SHE DANCED WITH HER DADDY!  By Lori A Alicea

Once upon a time

In a land of castles where princesses are much too excited to sleep when the town comes alive in preparation for a royal dance of daddies and their little girls who dress up in sparkles and tulle.

An enchanted fairy-tale she’s pondered her heart for months; a dance card of songs she keeps while carried away in her daddy’s arms the evening long until the music plays its last.

A night of unforgettable moments for two, whose highlights replay in the dreams of a princess for a lifetime;

Their

Daddy Daughter Dance.

Little girls are over the moon for their daddies; daughters who radiate as a night sky of brilliant stars winking at one another overcome to be their daddies date.

Over the moon because a princess remembers….

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.
..

The lush red carpet leading to the ball entrance is roped off until the castles of daddies and daughters arrive for their special dance.

The stately tables have been set befitting little queens in waiting;

No expense too great, no detail left out for a magical evening soon to be unveiled.
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Castle doors have swung open releasing a hive of honeybees swarming across the fields of the town; a buzz of little girls dazzling their nails and hair to enter the fairy-tale gates beautiful for their daddies.
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Princess curls are caught in a crown of sparkled bows, whose gown of vintage lace reveals a bow equally as grand as its twin accentuating her locks.
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The clock of the castle strikes for the carriages arrival.

A daddy makes his way up the castle stairs to his daughter, who smiles at first glance of the glory beholding his eyes, bearing flower bouquets deserving a princess.
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The town is one royal carriage parked in front of the other, each waiting for daddy’s and daughters to take their noble seat to the dance.
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A daddy’s kiss and the strikes of the castle clock remind them both it’s time to go.
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The sea of red carpet is lined for blocks of daddy’s and their exquisite daughters leading to the front doors of the Daddy Daughter Dance, which have officially opened for the night’s festivities.

The ambiance of the ballroom is breathtaking as well as every princess in attendance with her daddy.

Words of sighs and gasps of little girls in awe fill out the Thank You card to the ballroom host for an evening of details and splendor intentionally prepared with her name in mind.
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She danced with her daddy that night.

Overwhelmed and over the moon because a princess remembers….

MY DADDY LOVED ME FIRST
By Lori A Alicea

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.
..

Dad dancing with his daughter
Dad dancing with his daughter

Oh the silliness capturing a daddy and his princess at their
Daddy Daughter Dance; a picture of a thousand memorable words.
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She danced;
A daughter danced all night with her daddy.
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The last and final page of a daddy and daughter’s fairy-tale evening has turned  when the clock strikes midnight while it seems the first number of a princess’ dance card has just played.

A princess’s smile never left the dance floor for every song
She danced with her daddy.
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But now, carriages that have waited the evening thru in patience are now anxious to return those daddy’s and daughters back to their castle until next year.

This evening of unforgettable moments for two will replay the highlights in the dreams of a princess for a lifetime;

Their

Daddy Daughter Dance.

A princess grows before her daddy ever has time to blink.
But through the years a princess never forgets the hand-print he leaves behind because…

MY DADDY LOVED ME FIRST
By Lori A Alicea
..
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.
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THE END!!

LOT 232  By Lori A Alicea

Hard to believe six months have already passed us by.

During this short season the landscape of our life has been painfully pruned back by the gardener, fertilized and re-seeded for new and beautiful growth; but yet, that most sacred ground and scenery of our heart has remained untouched, unchanged.

Time does not discriminate and show favor to the weary, the broken, and those resisting the shears of the gardener’s pruning.

But life goes on as it should.

There’s wonder and beauty to be unwrapped and unveiled to those willing to continue their passage through the steep hills and rough terrain of change.

Remembering there are no shortcuts or detours, just one-way signs of “going thru” that difficult process of mining the heartache to discover those diamonds of new beginnings.

Lot 232 remains just as I remember.

LOT 232 SIGN

The furniture hasn’t moved nor any picture or book out of place since I cleaned it last.

coffee table

Contagious laughter of small children still echoes from the walls that captured their innocence seated around the table, each eating the spoils from the scavenger hunts of their grandmother’s cupboards.

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The smells of the kitchen still retain their aromatic flavor and the recipes and memories remain that once framed the holiday dinner portraits at moms; the legacy gift I cherish most from her.

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 Evident from the unwrinkled comforter, mother’s bed hasn’t been slept in; although the soft music she used to play continuously from the small radio on her nightstand can be slightly heard if I lean in ever so closely.

moms room

Lot 232 hasn’t changed a bit in my heart, but of all the details I wish I could change, it would be that my key to Lot 232 still opened the front door to my mother’s life.

So much has changed these last six months and yet, that most sacred ground and scenery of our heart has remained untouched, unchanged.

Daughters are little girls who never outgrow the need to share those heart gushes with her mother.

Grandchildren need those rocking chair moments with their grandmother too.

grandma in chair

The merry-go-round of living keeps spinning and changing, and how I desperately want off this ride.

But life must go on as it should;
Walking in the peace,
The calm and
Serenity of God’s love;

A journey that allows the Father to carry our troubles while carrying us when we need Him to.

Going on” mandates the “letting go” of what our heart strings desperately cling to. It’s giving to God what has been His from the beginning.

There’s no looking back in the rear view mirror when your life is moving forward.

We must allow God to pack our suitcase of memories; a loving tour guide who encourages traveling light, not weighted down from the cares of what “used to be”.

I sure love you mom.

I love mom

I keep your beautiful smile in my heart of remembrances.

face of our holidays

Your prayers for the three generations you petitioned God for were not in vain.

moms prayers

Your prayers have taught us to place our hope in God.

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And accept the things we cannot change.

Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can and
Wisdom to know the difference.

I drove by Lot 232 just the other day; an address one street over from when we used to be neighbors.  Seems like yesterday we were sharing an early morning cup of coffee together on your porch.

They say you can take the neighbor out of the neighborhood, but never the neighborhood from the neighbor.

We’ll always be neighbor’s mom.

Addresses may change.
But keys to the front door of our memories will never need a locksmith.

Thank you God for Lot 232.

I have no doubt my mother didn’t need a change of address in heaven.

I’ll know exactly where to find her.
LOT 232 SIGN

THE BATTLE IS THE LORD’S By Lori A Alicea


The battle is real, isn’t it?

The battles of the heart…
The battles of the flesh…
The battles of circumstance…

Battles which force our hand to take up arms and fight.
Battles that have us on the run.
Battles that weigh heavy on the heart.
Battles that tempt a retreat into hiding.

But fear not… don’t lose hope… be not dismayed.

While we must show up to the battlefront wearing the full armor of God.  The Lord goes before us into battle and fights on our behalf.

Be thou encouraged….

THE BATTLE IS THE LORD’S
By Lori A Alicea

Surrounded by the battle lines,
Entrapped from left to right.
These struggles we wage war against,
Which force our heart’s to fight.

Before us is a battle plan,
We take up shields and swords.
Take courage He will fight for you,
The battle is the Lords.

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Stand firm your ground, in armor wear,
When struggles dare increase.
His belt of truth around your waist,
His ready feet of peace.

That breastplate of His righteousness,
In place, protects your heart.
Take up your shield of faith against,
Those lies, their arrows dart.

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The helmet of salvation wear,
Assurance as we trod.
Our struggles tremble when we raise,
Our swords, the Word of God.

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A warrior princess you are crowned,

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A warrior prince are thee.
You fight with His authority,

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Our struggles forced to flee.

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We celebrate this battle win,
He is our victory.
We stood our ground, the armor wear,
He fights for you and me.

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The struggles that we face are real,
Their lies, fight back with swords.
Oh tempt not to retreat, but stand,
The battle is the Lords.

THE ARMOR OF GOD

13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.


14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.


16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:13-17

WE OVERCOME  By Lori A Alicea

We fall.
We break.
We fail.

BUT THEN,

We rise.
We heal.
We overcome.
Anonymous

We’ve all fallen at least once in our life, haven’t we?

Fallen when learning to walk.
Fallen off our bicycles as children.
Fallen in our attempts at trying a new “thing”.
Fallen in love.

In our attempts at “trying”, the risk of falling is always a possibility; the disclaimer buried in the fine print of trying reminds us so. But who reads the fine print anyways? Most just hit the accept button of risk and take their chances.

But the odds aren’t always in our favor and life happens.

We try…
We fall…
We break.

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Bones break in our attempts to ride a bike,
Climb a mountain,
Run when we should have walked.

Confidences break in our attempts at success,
When we try a new idea,
Or launch a new business.

Hearts break in our attempts to love;
To be a friend,
To reach out; when no one reaches back.

Pride breaks in our personal fails when we try, when we risk.

But author and motivation speaker
John C Maxwell encourages the risk taker:

When it comes to taking risks,
I believe there are two kinds of people:
Those who don’t dare try new things,
And those who don’t dare miss them.

I must confess I’m the person that rarely dared to try new things for risk of failure.

I’ve played it safe for most of my life when my heart begged to leap, my arms fought to reach for that idea, my restless spirit risked the break, chance the fail to try.

I weep over all the opportunities I missed playing it safe.

My secret dared to tell on me, double-dog-dared me to step out of the safety zone into the batter’s box, to risk striking out for the chance I might just connect with the ball and hit my dreams right out of the park.

We all need to pick up the “pom poms” of our inner cheerleading squad,

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And stir up the crowd of our own encouragement:

To fly, you must test your wings.

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To find our confidences we must tell defeat who’s in charge.

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Because IF….

We rise again…

We’ll heal again…

We’ll smile again and be confident to know…

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IF WE TRY AGAIN…

We’ll overcome our fears.

We’ll overcome to ride again, run again, climb that mountain again, pursue those dreams again, love again…to try and risk the fall, chance the break and pride again.

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Remembering and taking comfort in those who love us enough to catch us if we fall.

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They’ll bandage up our hurts, our wounds, our heartbreaks,
Sending us on our way to rise, to heal,
To dare new things
To overcome.

NOW THEY ARE FOUR…By Lori A Alicea

A week and a childhood into adulthood of memories ago they were five;

Five chairs and five dinner plates around the table;
Five pair of muddy Converse’s piled at the front door.
Five twin bed’s half-hardheartedly made some of the time.
Five wrestling opponents; one or two champions at best.
Bicycles to fight over; possibly never five.
Five hungry appetites;

Five sharing telephone numbers.
Five believing in God;
Five believing in each other.
Five attending five weddings.

Five brothers never imagining one without the other.

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But now they are four.

A team of five brothers they were.

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Maybe not on the same baseball team together, as one loved the WWF more while the other preferred his cars.

But five brothers shared a passion for life, for living on the edge of laughter, for having your back, for locking arms on your behalf.

david and alicea brothers dancing at raquels weddings

A team of soldiers “leaving no man behind” when he’s down.  A team of five hearts loving one mother and father.

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A kitchen full of boys fighting for the last helping of rice.

A stove big enough for every son on the team to learn from a living cookbook the family recipes.

To learn beside their mother’s apron the magic of family meals and memories.

To remember to pass her legacy and love for the kitchen down through the generations.

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Five brothers who value family; five godly men who honor the blessings of those seated next to them on Sunday afternoons at their mother’s table following church.

To share a meal and a cup of coffee together.

To enjoy a conversation about music, the White Sox and maybe their mother’s Cubbies; well maybe.

A team of seekers hungry for a mighty move of God.

DAVID BROTHERS NATE JAKE 016Then they were five.

The team witnessed Number Five marry a woman living in Puerto Rico with him in Indiana; a love story whose pages could only be written by the hand of God.

A handsome man all dressed up would be introduced to a woman visiting her uncle in Chicago, both attending the same gathering which God had secretly orchestrated.

An old fashioned relationship of hand-written letters began and continued for over two years. Authored from the heart and penned onto paper, the words of Ruben and Carmen’s love story were intimately being written by God.USE HAND WRITTEN LETTER

Significant of this long-distance romance, Ruben crafted a miniature red mailbox for Carmen, with a letter equally as small addressed to the love of his life in Puerto Rico.

Ruben’s heart poured out to Carmen as a sonnet,

When I give my heart, I give it completely.
If I fall for you, will you catch me?

After seeking a father’s blessing for his daughter’s hand in marriage, Ruben proposed to the love of his life with Niagara Falls as the backdrop to their picture perfect moment.

A smile that beamed from an overflowing heart thru the windows of her eyes,
Carmen said yes and they were married in Puerto Rico on a beautiful day,
June 19, 1988.

An old fashioned relationship of hand-written letters
Brought them to the steps of a holy altar;

Sacred marriage vows to:
Love and to cherish
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
Unto death.

Ruben and Carmen loved each other for a lifetime.
Ruben and Carmen were committed to their vows of promises for thirty-two glorious years.

Their vows of
In sickness and in health
Unto death

Was their living testimony, a God centered example of marriage to that difficult fork in the road called Unto.

Woven into the remaining moments and days Carmen shared with her beloved, she reminded him how forever grateful she was of the Godly man that had faithfully served her, a servant whose greatness was witnessed in the little things; grocery shopping, meal preparation, finances.

Carmen reminisced Ruben’s Hallmark store of greeting cards he sent her, being mindful of the man she loved so dearly, mindful of a husband’s details that remains hidden in a place recessed in her heart, reserved only for him.

Carmen celebrated the songs Ruben dedicated to her, music which always takes her back to their place, their life; their scrapbook of memories.

Carmen thanked her romantic husband for that hidden garden he must have been secretly tending to, that special place just for her where he picked the prettiest bouquets of flowers for his wife most deserving.

Even in Ruben’s darkest hour, he was still found loving his wife; still keeping his God ordained post to inquire of any concerns, to encourage his beloved wife in the Lord, leading her to stand on the word.

The steps of a righteous man enters into praise as his teammates sang over him, keeping a soldier’s promise, “leaving no man behind.”

Pushing through excruciating pain, Ruben’s groaning’s of praise wafted to heaven a sweet fragrance to God,

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalms 23:1, 4, 6 (KJV)

Ruben sent one last letter, hand-written from the pen of his heart-felt love and addressed to his siblings,
“Please tell all my brother’s I love them.”

On February 27, 2021 that morning, the brother’s shared a “last call”, a final moment on the field honoring team member No. 5, a text message at six-thirty am that morning rejoicing as Ruben finally received his eternal reward.

Moments of silence flowed into rivers of tears.

Tributes to Ruben’s life were noted in part on social media…

Pastor and Nephew Jeremias Alicea – Ruben was a godly man, a pioneer in his church, and a devout follower of Jesus Christ. He always had a heart for people and I think it was, in part, because he understood the struggles of those who were marginalized. I am so glad he is no longer suffering and that he is rejoicing in heaven with many who have gone on before.

Niece Raquel Clay – Death is a beautiful thing when suffering is on the other side! I am grateful that my uncle is no longer suffering, but is fully healed and with his mother again in heaven! I rejoice in the memories of my uncle and hold onto the truth of what’s to come. Death is only the beginning, not the end!

Over the last two weeks a team has been planning to honor one of their own.

But the singing has already begun.
When We All Get to Heaven
By Alan Jackson
When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be.
When we all see Jesus
We’ll sing and shout the victory.

The family rejoices for the streets of gold their brother walks.

The team rejoices for the heavenly reunions already taking place.

The celebration of five brothers 

Now becoming four 
In letting go their brother who has just seen Jesus.

No. 5 has been retired to the Brothers Hall of Fame.

Around the dinner table there still remains five chairs and five plates;

The emptiness of one chair and one plate speaks loudly to a family’s loss and void.

Five brothers never imagined one without the other.

Memories never leave or abandon the heart.

But embracing the loss of being five is most difficult.

Niece Raquel Clay said it best,
Death is only the beginning, not the end!

We rejoice for you, our brother Ruben.
We promise to take care of your beloved Carmen.

The team will never be the same without you.
We find comfort and hold near your last words on earth,
“Stand on the Word.”
And
“All I know is that He redeemed my soul.”IMG_8128

Where once they were five, Now they are four.

But we will all see Ruben again one day.
Who knows when that one day will be?

But there’s comfort for all of us to think about that one day we will see Ruben again.

It’s like that reassurance Carmen had for thirty-two years when Ruben kissed her good night before sleep and a husband’s voice could be heard in the dark,
I’ll see you in the morning.

 

LIFE’S AMAZING RACE By Lori A Alicea

Sometimes life takes you back a few years and it’s always worth looking over your shoulder to remember the overflow of one’s heart.

On February 24, 2017
A few pages from the diary of my heart for our son on his birthday….

Your Life’s Amazing Race began on
February 24, 1983 at 5:55 PM
When you became our son;

Jacob James C. England

jake as a baby at xmas

God has had a great plan on your life before you were ever born.
That plan has been unfolding with every mile you complete in your race; a race that has been charted from the very beginning.

There are those who have greatly influenced you along the way.
Now, it’s your turn to lead the next generation of runners in their race;
Those adorable children of yours.

2015 hollis jake cova at race

I am forever thankful for those lives that have loved you greatly for so many years, but sadly were last seen at the fork in the road called “Heaven Bound.”

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Jake and Cova

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barbara

Gloria Gloria

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David and I love you son.

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May God continue to reveal amazing surprises for you around every lap of the race you take.

Your Life’s Amazing Race
By Lori A Alicea

A charted course, your race is set,
Specific map assign.

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A plan prepared before your birth,
To reach the finish line.

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Your map it details every step,
Your path God charts them all.

IMG_7433He guides your way and sets the pace,
The prize, fulfill your call.

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A marathon of hills to climb,
Yet miles where watchers cheer.

The Climb of Your Life - Do not Fear picture or Conquer 2Encouragement when loss of strength,
Demands you persevere.

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Beware the turns that lead astray,
The detours that seem right.

IMG_7439Keep firm your faith and feet before,
The prize that’s in your sight.

jake running your raceYou’ve journeyed far, we’re proud of you,
Yet many miles you face.

IMG_7437Faint not, your God he runs beside,
Your life’s amazing race.

IMG_7434Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easy entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

Blessings on another year older son.
IMG_7405You are all grown up; but that little boy still holds a special place in my heart.

mother son USESpoken from the pages of David’s heart …

Dear Son,

You may not be my blood.
You may not share my name.
But love goes deeper than any human understanding.
If I never told you,
I’ve always believed it.
I’m proud of you as any dad would be.
You are my Beloved Son.
Love David

jakes cross stitch

Thirty-eight years ago
You left the starting line to begin your
Life’s Amazing Race.

As the laps in your life begin to take their grueling toll; Don’t give up or give into the pain.  Stay in your lane. Persevere and complete your race.  As a prize awaits your finish.  Love Mom. 25040237-B6C2-4839-B6C7-053054DD4669

LOVE FOR A LIFETIME  By Lori A Alicea

Consider it simply amazing.

Consider it an unearthed treasure.

Consider it a lighthouse to guide the generations beyond their life.

Consider it another Wonder of the World.

Consider love for a lifetime.

That’s what Bill and Gloria considered their first day of marriage throughout their sixty-six wonderful years together;

Love for a lifetime.

bill and gloria on valentines

To have and to hold,
From this day forward.
For better, for worse.
For richer, for poorer.
In sickness and in health.
To love and to cherish.
Till death us do part,

According to God’s holy matrimony,
In the presence of God we make this vow.

And that they did, for sixty-six years.

Never wavering their commitment when times were lean.
Never considering giving up in worse.
Holding tight to each other in sickness.

Bill and Gloria,
According to God’s holy matrimony,
Cherished one another before their children.
Cleaved to each other in the eyes of their grandchildren.
They preferred one another in the presence of God.

They embraced a love for a lifetime.

A legacy to leave;

Something God would have us all to consider.

Bill and Gloria

Gloria Ann left her Bill for heaven on November 30, 2015;
a sad day for us; a glorious day for Christ and Gloria.

The first time I ever saw them apart.

Even though a vacant seat remains at the breakfast table where Bill and Gloria once shared a few pieces of toast and coffee prepared by Bill each morning;

I never see one without the other,
As the love Bill still carries for Gloria illuminates his eyes.

bill and gloria by river

The love this couple shared together has been passed down four generations thus far; a love story to be told and recounted over and over during bedtime stories to the grandchildren present and beyond.

jill and kids

Gloria’s love spilled over as a teapot being poured into the cups of her daughter’s and granddaughter’s life.

bill and gloria's girls

bill and gloria tea setThere is always enough love and room at the table in Bill’s heart for his special girls also.

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Bill and Gloria passed their legacy of love for a lifetime to their children, their grandchildren and those beyond their natural eyes to see.

Their love for a lifetime,
A love only known in Christ,
Stands as a lighthouse to guide through the darkest days,
The roughest and uncharted waters,
Reaching and safely continuing another day as man and wife.

bill and gloria family

Adopted into our hearts, Gloria held the honor of matriarch alongside the other pillars in our family. We only knew her as nanny, as love will do that.

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bill and gloria and david
Bill carries the torch of patriarch and is only known to us as papa; whose family added new branches to reach our family tree, by sharing themselves with those not sharing their DNA;

bill and brad

Being nanny and papa to so many not related by blood, but knitted together in true love.

bill and gloria picnic all our family

The sun is going down in papa’s eyes as his longing for that one he
Loved for a lifetime is winning.

Sitting side by side along the water’s edge will forever be “their place”.

The cool and calm of the river still ripples between two hearts, whose devotion to the other never parted them, even unto death.

bill and gloria by river

Bill and Gloria’s sixty-six years together is an unearthed treasure, a treasure map, an adventure to discover true love in your wedding vows.

Consider it simply amazing.

Consider sixty-six years together another Wonder of the World.

Consider love for a lifetime.

Bill and Gloria did.

ROSES EACH DAY, AND EVERY DAY!  By Lori A Alicea

There’s a local florist near home who absolutely has the corner market on love.

Accompanied with every bouquet of roses is his smile and a few words to add to the card; words you recognize from the pages of a heart who knows true love himself and wants to share this love with others.

White roses for innocence and everlasting love;
Yellow roses for friendship and joy;
Pink roses for elegance and sweetness;
Red roses for true love and romance;

A garden of roses colored in every beautiful shade and hue paints the portrait of this local florist nearby, whose life as my husband expresses himself in friendship, joy, sweetness and true love as a bouquet of flowers, as a special delivery of
roses each day, and every day
to me and others.

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For some, it might take a special pair of glasses to see long stem roses wrapped in the ribbon of everyday tasks my husband blesses me with. For others, the fog might never clear.

But a heart of deep contentment and gratitude can smell the roses my husband gives while cleaning the dishes or braving the winter cold so I don’t have too.

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serve de-icing car

A morning delivery of roses await an opportunity to appreciate the loving hands that serve me; to smile at the efforts of an amazing man regardless if his laundry folds ever pass a Martha Stewart inspection.

serve doing laundryI’m not the only one receiving roses each day, and every day.

A papa of ten grandchildren makes sure they each get their special deliveries too.

Papa hands out roses reaching for their hand, allowing the innocence of children to take him wherever they wish.

walk 1walkIt’s coming up roses during story time and car time with just the two of you.

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Long stem roses are car rides with papa to wherever your heart desires.

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Roses from papa take adventures in the deep; adventures down the hill or adventures around the track.

playing swimingplaying sledingplaying riding go-cartA personal tour of papa’s rose garden is enjoyed during birthday celebrations and family hour around the dinner table with him.

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jake david's birthdaytable 2Papa’s girls are vases of pretty pink buds that bloom in their special time together.

time 4

time 5play riding bike 2Sometimes you don’t see or smell the roses rolling out play-dough, waging a war of Nerf-guns, swatting the bat in baseball or working together with papa. But looking back at the pictures you realize papa’s rose petals where scattered everywhere.

play with play doughplay with gunsplaying baseballdeck david and jakeTo his prettiest girls, papa gives the dearest wedding bouquets in song and dance.
singing at Nate and Kristy's weddingCumbee-806Papa even commissions Elvis to personally deliver the finest and most exquisite roses in song to his anniversary girl.
singing at our anniversaryPapa hands out roses when he BBQ’s.
Papa hands out roses when he laughs.
Papa especially delivers red roses when he never says “no” to crafts.
bbqlaughcraftingMy Valentine and me with twenty-seven years together has been a lifetime delivery of
Roses each day, and every day.

Accompanied with every bouquet of roses is his smile and a few words to add to the card; words you recognize from the pages of a heart who knows true love in Christ himself and wants to share this love with others.

Papa’s roses of the ordinary and mundane might be mistaken for another flower.

But in the eye of the beholder,

david and lori

I’ll always see

Roses each day, and every day.
flowers

THE GENERATIONS  By Lori A Alicea

The generations are only together for a season.

The calendar is reminiscent of the decades between their birthda
ys.

An ocean divides the era they each grew up in.

The wallpaper of home it captures a story of life in “their day”, a movie told as reruns in dinner conversations.

The simple moments are still the big moments regardless of age.

You don’t have to walk far to realize whose hand you hold is a gift and worth the travel down memory lane or new adventures ahead; rather than choosing to miss the sightseeing together and go it alone.
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The generations are only together for a season.

Each generation leaves the starting lineup from a different era, another team, keeping pace from their individual lane in the race.
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In their lane one generation is always pursuing a personal best; that their time in the race might be recorded as God had planned, whose story is one to remember and passed on down in the family Bible as inspiration to those who continue the race.

In their lane the heart of one generation is beating fast as the pace picks up from the lap before it, making sure to exhale the gifts and memories received along the way onto the next generation about to take their position at the starting lineup.
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While each generation has a lane and individual race to run from, each generation perseveres to finish the race God set before them; with cheerleaders of encouragement along every step of the way, whose voices are trumpeted thru the final stretch and over the finish line.
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In time, the next generation will leave the starting line-up and take their place into the same lane behind the generation previous, and run the race together for just a short distance, where the hand-off of the baton of their life, the baton of their love and wisdom to a run their race and victory dance is complete.
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Sadly, the running shoes of the generation previous eventually hang as a trophy of their glory days, whose highlight reels re-play in their memories and stories re-told for those audiences eager enough to listen.
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The generations are only together for a season.

The generation previous will run in the same lane and in front of the upcoming generation for only a few meters of their life’s race, where the baton of their legacy is blindly handed off and entrusted into the hands of those whose race continues beyond them.

There is no looking back from the runner in front during this crucial baton exchange of one’s legacy.

Races are won and lost in this exchange.

The race continues from one generation to the next, each taking their lane and attempts to run a personal best that pleases God.

Legs will grow weary.

The wind of adversity will push against one’s limits.

The insurmountable odds of the pursuit might dash one’s faith.

But every runner must keep the pace, must hold tight onto the baton they’ve been given.

As the next generation is waiting for sights of you at the starting line-up;

Anxious for two generations to follow each other, to love and learn from each other, to receive the prize of the hand-off that God promises in our finish.

To keep in step and treasure together the few meters each race of the generations is granted.

HIDE AND SEEK OF THE HEART  By Lori A Alicea

Ready or not, here I come.”

The count to thirty is over.

The scrambling of little feet down the halls of Papa and Gaga’s house has stilled.

The laughs of sweet children who hurry for a new place to hide have quieted.

In a two bedroom house we grandparents are amazed at the new creative places these cousins discover from one game of hide and seek to the other;

Among the pots and pans inside the kitchen cabinets;
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Inside the bathroom shower;
Under the piled clothes of the laundry basket;
Behind the pillows propped on our bed;
In every conceivable place in the one closet of two allowed;
Behind the garbage can beneath the sink;
Behind the doors and living room couch;
Under the kitchen table;

We even caught someone sneaking in the dryer once but stopped that in a hurry.

Oh, the creative play when children find simple pleasures in hiding.
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Each taking turns camouflaging themselves in the same places their cousins found cover during the last game, but hide nevertheless.

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Whoever is found first and after the whereabouts of every hidden child has been revealed, will start counting, initiating the next round of hide and seek.

A game that goes on for hours;

Child’s play that turns upside down the closets, cabinets and every imaginable place our grandchildren take cover from.

But memories Papa and Gaga wouldn’t stop for a second, knowing one day soon these little feet will stop scrambling down the halls to hide, whose shoe size sadly to us will outgrow this simple game of hide and seek.

As precious children in God’s eyes,

We never outgrow this relationship of hide and seek with Him.

Though God is never hidden from us,
He loves when we seek Him;
He loves to be found.

I love those who love me,
And those who seek me, find me.
Proverbs 8:17 NIV

God loves when we seek Him to do the right thing.

I seek you with all my heart,
Do not let me stray from your commands.
Psalm 119:10 NIV

God delights when His children take cover
And hide in Him from their enemies.

Rescue me from my enemies,
Lord, for I hide myself in you.
Psalm 143:9 NIV

There are those times though we children
Don’t seek God to do the right thing and the game of

Hide and seek of the heart

Begins when we hear God calling for us
From our hiding place as He did with Adam and Eve,

Where are you?”
Genesis 3:9 NIV
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Knowing all too well God is never blind to our whereabouts.”

Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?”
Declares the Lord….
Jeremiah 23:24 NIV
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Yet, it is in His asking,
“Where are you?”
God questions if we are aware
Of the hiding place our choices
Have caused us to take cover from.

There are no secrets from God.

This game of
hide and seek of the heart
Is meant for our seeking, our finding;

Our hiding in Him; not hiding from Him.

In spite of our choices,
Regardless of our whereabouts,

No matter how deep the well we have dug for ourselves,

There is great hope and joy from God
for His children to come out of hiding because,

Nothing,
I mean nothing,
Can ever separate us from the love of God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
Neither angels nor demons,
Neither the present nor the future,
Nor any powers,
Neither height nor depth,
Nor anything else in all creation,

Will be able to separate us
from the love of God that is in
Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8: 37:39 NIV