A BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE HEART By Lori A Alicea

  We all have a story to tell.
Your story, my story, they need to be told.

Buried deep in yesterday is our history, our milestones, our wisdom gained and learned from our wins, our losses.  These truths of our lives must be unearthed, brought to the surface and passed on down into the hands of our children, our grandchildren and generations beyond.

What’s your story?
Might you be willing to open up the pages and tell your story?

blur book candle close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Oh that we would dip our quills into the inkwell of our heart and form onto paper those sentences and chapters that define our past, so our stories can give understanding, fill in the blanks and answer the questions our family in the present are asking, and questions of future family in generations to come.

We must find courage to remember, to fill our passports with stamps that take us places we swore we’d never return to. We must go back and reclaim what was left behind; because it’s your story, it’s a second chance to redeem your memories and realize there are gold nuggets to be mined, but you must be willing to dig and sift and pan out the beauty you never thought was there.             

A loyal traveling companion down the streets of our past, our present and has already walked into our future, God has been a lamppost along our way, lighting our path and writing our story through those peaks, those valleys and every high and low in the journey.

God has been faithful. He alone is a story worth retelling.  Might we be willing to unfold the map of yesterday, re-trace the steps of an almighty Father and give him glory in our story?

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you… Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

“Your Story Matters”, a book poured out from the heart of Leslie Leyland Fields, words I have devoured, or possibly devoured me, from the very first page.

Leslie Leyland Fields tells her story that we would tell our story.

You don’t have to be a writer to tell your story, because your “words are your story”.

Your story matters.
My story matters.

Take my hand and follow me back into my beginning, the introduction and first few pages of my writing story.

I tell my story that you might be encouraged to tell yours.

rewrite edit text on a typewriter
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

 A BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE HEART
By Lori A Alicea

In my “thirties” living in a generation where women found great fulfilment in the workplace, many leaned though into the belief “you can have it all at the same time”; where one could “fry up the bacon inside the home while earning it from outside your white picket fence.”  I was one of those women.

As a computer programmer analyst consultant for fifteen years, there’s no denying that gleaned from plowing into projects and sowing opportunity after opportunity into my professional fields, I yielded bushels full of a bountiful increase.

But in my arduous climb up that Mt. Everest of success, I found it difficult to breathe from the demands of higher elevations. Closer to the summit its view didn’t render the majestic glamour I imagined.

Prior to one step up that mountain I should have considered the price; I should have counted the cost of my earthly pursuits.

I wish the wisdom of our Women’s Ministry Pastor would have whispered in my ear years earlier, “You can have it all, just not all at the same time.”

Worldly gains came at a great price, it cost me big:

Cost me time and memories at home.

Cost those treasured “firsts” with my young children; first steps, first words, first day of school, that first day of baseball, and sadly, the scrapbooks are empty from so many more.

Cost my strength in exchange for weariness.

Costs my family and I paid dearly for.

These missed moments are now fallen leaves caught up in the updrafts of those autumn winds, forever lost and unable to be reclaimed or retrieved.

Eventually a tug-of-war ensued, a duel from both sides of my heart challenging each other to the death, career vs. my love for home.

The voice of my career screamed, “Keep climbing.”
The voice of my love for family begged louder, “Come home.”

In search for answers, a Heavenly Father reminded me:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1

…A time to plant and a time to uproot. Ecclesiastes 3:2

I could have it all, just not all at the same time.

Encouraged and blessed by my husband, I uprooted myself from the acres of career and plowed up and re-planted my life into a brand new field called home.

Home felt so right.
Home fit like my favorite slippers on a cold day.
Home was the warmth of an angora sweater in a cool breeze.
Home was an afternoon smell of cookies baking in the oven.
Home was sharing pancakes over breakfast with my children before school.
Home was kneading bread dough on my kitchen counter.
Home was those walls that kept my family safe at night.

I was home and living the dream.

It didn’t take long before a gentle pursuit of me occurred in the still and quiet mornings; “words of home” began silently whispering.

The pitter, patter feet of (the simple thoughts, the little phrases, the innocent images of children and love…), began sneaking up on me from around the corner hallway, at the breakfast table as I sipped on my morning coffee, while gazing at the outside beauty from my kitchen window, all pulling on my apron strings and vying for my attention to be written.

There was no denying the stirring. I couldn’t push them away if I tried; words, those beautiful words.

Beautiful words stir my heart. I will recite a lovely poem about the king, for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet.  Psalms 45:1 NLT

Born from this sacred place of my heart called home,

A birth announcement,

A debut column from years ago, the birthplace and baby’s first steps of a writing career,

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

A Column is born,
Little Things.”
Column pictures

NO PLACE LIKE HOME By Lori A Alicea

“What did you want to be when you were a kid?”

A great question asked of me the other day by a twelve year old desiring to study astrophysics or something close reserved for the genius club when he grew up.

His inquisitive young mind intrigued me and drew me back into my childhood when I too dreamed of my “grown up” self.

I began with “back in the old days” referring to a TV series titled The Walton’s airing in the 1970’s, a century this “youngin” wasn’t even born in.  The Walton family depicted in the depression era whose home was built in rural Virginia overlooking Walton’s Mountain, featured an aspiring novelist named John Boy, whose life and ambitions to author books stirred that gift already in me to write.

mountains
Each episode ended at night in front of a darkened house while the family slept, panning to an open window whose curtains slightly danced to the evening breeze.
Walton House John Boy's light on in window
John Boy still awake at his dimly lit desk penning in his journal, entries narrated and accompanied by the music of Virginia’s mountains, for which I hung onto every word.

John boy writing

The answer to this twelve year old’s question,
“What did you want to be when you were a kid?”

I replied to his question, “I longed to be an author like John Boy Walton.”

Remembering I was conversing with Einstein’s distant relative, I made a feeble attempt to paint myself somewhat smart with my former career as a software developer for steel mills and gas companies and a second limited career as a paralegal in my grown up life.

Not that anyone needs to defend their careers, or dreams and desires of their younger self, I found myself doing so with a twelve year old soon-to-be scientist, already successful in his robotic endeavors.

Our conversation ended as quickly as it started, with him joining a game of tag with his cousins.

This lad reminded me our dreams can be evident early in life.  We’re born with a map pointing to our destiny, detailed and revealed by God with us taking “one step at a time”.

God is a big God.
God is a generous God who gives us multiple dreams.

Growing up, my love for home in the country celebrating the old-fashioned ways of the Walton’s, cooking, canning and sewing from scratch delighted me from a very young age, teaching myself the trades of the kitchen.  Homemade bread dough rises in a covered bowl on my kitchen counter, while cookies bake in the oven.  Breakfast biscuits are rolled out and smothered with a fresh batch of summer jam immediately after hot and golden brown.  Creations wait their turn on the sewing machine.  Scented candles permeate a country-coziness to welcome guests and that handsome husband of mine returning home from work.

A picture painted from the heart of this housewife,
“There’s no place like home.”

As much as I longed to be an author, I coveted wearing the apron of a housewife and stay-at-home mom as well.

Unfortunately my true career dreams came years after chasing what the world viewed as success, leaving my children and heart behind at the babysitter while pursuing the almighty dollar.

Did I achieve success as a computer programmer analyst?  The corporate ladder would agree but came with a steep price tag of lost time and memories never to be recouped with my children.

I wanted to be the one home making their breakfast and kissing their bruised knees.  I wanted to be the one standing outside when the school bus came before and after class with my precious cargo.  I didn’t want to be too tired and cranky during homework time.  I wanted a clean house with beds made and dishes washed.

I just wanted to be home because truly,
There’s no place like home.”

Once quoted from our Ladies Minister, Pastor Sue Zbell
“You can have it all, just not all at the same time.”

Thankfully I left the corporate ladder being able to enjoy the many years that still remained with my children living at home.

The best decision I ever made.

 Proverbs 31 describes my heart for the home…

…. She delights in the work of her hands.  Proverbs 31:13

… She watches over the ways of her household.  Proverbs 31:27

God affirms and reminds those “keepers of home”….

She will be praised throughout eternity.  Proverbs 31:30

So go ahead and give her the credit that is due,
for she has become a radiant woman,
and all her loving works of righteousness deserve to be admired
at the gateways of every city!  Proverbs 31:31

Our kids have long since left the nest of their home, creating a corner of heaven for their own sweet families for which Papa and Gaga are so proud.

I made a second attempt at another career when the children married, but realized the first day on the job…

“There’s no place like home.”

I’m back home again still savoring the job description of stay at home mom, albeit a grandmother now to ten grandchildren who need me and ask all the time to visit their Gaga and Papa.

Will I return to work one day?

I have to remind myself and daughters who have also chosen careers at home, we do work.  Our pay lasts beyond a weekly check cashed at the bank, whose dividends compound in the lives of our children and grandchildren and beyond.

Interestingly during this year of wanting more in my life, I dusted off that childhood dream and began this million mile walk of becoming an author with the first step penning encouragement entries in my journal called a “blog”.

John boy writing

While I write as a lasting legacy for my children and grandchildren, I get the privilege and overwhelming joy of taking you faithful readers with me during this journey, hopefully encouraging and inspiring your lives and dreams along the way.

My heart will always be that lighthouse illuminating the way home.

Home is where you lay your head at night.
Home is your safe place.
Home is a place of refuge.
Home is where your framed picture hangs on the wall.
Home has your name on the mailbox.
Home has its memories baked into the walls.
Home misses you when you turn the page and leave for the next chapter in life.

May my words I type capture this love of mine for home.

May my children and grandchildren treasure their legacy of words I have written especially for them.

May they read between the sentences and paragraphs that their greatest wealth in life is family and each other.

As an author inspired by a fictional character named John Boy who valued and wrote about family as I do, may my words continue to flow until the last page titled
“The End”.

May my children and grandchildren experience God’s truth that you don’t have to look any farther than your own back yard for fame and fortune.

May our prayers be full of gratitude for those that God has blessed us with to share our lives.

The light has been left on in the window in case you need to find your way back home.

The world can’t offer what home has to give.
You’re safe and sound in the four walls of your address.

Keep that framed picture close to your heart,
“There’s no place like home.”