HER CROWN OF SPLENDOR By Lori A Alicea

“Grandma! You dyed your hair!”

Words I had the audacity to say to my grandmother while pointing a ten year old’s finger at her in disbelief.

Correcting a lack of manners, mother yanked my shirt and me aside to say that grandmother stopped dying her hair dark to allow the grey to come in.

A bit of a shock and some getting used to for a ten year old;
Realizing my grandmother wasn’t the brunette I thought she was.
1999 Grandma Bertie and Grandpa DanIt’s funny how times haven’t changed.

Just last week after arriving for Friday Night Cousin Camp and still seated in the car, my three grandchildren staring through the window and figuring out my new look gasped to their mother with pointed fingers,
“Gaga dyed her hair!”

Being a red-head, I get a lot of “deer in the headlight” stares that first week after visiting the salon. Some keeping their opinions to themselves although their “wide eyed look” at my “head on fire” speaks loud and clear.

But then are my grandchildren who have no filter;
whose words spill out like a dumped glass of milk.
“Gaga! Why is your hair orange?”

Red-heads are tough though and can take it.
The rolled eyes of my grandkids observing
my “crazy hair” as they say it always makes me laugh.
I remind everyone else the red will fade and calm down in a week; and it always does.

Besides, my husband loves the “fire”.
That’s all that matters. Right my love!
IMG_1763Hey, they say that only two percent of the population has red hair, so I guess that makes me unique and special; even if my “gingerness” comes from a box, although in my younger days I did have red tresses and freckles.

Interestingly, I visited my mother the other day and to my surprise, changed her grey hair color to a smokin’ red just like mine.

No wonder I scare people with this bold and dramatic Crayola choice. “A deer in the headlight” froze for a second before greeting this woman I almost didn’t recognize.
“Mother! You dyed your hair!”

Oh, the generations.

In thinking about my grandmother all those years ago, confident in her older season of life, revealing her true self and full head of grey hair, proudly wearing what God has called and lovingly deemed,
her Crown of Splendor.

Grey hair is a crown of splendor, it is attained in the way of righteousness. Proverbs 16:31 NIV

 With the vanity of our mirror today, I doubt that most women consider their old grey hair as a Crown of Splendor, but God looks upon his seasoned and vintage ladies as royalty wearing their

Crown of:

magnificence, grandeur, impressiveness, opulence, luxuriousness, richness, fineness, lavishness, glory, gloriousness, gorgeousness, splendidness, beauty, elegance, majesty, stateliness, nobility, pageantry…

(synonyms for splendor)
IMG_2283
 Almost sixty years of age, edging ever so close and about to dip my foot into the waters of these golden years, I need to rehearse the script and commit to memory and heart the words a Heavenly Father has written about me in this chapter of my life.

Yet gazing into the mirror’s reflection each morning, it’s easy to reconcile the fact that under all this red is a full head of grey hair, believing the lie that the woman I once was left town years ago; that all my successes are a thing of the past.

But God says, “Not so daughter.”

For in your presence they will still overflow and be anointed. Even in their old age they will stay fresh, bearing luscious fruit and abiding faithfully.  Psalm 92:14 TPT

 I love that God reminds me while wading and testing the waters of my golden years:

There are still dreams to be dreamt.
There are lives still meant to be touched.
There are words still waiting their turn to be written.
There are days still meant to be lived.
There is still love yet to be shared.
There are finish lines still meant to be crossed.

 There are thoughts God still wants
to share so personally and intimately with me.

I love that God reminds me
these grey hairs are not about color,
but an accounting for my:

Strength found in the valleys.
Believing God in the silent years of waiting.
Experiencing God’s provision though the cupboards were bare.

Feeling God’s presence in my aloneness,
when the company I kept was just me, myself and I.

Wisdom gained from life experience.
Experiencing redemption from my stolen years.

Yes ladies, God has reserved for every vintage woman her
Royal Crown of Splendor.

May she hold dear to her heart the knowledge that when wearing this crown, she in God’s eyes embodies:

magnificence, grandeur, impressiveness, opulence, luxuriousness, richness, fineness, lavishness, glory, gloriousness, gorgeousness, splendidness, beauty, elegance, majesty, stateliness, nobility, pageantry…
IMG_2285
She’s all of this and more!

YOU’RE YOUNGER THAN YOU LOOK By Lori A Alicea

“Papa, your toes are old.”

Those are fight’n words from our eight year old grandsons inciting a wrestling match on the floor with their Papa.

“I’M NOT OLD you pterodactyls!”, screams Papa as he takes his grandson-foes down and gives them what they’ve been begging for, some friendly fire and laughter between three kids on the floor; well two kids with one big kid at heart.

While it’s true that every day we add another twenty-four hours to our age, on the inside, you’re younger than you look,
2018 ethan 100 years old 1
WHEN YOU REMEMBER

“If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.” – James A. Garfield

The biggest kid of all time said it best,

“Laughter is timeless.  Imagination has no age.  And dreams are forever.” – Walt Disney

With ten grandchildren full of energy, giggles, laughter and smiles for days, I can’t tell you the gift of “fun” in my husband who stirs up the inner “party” of these children to play and enjoy the simplest of moments where the only requirement on the playground is an imagination.

Being grandparents for the last ten years and regardless of his day at work, Papa’s imagination and willingness to pour into our grandchildren’s lives and memories are endless.

Papa always says yes for a trip to the park.

Papa is always willing to splash with all his little ducks in the pool.

Papa always has a hidden bag of marshmallows for a campfire and an overnight sleep in the tent.

Papa’s legs are never too tired for a bike ride around the block.

The fish are always biting according to Papa.

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Papa is never too cold for the snow.

There’s always enough room on Papa’s lap.

Papa loves to be together with all his babies.

But Papa loves his one-on-one time with his babies too.

But more than ever, Papa has the greatest sense of humor.
papa funnyWhich is the “much deserved reason” why whenever the grandchildren call or stop by, the very first words they say are,
“Where’s Papa?”

While the reality of a grandparent’s age shows in their aches and pains after a bike ride around the block or trip to the park with grandchildren of boundless energy, the “little kid” on the inside who keeps a child’s party going is the real reason why,

You’ll always be younger than you look.
2018 ethan 100 years old
Sadly, you begin to look your age when,

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”― George Bernard Shaw

In our culture that celebrates being flawless, skinny and young, the “gray hairs” of society have been known to become the forgotten; the unnoticed; the wallpaper in the room.

All their experience, their gifting, their knowledge can be taken for granted and discounted as “outdated” or “out of touch.”

But oh how God our Creator celebrates the “gray hairs” of our lives and has new purpose for them in their latter days.

17 ‘This is what I will do in the last days—I will pour out my Spirit on everybody and cause your sons and daughters to prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will experience dreams from God.
Acts 2:17 TPT

God honors long life when He reminds us:

Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.
Proverbs 16:31 NIV

The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.
Proverbs 20:29 NIV

 C.S. Lewis tells us, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

My Pastor’s mother recently widowed and just celebrating her eightieth birthday is leaving for a mission’s trip overseas in a month.  What a gift to herself in embracing a new lease in her continued walk with God.

New beginnings, new dreams, new purposes are not limited by age.

These blank pages of our journey are God’s reminder that He’s not finished with us yet.  The finish line of our calling is miles and a marathon away and we must keep running and pursuing the dreams God has dreamed for our life.

We will never be “too old” or have reason to retire from God’s ultimate plan.  We won’t give out.  Our earthly bodies can withstand all that is required to reach the end because it is written:

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Isaiah 46:4 NIV

 We must be found faithful to the end.

Our “gray hairs” must not excuse us from completing our race.

For when our last day on earth becomes our first day in Heaven, may we all long to hear from the Father,

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
Matthew 25:21 NIV