We are home from another amazing ride in the Mohawk Valley with the Ride for Missing Children. It was great to reunite with friends and family the past few days. There is no way to share everything so I'll highlight just a few. Thank you praying!
Each of us have a family through our blood relations. At the Ride for Missing Children, the families of the missing have a family too ~ each other. These are some of the most caring, loving, and strong individuals one can meet. I'm happy to call them my family. Throughout the day's ride there are silent tributes for the children and law enforcement that lost their lives and at the end of the ride there is a "Ring of Hope". It is a ring because we will never give up hope for our missing loved ones, ever. This is my family!
122,000 children who benefited from NCMEC's education program in preparation for this year's ride.
Prior to ride day, the cyclists and NCMEC volunteers devote time to educate the children. Many give up vacation and personal days to raise awareness and help prevent future kidnappings and exploitation of our children. A great team working to keep our children safe, one child at a time.
This August the Sara Ann Wood's family and community are faced with the twenty year anniversary of her disappearance from their lives. In remembrance of this sweet young girl a ribbon was constructed in front of Sara's elementary school. Humbled and thankful for the Wood's family and Sara's community's desire and dedication to remember Sara and all our missing. There is always hope ~ thank you.
Ribbon photograph taken and used with permission from Marc Ritter. Thank you Marc!
The riders raised $332, 649 to support these educational and preventative measures. Monies raised also help to fund the printing of missing person's flyers among other missions.
More than a ride...it's a mission of love and hope!
A month prior to the Ride for Missing Children I had an idea and wish, to share a copy of Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey with each of the families (of missing children) in attendance. I shared this thought with Ed. We talked about how wonderful this would be but weren't sure if it would be a possible due to the financial aspect.
After more prayer, I messaged the coordinator of the family's committee. I expressed our hope and asked if she could let me know when she had the final numbers so we could figure out if we could bless each family with a book. We continued to pray about this as we waited for the final number.
Ed knew how much I wanted to gift one to each family and told me, "Lisa, Just do it. God is faithful and will provide." The doubter in me responded with, "But Ed, what about..." What is that saying? "Ye of little faith", yeah, that was me because God answered our prayers in ways I never thought possible.
I'm happy to say each family member of the missing children remembered, honored, and celebrated at the 2013 Ride for Missing Children (RMC) received a copy of Where's Heidi? at the family's dinner on Thursday evening. The RMC family's committee partnered with me to make this prayer a possibility.
As part of the presentation, I shared aspects of writing the book and why I wrote it. In closing, I read When the Waves Subside ~ There is Hope aloud to them. This is a short, thirty-two page book dedicated to my parents. A story of a daughter's love for her parents and the loss she witnessed in their eyes and hearts after the loss of their other child. I was overwhelmed at the response of those in attendance. My hope was to encourage someone else but in the end ~ we encouraged each other. Only God...
God is good and I'm thankful He gave me the words to write and speak to share hope with others, especially the families directly affected by the kidnapping and exploitation of their children, brothers, sisters, parents, or loved one.
Both books are available through Amazon.com
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
~ Jesus ~
How has God gifted you?
How will you pay it forward?
Today will be a great day. The rain and coolness will lift and the sun will come out and warm us again. It will be an exciting time of preparation for many today. Prayers, packing, and traveling a must. Hope, inspiration, encouragement, and joy are the result. I shared a little about the Ride for Missing Children yesterday but today, I want to share a short video from a previous year's ride.
This video from YouTube.com highlights and emphasizes this is more than a bicycle ride ~ it's a mission of hope, hope for our missing and exploited children. You don't need words from me, this video says it all. May God bring our missing home, protect Friday's ride, and keep our children safe. I pray you take a few minutes to learn more about the Ride for Missing Children ~ God works miracles!
Today, will you leave words of encouragement for the riders?
Hundreds of cyclist join together under the orchestration and organization of another hundred people to ride one-hundred miles to raise awareness of our missing and exploited children AND to increase awareness and educate the communities they ride through. Our days starts at 5 a.m. and usually concludes twelve hours later. It is a long, emotional, and amazing day. This ride, evidence of God's love for His children.
Most of the riders, volunteers, and organizers have taken vacation and personal time in order to participate in today's ride. Families of our missing gathered last night for a family dinner to welcome new families, reconnect with others, and lean on each other as we all know and understand the importance of events like this. I pray this initiative and mission spreads to other branches of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It isn't about raising money, but instead the focus is on the children ~ a necessary and important place to direct our attention.
I'm thankful my cousin invited me to attend in 2008, it has been amazing and the people I've met continue to be such blessings in our lives. Thank you all so much.
At this time there are five Rides for Missing Children in New York State. If you are interested in starting something like this in your area or state, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offices in New York for more information. I'm sure they would love to help ignite a campaign of rides across the country to raise awareness for our missing, keep our children safe, and share hope with those in need.
As the ride progresses today I plan to take pictures and post them to Facebook in hopes those not able to attend might enjoy in this powerful day.
Share an encouraging word with the riders, volunteers, and families attending the 2013 Ride for Missing Children below...
A VERY late blog today and then there is the fact I missed another TOP's Tuesday. I decided I'm doing alright because I didn't post it on Wednesday without realizing I was a day behind until twelve hours after doing it. This is what happened last week, or was it the week before? I don't know.
I do know Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey and When the Waves Subside are touching the hearts and lives of those reading it. I want to take a moment to thank those who've taken time to email (Lbuskewriter@aol.com), messaged/posted on Facebook, and sent me cards (P.O. Box 261, New Haven, NY, 13121). Your prayers, love, and encouragement are such HUGE blessings to me. Thank you!
I have so many thoughts running through my brain yet not enough time to get them onto paper, or computer, for that matter. Instead of writing the blog this morning, I spent it preparing for this weekend. After work and visiting the amazing Rachel who makes my hair look so fabulous, Mags and I returned home to pack for this weekend.
We are SO EXCITED to move it on to the Mohawk Valley for the annual Ride for Missing Children, one of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's many missions and venues to keep our children safe and raise awareness for our current missing and exploited children. It is more than a bicycle ride, it's a day of hope.
I attended my first ride in 2008 and it's one of the ways God used to help me heal and restore hope for Heidi, and the good in this world. I share a little of this in my book, Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey yet there is so much more I could say about what a blessing it is to be a part of the Ride for Missing Children family.
Instead of talking about how wonderful or encouraging they are, this girl needs to get moving and finish the packing. So for tonight, good night everyone. If you think of the Ride for Missing Children tomorrow and Friday, lift a prayer. Prayers for protection, safe travels, health, good weather, and fellowship are appreciated. Thank you all!
Off to pack. I think the energy, excitement, and joy in this video represent a tenth of the same attributes of those packing and preparing for this amazing weekend in the Mohawk Valley. So much to do and not enough make-up to cover the circles ~ so I'm off to bed no later than Midnight. I promise Mom! Night everyone!
Is there a trip you take that makes you want to "Move It"?
Heidi M. Allen ~ Missing Since 4/3/94 ~ Age Progression Photo
In case Heidi is one of God’s miracles waiting to happen, this letter is written from one sister to another. If Heidi is alive and able to find this blog ~ may she know I haven’t given up hope. Instead, we've just accepted a new reality. This might not make sense to some, yet the waiting family understands. Today's letter is specifically for Heidi but I'm sure other siblings searching and waiting for their brother or sister to come home will relate on a similar level. May all our missing children and adults be found.
Where do I start? If you were raising a family and working on the other side of the country I know the first thing I would say and in truth, it is the same thing I could say today. Heidi, I miss you, you are too far away. As children, and even as teens, we dreamed of what we would do and be like when we were "grown ups". I don't remember a single plan including your kidnapping as part of our future. My sweet sister, if you are alive and out there, you MUST know how much we all love and miss you. Keep fighting and waiting. You are covered in prayer, hope, and love as we wait for your return. I know we will see each other again.
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Psalm 27:13-14 NLT
We were blessed with a wonderful and memorable childhood. Do you remember how crazy we would get at all the pictures taken? Oh my gosh, these pictures are now treasured memories. We had a lot of fun, didn't we? From playing in apple orchard, riding our bicycles, or even the times you visited me at college. I'm blessed to have so many happy and joyful memories from our childhood. I pray you would have the same. Sometimes Mom, Mags, and I will go through the old photos for an upcoming blog.
Photographs are memory triggers. You'll hear us saying, "Oh, I forgot about that." with laughter and sharing throughout. Mags said, "I think I would like Aunt Heidi." I assured her, she would. I also expressed how spoiled and loved she would be. Do you remember spending our Thursday's together for sister day? A treasured day to me. The first time I spoke to share my story was on a Thursday evening. Isn't that cool? I thought so. Only God could have orchestrated the timing of this event.
What about God Heidi? No, not "What about Bob?", although that is a great movie. If you are out there somewhere ~ do you know how much God loves you? I pray you do. I work as a teacher's assistant now for the Mexico Schools. Can you believe it? Stop laughing. I know I said "I'm never going to teach." We should never say never, Dad was right. I'm even in the same building that Mom retired from and had the joy to start in the same room she retired from with Ms. Cole. How cool is that?
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6 NIV
I enjoy my job and working with the kids and to call my self teacher but then pastor challenged the definition of "teacher" this past Sunday. He said a teacher is just putting out information whereas a "trainer" presents the information and then assist the learner to apply this to life and put it into action. So I'm going to call myself a teacher's trainer for now on, lol. I hope I taught and trained you as we grew up.
Who knew that while you were in the middle school and I nicknamed you Midget that by the time you went to the prom, I became the midget. The irony in life. I'm so thankful for the eighteen years we had together. The greatest blessing is that the majority of our sisterhood was positive, with only great memories to carry me through. Of course we had our moments, but my gosh, we are females who shared a room, clothes, and a bathroom. There has to be tense moments, just two sisters sharing a bathroom is enough to cause strife. LOL (By the way, this is the new slang for "Laughing Out Loud") I'm just thankful the bathroom's mirror is the full length of the wall with double plugs.
It was a joy and honor to be your big sister. Your smile was contagious and your love of life, inspiring. The day Aunt Nancy called to say "Heidi is missing." I thought it was a bad dream or a misunderstanding because things like this don't happen in New Haven, New York. My gosh, people drive through the town on a daily basis without realizing we are a town of our own. You will never be forgotten my sweet Heidi.
The community built a remembrance garden in front of the gas station so you will never be forgotten. It's shaped like a star to light your way home again. So many people pray for you on a daily basis, I'm one of them. You'd love that niece of yours, she has your spit-fire attitude combined with my temperament. Watch out world, this girl has heart, drive, and an honest tude as fuel. I know that made you laugh.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
There are days I miss you SO MUCH Heidi. I'm thankful for so much and couldn't possibly list each thing if I tried. I'm thankful you were in my wedding and saddened I wasn't in yours. I watched Suz get married and cried through most of the ceremony, the entire way home, and then cried myself to sleep. Not because of who she married either because he is super sweet and you would adore him. He is good to Suz.
Her wedding is a blessing to me in so many ways. Weddings, regardless of whose they are, trigger many emotions. The majority is always joy and excitement for the new couple and then there is that part of my heart grieving something you were robbed of. I don't cry like I did at Suz' wedding but there is always tears of loss, hope, and love for you my sweet sister. You will never be forgotten.
Last week three women were recovered alive after years of captivity. My hope and prayer is that God has His loving arms wrapped around you and that you can feel them. I pray you know Jesus died on the cross for you and your sins and then rose again three days later and sits in Heaven, waiting. We wait here on earth in hopes to see you again and know why this happened and where you are. God waits to welcome us all home. I don't know how to pray most days, so I pray for the Holy Spirit to intercede. Once you are found, the next part of this journey begins.
Heidi, know you are loved and never forgotten. We will NEVER give up hope. I look forward to the day we meet again and I pray it is the hug of a lifetime ~ whether it be here or in heaven, it will be a hug worth waiting for. I love you Midget!
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.
For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for.
But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings
that cannot be expressed in words.
Romans 8:26 NLT
Today's YouTube video is a favorite song from my childhood. A song Heidi and I enjoyed each time we heard it and would sing it to each other, and yes, we preferred the "The American Tail" version the best. Heidi, all around you ~ there are people praying for you, your recovery/discovery, and for our entire family. In God's time...
Never lose hope...
Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 NLT
Do you an encouraging word to share today?
Last week three families reunited with their missing loved one after years of searching, hoping, and most importantly, praying. I read an article in yesterday’s Sunday paper about the effect of such recoveries on families still waiting for answers. A recovered missing person isn’t new but to have three such miracles on the same day and from the same location…remarkable. M-I-R-A-C-L-E is all that comes to my mind, God answers prayer and is still performing miracles.
Continue to pray for Amanda, Gina, and Michelle’s health, healing, their re-entry and adjustment to living and interacting with their family and communities. I can’t imagine the journey yet to be traveled by these strong women and their families but I know each time God places them on my heart, a prayer will be lifted.
An encouraging factor to me is there is evidence it’s possible for all three of them, and Amanda’s daughter, to have successful lives. Alicia Kozakiewicz, Elizabeth Smart, and Jaycee Dugard come to mind ~ each have extended words of wisdom, advice, and encouragement to Amanda, Gina, and Michelle over the past few days. These young women understand and have a common bond; they survived horrific circumstances that no child should experience.
Each exhibit and exemplify strength, perseverance, selflessness, and answered prayer. Their recoveries remind the families of the missing to continue to hope because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring or when God will bring our loved ones back to us, or the circumstances surrounding their return. Some will be found deceased, others alive, and some will still be missing when their parents and siblings breath their last breath on this earth.
It is the aspect and possibility that Heidi might be alive somewhere that triggers a different thought process for me. My only sister disappeared on April 3, 1994 and is presumed dead yet as I reflect on last week’s events…”presumption” isn’t a definitive. What if Heidi is alive? Would she know how much we love and miss her? What if she is able to access the Internet and read this blog ~ does she know we haven’t given up hope?
I understand the reality of Heidi’s absence because of kidnapping. Each day, month, and year she remains missing lessens the chance our family and community will obtain “closure” or learn where she is. Yet last week’s recoveries ignite a desire to express how much I miss and love my sister in the form of a letter in tomorrow’s blog. Heidi is presumed dead, and with logical thinking, she is most likely dead and I won’t see her again in this lifetime. BUT, if she is alive and held captive somewhere ~ I want her to know that although I live and accept her presumption of death ~ she is and always will be my only sister, one I love and miss.
In case Heidi is one of God’s miracles waiting to happen, I will share a letter written from one sister to another on tomorrow’s blog. If Heidi was able to find this blog, may she know I haven’t given up hope ~ just accepted a new reality. This might not make sense to some, yet the waiting family understands.
Be sure to read tomorrow’s blog and my note to Heidi.
Who could you write a letter to this week?
My wish for you all today ~ turn off your computers and spend some time with your children, mothers, and family. I know this is what we are doing today, so short blog.
A special two part blog on Monday and Tuesday,
you won't want to miss it.
Tomorrow, Monday (5/13/13) at 6:00 p.m.
I will be sharing at the FULTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
with a book signing after ~ hope you can make it!
~ Happy Mother's Day ~
Do you have a tradition on Mother's Day? Will you share?
Today Ed, Mags, and I joined family and friends to pay final respects to an amazing man and uncle. Ed's Uncle Bryant's burial was today. As Taps played, tears streamed down my cheeks yet it was the hugs, kisses, and encouraging words before and after the burial that touched my heart the most.
You see, Uncle Bryant has six daughters. These are probably some of the most fun, lovable, and down-to-earth gals you could meet. I'm glad they are not just cousins, but friends. As I watched them interact with each other, the funeral staff, and those in attendance a realization hit me, " I'll be doing this alone. I miss Heidi."
I know, a depressing thought, yet it's a reality ~ my reality. The bond between siblings is a priceless gift to treasure and the bond between sisters, is one not to mess with. I'm thankful for the eighteen years I had with Heidi and even more thankful for the happy memories that get me through the tough days. Six sisters joined together to bury their father today. A final good-bye to their Dad, the day before Mother's Day. The joy in this rainy day ~ he is with their beautiful Mom now.
My heart smiled as my eyes leaked tears. Grief for their loss yet hope and happiness for the bond shared between sisters. The book of James in the New Testament challenges us to rejoice in times of trial and tribulation.
Today, I applied a couple of these verses to life...
""Consider it pure joy,
my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials
of many kinds,
because you know
that the testing
of your faith
We enjoyed an afternoon of laughter with family and friends. A few minutes before leaving my cellphone rang. I looked down and it said, "Mom Calling". I went outside, answered the phone, and visited with my Mom for a bit.
She asked how things were going and if I was alright. Isn't she the best? (I know she is, so this is strictly a rhetorical question.) It was nearing dinner so she was "just checking" in with me. THEN she said, "When you get home, why don't you go out on the back deck." Hmm....now I am so excited because this meant my new flower box was finished. My parents know the weight a funeral and burial have on me and waited to bring this beautiful flower box down until today.
Dad designed and built it. Mom selected the artistic designs then wood burned and painted them. Dad finished it with the apoxy (or whatever the official name is) over the top and assembled their creation. They chose the flowers to fill it with, planted them, and added it to our deck while we were gone today.
It is beautiful!! Thank you Mom and Dad! An amazing reminder to Believe, Dream, and Hope on this journey. You are the best parents a girl could have...Anyone stopping to visit will be able to enjoy this vision of love and beauty. I didn't think the deck could get any better, you proved me wrong. Love it!!!
Thanks for making my day so much brighter!
How has someone surprised you this week?
Yesterday's blog post teased a little about a Mother's Day modification to my first book, When the Waves Subside: There is Hope. On my end, the changes had gone through and it was visible but I learned after I got home from school, they weren't to all of you. I arrived at my parents and said, "Did you like your surprise?" They both laughed and said, "It's the same."
Just to prove them wrong I logged on the computer and opened Amazon. Guess what, they were right - but so was I. On my end, through the publisher ~ all changes were finalized yet to those shopping online ~ no changes. We all laughed and I logged into my author's account with the publisher to show them the change.
I waited until Mother's Day to share this change so it would have a little more meaning. Many say, "I didn't know you had another book, you should promote it." Some who read it offered encouragement and shared how When the Waves Subside touched their heart or the heart of a grieving parent. Each time I am humbled at how God is working in the lives of those reading the words written in my books.
In the wee hours of the morning one night, God awoke me with this idea. Yes, When the Waves Subside was written for my parents this January as anniversary gift and with analogy that the parents of a missing child are like the broken glass in the lake. Once broken but because of their loss and heartache, become a stronger and more beautiful person because they've learned to appreciate each moment and cherish the time we have with our loved ones.
In honor of ALL parents grieving the loss of a child ~ whether they are missing or deceased due to illness or tragedy...a parent's loss is horrific and described as "the worst loss and pain a parent will ever face." During this holiday weekend and for Father's Day in June, When the Waves Subside is dedicated to all parents grieving the loss of their child on a day when other parents are smothered with hugs, kisses, plants, and love.
The original cover read: "Beneath the smooth stones of Lake Ontario are hidden treasures of glass ~ once broken shards, now transformed into beautiful rocks to treasure. Just like that glass, the parents of a missing child are broken and beaten against the rocks." This is a true statement yet something was missing.
The last line now reads, Just like this glass, the grieving parent is broken and beaten against the rocks yet more beautiful when the waves subside because of the strength they exhibit."
I'm thankful for readers sharing how God touched them after reading and helping me to see this analogy was larger than I saw and for the Holy Spirit waking me up with the words to modify the cover.
Happy Mother's Day and Father's Day to the two greatest parents a girl could have ~ love you Mom and Dad. I hope you like your gift and aren't upset. There are limited copies of the version dedicated specifically for the parents of missing children ~ now it is a thirty-two page story of hope for any and all grieving parents. You are pillars!
To Purchase Your Copy ~ Click on Any of the Above Photos for a direct link, visit Amazon.com, or pick a copy up at The River's End Bookstore in Oswego, New York. Have a great weekend!