WELCOME HOME…By Lori A Alicea

Seasons are changing.

Maybe it’s just me, but once those July 4th finale of fireworks burst thru the air and the remaining sparklers illuminate its own show from our children’s hands, do you slightly sense the season’s changing of the guard.

While the hot days of summer remain as house guests thru August, fall is sneaking up the back steps though most are unaware, preparing to welcome itself to the neighborhood.WELCOME BUNNY

Principals everywhere are ringing the school bell for students to begin filling their backpacks full of paper, pencils and crayons, while bells of another kind are ringing down the Christmas isles of my favorite craft store; all in the summer month of July.

Ready or not, the season’s here; the changing of the guard for weather, time and calendar events.

In life, we’re also facing seasons unique to our address.

The weaving of seasons from one into the other, with winter, spring, summer or fall choreographing the dance of personal seasons we’re about to enter, experience, or exit, then weave and dance into another season before us.

While we’d all like to predict a forecast of blue skies and sunny days, the weather might report an overcast of clouds or showers for a season.

Regardless of the season, we’re encouraged to take our seat, stay awhile, and welcome the purpose and meaning for the season we’re in.WELCOME BENCH

On first impression when entering our doors, is a wooden sign with hooks for coats, sweaters or even purses for guests to hang their belongings and receive a heartfelt welcome into our home.

The same is true for entering a new season where we are encouraged to cast and hang our cares on Jesus, a place to feel safe, a place to call home, where the couch is comfy and ambiance speaks welcome.WELCOME HOME SIGN

The front door is a traffic jam of little boys and little girls taking off their shoes and placing them beneath the welcome sign of hanging cares and coats, where side by side their crocs, flips, sandals and gym shoes for little feet remain until they leave; a reminder that seasons are meant to be shared with others.shoes Kizzy

For twelve anguishing months beginning two years ago, our family experienced an unexpected and overwhelming winter season of ten, tearful good-byes.

At morning’s dawn, the waters slept and rested peacefully near the shores of our family’s heart.

Then, without notice or alarm, a family reaches once again for life vests as the waters wake and rise in swells and attempts to drown our hearts upon receiving another call.

We gasped and couldn’t catch our breath for long periods of time during this winter season of so many good-byes.

But God was good to us, near to us, sensing His presence, never leaving our side for a moment.CHURCH

The summer season thankfully returned as promised and wafted in the air a fragrance of peace and joy and remained a bit longer than the calendar noted its departure, hovering over as a healing balm for our family.

Running along the shores of our hearts this refreshing summer season were little feet and laughter of our ten grandchildren, who somehow without us looking, outgrew the shoes of our memory.

We grandparents celebrate the many seasons we’ve shared with these ten beautiful heirs of our legacy.

Their growing continues into the seasons and choreographed dances of their individual lives.

When fishing began and there were only six of them.

So many years ago…

Our ten grand-babies today.

The seasons are changing guard once again, handing off the summer baton to the season of fall.

It’s time to pack up the sand toys and sandals these children will sadly outgrow and walk into a new season of their own before summer next year.

FISHING 7

Seasons are changing.

While we’d all like to predict a forecast of blue skies and sunny days, the weather might report an overcast of clouds or showers for a season.

Regardless of the season, we’re encouraged to take our seat, stay awhile, and welcome the purpose and meaning for the season we’re in.

WELCOME BENCH

TOGETHER…and always…By Lori Alicea

You know her…

That girl you grew up with and led inseparable lives from morning ‘till night, until the dinner bell rang her home.

That girl whose shadow followed you from the swings to the monkey bars of the playground, where one was never seen without the other.

KIZZIE ROSALEE same seat

That girl who shared a pea in your pod; and everything glitter from your imaginations.

That fun loving girl whose zest was that added ingredient from the spice rack of your friendship.

That Together…and always

You both…

Lived well,
Laughed often,
and loved much;
By Bessie Anderson Stanley

KIZZIE ROSALEE holding hands walking

You know her…

That sister…
That daughter…
That neighbor…
That confidant…
That co-worker…
That neighbor…
That pen-pal…
That cousin…

That one person completely opposite and day-and-night from you;

Yet that one person who filled in the chapter blanks of your once in a lifetime friendship.

A relationship written and framed around these words…

Friends are kisses blown to us by angels.
Anonymous

Eleanor Roosevelt
Said it even better…

Many people will walk in and out of your life,
But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.

Together…and always…

Friends are a treasure trove of unopened surprises.
Rosalee Kizzie on boat 1
Friends see the world through each others eyes…
Rosalee Kizzie on boat 2
Friends hear their song played in a different key.
Friends interpret life in a dance all their own.

Friendship is an adventure willing to take an uncharted journey to an unknown destination; as the travels of friendship finds you…

Together…and always…

That girl who smiles in the calm and still found by your side when the swells overtake is a friend…

who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 NIV

As seasons take their turn to keep watch during winter…spring…summer and fall…

Friendships must keep watch during those seasons which hand over the baton and changing of the guard.
Mountain view
The unexpected visitor of good-bye shows up unannounced and without warning sometimes…

Summer camp is over…
Leaving for college…
A job change…
Moving…
Marriage…

Death…of a friendship…
Death…of one of us…
Rosalee Kizzie hugging
The sun may go down on the friendship between you and that girl, but friendships are never forgotten in the night…as morning always remembers.

The distance of miles may separate but the longing for one another keeps you close at heart.

Friends are worth the adventure, worth the risk of the swell.
KIZZIE ROSALEE waves
While the picture of my friendships might not resemble a class reunion.

I have been blessed with a few snapshots handpicked by God for me to share life and death with, marriage and divorce with, kids and college with, and so much more.

These Godly friendships pour into the cups of each other’s lives while sitting across the table from one another over coffee.

These God-like friendships are sometimes infrequent calls, yet pick up right where we left off from the last conversation.

Friendships that remember me every Monday evening after dinner for years just to say hello and end with an “I love you.”

Million dollar friendships I can’t wait to re-kindle when we cross paths again on the golden streets of heaven.

Friendships that know when my refrigerator and finances are unexpectedly low, and unload their overflowing trunks to restock me once again.

True friends whose hands refuse to let me go in my pain and emptiness.

true friends that leave their footprints in your heart.
Eleanor Roosevelt
KIZZIE ROSALEE holding hands water keep
God continues to fill my basket with friends who need me and they in return.

Who…

Together…and always

Lived well,
Laughed often,
and loved much;
By Bessie Anderson Stanley

FOR EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON By Lori A Alicea

There is a time for everything.

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1
NLT

…A time to plant, and a time to harvest.  Ecclesiastes 3:2 NLT

We are all in a season, whether being planted into the field of a new season, being plowed out of an old season or daily growing in your field of a current season, wondering when this season of your life will be harvested.

There is a time for everything.

Apostle John Testola defines seasons as “pockets of time God introduces when He wants to do a new thing in our life.

Tetsola also reminds us that we “need to be able to understand and discern the season so we are able to receive what God wants to do.”

 New seasons can be joyful as you welcome the birth of a new child and celebrate the early months with them that follow of all their new “firsts”.

New seasons can be painful with the loss of a loved one while you grieve the early months that follow of all the new “firsts” without them.

Old seasons being plowed can be a relief after overcoming the drought of a job loss.

A long and overwhelming current season of illness can have you begging for harvest during the relentless baking in the hot sun of uncertainty.

We are all living life in this “pocket of time” called season.

 Your neighbor’s field may look differently than your field and their “grass may even appear greener”, but be not deceived.
Rejoice in your season, as God wants to do a new
thing in your life.

There is a time for everything.

Corn bean field - neighbors field

A few years ago my husband and I entered a new season called “empty-nesters”.  With four children now being planted into new fields of their own, David and I faced a season without them while we learned to bloom in the fields sized “just for the two of us.”

In the beginning of our empty-nesting season, the silence was deafening.  The walls still echoed the laughter, the squabbling and the voice of their presence.  The children’s bedrooms now museums when you wanted desperately to see their spaces a mess and alive.

Out of habit, sleep didn’t come easy until you knew your kids returned home safely from a night out with friends.

You didn’t know how to cook anymore.  Dinner for two was more work than it was worth and a bowl of cereal seemed to suffice at times.

Thankfully David and I love to be together, we just needed to learn to love being together without kids.

The fields of our empty-nesting season followed a road of discovery that went on for miles and miles.

Discovering a deeper trust in God for our children’s care.

Discovering you can still reach your children in prayer when they always seem to have their phones on silent.

Discovering that your children were always God’s in the first place, and now it was His time to parent them in their new season without us.

corn field along road

I love everything about the four seasons of spring, summer, winter and fall.  Each season brings out the best in us.

Children come out to play in the summer.  Apples are picked in the season of fall.  Christmas brings out the kid in all of us during winter.  In spring though:

The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.  Song of Solomon 2:12 NLT

The season of spring caught us off guard just when we learned to love being “the two of us”.  Spring meant our lives would not be our own again, the bedrooms would be lived in and laughter would echo throughout the speakers of the house when David and I got the news we were going to be grand-parents.

flowers by water

Spring time came and ten years later we enjoy ten grand-children who color our world in sparkles.  These sweet lives that call us Papa and Gaga, we can’t imagine a season of fall when harvest takes them to high school then on their own to college.  Though a few years away, there’s a slight chill in the air urging us to slowly prepare for that fall sweater season of “just the two of us” again.

There is a time for everything.

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1
NLT

A time to plant and a time to harvest.  Ecclesiastes 3:2 NLT

God is wanting to do a new thing in our life in these pockets of time called seasons.
We need to be able to understand the season so we are able to receive what God wants to do.”

Apostle John Testola