For the first time since 1994,to my memory anyway, the anniversary of Heidi's kidnapping falls on Easter weekend. This year, April 3rd is the same as Good Friday. Some asked if we are having a candle light vigil or gathering to remember Heidi on the 21st anniversary of her disappearance. We appreciate your thoughtfulness but out of respect for this Holy Weekend, there won't be a formal gathering of remembrance for Heidi.
Our family, like many of yours, will gather with our community for a Good Friday Service. If you find it in your heart to remember Heidi this Friday, we thank you. It's important to remember there is joy and light coming on Sunday, but a time of darkness is necessary before pure joy can be experienced.
Ideas and ways to remember Heidi, more than two decades since her abduction, while respecting the Holiness of the Easter and its redeeming grace, mercy, and love.
Thank you for following this blog. Thank you for remembering Heidi every day, since that tragic April day in 1994. Your prayers, friendship, and hope are a blessing to me and my entire family. If you'l like to tag me or share your remembrance on the "Where's Heidi?" Facebook page to encourage others, please do. May HOPE FOR HEIDI shine on a day filled with much darkness, Good Friday.
HOPE is the theme in Jesus crucifixion and on the anniversary date when an eighteen-year-old girl lost her life. For we know that on Easter Sunday, HOPE is revealed as Jesus rose from the dead and moved to life in Heaven. I'm not saying Heidi's kidnapping and death are in any way similar to Jesus' death, my only intent is to encourage you. Jesus overcame the cross. Each of us have a cross to bear, that event or situation that breaks our heart.
The good news, with Jesus in our life...we will survive and victory will prevail! The most important thing we can do is REMEMBER...how would the world and our faith be different if we forgot the pain and agony experienced by Jesus on the cross? How would my life be different if I forgot the eighteen years God blessed us with Heidi's presence before taking her home to be with him? Let's not focus on the what ifs but on the sacrificial offering of life and death on a cross...so we might have life...eternal!
Thank you for remembering Heidi as you prepare for this weekend's Easter Joy.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
I am probably partial BUT I believe we have the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The colors and diversity of each layer of majestic beauty over Lake Ontario still causes me to pause and say, "Wow". More than forty years of reds, oranges, pinks, yellows, blues, and shades there of greeting me in the morning and guiding me home at night.
My in-laws used to live in Oswego, at one of the senior apartments and to view this miracle and splash of color from six stories up only added to the beauty. I can remember driving home and noticing the reds and pinks glowing from behind the trees. I would call my mother-in-law. She always knew it was me and would answer, "Hello Lis, yes it's a beautiful one tonight." I never figured out she knew it was me, maybe she answered that way during the sunset until I called. Either way, a love of Lake Ontario's sunsets was a blessing and joy we shared.
parent's backyard earlier this month. Although they don't live on the lake shore, the beauty is still there. Sometimes it's the sneak peaks that wet the appetite for something better to come. I look forward to it warming up so we can plan our walks to catch some of this splendor first hand in slow motion, as we exercise both body and mind in the process.
What memory or person does the suns rising and setting remind you of? Will you share with us below?
Some inspiring women writing their story...
If you could write any story to
Writing a memoir can be very challenging. Besides all that goes with the writing process of getting your story down on paper, there are also challenges such as where to start your story, how to tell your story in an engaging way, and which writing techniques to use so you can express yourself effectively.
Partnering with an experienced memoirist will help you articulate, strategize, and make significant gains in your memoir writing goals. Working with a writing coach, specifically a memoir writing coach, can be a very rewarding experience!
Before you partner with someone to help you get your memoir planned and drafted, ask yourself a few questions:
1. Do I have writing goals that I can’t seem to get accomplished?
2. Do I have great ideas, yearning to be placed on paper, but become overwhelmed at the thought of moving forward or getting started?
3. Do I need to develop a stronger voice, more consistent writing style, or a more structured schedule for my writing life?
4. Do I need to overcome my “writing past?”
5. Could I benefit from the help of someone who has already written and published a memoir, who will provide honest, structured and thoughtful feedback such as intended audience and story format and pacing?
Find Shannon online:
Breaking the Silence: http://myfinal40days.com/
The Writing Whisperer: http://www.thewritingwhisperer.com/
A memoir coach can help you in a number of ways. When I work with my clients, we often tackle many issues that arise--from scheduling writing time (and teaching family members how to respect that sacred writing time) to more book-specific tasks such as choosing a structure for your memoir.
Here are just a few of the ways a memoir coach can help you:
• Identify, analyze, and prioritize your memoir writing goals
• Develop a writing schedule that works for you
• Set and reach your individual memoir writing goals
• Maintain focus on your memoir writing project
• Understand the memoir writing process, providing useful tools for making it work for you
Shannon's Podcast: Transforming Public Education: Creating REAL Reform Through Compassion, Love, and Gratitude: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/transforming-public-education/id971779647
Other Stops on the Blog Tour
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!
Tuesday, March 10 @ Create Write Now
"Reinventing Your Life, One Journal Entry at a Time"
Wednesday, March 11 @ Writers on the Move
Hernandez shares the story of how she went from a school teacher to a business owner in 4 months flat.
Thursday, March 12 @ Renee's Pages
Find out why you should read Breaking the Silence in this review by Renee Roberson.
Tuesday, March 17 @ All Things Audry
Hernandez shares some of the feedback she's received since the publication of Breaking the Silence.
Thursday, March 19 @ Margo L. Dill, Children's and YA Author: Be Unique. Be Strong. Be Yourself.
Do you want the courage to live a truly audacious life?
Friday, March 20 @ Choices
You can write a life-changing memoir. Hernandez, author of Breaking the Silence, reveals her tips in this guest post.
Monday, March 23 @ Women's Writing Circle
M. Shannon Hernandez discusses how her life improved after 15 days of saying "no."
TODAY - Thursday, March 26 @ One Sister's Journey
M. Shannon Hernandez shares "5 Signs You Should Invest in a Memoir Writing Coach"
Monday, March 30 @ Sioux's Page
Sioux Roslawski shares her review of Breaking the Silence: My Final Forty Days as a Public School Teacher.
Tuesday, March 31 @ Kristine Meldrum Denholm
M. Shannon Hernandez offers five tips for writing about your passion.
Thursday, April 2 @ Giving Voice to Your Story
Learn all about what it takes to create a memoir with movement.
Friday, April 3 @ Lisa Hasleton's Reviews and Interviews
Get a glimpse of the woman behind the book in this interview with Lisa Haselton.
Thank you for welcoming M. Shannon Hernandez to the blog today!
Sometimes we all need a coach...
The defense has yet to rest, according to yesterday's announcement. The People started their portion yesterday and I am grateful to have the opportunity to attend. It's difficult to walk into the courtroom and the media out numbers Heidi's family and friends but this is to be expected. My aunt posted on her FB page yesterday about the emotional drain and missing our loved ones that filled the courtroom twenty years ago.
There are so many empty seats. Have you ever attended a Veteran's Day presentation and they have the empty chair? This analogy always touches my heart, not to under appreciate our Veterans, but to see the hearing occur and less than a handful of people representing Heidi breaks my heart.
On the flip side, I love my job and I'm surrounded by people who love and care about Heidi, our family, and me. The joy and energy of our students motivates me. A couple in particular inspire me on a daily basis and just to see those smiles, encouragement.
Someone asked if I want to be in court everyday? Another said, "The only thing keeping you from being in court, is you." Do I want to be there? Of course I do, it is the only way to hear everything being said, shared, and discussed but on the flip side, there are bills to be paid and responsibilities as a wife and mother. While I miss being in the courtroom, I'm thankful for my amazing and wonderful MACS family ~ they (you) make it easy to go to work. I think it's much healthier for me to not be in court and I know Heidi is represented by the People and the friends and family able to attend.
The emotional drain of yesterday left me with a desire to stay in bed all day today BUT God's love and strength get me through. I learned something, whether I sit in the courtroom or not, is not a reflection of my love for my sister. My Gram always told me, "Live for the living.", thankfully, I have a wonderful family and friends to live for. Blessings to count.
When it's difficult to HOPE and WAIT...what do you do?
My realization...life will never be the same, even if the case is solved and marked closed. Heidi may be missing but she is not forgotten. This book might end, but my desire to help others has only just started...The day Heidi was kidnapped, the abductors took more than her physical body -- they took a part of my parents, our community, and me...I may never know where Heidi is, but I know this...God loves all the children."
I don't know how long this hearing will take, if it will continue to be a week at a time each month, or if they will continue until finished this time. No one really knows. One thing is for sure, for the next week, Heidi's photograph and smile should be shared on local news and beyond. Even the ticker during the news reminds people of today's hearing, one station's read, " After a six week break, testimonies resume in the hearing for Gary Thibodeau". A hearing to determine if his conviction will be overturned. This is an emotional time for all involved and everyone deserves prayers.
No one knows how this week will unfold or how this hearing will end BUT there is one thing I know. The new information and witnesses have brought Heidi's kidnapping back to the forefront of people's attention and conversations. May this added attention provide the answers necessary to bring Heidi home. Each family handles situations differently. Family members within the family have different ways to cope and move forward in the midst. As you watch the news and follow the case via Twitter, Facebook, and local media, please remember...unless you are sitting in the courtroom, you only hear one side and/or snip-its of the multitude of information shared.
There is a light orange shining through the trees this morning. A reminder of #HopeHeidiAllen as the hearing resumes. It's not a trial, only a hearing, yet a hearing that is increases emotions and its outcome will effect many.
Please keep all in prayer ~ may this added attention to Heidi's kidnapping bring Heidi home and my parents get the answer to their initial question..Where's Heidi? Thank you all - NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!
Never giving up hope for my beautiful and sweet sister...
She put others first and in God's strength, I put her first this week.
Will you take a moment to leave an encouraging word
for Heidi's family in a comment below?
Between the hearing and Easter, it's an emotional time.
Your words might be the pick-me-up Heidi's parents & family need...
When life's struggles overwhelm us, we want to close our eyes at night and wake up with everything healed, accomplished, and over BUT this isn't going to happen either. While tragic events happen quickly, some of our issues have been building for years - so to expect either to go away in less than twenty-four hours is just as silly as winter weather stopping because the calendar says the new season has arrived.
It's important to remember...Spring is a sign of hope,
rebirth, and new beginnings.
These don't have over night
yet they do happen...Don't give up!
What are you hoping for this Spring?
If we can't accept the path we are traveling, then it will take that much longer once we do...to move forward. Instead of waiting or resisting the obvious, one of the first and most difficult steps we must climb is accepting the new normal and the array of emotions that accompany it. There are times when I find myself thinking, "How would my life be different if I hadn't spent a decade in the darkness of denial, loss, and discouragement?" BUT then I realize, it was this journey through the valley that helped design and strengthen me into the woman I am today.
Don't misunderstand me, there are more days when I feel week and less than semi-strong but to look back I realize...I'm stronger. Twenty-one years ago I hid or put on a false mask of happiness. This time through the journey of hearings and breaking news, I'm trying (not always successfully) to remain positive, hopeful, optimistic, and transparent yet in life, there are times when this doesn't help you or help others. Even in bizarre cases like this, it's still possible to Move Forward and keep it real.
On the days when you feel burdened or run down, I encourage you to dress as if you are attending a special event, put on a little bling, and move forward into the day God's placed before you. I can't tell you the number of times I've put on a sparkly shirt, special necklace, or shared a memory that ended up changing my perspective. When you don't feel like you can, this is the most important time to face your fears, doubts, anger, frustrations, and blahs. More often than not, you'll feel better by lunchtime.
What helps you MOVE FORWARD
when all you want to do is give up?
This isn't the only child who touched our hearts yet this is one captured with a photo. One child donated a penny, another donated his allowance for the week. Some drew pictures to cheer up my parents. There was hundreds, if not thousands, of people who crossed the threshold to help in some way to answer my parent's question...Where's Heidi?
We appreciate all that so many did yet as I was looking for a picture the other day and saw this one in the file, I lifted a "thank you" to God for the many, many, many, angels He surrounded us with in 1994 and the decades to follow. Some of these angels were children younger than Heidi and I'm grateful. Grateful, for the example their parents must have modeled because these children gave from the heart...to help.
How has a child influenced you or your life?
Will you share below?
“As Romans 11:36 states,
As my daughter and I approached yesterday morning, we both became quiet as we viewed this beautiful sunrise lighting the sky around the high school and creating a sight to behold. Once I turned around and dropped Mags off, I pulled ahead to take a few pics. My hope, to capture some of God's beauty and peace in the midst of morning drop off chaos.
While the pictures don't do the magnificent sunrise justice, I think you understand the significance. I'm guilty of grumbling and not looking up as much as the next person.
How would our days be different if we slowed down or stopped to look up and absorb the beauty God surrounds us with...in the midst of the darkness and chaos?
A read aloud of YOU are a Rainbow...
.Happy St. Patrick's Day 2015!
For months I've prayed for this event and the message God had for me to share. Instead of listening and following His direction, I kept praying. You see, I know He was speaking to my heart yet nothing I seemed to prepare or do seemed to fit. I couldn't seem to put it together. When forced to come up with a theme, I chose "No Luck Needed: Everybody Wins". I didn't feel this was the theme, yet I needed a title and verse for the event planners and I couldn't come up with anything better. Initially the anticipation of sharing at Wings of Grace event excited me but at the same time, I was so nervous.
I couldn't figure out what my issue was. It is the first time I've shared my testimony since last July, so I determined this was my hold up. Even with an all-nighter Friday, I still arrived feeling unprepared to share. BUT as I enjoyed some powerful worship and then a couple skits, performed by Ranch of Hope Ministries, I finally figured it out.
It was the I in the whole process that was the roadblock. I wasn't focused on God, in spite of my prayers. I wasn't seeking His face but instead, looking for an "easy" way to share my testimony.
Instead of praying a prayer and taking time to listen for God's answer, I just continued preparing a message to share using St. Patrick's day and "luck" items as illustrations. I couldn't make this work and then I thought I had it figured out at 3:58 a.m. (Yes, Saturday morning) when I turned off my computer. One last prayer, God this is your event and may I deliver Your message. I need your wisdom, strength, and message. I can only do this in Your strength. Night.
Two hours later the alarm rattled me awake, and by 7:40 a.m., I was loading the car and on my way. I picked up my friend, Lisa, and we began our journey. Talking, laughing, sharing, and praying.
Some reading this might not know what a Salvation message is. I think in the simplest of terms, it's when you Admit you are a sinner, Believe Jesus died on the cross and rose again for your sins, and then Choose to trust Jesus to forgive you of your sins. While this seems simple in theory and to write it, the importance of its life changing power makes me nervous. I accepted the challenge and trusted the whole morning to God, why hadn't I done this sooner? Such a silly human am I because the message is as easy as A B C.
God answered prayers in a mighty way Saturday morning through the songs and skits during the worship portion of our morning. The songs were about trusting God and to not be afraid. My heart and mind heard this message loud and clear. Then the teens from Ranch of Hope took the stage and performed two powerful skits.
The first a light and humorous one about the power of sin and the second, about the bondage and struggles from sin and the great release and freedom found when we trust Jesus.
I finally heard God to not fear, to trust, and obey!
Instead of opening with St. Patty's Day humor, I thanked these teens and their leaders for demonstrating God and His message without ever saying a word. Both skits used only music and movement, no words. I transitioned from praising and encouraging the teens and then God lead me through my message to the women. The morning was beautiful and a couple people raised their hands before I closed to share a message from God, one they received while I was speaking.
While my delivery of the Salvation message was less than perfect, it was honest and a learning experience. I found myself missing my friend who helped me so much when I started to speak yet while she isn't in the area anymore, God never left me. This morning I awoke rested and thankful I obeyed and delivered God's message. I'm still a little disappointed in my delivery of the Salvation message yet know if God was speaking to someone's heart, they heard it. I can only improve.
Evidence God knows our hearts, fears, and disappointments...here are a couple messages I received today. I share these with their permission. If you attended yesterday's Wings of Grace event, feel free to leave a comment below. I'm sharing with the Ranch of Hope Ministry too, so your words may reach the Wings of Grace team and the Ranch of Hope too. Thanks for taking time to read, worship, and share.
"Hello Lisa, Thank you for speaking at Wings of Grace yesterday! It was an awesome event and I hope that it brought you some healing too! I have sent you a friend request because I manage the Wings of Grace Ministry fb page. I think I need to be friends with you to add you to the group. Not sure, but we both share a love of Dunkin Donuts coffee!!! Thanks again for sharing your experience, strength and hope. It was an extreme act of COURAGE and you rocked it!" ~ Kim, Attendee ~
"Good, thanks for asking."
Do you know how loved, beautiful,
and special you are?
I hope so...
To look from the other side of the house, it's possible to see the morning moon. Another beautiful sight, one that has amazed me since childhood. I've asked the question, "How can we see the moon in the daylight?" many times. If it's been answered then I don't remember. Regardless, it's night time beauty in the midst of a colorful sunrise is just another example of the beauty nature offers.
Lord, our Lord,
3/10/15 @ 7:15 a.m.
3/11/15 @ 7:15 a.m.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
What is your favorite time
of day to enjoy nature?
While I haven't read this book, the initial description of the book in one of my WOW emails caught my attention. Today's blog has information about Myrna's book, herself, and she even took time to guest blog with us today. Without reading the book I can't make a recommendation either way but after reading her guest post and more about her spiritual journey, it sounds different than my own yet each of us have a story to tell. This is Myrna's story and I'm glad to have her join us today and I hope you'll offer her some encouragement while she visits.
"Myrna Smith opens her story one Sunday night when she returns home from a ski weekend with her three children. While she was on the slopes, her husband had moved out. That had been the plan.
Yet her story, though it encompasses her divorce, is much larger. Ultimately, Smith sets out to love herself, to find an inner place where she can rest and grow."
The quest really started, she realizes, in her childhood on an Oregon farm where she and her older sister were once “converted” in their father’s pea patch by two young Bible summer school teachers barely out of their teens. The school was part of the tiny church their mother attended while their father stayed home, read Edgar Cayce books, and mused on reincarnation.
Later, drawn by the mysticism of the Hindus, Smith’s journey leads to Bangalore where she touches the robes of Sai Baba, the Indian saint. Back home in New Jersey, she finds herself in a country farm- house getting prescriptions channeled through a medium for every- thing from her back woes and diarrhea to an obsession with money.
She also writes of the demons that surface during a years-long love affair with her beloved Charlie and what A Course in Miracles stirred within her.
Smith’s story is one of adventure and effort that, in the end, reveals three simple yet essential truths that are both the journey and the destination."
By Myrna J. Smith
"Because my memoir God and Other Men: Religion, Romance and the Search for Self-Love is about my spiritual journey, religious and spiritual texts have had a big influence on me and on my book, mainly because they gave me concepts I had not considered before.
My divorce made me question all of my assumptions about life and set me on a long search for answers. The Bhagavad Gita, an important Indian religious text, gives four paths to God, that of karma (action), bhakti (devotion or worship), raja (meditation), or jnana (self-knowledge). Having attended a fundamentalist church until I was about twelve, my experience of church was that of devotion, devotion to Jesus. I knew fairly early that was not my path because I could see that the attitude of my church-going friends was so much different from mine. I had not fallen in love with Jesus as they apparently had.
My father was reading Hindu books at home, so I knew Christianity was not the only possibility, but the Gita showed that there are different styles of worship that might go across religions. Once I discovered I was primarily jnana, I gave up reading books of prayer and instruction for meditation and focused on self-knowledge. The goal of the jnani is to realize that the atman, the individual “soul” is the same as Brahma, the universal soul—we could say “God”— but he/she does it through examination of the mind.
A Course in Miracles, the text that I have adopted as my truth, gave me other words and concepts that I have incorporated into my writing. One of the big ideas of A Course in Miracles is that projection makes perception. What we see is entirely determined by our minds. The world, according to the Course, is an illusion, a common and individual projection. If we see with God’s eyes, we have vision, but if we see with eyes of the ego, we have perception, which is determined by our human minds. These are difficult concepts, ones that take hundreds of pages to clarify in the Course. Intellectually, I accept the truth of these statements, but I don’t always act as if I believe them. I try, however, to hold onto them in my writing.
Many of the ideas in A Course in Miracles have existed in Buddhism for twenty-five hundred years, and the idea that the world is maya, illusion, has existed in Hinduism for longer than that. As Buddhism spreads in the western world, as it is surely doing, the ideas will become more widely known.
One last spiritual book that influenced me is Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. In one of my sessions with the mystic I studied with, she, or “the spirits,” told me that the true personality no longer had dreams about the future, but that the false personality still has these dreams. (A Course in Miracles would use the terms ego and higher self, rather then true and false personalities.) Near the end of Yogananda’s autobiography one of the holy men is coming to the end of his life. He has one unfulfilled dream: establishing a large, beautiful ashram, something he just could not bring into form in this incarnation. Another, more evolved, teacher projected one for him. It appears in all of its glory with bright lights around the roofline. He marvels; then he and the reader realize that this can be the end of dreaming, his final one having been fulfilled. He is now on the cusp of totally awakening—enlightenment.
In my writing I want to bring forward the ideas that most of the world would see as patently untrue and perhaps even bizarre. In explaining these ideas in terms of my own life, I am hoping that readers will find them more acceptable. And by writing them, I am hoping I can deepen my own belief in them."
Publisher: Cape House Books
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1939129044/
"Myrna J. Smith, EdD, is a retired professor of English and comparative religions who continues to travel and explore the world’s spiritual traditions. God and Other Men is her first book."
If you have read this book, feel free to leave a comment below to share with my readers.
Have a great day everyone!
With this new and exciting change of events, new items of woe enter the conversation. An aspect of many inches of snow and ice is the inevitable melting to follow. Some roofs have been shoveled more than in past years and and others left to wait for this thaw. With each crash of ice and snow sliding off, the green grass and rebirth is buried a little deeper.
The snow's contour around the objects in our yard offers the illusion of life beneath the snow each time I glance out my window but the joy and truth is this...this isn't an illusion. Winter's white blanket is slowly melting and soon the green grass, flowers in arrays of color, and even my patio furniture will be revealed once again.
Spring shows what God can do
with a drab and dirty world."
~Virgil A. Kraft
What is hidden under the snow in your yard?
Finish this statement...
"While walking through the woods I saw this ladder.
I couldn't resist,
so I climbed.
When I reached the top..."
Mexico High School
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
If you've already been to the show,
leave a comment below
to share 1 reason someone
should come tonight!
ONLY $10 PER TICKET
Doors open at 6:45 p.m.
Comments overheard after the performance:
"Wow, this was powerful. They did a great job."
"Amazing show, we're coming back to see it again."
TONIGHT'S PERFORMANCE CAN VIEWED LIVE ONLINE
BY CLICKING HERE - 7 P.M.
Proud to MACS...
See you tonight!
presentation of AIDA is available LIVE
through our UStream channel
for family & friends out of state
or those unable to get out...
beginning at 7:00 p.m.
To learn more about the musical, Aida:
"Break a leg MACS"
You are going to fill the house!
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