Mrs. Emerson triggered my desire to write in the first grade, “Lisa, you are a great writer. You keep writing, okay?” In seventh grade Mrs. Mahaffy encouraged me to journal through the summer, “You’re a gifted writer Lisa. Don’t stop.” In eighth grade Mrs. Pryor introduced me to parts of a sentence and the exhilaration in creating a story to evoke emotion.
Senior year with Mrs. Egan was a blessing. Due to my grades, I was declined acceptance in the AP English class. I was devastated so I went to Mrs. Egan, she listened and offered to let me do the same work as her AP class as an extra. I wouldn’t receive a credit or grade but if I could keep up with both English classes, I was welcome to do the reading on my own time, complete the assignments, and work with her during my any free time. I am happy to say, English AP was my highest grade and greatest achievement, one that never appeared in a report card yet next to keyboarding it is one of my favorite high school memories.
Mrs. Egan saw more than three years of goofing off; she saw a desire to learn and fed it with books, writing assignments, and rewrites.
My favorite classes in college involved a lot of writing. The best collegiate level English course started everyone at an “A”. We worked to keep this grade and had the opportunity to rewrite every assignment until it was “A” quality. The professor graded hard BUT he took the time and energy to make notes on EVERY student’s paper.
It was our choice to make the corrections to improve our writing (and grade in the process) and I LOVED it. The professor teased me, “Lisa, you are the only student who has ever rewritten a B+ or A- for a higher grade. You read my notes and take the time to make the corrections. Thank you.” With a smile, “But how else will I learn? The 4.0 is nice too.”
That was then, but what about now? Why do I write?
In 1994 when my sister, Heidi M. Allen was kidnapped while working alone at the D & W Convenience store in New Haven, New York I used writing as a method of expression. No one ever read the words written, and no one ever will. I wrote out of necessity to let out the anger, frustration, and all the ick I buried on the inside so I didn’t become a burden to my parents as they looked for their youngest daughter, my sister. Then one day I decided, “I don’t want anyone else to read this emotional vomit,” and I burned it all. With the exception of one blue fabric covered journal, my innermost thoughts turned to ash in the heat.
To look back I believe it was a symbolic burning. I felt as if my life had gone up in flames after Heidi disappeared. I spent hours and years trying to figure out why such a terrible thing happened to my beautiful and vibrant sister. Instead of opening up to an individual or asking God for help, I used the lighted match to have my thoughts and emotions represent the way I felt…burned out and dead.
I wasn’t sure I could live without my sister, well not with true joy and hope.
When did therapy writing transition to a ministry to help others?
In 2004, one child changed my life with an introduction to Jesus. Not God or one-third of the Trinity hanging on a cross, but the Man and Friend waiting to hear my troubles. The One who already knew everything, I only needed to trust. Thank goodness I did. Life was never the same.
Two years later it was time to let go of all the thoughts, memories, and ugliness I didn’t feel I could tell anyone else. With lots of prayer and others praying for me I sat down to write my first book. In three days I dumped seventy-six pages of emotional vomit organized into chapters. Not only did I write it, I submitted it to a writing contest! What was I thinking? The judges sent a hand written note to encourage me to finish the book and seek publication.
Instead I pushed it aside to collect dust while I did a lot of fun writing. Then the Lord placed a flyer for an upcoming writers’ conference less than two hours from home. From the moment I my eyes caught a glimpse, my heart stirred with excitement to attend. It was here that God encouraged me to take my book off the shelf and get to work. This time it wasn’t for healing but to help others.
Today I write in hopes of saving someone else years of pain and searching when the answer to their struggles is available twenty-four-seven. The words penned on this blog and in my books is first and foremost to bring glory to God yet to know both Heidi’s name and story is not forgotten as other’s hearts are touched is an inspiration.
Is there more to you than being a writer?
I am a wife, mother, daughter, and speaker.
I married my beloved less than a year before Heidi’s kidnapping with the photographic memories of this day appearing on Day One, America’s Most Wanted, and every local media outlet. When a loved one goes missing the first question you hear is, “Do you have any recent photographs?” Between Heidi’s graduation shots and our wedding, pictures we had.
Our daughter is a thriving teenager and we are embracing this time of parenting.
While I may still technically be the oldest my parent’s two children, my adult life has been spent as an only child in essence. A different role, one I cherish. I can’t imagine how hard this must be on my parents. I pray they know how much I love them and pray for them. I pray for my sister too. In God’s time…
In 2010 I started to establish myself as “writer”. Less than two years later I began the journey to add “speaker” to my resume. God used a few wonderful ladies to open this door in December of 2011. Since this first event, I have spoken a few more times. Each time God opens the door I pray to give His message with those in attendance. I speak for the same reason I write, to help others.
BUT do you know the best part? Each time I speak, the hours spent looking up Bible verses and in prayer strengthen me. I plan, prepare, and pray for those who will hear my message. I want to be an ambassador worthy to share God’s message for whoever might hear the words God gave me. Sometimes I find myself thinking, Are you sure God? I’m not sure I can do this…Okay, this is Your message not mine. And each time, the feedback brings tears to my eyes.
I am stronger and more dependent on God with each speaking event. It is through this intense time of study, prayer and preparation that I focus on the story and message God has for others. My healing and strength is an added blessing.
Are you scheduling speaking events at this time?
Yes I am.
You can contact me directly through my email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting my “Contact Me” page on this website. There is information for event planners on my “Speaker” page. You may also Facebook message me.
There are still dates available for this summer and I have started to schedule for the Fall. I look forward to hearing from you.
Is there something you would like to ask me?