Eight of us departed yesterday and returned safely home from our Spring Women's Retreat and Refreshing. But before leaving Oswego County yesterday, we started our weekend adventure of "sister" time with a stop Tim Horton's "Cold Stone Creamery" for ice cream. I must say it was delicious...my pocketbook screamed at me yet the "Birthday Cake Speciality" was oh so yummy. I can feel it on my hips still today! LOL
We traveled half in one vehicle around Noon and the other half around 4 p.m. With two cars we divided to start the weekend yet were unified with one goal once we were all seated around our table for the weekend. We gathered to have our hearts, minds and souls refreshed with God's love for us. The speakers were wonderful again this year! The first break-out session started with Submission! Can you believe it...women and teen girls escaping for the weekend to be refreshed and it started with the topic of submission. All joking aside, it was a powerful message and an blessed reminder for each of us.
We are all called to be submissive to another - whether it be our spouse, our parents, our employer, our friends and most importantly, God. We laughed, jotted down notes and carried the message into our hotel room as we checked in between sessions. Only God would challenge over 200 ladies with the topic of submission at a weekend get-a-away and be successful in delivering a message in love with success! Kudos to the speaker...
We laughed until after Midnight and were awakened to the chiming of my alarm at 6:00 a.m. We awoke in the same manner in which we went to sleep...laughing! A great and uplifting time. During the breaks we enjoyed fellowship with each other, friends we had yet to meet and our sisters-in-Christ. Some of us enjoyed moments of silence while others worked out in the gym. Books were read, notes taken and books written. Camera flashes could be seen throughout the hotel both days with smiles captured with each click.
On April 3rd, 1994 I lost my one and only sister yet in November of 2004...I gained an immeasurable number of sisters-in-Christ! Thank you Jesus! I was also blessed this week with the knowledge of one of Heidi's dearest friends testimony and her relationship with Jesus...First Heidi's friend and now, one of my sisters-in-Christ.
As lovely and precious as each of these ladies are...none will ever take the place of my sister yet their friendship, love and sisterhood are a priceless tresaure in my life!
Thank you girls!
Today's photograph is from our visit to Cold Stone's Cremery before leaving Oswego County. Three empty cups with one half-full. The significance ~ while some of us might empty our dishes in anticipation of getting back in the car so we can reach our destination, others savor the fellowship and laughter with each bite of their ice cream with no concern for the time or destination.
When we are with our sisters and friends,
time has no limit and the ice cream can melt!
Savor the time with your sisters this week!
Today's photo is another from the wonderful album. Have you developed a feel for our relationship - oh my did we laugh! The year she was given her first camera was great - she made up for all the "bad pictures" I had taken of her. Just prior to her snapping a picture of me, taking a picture of her - she caught me in still life doing homework? sleeping? growling at her for being in my room? I don't remember the first photo but remember I said "Oh yeah..." and we snapped away. This is before digital photos - a lot of money spent of goofy pictures of each other taking the other's photo! LOL
I selected today's photo to help us "look back" at our "one word" for 2011. Have you chosen your one word? Do you still remember what you chose? Have you noticed this word sneaking up on you? I have.
My word for 2011 is "fatihful". It has come to me a few times in the past week. Last week as the 17th anniversary approached - "Be faithful!" , when I made a couple mistakes as it pertains to my book proposal, "Remain fiathful!" and when walking in a fog this week - the Lord blessed my heart with "Continue to be faithful!" A powerful word this year...I (we) should be faithful everyday, yet some days are more difficult than others. I'm choosing to be faithful and I'm grateful for the reminders...when things are going good, it's easy to remain faithful! It is the refining and the heat of the fire that allows us to witness our true faithfulness.
One of my readers chose the word "can".
"Can" is defined as:
1. to be able to; have the ability, power, or skill to
2. to know how to
3. to have the power or means to
4. to have the right or qualifications to
5. may; have permission to
6. to have the possibility
As you look back at yoru word for 2011 - You CAN use this word as power. When life seems to be tossing you around and beating you up, you CAN make it through. When you don't know what to do, you CAN call on God for help and guidance. When your strength is zapped, you CAN lean into the loving arms of Jesus for rest and renewal. When you don't think you CAN make it to the goal - you CAN! Possibilities and hope abound when we focus on what we CAN do, versus those things out of our control.
Have a great weekend! Keep your HOPE alive and focused because you CAN do whatever needs to be done with grace, love and mercy with your eyes focused on Him - remembering to be FAITHFUL.
Note: I'm going away for the weekend to be refreshed with my sister's in Christ! I'm not bringing my laptop so there may not be a post until Saturday night or Sunday. :) Enjoy the sunshine and the Son this weekend! I know we will!
Another photo from the wedding album from Heidi. Her caption for this one, "Your beautiful sister!" while on the next page she titled it, "My beautiful sister!" These two pages brought out her humor. I'm not saying she isn't as cute as a button in this photo, because she is yet these two pages contain the photos we necesarily weren't as fond of. I always loved this picture but Heidi, not so much. This fact alone makes me smile. She included pictures of herself (and of me) that she didn't like because she knew I loved them. Some of the photos I had thought were silly pictures of us in our matching outfits or doing goofy things...have been the ones to make me laugh and cry when I need a trip down memory lane. God knew what he was doing as He directed her to put together this wonderful and precious gift.
Collections...Heidi collected stickers and charms. We all know what stickers are but you may not know what "charms" are. The charms were plastic and resemble everyday household items. She had necklaces, bracelets and even this "charm organizer" board that hung on the wall. I forget how many there are, but there has to be at least 100!
When my daughter was younger my parents gifted the charm collection with a note explaining where they had come from and why they were passing them on. She was tickled...1st because she now had something of Aunt Heidi's! It was as if, through the charms, the photograph of the girl named "Aunt Heidi" was real to her and 2nd - she had a new toy to play with. This also started her love of "collecting"! Ugh...
I always had two favorite charms in her massive collection - the toilet (pictured below) and the telephone. Heidi could play with these for hours, she loved them. At age 18 when she was kidnapped, this collection still hung on her bedroom wall - a reminder of how much fun being a "kid" was. Today, they hang on my livingroom wall - with a similar yet deeper reminder - it reminds me of the fun we had as kids while it also reminds me of the day my daughter realized her aunt was more than a photograph.
As I pulled into my mother's drive yesterday I had memories flooding my mind of growing up with such wonderful parents and my sister, Heidi. Not sure why. Possibly it could be the anniversary of Heidi's diappearance just passed or that my Mom hasn't been feeling well or it could be the students at school, bubbling with anticipation for Easter in a couple weeks. I'm not sure yet the memories played quicker than I could have written them down...so I simply slowed to enjoy them.
Thankfully a few of Heidi's friends, are my friends too and it was a blessing reading some of their conversations this week as they remembered their friend. Miss K.K. posted a photo of her and Heidi, precious! They reminisced of Heidi as the "Tower of Power". I've been researching those first days of her disappearance by reading through all the newspaper articles, they list her as the "Tower of Power" many times. Today's photo is in honor of Heidi and all Bishop Cunningham graduates and those who weren't able to graduate when the school made the decision to close.
Thankfully my mom is feeling better and she was even able to stop at the store after her doctor's appointment. Along with the items on the list she selected a book for me, God always has a plan B with "April 2011 - 17 years To Lisa, Good Job! Love Mom and Dad".
It is a fabulous book for many reasons - 1st and foremost because my mom spent over ten minutes looking at different books to select the right one to gift me with. (She did a great job) and it is full of God's Word and quotes to inspire me daily.
As I skimmed through it last night I noticed some of the same Scriptures I have included in my book with others I hadn't thought of that resignated in my brain as I went to sleep...hmmm. My daughter enjoyed it and fell asleep reading the different Scriptures and quotes too. Thanks Mom and Dad - a gift to bless us all!
"God's promises are like the stars;
the darker the night,
the brighter they shine."
by David Nicholas
I'm so blessed to be able to see this quote as truth in my life! In the midst of tragedy...there is hope and blessing, we might just have to look harder to see
it on our own but with God's brightness shining - it is illuminated all around!
Hello everyone! How are you on this rainy Tuesday? It has been a crazy few days - the weeks leading up to the anniversary date were the best I've had on this 17 year journey while Sunday, the 3rd seemed to crash around me. Yet I needed that too, and God knew it. Many bottled tears, fears and stressers were released and laid at his feet.
So goes Monday, so goes the week! Well Monday was redeeming. Between getting into the dentist because they had a cancellation to have my tooth fixed, hearing from the agent (she was more than understanding for my blunder), and my mom was feeling better - a great way to start the week. I talked with news channel 9, they called for an update and enjoyed a wonderful conversation with one of my friends (to whom I have talked to in months). The day didn't go as planned yet God blessed me with the change.
The afternoon ended with joining my NYSUT family and others to show our solidarity before I went to my last memoir writing course. I received honest and helpful critique and positive comments. Although we didn't conclude until after 10:30 p.m. - it was worth every toothpick used to keep my eyes open. ;)
I have some more photos from my wedding album from Heidi and have decided to share a few more between now and Easter. I also have found some other photos that highlight her personality, and mine. Thank you for your prayers, posts and encouragement. It has been a blessing to my entire family. ;)
Yesterday's Writing Accomplishment: (Friday - sent book proposal out for the first time to an agent) Finished Chapter 8, finally! Attended last Memoir Writing class for our sharing session. Received great critique for the 2,000 words I shared. Confirmed a weekly "Writer's Night Out" with a woman from class and read through newspaper clippings from 4/3/94 - 4/6/94
Today's Writing Goal: Certificates for ORC writing contest printed and attached, finish reading newspapers - read Gram's journals for first few days and any notes I might have journaled, research and recording for next couple chapters
Tomorrow's Writing Goal: Start writing Chapter 9
Psalm 37:5 – 7a
“Commit your way to the LORD;
Trust in him and he will do this.
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
The justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait paitently for him…”
Yesterday marked the 17th anniversary of Heidi’s disappearance. I was blessed with an array of blessings from God, reminding me of His love and provision for me. I received phone calls, voice mails, emails, blog postings, Face Book postings and messages, hugs, and a beautiful flower (above) from my beloved church family in Heidi’s honor. The Ride for Missing Children has 180 riders that took time out of their Sunday to dedicate their training ride to Heidi and the family. This was the best couple weeks leading up to the anniversary date I think I’ve ever had ~ with God’s strength…wow! I made it!
I’ve teased you over the past two weeks about a revelation I had while putting together this blog series and I’ve waited until today to reveal it. Heidi was 18 years old, yesterday represents the 17th anniversary of her disappearance which means that today, Monday, April 4th, 2011 marks the start of the 18th year for her to be missing. (I’ll pause for a minute so this concept can resignate in your head…) Maybe some of you realized this long before I did yet it was new to me. As I mentioned the year in a couple of the blogs it hit me like a ton of bricks – we are starting a journey I never anticipated. Heidi will be missing for nearly as long as she was alive!
I remember sitting in Albany for New York State Missing Person’s Day (the 10th anniversary gathering is this Saturday, 4/9) one year when a woman shared her loved one had been missing for over twenty-five years. I started to cry and talk with God…”I’m not strong enough for this Lord…25 years is a long time.” As I felt His arms wrap around me and whisper in my ear, “You’re not alone Lisa, I’m right here and always have been.” I can’t do it on my own but if it is God’s will, then I will rest in His arms and strength to persevere until Heidi is found.
My gram has another saying…”So goes Monday…so goes the week!” I’m praying for a wonderful day today, for you and for me. I submitted my book proposal for the first time this past Friday to an agent. As I hit the send button my stomach started to churn – “This is real, thank you Jesus” and then Saturday evening as I reviewed my proposal one last time I noticed a huge mistake. UGH! After a prayer to calm myself I emailed a friend for advice –she is a wise woman and was able to both calm me down and provide great insight and direction. (Thank YOU!)
So this afternoon, after returning from urgent care with my mother and before leaving for AWANA I drafted a letter to the agent with the intent of sending it to my friend to preview before I sent it, so I didn’t sound like a ding-a-ling. Well…between the anniversary date, mom at urgent care and preparing to head out – instead of sending it to my friend, I sent it to the agent! Double Ugh…I just laid my head down and cried…I cried for Heidi. I cried for my mom. I cried for making foolish mistakes. I cried two weeks worth of tears.
Instead of shining for Jesus with the best I could do…I felt like a failure. There was nothing I could do but apologize and seek forgiveness. I want my writing to reflect Jesus and for others to see Him in all I do yet it didn’t happen that way this weekend. I apologized to the agent, thanked my friend, cried some more and shut the computer off. With the help of some sisters in christ I realized, it was the “I” that was the issue. I needed to give it to Jesus since it has been Him and His strength every step of the way – so on my knees in thanksgiving for being an understanding, loving and forgiving God…I prayed. God is good all the time…and all the time…God is good!
In reflection – although the day wasn’t as I planned, it was a good day. I spent the entire day with my parents. Generally April 3rd is spent in isolation – all healing and dealing in our own way, this year…God had us together for the majority of the day. A hidden blessing during this storm…in the midst of this trials we need to see the positive. I’m thankful for a day with my Mom, shopping after church would have been fun yet to know Mom trust me enough to call when she needs something…I’m blessed beyond words.
Today is the start of the 18th year of Heidi’s disappearance, the start of another week writing for God and learning from my mistakes and moving forward. Today is Monday, “So goes Monday, so goes the week!” I say we make the best of it…it is and always has been, in God’s hands, not mine.
Heidi’s last transaction was stamped at 7:42 a.m. 17 years ago. Within a three minute window she had vanished, never to be seen or heard from again. Over the past two weeks you have met one of my best friends, my sister. Today’s blog and your posts are in memory of Heidi...what would you like to share today?
What do you remember about Easter Sunday, April 3rd, 1994? I remember the phone call, “Heidi is missing…” I know who called me and what I was wearing when I left my house that morning. Do you have a memory from that day you would like to share? Do you have a memory of Heidi that brings you joy today?
You might be holding one of the last pieces to a seventeen year old case…can you help put this puzzle together? If this was your child or sister missing, would you make the call?
We, Heidi's family thank you in advance for sharing your memories with us. They are a constant reminder to keep hoping...With God anything is possible. I thank him for you!
If you have information:
The Oswego County Sheriff’s Office seeks people who may have been around D&W Convenience Store, state Routes 104 and 104B, New Haven, about the time Heidi Allen was abducted, or who have information about the case. Contact the office at (888)-349-3411, (800) 724-8477 or (315) 349-3411, or email email@example.com.
Thank you for joining me the past two weeks for this photo blog series to remember Heidi. Tomorrow is April 3rd and represents the 17th anniversary of Heidi’s abduction. I had the idea for this series mid-March and wasn’t sure it was something I wanted to attempt. So when in doubt, pray first! I prayed a few days while ideas and photos kept spinning in my head. I felt strongly to this yet at the same time thought “This is a bit much, even for me” yet the Holy Spirit touched me on the shoulder and said it was time. I am so glad I allowed the ideas to flow as I listened and obeyed (That is a feat in itself, lol).
The goal of this blog series was to share Heidi with all of you as a way to keep her memory alive and let people remember and/or meet Heidi, the person and sister. After deciding to do this I asked my parent’s permission to use the photos and memories online, via the blog. I want to thank them for always supporting me and for joining me on this journey. For my family, thanks for staying on the other side of the curtain while I’m writing…I love you all so much!
As with God, He once again overwhelmed and blessed me daily. I started the journey with one purpose yet within a couple days I was doubly blessed. I received emails, posts, cards and phone calls from so many wonderful people over the past two weeks. Your words of prayer, hope, encouragement and thanks in response to the blog have blessed me above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
Ephesians 3:20 – 21 (NLT)
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen
Some continued to ask for tissues while others smiled and offered a hug. Thank you for joining me on this journey of writing, remembering and hoping. Today’s photographs are taken from the last page of photographs in the album. Since April 2nd 1994 was last time I saw my sister I want to end today’s blog with the words written to me within the album.
Easter is on April 24th this year. I still have some more photographs and memories I would like to share with you so I’ve decided to continue our trip down memory lane through Easter with a special photo on Easter to bring smiles to your faces.
Thanks for following my blog, sharing it with your friends, liking it on your Face book page and especially all the words, hugs and hope you’ve given to me in return. The blessings I hadn’t planned on.
Lisa, I love you!
Fill the rest of this with you and Ed.
That’s your future.
This is your past but I’ll still be there.
I love you!!
I haven’t added another photo to this album even though Heidi left half the album empty for my future. As I opened that gift and laughed with enjoyment at the time and love she had put into her gift, I never knew it would become a priceless and prized possession. Thank you for joining me over the past two weeks, this series will conclude tomorrow with a special blog focusing on Heidi’s disappearance. Remember to read Monday’s blog as I reveal my revelation as it pertains to this year’s anniversary.
Also, there is an article in today's Palladium Times (Oswego paper) about Heidi - the teaser has been added to my "Media Coverage" page. As soon as this blog is posted, I'm brushing my hair and heading to the paperbox myself! :)
Happy April Fool’s day 2011! I don’t know about you and your family but this used to be a major holiday in ours. Today’s photo memory isn’t from an April Fool yet we look very foolish. Halloween and trick-or-treating…great memories. I remember teasing Heidi because she made her hair look like that for Halloween and I was wearing mine like that to school, lol…love the 80’s hair.
Did you notice my bag? I didn’t the first time because I was laughing so hard at our costumes and the pillows stuck in my costume. My bag is made of the plastic rings that a 6-pack of soda used to come on. Very creative…I was recycling and reusing before it was a state mandate. Go Lisa! Heidi and I had fun together…as I tried to think of one April Fool’s trick that stands out I couldn’t but I did think of an event that brought me to the floor laughing. I nearly wet myself.
If you have a sister and only one shower you might be able to relate. Depending on when you got out of bed and moving, determined when you would take a shower. Dad was always first, he had to work after all and we were only going to school. I was always up before sleeping beauty yet I needed time to ease in to the day (this is still true for me!) and one day I had my clothes laid out and started to walk towards the bathroom when I heard the water turn on. “What are you doing? I’m next.” She laughed and said, “You snooze, you lose.” Grr…my own words coming back to bite me. She took long and hot showers which meant I would either be showering in subzero water temps or wearing a lot of perfume.
Instead of getting mad, I got even. I went downstairs, retreived a new rold of masking tape and made the victorious climb up the stairs. Once at the top I started taping across the door frame. First horizontal, then vertical and then diaganal in both directions. It was a thing of beauty. As I started the last row I couldn’t contain myself and was laughing so hard tears came down my eyes. Heidi yelled, “What are you doing?” to which I said, “Nothing, you just keep using all my hot water.” She said “Okay!” Grr…well I will win this battle.
I got off the floor and marched into my bedroom, grabbed my camera , returned to the hall and placed my bottom on the floor with my back against the railing and waited for her to open the door. The water shut off and we started chit chatting while she dried off and prepared to walk swiftly out the bathroom door. Ha ha!
She opened the door, went to take one step and almost stuck herself like a fly in a spider’s web to the door of tape. I snapped pictures and then she posed for a couple so they would be perfect. Oh my goodness. We each had these in our album and no I’m not posting it out of respect to her. It may not have been an April Fool’s joke yet it made us laugh EVERY time we thought of it.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NLT)
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance
Do you have a funny memory of Heidi you want to share today?
One to make us laugh, cry, grieve or dance? I hope you will share.
In honor of April Fool’s day and Heidi’s love of life…let us laugh!
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323