The Hearts That Made Me

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First of all Merry Christmas, 2019! I often find myself gushing about how amazing you are as people and parents to everyone I meet–but in life the things we affectionately think aren’t always communicated. This year, in addition to your gifts (which I really wanted to be meaningful) I decided to write this piece and eternalize it on my blog but also for it to be read to you. So here goes, hoping it’s every bit as lovely as you both are.

When I think of my Mother I think of incredible grace and strength. Life is never easy and we are all dealt cards that can be difficult to navigate through, but I feel that when my Mom has had no choice but to be strong, she rose to the occasion and did whatever needed to be done–whether that’s work several jobs to keep food on the table and her kids cared for or if that meant sacrifices to keep our house a home–my Mother did it. I often admire and find myself in awe of her strength to just handle whatever life throws her way without complaining or giving in to defeat. As strong as my Mom is, she is also sensitive and tender hearted. My Mother is one of the most generous, giving and servant hearted people I know. I have never met someone who relentlessly and selflessly gave to other people the way my Mom does. She truly does not think of herself when she helps others and I think she doesn’t even realize how beautiful this makes her. My Mom is a tough cookie. She never complains, is always grateful and is content regardless of what life throws her way. She rides the waves of life so well and I often draw my strength from her. Her ability to withstand the storm joyfully creates awe in me. Mom, I am grateful for the gentle way you’ve loved me as your daughter–you were a hands on Mother, always creating opportunities to develop and grow my intellect. You actually read to me and fostered the hunger I had for education which reaped dividends for me later in life. You took the time to make our lunches, pack our bags, take time to teach me things that a lot of parents today don’t anymore. I feel incredibly rich and incredibly fortunate. I take pride in the fact that I come from good stock and that my parents are such an amazing example for myself, my family and others. You are my confidant, my best friend, the person I call for every recipe and expiration question–you are greater than the infamous WebMD, and you give me the best life and relationship advice. You’re one of my favorite persons to call and I love our quick daily catch ups.

Dad, there will never be enough words to describe how much I love, respect, admire and honor you. Your life story is such a beautiful picture of God’s redemption. I love your honesty. You are so real and you have the funniest stories of your young adult times like all your Coast Guard stories. I love how you have always taken a no fuss no muss approach to life. I’ve never met a more decorated and successful man who is as humble and servant hearted as you, Dad! You are such a man after God’s own heart and you have such a compassionate heart for people. Dad you are one of the greatest leaders I know. I love to sit and talk with you and get wisdom from you. You are truly one of my favorite persons to sit and talk about anything with because I feel like no matter what we talk about, I will learn something new. It has been a blessing to watch you grow in your faith and see you take on more and more responsibility and leadership. I truly believe that every role you have stepped into is a direct result of your obedience. Thank you for being a patient, loving, kind, consistent, loyal father to your daughters, husband to your wife, and a leader to God’s very own people. Thank you for working so hard for our family and laying down your life in service of your career in order to provide for us. You gave your life to give us a good life filled with experiences we will carry with us through out our lives. I appreciate you praying for all of us to find amazing men who love God and will love us and take care of us. It’s been an indescribable joy to watch your and Mom’s love and marriage grow and strengthen over time. I’m ridiculously lucky to have a family as loving, supportive and close knit as we are.

Mom & Dad, my life hasn’t been easy. We all know that it hasn’t been without it’s challenges. But I want you to know, everything I need in this life I have found in God and in you and I am ETERNALLY grateful for the treasure that is in you. I feel like I can do anything as long as I have you, both. With love, your daughter Alicia.



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dear lovelies

Ten Steps to Help You Overcome Mental Health Obstacles in Your Every Day Life

Let me first start out by saying I am not an expert or medical professional, but I AM somebody who struggles daily with mental health and mental illness. I have learned over my thirty-four years that sometimes trudging through isn’t enough. There has to be more, and there has to be a greater level of health. So, what do you do when you’re in a bind? When your days are long, and your illness wears down heavily upon you? How do you pick yourself back up? I’m going to give you ten practical ways to walk through the mire and clay and get to higher ground.

  1. The first and best step is always to pray AND meditate. Praying can be a foreign act to many, but it is simply talking to God the same way you would talk to anybody else. It is not selfish to pray for yourself. You must. Prayer moves the hand of God. Meditating is our way of listening to what God has to say. Being still is a discipline but sometimes being still is all we know how to do. I find when I ask for help, peace comes like a blanket. Other times I feel like I’m simply talking but I know that God is GOOD, and He wants relationship with us.
  2. The second act is one of Self Care. It is not selfish to say no to others and yes to self. Now I’m not talking about being selfish or self-centered, but I am talking about putting yourself first and saying yes to things that will bring you back to health. You absolutely must put yourself and your health first. There are a lot of things I have had to sit out in the name of self-care. Self-care should be practical, a nap, reading a book, going on a nice walk, sitting in the sun, resting, self-soothing activities–anything to soothe the soul.
  3. Affirm yourself! It’s so easy to beat yourself up or wallow in your current situation. It’s so important to establish your intention for the day and affirm yourself Be gentle with yourself. Write affirmations on sticky notes and put them where you will see them every day. I personally have a large paper titled “Who I Am and What I’m Passionate About” I add to it as I go, and it is super helpful to put something IN WRITING so you can see it and meditate on it
  4. Rest! I cannot emphasize this enough. It is not only okay for you to rest but you must rest to get better. So many women feel guilty about resting when there are a million things to get done around the house, but if you aren’t charged up and healthy, those things matter very little. Rest so that you can be the best version of yourself to others.
  5. Set meaningful goals for yourself. Let those goals spur you on to greater health. A few of my goals I set in therapy were to move more, pray and meditate, and reflect on gratitude at the end of the day. Making your goals simple and attainable are key. Don’t set out to write a book when you can’t even have the energy to clean your house. But you can decide to exercise a little, drink more water, and rest until you’re back on your feet again.
  6. Take steps that lead you closer to the life you want to live. This one is a big one, but it’s a simple mantra that you can constantly ask yourself as you set out to do new things. “Does this activity or thing lead me closer or further away from the life worth living for me” Use that mantra as your compass and move in the direction of a future you’ll be happy to walk into. If ever you find yourself moving away from the life you want to live, pause, and re-evaluate what steps you can take next to move you closer to that life worth living
  7. I can not emphasize this enough, but when you are in depression the number one thing you will want to do, which is to your detriment, is to isolate yourself from others. We were never made to do this life alone. Reach out and involve yourself in a meaningful community or even a handful of friends who can walk with you through life. The worst thing you can do during any mental health trial is to isolate. Stay connected to your health team and your friends. It will help you to get out of your shell and live the life you want!
  8. This leads me to my next point, establish a team of mental health professionals such as a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist etc., and create a game plan with them. You must advocate for your mental health. There is nobody who will fight for your healing greater than you can! Be proactive about your health and learn to listen to your body and what it is telling you. Those highs and lows are important for your team of professionals to know about.
  9. FORGIVE YOURSELF. Do not wallow in your misery. It’s not your fault. We all face mental health challenges at one point or another and you are not alone. It is so important to forgive yourself for all the wrongs you have made. We all make mistakes! We all fall short of God’s Glorious Standards, so forgive yourself because Jesus has already paid the price for your forgiveness.
  10. And lastly, GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION. Give yourself permission to rest, to seek help, to speak out unapologetically. Give yourself permission to be gentle with yourself, to take things one step at a time. Sometimes all you can do is crawl, well if so, crawl your best. Sometimes all you can do is breathe, well in the words of Ariana Grande, just keep breathing and breathing and breathing and breathing…Whatever you need to get back to a healthy place of recovery, GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to do those things.

I hope this has helped you and would love to hear how you’ve put these skills into practice. You can write me at alitheauthor@outlook.com or reach me on Instagram @ withlove. alicia

God bless

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dear alicia

“If you’re going through hell, keep on going, don’t slow down if you’re scared don’t show it, you might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.” -Rodney Atkins

This is a letter that I want to write to myself, I hope it helps you too.

Alicia,

I’ve seen the way you handle life, how you delicately and sometimes dangerously teeter the line of great joy and deep depression. If I could look you in the eyes, I would tell you that you are infinitely stronger than anything you’ve yet to see. Yes, even the most excruciatingly painful days were just challenges you’ve overcome. These mountains ahead of you are entirely scalable and the great strength you will receive from them will be for you a crown of glory. You have eyes on you; So, on those days you want to cover your head and drown out the pain in sleep, I want you to breathe deeply and know that I am there with you. I don’t want you to lie down and make your home in the trenches. I want to display my royal beauty upon you, so wake up those tired eyes. You, yes YOU, are a royal diadem in the palm of my hand. You wear a crown of beauty where ashes have been. Stop looking at your circumstances to dictate your life, you will never get anywhere by doing that. Start, and start now. Begin by dreaming again. I want your dreams to be so big they scare you. Your days of playing small are over with. Those things do not bring glory to my Name. I am a wide, expansive God. The galaxies and universes are like drops in the bucket to me. Do you not think I can’t hold your life in my hand and handle all the worries you carry with you? You can drop them at my Feet. I’m more than capable of leading you through your life. Your biggest heart breaks are being mended by true love. Perfect love casts out all fear. Just hold on, wait and watch, see that I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? Your best days are ahead for you. You look back into the past with forlorn, but darling those were just bursting of hints at what I have for you. You haven’t even hit your prime, baby! You must change your perspective and believe again in the BIG GOD that you love so dearly. Draw near to me and sit in the throne room of grace. Look up in awe at the majesty of your God. I will tenderly speak to you and tell you of great and hidden things, too wonderful for you to imagine. I began a good work in you and I WILL finish it to completion. The time is now. Enough sleeping, enough wringing of the hands, seek the Lord while He may be found.

I love you,

God

I’ve wasted more time dreaming than living- Daphne Loves Derby e

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To my daughters

Daughter,

I gaze upon your true beauty in sheer awe and amazement, at whom I’ve created. My radiant love is all I’ve ever wanted for you and it’s wider than all the galaxies in the sky and deeper than the greatest depths of the ocean. You are perfect to me even on what you think are your darkest days. There is nowhere you can go that I can’t be with you. At your highest highs, I’m celebrating with you—in the depths of your lowest lows I am there with you. I cover you with my love and sing over you with songs of deliverance. You are already free. Your chains are gone. I paid it all for you already. All I want is for you to sing, my precious beautiful daughter. Tell me what troubles you and sing of your freedom. Watch as my hand moves over the storms in your life. You are victorious, Daughter. Sing, and stand from that place of victory and watch as my salvation covers you like a blanket. Fix your eyes on me. Find your identity in me. I long to be your all in all. I love you with all my heart, my love is enough. You are enough. You are perfectly loved. Loved with an everlasting love.

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love letter inspired by Isaiah 40

I am the great comforter and I speak tenderly to you. I’ve seen your struggle and today is your day of victory, IN ME. I’ve paid the ultimate price for all your sins—the choices, thoughts and actions that have all separated you from your God. What the enemy meant for evil, I have, in great mercy turned around for your good. Prepare for me to enter your heart. Make a way for me to rule and reign in your heart. I’m in the business of setting things right. Deep and dark valleys shall be raised up to great peaks and high unscalable mountains will be leveled for you to walk through. My glory will be revealed for all to see. I give life with my breath and all of mankind is fragile. Life is temporary, but I am eternal, and I endure forever. You who know me, proclaim my goodness. Don’t just speak but let your lives e visible worship and praise to the darkened world around you. Be bold witnesses of your God without fear. Tell the world about me plainly. I am a sovereign and powerful God and I save. I care tenderly to the lost and to the found. I leave the 99 to find and carry back the 1. I lead my loved ones gently. I breathed and galaxies and life came into being. I’ve weighed mountains and held oceans in my hands. I am powerful and have an answer to every question. Knowledge and understanding are my creation and specialty. The nations are mere dust, minute in the scope of everything I’ve created. How can you even begin to compare me? I am infinite. I am inexhaustible and you can spend your entire lives trying to explain me, yet words will never suffice. Many have come in the name of a god, but those empty idols can’t hold a flame to my awesome power. I sit in heaven and I spread out space like a canopy. I give and take authority away. Kings are humbled by my power. Who will you say is my equal? I blow and storms pick up and speak and all is calm. Who do you suppose created all of what you see? I bring each star and being before me and call them each by name. Every detail is before me and I don’t miss a thing. I hear the complaints and cries of my people who feel abandoned by their God. Those who feel hidden I say to you this…

I am Father God.

I am the creator of all the earth.

Nothing gets past me. I don’t get tired nor do I fall asleep on the job.

Nobody can fathom the extent of my wisdom and understanding. I strengthen those who need hope.

I am strong on behalf of the weak. Not even the strength of young men or the weariness of old intimidates me. Those who put their whole heart in me will not faint but will be overwhelmed with new strength—God strength. They will pursue life with supernatural ability.

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love letter inspired by isaiah 49

Before you were born, I called you—while you were in your Mother’s womb—I was there, with you. I long to reveal my brilliancy through your life. All the amazing works of your bright and blazing future are held in the palm of my hand. I am your greatest satisfaction. I have a great work for you to do. I want to use you as my servant to bring back many to the heartbeat of God. So many lives live in darkness, as though the lights have been turned off for as long as they can remember. Like you, they have a place in my heart and I desperately want to light up the sky in their lives. I make things shine like new again. I can restore anything. I want to make a light out of you. Your future will be one of influence, for you can reach those around you uniquely. I am faithful and I have chosen you for special purposes. I want you to know that not only do I hear your prayers, but I answer them. I’m as near as your very breath. I want to use your life, your story, to bring the broken to me. Your life and story can be used to set so many free, in my Name. I can make dead places alive. I can provide something out of nothing. I can and do meet your every need. Every mountain you face, I can turn to level ground and lead you out, if you only allow me to take you by the hand. I want to be your comforter. I know at times it feels I am far away, but can a creator abandon His creation?  Never. I will never abandon you. I have your name engraved on the palm of my Hand. Anything set up against you is not from me. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. The blessings I give are as beautiful jewelry—forever I have crowned you in beauty. I bestow upon you grace and mercy, with your every heartbeat. I want to make your life fruitful and flourishing like a beautiful garden. There is such a bright future for you. You will look back on your difficult days as blessings in disguise. You are worth more than silver and gold. Your influence will stretch to the nations. I will make even your enemies to be at peace with you. These will be ways you will know that I, the Lord, am God.

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love letters, the anthology. 2011 pt 1

Preface: I want to introduce to you excerpts from my journals. I truly believe these to have been and are words from God given to me through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I don’t claim to be God, but I also do not claim full responsibility for these letters that I will begin to share through a series I have called, “Love Letters, The Anthology” These words were gifts to my heart during seasons of my life and to share them is beyond being vulnerable, yet I believe they will help others. I believe God wants me to share more like this (from my journals, but also free written like my last post) Would love to hear how they speak to you and if you find them encouraging. Reading this one again has really encouraged me, especially the last part as I am personally working through pride and humility. Enjoy xx Ali

I affirm you. You, from myself, my own flesh and blood, the love of my life. You are the love of my life because I gave my life for you. I laid it down. I breathed my last breath with you in mind. I poured out my blood, my living LIFE. The very sweat of my brow formed through excruciating and agonizing pain was all a labor of love. I loved you. I saw you before you ever came into being. Before you came to BE I saw you and wanted, desired, longed for a relationship with you. But here I am. Here I AM making all things new. I’m holding you right in the palm of my very hand, BELIEVE it. Your life is no accident. I hold, secure, fasten, hold together, orchestrate, and construct your life, IN MY HANDS. I hold all things together. Your heart, beating at my command, oxygen processing at my decree. Blood flowing, nourishing, sustaining at my orders. I am God, and there is no other. No one else I give my glory to, NO OTHERS. I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know the plans– specific, clear cut, ordered, immaculate, orderly– in order, plans that I have. I have not lost them. They are not hindered. They are not lost. They are not defeated. They are not thwarted. They are not aborted. They ARE possible. They will happen. They will come to pass. What I speak, I will set in to motion. I will bring it to fruition. I will set it into motion. I have them and they are IN control. I have them, they are not going anywhere. No weapon the enemy has forged against you, fashioned against you, set up against you, WILL NOT PROSPER. My right hand of favor is upon your life. Season your words with grace. Season your life with love. Clothe yourself in humility. Clothe yourself with oversized humility. Allow it to overwhelm your being. With great humility comes great honor. The measure of love, of grace, of humility, of selflessness you bestow upon others will be returned seven-fold to you. So, give when it hurts. Give when you are tired. Give when you’re inconvenienced. Give when it kills you. Let your selfish flesh starve. Let your pride, your love of self, die and with it all the selfish desires. You are purchased with incorruptible seed, with my blood that speaks a better word.

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