FROM THE WINDOW VIEW  By Lori A Alicea

Years ago, a set of railroad tracks ran east and west through the country acres we were living at the time, whose locomotive whistle called the little feet of boys and girls from the other end of the house down the runway of the hallway in screams of delight, dragging a kitchen chair to their window seat for the few short minutes this parade of train cars was passing through.

brodie ethan window diapers

From the window view parade a child no doubt longs and wishes for a ride of adventure to the moon and back before their nap.

Adventures these little passengers have taken from those pages and chapters of books who’ve handed them their passports to experience the magic and wonder of the world at their fingertips.

From the window view, there’s a small child in me and probably each of us, waiting and standing in lines which seem to never move at times…brystol window

For stamps on our passport to summit our hopes; summit those dreams; summit the mountains to our answered prayers.

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Until then, we find ourselves looking and waiting on God.

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Waiting with a…

A constant look from the window view for our miracle…

A constant look from the window view for relief for our finances…

A look out the window view for our new direction…ethan looking thru window

A look out the window view for those things unspoken…sistersayva aubrey looking out window

While God is not trapped nor bound by the boundaries of time, the calendar, the clock; we are encouraged to wait as He is a good father who keeps his promises forever.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 NIV

He keeps every promise forever.
Psalm 146:6 NLT

In our Bible we discover many also waited for the fulfillment of God’s promises in their lives.

Abraham waited twenty-five years for his son Isaac.

Abraham also waited four-hundred years for his land of inheritance.

And all those thousands of years we waited for the birth of our Lord Jesus beginning from the prophecy of Isaiah.

But yet, we wait by the window in hope as God keeps his promises forever.2019 alicea brystol brodie peeking out window

God doesn’t forget the orphan child.

God remembers the widowed woman.

He’s aware of our existing lack…

He hears our silent cries at night…

He counts every fallen tear on our pillow.

He sees His children from the window view and blows them kisses…USE older younger rosalee kizzie 2

Encouraging them to continue their adventures and experience the wonder of God’s promises through the pages of His Word at their fingertips.

book reading book 1

While waiting well for their fulfillment from the window seat of their view.brodie ethan window diapers

DADDY’S BABY IS HAVING A BABY  By Lori A Alicea

Life is full of surprises.

They arrive when you’re caught off guard by the unexpected.

They arrive as a bouquet of flowers you didn’t order.

They arrive after a lap-full of three grandsons and seven granddaughters have been calling you Papa over the last seventeen years. GRANDCHILDRENThey arrive after the baby crib set up at Papa’s house where most of his ten grandchildren have slept in, has been sadly dismantled for the last time.Ethan 2011 ethan in crib USE

They arrive after years of summer riding together on bicycles, most rescued from the side of the road on garbage day and shared among cousins, now bringing smiles to other children in need, as our grandchildren have crushed our hearts outgrowing them.USE BIKESbikes grandkids big on bikes

They arrive after a gentle rain of grandparent tears waving at their two remaining grandchildren recently graduating from Pre-k, on their first day of school.

They arrive after the resistance of a grandfather closing the chapter on diapers, pacifiers, of grandchildren teething, nighttime rocking, toddlers learning to walk, play-dates and weekends at Papa’s house.

They arrive after Papa still struggles with all these new beginnings.

Yes, life is full of unsuspecting surprises.

They arrive as an explosion of joyful confetti…

When daddy’s little girl,
Who always thought she’d only be a cool aunt in her lifetime,

Has called her father to announce she’s having a baby.

A little girl who wrapped her tiny fingers around a daddy’s heart from the moment he laid eyes on her, is about to experience this same miracle in a few short months.use AUDRA baby

A little girl whose smile and curls started the world around her smiling, will witness the same through her son.

audra little

A little girl who loved to go fishing, who risked a handful of blisters for the monkey bars, will one day enjoy these afternoons of fun with her baby boy whose name we have yet to learn.

While time refused to stand still in her growing up,

She remained her daddy’s little girl.

A father affirming his beautiful daughters in song on their thirtieth birthdays while celebrating his sixtieth; a well of emotion a brand new mother is about to draw from for the rest of her child’s life.

You are so Beautiful
Song Made Famous By Joe Cocker

(lyrics excerpt)

You’re everything I hoped for…
You’re everything I need…
You are so beautiful, to me..

Click on the movie ABOVE to hear a father sing to his daughters.

She always thought she’d be the cool aunt to her nieces and nephews, never imagining holding a child of her own.audra johnny dedication

But God knew…

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…
Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)

From the beginning of time, God already knew and wrote about the days of this child’s life; a precious gift from the Lord.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
All the days ordained for me where written in your book,
Before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16 (NIV)

Children are a gift from the Lord,
They are a reward from Him.
Psalm 127:3 (NLT)

Daddy’s baby is having a baby.
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Papa was overwhelmed with great joy when he revealed the news to me one evening after work.

While she’ll always remain daddy’s little girl;

As some things can never change.
audra flowers
But oh, what an explosion of confetti…

And a life full of surprises…

When daddy’s baby holds the baby of her own.

PREPARE YOUR FIELDS FOR SPRING  By Lori A Alicea

Growing up in the Northwest region it was delightful for a little girl as a passenger in the back row seat with her window rolled down and wind at her face, to be mesmerized by farmers at the helm of their tractors,
preparing acres of fields for spring.USE Tractor 4

Land which stretched as far as the eye could see, I remember those heroes in overalls getting lost in my view as a flurry of blowing and kicking up dust into the afternoon glare of the sun, behind tractors tilling and plowing the fields.USE Till the land

From sunrise to sunset I dare not take for granted those years their backbreaking work at family farms passed down from generation to generation, with us enjoying the fruits of their labors at dinner.USE fields 3

Written in God’s Word is a poem titled:

A Time for Everything.

(an excerpt…)

There is a time for everything,
And a season for every activity under the heavens:

A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot….
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 NIV

Yes, farmers understand this season of seed time.
They celebrate this season of harvest.

Sowing and reaping for them is a journey of believing;
Walking blindly with God’s promises leading the way.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

It takes faith to believe our buried seeds will die and one day produce and yield bushels of its likeness.

A man reaps what he sows.
Galatians 6:7 NIV

Might we glean from the farmer’s fields for our own lives.

Remembering in the poem
A Time for Everything,

When it is our time to be born, our time to live,
There would be years of seed time and harvest,

Seasons of sowing our self into another man’s field, expecting a harvest in our own field when we do, because God’s promises remind us of this.

Seasons of planting God’s hope for a better day,

For healing,
For health,
For finances,
For prodigals…

In our children’s lives…
In our grandchildren’s lives…
In our neighbors and strangers alike…

In our own lives…

And during those impatient months and years when our harvest hasn’t even peaked above ground, our faith must continue believing for answered prayer; our eyes still envision the season of fall.

That in our posture of anxiously waiting at those fields appearing to be barren…
In our endless conversations and questions with God in our wondering…

Might we find rest in His promises,
Take heart when we are reminded,

The harvest of fall is coming,
If we prepared our fields at springtime.USE fields 4

Our barns would overflow as God promised if we did.

USE hay 1

BLOOM WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED…By Lori Alicea

We’re all planted somewhere.

A friendship…
A marriage…
A job…
A community…
Our personal dreams…

Yes, we’re all planted somewhere, but are we blooming?USE Aubrey smell flower 1

Looking back over the last two years when my husband and I planted our lives in this small community, I question our blooming while watering our gardens at sunset.HOUSE VALPOUSE both girls looking back

Gardens grow with love and attention where breathtaking flowers of every bouquet are birthed.

Paintings of wonder are framed in the gardener’s mind at spring, imagining their strokes of color and beauty bursting off the canvas at summer’s end.USE flowers 2

I’ve asked myself…

Have our gardens of neighbors grown and flourished from those seeds of love and attention we’ve planted in them?

Are there bouquets of relationship flowers bursting in color up and down the street because we’ve imagined them at spring?

Have we bloomed in contentment from the address we are planted?USE Ayva smell flower 3

With a brand new house next door (like ours) which has been up for sale these past few months, we’ve intentionally greeted those peeking through the windows with a verbal tour of the neighborhood, occasionally hosting a tour of our home when these prospective neighbors wondered what the inside and size looked like with furniture.

David and I have enjoyed promoting our home sweet home community, sowing seeds of kindness to whom God might be sending to live one house over from us.

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That neighbor finally moved in a few weeks ago, an older woman living on her own with her only daughter residing in Texas; an opportunity to love on somebody’s mother in her absence.

Do unto others

As I would have wanted done for my mother in the same situation.

We’ve made a few friends over the last two years, helping the “older than us” when we can.

David went missing for a few hours last summer when I found him fixing another man’s roof; keeping the homeowner safe in his lawn chair after my husband stopped him from wobbling up the ladder.

You wave at passerby’s in the community, rolling our window down every now and then for a few moments of conversation at the mailbox hub.

We’ve introduced ourselves to those congregating outside
during our evening walks around the park.

You never know what kind of day your neighbors are having; who’ve also reciprocated the love when the weather report on our faces reads cloudy skies.

Kindness is always the cherry on top for a smile waiting to happen.

But the question remains…

Have we bloomed in contentment these last two years we’ve planted ourselves at this address?D9DBC329-22EC-4CDD-BCB0-399F1897C8FE

While we love this charming home God gave us, we desperately long the country life we enjoyed during our early years of marriage.

Every night in the evening, David and I intentionally get lost in back-roads, driving towards the desperate longing that calls our hearts, an excerpt I once wrote about in a former blog…
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THE LONG WAY HOME
By Lori A Alicea

(excerpt…)

The long way home gives you time to reacquaint yourselves with one another, as life changes from day to day as the four seasons do, and one must dress appropriately for the weather escorted in.

Are we there yet?”

Usually not, when the compass of our travels is a constant turn to the east or west down roads where the scenery isn’t familiar and stirs your curiosity for any hidden log cabins to discover.

cabin near trees
Photo by Marcus Murphy on Pexels.com

Then is the map you follow for those log cabins you long to see for the umpteenth time, stopping at the edge of their driveway and dreaming together over a few sips of our coffee, adding a childlike gift to our Christmas list once again this year.

snowy brown house near tree
Photo by Evelyn Chong on Pexels.com

The best seats in the house can be purchased for the price of a few gallons of gas and uninterrupted moments of time except to enjoy and take in the view of nature’s carefree children chasing each other around the trees and deep into the woods of their private playground.

brown deer surrounded with snow covered trees
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com


(excerpt end…)
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For our young granddaughter’s delight, I’ve sown a few rocks in my garden for their discovery…

Rocks of peace, laughter, believing, friends and hope…each glittered to catch their attention.

Maybe I’ve sown these rocks of encouragement for this little girl in me unknowingly.

Sometimes we question why and where we’re planted when you’d rather be re-potted elsewhere.

But we are reminded to find contentment in all things…

…for I have learned to be content in whatever situation I am in.
Philippians 4:11 NIV

I’ve also learned these last sixty-one summers, it’s best to trust and be in awe of those…

Paintings of wonder framed with us in the gardener’s mind at spring, imagining those strokes of color and beauty of our lives bursting off the canvas at summer’s end.

Because…

God has all things blooming no matter where we’re planted.

USE Ayva smell flowers 3

DESTINATION ADVENTURE By Lori A Alicea

There it was…

Catching me off guard…
Stopping me in my tracks…
So strangely out of place…

Getting my complete attention the minute
I opened the doors to this church I was visiting.

An old Volkswagen towing a surfboard parked inside the foyer for reasons I was intrigued to know why.

A mystery God wouldn’t reveal until months later, but revolved around the reason I was speaking at a ladies conference that Saturday morning in the first place.

USE VW Surfboard leigh

The story began months prior and finding me minding my own business and perfectly content, serving God behind the scenes as a writer and blogger.

But then over coffee with a longtime friend, God was about rustle my comfortable nest and thrust me into the winds of the unknowing, testing my wings of faith when my trusted sister inquired if I’d be willing to speak at a conference she was hosting.

My answer is found in an excerpt of a former blog of mine…

When Opportunity Comes
By Lori A Alicea

Among the lively conversations shared around each table that morning at this local eatery, privately I was having a Moses moment with God, reluctantly responding as Moses did when God presented an opportunity long ago,

Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent (of speech)…”
Exodus 4:10 NIV

It’s easy to hide behind these written words of mine, a wall of personal security.

Though, while I’m not afraid of testifying God’s Word before others, I tried to justify “my lack of eloquence” to my friend.

In my scarcity of confidence, I questioned if I had anything worthwhile to offer, yet I am encouraged by Author and speaker Lisa Bevere’s words…

Offer God whatever He has placed in your hand – whatever is in your care or control. Offer it up for heavenly purposes and see what God will do. As we release what is in our hands, He releases what is in His.

Then I am reminded in the quiet time of my prayers…

God hath need of thee, to multiply my life’s message and feed a room full of hungry people; if only I’d be willing to offer my ordinary lunch to Him in my “yes”.

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I SAID YES.

One Saturday morning the alabaster jar of my testimony was broke open and poured out over a room full of ladies and men; a hillside of wild flowers and fragrance wafted to the heavens as an offering of praise to our Lord.

The healing waters gently flowed through those hearts and tears of ones hurting during a conference titled, “Beloved.”

All glory to an almighty God.

Then I returned back home to my comfortable nest…

Or so I thought.

I couldn’t shake that old Volkswagen and surfboard waiting for me when I arrived at the Beloved conference.

I continuously inquired of God its meaning.

This scene was personal and gripped my emotions upon first glance.

As a child, our driveway was a parking lot full of Volkswagen’s awaiting my father’s mechanic hands to fix them.

Our military son and family living in Hawaii, all love to surf.

This personal scene is an illustration to the story God is about to unveil and read from the next chapter written for my life…

Destination Adventure.

From one who always played it safe…

Pastor and Author Richard Foth reminds…

We were meant for more than a safe ride when God placed us here. Any part of this life that offers more, requires more, or asks more of us than we are used to is an opportunity to grow more, dream more, and be more than we are now.USE VW Surfboard leigh

This personal scene was a setup from God, who knows me intimately and sees those hidden heart strings tied to His daughters emotions.

God was asking more of me.

To dream more, to risk more, to stop playing it safe.

But what would I offer Him this time?”

Pastor Erwin Lutzer said, “A faithful God does not expect you to do what you cannot. He supplies the needed strength.” As we faithfully serve God, He gives us the strength we need for the tasks He has placed in front of us.

So go in the strength you have…
Judges 6:14 NIV

God wasn’t asking me to barrel the big waves.8FE32792-4914-4AFE-BEE5-BF1FFE563235

No, He was only asking a child to take those first few steps in the shallow, finding herself in the deep waters one day in the future.

Looking close inside this Volkswagen is a silent greeting of aloha, a lei welcoming me to this adventure.

Looking even closer, you notice the Jesus license plate, our faithful Lord who goes before us, leading the way.

Life is a wilderness, but when we invite Jesus to be our Guide, all bets are off.

Any way you slice it, those things spell adventure.
Pastor and Author Richard FothJESUS license plate

It’s time to stop playing it safe and jump into the unknowing; whatever the unknowing looks like.

Destination Adventure is God’s personal book for me I recently opened, where Chapter One only instructs me to take the first step, to jump and take a risk.

If you don’t take the risk, you forfeit the miracle.
Pastor and Author Mark Batterson

USE Jump off

And to get excited for the unknowns of Chapter Two and beyond…

Another excerpt from…

When Opportunity Comes
By Lori A Alicea

My friend stirred up the excitement in me through a song written by Pastor Mike Jr; excitement I stir up in your opportunities as well; that God’s getting ready to move…and it’s going to be BIG…

Song BIG
By Pastor Mike Jr.
.

You ought to declare that over your own life

That it’s my time
And I can feel it.
Breakthrough is in the room.

God’s getting ready to move.

Listen, you ought to declare this over your own life, say it
For I know my God is working miracles just for me

And it’s going to be BIG…

INTENTIONAL FRIENDS  By Lori A Alicea

Her name is Betty.

My next door-neighbor of many years and twenty years my senior, and yet our relationship celebrated differing views and perspectives; not competing generations.

Across the street where whistle blowing trains rattled our windows all hours of the day, was an old country street of five houses nestled under the acreage of trees they were built on, where barns, horses, gardens and chickens running loose added to the old fashion charm of a picturesque postcard.Jake 1

Betty and I began borrowing cups of sugar from each other when she was a young grandmother and I a young mother myself.

As neighbors, we smiled and witnessed from our porches and swing sets the passing of time in the growing faces of Betty’s grandchildren and my children between the two houses.

Betty’s twin granddaughters and two grandsons always seemed to sport a glove and bat for a family baseball game of endless innings in their backyard where parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, each took their position on the field.

My two year old son watched these games from the dugout of his sandbox, waiting his turn to be big enough for the team; my baby girl and I rooted Betty’s grand-kids from the window or lawn chair nearby.

Betty and I loved being home with our children and grandchildren, both sharing the arts of sewing, canning and crafts.

More than anything, we neighbors shared the same pew at heart when our love for God overflowed those morning cups of conversation.

USE church

As time passed by, my young children and I would leave the neighborhood in tears and brokenhearted due to an unwanted divorce, but would return years later as Betty’s next-door neighbor, newly married to the man of my dreams.

Sadly, moving back to this old country neighborhood of five houses where whistle blowing trains from across the street would fascinate my future grandchildren, Betty has said good-by in sickness to the love of her life; a marriage of thirty-five glorious years.

In her husband’s honor, Betty planted a backyard tree to celebrate his life and life going on thru nature in its magnificence towards the skies and God; a widow’s place of remembrance for someone she deeply loved.

Albeit divorce, sickness or death, Betty and I continued to share sugar and heartache over tears, conversations, hugs and sometimes sitting in silence as true friends and neighbors feel comfortable to do.

For years I felt guilty for all the celebrations of open houses, baby showers and parties that took place on the front acreage of our property, where life and laughter…

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Could be heard and seen from Betty’s house and open windows a few steps away.IMG_6069

Through our intentional friendship though, Betty continued to be encouraged and lifted up, reminding her through scriptures that God promised to be a husband to the widow, a father to the orphan, a redeemer for another day.

Fifteen years later God redeems Betty’s vacant heart at a high school reunion with the re-introduction of an old friend. Betty’s eyes illuminated with joy and happiness unspeakable once again as a little girl, and the two were married in the fall of that year; eventually moving out of the neighborhood to begin their newly married life in another state.

Distance didn’t change our friendship as the miles were bridged with Betty’s cards sent in the mail and my telephone calls to her.

Betty and her new husband would come into town every so often to visit family or attend their favorite quartet concerts, for which they stopped into the old neighborhood for a visit with us.

Not making excuses, but life started happening in those one by one good-byes to parents, grandparents and loved ones and moving two more times for us, somehow losing touch with Betty.

Interestingly, Betty’s cards stopped coming although I didn’t question it, assuming life was happening for her.

Sadly and heartbreaking enough, it was.

I decided to look Betty up on social media after three and a half years from our last conversation, when an arrow plunged my heart in despair after realizing Betty’s account had been moved to legacy status.

Not wanting to assume the worse, I searched the internet for an obituary, yet never finding one in my quest.

Remembering in former conversations of Betty’s wishes to be buried by her husband of thirty-five years, David and I drove to the old country cemetery a short distance from where Betty and I used to be neighbors, only to find that indeed, Betty had passed away mere months after our last conversation.USE cemetery

With only one dirt road winding through this final resting place of a few hundred loved ones, it didn’t take us long to find the headstone of Betty’s last name she once shared with the love of her life.USE dirt roads

To my surprise, Betty left behind a love story of a different kind, choosing to be remembered beside both men who stole this woman’s heart in life.

Not knowing for sure, I imagine Betty’s thoughts…

God didn’t forget Betty and she wanted to thank Him by telling the world her beautiful story beyond her absence.USE headstone

I’m so sorry for the conversations we didn’t have those final months of Betty’s life.  I regret not bidding good-by to my intentional friend.

I didn’t attend Betty’s celebration of life and convey to her family how much their mother and grandmother meant to a next door neighbor; only because I didn’t know.

But may these words be the flowers I send to Betty on her life’s Graduation day to heaven, albeit three and a half years after she received her diploma.USE flowers

Thank you Betty for decades of friendship, for cards, for sharing cups of sugar as next door neighbors do.

I will never forget you.

Remembering…

One day we will once again share a front row pew with God who will tip His heart’s tea-pot and overflow our morning cups of conversation.USE church

WELCOME HOME…By Lori A Alicea

Seasons are changing.

Maybe it’s just me, but once those July 4th finale of fireworks burst thru the air and the remaining sparklers illuminate its own show from our children’s hands, do you slightly sense the season’s changing of the guard.

While the hot days of summer remain as house guests thru August, fall is sneaking up the back steps though most are unaware, preparing to welcome itself to the neighborhood.WELCOME BUNNY

Principals everywhere are ringing the school bell for students to begin filling their backpacks full of paper, pencils and crayons, while bells of another kind are ringing down the Christmas isles of my favorite craft store; all in the summer month of July.

Ready or not, the season’s here; the changing of the guard for weather, time and calendar events.

In life, we’re also facing seasons unique to our address.

The weaving of seasons from one into the other, with winter, spring, summer or fall choreographing the dance of personal seasons we’re about to enter, experience, or exit, then weave and dance into another season before us.

While we’d all like to predict a forecast of blue skies and sunny days, the weather might report an overcast of clouds or showers for a season.

Regardless of the season, we’re encouraged to take our seat, stay awhile, and welcome the purpose and meaning for the season we’re in.WELCOME BENCH

On first impression when entering our doors, is a wooden sign with hooks for coats, sweaters or even purses for guests to hang their belongings and receive a heartfelt welcome into our home.

The same is true for entering a new season where we are encouraged to cast and hang our cares on Jesus, a place to feel safe, a place to call home, where the couch is comfy and ambiance speaks welcome.WELCOME HOME SIGN

The front door is a traffic jam of little boys and little girls taking off their shoes and placing them beneath the welcome sign of hanging cares and coats, where side by side their crocs, flips, sandals and gym shoes for little feet remain until they leave; a reminder that seasons are meant to be shared with others.shoes Kizzy

For twelve anguishing months beginning two years ago, our family experienced an unexpected and overwhelming winter season of ten, tearful good-byes.

At morning’s dawn, the waters slept and rested peacefully near the shores of our family’s heart.

Then, without notice or alarm, a family reaches once again for life vests as the waters wake and rise in swells and attempts to drown our hearts upon receiving another call.

We gasped and couldn’t catch our breath for long periods of time during this winter season of so many good-byes.

But God was good to us, near to us, sensing His presence, never leaving our side for a moment.CHURCH

The summer season thankfully returned as promised and wafted in the air a fragrance of peace and joy and remained a bit longer than the calendar noted its departure, hovering over as a healing balm for our family.

Running along the shores of our hearts this refreshing summer season were little feet and laughter of our ten grandchildren, who somehow without us looking, outgrew the shoes of our memory.

We grandparents celebrate the many seasons we’ve shared with these ten beautiful heirs of our legacy.

Their growing continues into the seasons and choreographed dances of their individual lives.

When fishing began and there were only six of them.

So many years ago…

Our ten grand-babies today.

The seasons are changing guard once again, handing off the summer baton to the season of fall.

It’s time to pack up the sand toys and sandals these children will sadly outgrow and walk into a new season of their own before summer next year.

FISHING 7

Seasons are changing.

While we’d all like to predict a forecast of blue skies and sunny days, the weather might report an overcast of clouds or showers for a season.

Regardless of the season, we’re encouraged to take our seat, stay awhile, and welcome the purpose and meaning for the season we’re in.

WELCOME BENCH

FABtastic!!!  By Lori A Alicea

To be or not to be…
That is the question.
William Shakespeare

Yes, those are my fight’n words,
My rally cry,
My personal anthem,

My decision to wake up every morning and decide…

To be fabulous…
To be fantastic

You know, FABtastic…

Or, at least feel that way by putting in my time at the gym alongside my friend Sandra, who has her own personal anthem each morning when the alarm sounds off.

We’re all a “work in progress”, aren’t we?

I’d do myself a world of good if I’d break up with my boyfriend bread…

My abs could pass a military inspection with one bounce of a quarter;
Instead, I have to hit the dirt and give the Drill Sergeant fifty of everything.

But it’s all FABtastic…

I still feel fabulous…
I still feel fantastic

I’m not afraid to sweat.

Ab and leg machines, you don’t scare me.

To date, I haven’t set off the lunk alarm and this judgement free zone
embraces my FABtastic… self; head band and leg warmers alike.

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Kidding aside,

Might we all look in the mirror and see a FABtastic reflection.

Might we see the FABtastic people right in front of us.

The fabulous, the fantastic, those
beautiful people planted everywhere in the garden of our lives;

Thoughtfully remembering…

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

Inside and out…

My arms are full from the bouquet of wild flowers I’ve gathered during the membership years at my favorite gym.

You don’t have to walk too many miles on the treadmill to recognize familiar faces over time.

You begin to notice their good days, their bad days, before you’ve even shared a single word with them.

Crossing paths in the locker room, you sometimes find yourself in small talk with those who occasionally let their guard down and allow my workout friend and me to pray over their circumstance.

One woman having surgery, cried right there in the open gym, who longed for her mother during those recovery weeks which followed; who sadly passed away a few years prior.

My friend and I along with another woman exercising joined in our circle of comfort and prayer.

I silently pray for the couple we befriended a few months back, whose husband appears to be battling something with the recent loss of his hair.

I rejoiced in the beautiful person I ran into the other day, but hadn’t seen in months after the amputation of his foot, who acknowledged me with a wave and a smile going from one machine to the next, still continuing to exercise albeit a new normal.

I once was in awe of the beautiful mother who led around and taught her adult son; one visually impaired the mechanics of the machines.

I’ve enjoyed watching young fathers and their Little League sons build strength for the summer game as well as their relationship.

An adult son touched our heart recently as we watch him day after day share an exercise regimen and quality time alongside his older father, whose dad could have been a former politician, waving and making conversation with anyone who engages him.

The son just smiles and follows his father throughout the gym, then meets him at home for a cup of coffee.

These two became a member of our FABtastic circle of friends.

God created every one of us…

To be fabulous…
To be fantastic

And yes, FABtastic…

We need to know ourselves as FABtastic, to see ourselves beautiful in the eyes of God who fashioned us in His reflection and image.

I might have a little bit of work to do with my FABtastic inner self, as my twelve year old grandson thinks I’m allergic to fun, since I’m reluctant to swim or go down the water-slide in a bathing suit.

My grandson is probably right.

Actually though, in an attempt to encourage my FABtastic self, I did purchase two different bathing suits for my debut to the water-park, but sighed in relief when a calendar conflict put those suits on hold for next year.

Sorry Bubs.

Might we see the FABtastic in ourselves and in people before us.

The fabulous, the fantastic, those
beautiful people planted everywhere in the garden of our lives;

Always remembering…

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

Inside and out…

FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES…By Lori A Alicea

Do you have a picture of grandma?”

Preoccupied while frying bacon and measuring flour for a batch of homemade breakfast biscuits for three of my grandchildren who spent the night previous, my curious granddaughter asks the question again,

Gaga, do you have a picture of grandma?”party 2

A quick glance at the clock whose hands stretched out to wake and announce the sleepy hour of 5:30 in the morning, quite early for a little girl to be thinking about grandma still tightly wrapped in her blankie.

But, from the innocent mouths of babes, a child was asking.clock

Looking up at Aubrey with my full attention now, though still kneading biscuit dough from memory, this Gaga handled a granddaughter’s heart with delicate hands,

Are you missing grandma?”

Secretly, I had also been missing my mother terribly these early weeks of summer; longing to share a glass of lemonade and the day’s nothings under the shade tree of our back yard together.

Now, here is a five year old, whose birthday was recently shared and celebrated with her sister Ayva turning seven, who also is missing her grandma.

Not having too many pictures framed and displayed in the house, I did remember a 5 x 7 keepsake hidden between the pages of my Bible for this sweet child to reminisce over; a moment taken at our 25th Wedding Anniversary three years ago.

I wanted my mother close whenever the waves of emotions for her rushed and reached the shore of my heart, usually during the quiet hours of my morning devotions with God.bible MOMS PICTURE

In just a few short months this September, an ocean of memories will flood the vacancy our mother left behind when she waved good-by for heaven only two years ago.mom's headstone

With Aubrey recently blowing out the candles of her fifth birthday cake,

Only highlights the impact her grandmother had made during the three short years these two shared together.halloween 1

My mother’s hand-print remains on Aubrey’s life and an entire legacy of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well.

(Aubrey with her grandmother on the left and attending grandma’s funeral on the right; just three short years and yet a little girl still asks for a picture.)

Aubrey isn’t alone in her longing for pictures of grandma, as six months ago at Christmas, her cousin Gracie was yearning the same.

In the spirit of Christmas and found beneath the tree, an album filled and full of grandma’s pictures for Gracie, a gift to comfort a little girl who also missed her grandmother.

My mother would have been eighty-two years young this July 21st, yet our family is forever thankful for the final picture we gathered together outside her window for…

An 80th Princess Gala Event in mother’s honor…

A perfect afternoon for the remaining birthday we’d ever celebrate with our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother this side of heaven.
moms 80th birthday

Recently, Aubrey was watering the flowers of my tiny garden, not realizing many of the decorations of angels, wind chimes, birds and flower pots were once placed outside her grandmother’s window of her own garden;

A summer’s delight to lift a mother’s spirit during those lonely afternoons when family wasn’t visiting.

Mother’s love for the Lord is a families great inheritance she passed on down thru her legacy.

Recently, during a day I ached for my mother, God unearthed a treasure written in my mother’s handwriting, a gift of encouragement I have no idea how it was buried and hidden on my computer after all these years.MOMS WRITING

Your family loves and misses you mother.

Two years is but a blink of the eye for us, yet once you stepped into eternity with God, there was no looking back for you.

In your absence, I’ve had to take your place at the card table.

You’d be disappointed in the whiners and poor sports you used to play with, but actually be proud of the daughter who holds her own and plays in your honor for a game of Phase 10.

From the innocent mouths of babes, her heart was asking.

Gaga, do you have a picture of grandma?”party 2

Aubrey held her grandmother’s hand for only three short years, a matriarch who left her hand-print on the heart of a grandchild for a lifetime.halloween mom and aubrey 2019

Aubrey Ann, your picture of grandma remains between the family bible pages where she loved her Lord from, the great inheritance your grandmother passed on down to you and her legacy of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

bible MOMS PICTURE

 

CLOSER THAN A BROTHER  By Lori A Alicea

It is written…

there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 NIV

Those friends who are brothers from different mothers, yet love the other’s family as their own.

They eat from each other’s refrigerators; they sleep on the other’s floor.

They argue as brothers yet remain and love as true friends,

as friends stick closer than a brother.

college buds

Friendships elevate one another with their belief in the other’s success;

Going low that they be lifted high.sand dune buds 2006 Jake and Rob on sand dunes jake jumping

Friendships rev the throttle of encouragement to push their brother further and faster down the pathway of life.

They are a ride for help when friends find themselves stranded along a dark and lonely road.

Friends are runners in each other’s races.

They train together for those triathlons which test the limits of a brother’s endurance of spirit when he’s forced to…

Swim against the tide of struggles…

Bicycle though the wind of adversity blows in your face…

And run a full marathon while you are weak.

Friends keep pace beside their brother’s race especially when the runner’s wall is before them,

as friends stick closer than a brother.

Friendships are those speeches of love and truth at your wedding, those crumbs in the forest to help you find your way when your compass has failed.

A brotherhood of words to remind you…

I’ve got your back…

I’m here for you…

You’ve got a friend in me.wedding - best man speech

True friends talk and think like the other; albeit to a grandmother’s anxiety.

Friends stroll thru and share the sights of fatherhood together; they are those fun uncles to their brother’s children.vacation dads together 2019 england hattabaughs in town hollis eli holding hands

Friends see the good, the beautiful, the noteworthy attributes of his brother, overlooking the imperfect weeds of his brother’s garden.

A friend is one who overlooks your broken fence,
And admires the flowers in your garden.
Author Unknown

The sun sets in the eyes of friends who share the other’s dreams, successes, failures and hope thru the lens of their God who loved them first as friend.vacation together

Friends stand at attention to the priorities and values of true success, holding the line to fight and protect their richest blessings …

God…
Family…
Country…
Flag…

Friends go to the ends of the world for the other, following them and risking it all up those treacherous mountains where it’s most difficult to breathe if need be.

Because friends don’t allow friends to climb thru life alone,

as friends stick closer than a brother.

A friend loves at all times.

A friend is always loyal,
A brother is born to help in time of need.
Proverbs 17:17 NLTmt ranier 1

A brotherhood of words to remind you…

I’ve got your back…
I’m here for you…

You’ve got a friend in me.