MORE THAN A COOKBOOK OF RECIPES  By Lori A Alicea

It was once quoted:

Most of us will be remembered, in work and in life, for just a few words or deeds that made a difference to others. The way we choose to say good-by is likely to be one of the ways we are remembered.
Frances Hesselbein

How true this was for my grandmother.

Who knew a large, table size crystal plate of homemade holiday cookies served on Christmas Eve each year of my childhood would be the memory I treasured most of my grandmother.

A small deed gaining no fame or recognition on the evening news; nor article in a Good Housekeeping magazine either.

But congregating around a basement table draped with a holiday scene of felt and sequins each December 24th, were her grandchildren ruining their dinner appetites gobbling their grandmother’s famous peanut butter balls, fudge and an assortment of decorated cookies; all full of homemade love.

Carrying this memory with me my whole life kept this little girl inside smiling around a table of cookies; so much so that all I wanted when my grandmother passed away was her cookbook of holiday recipes, her crystal plate and felt tablecloth of sequins.

Grandma’s memory was kept alive through the years when I’d set out her crystal cookie plate and fill it full of confections I remembered and loved as a child.

Recently, her cookbook found its way back into my cupboard after re-discovering this treasure while emptying a storage-unit full of boxes.

Never opening my grandmother’s heirloom after all these years until today, did I realize her valuable gift was more than a cookbook of recipes but also a time capsule of family mementos she saved.

Wedding invitations of my sister’s and mine from year 1978 and 1980.Belinda's wedding invite

Lori Wedding invite to Mike

A Christmas poem I authored and sent in the year 2004, only to be converted to my grandmother’s Christmas card list on the back. So many names I smiled to see on my grandmother’s circle of influence, though sad to remember a few good-byes since her Christmas list was written.2004 xmas poem

Bertie 2004 xmas list

A wedding anniversary card from my grandfather to his sweetheart, signing it ever so sweetly,

From Little Old Me,
DanGrandpa Houle anniversary card front

Grandpa Houle anniversary card inside

But what caught my attention most were a few prayers written by my grandmother, hidden between the pages of her cookbook of recipes.

Randomly written on the backs of other pages as was her Christmas list, my grandmother poured out her heart before God, unknowingly blessing her adult granddaughter decades later.

I never knew Grandma Bertie in this private and intimate way, so to unearth the overflow of my grandmother’s heart framed in two small prayers are the few words I’ll also remember and cherish her by as Frances Hesselbein once quoted:

Most of us will be remembered, in work and in life, for just a few words or deeds that made a difference to others. The way we choose to say good-by is likely to be one of the ways we are remembered.
Frances Hesselbein

Prayer By My Grandmother
Alberta (Bertie) Houle

Heavenly Father, as we begin each day, let our thoughts turn to you and ask your help in guiding us in everything we do and trust that you will see we receive what we need daily.

Give us courage to face life’s trials and let us keep in mind, “Your will”, not “mine” be done, and help us understand you know what’s best for us.
Amen

Grandma Bertie prayer 1

Another Prayer By My Grandmother
Alberta (Bertie) Houle

Heavenly Father, we thank thee for all the love that has been given us.

For the love of family and friends and above all for your own love poured out upon us every moment of our lives.

Forgive our unworthiness.
Forgive the many times we have disappointed those who love us.

Teach us your own consistency in love, your humility, selflessness, and generosity in everything we do.

In your name we pray.
AmenGrandma Bertie prayer 2

My grandmother took with her to heaven the reasons she memorialized these prayers instead of secretly lifting them to God’s ears only.

But finding my grandmother’s hidden words between the pages of a cookbook and sealed with a kiss for a granddaughter decades after they were written is one priceless gift.

For some reason I was supposed to discover them today when all I aspired to do was hold a grandmother’s cookbook of my childhood memories.

God is full of surprises when you least expect, when you’re not even looking.

Today, was one of those days.

WAIT FOR HER By Lori A Alicea

A grandmother’s prayer…

“Wait for her.”

Though you are too young to have entertained a thought about her just yet, too young to catch a glimpse of her loveliness or even imagine her name, I promise you one day the mere mention of her will burst the gates of your heart and flood your tomorrows, so much so that your grandmother in quiet prayer for your future wife she prays,
“Wait for her.”
ethan by wedding dress
When God was “knitting you in your mother’s womb”,
He was also “fearfully and wonderfully making her in the secret place”.

His “eyes kept vigil on your unformed bodies” and
His thoughts of the two of you already “outnumber the grains of sand.”

“All your days have been ordained and are
written in His book before one of them came to be.”
(Psalms 139)

God knows her.
He’s chosen her to complete you.
She’s perfect for you in every imaginable way.

Your grandmother prays for your chaste and faithful heart to
“Wait for her.”
picture 5
Surrounded by your love of sports, bicycle riding through town, summertime at the park and whatever else boys your age like to do, the future of your older self is too far of a distance down the tracks to see.
picture 6The prettiest girl in your life today who has your eyes you call her mommy.
brodie and kristie kissingThe heroes’ keeper of her heart is a man named daddy.
picture 18God has kept your young love for each other a secret and asleep, but a true love nevertheless, promised to awaken the morning of God’s perfect timing.
picture 17You must stay hidden from the thief of her counterfeit.

Swiftly flee from the distractions of delay.

Believe and keep a firm grip on God’s truth that,
“All your days have been ordained”, as well as hers.
“Wait for her.”

In the waiting you’re trusting for God’s introduction to your completeness.

In the waiting you bow a knee in surrender,
“Not my will but Thine.”

In the waiting you forfeit the world’s good for His Best.

In the waiting, your time will come.
picture 15But until then,
Wait for her.
ethan by wedding dressThe wait will be worth it all.