The middle one, a gift from a student last year and her family. The note that came with it, simple and from the heart. Each year I pray to nurture, educate, and make a positive difference in the life of the students I work and interact with throughout the school year. While I don't wear a "I'm a Christian" t-shirt or button when I go to school, I do try to model the kind of person we are called to be. Nothing fancy or special - just loving, compassionate, caring, generous, selfless, thoughtful, nurturing, risk taking, positive, and friendly people. I fought back to tears the day in June when I put this bracelet on because it's a generous gift and two, it's a symbol of something I believe and a reminder of the importance of what I do each day, to teach is more than schooling...it's influencing lives.
The final bracelet, the one closest to my hand reads "Sister". This is a Christmas gift from my parents, kind of. Mom and Dad enjoy making something with their own two hands, from the heart, and personal for us each year. A tradition started when Heidi and I were little. In addition to the personal gift, they usually include a gift card so I can get myself something that I wouldn't typically spoil" myself with. It wasn't until this summer that I used my gift card because I didn't want to waste the gift, just to shop.
Then, finally, it happened. When I least expected it, I saw something to use my gift card on. This beautiful "Sister" bracelet, until I looked at the price.It was MORE than the gift card, too much more. I was bummed and said, "Well, it's not meant to be." As Mags continued school shopping and browsing, I kept walking back to the jewelry section to look at the bracelet again. Mags finally said, "Mom, just get it. You deserve it. I'll pay the difference for a birthday gift." I shook my head and said "Thanks, but I can't let you do that."
This is where God stepped in. The store's representative politely interrupted, "Sorry, I didn't mean to listen in but I wanted to let you know, that bracelet is on sale. It's 60% off." I don't know if I started crying because I was on emotional overload this summer or because God cares about the smallest of things, like a bracelet with one simple yet special word written on it, and my desire to have it. It wasn't a need, just a want. One way to look down each day and remember...not that I ever forget her. Not only did my gift card cover the bracelet, it let me gift one for Mary that I saw her spying. It violates the "only on Lisa" rule my parents insist on with my gift cards but the way I look at it, I saved money and was able to bless my sweet and generous daughter.
I share this with you because so many of you encourage and inspire me each day. When I speak, I usually have a piece of jewelry on that is special to me. Sometimes it's a purple heart necklace to represent courage given to me after I shared my story for the first time. Or maybe a hand made one to match my outfit or theme, made by a friend who prays for me as I prepare and while making the jewelry. When I put the necklace on, it's like wrapping God's answered prayers around me. It might be a hand crafted heart with my sister's picture on it, or a simple heart.
But whatever the piece, it holds a special meaning. Your comments on the blog, Facebook, via email, or private messages are similar special momentos. Time is a precious commodity in today's society. To know you've not only take time to read the blog or posts but also to share a written response...special! Thank you. You might think, "It's just a quick response." yet to us, they are priceless gifts.
A blog I shared last November starts with:
"Yesterday, author and my friend, Karen Beaudin, honored her sister, Kathy, on the forty-second anniversary of this very same sister's murder. Karen and I met a couple years ago, yet our connection goes much deeper. We both lost our sisters. We both wrote a book to share our sisters and the hope we have thanks to God's working in our life. We both speak and advocate for other families, missing, and the hurting.
While there are similarities, there are differences too. My sister, Heidi M Allen, remains missing nineteen years later. Karen's sister, Kathy, was found murdered within hours of her disappearance. Karen has other siblings, while Heidi was my only sister. It doesn't matter that one sister remains missing and another was found, the connection started at the loss...."
To Read the Rest of this blog and learn how you could purchase a VOVC bracelet - click on Karen's photo to the left or click here.