The start to the year has been busy and full of twist and turns on this roller coaster ride we call life. My heart is heavy for friends and family who learned a loved one has cancer, one of which is a little girl. Upcoming court hearings pertaining to my sister's kidnapping resume this coming Tuesday. Family members haven't been feeling well, and the cold of winter doesn't seem to help lift the veil of darkness and despair surrounding us.
I wasn't going to blog this weekend because I think it's important to have this be a blog of encouragement, hope, inspiration, and uplifting reminders to us all. Yet a friend reminded me of an important fact yesterday, I am human. GASP!
Seriously though, I tend to distance myself when I feel overwhelmed so as not to let others down or cause concern. My Mom told me yesterday, with much love, "You've got this. You can't let the world get you down, we need you strong. You encourage and keep us going." I felt terrible with my response, "I'm tired. Overwhelmed. I don't have any fight left." And the flood gates of tears opened again and I became a puddle. Thankfully I was on the phone with my Mom so I hung up before the meltdown.
A friend came in to see how my afternoon was, while I'm thankful she stopped, she's probably wishing she'd kept walking. I was a pitiful sight. Melting down in the cubbies of a Kindergarten classroom. Good golly, what is my problem? It was my friend's listening ear, hug, and reminder that I'm human that helped me let it go and move forward. I thought I had it together but then as I talked with my daughter, the tears rolled again.
It was my daughter's response that taught me the greatest lesson yesterday. She said (something along this line), "Mom, it's okay. I'm so glad you are crying. You are always so strong and never break down. Let it out, it will be okay." and within moments, she was encouraging me with words I've shared with her in the past. Guess what, the teenager has been listening and watching. The part I missed in this process, I rarely let her see me broken.
Why do I share this imperfect, embarrassing, and weak side on the blog today? I'm putting it out there so others, like my daughter, know and understand that sometimes we just have to "let it go" and become a puddle of tears in front of the ones we love. My friend explained it best yesterday as we talked, "Lisa, you have to let go of the hurt, anger, frustration, and blah in order to replenish your heart and body with the good and love God has for you. Until you release it, God can't renew and refresh you." Permission to puddle...this isn't meant for attention but to illustrate, we all have our days.
The best part of this process, I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to conquer the world. My friend was right, letting go of the ick opens up room for the good. There are challenging days ahead yet with God leading the way, and me following Him...it's all good. Whatever you (I) go through, we will be stronger, more thankful, and able to find the positives. Remember, we all have our days.
When's the last time you puddled so God could rain His love, grace, & mercy on you?
When I first woke up, I thought it was Thursday but after the second cup of coffee realized it is Wednesday. There are a couple ways to view this. First, we could accept a position of grumbling, "It's only Wednesday, will this week ever end?" or we can be thankful because of an additional twenty-four hours this week. In essence, by thinking it's a day later, we gain a day.
I'm choosing to gain a day as I move into the week's adventures. It's been a long week. Last Wednesday, life changed for many that I care for and love. As today begins, I pray our friends receive a positive report from the doctor. The day my only sister, Heidi Allen, was kidnapped from the D & W Convenience store, I learned an important lesson. Tomorrow, or even a minute from now isn't guaranteed. In a matter of moments, life can change.
Prayers for friends, their family, and our community surrounds my heart with much emotion this week. How do I encourage and support them during this difficult time? What words do they need to hear? Is there really anything we can say or do to ease their pain, remove their worry, or encourage their hearts?
In some ways, there are many things we can do yet sometimes the greatest gift is to step back and let the family grieve and accept their new normal, while waiting for the next destination on this journey. While we wait alongside them, we can pray. To some, this doesn't seem like enough, yet to those watching God answer the prayers lifted on their loved one's behalf...prayer is a priceless gift in the midst of the trial and hurdle they face.
We have to pray with our eyes on God,
What is one way you can encourage
The only reason I stumbled on this book is because my daughter was assigned to read it and after reading the book jacket, I "borrowed" it from her. A wonderful and essential read.
Initially, I was going to recommend to educators yet as I thought about it, everyone should read this book. As inclusion in our classrooms and society blossoms, so should our knowledge and outlooks. I'm thankful to have a mother who exposed and encouraged an inclusion mindset from the moment we were old enough to understand.
look away, or talk negatively about people.
My parents told us we had our quirks too but
had the ability to hide them better than others.
Mom said everyone has gifts and talents but
some struggle to express or display them for others to see.
After reading this book, my appreciation of this life lesson
combined with my daily joy of teaching...
confirm my mother's statement to be truth.
"Everyone has gifts and talents but some
struggle to express or display them for others to see."
What gift or talent do you struggle to express?
What's holding you back?
Who helped to release your inner brilliance?
What are you going through in life today? Are you in the midst of a season - a season of grief, celebration, loss, or whatever is the focus of your life at the moment? If so, take a moment to think about everything that is going on.
Who can you forgive?
What will you hope for?
Who is in need of your compassion or has given you some?
Have you thanked God and the people in your life?
What direction will you let your thoughts travel?
One thing is very different though, we are stronger than we were in 1994 because of the past twenty-plus years. Our goal now is the same as that tragic Easter Sunday morning...to answer my parent's question...Where's our Heidi? I pray all this new and revisited information will bring Heidi home.
I tried to post on the Where's Heidi? Facebook page and even to Tweet encouraging and positive words yet between work and our daily routine, this was a challenge yet I think it's important for you and others to know the family continues to hold out hope and trust God to reign through this process. Praying for answers, truth, justice, and Heidi Allen...missing 7,597 days.
Below are links (click on the titles) for local stations covering the hearing, for a few of the reporters and journalists covering the story with live Tweets. I know the #HeidiAllen on Twitter helped to keep family, friends, and the community up-to-date throughout the week and I imagine they will resume this on February third when the hearing resumes. I may not have all the
The hearing resumes February 3, 2015.
I imagine these stations and newspapers
will continue to follow, report, and Tweet.
Thanks for remembering Heidi...
May this bring Heidi home and answer the question my parents asked April 3, 1994...
Where's Heidi, 7, 597 days later?
Praying and hoping recent
developments answer this question...
What song encourages you to be stronger?
“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”
If you have the luxury of being home with your children or grandchildren tomorrow, do you have something planned today? Will you visit a museum, walk the mall, or is there another activity you enjoy on a day off? Or, are you taking advantage of a day at home to catch up on things, watch movies, or play board games? Regardless of how you spend the day, remember to lift some thanks because you have choices.
Whether you run errands, get your teeth cleaned, or enjoy a family activity at home...be thankful...you were gifted another day of memory making.
How are you spending today's holiday?
Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp
and then hide it under a bowl.
When someone lights a lamp,
she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair,
and the light illumines the entire house.
You are like that illuminating light.
Let your light shine everywhere you go,
that you may illumine creation,
so men and women everywhere
may see your good actions,
may see creation at its fullest,
may see your devotion to Me,
and may turn and praise your
Father in heaven because of it."
Matthew 5:15-16 Voice
Thank you everyone...
"...I don’t want anything to do with God. I not only walked away from my family and the community that day, I turned my back and walked away from God...Twelve years later, in preparation for a prayer service to remember Heidi on the anniversary of her kidnapping the Lord spoke to me. I spent two weeks putting together my prayer. By this point I was praying daily yet I hadn’t taken the step to pray aloud in front of other people. I searched for just the right Scripture verses and revised my prayer too many times to count. It was during this revision and writing process I understood how foolish I had been the day I walked away from God and the vigil..."
Taken from: Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey
Thank you for remembering and praying for Heidi, and her friends, family, and community. We appreciate the time you set aside, whether it is a minute or hour, each is a precious gift...thank you. Have a wonderful day!
My heart has heard you say,
"Come and talk with me."
And my heart responds,
"LORD, I am coming."
God's Arms Are ALWAYS Open and Waiting...
Are you running away or towards Him?
Thanks for remembering Heidi - one day she will be returned to her family, friends, and community...her parents will learn the answer to their first question...Where's Heidi?
"Always be joyful.
Never stop praying.
Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will
for you who belong
to Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT
What is one thing you are thankful for
and one thing you hope for?
Thankfulness + Hope = Ability to Move Forward
Spring turned to summer and while hope never waived, as with any open missing person/child case, new information and court filings happen. This past July wasn't our family's first experience with waiting to hear or to learn of a filed motion yet the tone in which we, our family, friends, and community were notified intensified the stress, reaction, and effect.
Yesterday, January 12, 2015, a hearing started, to hear from the defense and DA in response to the paperwork filed last summer. I don't know how long this process will take yet I see, understand, and know the toll its taking on me, my parents, our entire family, Heidi's friends, and the community who love and remember Heidi. We find ourselves searching for ways to encourage each other, and all of you who remember Heidi so fondly and continue to pray for her return.
One way we unite and share hope is to wear orange, the color chosen by my parents in 1994, to represent "Hope for Heidi". Some messaged or told me, "I'm wearing my button from twenty years ago, thinking of you and the family." Others said they planned to wear orange each day of the hearing to show their support and as a way of encouraging the family. My peeps at school, are wearing orange this week as a silent way to encourage me throughout the day.
This is the confidence we have
I am so grateful for such wonderful friends, family, work peeps, church family, and those I've "met" on Facebook or who read this blog. You encourage, inspire, and uplift us.
Thank you! If you decide to wear a little orange, a button, or remember Heidi in some way. Please lift a prayer for her, the hearing, and all who love and remember Heidi. One day, I pray God says yes and we all get the answer to the question weighing on the hearts of so many...
HOPE for Heidi M Allen
Thanks for encouraging her family, friends, and our community. May you be blessed in return.
It was on my way home that this same song from the morning played again on the radio. This isn't surprising as it had been a few hours so the playlist was probably recycling yet I know God was speaking directly to me through this song yesterday. I this time I drove, cried, listened, lifted praises, and listened from beginning to end. Once home, I made sure to find it on YouTube so I could share it with all of you today. There is power is words, music, and the combination of the two.
No one is like you, LORD;
you are great,
and your name
is mighty in power."
Name one song that encouraged you...
Thankfully, I work with tech savvy peeps and I have the added bonus of teen technos in my life. One of my friends, Diane Estrella, she is amazing and our social media and blog guru and go-to-girl. She is up to date on current trends and how to use them. I miss hearing Diane's monthly tech tidbit and lesson. I probably wouldn't even have Twitter if it wasn't for her nudging and guidance. Anyone, I have gone off track, my apologies.
Whether you read #HopeHeidiAllen and #WheresHeidi as hast tags or words without spaces after a pound symbol, they mean more than both of these things. They represent one way to share hope with others as we remember Heidi Allen, kidnapped April 3, 1994 while working alone at the D & W Convenience Store in New Haven, New York.
Today starts a hearing to determine if the verdict for her convicted kidnapper will be overturned. This hearing has Heidi's family, friends, and community with mixed emotions. Heidi is never forgotten and so many hold out hope for her to be found one day. Hope is eternal and something we hang on to.
I've done a few interviews over the past week and one interviewer asked, "What do you do on the days when you don't have hope?" I shook my head, or smh, at him. There isn't a day we don't have hope. Without hope, life would be dark and difficult to get through. Don't get me wrong, there are days and times when it's more difficult yet one thing remains constant, we hold out hope for Heidi.
Hope is eternal...
A Constant to Help You Through
What gives you hope?
With a busy week of appointments and attempting to carry on "normal" routines, I'm worried about my silly lists. While I still have my lists and enjoy making them, for the rest of the day I'm joining my family for whatever adventure it might bring. The lists will still be there when we return home...until then. Let the fun being...
Thinking about the time spent
over the weekend, how do you spend your time?
Is it geared around the "lists"
or do you just go with it?
Arise, for it is your task,
This is the Challah bread I made for Thursday's snow day. 6 loaves. Each tasted even better than they looked and the house smelled like homemade bread ALL day. For the recipe, click on the photo or here.
Well, this has been one of the goofiest weeks. I only worked one full day this week, today. Monday and Thursday were snow days. Tuesday was an hour delay, with a two-hour delay on Wednesday. Not to mention a couple “no after school activities” tossed in for good measure. I’m grateful for a job allowing me to stay home when the weather is terrible. It saves on a sitter and keeps us safe at the same time yet there is a flip side. There is no structure in a week like this.
If you have children at home and live in an area with “snow days”, you understand. As a parent, you are up watching for the delay, then to see if the delay develops into a cancellation. In the midst of this, since I can’t go back to sleep, I “putter” and debate on when or if I should wake our daughter up. Or, I wake her up, only to have the cancellation made while she is getting ready.
Then once we are out and on our way to school, when not cancelled, traffic patterns and usually driving conditions are altered. By the end of the week, I felt like I accomplished nothing yet am just as exhausted, thankful, and appreciative I can sleep in tomorrow morning.
Go figure, work less but more tired. I’m a woman who thrives on structure and schedules. Some of you are laughing because I can also be a big goof, but I usually schedule in the “goofy” days too. One reason the unknown or surprises throw me for such a loop sometimes. I’ve gotten better…
I’m a work in progress though, but aren’t we all.
What is your favorite "Snow Day" recipe?
For the first time, I went back to bed. Our daughter was shocked, "Mom, You NEVER go back to sleep, you okay?" with a chuckle in her voice. I slept until 11:45 a.m. Oh my! In the words of the matriarchs of my family, "I must have needed it." Yesterday was exhausting. I knew it took a toll on me but I hadn't realized how deep and draining it was. So today, I rested.
Once awake, we accepted an invitation for lunch and supper at my parents. It was a fun and chillaxin' afternoon and evening. Nothing was crossed off any of the lists. New lists were not created. Instead of hustling and bustling to seize this unexpected time...I just went with the flow and enjoyed time with my husband, daughter, and parents. There is something to be said about an unexpected gift of time, versus those we know are coming.
There was a time when the idea of not getting things done or accomplishing anything would have stressed me out but today, I recognize there was a lot done. Things far more important than the honey-do-lists. I slept long and hard, waking up refreshed. We spent quality time with my parents (a priceless gift in itself) watching movies and enjoying two meals together. As the evening draws to a close, I'm not exhausted from working all day. Instead, I'm rested and refreshed.
"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.
Today's trouble is enough for today.
When gifted with a "snow day", what do you do?
“Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” ― C.S. Lewis
I'm still working on my goals for the year but thought I'd share this year's "word". I started choosing a word and Bible verse back in 2011 after reading about selecting each on a friend's blog. In 2011, I chose "faithful", and in 2012, "Hope". My mother's word has been "HOPE" since 1994 and one she continues to hold dear to her heart until her youngest daughter, Heidi Allen, is found.
I write my "one word" and "Bible verse" on a bookmark that I tuck into my Bible. I've found this is the best way to remind myself throughout the year of the word and verse. I'm embarrassed to say I can't find my 2013/2014 bookmark. I've checked my favorite Bibles and it isn't there. I'm wondering if it's tucked within a book I was reading this summer. After wasting almost an hour searching, I decided to move forward with my word for 2015.
In order to pick a word to motivate, inspire, and encourage you throughout the next three-hundred plus days, you must use all the information you've reflected on for the days (or possibly weeks) leading up to the end of 2014.
Ask yourself, "Where do I see myself one year from today?", "What is a word I find myself saying when I talk about the future?", or "Will this word keep me focused to follow God's plan for my life?"
It's only after asking yourself some questions and spending time in prayer that you can determine just the right word for the new year.
After reflecting on last year's events, I struggled to choose a new word. "Faithful", "Hope"x2, and "Trust" continue to be one-words to carry me forward. While many moments were spent on the deck, at my parent's kitchen table, and surrounded by friends as we waited to hear if my sister's body was found...faith, hope, and trust were necessary parts of my prayers and being.
Since this past July, life has swirled in emotions, questions, and nightmares similar to those of the early nighties after Heidi's kidnapping on Easter Sunday, 1994. I've narrowed my "one-word" to two, "courage" and "strength". So, since the act of picking one word is an individual mind-set, I'm choosing two this year.
My Scripture Verse for 2015...
We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."
Romans 8:26-27 NIV
What is your "One Word" for 2015?
Do you choose a Bible verse of focus too?
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