LOOKING BACK  By Lori A Alicea

There’s a new season upon us; can you see it?

The announcement is heard without a single word ever spoken as the leaves have changed into their fall clothes.USE fall leaves

Mums are in full bloom, radiating a bouquet of every color.

Little kids and big kids honoring their inner child are picking out those pumpkins to decorate.

Or being tempted by the warm smell of cloves and cinnamon escaping the pumpkin pie from where it bakes in the kitchen oven.

Chilly mornings beg a knitted sweater and the air is as crisp as the apples waiting their turn to be picked.USE apple ayva (2)

Yes, the fall season has welcomed itself into the neighborhood, with summer waving good-by from the rear view mirror.

As I flip to the October calendar for the 61st time, I’m consistently reminded of the beauty of change God created the seasons of life to be, when He left behind this wisdom thru the effervescent splashes of fall.USE fall leaves

Author John Maxwell reminds us…

Change is inevitable.
Growth is optional.

How do we handle change?

Are we growing in fall beauty with change?

Every day is a continual going forward…USE train all looking forward

While the eyes of our heart tempt a look back every so often, longing for the days of old.

Looking back you notice your age through the ever changing faces of children who call you mom, and grandchildren pulling my heartstrings with Gaga.

Looking back, you hold on tight to the scrapbooks of those traditions your adult children have invited you to share with your grandchildren.

You keep telling yourself the first day of school will get easier next year, but the yellow bus where those sparkling eyes and smiles peer at you from the window keeps taking them further from home in their growing up.

Looking back you’re thankful for the overflowing bushel of fruitfulness and faithfulness of God, evident in another generation of your legacy.

Looking back you celebrate the mother – daughter relationship and reflections of the other mirrored in her daily life…

Passing on down the nurturing ways of a mother to her daughter; from generation to generation.

Yes, life is a continual going forward…

With no going back however many times the beating heart longs for yesterday.

Though wanted back are those years of babies and toddlers you rocked in the night and snuggled on your lap during the day; grandchildren who have grown at such a pace I can barely keep up with them.

Looking back you’re thankful for love which radiates from your children’s eyes; an evening sunset glaring through the windows of their soul.

Because the generation before them and after is filling up a family library of stories the legacy beyond them will read.

Looking back will always cause you to remember then and now …

God was the same yesterday, today and forever.

So we can trust Him with our today’s and tomorrows yet to come.

We can’t forget and must tell our children and grandchildren the wonderful deeds He has done.

God is our faithful companion for the journey.

He knows the way and leads the way for us to follow.

Yes, we can look back from the rear view mirror of our life but for a moment…

We can remember the days of yesterday and hold them close in our hand for a moment, but loosely…

As the train is always moving forward, bringing us new joys to capture if we’re faced in the right direction of life to see them.

USE train allNever forgetting…
Yesterday’s currency of our life has already been spent.
Tomorrows resources have yet to be placed into our account.

But today’s bank account of living is ready for memories.

No turning back.

USE looking back train ethan

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.