being a good person or growing up my whole life in church didn’t save me from an eternity without God; but confessing my sin and asking for forgiveness and thanking Jesus for taking my place on the cross to die an unspeakable death for my guilt would, allowing me to live with Him forever.

For God so loved the world
That he gave his one and only Son,
That whoever believes in him
Shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 NIV

You Lord, are my Shepherd!!!

I treasure you in my aching, my hunger, my groaning, and my desires for more of you in the pull of my heartstrings.

I embrace you in the longings of the secret place.

heart drawing on a sandy beach
Photo by Ave Calvar Martinez on Pexels.com


For God so loved the world…
John 3:16 NIV

Framed and hanging in the personal hallway of God’s heart is a family portrait of all of us; those children named in His book and gathered from every place He spoke into existence; a Father’s pride and joy He can’t help himself from looking,

Because God so loved the world.

A God who holds the world in His hands;

In His hands are the depths of the earth…
Psalm 95:4 NIV

An omnipresent God whose arms they reach from east to the west in a Father’s embrace.

And yet, from the millions and billions of namesakes seated in His family portrait…Crowd at sports arena

An all knowing God…

Is so intimately aware of me…

photography of people having fun
Photo by Anton Belitskiy on Pexels.com

Aware of my days.
Aware of my thoughts.
Aware when I sleep.
Aware when I rise.
Aware of my ways.
Aware of my words.
Aware of my presence.


All this knowledge is too wonderful for me;
(Psalm 139)

An all knowing God…

Who numbers and names the stars.
(Psalms 147:4)

Who sees the sparrows that fall.
(Matthew 10:29)

Because God so loved the world
That he gave his one and only Son,
That whoever believes in him
Shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 NIV

He sees me…He sees you…

An intimate God we serve.

He saw me as I sat in a packed church sanctuary one evening just a week ago (from this writing).

Among the crowd of hundreds God saw me…God saw you.

crowd in front of people playing musical instrument during nighttime
Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Speaking that evening was an evangelist anointed in the prophetic gifting, who travels the world unveiling the heart of God, ministering to the sick, ministering to the broken and hardened hearts of others.

Throughout the evening, God revealed himself in many ways through the prophetic gifting of this evangelist; through encouragement, healing, words of knowledge.

God saw me…God saw you among the crowds.

A personal God aware of me…aware of you…

Who spoke through a man who knew us not.

To one woman standing, the crowd and evangelist they laughed as he saw chickens too many to gather; a vision only God could have known as this wife and her husband had been praying in faith for a farm.

A Heavenly Father leaned in and touched the wounds of brokenness in marriages and individuals with His healing salve of love that night.

Prophetic words of encouragement were spoken to some which could have only been written from a pen in God’s hand, as they were so specific to the ones receiving.

In awe, God moved in our midst.

grayscale photography of people raising hands
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Caught off guard, the evangelist began calling out ailments one after the other, and for those in need to stand in faith to receive their healing.

Struggling not with health, I sat and believed for others in prayer.

But then God saw me.

Among the crowd of hundreds He saw me.

woman with white shirt raising her right hand
Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

Somebody with a left eye issue please stand and receive your healing.”

In great thanksgiving, I stood in faith to receive my healing.

Alarmed days earlier, I began experiencing blurred vision in my left eye when looking afar and communicated this to my husband the need to see an optometrist.

An attentive Father noticed.

Just like that, the vision of my left eye was clear again.

I basked in the joy as a little girl at Christmas that evening one week ago.

An all knowing God so intimately aware of me…

He sees me…He sees you…

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me…
Psalm 139:6 NIV


Kids don’t like to share.

I experienced this…

Being born into a family of six siblings…

Growing up to become a mother of four children…

Becoming a grandmother of eleven grandchildren,

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.

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.soup, bread, jelly

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.

pink flower field
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

May the old hymns never go out of style in our hearts…

We are blessed to be a blessing…

Lord, make me a blessing,
To someone today.