Happy Easter! The sun is shining brightly
this morning as if God is shouting
“Celebrate! He is Risen!”
Today we will join our family for
church and then a huge ham dinner
followed by card games, sports,
and much laughter.
Easter is a time to come
together with your family.
From our family to yours…Happy Easter!
One of our favorite things to do was find the Easter bunny and the goodies he stood with. We walked right past him this year as we ran through the living room to the kitchen to ask if we could start looking.
Too funny...in plain sight but still hidden.
The coloring of Easter egss...a tradition we still look forward to.
Easter is a season of forgiveness. Jesus Christ, free of sin, sacrificed His life on the cross for the sins of all men and women. God allowed His One and Only Son to suffer and die for each of us. Once I accepted this truth and repented of the sin in my life there was such a sense of relief. I’m not in this alone. I knew I couldn’t do it in my own strength and with the help of the Holy Spirit life started to move forward.
In 2006 the first manuscript of “Where’s Heidi? The Search Begins” was drafted and then put away to collect dust for a couple years. I attempted to revise and edit in 2008 but only made it partially through before the grief and pain started to overcome me. Another two years and with God’s strength and a lot of prayer I not only delved into some serious revision, I also shared my writing with complete strangers. This was the first step of truly trusting and letting go.
The past two years have been spent editing, revising, rewriting, adding to, and eliminating portions of “Where’s Heidi?” This is always done with much prayer and the support of my family and friends. Although there isn’t a contract or release date for “Where’s Heidi?” yet, people are asking, “What’s next?” A fun question and my mind races with the options.
Prior to this Easter season I planned to put together a book of my blogs but in the format of a devotional for grieving siblings OR maybe develop the fiction story I read this winter at The River’s End Bookstore OR maybe something about the healing process experienced through the final steps to seek publication of “Where’s Heidi?” BUT then this Easter season started and God has placed something completely different on my heart.
He woke me VERY early one morning and nine pages of notes later a 3-part retreat topic and book outline have been birthed. My husband, Ed, asked, “How can you write about that when you aren’t completely there yourself, yet?” I smiled and said this was more of a reason to do it. Who knows maybe I won’t seek publication for this book idea and it will simply be a 3-part retreat series. It is all in God’s hands, for now I will continue to write, study, pray, and trust.
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. The most difficult day for my parents and some of you in relation to Heidi’s disappearance yet thanks to the blood shed by Jesus and the hope I have in my heart, Easter isn’t as difficult. I still think of my sister first in the morning with a special prayer but overall, tomorrow is a day of celebration. Jesus Christ defeated the cross and rose again, the only person to ever survive the cross…and He brought a thief with Him to paradise. I pray to be this forgiving too, are you?
This morning I joined my mother-in-law and sister-in-law in Oswego to participate in the “Witness Walk” to remember all Jesus has done for us. It started on East Fourth Street and we walked from church to church, east side to west, and paused to listen to God’s Word read aloud and a prayer at each stop. There was about twenty-five to thirty in attendance.
After each time of reflection, another person carried the cross yet it was the last rotation that brought the message home. A young girl, no more than four years in age carried the cross with the help of her Grandmother.
Her first words, “Mom, this is heavy.”
“I know honey; imagine how Jesus must have felt. And He didn’t have anyone to help Him carry the cross He did it all by Himself. Do you remember why Jesus had to carry the cross?”
“Yes Mommy, He died for our sins, all the things we’ve done wrong.”
Then silence and the little girl carried that cross with a smile on her face the entire way because she was doing it for Jesus. Of course, her Grandmother had the bulk of the weight yet the message was proclaimed loud and clear:
* The innocence of this young child mirrors the image of an innocent Jesus
* “This is heavy.” The burden of sin is heavy yet Jesus carried your sin, and mine to the cross to save us.
* “I get to carry Jesus’ cross!” We should be as excited each day.
Today I challenge you to read the Scriptures below, listen to the worship song, and spend a few minutes to reflect. God gave His One and Only Son and His Son, gave His life for us.
If you live in the Mexico School District (New York), there is a community “Good Friday” service at 7 p.m. The North Mexico United Methodist Church is hosting this year. Directions: Route 104 (in Mexico) and go to the stop light at Stewart’s, turn to go north on State Route 3 for 3.1 miles to Kranz Road, turn left. The church is on your right, Church Road.
What can you give Jesus today? If you have a message of healing, hope, and/or God’s Word to share with others reading today, I invite you to post below.
"The cross was two pieces of dead wood; and a helpless, unresisting Man was nailed to it; yet it was mightier than the world, and triumphed, and will ever triumph over it."
- Augustus William Hare
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
1 John 3:16 NIV
As this year’s remembrance blog series winds down I am encouraged and optimistic for the future. I lost more than a sister on April 3, 1994 – I lost faith in people, the world, and God. With each minute, hour, day, week, month, and year Heidi was missing I struggled to see the good in the world. Of course, my blurred sense of reality and a warped outlook fueled by insurmountable grief and stress following the loss of my one and only sister.
Earlier I shared some of the tragedy experienced by our family from the evening before Heidi’s kidnapping and through the fall of 1995. As children, we were blessed to travel and spend a lot of time with our cousins. My cousin Missy is the oldest, then myself, my cousin Shawnacy with Heidi as the youngest of our quad. My parents rotated “field trips” with my aunt and Uncle Jim. It was great. We traveled to rodeos, the Adirondacks, or as close as Fort Ontario but always the four girls together – regardless of the brave adults chaperoning. We enjoyed each other’s company yet didn’t realize the true gift until 94’- 95’ when Missy and I each lost our precious younger sister to tragedy.
With the support of our beloved New Haven and surrounding communities, the Heidi Allen Search Center, housed at the fire hall until May of 94 served as the hub. Law enforcement, searchers, volunteers, and family called the banquet hall their “home” for weeks. My cousins, Missy and Shawnacy, were among the many dedicating time, heart, and energy to find Heidi. Instead of a family vacation we came, together to search for our missing fourth, a task never completed.
Fast forward to June 1995, fourteen months after Heidi’s kidnapping. Shawnacy and her fiancé’ decide to take on ride on his motorcycle. It started as a beautiful day yet neither made it home that afternoon. Instead of walking down the aisle to her beloved, she was rushed to the hospital. As I sit in my Gram’s kitchen listening to my family’s banter and joyful teasing, the phone rings. “Shawnacy is dead.”
Only seconds before echoes of laughter greeted those walking by the house yet with the ring of the phone and three words…silence. Another youth denied the chance to walk down the aisle to her groom. More tragedy. More loss. Gram couldn’t take it. Without a word, she stood and retreated to her sanctuary. The door closed quietly behind her with only sounds of prayerful sobs. Some left immediately for the hospital, others stayed with Gram. The family phone tree, once again triggered.
Will we ever call the family with good news, just to say hello? I wonder…
I am pleased to tell you that in spite of the tragedy, loss, and grief God is stronger and more reliable than the curves life might throw at you. God didn’t take my sister. God isn’t responsible for my cousin’s death. God is loving and ever faithful. I do not profess to know “why” Heidi was kidnapped or “why” Shawnacy was killed in a motorcycle accident.
BUT this I do know…God loves me, He loves you, and He is ready to hold you in the palm of His hand and take away the pain and hurts of the world. I pray you seize the opportunity to live and love like Jesus, with the strength only God can give you. We can’t do this on our own. Life will throw you a curve every now and again, and sometimes they keep coming until you can’t take it anymore.
One thing I have learned is sometimes God needs to bring us to our lowest point when we don’t think we can do, be, or handle one more thing because only then are we ready. The truth is…WE CAN’T DO IT ON OUR OWN! God offered me multiple opportunities to accept His hand and love during the first decade of Heidi’s disappearance but my hands and heart were closed.
It wasn’t until I reached my lowest point that I recognized my need for Him – It took me reaching the bottom to realize I couldn’t do it alone. I needed God…we all do! You Do! Will you accept the free gift He is offering you? Peace, love, healing, and a new beginning are only a prayer away.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Yesterday had the potential to be a difficult and lonely day. Since it is Spring Break, we didn’t have school. My husband worked all day. Mags was invited to join a friend and her family for the day. Dinner with my parents but this still left me home alone ALL day. Something I hadn’t done or planned to do in many years. I was anxious about so much time home alone. Instead of a jammy day with Mags watching chic flicks, until Ed got home I would take a business call in the morning and leave the rest of the day up to God.
When my feet hit the floor in the morning the only things I knew for sure was:
1) Ed was scheduled to work 6 -3
2) Deb and I would talk to work on the scheduling for the “Christian Writer’s Gathering” at Delta Lake this coming July
3) Mags would be picked up between 9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. and return before it was time join my parents for supper
4) Quiet time…prayer…devotion…write…sleep…read…????
However, these are the things I didn’t see coming, the blessings God could have only known. I was never alone, God was with me. He never left Heidi, and He didn’t leave me yesterday. I only listed 40!
To all my angels in disguise yesterday…thank you!
From an old and dear friend: Thanks for being one of my gifts yesterday Mallory!
“…Mallory turned to me with tears in her eyes and asked me to tell her what happened. I explained in 7-year-old words and she had this to say....
"Mom, today is April 3rd" yes it is...
"She was taken on Easter...so in a way she sacrificed herself for us like Jesus did?" OMGoodness, insert way more tears, yes my dear you can definitely say that!
Too many FB hugs, prayers and love to count
Text messages of love before I even woke up
Letting go so Mags could join a friend when I really wanted her home
Unexpected invite for lunch with my parents
Lunch at the Loop
Alone time with my parents
So much love
So many prayers
Sun streaming in
Warmth of the Son on my face as I sit and remember
My reading nook…built by my Daddy
Not just about Heidi. -- One friend said: “…wanted to send you a note to let you know that I am grieving for all of the missing children and praying for your family today…”
Beautiful orange flowers from a friend
Prayers and hug with the delivery
A card from dear friend…Pony Express! Love it!
Purple flowers filling the house with an aroma of friendship and hope
Time to pray
An article written
So many remember
So many love
Heidi will NEVER be forgotten
World is full of compassion
Good outweighs the bad
Blessings – yesterday, today, and tomorrow
If you missed yesterday’s blog – you can click on the photo of Heidi, Shawnacy (cousin), and myself for a direct link back to it. Thanks again!
The Lord blessed me with a beautiful little sister on September 14, 1975. Today marks the 18th anniversary of Heidi M. Allen’s kidnapping and presumed death. Life is about choices. We can choose to be angry and bitter because Heidi was ripped from our family or we can rejoice and remember the wonderful eighteen years we were blessed enough to have her with us.
Some children don’t make it from the womb, others die before they cross the threshold for kindergarten, and some suffer with childhood disease. No particular situation is any less painful for the parents, siblings, family, and community affected. No amount of words can heal the hurt. No amount of screaming, crying, or muteness will bring our loved ones back. They are gone. Not by our choice yet gone.
Heidi lived a full and joyful life. Her smile, laughter, and energy are permanent etchings on the hearts of all who knew her and even some introduced to her via this blog. Today I choose to live, no hiding under the covers or hiding from the world. I don’t plan on running a marathon or traveling the county but I’m going to do things a little differently.
Today I choose to celebrate the eighteen beautiful and memory-filled years God blessed us with Heidi alive and well. Instead of releasing balloons into the sky, I release a new blog design to all of you. Your hope, encouragement, prayers, love, and support give to the entire family and me each day throughout the year. This blog facelift is for you and for Heidi.
I hope you enjoy. There are new pictures on each page too. I hope you enjoy the new look and thank you again for remembering Heidi and our entire family today.
Eighteen years ago, I was searching for Heidi and running from God. I might still be searching for Heidi and answers to her whereabouts BUT I’m running in God’s strength. He carries me, loves me, and there is no need to search for any other…He is the One True God.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
If you would like to read more to remember Heidi. Please visit my dear friend and sister-in-Christ's website:
18 Years Living and 18 Years Missing. A Sad Anniversary of Heidi Allen's Kidnapping.
"Where were you April 3, 1994? Here's a clue: it was Easter Sunday. Many of us were waking to Easter baskets and sunrise services and new clothes and fun with our families.
April 3, 1994 changed the life of one family. Their 18 year old daughter and sister and granddaughter and niece was abducted from the D & W Convenience Store in New Haven, NY in the early morning, never to be seen by her family again.
Just about the time our own little ones were waking us excited to begin the annual Easter basket search, a different type of search was beginning to find Heidi M. Allen..."
Less than five minutes after we walk through the door….Power Outage!! My first response, “I have posted my blog yet, what will people think?” and my logical husband starts to laugh with “We aren’t the only ones without power. No one can read it anyway.”
He cracked himself up, so when I walked into my office to start working and flicked the switch up…more laughter erupted. It was also his wisdom that pointed out I have a battery life on my laptop so I didn’t have to hand write the blog. He is so smart (and smart-alecky but that is one of the reasons I love him so much), glad he is on my side.
Pastor shared MANY Scripture verses this morning to show the importance and significance of the cross in Jesus’ crucifixion. We read about “The Triumphant Entry” in all four Gospels before journeying in both Old and New Testament of supporting Scripture verses. The ones we looked at I had seen or heard before yet eight verses in Luke grabbed me like never before.
Read Luke 23:36-43 with me (Bold print added for emphasis)
“The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine and vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
There was a written notice above him, which read, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS”.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him:
“Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” BUT the other criminal rebuked him.
“Don’t you fear God,” he said “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. BUT this man has done nothing wrong!”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him,
“I tell you the truth today, you will be with me in paradise!”
Did you catch the contrast between the two thieves’ attitudes? Both nailed to a cross with Jesus Christ nailed to His own cross between them. Both have the opportunity to repent and ask forgiveness for their sins. They are not looking up into the eyes of Jesus but a mere turn of their head and they were at eye level -- looking into the shalom of God as Man; dying for their sins…dying for your sins…dying for mine!
Which thief are you? Both are nailed to a cross next to Jesus, both are guilty of sin, and both recognize Jesus as the Son of God. All three hang with their blood dripping to the ground and beads of sweat trailing through their dust-covered bodies leaving rivers of bare skin to burn in the sun.
One joins the mockers and “hurls” insults at Jesus instead of repenting while the other says, “Back off Dude! We are guilty and deserve to die BUT the King of Jews doesn’t deserve this. Get a grip.” Even a thief recognizes the Truth and has the strength and power to stand up for what is right. Would you have come to Jesus defense or joined in the mockery?
However, get this; the one didn’t stop at defending Jesus but boldly makes a request: “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” These weren’t empty words spoken. Only God can see the heart and it is obvious this man’s heart was open to Jesus’ saving grace and mercy. Jesus assures this thief he will be with him in paradise. Wow!
Why did this touch me so much today? Yesterday I was asked a question – “Have you forgiven the people responsible for Heidi’s kidnapping and murder?” Up until a couple weeks ago, I prayed for God to touch the hearts of those responsible and/or with knowledge so they would bring Heidi home BUT after listening to a radio talk show, I stopped. The message, “Remember the people you pray for will be with you in heaven.”
Ouch! This one statement took the wind from my lungs and the hope from my heart. As I thought about the eternal consequence of my prayers, I cried.
The positive is I will spend eternity with Jesus, my friends, family, and those I’ve yet to meet that lived for the Lord while on earth.
BUT this also means I could spend eternity with those responsible for Heidi’s kidnapping and murder. I don’t think it was a coincidence my friend asked me her question on Saturday after I’ve spent a couple weeks chewing on this concept of WHO will and who COULD be in heaven with me. We talked, prayed, and I left with more food for thought.
Out of all the verses we looked at today, it was this one from Luke that touched me the most. “Don’t you fear God,” he said “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. BUT this man has done nothing wrong!”
Jesus died for ALL our sins – every man, woman and child! Not just me or those in my small little “Lisa Bubble” of life – Jesus even died for those responsible for the kidnapping and murder of my beloved sister, Heidi M. Allen. He is a merciful and gracious God.
I won’t lie to you and say I’m there yet. I grasp the concept and know I should not hold unforgiveness in my heart. There are more than enough Scripture verses to emphasize the importance of forgiveness and the bondage it frees us from yet my heart and mind can’t accept this level of forgiveness yet.
Will I continue to pray for Heidi’s return?
Will I continue to pray for those responsible to tip off the sheriff’s department so Heidi can be returned to us? YES
Will I pray for their souls?
Have you ever experienced a pain you didn’t think you could forgive? Is there a Scripture verse or two that helped you see it God’s way in the midst of unforgiveness? Thanks in advance for sharing and your prayers when God places it on your heart.
A special thanks to my friend and sister who loves me enough to challenge me!
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323