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…

THE GOD WHO SEES  By Lori A Alicea

As a first grader I remember it all too well.

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

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

I faced the mirror with red hair, green eyes and a face full of freckles; and as a student in the first grade, I also wept at the sight of a few missing teeth.
Lori little 3
Kids are cruel to each other, especially when your hair is red, or strawberry blonde as they called it back then, with green eyes and freckles to match.

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

Why did you make me this way?”

But God is a God who sees.
(Genesis 16:13)

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

Yet, God is a God who sees; whose fatherly love dried the eyes of His daughter one unlikely day around the dinner table.

With six siblings seated in their same exact seat throughout our growing up, eating and talking as we always did at the table, our brother said something out of the ordinary and to be honest, I don’t believe any of my siblings heard the conversation but me.

With five sisters seated next to each other, my brother proposed the question, “Guess who I think will be the prettiest girl when she’s all grown up?”

Lowering my head as the emotions tucked inside the jewelry box I saved were sadly stirred, believing my brother was talking about our oldest sister instead of me; yet to my astonishment, I heard my name from across the table.

I truly believe God muted this childhood scene among my other sisters, as they were created as equally fearfully and wonderfully.

But God longed to use my older brother to affirm a little girl like me, whose first grade smile now lit up her face.

Words are vessels for life or for death.

That evening at dinner, my brother’s words spoke life and volumes I’ve never forgotten; they remain hidden in my keepsake jewelry box to remind this daughter of her Father’s opinion when at times, I think otherwise.

Since that day of affirmation, I’ve grown into a woman fully aware of the love God has for me.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

So, what about that red hair, green eyes and face full of freckles?
ALICEA David Lori
I asked the question years later in my life; and oh, how amazingly God answered.

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

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

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

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

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

I celebrate the God who sees.

All grown up when I could have changed my hair to any color in the rainbow, I kept the gift God gave me…
David and Lori together 3
Yes, God is so good to me.

God is so good to you.

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

Missing teeth and all…
Rosalee praising Jesus

He is a God who sees…

THE GOD WHO SEES
By Lori A Alicea

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

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

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

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

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

Psalms 139
Genesis 16:13
Solomon 6:3