GOD WITH US!  By Lori A Alicea

The double doors of 2022 are soon to be drawn and the lights will dim to darkness on the past twelve months of our lives.

green christmas tree with string lights
Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

Standing still in the doorway while looking over my shoulder one final time as the past three-hundred and sixty-five days of the calendar bid their good-by, I find it a gift to close my eyes and seal into memory the joys and the sorrows, the victories and the trials, the wins and the defeats, the highlights and the lowlights; remembering after retracing the steps of another year, I traveled not alone, but with Immanuel, God with us.

When the clock strikes midnight to a brand new year, and celebrations all around the world transform into snow globes of confetti and balloons; yes, there’ll be cheers, hugs and kisses around the room to those which we love in great hopes of new beginnings; and after those years which proved to be difficult, we all can believe and hope, can’t we?

Which is why when the unknowns of our itineraries are handed out for the year with the mountains still standing before us, as do the valleys, the road blocks, the detours and finish lines; we fear not because we forget not, we travel with Immanuel, God with us.mountains

Peering thru the Christmas windows of my life in 2021, and continuing into the hallways of the New Year’s festivities of 2022, I had to fight feeling alone when I was sick and by myself during the holiday month of December and into January, with my husband fighting for his life in the hospital alone.
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The calendar reminded me about dinner during Christmas that year of 2021, where our children and grandchildren should have been seated around the table with us. Yet God was with us still and took his seat around each of our tables, regardless of the miles which separated them.2018 alicea xmas 5

God was with us during those weeks of telephone calls, midnight text messages, groceries left at the doorstep and grandchildren peering thru my Christmas windows with their smiles of cheer.62A6A18C-43F3-4214-81D3-15E8290A974E

Yes, we celebrate God in the good times because our memories dare not forget, and bring to our remembrance His nearness against our tears in the difficult ones.

There were tidings of great joy this Christmas of 2022 when David and I found our seat at the holiday dinner table once again. While our December season together has been a winter wonderland of ornaments and white lights in every room of our house, there have been moments when we’d shake the snow globe blizzard from a year ago in our conversations, though counting and naming our blessings thru the valley with Immanuel, God with us.

My calendar of 2023 is a blank slate where God will begin to pencil in divine appointments, opportunities for reaching neighbors, reminders to call that someone you’ve been putting off.

coffee notebook pen writing
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There’ll be fishing and sledding dates with our grandchildren regardless of Papa’s hip, craft time with my glue gun and glitter, coffee dates, cousin camp for those who still want to come, gym time with my circle of friends, and Friday night dates with my love.

Let’s not forget those hours set aside to dream new dreams and dust off old ones still vying for my attention, remembering also to reserve time with myself for pampering, resting and window shopping my goals.

Most of all, might my mornings be blocked and penciled in with appointments of prayer and reading his Word as God awaits us in the early hours of our tossing and turning and inability to sleep; His way of starting the coffee and setting an early table for two, where His presence is near, and sensed in the seat close beside…God with us.

photo of flower vase near coffee cups
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A YEAR FOR NEW BEGINNINGS  By Lori A Alicea

After opening my 2022 calendar and glancing over the 365 days of blank pages before me, I’m greatly encouraged as blank pages are opportunities for fresh starts, re-writes, course corrections and re-imagined visions.

While we chart our days though, there’s a continued trust in a wonderful Father, making room and leaving margin for those steps He’s already ordered before the year even approached with an awesome plan for us in mind.

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Psalm 37:23 (NLT)calendar use

This time of year, hideaway places everywhere are painted and blanketed with snow glistening as undiscovered diamonds in the afternoon sun; a winter’s postcard most eyes will never see nor feet ever trod.

snow forest Yet depicts the paths waiting for those with fresh vision to forge;cumbee ethan little snow lawnmower

Leaps of faith to climb new heights;england cova between trees

Daring courage to free fall into the unknown;2018 england winter 3

Fight with tenacity against the opposition which begs to stand in your way.

Belief in yourself enough to leave an irrefutable mark in a undiscovered winter’s postcard.cova little snow angel

Entering through the door of another calendar year, we’re greeted and kissed with opportunities waiting their turn for us to finally say “yes; beckoning those willing to move from their couch of complacency and begin taking those steps of faith God’s voice has been leading into the unknown for years; a place where God’s dreams for them really do come true.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NLT)kizzie walking with sisters

Lassoing a year’s new beginnings and forging a path where feet have never gone before; at least not yours, is not for the faint of heart.

Contending for vision means challenging what’s difficult, resisting the couch of complacency, and standing your ground when it’d be easier as in years passed to surrender to the fear of failure.

I’m preaching to myself as I stare into the blank calendar days of 2022.

I dare not throw away another planner of missed opportunities; opportunities sadly I didn’t prepare for had they dared to cross my path.

Lord, fill my days and mind with your thoughts of me; the encouragement I need to believe in those steps you’ve asked of me, you’ve ordered for me.

Lord, let me see with clarity the secret strategies an army of ideas must possess to win the war against those oppositions of a God given vision.

Lord, you’ve reminded me my tool belt of gifts is adequate and complete for the dreams you’ve asked me to conquer; as the difference maker in all of this is not my abilities, but availability to you.

Even above these dreams you have for me, the paths you’ve asked me to walk are one step at a time.

Lord, it’s remembering to turn over the knotted and hanging strands of my dream’s tapestry, to see the big picture of those hurting, those desperate and without hope for a loving God, to bring you glory through those you’ve sent me to reach and touch with the plans you have on my life.

Lord, it’s never been about me.

It’s never been about success, money or accolades to accumulate; as this all rusts and burns in time.

Lord, keep reminding me and showing me the quick vapor my life is; the short moments I have to bring honor to your name; to make you famous throughout my life.

Lord, fill up my calendar this year with opportunities I can’t bear to miss this time.

Draw me to yourself when distractions dare to take me otherwise.

Lord, let me be a witness to those I’m unaware are watching; those wondering the source of my smile, the fountain spring of my joy.

I’m greatly encouraged for the blank pages of opportunities, fresh starts, re-writes, course corrections and re-imagined visions of my 2022 calendar before me. calendar useI continue to trust in my wonderful Father, making room and leaving margin for those steps He’s already ordered before the year even approached with an awesome plan for me in mind.

I pray for all of you reading and taking in the words an Almighty God has inspired me to write for myself, my children, grandchildren, and you.

May the year of 2022 in your life bring glory to our Lord and Savior who loves you more than you know.

I appreciate those who follow me and SHARE these words when felt led to.
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May you allow God to begin filling up your calendar and feel free to COMMENT what He has laid up your heart.