TAKE TIME TO TELL YOUR STORY  By Lori A Alicea

We all have stories to tell, don’t we?

Whether you have lived a day or a hundred years, there’s a story about your life worth telling.

Your dreams…
Your successes…
Your failures…
Your heartaches…
Days you wish you could get back and do over…
Days you longed for but never happened…
School days…
College days…
Work days…
Marriage…
Divorce…
Friendships…
Death…

At our birth, a diary of blank pages awaits the journaling, chronicling, scrap-booking and jotting down for our remembrance those events when we rejoiced in the successes, gathered our tears in the losses, and traced God’s heart though it all while traveling the valleys up to the mountain tops of our lives; a library of hope passed on down to the next generation.

We must remember the goodness and faithfulness of God in all things; as He is a husband to the widow.  A father to the fatherless.  Our defense in the face of injustice.  He is freedom in our surrender.  He is provision in our lack.  He is an open door in a neighborhood of closed.  He is a light in the darkness.  He is the answer to our questions.  He is a stream in the dry desert.  He is our way when there seems to be no way.  GOD IS!  HE JUST IS!

Yes, document the days that had you dancing, laughing and smiling.

But difficult stories are also worth mining beneath the surface to discover the treasure buried in those hard times we’d rather forget. As those gold nuggets of God “bringing us through” what we thought would bring us death is wealth we must share among our heirs;

When we take the time to tell our story.

We must tell our stories to the world, as well as to the generations of our legacy, because all it takes is one generation to forget about God, and there goes their hope here on earth and a future with Him in eternity.

We must take time to tell our story.

Parents have been charged by God to obey His commandments; to love Him and serve Him with all their heart and soul so their days are multiplied and their land is blessed.

Parents have also been charged to teach these same truths to their children, reminding them day and night, that they might receive the same inheritance of blessing promised to their parents.

13”And if you will indeed obey my commandments
That I command you today,
To love the Lord your God,
And to serve Him
With all your heart
And with all your soul,
.

19You shall teach them to your children,

20You shall write them on them
On the doorposts of your house
And on your gates…

21That your days and days of your children
May be multiplied in the land
That the Lord swore to your fathers
To give them,
As long as the heavens
Are above the earth.”
Deuteronomy 11:13, 19, 20, 21 (ESV)

Such is this hidden wealth to bequeath our children and children’s children, our life lived for God through our stories.

Everything changed for my husband David and I when grandchildren began filling our laps and stealing our hearts.

Overcome by their sweet faces and our love that overflowed an ocean for all ten of these gifts, we grandparents longed to give them each the moon, but knew giving them God meant riches beyond counting.

Hearing the amplified voice of God speak in a grandparent’s ear to leave an inheritance we listened, we followed.

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…
Proverbs 13:22 (ESV)

Though still living these truths before our grandchildren, we began telling about the goodness and faithfulness of God through our stories, transferring the baton of our legacy and inheritance into the grips of the next generation, that they might run their race loving and serving God with all their heart, soul and mind.

Going through the journals of our own lives as young and adult children, we recall and remember the Godly inheritance passed down to us from the generation previous through their stories, albeit just as imperfect as ours, yet the rich legacy we received in their saying “yes” to Jesus.

God’s “more than enough” provision through our hard working fathers.

God’s unrelenting hope through our mother’s who never gave up on us when “giving up” seemed to be our only option.

God’s amazing love through grandparents to our children and their great grandchildren, an example we watched and learned from along the sidelines, whose footsteps we’d follow when becoming grandparents ourselves.

I lament the questions I never asked the generation previous.

I wished I would have sat at the feet of our legacy more often and allowed them to impart the wisdom they gleaned from the fields they sown and reaped from; possibly avoiding a few of their mistakes instead of repeating them.

In the busyness of my younger self,
I didn’t take the time to hear their stories
While they were still with us to hear.

One by one we buried stories when we buried them, journals never to be opened or read again; for that, I am deeply saddened.

But yet, we are still a rich family for the Godly inheritance and legacy they left in our hands and the hands of their “children’s children.”

Reminding us of God’s charge to tell the next generation of His goodness and faithfulness through our lives and through our stories;

In keeping His commandments; to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind.

I AM A LIFE, THAT WAS CHANGED By Lori A Alicea

I once read:

Never underestimate the valuable and
Important difference you make in every life you touch.
For the impact you make today
Has a powerful rippling effect on every tomorrow.
Anonymous

This rippling effect of one man’s life would touch me down stream years after he and his wife jumped head first into those deep waters on search and rescue missions for those marriages drowning in the rip currents of their choices.

A Godly couple living the example

“‘till death do we part”.

Two ordinary people who taught on marriages every Sunday afternoon for decades; who spent the remainder of the week throwing out life preservers and life-lines for those willing and not willing to grab hold for another chance to live.

The cries of those hurting kept these two up at night searching the desperate waters for marriages about to be lost at sea; with some marriages ditching the radar altogether of being found.

Such was the man in this marriage.

A man who wanted to charter his own boat, navigate life his own way, regardless of the distress flares and signals from his drowning wife.

JOE AND DIANE Wedding Picture

But an ordinary man with an extraordinary call for marriages kept throwing out life-lines for this husband to stop swimming against the current of God and jump into His boat of surrender and freedom.

Life-line after life-line the search and rescue continues, never losing sight of this couple at sea.

When one day a worn out man takes hold of the one unwilling to give up the rescue.

A surrendered heart and a marriage restored.

Joe and Diane 1

His legacy continues.

Never underestimate the valuable and
Important difference you make in every life you touch.
For the impact you make today
Has a powerful rippling effect on every tomorrow.
Anonymous

Yes, never underestimate the difference you make in the lives of those you touch.

Two ordinary people intersecting the path of two others needing life preservers, now jump head first into those deep waters on search and rescue missions of their own, for those needing resuscitation of a new beginning.

This impact of one man’s life now touches me down stream years later through my future brother ‘n law with an introduction to his brother, who later became my husband.

One man’s life changed my heartache and single life of raising two young children without a male influence into joy forever.

THANK YOU
By Ray Boltz

…….
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave.

Surrendering and saying “yes” to God changes everything.

The love between my brother ‘n law and wife re-ignited the flames of their heart which could only be attributed to the Author of Love Himself.

Their passion for one another is evident in his wife’s smile and smiles of their grandchildren.

Their commitment
‘till death do they part
Is celebrated on their 40th wedding anniversary renewal, a day almost lost at sea had it not been for a search and rescue mission of two called by God to marriages.

My husband and I for years sent an anniversary card to our brother and wife who kept in covenant to their wedding vows, because we wouldn’t be celebrating anniversaries of our own had they not grabbed hold of that life preserver.

Remembering that love is patient, kind, not envious or boastful or proud, never dishonoring, not self-seeking or easily angered, keeping no record of wrongs, rejoicing in truth, protecting, trusting, hoping and persevering.

Holding on to the life preserver of love which never fails.

A love my husband and I shared with others at our 25th Wedding Anniversary celebration, all because two people decided to stay married, who officiated our renewal, whose rippling effect on our lives is now splashing down stream to our legacy.

I am a life, that’s been changed,

My brother ‘n law Joe has affected many other lives as well; I would greatly underestimate the impact that flowed down stream from his life.

A devoted marine and love for his country, Joe honors the veterans who sacrificed everything to serve.

Joe alongside his daughter serves during the holidays, preparing a banquet before our soldiers, our country’s finest.

Joe ministers in the trenches of the hurting, the forgotten, the addicted; a band of brothers leaving no man behind.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Joe is a dreamer; a diligent servant and provider for his family.

JOE MILITARY Truck

Joe’s love for laughter and heart for God ministers in huge waves to his family.

More than anything else, Joe’s ability to connect with children is his biggest splash.

A marine to the core, Joe passes on his military passion to rise up in young soldiers a heart for Christ.

Joe is our Toys ‘R Us kid at Christmas.

Well, maybe not.

S

Joe’s house has been a house of hospitality, a hospital for hurting these past twenty seven years, open for anyone who knocks or needs a soft pillow to lie on.

JOE MILITARY Home

Joe who is no stranger to the mission field,
Recently graduating from a program in missions, believing one day to hand out life preservers on the other side of the world again.

Joe’s life has been poured out on many with others still waiting their turn down stream.

Sadly for us, a celebration and graduation of a different kind has taken place for our dear Joe as he stands before the sea of lives he’s touched, those waiting for him as he enters the gates of heaven.

Flags fly at half-mast in the hearts who loved him dearly.
JOE MILITARY Flag half mastA country says good-by to one of its finest soldiers; a void visibly seen.

JOE MILITARY flag empty chair

A choir of angels sing as our brother takes his first steps on those golden streets of heaven.

THANK YOU
By Ray Boltz

….
As Jesus took your hand
As you stood before the Lord
He said, my child look around you
For great is your reward.

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave.
…..

Bishop used to remind us that good seeds sown in death always produce an abundance of fruit.

JOE MILITARY Fruit of your life

A basket overflows at harvest because Joe lived to give his life away.

Just days ago our Joe walked thru the front door of heaven when we earnestly prayed for this door to open.

JOE MILITARY Home

But God had a different plan.

Our hearts grieve yet rejoice as Joe has already seen Jesus.

This family couldn’t be any happier.
We stand and salute a soldier for his life well lived.

Welcome Home Papa Joe.

JOE MILITARY Welcome Home Sign

Welcome Home.

JOE MILITARY Welcome Home

THE RACE MUST CONTINUE!  By Lori A Alicea

My brother has loved the races all his life; in particular,
The Indianapolis 500.

Maybe the raceway takes him back
To the driveway playing with Matchbox cars as a young boy.

Maybe my brother never outgrew the need for speed.

Maybe the thrill for fast and furious was in his blood.

Maybe he kept those engines running in his model car collection.

Maybe the Indianapolis 500 replays those old 8 millimeter movies of Dad taking his son to the Indy Time Trials, and then sharing race day together come Memorial Weekend.

The Indy Time Trials was an annual getaway for dad and my brother.

Mother would always send a cooler full of food, making sure a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken accompanied the trip.

Packed air mattresses were a mystery since dad drove a Volkswagen Beetle, but they were packed nevertheless.

We five sisters never felt slighted when dad left us behind for a man’s weekend with our brother. Maybe all it took was dad loading up the station wagon one Saturday night with us young girls carrying packed lunch boxes to the noisy drag strip to scar us for the races.

But the Indianapolis 500 was always their day, and we celebrated that memory for them.

Even after the passage of time when dad and my brother watched the race from the comfort of their own state and La-Z-Boy, the telephone kept their annual getaway alive for 500 miles each Memorial Day, until dad passed away a few years ago, and my brother, a few days ago, as a kiss from God, on race day.

mark connie at indy 500

This past Memorial Day, the crowds were on their feet cheering in a deafening decibel as the checkered flag is waved with great enthusiasm as my brother crosses his own finish line with this announcement blaring in the stands,

I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7 NIV19CAA216-6F52-4490-99DB-185DA7EA55D9

Sporting a giant flowered wreath after the win and keeping with tradition a swallow of ice-cold milk, our brother holds the milk bottle to that great cloud of witnesses of his life in declaration,

THE RACE MUST CONTINUE!

My brother was never a quitter.

He fought with every lap around the racetrack.

He honored those fans that fought for him in prayer
During the most difficult race of his life in a personal text message to me,

It’s all because of the prayer warriors
I have like you.
So Christ-like.
I love you.
Mark Houle

My brother’s memory is now waving the flags to encourage us
As we continue our race.

The green flag is waved for the start or restart of our individual races.
Start your engines.”
Start your race with prayer.”

My brother was never shy about prayer.

Brother’s prayers were War and Peace in length which meant our holiday meal was blessed but also cold as ice when mother without question, called on him to pray over dinner.

While pregnant with my first child and attending a tent revival complete with straw beneath our feet in 1983. My brother led me to an old fashioned altar to pray over his sister before she journeyed this new race of motherhood, speaking the sweetest blessings over me and my unborn son.

Stay in your lane.”
Stay in prayer.”

As the yellow flag of caution and hazardous conditions
Will eventually be waved and find you leaving the race for a pit-stop.

Six years later after my brother’s tent revival prayers,

The yellow flag goes up as the engine of my heart overheats during a car failure of my life. In the pit-stop with no place to go and having never been on my own before, I remember lamenting with my brother among the pit crew asking if my small children and I could live with him in Texas.

After an inspection under the hood, my brother and pit crew sent me back into the race, knowing Jesus had taken the wheel long ago when I said “yes” to him as a teenager, who would never steer me into the wall as long as I continued to stay in the race, stay in my lane.

Regardless if our race has unnumbered miles ahead, my brother waves the white flag to remind every driver to brace the wheel as if your race’s final lap is before you, as no one knows when the angel of death will come.

Lord, teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 NIV

The reality of eternity weighed heavy on my brother for lost souls and his deep compassion for their eternal destination presented itself in a play at the church he attended,

Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames
By Reality Outreach Ministries.

In this play the ache of my brother’s heart cried out to those he desperately wanted to share heaven with.

Do you have a relationship with Jesus?”
Where will you spend eternity?”
The fiery flames of Hell are real!”
Is your name written in Book of Life?”
Being a good person won’t save you.”
Don’t worry about what your friends will say.”
You are only guaranteed this moment in front of you.”

Choose you this day whom you will serve…
Joshua 24:15 KJV

My brother finished his race.

My brother kept his faith.

Just a week ago my brother was waved the white flag signifying the final lap of his race.

But his life’s message lives on in our races when he,

Sported a giant flowered wreath after his win and kept with tradition a swallow of ice-cold milk, and held the milk bottle to that great cloud of witnesses of his life in declaration,

THE RACE MUST CONTINUE!
IMG_0411
Your memory will forever hang from the rear view mirror of my life
As I continue the race before me.

Your sister,
Lori A Alicea

LOVE FOR A LIFETIME  By Lori A Alicea

Consider it simply amazing.

Consider it an unearthed treasure.

Consider it a lighthouse to guide the generations beyond their life.

Consider it another Wonder of the World.

Consider love for a lifetime.

That’s what Bill and Gloria considered their first day of marriage throughout their sixty-six wonderful years together;

Love for a lifetime.

bill and gloria on valentines

To have and to hold,
From this day forward.
For better, for worse.
For richer, for poorer.
In sickness and in health.
To love and to cherish.
Till death us do part,

According to God’s holy matrimony,
In the presence of God we make this vow.

And that they did, for sixty-six years.

Never wavering their commitment when times were lean.
Never considering giving up in worse.
Holding tight to each other in sickness.

Bill and Gloria,
According to God’s holy matrimony,
Cherished one another before their children.
Cleaved to each other in the eyes of their grandchildren.
They preferred one another in the presence of God.

They embraced a love for a lifetime.

A legacy to leave;

Something God would have us all to consider.

Bill and Gloria

Gloria Ann left her Bill for heaven on November 30, 2015;
a sad day for us; a glorious day for Christ and Gloria.

The first time I ever saw them apart.

Even though a vacant seat remains at the breakfast table where Bill and Gloria once shared a few pieces of toast and coffee prepared by Bill each morning;

I never see one without the other,
As the love Bill still carries for Gloria illuminates his eyes.

bill and gloria by river

The love this couple shared together has been passed down four generations thus far; a love story to be told and recounted over and over during bedtime stories to the grandchildren present and beyond.

jill and kids

Gloria’s love spilled over as a teapot being poured into the cups of her daughter’s and granddaughter’s life.

bill and gloria's girls

bill and gloria tea setThere is always enough love and room at the table in Bill’s heart for his special girls also.

neese wedding

Bill and Gloria passed their legacy of love for a lifetime to their children, their grandchildren and those beyond their natural eyes to see.

Their love for a lifetime,
A love only known in Christ,
Stands as a lighthouse to guide through the darkest days,
The roughest and uncharted waters,
Reaching and safely continuing another day as man and wife.

bill and gloria family

Adopted into our hearts, Gloria held the honor of matriarch alongside the other pillars in our family. We only knew her as nanny, as love will do that.

bill and gloria mom bonnie

bill and gloria and david
Bill carries the torch of patriarch and is only known to us as papa; whose family added new branches to reach our family tree, by sharing themselves with those not sharing their DNA;

bill and brad

Being nanny and papa to so many not related by blood, but knitted together in true love.

bill and gloria picnic all our family

The sun is going down in papa’s eyes as his longing for that one he
Loved for a lifetime is winning.

Sitting side by side along the water’s edge will forever be “their place”.

The cool and calm of the river still ripples between two hearts, whose devotion to the other never parted them, even unto death.

bill and gloria by river

Bill and Gloria’s sixty-six years together is an unearthed treasure, a treasure map, an adventure to discover true love in your wedding vows.

Consider it simply amazing.

Consider sixty-six years together another Wonder of the World.

Consider love for a lifetime.

Bill and Gloria did.

A GRANDMA TOO IS BORN By Lori A Alicea

Every now and then I am taken aback with the surprise of the unexpected; especially if the unexpected are unearthed words I had forgotten I once wrote.

While I’m not one to fill up journals with my personal thoughts and prayers, I do dream through my words penned to paper on occasion.

This particular afternoon twelve years ago and prior to having grandchildren, I remember daydreaming about what it might mean to be grandmother.

That day I wondered if my heart was full of enough love to overflow into another generation, unaware then how many grandchildren would fill my lap.

I wanted to pass on memories of all kinds; holidays, special foods, traditions our grandchildren could remember their whole life, special time at their grandparent’s house and a legacy rich in Jesus.

Papa and I were overwhelmed at the thought of our children having children. We were nervous and excited all wrapped into one package of joy we hadn’t opened before.

How do you prepare to be a grandmother?

I imagined their faces taking our breath at first glance, catching us off guard with the miracle of life we held; faces already seen and watched by God as they grew in the secret place of their mother, already known to God before the beginning of time.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body, all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!

Psalm 139:15-17 NIV

One afternoon I imagined the wonders of being a grandmother.

My dreams were caught on paper, but mere words were beyond inadequate to what God was preparing in advance for this grandmother.

If I only knew then what I have experienced now.
Children are a gift from God, and it has been Christmas ever since that first little grandchild called me Gaga.

 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably
More than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us.
Ephesians 3:20 NIV

My heart before becoming a grandmother.

A GRANDMA TOO IS BORN
By Lori A Alicea

A baby comes into your life,
A family, mom and dad.
Their life gives birth to all their dreams,
For nine months, that they’ve had.

Kizzie Mae Pearl

Ten fingers, toes, they count them all,
Their hearts in two, are torn.
And yet, another miracle behold,
A grandma too is born.

Aubrey Ann

A woman who had raised her kids,
And thought her job was done.
Yet God had other plans for her,
Another race to run.

Rosalee Ann

An early morning feeding time,
Reserved for us to share.
The trips we take up to the stars,
While rocking in our chair.

Ayva Presley

The lullabies I’ll sing to you,
Lay kisses on your head.
You’ll snuggle back in peaceful rest,
My arms become your bed.

Hollis Blake C.

I think about you night and day,
Your life, my heart adorn.
How unprepared and overwhelmed,
When grandmas too are born.

Cova Grace Marie

The Friday nights we’ll spend with you,
When mom and dad go out.
Where rules stay in the diaper bag,
We’ll laugh, and scream no doubt.

Bristol Nicole

The play dates that we’ll get to take,
Can’t wait, a shear delight.
And stories that your gramps will tell,
He’ll rock you in the night.

Leon Ethan 

My prayers each day, the will of God,
His perfect plan for you.
Your steps already figured out,
His voice will speak to you.

Brodie Allen

But you must learn to listen close,
His Word will guide your way.
And grandmas here to share with you,
The things of God each day.

Brooklyn Nicole

Rich blessings for you little one,
My heart in two is torn.
It can’t contain the love I feel,
This grandma has been born.

Ethan candace pregnant with mom USE

LEGACY; It is for Them That I Write. By Lori A Alicea

The benevolent man leaves an inheritance
That endures to his children’s children…
Proverbs 13:22 TPT

What parent doesn’t want to leave an inheritance to his children and children’s children?

I imagine most do.

My husband and I have considered for years the inheritance of our heirs.

At the end of life this side of heaven, two hearts long to bless their family with monetary gifts.

But money pales in significance to the true inheritance of legacy David and I endeavor to leave behind in generous portions for our children and children’s children.

Unless money is sowed into fields of eternal value, once it’s spent, it’s gone.

But a legacy rich and full of Godly principles can remain alive for future generations.

Regarding legacy,

David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby wrote in his book
A Generous Life
10 Steps to Living a Life Money Can’t Buy:

A legacy of true value is a legacy made of more than money.
….
To invest in eternal things is the most important thing we can do with our lives, our energies, and our resources.

 Becoming a grandparent changed everything for us.

When our second generation came forth, we took notice the hour glass and its sands of seconds gathering into the mounds of hours, months and years more quickly than before in our youth.

Time revealed its true identity as mere moments of breaths.

The weight of passing on to our grandchildren a lasting heritage weighed heavy on our heart.

We risked the next generation growing up without God if our lives didn’t reflect His image; if we failed to tell the generation in front of us the marvelous works and heavenly truths about their Creator.

 One generation commends your works to another, they tell of your mighty acts.. Psalm 145:4 NIV

 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done….Judges 2:10 NIV

Ten beautiful children created in the image of God.
USE BABY ENGLAND 3Those kissed and smothered with love inside the womb and out.

Hands already gifted.
Feet with steps already ordained.
Their life already planned and prepared to serve Him.

To know the way they must be shown the way, but who will tell them?
Along with their parents, we grandparents want to do our part in living and leaving a life of legacy before them.

Their legacy began when we were once children ourselves.

As a child with five other siblings, our mother introduced us to Jesus; she faithfully took us to church. Her prayers to keep Jesus alive at home found six children growing up to serve Him the same.
use Church directory pictureMy husband and four other brothers are also God fearing men because of a praying mother.

Parents recognize that children, the “fruit of their womb”, are a gift from God.

Children that are dedicated back to Him, to be raised, loved, nurtured in the way that they should go.

“I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for.
And now I have dedicated him to God.
He’s dedicated to God for life.”
1 Samuel 1:26        

BABY DEDICATIONS OF OUR CHILDREN – GENERATION ONE

BABY DEDICATIONS OF OUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN – GENERATION TWO

Children and grandchildren are our arrows; arrows that leave the bow of a praying parent and launched for a Kingdom pursuit that they might pierce the hearts of others for Jesus.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Psalm 127:3-5 NIV

Hence, we grandparents are intent to do our part in living and leaving a life of legacy before them.

It is for inheritance;
It is for legacy.
It is for them that I write.

Part of their legacy are stories, their stories, memorializing the past; their history of a faithful God. That they not forget and lean on these truths when facing familiar mountains of hard times again.

It is for them that I write.

The other day I had a long distance Face-time conversation with my six year old grandson who asks about my blogs most times when we talk; blessing this grandmother with his inquiries. Such big questions for a little boy who has no idea he is mining his own inheritance, his legacy.

It is for him that I write.
USE screen hollis
On October of 2019, David and I invited our ten grandchildren to be our witnesses at our 25th Wedding Anniversary.  Their young minds thought we were getting married, which delighted us both.

Written as a true love story that it was, I documented the faithfulness and goodness of God in our twenty-five years together, words shouted and celebrated from every detail of our special day.

So that in years and decades to come, our children’s children will be reminded of God’s reflection of marriage as an encouragement for their own.

Yes, David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, you said it perfectly regarding legacy:

A legacy of true value is a legacy made of more than money.
….
To invest in eternal things is the most important thing we can do with our lives, our energies, and our resources.

It is because of an overflowing love for our ten beautiful grandchildren:
Brooke, Brodie, Ethan, Bristol, Cova, Hollis, Ayva, Rosalee, Aubrey and Kizzy Mae
USEWe leave you a legacy, rich and full of Godly principles, that you might know and experience for yourself the marvelous works and heavenly truths of your Creator; that as arrows, you desire to be launched for a Kingdom pursuit, to pierce the hearts of others for Jesus.

All because of Inheritance;
All because of LEGACY;
All because of you I write.

LET IT BE SAID OF ME By Lori A Alicea

In just two short years there will be sixty candles decorating my birthday cake. Sixty lit candles, an assortment of blue, pink, yellow, green and white ones dug deep beneath the frosting, each representing a year of my life.  Sixty years of candles burning and flickering its flame waiting for me to make a wish.  Sixty lit candles whose wax slowly drips down its sides as the birthday song is sung in family unison before all sixty candles are blown out.  Sixty candles for sixty years, celebrated with cake, ice cream, gifts and coffee.

Sixty candles reflecting sixty 365-calendar days of opportunity to touch lives, give love, receive love, notice someone, matter to someone, make a difference, through God be the difference, make the day count, show up when you’re counted on, a birthday wish this sixty “365-calendar days” reads like an adventure novel.

Let it be said of me one day when there are no more lit candles to blow out on my birthday cake I at least attempted a fraction of this kind of life.
Lori little Birthday cakeEven though I’m still believing for decades to hug and embarrass my children, holding on for years of sweet good-morning kisses with my husband, and anticipating a lifetime of love to give to my grandchildren, sometimes we need to take a serious pause and ask God if our lives embody the dreams and plans he set aside specifically for us.

With jam packed calendars that have no lane to slow down in. When ignoring the clock rarely enjoying the 24 hours we’ve been blessed with because frankly, our lives are over booked.  Sometimes we need to fasten our seatbelts and slam on the brakes of our busyness because we need to have a conversation with God and ask him, “Are we measuring up to that “good and faithful servant?”

God reminds us to number our days.
God holds out that yardstick of our life to remind us it measures a mere breath.
We are a mist, we are a vapor.

The calendar years pass by so quickly.

Let it be said of me I numbered my days.
Let it be said of me I measured my time here on earth.
Let it be said of me I recognized that tomorrow wasn’t guaranteed but treasured the moments I could hold onto in the now.
Let it be said of me at least most of the time, I didn’t waste the seconds, minutes and hours God had given me.

Looking back over my sixty years, I wish there was a “do over” card I could throw down on the hands I played unwisely in the past. I wish life allowed me to “white out” those mistakes and rewrite the pages of that legacy I will one day leave as an inheritance.

I wish I could go back in time and have a few conversations with my younger self. I’d love to share with her the discoveries of my heart, those realizations I’ve found to be true.  I wish I could leave for her “crumbs in the forest” so she wouldn’t lose her way in the midst when life flips upside down.   Even though I can’t turn back the clock for that little girl of my younger self, I can drop for my children and grandchildren my “crumbs in the forest” that one day it would be said of me my life mattered at least for them.
Lori little 1I’d tell my younger self that your walk with God will be worth it. That while the road shared with Him will take you down hidden paths of despair and doubt all for His glory for which you can trust Him, the hops and skips through the wild flower fields of bliss and happiness will be many, and God will hold tight to your hand through them all.

Yes younger self, your walk with God will be worth it.
Church directory picture(Church directory with the family)

 I’d tell my younger self that God fashioned you beautifully and the mirror doesn’t lie as you were designed in the image of the Creator.  Down the road during  those heart-wrenching seasons of abandonment when you want to believe something must be terribly wrong with the mirror you sadly look into, God will turn all this for His good.  Hold tight your reflection into the mirror of God, as He will use those emotions of “shattered glass” to help other girls and women value their worth during a time of brokenness.
Lori little 3I’d tell my younger self there’s always a reason to smile, even when you hate that patriotic dress your grandmother gave you to wear or when you’ve lost so many of your baby teeth at the same time. Smiling doesn’t mean your life is perfect, without worry or free from pain.  But smiling displays a strong confidence that your God’s got “this”, whatever “this is”, a deep belief you’re God’s got you.  Don’t ever lose your confidence when your report card has a few A- and not straight A+.  We all have room to improve.  Keep smiling when you’ve lost your confidence to try out for cheerleading.  Keep smiling when your best friend (and only friend) is your sister who lets you pal around at school.  Keep smiling when lunch time in the library gets lonely.  Keep smiling because throughout life you’ll never be alone with God clinging to your side.
Lori little 2I’d tell my younger self to keep from comparing yourself to others, especially to your four other sisters. So you’re the middle girl and feel like an imaginary child.  So your baby sister gets all the attention as well as the oldest.  God will always see you and pick you out in the crowd.  He will notice you and smile with every look of your face.  Don’t compare, but celebrate the individual you.
Lori little 4Lastly younger self, I’d tell you that God has great need of thee. God has wonderful gifts he wants to use through you for reasons beyond your imagination.  Don’t begrudge or belittle your gifts.  Take hold your gifts.  Hone your gifts.  Be generous with these gifts God wants to use to touch the lonely, the broken, the lost and the weary.  Your life will matter to more than you know.  Your influence will reach generations beyond your life.  Live today with passion, with purity, with purpose.  Live like you matter because you matter to God, you matter to others, you matter to the life you have been given.
Lori little 5Because sixty years and beyond will pass you by faster than the time it takes to blink your eyes.

When my days here on earth are done, may it have been counted for my family, counted for others, counted for Christ.  When heaven welcomes me at the gate,

Let all this be said of me.

LEAVING A LEGACY By Lori A Alicea

Legacy is never understood until a true legacy has lived before you and passes on their godly heritage for the generations that continue.

True legacy is what lives on beyond your life.
Legacy is those seeds you’ve sown into others that reproduce a harvest of life.

Legacy is your life’s open book that:

We will not hide from our descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
Psalm 78:4 NIV

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…..
Proverbs 13:22 NKJV

Our family received a great inheritance like none other, bequeathed from the legacy of our matriarch, our beloved mother, our grandmother, great grandmother, wife, aunt, sister, friend and child of God.

It was this woman who bestowed to a generation of heirs a rich treasure from her life’s
Will and Testament:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

 HER LEGACY
As seen through the eyes of her family.

Barbara’s legacy story began long before she left us on May 16, 2012.  Our mother lived a simple life with her husband Flor and five handsome sons.  Barbara loved God more than life itself and His reflection mirrored in her humming, music and “toil on her knees in prayer” that her sons grew up to serve Jesus.

Barbara’s mission field was her humble home and kitchen.  Her tireless message of service was preached from the pulpit of her stove.  Barbara’s affection for God and family was baked in the walls of every room she called home.  You never left empty handed after a meal at Barbara’s table, as every guest went home carrying a take-out container full of peace, love and joy.

Barbara always shined a bright light on the faithfulness of God in His pursuit of those five boys that called her mom.  Barbara introduced five boys to a loving God, but five boys had to make their own decision to serve Him individually with a surrendered heart.

Attributed most to Barbara’s legacy were her calloused knees caused from those long suffering hours spent in fervent prayer for her sons.

Today, Barbara’s five sons faithfully serve Jesus and are now married to wives with the same passion for God.

TODAY

Her children rise up and call her blessed…Proverbs 31:28

While every mother smiles at the mere mention of her children’s name, nothing brings out the delight of a woman than being in the presence of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Barbara broke every rule when it came to those little feet running around her house, and she loved it.

She brought out her hidden cookies when parents weren’t looking.
She kept a bottle handy just in case your toddler still wanted to be a baby.
Overfeeding began at your child’s birth.
A mystery Kool-Aid concoction was a favorite among the grandchildren.  A red ring around their mouths was evidence that grandma brought out her sugary drink again.

Going to grandma Barbara’s meant going home with a tummy ache, but every Sunday after church the families were back for more.

Barbara’s Grandchildren and their families

Barbara’s Great-Grandchildren

Though not catching us off guard due to our mother’s illness, May 16, 2012 buckled a family to their knees in heartache when Jesus called his daughter home to Himself.

While rejoicing as our mother takes residence in her new heavenly home, we grieve that the door of our mother’s earthly casa goes unanswered when we knock on Sunday afternoons for lunch.

funeral service barbara bulletin

Love from many who called her mom like Aaron Washington, “God’s grace be with our family at this trying hour…we will miss our beloved ….and we look to the Lord and his ever abiding presence to comfort our hearts as we celebrate your home going.”  I will always love you…”mom”.

graveside aaron

Barbara’s Home Going Celebration was attended by Pastor’s from multitudes of neighboring churches and the pews for the service were occupied to full capacity.  Barbara’s life impacted a community beyond her knowledge or understanding.

gavin christian jeweliz steven

Barbara’s legacy continues from those that she touched in her simple service to God.

Barbara would have been thrilled and in charge of the kitchen to cook her own celebration dinner.

Being a woman whose “fountain of worship” quenched those parched and thirsty for Jesus, Barbara would have loved to assume her seat at the drums during the music service of her celebration.

funeral service musicians

In Barbara’s honor, a drum roll played to commemorate the life that simply loved Jesus, whose love for a Savior spilled onto the laps of so many seated at her kitchen table.

cousins drummer

Nothing stirred the hearts of those in celebration attendance than during the song your son and granddaughter sang imagining your intimate time postured before Jesus, laying your crown at his lovely feet as written about:

….They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things…..”
Revelation 4:10-11 NIV

 

 Video Courtesy of Brad Ebert
Song:  The King of Who I Am by Lulu Roman and Russ Taff

Taking a silent seat in the service and listening to her children and grandchildren speak, Barbara would have been so proud.

Her son Michael preached about his mother’s trust in Jesus, as she always thanked Him for the mountains and the valleys, for the problems only God could solve as revealed in her favorite song:

Through it All
Sang by Andrae Crouch

I thank God for the mountains,
And I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms
He brought me through;
For if I’d never had a problem
I wouldn’t know that He could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do.

Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God;
Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

funeral service michael speaking

 Granddaughter Angie celebrated the last conversation Barbara ever shared on this earth, putting her grandmother’s legacy on display through her last moments this side of heaven.

As I stand here before you, grandpa, sons, daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and friends.  All I see is the legacy and inheritance my grandmother left behind.  For without her obedience to serve the Lord, none of us would be here today.  Look to your right.  Look to your left.  Know that right now, there is a glimpse of grandma in each one of us.

In your sadness, we are truly blessed.  For God blessed us with a “woman of God” that knew how to be a servant.  Don’t get me wrong, grandma was from Brooklyn, NY, so if she really wanted to, she could take you out!!  But thank God he gave her wisdom in knowing how to keep the servant’s heart front and center.

“Grandma, are you thirsty?  Can I get you a drink of water?”  She replied, “Yes”, as she nodded her head.  As she began to drink, something began to take place in her spirit that brought her a breath and a sigh of peace.

That night, I went to the Word of God for comfort and found, Revelation 21:6-7 AMP..And He [further] said to me, “It is finished!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To the thirsty, I [Myself] will give water without price from the fountain (springs) of the Water of Life.  He who is victorious, shall inherit all of these things, and I will be God to her and she shall be My daughter.”

 My heart was so grieved when I came to realize this was my last conversation with my grandma.

funeral service angie speaking

 Barbara’s earthly body was honored with reverence and carried to her final resting place by sons and grandsons that were once carried by her.

Saying one final good-by until we all meet again in the presence of Jesus, hearts still gush from the overflow of loss from such a beautiful woman we all knew as mother in our own way.

Many tributes were left on Facebook to re-tell the life of one who left this life for one better in heaven.  These are just a few:

…My 4 year old Christian saw me and said, “Mommy why are you so sad? (with a concern look in his eyes)”  I replied, ” I miss my grandma.”   He shook his head, “Yes” and said, “But we will see her again.”  Smiled, gave me a kiss and said, “You’re the best mommy in the world!” Thank you Jesus for comforting me through this time even through my little boy.  Raquel Alicea

 Truly she left a legacy in her walk with God. She truly mirrored what it means to look like a Child of God. A true servant’s heart, wonderful mother, grandmother, and friend. We lost someone great today but Heaven gained a wonderful person today. How do we honor her?  We honor her by knowing that this will not be the last time that we see her and if we do not have a relationship with God and don’t walk in that assurance of having God as our personal Lord and Savior then Family, Friends, WAKE UP make that choice to follow in her footsteps and carry on her legacy and know that you will see her one day in Heaven. Buela thank you for adopting me into your family and looking past all of my mistakes and showing me unconditional love.  Raquel Alicea

The legacy that you have left behind was AMAZING. Now it is our job to keep that continuing. We are at peace because we know you are in a much better place but most importantly you’re with our Father – The Lord. I hope that you are proud of us as you look down. We have some big shoes to fill. The drum-line will continue in your Honor. We love you so much! Until we meet again….Nathan/Kristie Alicea

ALICEA CELEBRATION…Nothing brings God more delight than receiving His Honor thru the honor of those that call Him Lord.  Mother n Law, we honor you today for the being that WITNESS of Christ in our family. Your knees were hardened for the hours you spent prostrate before God, lifting your praise and needs of your children before Him…We honor you this day and consider it great pain to say good-by, yet pure joy knowing you have already seen Jesus.  Lori A. Alicea

The Mother’s Rose
By Lori A. Alicea

When God created all the earth,
And all the flowers he chose.
I wonder if a mother’s love,
Inspired a perfect rose.

The beauty of its royal red,
It’s color, meaning love.
The thought expressing God’s intent,
What mother’s are made of.

The friendship of the yellow rose,
When shared between just two.
The bond created when her love,
Is recognized by you.

Though beauty comes with thistle thorns,
A price of mother’s call.
The times that hurt a mother’s heart,
She says it’s worth it all.

When crushed a rose it will not die,
Forget what eyes might see.
A mother’s fragrance still remains,
A rose of potpourri.

But sad the day when mother leaves,
Without, your garden grows.
Yet God delights to welcome in,
His newest, sweetest rose.

A message Barbara preached with her life:

funeral service live happily ever after sign

Barbara, if you could see us now.

Life goes on, and we think of you daily.
We rejoice where you are, but just in case you were wondering about us:

Hold onto your halo mom.  Your Cubbies finally won the World Series.
We all cheered in the stands to honor your lifetime commitment and belief in your favorite baseball team the Cubs.

world series pennant cropped

There have been two weddings since May 16, 2012, one being your beloved son who waited a lifetime for his beautiful bride.

And just look at all your new heirs, your great-grandchildren that have been born and share in your legacy.

Wishing even more,
IF WE COULD SEE YOU NOW

WALKING THE STREETS OF GOLD WITH JESUS!

SEE ME KNOW feet gold glitter

Barbara, your legacy lives on in your family.

You left your hand-print behind,
And we sense your impact in the lives who
CALL YOU MOM

In whatever manner that is.
We love and miss you dearly.

WORD HANDPRINT THAT YOU LEAVE PICTURE

THE HAND-PRINT THAT YOU LEAVE
by Lori A. Alicea

We live our lives from year to year,
The moments that we share.
Yet give no thought to what we leave,
We most, are unaware.

We touch each other with our love,
And time, though can’t conceive.
There is a lasting memory,
That hand-print that you leave.

A RACE FOR THE GENERATIONS By Lori A Alicea

We all have a race to run.  A race to answer the high calling placed on our life.  A race to fulfill the great purpose we were born with.  A race we must run with endurance to receive the prize.  A race we must finish with future generations in mind.

As a middle aged couple with ten grandchildren to brag about, my husband and I are more aware than ever the race we run before them.  The stats and results of our race will be studied and talked about for generations to come; albeit a win or great defeat.  Knowing this, we run to finish strong our “leg” of this relay event, handing off to the next generation that baton of great inheritance.

As in life, as in a 4 x 400 meter relay, you only get one lap around the track.  That’s 400 meters, a mere sprint to complete the mission you were assigned.  A mission mandating you to stay in your lane and not detour; focus forward and not look back, lest you trip.  This is a relay where success or disqualification occurs in the baton exchange zone to the next “leg” waiting their turn to begin running;
a race for the generations.

As our Children’s children are a crown to the aged… Proverbs 17:6 (NIV), our reward as “silver hairs” nearing that exchange zone of the baton, it is our great desire that an inheritance, a treasure chest of our love, memories and wisdom for a Godly pursuit be passed into the hands of our second, third and generations to come.  We want to leave a legacy written in the blank pages of our family Bible that cheer them on from the stands of their race:

…. RUN and not grow weary…Isaiah 40:31

 …RUN with perseverance the race marked for you,
fixing your eyes on Jesus…
Hebrews 12:1-2

A Race for the Generations Portrait of Legacy picture

OUR GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES
By Lori A Alicea

May all the words you hear us speak,
May what your eyes can see.
The love we give remind you of,
No other one but Thee.

  Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith….
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)