A YEAR FOR NEW BEGINNINGS  By Lori A Alicea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lord, it’s never been about me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMEDY TO THE CAR LINE  By Lori A Alicea

We’ve all been there.

Overworked.
Overly exhausted.
Sleep walking thru life.

With looming questions amid the days fog,
How did I get home today?”
Did I feed my kids?”

But after a day’s rest and sanity returns,
You pull up a chair and laugh at the comedy act
Your life has been the previous shift.

Thirty-six years ago as a shift-working mother of two small children, I’d love to re-play the comedy series of getting to work before midnight in the blistering snow storms of winter, with wind gusts at my face and hair blowing in all directions, barely holding on to a crying baby wrapped in swaddling clothes (maybe a snowsuit) and a five year old up the two acre driveway in knee deep drifts to the car.ALICEA David Lori

Half asleep, I’ve signed my share of permission slips in crayon.

No doubt I’ve been reported to the Department of Transportation many December mornings back then after a midnight shift. For them to be on the lookout for a crazy woman with the window down, driving and smashing her face with handfuls of snow; when in reality, waking up a mother’s tired eyes both fast asleep.

Yes, life can be a comedy act and it does a body good to laugh.

I’m a grandmother now, reliving a once young life and humor through her adult daughter and family with small children in what could be promoted as a hilarious series, “Comedy to the Car Line.”

It’s true, I am the most unlikely critic for humor after being told over the years my “funny bone” was left behind as a child in a lost and found box, yet I still find this seriously funny.

While names and images have been changed to protect these parents both sleep deprived and frazzled, I introduce to you the cast; a mom and dad of Big Sis, Lil’ Sis, and older brother Buddy.

What started out as an early morning pick up of Lil’ Sis before her two other siblings left for school, turned into a forty-five minute comedy act of laughter I kept to myself, as sleep-walking parents don’t find much funny when their pillows and covers cry out for them.CUMBEE Aubrey

Returning home from a stretch of twelve hour evenings still wearing his work clothes and coat, half-awake at the kitchen counter, dad packs lunch boxes and book bags for three young children, while mounds of unfolded laundry stare back.CUMBEE Kyle

In constant motion, I keep my eye on mom who wears the carpet thin from the miles she puts in from the living room to the bedrooms located in the back, exhausted from the weeks of packing their home for the upcoming move.

Big Sis is performing a circus of continuous cartwheels next to Lil’ Sis, who watches Monsters Inc. for the umpteenth time while eating her breakfast of cinnamon rolls.

As Buddy body slams the bedroom door while dunking basket after basket, Lil’ Sis’ with her scarry school in session insists on sharing her mother’s delicious homemade recipe of cinnamon rolls with me…first you pop it out of the can…

Big Sis lands a final cartwheel into her signature splits, arms up, eyes facing judge grandmother who watches, “Your turn Gaga”, Big Sis commands, “for the splits.”

This young girl who once did flips, back-walkovers, back handsprings and everything else gymnastics in school, dared to demonstrate to Big Sis the splits as a grandmother a year ago, still able to walk to the car after my performance; a feat Big Sis and big brother Buddy beg me to repeat against my insisted “no.”

Mom, whose messy hair half-secured in a barrette with hands gesturing dad’s slow pace of making lunches, passes the kitchen to the give Lil’ Sis a wardrobe change from her breakfast spills in the bedroom.

Body slamming the bedroom door continues as Big Sis reminds her sandwich making dad she has gym today; yet Buddy dunks another basket and corrects Big Sis simultaneously that she has library, while echoed from the back of the house mom reminds dad it’s his turn in the car line, for which he counters back with the roll of his eyes.

Forty-five minutes of constant motion, a hurried morning of sleep walking parents in desperate straits for the school bell to ring, so they can refuel under the covers of sweet dreams.

Remembering my days as an exhausted parent, I offered to drive to the car line, for which mom and dad both blurted out the hallelujah chorus, sending their kids to the van thirty minutes early.

Arriving to the elementary school for the first time, I questioned Big Buddy if I park behind the van in front of me, for which he retorted, “You mean the Cadillac?” “Well”, I huffed in silence, “the emblem says it’s an Escalade.” “Gaga!”, I hear from the backseat of my car. “No wonder Papa says he’ll never use you as a game show phone-a-friend.”

School is in session and now it’s just Gaga and Lil’ Sis for a quiet ride home for a few hours together before I drop her off at preschool.

I spent the day laughing over and over, re-telling the hilarious story to my husband, replaying the Comedy to the Car Line series to my well-rested daughter a few days later.

Yes, life is brief; it’s a vapor the Bible reminds.

The years of raising young children pass by as a fast moving train; the tracks of your heart left barely traveled in the midst of a blink of an eye.

Yes, life can be a comedy act and it does a body good to laugh.

So…

Always find a reason to laugh.
It may not add years to your life.
But will surely add life to your years.
Author Anonymous

LIFE IS SWEET; LIFE IS SHORT By Lori A Alicea

This past Valentine’s Day my adoring husband surprised me with a dozen roses and a heartbox of chocolates. While most Valentines come bearing an arm full of flowers for their special someone, my husband’s gesture surprised and caught me unaware as I don’t require gifts to feel loved with my love language being quality time.

Nevertheless, roses and chocolates from a man who wanted to say “I love you” in this thoughtful way put an unexpected smile on his wife’s face.

I sure do love the smell of roses.

Bending over a bouquet of flowers like my sweet granddaughter who also enjoys the simple pleasure of drinking in its fragrance too beautiful for words, I’m convinced roses came to us as heaven’s perfume.

 

Placed in a vase of water with a small kiss from the afternoon sun,
Roses wake in a gentle yawn and slowly stretch as a newborn baby,
revealing its hidden loveliness for our eyes to see.
like this one 2As beautiful as a bouquet of roses are,
The lifespan of cut flowers taken from the vine is measured in breaths.

To frame and capture a vase of loveliness where every bloom retains its perfect softness, vibrant color and perfumed fragrance as a lifetime keepsake is a wonderful sentiment, but the passing of a few sunrises will reveal a roses destiny.

As beautiful as these roses were when they left their garden home,
A few days away from the vine that sustained its life, finds these blooms weeping slightly over, letting go and saying that first good-by to leaves that once provided it shade.
second day

Such is the life we live.

Born into a mother’s arms perfect in every way, soft whose petals of life haven’t opened yet, until morning after morning a mother’s kiss stirs a yawn and a child’s stretch, opening and revealing a hidden destiny before our eyes.

Just as the lifespan of cut flowers taken from the vine is measured in breaths,
So are the days accounted to us; a mere breath.

Life is short.

14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
James 4:14 (NIV)

Life is sweet.

In life we’re given a “heartbox of chocolates” filled with family to enjoy.
candle heart this oneGod our Valentine says “I love you” with those special someone’s given as our Valentine gift, a present of our favorites to satisfy the longings of our heart.

Life is sweet, but the thought remains that life is short,

Both measured in breaths.

May everyday find us bending over a garden like that small child captured by the lure of a flower’s smell; drinking in the moment of every moment she’s blessed with.
ayva smelling flowersBecause
Life is too sweet not to smell the roses.
Life is too short to be taking anything for granted.

Remembering the lifespan of cut flowers taken from the vine is measured in mere breaths.
the end