Daylight Savings Time…ugh! Thankfully people like Jeanette Levellie share their optimistic and joyful thoughts about Daylight Savings Time (DST) at http://networkedblogs.com/v2edL to keep people like me focused. For an uplifting DST blog I encourage you to visit Jeanette’s blog. If you would like to learn why the opposite emotions are true for me, read on.
Three months ago as Rev. Foti and I talked about a time for me to come and speak at his church, he asked “Is March 11th okay?” and I checked my calendar and all was a go. It wasn’t until later that day as I transferred the engagement to our family calendar that I realized this would be Daylight Savings Time.
Don’t you just love the way God works? I do. Instead of burying my head under the pillow in dread for today I have spent weeks in prayer and preparation.
Today represents the 18th DST since Heidi’s kidnapping. The first of three anchors, that trigger memories of the day my one and only sister, Heidi M. Allen was kidnapped. She disappeared on April 3rd, 1994. This cold and snowy Easter Sunday marked the last time I saw my sister alive. She remains missing today.
God has used this time of deeper prayer and preparation to share Heidi and my story with others to stretch my faith and outlook towards the three markers that typically trigger sadness. There are no mistakes or accidents when God is involved.
*The first time I spoke was on a Thursday evening ~
Thursday was our “Sister Day”.
*The first time I am to speak on a Sunday morning is Daylight Savings Time.
I’m thankful for God’s handiwork in my life and look forward to stepping outside of my box more and more to serve him. Over the next few weeks I will share pictures of Heidi, of Heidi and me together, and the stories that go along with them.
While it is sad to lose a loved one, the hope and love found in a relationship with Jesus provide the strength to persevere. I write for Him and for my beloved sister.
Later this afternoon visit my “Forum” page to learn a snip-it from this morning’s speaking engagement at Port City Assembly of God.
Tomorrow “Monday with Mags” will be sharing about her Aunt Heidi, the aunt she never met. I hope you will join her and learn how it feels to be the niece to the missing.
In His strength,
A successful day today! Ed took Mary to play rehearsal this afternoon while I was at the craft show. Although she didn’t get the part she wanted because of her age, she did come home excited for her first adult show with the Oswego Players. To me this is success. Of course the initial text was a disappointed and sad thirteen year old but the young lady who arrived home is thankful for the opportunity and looking forward to the next rehearsal. Congrats Mags!
The craft show was a huge success. I met some of my Facebook “friends” and blog followers. I love to meet all of you in person. I heard stories of remembrance, grief, and hope today. I was blessed to meet one a woman who is the wife to one of the state troopers who helped with Heidi’s case nearly eighteen years ago. I met a woman who remembers where she was, what she was eating and wearing the moment she found out Heidi was missing. A couple people inquired of the case, some expressed their condolences, and many asked “When is the book coming out?” Go God, go.
A fellow vendor and I connected the instant she came over. Pat noticed my sign, “Christian Author & Writer” from across the room and made her way over. She shared about her friend Marie Weaver. Marie is a devotional writer in Kentucky. To read one of Marie’s devotionals, click on the photo of Pat and me above. God works in mysterious ways and there are no coincidences. I told Amy, “Pat is going to have a book before the day is out.” And guess who won our raffle donation of Amy’s book and a Heidi remembrance bracelet? That’s right…Pat! Don’t you just love the way God works?
In addition to the pages of notes I’ll be typing and the new friendships I was once again reminded of God’s faithfulness. My goal as I walked through the doors to the Cicero Sacred Heart church this morning was to find out if Where’s Heidi? The Search Begins would have an interest outside of Oswego County. God answered loud and clear…people care and kept asking “Do you have your book with you?” or “When does it come out?” and “Know I’ll be buying one when it is out.”
Thank you Jesus for an uplifting and successful day as I continue to trust you!
Remember tomorrow starts this year's Heidi's remembrance blog series - I hope you will join me.
Oh my goodness, Les Miserables was AMAZING last night. My daughter would like to see it again tonight. As much as I could watch it again, I'll pray on it.
Since Amy Quonce and I will be at the Cicero Craft Show at the Sacred Heart Church on South Main Street, I may be tired. And tomorrow I speak and share my story and Heidi bright and early in the morning. I don't want a sleepy Lisa serving as ambassader to the King. Time will tell...
I will be available to meet you or schedule a speaking engagement at your church, women's group or organization.
Amy will be selling her book, Sometimes the Wind Blows Sideways and sharing information on how YOU can be a part of her next anthology.
If you are looking for a fun family activitiy or an escape with your girlfriends, head to the Sacred Heart Church located at 8229 South Main Street, Cicero between 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. TODAY!
Mark your calendars - "We Remember Heidi 2012" series kicks off.
This year’s dedication blog will start on Daylight Savings Time, March 11th, and conclude on Easter Sunday, April 8th. With the exception of “Monday with Mags” and “Walk with Him Wednesday”, there are 18 days of post to share Heidi with all of you. One day of memories and hope for each year we’ve lived without her. “Monday with Mags” and “Walk with Him Wednesday” will continue with their weekly schedule yet their focus will be Heidi too.
Heidi may be missing yet she will never be forgotten. I hope you will join me for the next few weeks as we reflect and anticipate…Heidi M. Allen.
A busy and God-orchestrated weekend ahead of us. Tonight my daughter and I will enjoy Les Miserables at the Mexico High School, Route 104 at 7 p.m.
Tomorrow, Saturday, my friend Amy Quonce and I head to Cicero, New York for the day. Amy will be selling her book, Sometimes the Wind Blows Sideways and I will be available to meet you or schedule a speaking engagement at your church, women's group or organization. If you are looking for a fun family activitiy or an escape with your girlfriends, head to the Sacred Heart Church located at 8229 South Main Street, Cicero between 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. -
Sunday morning I will join Port City Assembly of God in Oswego, New York to speak during their morning worship at 10:30 a.m. to share a message of hope in times of darkness. The church is located on West 5th Street.
And at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon -- time for a nippy nap!
May God be glorified through all I think, say, write, and do this weekend and every day!
Tomorrow's blog will introduce this year's annual "Heidi M. Allen - Remembrance Blog Series". The series starts this Sunday, March 11th. If you have clicked to "Follow This Blog" yet, make sure you do so you know when the new blogs are posted. Especially for the next few weeks as Heidi is the highlight of the blog.
This morning before I left for work I called my mom.
“Helllooo?” an incoherent and sleeping birthday girl responds.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!” with my typical Lisa, enthusiastic and ready-to-conquer-the-world tone, that is too joyful for my wonderful Mom on her day.
“Sorry to wake you but some of us do have to work. Have a great day!”
“Okay, you too.”
A short, sweet, and concise conversation with my mom right…I don’t think so. On the surface it appears as such but as I made the short drive to work I realized the blessing I had overlooked. First and foremost I am able to pick up the phone and talk to my Mom whenever I want, 24/7. And better yet, she wants to talk to me and I look forward to my visits with her.
If someone would have asked me twenty years ago my Mom would be one of my best friends and my go-to-girl, I would have shaken my head and laughed. Don’t get me wrong, my parents have always been there for me. Sometimes their parenting style, rules, and consequences were a bit much but I ALWAYS knew they loved me. They had an open-door policy to freely ask any question, share any secret, and call on them in the wee hours of the night if we needed them. Yet, even at twenty I didn’t view my Mom as a friend but maybe that is because I was still in the need of a little correction and discipline (not that it’s changed too much, lol).
Since Heidi’s disappearance a bond has formed between my mother and I. We probably would have become friends in my adult/mother years yet I believe the loss experienced has heightened our commitment to share and trust each other. Each day my parents invest in my life, my husband’s and our daughter – their beloved granddaughter. I talk to my parents EVERY day. I see them at least once every day and if I don’t, I pick up the phone and check-in and catch up.
What do I give my Mom on her birthday to express how important, special, and wonderful she is? How do I express with a material gift the extent of her wisdom, time, and generosity in my life? Sure she would love a Kindle gift card so she can keep reading BUT that is only temporary. I could make her a chocolate cake with Jodi’s homemade peanut butter frosting but that would only tighten the waistline of her favorite outfit.
How do I express my gratitude, love, and appreciation for Mom on her birthday? The gift I would love for her to receive has no price tag yet its value is eternal. I’m thankful for the opportunity to say “Hi Mom, I love you.” I’m thankful she loves me too. I’m thankful for each moment I have with her and my Dad. Life is a gift…
Happy Birthday Day Mom! It might not be cake or a Kindle card but I give you all the love, appreciation, thanks, and hope one girl can share with her Momma…
1st – Mom, me and Mag’s in 2002
2nd – Mom and Mags at the North Pole, 2002
3rd – Mom and I early 70’s before Heidi was a twinkle
4th – Mom and Mags – a photo illustration of a Mom/Grammy who walks by our side no matter where we might travel. Thank you!
Since last week’s list the roller coaster of events and emotions associated with a missing loved one have reached highest climb and raced to the bottom of the hill only to slowly clink back up for another spin. The adrenalin high, emotions confused, and a God who has my back make for a successful and exciting week.
And the list grows…Thanks to my friend Beth I started writing my thanks in my morning prayer journal and enjoy starting my quiet time expressing my appreciation for all God does in my life. Yet to accept this challenge to find 1,000 things this year is a mere three a day! Everyone can find 3 things to be thankful for. In the beginning I started with “Thank you that I’m alive” or “Thanks for my family” yet through the years I find it gets easier to say “Thank you for the breath in my lungs, for the body you’ve given me to serve and share for you. Thank you for loving me enough…” Amen.
Ideas in the middle of the night
An unanswered prayer
Kiss on the forehead
Aroma of coffee to wake me up
Laundry done…and not me!
My daughter asking, “Mom, will you pray with me?”
The Sheriff’s Department has a copy
Original dental records a priority
All our DNA testing is complete!!
To be included
Yellow flowers peeking through the brown grass
Pants a little looser
Opportunity to chaperone
Full moon and stars
A child’s laugh
Salad and Pizza with a friend
Yogurt and granola
Love…sweet and true
A friend asking me to pray
My mom – Happy Birthday!
Our sweet Coline – Happy Birthday!
A God who loves and accepts without exception
Last night I joined Amy Quonce, author of Sometimes the Wind Blows Sideways, along with a few of the contributing authors. The Oswego Arise office hosted a dinner and mixer to provide all contributing authors an opportunity to meet. Amy extend words of appreciation and thanks to everyone for their submissions and shared a second book is in the works.
If you are interested in contributing to her next book, visit Amy’s website: http://windingroadbook.weebly.com/index.html
Special thanks to Amy for compiling and publishing these stories and to Arise for hosting the dinner!
To read an article from the Oswego Daily News click on the top photo.
To purchase Amy’s book: click on the second photograph or visit The River’s End Bookstore, Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com.
“So goes Monday, so goes the week!” are the words of wisdom spoken by my Grandma Mary nearly every Monday when I stopped after school and then as an adult on my way to work. I might have heard what she was saying yet I didn’t listen or understand until much later.
My moody and cynical side heard, as miserable and terrible or as wonderful and joyful my Monday might be will determine the rest of my week. BUT today I believe this to mean something completely different. I’m ashamed to say this came to me today after reading a couple prayers and Scriptures during my lunch break.
I think what my Gram was actually saying was that it was my choice in how I respond to life. Even if Monday might be miserable and terrible I still have the opportunity to turn it around so it doesn’t ruin my entire week. Instead of letting a manic Monday get me down I need to lift my head up and purpose to seek out the joy and wonderfulness each day has to offer.
How was my Monday? I woke slowly to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the smile on our daughter’s face. I found myself saying aloud as the coffee blended with the creamer “So goes Monday, so goes the week.” Ambition and motivation were lacking so I went through our morning routine with an array of thoughts, prayers, and questions controlling my brain.
With a class of first grade smiles walking through the door I couldn’t help but smile myself. We at lunch in our classroom today for some quiet conversation. I opened my email to see not one but two beautiful prayers and Scriptures awaiting me. God used two dear friends to restore the hope in my heart and help me to see Gram’s true meaning.
One message is posted on yesterday’s blog. The other a private and precious message from one sister-in-Christ to another at the exact time God knew I would “get it”. Thankfully I paused for the quiet in the midst of the Monday to absorb His Word for me and feel the warmth of prayers lifted on my behalf.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Roman 8:26
Thanks for your prayers to find Heidi's dental records. The original ones are still MIA but thanks to the Sheriff's dedication (both active adn retired), they located a certified file from our dentist with Heid's information. This met the needs of NCMEC. Praise God! Thank you once again Oswego County Sheriff's Department!
I would like to thank everyone for your posts, emails, and comments via Facebook in support of the family as we continue this journey. We are ever grateful by the constant and overwhelming support of our friends, family, and community. While the Sheriff’s Department continues the search for Heidi’s original dental records, we trust and wait. This of course has become a necessary characteristic for survival.
Heidi disappeared nearly eighteen years ago and up until this week I never felt like my beloved missing sister would be forgotten or brushed to the side. The Oswego County Sheriff’s Department’s dedication, compassion, and hope to recover Heidi have been a blessing since the day of her abduction. They have sacrificed time with their families, sleep, and taken a lot of criticism from the public all out of respect for the missing, Heidi M. Allen.
On April 3rd, 1994, my one and only sister was abducted from her place of employment and remains missing today. The priority and attention to her case and disappearance remained at the forefront. As with most missing person cases, with each passing year our loved ones and their case transfer to the “cold case” files. We have been blessed with the involvement of our law enforcement. Sheriff Todd maintains contact with my parents throughout the year and updates his staff and new recruits of Heidi’s case. His compassion and hope to find Heidi continue to spark hope in the family.
Over the years I have traveled to Albany for our New York State Missing Person’s Day and attended events sponsored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, such as the Ride for Missing Children. At each of these events I have the privilege to meet other family members searching for their loved ones. One thing my family and I noticed immediately was the interaction, cooperation, and concern expressed daily through the Oswego County Sheriff’s is more than something to be commended…it is a rarity.
So many families of the missing are forced to hire private investigators, spend their own money, or quit their jobs in order to make sure the search for their loved one doesn’t cease. We have only met a couple families who haven’t said, “Wow, how did you get so much support, and continued support from your law enforcement?” The answer, we are blessed above and beyond anything we could have asked for. Heidi has always been more than a case number, it is personal.
Or so I thought. This past week I learned how so many other families have felt when it comes to law enforcement’s lack of understanding and concern. Please understand: This was only one person who treated Heidi, her case, and me in this manner but my fear is that it only takes one. The disbelief quickly transitioned to anger and today, it is a concern.
As I shared my concerns about the location of Heidi’s original dental records with one investigator his response triggered my worst fear...my beloved sister’s defenders are forgetting her. His words brought emotions up from my toes, “…we are very busy and this will take time. This isn’t a big deal. It’s just dental records…It’s just to finalize the steps for NaMus…It’s just…”
My only response, “I guess since it isn’t your sister…” but after I hung up the emotions kicked in and my head swirled thoughts and fears of others “forgetting”. One person, less than a month before the eighteenth anniversary of her disappearance is too busy.
It’s NOT “just” anything. It ISN”T the final step for the family BUT it is the FIRST step of our newest journey in the life of having your loved one missing. Once the “submit” button is complete Heidi’s DNA, dental records, height, weight, and date of disappearance are then compared to the 8,844 unidentified bodies currently in the system with new bodies being found daily. The hope and expectation as we wait to see if there is a “ping” only heightens the waiting process.
Most of the original investigators on Heidi’s case have retired or serve in other capacities. Sheriff Todd will eventually leave too. It’s possible some of the deputies and investigators didn’t even live in Oswego County or work for the Sheriff’s department at the time of Heidi’s kidnapping. Heidi is a real person and her case won’t be personal to them, she is a case, a “cold case”.
Heidi M. Allen was a lively and active eighteen year old young lady with her entire life in front of her. While her case might be “cold”, I will not let her be forgotten!
The Lord woke me up Friday night with one way I might be able to share Heidi with the new law enforcement and district attorneys. I plan to present this idea to Sheriff Todd on Monday and I pray its one way I can help keep my precious sister’s name and case personal for those defending and searching.
This whole incident has caused me stress and concern. Yet at the same time, it’s something to be thankful for. His behavior opened my eyes to the real possibility that as retirements and position changes continue – Heidi could be forgotten. This is not an option!
Will you join me in prayer to reflect Jesus through my interactions with law enforcement? Pray my heart can forgive. As you pray, praise God for all the Oswego County Sheriff's Department has done and continues to do and pray as roles and positions change...Heidi is remembered. Thank you!
The LORD is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.
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 27:1 – 3, 13-14
What if your dentist retired tomorrow? Or worse yet, what if he died? Of course your first concern and prayer is for the family as they mourn the loss of their beloved family member. Your next reaction will most likely depend on your personality.
You will either allow the family and office time to grieve or you pick up the phone immediately to locate a new dentist office so your files can be forwarded and your next six month cleaning can be added to the calendar. Life goes on…or does it?
What if you are abducted or kidnapped before your dentist retires?
Heidi’s information is included with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) thanks to Suzanne’s Law which was enacted nearly ten years after Heidi’s kidnapping.
NCMEC continues to update Heidi’s records so her DNA, dental records and statistics are both accurate and current. Once this step is complete and then verified through the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department, her dentist, and the family…another search begins. All of this information will then be compared against the thousands of unidentified bodies across the United States.
BUT this can’t be done until ALL the information is entered and verified against the original dental record!
Wednesday afternoon I received an email from NCMEC requesting the location of Heidi’s dental records. A simple request right? NOT!!!
Our dentist has both retired and passed away since Heidi’s disappearance. While the rest of our family transferred to a different dentist, there was no reason to switch Heidi over because she is missing. A vital and important lesson has been learned in the past couple day, one that breaks my heart because I didn’t think of it almost ten years ago.
Multiple phone calls to my current dentist to see if by some odd chance he had Heidi’s records confirmed…he doesn’t. Where do I look next? Who do I ask? Thankfully my dentist’s staff was able to provide phone numbers to our previous dentist’s daughter who cleaned out his office and records after his death. I gave her a call, explained who I was and the reason for my call. She was glad to help but the news she had sent my stomach to my ankles.
As I listened to her answer I fought back the tears. She apologized. I thanked her for ruling out one potential place they could be. She did not have them and didn’t take them to anyone either, she thought her father did that when he retired. Long, emotional story short…any files her father had were sent to a “certified shredding agency” to be disposed of. If Heidi’s original dental records were still stored at our childhood dentist…they are gone…just like my beloved sister.
Why are dental records so important? Other than DNA, our teeth are the best identifiers for law enforcement and medical examiners to identify remains. My three things to be thankful for: 1) The Sheriff’s Department has a copy 2) Sheriff Todd and Inv. Pitcher have made the location of Heidi’s original dental records a priority, and 3) All our DNA testing is complete!!
If you click on the photograph of Heidi’s teeth you will be directed to NamUs; a search engine to match up missing persons with the multitude of missing persons across the country. Once verified…let the database search begin.
TOMORROW: As if missing dental records aren’t enough, I learn not all law enforcement is as compassionate as Sheriff Todd, Investigator Pitcher and the original team of investigators. Heidi’s disappearance is technically a “cold case” but Thursday was the first time I felt as if it was treated that way by one individual.
"If there are wolves in the woods –
expect to see wolves;
And if there is God in this place –
expect to see God.”
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
Ann continues with, “…Can I be so audacious? To expect to see God in these faces when I am the blasphemer who complains, who doesn’t acknowledge this moment for Who it is?...I should want to care, and I try to will myself, but I’m hard, so tired. I turn away…” (pg. 126)
I read and reread this and the next few paragraphs a few times. Did you hear the message she proclaimed with such clarity? We can “expect” to see God if we are “seeking His face” yet if we are too busy complaining and doubting Him, then I’m thinking to see nothing but wolves.
My thought for today – does your life within the four walls of your home match those illuminated for the world to see when you walk outside? Is your home full of wolves or God? I continue to strive for God…how about you?
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323