I AM A LIFE, THAT WAS CHANGED By Lori A Alicea

I once read:

Never underestimate the valuable and
Important difference you make in every life you touch.
For the impact you make today
Has a powerful rippling effect on every tomorrow.
Anonymous

This rippling effect of one man’s life would touch me down stream years after he and his wife jumped head first into those deep waters on search and rescue missions for those marriages drowning in the rip currents of their choices.

A Godly couple living the example

“‘till death do we part”.

Two ordinary people who taught on marriages every Sunday afternoon for decades; who spent the remainder of the week throwing out life preservers and life-lines for those willing and not willing to grab hold for another chance to live.

The cries of those hurting kept these two up at night searching the desperate waters for marriages about to be lost at sea; with some marriages ditching the radar altogether of being found.

Such was the man in this marriage.

A man who wanted to charter his own boat, navigate life his own way, regardless of the distress flares and signals from his drowning wife.

JOE AND DIANE Wedding Picture

But an ordinary man with an extraordinary call for marriages kept throwing out life-lines for this husband to stop swimming against the current of God and jump into His boat of surrender and freedom.

Life-line after life-line the search and rescue continues, never losing sight of this couple at sea.

When one day a worn out man takes hold of the one unwilling to give up the rescue.

A surrendered heart and a marriage restored.

Joe and Diane 1

His legacy continues.

Never underestimate the valuable and
Important difference you make in every life you touch.
For the impact you make today
Has a powerful rippling effect on every tomorrow.
Anonymous

Yes, never underestimate the difference you make in the lives of those you touch.

Two ordinary people intersecting the path of two others needing life preservers, now jump head first into those deep waters on search and rescue missions of their own, for those needing resuscitation of a new beginning.

This impact of one man’s life now touches me down stream years later through my future brother ‘n law with an introduction to his brother, who later became my husband.

One man’s life changed my heartache and single life of raising two young children without a male influence into joy forever.

THANK YOU
By Ray Boltz

…….
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave.

Surrendering and saying “yes” to God changes everything.

The love between my brother ‘n law and wife re-ignited the flames of their heart which could only be attributed to the Author of Love Himself.

Their passion for one another is evident in his wife’s smile and smiles of their grandchildren.

Their commitment
‘till death do they part
Is celebrated on their 40th wedding anniversary renewal, a day almost lost at sea had it not been for a search and rescue mission of two called by God to marriages.

My husband and I for years sent an anniversary card to our brother and wife who kept in covenant to their wedding vows, because we wouldn’t be celebrating anniversaries of our own had they not grabbed hold of that life preserver.

Remembering that love is patient, kind, not envious or boastful or proud, never dishonoring, not self-seeking or easily angered, keeping no record of wrongs, rejoicing in truth, protecting, trusting, hoping and persevering.

Holding on to the life preserver of love which never fails.

A love my husband and I shared with others at our 25th Wedding Anniversary celebration, all because two people decided to stay married, who officiated our renewal, whose rippling effect on our lives is now splashing down stream to our legacy.

I am a life, that’s been changed,

My brother ‘n law Joe has affected many other lives as well; I would greatly underestimate the impact that flowed down stream from his life.

A devoted marine and love for his country, Joe honors the veterans who sacrificed everything to serve.

Joe alongside his daughter serves during the holidays, preparing a banquet before our soldiers, our country’s finest.

Joe ministers in the trenches of the hurting, the forgotten, the addicted; a band of brothers leaving no man behind.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Joe is a dreamer; a diligent servant and provider for his family.

JOE MILITARY Truck

Joe’s love for laughter and heart for God ministers in huge waves to his family.

More than anything else, Joe’s ability to connect with children is his biggest splash.

A marine to the core, Joe passes on his military passion to rise up in young soldiers a heart for Christ.

Joe is our Toys ‘R Us kid at Christmas.

Well, maybe not.

S

Joe’s house has been a house of hospitality, a hospital for hurting these past twenty seven years, open for anyone who knocks or needs a soft pillow to lie on.

JOE MILITARY Home

Joe who is no stranger to the mission field,
Recently graduating from a program in missions, believing one day to hand out life preservers on the other side of the world again.

Joe’s life has been poured out on many with others still waiting their turn down stream.

Sadly for us, a celebration and graduation of a different kind has taken place for our dear Joe as he stands before the sea of lives he’s touched, those waiting for him as he enters the gates of heaven.

Flags fly at half-mast in the hearts who loved him dearly.
JOE MILITARY Flag half mastA country says good-by to one of its finest soldiers; a void visibly seen.

JOE MILITARY flag empty chair

A choir of angels sing as our brother takes his first steps on those golden streets of heaven.

THANK YOU
By Ray Boltz

….
As Jesus took your hand
As you stood before the Lord
He said, my child look around you
For great is your reward.

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave.
…..

Bishop used to remind us that good seeds sown in death always produce an abundance of fruit.

JOE MILITARY Fruit of your life

A basket overflows at harvest because Joe lived to give his life away.

Just days ago our Joe walked thru the front door of heaven when we earnestly prayed for this door to open.

JOE MILITARY Home

But God had a different plan.

Our hearts grieve yet rejoice as Joe has already seen Jesus.

This family couldn’t be any happier.
We stand and salute a soldier for his life well lived.

Welcome Home Papa Joe.

JOE MILITARY Welcome Home Sign

Welcome Home.

JOE MILITARY Welcome Home

STEPPING FROM DOLLS AND BOWS INTO HEELS By Lori A Alicea

She’s not a little girl anymore.

Brooklyn

This little girl

Has been cocooned in her father’s heart these childhood years, hidden and protected while the hand of her heavenly Father has been molding and fashioning and never taking His eyes from her as she becomes the “fearfully and wonderfully made” young woman He envisioned and imagined from before her birth.

Brooklyn and daddy 6

This little girl
Who’s been set apart from anyone or influence who dares to hasten her wings and sacred time with an earthly father who shows the way in her knowing, the trusting and hearing the voice of Christ more clearly; leading his little girl to abandon her heart to Him before those maiden flights finds her beyond an earthly father’s reach.
Brooklyn praising Jesus
A childhood of dolls and bows are now journal entries from days of yesterday.

Tear stained pages of prayers from a father laying bare his heart on the altar for his little girl.

Petitions mirroring back God’s promises of hope and prosperity for his daughter’s future.

Tied together with a little girl’s surrendered will to God’s plans before her.

Be the wind beneath her wings which lift her soaring high as eagles.

A butterfly emerges her cocoon into this beautiful woman standing before me.

The faces of my little girl are now a gallery of framed pictures in the secret place I retreat to when I long to remember those eyes that once looked up and followed me everywhere I went.

My little girl walks past the closed door of her childhood, taking those first few steps thru an entryway as a young woman, a butterfly seeing the beauty of her life for the first time through new lens.
Brooklyn and daddy 3
Her mother and I we celebrate the sweet life and sixteen years of a child and gift God loaned to us parents, recalling His charge we raise our daughter in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
Decorations 1

Today we celebrate what God had given to us sixteen years ago.

But are reminded of the giving back to God’s arms and plans the day we dedicated our little girl to the Lord.

This day our butterfly is seen for the first time dressed and crowned in all her glory; a banquet opening its doors to a place of grandeur for its guests to celebrate and behold her.

Bouquets of roses billow from the arms of a father presenting to her the love he’s expressed on many occasions prior.

A father sharing a first dance with this young woman he’s shared the evening before at daddy-daughter dances, holding back his tears of that dance yet to come on her wedding day.

Our little girl kisses good-bye her childhood of dolls and bows.

brooklyn and brodie 1

Stepping into the heels of a young woman crowned befitting her beauty.

She may not be little anymore, but forever etched in my sight is daddies little girl.
Brooklyn and daddy
A father’s heart hasn’t changed and still overwhelmed for his little girl as when he spoke on her 13th birthday.

What can I say! I am a proud father of two beautiful girls that I love so much.

Brooklyn, my first. What a great opportunity for me to learn what it was to be a dad and how to love unconditionally. Since the first time I met you at three years old until now, has been an amazing journey. You have been through a lot, but I am glad that I was there to help you get through those difficult times.

I want you to know that you have given me a gift that no one could ever take from me, and that was adopting you as my daughter. The crazy thing is, nothing has changed for me because you have always been my girl from the moment I met you.

I’m proud to see God working in your life, and I hope your mom and I are doing a good job showing you how to live a Christ centered life. I’m proud of who you are and most of all, I’m proud to be your dad!

I love you!
Love Daddy”

A butterfly emerges her cocoon into this beautiful woman standing before me.

Presenting for the very first time,

A woman dressed and crowned in all her glory,
Fearfully and wonderfully made,

Our daughter,

Brooklyn Nicole Alicea.

Presentation of Brookln

TOGETHER…and always…By Lori Alicea

You know her…

That girl you grew up with and led inseparable lives from morning ‘till night, until the dinner bell rang her home.

That girl whose shadow followed you from the swings to the monkey bars of the playground, where one was never seen without the other.

KIZZIE ROSALEE same seat

That girl who shared a pea in your pod; and everything glitter from your imaginations.

That fun loving girl whose zest was that added ingredient from the spice rack of your friendship.

That Together…and always

You both…

Lived well,
Laughed often,
and loved much;
By Bessie Anderson Stanley

KIZZIE ROSALEE holding hands walking

You know her…

That sister…
That daughter…
That neighbor…
That confidant…
That co-worker…
That neighbor…
That pen-pal…
That cousin…

That one person completely opposite and day-and-night from you;

Yet that one person who filled in the chapter blanks of your once in a lifetime friendship.

A relationship written and framed around these words…

Friends are kisses blown to us by angels.
Anonymous

Eleanor Roosevelt
Said it even better…

Many people will walk in and out of your life,
But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.

Together…and always…

Friends are a treasure trove of unopened surprises.
Rosalee Kizzie on boat 1
Friends see the world through each others eyes…
Rosalee Kizzie on boat 2
Friends hear their song played in a different key.
Friends interpret life in a dance all their own.

Friendship is an adventure willing to take an uncharted journey to an unknown destination; as the travels of friendship finds you…

Together…and always…

That girl who smiles in the calm and still found by your side when the swells overtake is a friend…

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

As seasons take their turn to keep watch during winter…spring…summer and fall…

Friendships must keep watch during those seasons which hand over the baton and changing of the guard.
Mountain view
The unexpected visitor of good-bye shows up unannounced and without warning sometimes…

Summer camp is over…
Leaving for college…
A job change…
Moving…
Marriage…

Death…of a friendship…
Death…of one of us…
Rosalee Kizzie hugging
The sun may go down on the friendship between you and that girl, but friendships are never forgotten in the night…as morning always remembers.

The distance of miles may separate but the longing for one another keeps you close at heart.

Friends are worth the adventure, worth the risk of the swell.
KIZZIE ROSALEE waves
While the picture of my friendships might not resemble a class reunion.

I have been blessed with a few snapshots handpicked by God for me to share life and death with, marriage and divorce with, kids and college with, and so much more.

These Godly friendships pour into the cups of each other’s lives while sitting across the table from one another over coffee.

These God-like friendships are sometimes infrequent calls, yet pick up right where we left off from the last conversation.

Friendships that remember me every Monday evening after dinner for years just to say hello and end with an “I love you.”

Million dollar friendships I can’t wait to re-kindle when we cross paths again on the golden streets of heaven.

Friendships that know when my refrigerator and finances are unexpectedly low, and unload their overflowing trunks to restock me once again.

True friends whose hands refuse to let me go in my pain and emptiness.

true friends that leave their footprints in your heart.
Eleanor Roosevelt
KIZZIE ROSALEE holding hands water keep
God continues to fill my basket with friends who need me and they in return.

Who…

Together…and always

Lived well,
Laughed often,
and loved much;
By Bessie Anderson Stanley

SO MANY GOOD-BYES By Lori A Alicea

A quiet morning sitting along the shoreline beach of Hawaii, a picturesque view where my six-year old granddaughter feeds the waves with sand food served from a menu of her imagination; an hour of calm for me as the ocean soothes the soles of my weary feet with every wave that crashes up against them.
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Sometimes the weight of heavy burdens takes its toll on our feet which does its best to keep us standing strong, as burdens though were never meant to be carried.  But every now and then God sits his children down beside the shores of cool water and allows the singing and washing of the waves minister gently to our tired spirit.

It’s been a year like no other; adding the weight of the recent month just passed of so many good-byes, so many tears poured out remembering another loved one.  A mother…a brother ‘n law and now a brother. Navigating grief that maiden year of so many “firsts” presents itself without a map which adds to the pain.   Magnify that voyage times three and your shoulders buckle under weight of heartache.  

I once read that…

Grief never ends…but it changes.
It’s a passage not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness nor a lack of faith..
It is the price of love.
Author Unknown.

Better to love than never love at all;
Remembering the price of love will one day be paid in our parting good-bye.

The price of love recently expressed from my brother’s wife…
IMG_0624

How I miss you baby.
The flesh in me just wants you back for one more kiss, 
One more hug and one more I love you.

I feel so empty, but after 46 years with this beautiful man, how else could I feel.
Until we meet again baby, I will carry you in my heart forever.

You made my life complete.
Love you and miss you so much.

Your wife…

This trip to Hawaii was an unexpected one for me; a trip actually scheduled for someone else.  But plans changed; life’s wisdom to always have a bag packed when God’s calendar reveals a secret.

Accompanying my granddaughter home after a three week stay with family came as I gift God knew I needed; while His reasons have yet to be unveiled.  
IMG_2918

Though a ten hour flight and a five hour time difference, all these good-byes can’t be abandoned in baggage claim.

The luggage of our heavy hearts must be unpacked.

We must be willing to open the luggage of our good-bye, hold what’s inside, savor the moments and in time unique to each, be willing to put away our bags, and leave the intersection of Holding On and step into the street of Moving Forward.

But as my Father sits beside the shores of cool water with me and allows the singing and washing of waves to minister to my tired spirit.

I hear Him gently reminding me…

Be willing with…

One moment at a time… 
One breath at a time…
One step at a time…
One memory at a time…

and 

Let Him shoulder the rest.

THE RACE MUST CONTINUE!  By Lori A Alicea

My brother has loved the races all his life; in particular,
The Indianapolis 500.

Maybe the raceway takes him back
To the driveway playing with Matchbox cars as a young boy.

Maybe my brother never outgrew the need for speed.

Maybe the thrill for fast and furious was in his blood.

Maybe he kept those engines running in his model car collection.

Maybe the Indianapolis 500 replays those old 8 millimeter movies of Dad taking his son to the Indy Time Trials, and then sharing race day together come Memorial Weekend.

The Indy Time Trials was an annual getaway for dad and my brother.

Mother would always send a cooler full of food, making sure a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken accompanied the trip.

Packed air mattresses were a mystery since dad drove a Volkswagen Beetle, but they were packed nevertheless.

We five sisters never felt slighted when dad left us behind for a man’s weekend with our brother. Maybe all it took was dad loading up the station wagon one Saturday night with us young girls carrying packed lunch boxes to the noisy drag strip to scar us for the races.

But the Indianapolis 500 was always their day, and we celebrated that memory for them.

Even after the passage of time when dad and my brother watched the race from the comfort of their own state and La-Z-Boy, the telephone kept their annual getaway alive for 500 miles each Memorial Day, until dad passed away a few years ago, and my brother, a few days ago, as a kiss from God, on race day.

mark connie at indy 500

This past Memorial Day, the crowds were on their feet cheering in a deafening decibel as the checkered flag is waved with great enthusiasm as my brother crosses his own finish line with this announcement blaring in the stands,

I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7 NIV19CAA216-6F52-4490-99DB-185DA7EA55D9

Sporting a giant flowered wreath after the win and keeping with tradition a swallow of ice-cold milk, our brother holds the milk bottle to that great cloud of witnesses of his life in declaration,

THE RACE MUST CONTINUE!

My brother was never a quitter.

He fought with every lap around the racetrack.

He honored those fans that fought for him in prayer
During the most difficult race of his life in a personal text message to me,

It’s all because of the prayer warriors
I have like you.
So Christ-like.
I love you.
Mark Houle

My brother’s memory is now waving the flags to encourage us
As we continue our race.

The green flag is waved for the start or restart of our individual races.
Start your engines.”
Start your race with prayer.”

My brother was never shy about prayer.

Brother’s prayers were War and Peace in length which meant our holiday meal was blessed but also cold as ice when mother without question, called on him to pray over dinner.

While pregnant with my first child and attending a tent revival complete with straw beneath our feet in 1983. My brother led me to an old fashioned altar to pray over his sister before she journeyed this new race of motherhood, speaking the sweetest blessings over me and my unborn son.

Stay in your lane.”
Stay in prayer.”

As the yellow flag of caution and hazardous conditions
Will eventually be waved and find you leaving the race for a pit-stop.

Six years later after my brother’s tent revival prayers,

The yellow flag goes up as the engine of my heart overheats during a car failure of my life. In the pit-stop with no place to go and having never been on my own before, I remember lamenting with my brother among the pit crew asking if my small children and I could live with him in Texas.

After an inspection under the hood, my brother and pit crew sent me back into the race, knowing Jesus had taken the wheel long ago when I said “yes” to him as a teenager, who would never steer me into the wall as long as I continued to stay in the race, stay in my lane.

Regardless if our race has unnumbered miles ahead, my brother waves the white flag to remind every driver to brace the wheel as if your race’s final lap is before you, as no one knows when the angel of death will come.

Lord, teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 NIV

The reality of eternity weighed heavy on my brother for lost souls and his deep compassion for their eternal destination presented itself in a play at the church he attended,

Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames
By Reality Outreach Ministries.

In this play the ache of my brother’s heart cried out to those he desperately wanted to share heaven with.

Do you have a relationship with Jesus?”
Where will you spend eternity?”
The fiery flames of Hell are real!”
Is your name written in Book of Life?”
Being a good person won’t save you.”
Don’t worry about what your friends will say.”
You are only guaranteed this moment in front of you.”

Choose you this day whom you will serve…
Joshua 24:15 KJV

My brother finished his race.

My brother kept his faith.

Just a week ago my brother was waved the white flag signifying the final lap of his race.

But his life’s message lives on in our races when he,

Sported a giant flowered wreath after his win and kept with tradition a swallow of ice-cold milk, and held the milk bottle to that great cloud of witnesses of his life in declaration,

THE RACE MUST CONTINUE!
IMG_0411
Your memory will forever hang from the rear view mirror of my life
As I continue the race before me.

Your sister,
Lori A Alicea

27 REASONS FOR 27 YEARS! By Lori A Alicea

How do I love thee?
Let me count thy ways.
Elizabeth Barret Browning

For twenty-seven years, we’ve been counting, appreciating, and naming our blessings each and every one that David and I have shared together as husband and wife.

Not taking for granted what God has joined together in holy matrimony twenty-seven years ago this October.

But when the “unexpected” attacks from the back door of your heart, you run and retreat to the arms of Jesus in Thanksgiving for another day, appreciating and counting our blessings,

How do I love thee?
Let me count thy ways.
Elizabeth Barret Browning

HOSPITAL

David and I are simple people.

We don’t require much but don’t mind telling the world how much we need each other; especially if the reasons we love each other in the simple ways that we do are the reasons we’re still together twenty-seven years later from our wedding day.

David and I can be seen wherever we go, still holding hands after all these years.


We take the long way home whenever we can to enjoy the beauty of God’s country and the company we keep together.

DRIVING sighseeing
So easy to please yet full of adventure, we’ve discovered God’s hidden treasures in each other over a cup of coffee,


And a bicycle ride around the block.

Gifts are rarely purchased as the only present we unwrap each year is a secluded anniversary getaway to our honeymoon cottage by the lake; a weekend of remembering, celebrating, and dreaming most responsible for our genuine love for one another.

All because two people fell in love and blended their lives as one family, our love is celebrated in the marriages of our children, with one still waiting her turn to walk the wedding isle, rejoicing over the son and two daughters we’ve added to the family Bible in these Godly unions.

Ten beautiful grandchildren call us Papa and Gaga and our joy explodes on the pages of our legacy we pass down to them.

Our most memorable summer highlights are best made at the little field, with sluggers and cheerleaders emptying Papa’s pockets at the concession stand for bags of buttered popcorn, hot dogs and sticky ring pops.

David puts no limit on tulle, glitter or glam in our house; shrugging off being teased for the sparkle that follows him to work.

On weekends David makes up our bed of a million pillows without any sign of an eye roll.

BEDROOM 1
David is no stranger to dishes or laundry either.

He seriously serves me without being asked;
David is celebrated man of the year, every day of the year in our house.

For twenty-seven years David has been my personal mechanic. He has taken engines down to the bare nothing and put them back together again like a magician. We have never driven fancy cars or new cars either. David has traded in his Chevelle SS dreams for older wheels and freedom without payments and complaints.

Our best dates are spent driving the back roads in search of our dream house, a log cabin wrapped with a big red bow and a gift tag reminding us, “With God, all things are possible.”

David has served my mother and husband Roger in the best of times, and when death darkened their door for years; earned every Boy Scout badge imaginable.

mom and roger
I am reminded on a daily basis how beautiful I am in David’s eyes, regardless of all the extras I see in my mirrors reflection.

David encourages my dreams and we could never imagine one without the other.

Our only wish would have been to meet each other years ago, but remain eternally thankful for the twenty-seven years we’ve enjoyed together and counting.

marry gifts tree

While our international passport is empty of any travel stamps,
David and I have taken incredible adventures with God around the world, each requiring great leaps of faith.

While our bank account balance might say otherwise, David and I are rich in ways and love money could never afford.

wedding family david and lori
Home is wherever we are together.

HOME wanatah goodyby 9

We live each day believing in the power of prayer.

PRAYER 2019 cumbee ayva praying
Our love for Christ is the rich legacy we pass to the next generation; the same legacy river which flowed down to us.

David and I are simple people.

We don’t require much but don’t mind telling the world how much we need each other; especially if the reasons we love each other in the simple ways that we do are the reasons we’re still together twenty-seven years later from our wedding day.

A day we’d do over and over again.

IT HAPPENS!  By Lori A Alicea

It happens to the best of us.

You’re rushing around and trying to get out the door
When it happens.

Your morning is chaotic with kids and a busy schedule ahead
When it happens.

The day you’re not paying attention because your mind is elsewhere
When it happens.

When it’s been one of those days and
The little goofs in life beg to ask the question,
What in the world?”

Your grand-son shows up for school with different colored socks.
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Your grand-daughter’s Sunday school teacher assumes your four year old dressed herself for church, which she didn’t.
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When sitting at church with your legs stretched into the aisle and your husband is unable to contain his laughter at your faux pas.

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Yes, it happens to the best of us.

Those unexpected gaffes that command a belly laugh at ourselves.

Life is short.
We might as well find humor in the funny, even at our personal expense. Because when we don’t, there’s someone to laugh in your place.

In our family, if you’re caught in life’s most embarrassing moments,

It’s a given you’ll be read the family friendly version
Of your Miranda Rights:

Anything you say (or do),
Can and will be used against you,
As long as it makes others laugh.

Funny stories are recorded in the family history books and brought back to life many times over.

Every year during little league season, our daughter thinks it’s hilarious when foul balls come close or even attempt to make contact with one of us adults in the stands.

Two games ago, a baseball hit the outfield fence and bounced directly over David’s head while walking to the field.  Candace witnessed the play and recounts for great enjoyment her season’s highlight thus far.

A “must see” will be when David or I fall back in our seats from a misguided ball coming our way.

2019 cumbee ethan baseball 6

2019 cumbee ethan baseball 15

My husband and daughter have each other’s telephone numbers on speed dial whenever a newsflash comes over the airwaves about me.

 Just this morning I found myself putting the dishes in the refrigerator and the milk in the cupboards and you might be asking, “What in the world? It happens.

The other day I texted David seriously thinking we got robbed when I couldn’t find our vacuum cleaner, for which I looked for thirty minutes to find; which in a two bedroom house, is a lot of looking.

It happened

When the lost vacuum is discovered misplaced in the bathroom closet, one of three I failed to open.

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A thunder of laughter blared in my ear, as I answered the telephone with my husband on the other line.

I’m calling Candace, I’m calling Candace,” he kept repeating between breaths of amusement.

Yes, those two tag team each other at my expense.

But life is too short not to laugh.

Don’t you worry though, the family history books spare no one.

Mother’s Day a few years ago, it happens when the history books showcases our daughter who almost broke her ankle after losing control on her child’s scooter.

Encouraging her to “punch it” at full throttle down the sidewalk with children watching on, we laughed and laughed even harder each time re-living the scooter flying one way into the air and our daughter landing on the ground in the opposite direction.
USE Candace 1
Thankfully unhurt and not that our daughter found this remotely funny,

But

If you find it hard to laugh at yourself,
I would be happy to do it for you.
Groucho Marx

And we have, over and over again.
Punch it” ignites a visual every single time.

Family albums should be crammed full of sidesplitting stories.

Stories that children grow up and tell their children about life back in their day.

Hysterical stories that honor a loved one at their memorial,
stirring a smile in their telling.

God says it best…

A glad heart makes a happy face…
Proverbs 15:13 (NLV)

May our smiles reflect a happy heart the next time it happens.

Might we go through life remembering…

Always find a reason to laugh.
It may not add years to your life.
But will surely add life to your years.
Author Unknown

MOTHERS LOVE, When it Hurts  By Lori A Alicea

Buried in the fine print of loving others,
Spells out the risks we take when giving our hearts away…

In parenting…
In friendships…
In families…
In marriage…

That to be a parent, a friend, a family member, or spouse,

We’re vulnerable to
The “what if’s”,
The risks,

When sharing a piece of our heart with another.

While playing my hand safe in most areas of my life, I’ve always taken the risk and jumped off the deep end into relationships, giving the best of me while learning to swim when I found myself in waters way over my head.

Looking for a lifeline when a twenty-one year old version of myself, rocks her first child in the middle of the night. A newborn helpless and dependent on me for everything, I had to get this mothering thing right for his sake and for my daughter who is born to us five years later.

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In over my head I’d risk it all for two children who’d be waving me good-by in eighteen years for a life of their own.
a family cumbee family2019 england jake graduation 20

Mother’s don’t read the fine print of parenting; she willingly risks the tears of her heart through her children’s scrapes, their falls, their fails, their challenges, their growing up, and yes, their leaving because:

Mothers love when it hurts.

My mother loved this way six times over through the lives of her son and five beautiful daughters.

In over her head and floundering for a lifeline, a sixteen year old mother pacifies her newborn son in the midnight hour.

A mother, in some ways still a child herself; starts swimming the best way she knows how to stay afloat, risking it all by giving all of herself to a child surviving in the life preserver of his mother’s arms.

Back in the lonely days of early child-rearing, there wasn’t a village to assist my mother and her young son and soon to be five daughters who’d be born within a year or two between themselves.

Easter with siblings and outfits

Diapers weren’t disposable, and babysitters weren’t affordable. Mother leaned on God for inner strength while she flailed in the deep waters of parenting. Without sisters or the helping arms of an overworked and young husband himself, mother sowed the remains of her teenage years into the garden of her children, cultivating them in the admonition of the Lord.

A woman who gave all didn’t read the fine print of mothering; she willingly risked the tears of her heart through her children’s scrapes, their falls, their fails, their challenges, their growing up, and yes, their leaving for lives of their own because:
siblings family photo (2)Mothers love when it hurts.

Buried in the fine print of loving others,

We’re vulnerable to
The “what if’s”,
The risks,

When sharing a piece of our heart with another.

Mother faced
The risk,
The “what if”

My child leaves me for Jesus,
While I’m still alive to face this painful good-by.

Mother attended the funeral for two of her young adult daughters,

siblings belinda mary

Mary's Headstonedavid at gravesideWho left behind children of their own in their leaving.
funeral 2siblings mary christina brittany
“Mother’s should never have to bury their children”,
My mother lamented.

Grief hovered as a dark cloud over my mother’s life for years until sunshine broke through in her daughter’s memories.

My mother gave her heart away because;

Mothers love when it hurts.

Sunday, May 9, 2021 this daughter will celebrate the first Mother’s Day without her mother.

Mother’s Day crosses another milestone of firsts that we as her remaining family, navigate life through the maiden year without our matriarch.

Love hurts in good-by.
a flowersa family alicea family
Love hurts in the empty seat.

empty chair TABLE Mom Picture Sweater

Love hurts in the conversations you long to have.

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Love hurts in the empty arms.
mom and grandkids USE
Love hurts at her graveside.

mom's headstone

But grief which lingers as a dark cloud will one day be clear skies when sunshine breaks in our mother’s memories.
IMG_9345Always finding comfort, peace and joy in our loving God,

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Yes, love hurts.

But…

“Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson

YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU  By Lori A Alicea

Judgment Day has finally come for our stuff.

The day we liberate ourselves from the village of boxes taking residence into two storage units whose contents we have no idea of anymore.

Boxes we can’t get to, walk between or even reach if we had a need.

Boxes filled with stuff we once loved I’m sure.

Where multiple reunions of memories will certainly take place on the lawn of our hearts once the purging begins.

But the battle cry of the General shakes the walls of our home,

BE GONE you unnamed faces of clutter”.

Who takes his post on the front line to wage war against the soldiers of stuff, to win back our peace and freedom from life’s accumulation behind door #1 and door #2; handing out eviction notices to over one hundred boxes of squatters, giving them thirty days to vacate the premise.
You don’t notice it happening when the boxes of your life start taking their place on the garage shelf.

But when you move into a smaller house and those boxes of stuff find a new home in storage, you realize you’ve taken on the identify of Madam Blueberry, a child’s cartoon character that accumulates all her stuff,

Who reasons with her excuses:

I’ll need this stuff again someday.”
I just can’t part with my stuff.”
Surely, my grown kids or grandchildren will want my stuff when I’m gone.”

At the end of the day our boxes are just stuff.

Stuff that costs us financially, spiritually and emotionally.

When the reality is at the end of our life,
You can’t take it with you.

A bell ringing loud and clear when the hearse came for our father on
August 7, 2016.

While appreciating the wonderful provider my father was, a high price was paid as he toiled over two jobs during my entire childhood, working arduous days, nights and weekends to give his family a better life than he had, at least in the material things.

But I remember watching him slave over Volkswagen’s needing repairs through the kitchen window into the garage as a young girl, longing he’d take a day off and spend it with me. With the driveway converted to a parking lot always filled with cars waiting their turn to be fixed, a daddy-daughter day never happened.

Once the hearse left with our father in 2016, I turned around to the house filled with stuff of the ”better life” my father left behind for us kids, yet embracing the empty reminders of the emotional price we paid for stuff, when all we ever wanted growing up was time spent with him.

“Where my money goes, my heart follows.”
Randy Alcorn

If we could realize before we waste our lives working to collect wealth and stuff:

God has not given us all this wealth simply to increase our standard of living,
But to increase our standard of giving.
Randy Alcorn

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV

Life is best spent in the currency of time on those who call us mom, dad, son, daughter, sister, brother, friend.

Discovering together those hidden gardens of wild flowers which open up themselves and our eyes to the “little things”, a place that requires no admission but a heart of contentment.

A place to remind us that a life of loving and forgiving, serving and giving to our Lord and others, will lay up treasures for us in heaven instead of stuff here on earth.

20 Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
Where neither moth nor rust destroys
And where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is,
There your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:20-21

Might we have eyes to see the end of our life while we are still living our life?
Might we toil less at the job and enjoy our children more before they take their maiden flight away from home.
Might we simplify and purge the stuff which burdens and live the best life God has prepared for us.
At the moment I am writing these words, my brother’s life is waiting for Jesus to receive him or give him a miracle.  Who I promise at this dire hour is re-visiting the family ledger, adding the deposits he made into the lives of those he loved, wasting not one minute on the credits of purchases he made for meaningless stuff.

Might our best life be spent in the currency of time on those who call us mom, dad, son, daughter, sister, brother, friend and not wasted of stuff,

Because when the hearse arrives one day,
And it will,
You can’t take your stuff with you.

HIS STORY, Written Thru Me and You!  By Lori A Alicea

The most beautiful love story ever written was inspired 

In the beginning…

When a personal God who had no need;

Yet chose to draw from the deep waters of his love and pour onto those whose names he already knew before the beginning.

A love story whose pages drip from the continual drawing of His heart

As He prepares a place of paradise for them spoken during the beginning five days with
Let there be!”

Which culminates on the sixth day when God’s reflection mirrors back to Himself, when His personal hands mold and create and breathe life into the first marriage made in His own image;

A union He blessed and told to be fruitful and multiply.

Standing back to look at Himself through the eyes of His likeness, God saw what He made was very good.

God thought of me in the beginning.
God thought of you in the beginning.

God, who had no need, yet chose to create us and express a love for us in His image we’ve shared from the beginning.

A most beautiful love story titled,
HIS STORY, Written thru Me and You.”

We were created to commune with God.

We were created in His likeness to reflect our Father’s character, to re-tell His story through our lives when we love others in our patience, forgiveness, faithfulness and kindness as our Heavenly Father generously does with us.

HIS STORY engraves in so many chapters our invaluable worth which comes not from our earthly possessions earned in this life, but in God choosing to give us the miraculous gift of life itself.

The days of our lives are to be lived out through the sentences and paragraphs of HIS STORY, Written Thru Me and You.

Because in HIS STORY you’ll read how God in the beginning, intimately knew us before our mother ever did; before He knitted us inside her womb.

In HIS STORY you’ll discover the secret plans God has prepared for our lives which can only be unearthed in the mining of our Father’s heart.

In HIS STORY, you’ll be reminded of a personal God who knows us each by name as he also does the incalculable number of stars in the midnight sky.

The details of our life are buried in the chapters where God still draws from the deep waters of his love, pages drenched in the writing as He continues to count the hairs on our head, keeps vigil of us with every second and minute hand of the clock, gathers our tears in a bottle, and delights to give us the desires of our heart.

As the mirror is a constant reminder of the likeness we share of our Heavenly Father, might we also reflect His kindness, patience, forgiveness and love we read from the soaked pages of HIS STORY, written from under the faucet of His love.

God thought of me in the beginning.
God thought of you in the beginning.

God, who had no need, yet chose to create us and express a love for us in His image we’ve shared from the beginning.

We were created in His likeness to reflect the heart of our Heavenly Father.

The pages of our life are written in a beautiful love story titled,
HIS STORY, Written thru Me and You.”

Words to capture your heart for a lifetime.

floral ceramic cup and saucer above open book
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