THE DIVA IN YOUR FAMILY! By Lori A Alicea

There’s a Diva in every family.

You know who she is.
She knows who she is.

You can’t help yourself but feel the love when Diva enters the room, as her little girl on the inside lights up and takes center stage as well as your heart.2 disney ears 6

Diva’s live to the full for which we might want to take notes from her effervescent personality.

Divas are confident and self-assured in her lane, with “Minnie Me” watching and keeping score.

Diva’s stand out among the crowds who notice her on and off the field as a cheerleader in the stands of this game called life.

She loves to laugh and for whatever reason, others embrace the fun no matter their age.

Wherever Diva goes, the little girl who refuses to grow up is following along as well.

Adults, who left behind their wonder and fascination in a child’s toy chest, can reacquaint themselves with their inner child again by hanging out with a Diva.

Diva’s love the spotlight and why not?

Where there are dark clouds and gloomy skies in a person’s day, why not be a bright star to cheer to them up.
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Oh risk the fun and take a ride with a Diva.

You’ll discover your happy place the moment you take your seat.6 amusement park

Class is always in session with a Diva.

Their cuteness is contagious and these little Diva Darlin’s graduate in the Sciences of Smiles.

There’s a Diva hidden in all of us.

You’ll find her crowned in “bows and sparkle”, even among our furry friends;

Celebrating each other on Diva Day.

Look no further than your own back yard for a Diva.

A lamppost of love that never dims…

A fountain of joy which never runs dry…

A smile for days…

A ride for a lifetime…

Someone who brings out the best in all of us…

A song was even written with a Diva in mind…

(an excerpt)

Who can turn the world on with her smile?

Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.

Well it’s you girl, and you should know it,

With each glance and every little movement you show it…

Love is All Around
By Sonny Curtis

Intro song to Mary Tyler Moore show
(Made famous when I was a teenager)

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I must confess, this blog is a request by my Diva daughter for her birthday we recently celebrated a few days ago on January 18, yet Diva birthdays last for days.8 mom and daughter

Divas are confident in what they want.

Quite opposite of her mother, I laughed when she blurted her request without blush.  But how could I refuse?  My daughter blessed me in the asking.

While I could write a book about the amazing mother my daughter is to her three children, living in color with them through the traditions she’s created throughout the year, the illustrations of memories they’ll keep for a lifetime.

This childlike gift about my daughter is one of the characteristics I most hold dear about her. She opens my eyes to see the world from a little girl’s point of view, always at play, enjoying her life.

If my Diva daughter bottled this recipe which holds the world captive in her hands; she’d be rich.

Although, we’re all rich aren’t we when we celebrate the love, the laughter, the joy and the smile in each of us.

Because…

Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.

Well it’s you girl, and you should know it…

By Sonny Curtis

BEHOLD, I DO A NEW THING!  By Lori A Alicea

Where to next Lord?”

In my walk with the Lord, I’m always asking for directions, waiting for the red light to change green across the street of my journey; standing still for the next instruction of my destiny travels.path in woods

Because God has a plan for our lives.

A great plan of prosperity, of hope and a future already determined for us.
(Jeremiah 29:11)

But we dare not get ahead of Him.

We dare not take matters into our own hands.

We must trust Him in the waiting.

We must not succumb to discouragement in the silence?

For His sheep hear his voice and they know Him and follow when He speaks.
(John 10:27)

Because God will speak again, and may this moment find our lamps filled with oil in anticipation and ready to move in our next instruction.

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Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com

Until then, we must stand still in the timing, be confident in the strategy, be excited in big picture God has already prepared and planned out for us.

——-

When my mother was still with us and comfortable in her Lazy Boy recliner, I recall like yesterday her enjoying a reality TV show called “Amazing Race.”

This show was a race full of teams following one instruction leading to another instruction, taking them all around the world and awarding a million dollar prize to the first successful team who crossed over the finish line.

The instructions were complex.

The instructions had to be followed exactly.

One instruction was a precursor to the next instruction.

There were no shortcuts.

There was no possible way to hurdle the finish line without every instruction completed.

The million dollar prize was waiting to see who would finish their
AMAZING RACE.
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The Bible re-tells amazing races of instructions, keeping us gripped in the narration to see if these characters would follow the “next steps” which God had given them towards their destiny.

Abraham’s instruction went like this:

1The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2I will make you a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those you bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:3 NIV

Abraham’s instruction required him to leave everything behind without knowing where God was sending him. But if Abraham trusted the instruction, God would make him a great nation where his name would be great and be a blessing.

Abraham followed the instruction.england journey walking on tree

David’s instruction went like this:

17Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 16Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. 19They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.
1 Samuel 17:17-19 NIV

All David’s instruction required him to do was take a lunch to his brothers. How many times do we become annoyed by meaningless tasks, not realizing they are actually setups by God to test our obedience.

Little did David know the next step of his destiny was waiting in the slaying of Goliath.

So interesting how God had already prepared David’s confidence to meet the challenge with Goliath, when David had previously slain the lion and bear behind the scenes of his life.
(1 Samuel 17:36)

David followed God’s instruction.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Preacher and Author Dr. John Tetsola once quoted:

The instructions you are willing to obey
will determine the destiny God brings into your life.

In my own walk with the Lord, His instruction and Word for 2023 in my life is this:

BEHOLD, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19 KJV

Towards the end of the year 2022 this “new thing” has become more evident and confirmed; but will I obey?

I confess “kicking and screaming”, and “digging my heals in the sand” to this next instruction, complaining in my inadequacies, “Not me!”  But I know the amazing race of my life with come to a standstill and my destiny and His instructions waiting ahead hinges on my obedience.england journey walking on path

Dr. John Tetsola’s words push me forward as I know they are from God,

The instructions you are willing to obey
will determine the destiny God brings into your life.

God is doing a thing in our lives.

Don’t you see it?

He’s making a way in the wilderness…

Rivers in the desert…

Let us all obey the Word of the Lord.

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

BENEATH THE CHRISTMAS TREE!  By Lori A Alicea

The Christmas of 1989 it was just the three of us.

Our first December holiday without the trimmings we were accustomed to and the relocation from the peaceful acreage of our country life to a noisy city apartment in a subsidized housing community would be quite the adjustment; yet we were thankful for the blessings of family and for Jesus, a baby born to us at Christmas.CANDY JAKE 007

A newly single woman and unemployed a few months prior could have dashed my hopes for a season merry and bright, but when you celebrate the gifts beneath the Christmas tree of your life, you recognize it’s been a joyous Christmas every day since they were born.CANDY JAKE 011

Christmas is a season of giving and the packages exchanged come wrapped as different as the sentiments from which they came.

Raising small children, I wanted them to catch the spirit of giving by putting a new song in their hearts for others, where the lyrics reminds them that as Jesus is God’s gift to us at Christmas, might our bountiful hearts overflow beneath the Christmas tree of neighbors or strangers; even if your mother is unemployed.XMAS GRANDS brooke playing piano

With the curtains drawn from the sliding glass doors of our living room, one could see into their neighbor’s home (and vice versa) when their curtains are opened for the day as ours.

Just a few steps between the back doors of our apartments, it was just the three of them also during this Christmas of 1989; a mother, a son and her baby girl.

Sadly on my part, our families hadn’t been introduced to each other and their story, those unread pages of a mother raising children on her own.

But living in a subsidized housing community is a giveaway that money might be tight at Christmas, so I encouraged my little elf’s to find their song of giving to this neighborhood family, and what we might be able to secretly place beneath their tree come Christmas morning.

There’s always something to give at Christmas; whether baked, made, sung, written or bought; even for a few dollars at the local discount store.

Down the road from our humble apartment and within a short distance on foot, we three took a holiday journey together through the snow covered walkways to Christmas town, pretending Santa had picked us up for a ride on his sleigh.XMAS Jake and Candy 2

Christmas shopping that afternoon was a bigger gift to us as we left our hopes beneath the Christmas tree to renew the hopes beneath theirs; as my daughter picked out a doll for a little girl, and my son a truck for the boy his age next door, remembering the single mom with a pink sweater for a cold winter’s day.CANDY JAKE 011

It was almost midnight that Christmas of 1989 when the lights finally went out from across the yard a few steps away.

Wanting my young son to experience the joy of giving, he stayed awake during the midnight hours with me, filled to the rim of our hearts with excitement, much like the Christmas bag of our wrapped gifts we were about to secretly leave at their back door while the family lay fast asleep.

Waking up that first Christmas morning as a family of three brought a deeper meaning for giving when we terribly longed the memories of Christmas’ past the beginning of December.

We could only imagine a little girl’s smile captured as her eyes noticed a doll beneath the Christmas tree waiting to be held and loved by her; the same joyous smile for the neighborhood boy and his mom.cova xmas

Nobody knew but us when Christmas came next door as a song from my children’s heart echoing one winter night in December.

God multiplied much from the little we had, when we three were willing to give it away.

One Christmas memory from 1989 is a greeting card I love to mail to our loved ones from time to time; as its inscription and message is timeless for every December 25th of our life.vintage-christmas-cards-for-family-and-kids

A TABLE SET BEFORE US! By Lori A Alicea

During the joyous season of the holidays, we all find ourselves sitting in a seat at a table set before us.

Taking our seat where every place setting represents a life in the family, friendship or meaningful relationship around the table.USE 2018 alicea xmas kids 14

While Hallmark movies present a picture perfect table for the holidays; in reality, the table of gathering is uniquely set from every heart of the home.USE xmas table

The simplicity of our father’s Christmas table served homemade cookies and cakes prepared from the hands of a widower of many years.

Missing my father and his modest traditions so terribly, I continue to drive by his house every December 24th in the evening, opening the greeting card of Christmas past from across the street, reminiscing through the kitchen window and listening for laughter still baked in the walls when we daughters shared a few hours with dad around his table.

In mother’s later years of life in the nursing home, we girls would join her and the other residents and their guests for a Christmas meal together.

The love of the host overflowed onto her decorated tables for those she served everyday throughout the years, regardless that many of the residents had lost their capacity to appreciate the thoughtfulness in her details.

But God sees the unnoticed and receives it all as if you had done it unto Him.

Somebody loved our mother as we sat with her around the table those remaining December’s of her life; a gift we will treasure for Christmas’ to come.

Some tables set in December have a few tears of sadness sprinkled with the faux snow spread around the winter centerpiece scene, when those seated next to them are thousands of miles away in thought with those they’re unable to be together with during the holidays.

One Christmas, our son ate his holiday meal on the other side of the world from us, actually a day in advance from us while serving his country in the military; although the miles were bridged when a homemade gift from our officer’s hands arrived in the mail the day after Christmas.

A mother’s heart was full during a long and lonely year she hadn’t hugged her son for months.

How do you set a table of Christmas for a mother you’re unable to reach when the doors aren’t opening to visitors?TABLE Ate Alone

Where do you find the magic of Christmas when mother’s seat at the table is void of her being; well, at least at her earthly table? Mother found her reserved place at heaven’s banquet table the moment she opened her eyes to Jesus.

Mother’s presence remains in the traditions she created for her children and grandchildren, and in her seat at the card table I now sit at when she left us for a better place.  

My husband and I are like little children waiting to wake up on Christmas morning together, believing God to redeem the season from one year ago when David ate his holiday meal from the tray of his hospital bed, while separated from me as I sat alone at my table that December evening because of sickness too.ava at xmas

Regardless of every table set before us…

Christmas will always be about a baby born in a manger, and the joy that filled the earth when our Savior cried for the very first time in His mother’s arms.

God is faithful to us during the holidays, and every day.

God is near to the brokenhearted whose covenant love will reach a thousand generations.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIVUSE church

For Christmas this year, I’m setting tables.

While I love the sparkle and twinkle of a beautifully set table, I won’t miss the unexpected opportunities to set a table of simplicity as my father once did for us daughters each Christmas Eve, serving cookies and love on a plate for those seated around his table.

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LEAVING THE ISLAND By Lori A Alicea

All I had was twenty-one days to unpack those stowaway hugs and kisses with not a moment to spare.  The pendulum of a grandmother’s clock would sway and tick in perfect harmony with the seconds I had remaining with those four precious grandchildren I flew ten hours over the ocean to see.

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Such has been the the life while visiting my military children and grandchildren, where an hourglass of sifting sands measures our borrowed time together; a constant vigil in plain sight from the mantle of a grandmother’s heart.

The mirror of our portraits taken reflects the passage of more than a decade, yet fails to reveal the months we’ve sadly missed and spent apart due to the long and winding miles which separate.

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But following your military family from “move to move” has given me a Tom Sawyer adventure I wouldn’t have sought out on my own.  The orders of our officer son has taken him from the mountains to the islands, with the nation’s capital in between; and this grandmother has been blessed to go along for the ride.world jake and baby cova with mountains behind 1

england jake surfingThe islands have been a page torn and written from a place so different than my own.  Most kids ride their bicycles to school; or walk the twenty minute stretch each way as I did with my grandchildren.  Shoes are optional (seriously); at church, at school, even at Starbucks and chickens run freely and are an unassuming part of the landscape as squirrels are where I live.

The breathtaking view of our son’s back yard is the once-in-a-lifetime sandbox for our grandchildren.  The memories they’ve made with a pail, a shovel and an afternoon in the sun.

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The islands haven’t been my favorite place to visit, but now as the moving boxes are being packed once again, I’m almost sad for myself that I failed to see the beauty of this tropical place.

My private moments along the sandy shores of the ocean will be terribly missed as the music of the waves comforted my lonely soul when I longed for those missing me on the mainland.  This song will forever play in my mind.The final sands of the hourglass have all sifted into a mound of borrowed time and the pendulum of this grandmother’s clock has struck midnight for the final evening with my military babies.
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In a few short hours they will walk far from my view and even further from the reach of my hugs.  The thought is almost unbearable at times.
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I went to each of my babies rooms to have one final moment before kissing them good-night. 

How do you keep it together when your little boy begs you to stay for five more weeks? 

My oldest granddaughter had no words but her moistened eyes spoke volumes.

Then there’s those little girls who didn’t really understand I was leaving until they woke up crying when they couldn’t find me that following morning.

The dam of my heart almost burst at the airport when my son inquired how the kids did during our final good-by.  But the floods overtook me as I gazed out the window during an early morning phone call with my husband, wishing for a return flight into my grandchildren’s arms.
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With layovers and connecting flights, I arrived back home on the mainland almost a complete day later (at least it seemed), with a bit of my husband’s heart waiting for me upon my return.  I wouldn’t see him until later that afternoon when our reunion took place in the parking lot of his work.
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The void of my heavy heart will linger for days until I reacquaint myself with the daily steps of my routine. 

I long though for the island where my Hawaiian babies continue to live at their new address until next summer.  The thoughts of my grandchildren will consume me until I release them back to God and reach for His peace until we are back together once again for an hourglass of borrowed time.

My son’s new orders will relocate his family in a few short months and the Tom Sawyer adventure of this grandmother continues, wherever the military ride will take me.7CAA05CD-0A2B-4F87-A44A-82BF525E163C

A DANCE INTO FOREVER  By Lori A Alicea

The wedding DJ has called for all the married couples to the dance floor for the next selection of the night.

Husbands and wives of every age began leaving their seats as the music to “their song” welcomed and gestured them to center stage.

Crowded on the dance floor were couples swaying back and forth in the arms with the one they said “I Do” to, however many years ago their altar moment was.

Minutes into their wedding waltz, the DJ announced that anyone married twenty-four hours or less must leave the dance floor.

The bride and groom both smiled and laughed as they took their position on the side lines.

The wedding waltz continues and dancing resumes once again.

The second stanza of the song began when the DJ stopped the music and ushered couples married five years or less to join the bride and groom along the outer circle of the stage.

The crowd on the dance floor began thinning out and it remained to be seen which twosome still dancing has been married the longest.

Couples married ten years or less were asked to join the others on the side lines.

Fifteen years or less…
Twenty-five years or less…
Thirty-five years or less…

By this time in the lyrics only a handful of marriages remain on the dance floor.

The children of parents and grandparents still dancing celebrate the rare treasure before them…

A gift and covenant of…

For richer or poorer…
In sickness and in health…
Until death…

Will we part…

The DJ’s announcement intensifies with excitement…

Forty-five years or less…

The waltz still plays as those couples on the sidelines began circling as a wedding ring around the final marriage of fifty golden years.

USE DANCE 2

This wedding ring of marriages circling the rare commitment of fifty golden years; a symbol of infinity which has neither beginning nor end; a display of love eternal and endless, and worn on the wedding finger closest to their heart.

This ring made of precious metal; an image depicting the sacredness of marriage, given to their betrothed with deep emotion and sentiment during the most sacred event of their life.USE then and nowUSE fifty sign

Fifty golden years is a testimony to the eyes who witness this miracle of dedication, two people trusting God during the valleys and mountain tops before them, persevering the journey together with Him in marriage.

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Those words of affirmation throughout the years seal and swell their abiding hearts of true love.CARDS 2A novel of words detailing the pursuit of rare pearls and treasure hunt of each other, passing on down thru the generations living beyond them a marriage’s lasting legacy.
CARDS 1Their kisses of thankfulness for another day thru the decades together.CARDS 3

Oh, the laughter which feeds their souls as a good medicine; stoking the fire of great joy which warms as a blanket around their arms on a cold winter day.
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Holding close their gift of friendship…
Celebrating their nearest and dearest confidant…
Feeling safe with the one who holds the secret keys to their heart.USE cake

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The wedding waltz continues and serenades the anniversary couple as they

Dance into forever.

Embraced in each other’s arms they’ll waltz from anniversary to anniversary, keeping in time with their covenant of forever until the music ceases to play.USE DANCE 1

Fifty golden years marks the marathon of miles two people in love have traveled together in marriage.

They are a covenant gift and testimony to their children and grandchildren and eyes of those who have witnessed their rare love for each other…

For richer or poorer…
In sickness and in health…
Until death…

Will we part…

USE couple sitting down

FROM THE WINDOW VIEW  By Lori A Alicea

Years ago, a set of railroad tracks ran east and west through the country acres we were living at the time, whose locomotive whistle called the little feet of boys and girls from the other end of the house down the runway of the hallway in screams of delight, dragging a kitchen chair to their window seat for the few short minutes this parade of train cars was passing through.

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From the window view parade a child no doubt longs and wishes for a ride of adventure to the moon and back before their nap.

Adventures these little passengers have taken from those pages and chapters of books who’ve handed them their passports to experience the magic and wonder of the world at their fingertips.

From the window view, there’s a small child in me and probably each of us, waiting and standing in lines which seem to never move at times…brystol window

For stamps on our passport to summit our hopes; summit those dreams; summit the mountains to our answered prayers.

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Until then, we find ourselves looking and waiting on God.

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Waiting with a…

A constant look from the window view for our miracle…

A constant look from the window view for relief for our finances…

A look out the window view for our new direction…ethan looking thru window

A look out the window view for those things unspoken…sistersayva aubrey looking out window

While God is not trapped nor bound by the boundaries of time, the calendar, the clock; we are encouraged to wait as He is a good father who keeps his promises forever.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 NIV

He keeps every promise forever.
Psalm 146:6 NLT

In our Bible we discover many also waited for the fulfillment of God’s promises in their lives.

Abraham waited twenty-five years for his son Isaac.

Abraham also waited four-hundred years for his land of inheritance.

And all those thousands of years we waited for the birth of our Lord Jesus beginning from the prophecy of Isaiah.

But yet, we wait by the window in hope as God keeps his promises forever.2019 alicea brystol brodie peeking out window

God doesn’t forget the orphan child.

God remembers the widowed woman.

He’s aware of our existing lack…

He hears our silent cries at night…

He counts every fallen tear on our pillow.

He sees His children from the window view and blows them kisses…USE older younger rosalee kizzie 2

Encouraging them to continue their adventures and experience the wonder of God’s promises through the pages of His Word at their fingertips.

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While waiting well for their fulfillment from the window seat of their view.brodie ethan window diapers

INTENTIONAL FRIENDS  By Lori A Alicea

Her name is Betty.

My next door-neighbor of many years and twenty years my senior, and yet our relationship celebrated differing views and perspectives; not competing generations.

Across the street where whistle blowing trains rattled our windows all hours of the day, was an old country street of five houses nestled under the acreage of trees they were built on, where barns, horses, gardens and chickens running loose added to the old fashion charm of a picturesque postcard.Jake 1

Betty and I began borrowing cups of sugar from each other when she was a young grandmother and I a young mother myself.

As neighbors, we smiled and witnessed from our porches and swing sets the passing of time in the growing faces of Betty’s grandchildren and my children between the two houses.

Betty’s twin granddaughters and two grandsons always seemed to sport a glove and bat for a family baseball game of endless innings in their backyard where parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, each took their position on the field.

My two year old son watched these games from the dugout of his sandbox, waiting his turn to be big enough for the team; my baby girl and I rooted Betty’s grand-kids from the window or lawn chair nearby.

Betty and I loved being home with our children and grandchildren, both sharing the arts of sewing, canning and crafts.

More than anything, we neighbors shared the same pew at heart when our love for God overflowed those morning cups of conversation.

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As time passed by, my young children and I would leave the neighborhood in tears and brokenhearted due to an unwanted divorce, but would return years later as Betty’s next-door neighbor, newly married to the man of my dreams.

Sadly, moving back to this old country neighborhood of five houses where whistle blowing trains from across the street would fascinate my future grandchildren, Betty has said good-by in sickness to the love of her life; a marriage of thirty-five glorious years.

In her husband’s honor, Betty planted a backyard tree to celebrate his life and life going on thru nature in its magnificence towards the skies and God; a widow’s place of remembrance for someone she deeply loved.

Albeit divorce, sickness or death, Betty and I continued to share sugar and heartache over tears, conversations, hugs and sometimes sitting in silence as true friends and neighbors feel comfortable to do.

For years I felt guilty for all the celebrations of open houses, baby showers and parties that took place on the front acreage of our property, where life and laughter…

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Could be heard and seen from Betty’s house and open windows a few steps away.IMG_6069

Through our intentional friendship though, Betty continued to be encouraged and lifted up, reminding her through scriptures that God promised to be a husband to the widow, a father to the orphan, a redeemer for another day.

Fifteen years later God redeems Betty’s vacant heart at a high school reunion with the re-introduction of an old friend. Betty’s eyes illuminated with joy and happiness unspeakable once again as a little girl, and the two were married in the fall of that year; eventually moving out of the neighborhood to begin their newly married life in another state.

Distance didn’t change our friendship as the miles were bridged with Betty’s cards sent in the mail and my telephone calls to her.

Betty and her new husband would come into town every so often to visit family or attend their favorite quartet concerts, for which they stopped into the old neighborhood for a visit with us.

Not making excuses, but life started happening in those one by one good-byes to parents, grandparents and loved ones and moving two more times for us, somehow losing touch with Betty.

Interestingly, Betty’s cards stopped coming although I didn’t question it, assuming life was happening for her.

Sadly and heartbreaking enough, it was.

I decided to look Betty up on social media after three and a half years from our last conversation, when an arrow plunged my heart in despair after realizing Betty’s account had been moved to legacy status.

Not wanting to assume the worse, I searched the internet for an obituary, yet never finding one in my quest.

Remembering in former conversations of Betty’s wishes to be buried by her husband of thirty-five years, David and I drove to the old country cemetery a short distance from where Betty and I used to be neighbors, only to find that indeed, Betty had passed away mere months after our last conversation.USE cemetery

With only one dirt road winding through this final resting place of a few hundred loved ones, it didn’t take us long to find the headstone of Betty’s last name she once shared with the love of her life.USE dirt roads

To my surprise, Betty left behind a love story of a different kind, choosing to be remembered beside both men who stole this woman’s heart in life.

Not knowing for sure, I imagine Betty’s thoughts…

God didn’t forget Betty and she wanted to thank Him by telling the world her beautiful story beyond her absence.USE headstone

I’m so sorry for the conversations we didn’t have those final months of Betty’s life.  I regret not bidding good-by to my intentional friend.

I didn’t attend Betty’s celebration of life and convey to her family how much their mother and grandmother meant to a next door neighbor; only because I didn’t know.

But may these words be the flowers I send to Betty on her life’s Graduation day to heaven, albeit three and a half years after she received her diploma.USE flowers

Thank you Betty for decades of friendship, for cards, for sharing cups of sugar as next door neighbors do.

I will never forget you.

Remembering…

One day we will once again share a front row pew with God who will tip His heart’s tea-pot and overflow our morning cups of conversation.USE church

FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES…By Lori A Alicea

Do you have a picture of grandma?”

Preoccupied while frying bacon and measuring flour for a batch of homemade breakfast biscuits for three of my grandchildren who spent the night previous, my curious granddaughter asks the question again,

Gaga, do you have a picture of grandma?”party 2

A quick glance at the clock whose hands stretched out to wake and announce the sleepy hour of 5:30 in the morning, quite early for a little girl to be thinking about grandma still tightly wrapped in her blankie.

But, from the innocent mouths of babes, a child was asking.clock

Looking up at Aubrey with my full attention now, though still kneading biscuit dough from memory, this Gaga handled a granddaughter’s heart with delicate hands,

Are you missing grandma?”

Secretly, I had also been missing my mother terribly these early weeks of summer; longing to share a glass of lemonade and the day’s nothings under the shade tree of our back yard together.

Now, here is a five year old, whose birthday was recently shared and celebrated with her sister Ayva turning seven, who also is missing her grandma.

Not having too many pictures framed and displayed in the house, I did remember a 5 x 7 keepsake hidden between the pages of my Bible for this sweet child to reminisce over; a moment taken at our 25th Wedding Anniversary three years ago.

I wanted my mother close whenever the waves of emotions for her rushed and reached the shore of my heart, usually during the quiet hours of my morning devotions with God.bible MOMS PICTURE

In just a few short months this September, an ocean of memories will flood the vacancy our mother left behind when she waved good-by for heaven only two years ago.mom's headstone

With Aubrey recently blowing out the candles of her fifth birthday cake,

Only highlights the impact her grandmother had made during the three short years these two shared together.halloween 1

My mother’s hand-print remains on Aubrey’s life and an entire legacy of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well.

(Aubrey with her grandmother on the left and attending grandma’s funeral on the right; just three short years and yet a little girl still asks for a picture.)

Aubrey isn’t alone in her longing for pictures of grandma, as six months ago at Christmas, her cousin Gracie was yearning the same.

In the spirit of Christmas and found beneath the tree, an album filled and full of grandma’s pictures for Gracie, a gift to comfort a little girl who also missed her grandmother.

My mother would have been eighty-two years young this July 21st, yet our family is forever thankful for the final picture we gathered together outside her window for…

An 80th Princess Gala Event in mother’s honor…

A perfect afternoon for the remaining birthday we’d ever celebrate with our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother this side of heaven.
moms 80th birthday

Recently, Aubrey was watering the flowers of my tiny garden, not realizing many of the decorations of angels, wind chimes, birds and flower pots were once placed outside her grandmother’s window of her own garden;

A summer’s delight to lift a mother’s spirit during those lonely afternoons when family wasn’t visiting.

Mother’s love for the Lord is a families great inheritance she passed on down thru her legacy.

Recently, during a day I ached for my mother, God unearthed a treasure written in my mother’s handwriting, a gift of encouragement I have no idea how it was buried and hidden on my computer after all these years.MOMS WRITING

Your family loves and misses you mother.

Two years is but a blink of the eye for us, yet once you stepped into eternity with God, there was no looking back for you.

In your absence, I’ve had to take your place at the card table.

You’d be disappointed in the whiners and poor sports you used to play with, but actually be proud of the daughter who holds her own and plays in your honor for a game of Phase 10.

From the innocent mouths of babes, her heart was asking.

Gaga, do you have a picture of grandma?”party 2

Aubrey held her grandmother’s hand for only three short years, a matriarch who left her hand-print on the heart of a grandchild for a lifetime.halloween mom and aubrey 2019

Aubrey Ann, your picture of grandma remains between the family bible pages where she loved her Lord from, the great inheritance your grandmother passed on down to you and her legacy of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

bible MOMS PICTURE

 

BEHIND YOUR BACK!  By Lori A Alicea

Today was an ordinary day, no different than most yesterdays of my life.

While walking thru the parking lot of my favorite store, I always pray these same words as I do before entering any other shopping center;

Lord, if there’s a person I need to see in this store, let our paths cross.”

Most days while shopping, it’s just me, myself and I in the store.

Yet occasionally, God orchestrates those chance meetings and encounters down the aisles as we shop, a God who loves an available heart, and willingness to be used…

Ministering to…

An old friend I hadn’t seen in years, sharing her intimate details of a journey with cancer.

Lending an arm of comfort…

To a woman I recognized from high school, who sadly shared her husband had recently passed away.

Bringing joy to myself…

While hearing my granddaughters laughing one isle over, as my daughter shops for Christmas.

The people are there, pushing grocery carts of burdens or cares of this life down the aisles of Walmart or Hobby Lobby, all needing a touch from God’s heart if we are willing to notice them.

Sometimes though, we are meant to see others for our good…

That’s why I remember in all things to pray before taking one step into the store or especially when caught in a time crunch to get in and get out…

Lord, if there’s a person I need to see in this store, let our paths cross.”

She didn’t see me as I passed her browsing the seasonal isle that morning.

I could have continued to shop, unsure if this woman remembered me from thirty-nine years ago, recalling I’ve embarrassed myself (and my husband) in many instances when others couldn’t recollect.

But I remembered Marilyn and the memories we shared, both brand new mothers in the hospital after giving birth to our newborn sons.

Over the years, our lives had intersected thru church, in the fabric and canning departments, as she loved God and life the old fashioned way thru sewing and preparing food from scratch as I did.

We made a connection thirty-nine years ago; so I made a U-Turn in the seasonal aisle of Hobby Lobby to greet a familiar face.

Taking a chance, I said hello to Marilyn as dear friends do, whose bright smile remembered and took us back to those hospital rooms where we embraced motherhood for the very first time.

After almost four decades ago and both of us now in our sixties, we questioned in Hobby Lobby the years gone by since our sons entered our world.

Where did the time go?

Her John and my Jake; now grown men with families of their own.

Going backwards as two first time mothers, both now grandmothers, capturing and sharing snapshots of each other’s lives these last thirty-nine years; the secret passage of time while unaware; behind your back.IMG_4791

You don’t notice quite frankly, at least I didn’t; how time passes by so quickly when half asleep with young children and their midnight feedings, diapers, teething and caring for the demands of the others in the house.1 USE

Even when the children are growing out of their pull-ups and coming into their personalities, giving us hints of who God made them to be, time is sneaking out behind our backs and into the history books of our family.3 USE

Welcoming new days and bright beginnings, we seldom look behind our backs at the distance those paths have taken us from the maiden steps where our journey began.4 USE

You kiss each day with thankfulness for what God has entrusted into your care.5 USE

You lead those into their destinies with God as your tour guide.6 USE

When you inventory what God has given and sense the rustling of the family nest…

You look behind your back and wonder…

Where has all the time gone?”IMG_3702

You pray the family ties of love are strong and tight enough to weather the fiercest storms when they come…and they will.IMG_3700

Yet are confident as you determine…

Family is a circle of strength…
Founded on faith…IMG_3706

Joined in love…

Kept forever by God…
Together forever.

IMG_3708

Yes, time is a ship whose itinerary stops for no one and quickly passes in the night.

Grandchildren are sprouting taller than a field of corn at harvest.  Hardworking family members retire and enjoy the fruits of their labors while some are too busy to notice.

Chairs around the table which seat your favorite faces today, will find themselves empty before you had a chance to really enjoy who they were in your life.

Funerals of good-byes have been overwhelming this past year.  Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day many bring.
Proverbs 27:1 NIV

Today is all we have to celebrate; to enjoy; embracing and taking nothing for granted.

Doing so as a family…

Joined in love…
Kept forever by God…

Together forever.IMG_3708