THROUGH MOTHER’S EYES  By Lori A Alicea

What ya thinking about mother?

Silently I’ve noticed the sun setting in your eyes ever so slightly these past few months over time spent with you.

The overflow of your heart speaks deep appreciation for our visits and our calls. A mother’s smile welcomes us no matter her prognosis of the moment.

My unannounced visits faithfully find you wearing that red lipstick you’ve been famous for my whole life.

But yet, for the words you’ve held back to keep a family from worrying or thoughts too afraid to articulate, your eyes speak volumes from the pages of uncertainty that prompt a daughter to wonder,

What ya thinking about mother?

Sometimes in life the negative reports need to be shoved into a drawer for the moment.

Every now and then we all need a good day; maybe even a perfect day.

Perfect days you plan for; you pencil them in your calendar and make the day happen.

From the heart you unearth treasures of every kind that arms can’t contain them. Much like the windows of heaven that God pours abundantly from onto His children.

Mother, it’s your eightieth birthday and gold glittered balloons and everything else gold will punctuate this perfect day from start to finish.

With sadness, your milestone birthday will be an outside event with you watching from a nursing home window due to the current circumstances that mandate.

But you bloom where you’re planted.

You create and decorate
For a mother most deserving…

Announcing your

Princess for a Day Event.

Honoring that little girl in our mother who quite possibly never thought of herself or was celebrated as the princess God sees in her.

I decided that every girl, young or old attending this Princess for a Day event,
Be celebrated also as a princess with their own crown and scepter.

The little princes will also be celebrated as royal heirs to the throne with a sword in their own honor.

(Excerpt from my blog Whose I am)

It’s your day mom.

Introducing your perfect day.
decorations crown 1

Through mother’s eyes, her front row seat to a perfect day.

So many guests came to honor this Princess for a Day.

Your daughters, your sons present and afar they came.
Your grandchildren and great-grandchildren attended also.

That best friend you’ve shared years of every kind wouldn’t miss your day.
barb guests - barb by tableCousins came and took their spot just like the old days of family reunions.
guests - old family reunionOut of town great-grandchildren enjoyed the festivities through technology via Facetime.
guests englandsUnattended but princesses still in thought took royal selfies for their great-grandmother to enjoy.

From your window and phone, I hope the evidence bore witness to the impact and meaning of your life.
window - mom - CopyOne by one, the avalanche of tributes from those touched by your life well lived before them.

Beyond precious were tender words from the mouths of babes. Even little ones notice the love of a grandmother.

One great-grandson full of wisdom beyond his years when he spoke,
“Today grandmother, you are a vision of loveliness.”
speaking guests - david speakingForming a line in front of your window, each family member added silk roses for the vase bouquet you’d enjoy days after your perfect day was a memory.

Though not the princess banquet we would have prepared had we celebrated you at home, but a princess meal nevertheless to enjoy around family tables at home.

What ya thinking about mother?

I’m overwhelmed myself re-visiting this royal day weeks after the event.

So many details planned for the short time we were given.

Over-looking the party from your front row seat, the staff overwhelmed as well, soaking in the love from a family giving back honor due to their matriarch turning eighty.

But I think most impacting were those close and intimate moments at your window, sharing one on one through the phone with those needing a moment alone with you, even if for a minute never noticing the separation of glass.

On display the emotion from your faithful friend of decades.

Then were the kisses from your window, with you looking back at your great-grandchildren to receive their childlike affection.

Even you and I were able to pose for a mother-daughter picture, capturing and blending two generations together.
window - mom and LoriHeard from our mother’s window was the chorus of Happy Birthday sang twice. Princesses get an encore you know.
happy birthdayGathered for a family portrait are lives that have been changed because of a Godly life well lived from one birthday girl blowing out eighty candles on her cake.
guests - moms familyYou are many things to many people; mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, cousin and friend.

But you are simply mother to me.

Through your eyes I hope the impact of your life was in full view of your window.

You were beautiful wearing your princess crown.

Through mother’s eyes, my heart believes you saw and thoroughly enjoyed a perfect day; the best birthday gift a family could have ever wanted for you.

You are loved mom beyond words.

When that stuffed negative report does emerge from that drawer as it will, always remember God’s love letter to you,

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.
Phillippians 4:8 NIV

Even through a mother’s eyes on her perfect day.

A YEAR TO REMEMBER By Lori A Alicea

Senior Year is a milestone year to remember.

A student’s final lap around the track, prepared to cross the finish line and begin a brand new race outside of high school in nine memorable months.

A senior’s calendar should be managed by an event coordinator, as one event will kick off another, an ongoing firework display of moments, milestones and lifelong memories until Graduation Day.

Senior pictures, Homecoming, College visits, Winter Break;
Spring Break, Prom, Sports, Finals, Senior Ditch Day;
Graduation Day, and all those open houses to name a few.

The Class of 2020 would begin their Senior Year with full exciting calendar events just as classes of previous years.

That first semester of 2020 fall sports, homecoming, classes, finals and winter break were all checked off the calendar as planned.

But come the second semester for the Class of 2020, an unforeseen pandemic cold-front would freeze all school events for the remainder of the calendar year.

The numbing effect was chilling.

When the reality of the senior year milestone cancellations began to unthaw in minds of the Class of 2020, hearts sank for what was supposed to be
Their year to remember.

Eighteen years ago my son was entering his senior year of high school, the same year when parents had given birth to the Class of 2020.

The milestone calendar for my son burst of checklists ’till graduation as all the other students of his senior Class of 2002.

The final year of cross country for my son began.
The books were now opened for the first semester classes.
Fall weather that year was beautiful.

That fall my senior high school son began to test his wings to fly.
This final year of school for me was a painful countdown of letting go.

The Class of 2020 was unaware; so was the Class of 2002.
The pandemic affects the Class of 2020;
The Twin Tower attacks the fall year 2001; affects the Class of 2002.

Each was a year to remember.

The ominous clouds of fear, loss, hopelessness, and all the unknowns paralyzed the country and Class of 2002 for months to come.

Unlike the Class of 2020, the Class of 2002 was able to continue with their senior year festivities, albeit with sadness and guilt of going on.

As a mother, I grieve for every student of the Class of 2020
Who were robbed of their
Year to remember.

You’ve waited eighteen years for your final lap around the track of high school memories.

You deserved your Cinderella evening at prom.
You earned your right to compete at state.
You know you could have been valedictorian or salutatorian.

Your mother’s heart is ripped in her inability to witness your walk across the graduation stage.

The “what if’s” and “if only” events of your senior calendar will forever remain unchecked;

Except the
CELEBRATION OF YOU!

Celebrate your accomplishments.
Celebrate your milestones.
CELEBRATE YOU!

The year 2020 wasn’t the end, but the beginning of a brand new race for your senior class.

You are celebrated, Class of 2020.

When my son graduated high school in 2002, I celebrated him that year and his sister five years later with a video montage of their life as a graduation gift to them.

At the end of the video, I, their mother, narrated this mother-to-graduate poem,
Honoring their life and Year to Remember.

I pray that every life, every graduated student of the Class of 2020 walks away just as honored.

THOSE HANDS
By Lori A Alicea

The moment that I saw you first,
I marveled at your hand.
So small you were, God’s miracle,
Too great to understand.

Amazing that your little hand,
It knew just what to do.
Your tiny finger wrapped itself,
Around my finger too.

And as the days began to pass,
You held your building blocks.
Your hands would grab onto my hair,
Your hands would pull your socks.

And oh the games that babies love,
The best was peek a boo.
You’d hide behind your little hands,
And laugh the way you do.

You’d smile for joy with patty cake,
Your happiness it shows.
And better when Miss Piggy counts,
Your fingers and your toes.

Your hands would spill your glass of milk,
What handprints on the wall.
Your hands could not resist the mud,
The trails I cleaned them all.
18 Jake 1You’d hold my hand for everything,
When walking down the street.
You’d hold my hand while in the car,
I’d reach back to your seat.

But as the days began to pass,
You grew into yourself.
I’d try to help, your hand would say,
Oh mom, I do myself.

You soon would want to dress and change,
You struggled with your sleeve.
Though mixed and matched I saw you were,
The door I’d let you leave.

Instead of holding mother’s hand,
You carried your backpack.
Adventure in those books you held,
And lunch inside your sack.

And as the days began to pass,
You’d want to write your name.
You’d want to hold your bike alone,
And sleep alone the same.
CANDY bike

From catching fire flies at night,
From swinging your first bat.
Your hands behold this mother’s love,
Where memories are at.

And as the days began to pass,
What trials then and now.
Your hands, together in a prayer,
Those times would pass somehow.

I wish this day would never pass,
It has to be, won’t cry.
Those hands I hardly recognize,
Are waving me good-by.
31 IMG_20200520_0045The plan, the journey, all prepared,
One season we would share.
The path has forked, you have to take,
One brand new road out there.

Though empty might this mother’s hand,
She truly knows no fear.
While on that path, you’re not alone,
The Father’s hand is near.

30 Graduation Jake Candy

WHAT WE CELEBRATE! WHAT WE APPRECIATE! By Lori A. Alicea

What you appreciate, appreciates…
Author and speaker John Maxwell

What you value, increases in value.

We all are blessed beyond true riches.

Riches are seen through the eye of the beholder.
Riches are what we celebrate!
Riches are what we appreciate!

I’ve always considered myself a very rich woman.

I enjoy health, love, family, grandchildren, a great church, and don’t forget crafts and tons of glitter.

In this moment while I write, a choir of birds have gathered in the winter trees practicing a cantata of songs for their summer concerts as I am privileged to listen in.

Three sweet boys and seven beautiful girls call me Gaga.

Homemade chocolate chip and decorated sugar cookies hide in the freezer for those little people in my life; saving a few of them for myself I admit.

Best of all, my handsome husband just called for no other reason than to say that he loved me.

Yes, I am a rich woman.

Regardless that the vehicles we drive are junks.
Regardless that our closets remain half empty.
Regardless if our bank account balances reflects a different opinion on Wall Street.

Riches are seen through the eye of the beholder.
Riches are what we celebrate!
Riches are what we appreciate!

 There’s always something good to see, something good to say.

It’s all about perspective.

Every now and then an old fashioned treasure hunt of a situation or someone might unearth an unexpected gold mind of riches.

Years ago I wrote about such a treasure hunt.

THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING GOOD TO SAY
By Lori A Alicea

 Ever known a person who just rubbed you the wrong way?  Knowing that same person, if you had to say something good about them, could you?

 Those were questions from a family broadcast, encouraging listeners to begin to believe the best in someone, even if it required a treasure hunt of their character to find it.

I was standing in my husband’s garage one morning when I remembered the broadcast about treasure hunting.  While my husband doesn’t even come close to falling into the category of “rubbing me the wrong way”, yet loving him greatly as I do, I decided to take the treasure hunt challenge and wondered if anything in this garage would bring him honor.

Flipping the light it’s obvious no fancy cars or fishing boats are parked in this garage.  Though thrilled he’d be for either one, neither would mean anything worthwhile.

While stepping through this “hard hat” area I felt consumed by so much “stuff”.  Seemingly lost in a man’s world, I started to doubt my quest, yet minutes before stopping my search was victorious, when one blue zipper bag was found.

At first glance, one might question the honor in a blue zipper bag.  One might cringe at its worn, greasy appearance.  But honor goes beyond the grease, as the real treasure hidden inside this blue bag was an assortment of old rusty, tools.

For Father’s Day one year I bought these tools so my husband could change the oil and rotate the tires.  That day these tools were shiny and organized.  Now they’re stuffed in a tattered bag, giving the impression they haven’t been cared for, but just the opposite is true.

Over the years I’ve watched my husband become a servant among servants, helping others with these tools.  Changing oil became fixing breaks and whatever he’s learned to do since then, mostly requiring a hot meal as payment.

Occasionally I watch my husband working under the hood, curious how parts on the garage floor ever get put back correctly.  Yet hours later when I hear the engine running, I stand amazed that though I have the college degree, he truly is the smarter of us both.

Looking at these tools, I recall harsh weather my husband has labored in.  I see the mismatch set, remembering frigid slush he searched through after his tools had accidentally dumped.  I see their rust, feeling soaked myself as he’s worked beneath cars in a downpour.  Then I see that great smile he wears regardless of it all.

Maybe a hot meal doesn’t justify the effort of “being a blessing”.  Maybe it does if you see blessings as released boomerangs; so faithful they return.

“Finding the best” in a situation or someone is always worth the hunt, as treasures are buried everywhere, even hiding in some blue zipper bag.

So many years have passed since this old column of mine was published.

Yet time hasn’t diminished my admiration for a hard-working man who keeps us out of car payments by keeping our old cars running.

My husband’s heart is still that of a servant, helping others whenever he can, still for the sticker price of a hot meal.

Living in this old country town during the summer you’d find my husband and I sitting outside on lawn chairs sipping coffee and waving at passerby’s, seen as the town’s billboard for two people in love.

Yes, I am a rich woman and nothing or nobody can ever tell me different.

Because
What you appreciate, appreciates…
Author and speaker John Maxwell

 And I appreciate all that God has given me.

I celebrate!  I appreciate!

2019 england cova with ice cream cone

I am a rich woman.