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.

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!
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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

LIFE’S AMAZING RACE By Lori A Alicea

Sometimes life takes you back a few years and it’s always worth looking over your shoulder to remember the overflow of one’s heart.

On February 24, 2017
A few pages from the diary of my heart for our son on his birthday….

Your Life’s Amazing Race began on
February 24, 1983 at 5:55 PM
When you became our son;

Jacob James C. England

jake as a baby at xmas

God has had a great plan on your life before you were ever born.
That plan has been unfolding with every mile you complete in your race; a race that has been charted from the very beginning.

There are those who have greatly influenced you along the way.
Now, it’s your turn to lead the next generation of runners in their race;
Those adorable children of yours.

2015 hollis jake cova at race

I am forever thankful for those lives that have loved you greatly for so many years, but sadly were last seen at the fork in the road called “Heaven Bound.”

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Jake and Cova

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barbara

Gloria Gloria

grandma brendaFC74F153-9566-420B-8596-BB2F712E5C0F
David and I love you son.

david and lori copy

May God continue to reveal amazing surprises for you around every lap of the race you take.

Your Life’s Amazing Race
By Lori A Alicea

A charted course, your race is set,
Specific map assign.

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A plan prepared before your birth,
To reach the finish line.

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Your map it details every step,
Your path God charts them all.

IMG_7433He guides your way and sets the pace,
The prize, fulfill your call.

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A marathon of hills to climb,
Yet miles where watchers cheer.

The Climb of Your Life - Do not Fear picture or Conquer 2Encouragement when loss of strength,
Demands you persevere.

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Beware the turns that lead astray,
The detours that seem right.

IMG_7439Keep firm your faith and feet before,
The prize that’s in your sight.

jake running your raceYou’ve journeyed far, we’re proud of you,
Yet many miles you face.

IMG_7437Faint not, your God he runs beside,
Your life’s amazing race.

IMG_7434Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easy entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

Blessings on another year older son.
IMG_7405You are all grown up; but that little boy still holds a special place in my heart.

mother son USESpoken from the pages of David’s heart …

Dear Son,

You may not be my blood.
You may not share my name.
But love goes deeper than any human understanding.
If I never told you,
I’ve always believed it.
I’m proud of you as any dad would be.
You are my Beloved Son.
Love David

jakes cross stitch

Thirty-eight years ago
You left the starting line to begin your
Life’s Amazing Race.

As the laps in your life begin to take their grueling toll; Don’t give up or give into the pain.  Stay in your lane. Persevere and complete your race.  As a prize awaits your finish.  Love Mom. 25040237-B6C2-4839-B6C7-053054DD4669

A NEW BEGINNING By Lori A Alicea

As a faithful friend who keeps his solemn promises, morning greets us each and every day with a kiss of new beginnings.

 New beginnings that promise a “blank page” if you dare to write the next chapter.
New beginnings that promise another “chance” if you dare to try.
New beginnings that promise “hope” if you dare to dream.
New beginnings that promise “life” if you dare to breathe.
New beginnings that promise “friendship” if you dare to be a friend.
New beginnings that promise another “race” if you dare to lace up your shoes.
New beginnings that promise a “song” if you dare to sing.
New beginnings that promise “relationship” if you dare to forgive.
New beginnings that promise “love” if you dare to open your heart.
New beginnings that promise “the moon” if you dare to shoot for the stars.

New beginnings that promise a “kiss”
If you dare to kiss back.

New beginnings are birthed with new promises, all yours for the taking.
Do you see them?
Do you look for them?
Do you want them?
girls looking out windowThe author of our yesterday, today and forever;
our beginning, and our end (Revelation 22:13 NIV)
is the author of our new beginnings,
the author of another day.

Might we be encouraged to take the dare of a new beginning?
Might we take our blank page and write the words we wanted our life to say yesterday?
What do you have to lose?

Our faithful God is a “God of Second Chances; everyday”.
His mercies and compassion’s are new every morning;
a clean slate for us to try again.

22  …for his compassion’s never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

Might we dare to walk the “high wire” of a new beginning risking the fall for the promise, relying on the “safety net of your father’s arms to fall into” if something does go wrong.
Aubrey touching papa's face

For I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.
Psalm 26:3 NIV       

Be confident in taking the next step of your new beginning without the security of yesterday’s training wheels.
Your Father’s got you.
Kyle teaching Ethan to ride a bike

You’re not alone in this world of new beginnings, your Father sees you.
Ayva in car seat
Allow your Father to sing over you,
To remind you:
“You’re everything he hoped for.”
“You’re everything he dreamed.”
Joe Cocker

 

 

 

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Song YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL
by Joe Cocker

“Today” is that faithful friend who keeps his solemn promises, like morning who greets us each and every day with a kiss of new beginnings.

But new beginnings come with a dare.

YOU MUST

Dare to try.
Dare to dream.
Dare to breathe.
Dare to be a friend.
Dare to run your race.
Dare to sing your song.
Dare to forgive.
Dare to love.

Dare to kiss back.

New beginnings are birthed with new promises.
You must see them.
You must look for them.
You must want them.
You must reach for them to take them.

You must Dare to kiss back.

THE CLIMB OF YOUR LIFE By Lori A Alicea

Ever been thrown a curve ball you didn’t see coming?
Ever knocked down from a kick in the gut of your blind side?
Life’s punches come out of nowhere when you least expect it.
A job loss!  Divorce!  Financial ruin!  The diagnosis!
You turn your back for a second and there it is, Mount Unforeseen,
forcing the climb of your life.

Nothing prepares you for the ascent.  There are no guarantees you will summit Unforeseen.  It doesn’t matter.  Recovery and healing depends on you walking, even if it’s up the side of a mountain.

Every long journey begins with a first step.  That foot placed in front of the other, mustering strength as you ignore the weight of your backpack, heavy from the loss of heart and hope.  The map of your climb measures a walk around the world; it’s just too much.  But it doesn’t matter.  You have to care.  Your loved ones care.  Be encouraged that others have climbed before you and kissed the moon from Unforeseen’s highest peak.  Heart and hope are worth that first step.  You’re worth it.
Start climbing.

BE NOT AFRAID.
A guide will lead you every step of the way.  You can trust Him.
He knows the way because “He is the Way…” John 14:6.
“The valleys are dark but there you will be comforted.”  Psalms 23:4
DO NOT FEAR.

BE ENCOURAGED.
While conquering mountains seem IMPOSSIBLE in man’s eyes,
With God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.”  Matthew 19:26

 “BE STRONG.
BE BRAVE.
BE FEARLESS.

You are never alone.”  Joshua 1:9

The Climb of Your Life Jake and Marathon 1

RUN THE RACE
By Lori A Alicea

The miles, the distance that you run,
The finish nowhere near.
From every bend and stretch of road,
For you, your loved ones cheer.

You’re not alone, these miles of steps,
Find strength to run the race.
Your crowd remains the finish line,
Until we see your face.

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)