Each year I try to modify or freshen up the website. It's usually around the anniversary of Heidi's kidnapping to brighten my Mom's mood. She enjoyed watching the website and transform into something different, yet the same. I didn't finish the update in time to reveal it on the third, but it's ready today. I hope you all like it.
I follow a few blogs and enjoy seeing how different authors, speakers, and organizations display their websites. I like to keep it simple yet clean. I want you to feel comfortable reading and for those new to the page, my hope is to have it easy to maneuver and utilize. I moved the blog to the first page so when new viewers stop by, the blog is the first thing viewed.
I have a page to introduce myself and share why I write, and my testimony of how God changed my life after my greatest loss, the loss of my only sister. There is a page to contact me and another with answers to commonly asked questions, making it easier for anyone interested in having me speak at an event, retreat, or a pulpit fill, to find what they are looking for. I try to post blogs and reviews of my books on one page to help you decide if my books are right for you. The last page has links to some of the media coverage from the release of Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey, and a couple others since then. I hope these pages and the set up of my site are inviting and encourage you.
Happy Spring! See you tomorrow!
How do you “paint a picture” for others? Some creative people use paints, oil pastels, or other more ingenious tools to do this but for me, I use words. To me, words are beautiful and the way in which we manipulate them into sentences, paragraphs, and chapters creates a place for our readers to journey to without leaving the comfort of their home or bus stop. A couple weeks ago I shared my testimony and a message of transformation with Live More Ministries using both paints and words. It was a first for me and I learned so much in the preparation.
Part of this time was therapeutic as I watched YouTube videos to learn how to paint a valley, or looked at old pictures of my Mom painting. Am I my mother’s daughter with the talent to turn liquid color into something beautiful? No way! Am I mother’s daughter in the sense that I’m willing to try and to mesh different creative venues to create a new and unique way of sharing my thoughts, story, and testimony? Yes!
I learned more through the process of painting my “Kindergarten Butterfly” in front of more than one-hundred ladies than I did in the weeks and months of preparation. You see, I forgot in the planning process that it isn’t about the method or final product, IT IS A HEART ISSUE. Don’t get me wrong, I only saw a kindergarten painted butterfly but the women, especially Shirley, saw the transformation God did in my heart through the words I spoke to them. To watch me paint was amusing and kept their eyes busy. I didn’t paint the picture of my transformation through my relationship with God with paints that day; it was with words and tears.
We are each unique and created to be an individual. We each have a story to tell that is special to us, one only God knows unless He chooses to bless us and let our story be made more public to encourage and inspire others. There isn’t a day I don’t miss my sister, and these days, my mother BUT when I am feeling my lowest and weakest I know one thing that is true and helps me continue to create in whatever mode God calls me to…God loves me and provides the strength and hope I need to face each day. Do you know this to be true on a personal level? I hope so!
The short of it, we are each made to share how God works in our life. We need only accept who we are and how God made us (hmm, reminds me of my daughter’s new book – gotta share it). YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL, WHO and HOW will you share your testimony?
How will you paint your story today? Maybe with someone in the checkout line, over lunch, or possibly while getting coffee? The choice is yours…let the creating and sharing begin, God trusted YOUR story to you. No one else can paint YOUR picture!
How will you paint your story?
"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 NIV
In preparation for my speaking engagement for the Live More Ministries, I studied some of the same verses the speakers at our annual women's retreat shared. I LOVE HOW GOD ORDERS these things in our life. I'm thankful to have my eyes fixed on Him so I can SEE how God lined up my study, our speakers study, and merges them into a powerful and profound message direct to my heart this past weekend. It built on God's message to me over the past few months.
Have you ever sat in the dentist chair with the eerie sound of the drill making you cringe and creating goosebumps on your arms? What about the pressure as the dentist works on your teeth? No pain, but pressure. Has the novocaine ever wore off before the dentist was finished, or start to wear off? These are fun memories, right? Not so much.
Our dentist can make an educated guess to what we've been eating and drinking, how many times we've brushed our teeth a day, and even the type of toothpaste and mouth wash we are using. It's even possible for them to tell if we use the dental floss they give us every six months or if it uses spaces on a shelf in the bathroom. BUT even with their x-rays, education, and diagnosis...they don't KNOW for sure.
They will question us and ask about our eating, drinking, and hygiene habits. We choose to answer them honestly or shrug our shoulders. God on the other hand, knows EVERYTHING without asking or needing us to tell Him but He desires us to throw off our hindrances and sins so we can run and not be weary or lose heart. What are we waiting for? God already knows so why do we procrastinate in sharing our sins with Him during our quiet times?
The dental hygienist can scrape and clean our teeth, the dentist will check and fix them, but in the long run the prelim is the same...WE HAVE TO DO OUR PART or no matter how many suggestions or wellness visits we have...cavities and sin will take over requiring more work than one visit for repairs will allow. This is one reason we to do our part and persevere. Are you persevering or just doing the minimum to get by?
I don't know about you but I want to throw off all that hinders, keep my eyes focused on God, and win this race...I might not see the prize while on earth, it's an Eternal one BUT I KNOW IT'S WORTH IT. The next time you sit in the dentist chair and the machines grind, scrape, and repair...remember God is ALWAYS WITH YOU and is waiting for you to throw off all that hinders. Once you release this weight and LOOK UP with your eyes and heart...then a true cleaning of our soul begins and the pioneer and perfecter of our faith can finish the work he has for us. Pretty cool, don't you think? Embrace your next dental visit, God's talking to you .
What do you think about when you're sitting in the dentist chair?
For the past two years, Mary needed to write a children's book for an assignment at school. Last year's story was a cute alphabet book but this year, Mary chose to express her heart more and use the assignment as a way to encourage the class she was working in at the time. A couple of the students connected with Mary and she understood even more why I don't "go to work" but instead, enjoy the opportunity to teach other people's kids.
Mary wrote Suzie B to encourage the child searching and wondering who she is, and who she will be one day in the future. I was impressed with Mary’s ability to write and explain to a child, in their terms, that it’s okay to be who you are. We don’t need to be “who” the world says one needs to be, but instead, be the best “you”, you can be. Little Suzie seeks advice from her parents but in the end, it’s up to YOU, to be the best YOU, you can be.
Initially, I planned to surprise Mary with the finished book but after scanning the illustrations and working on the edits to keep their integrity while enhancing their pixels for publication, it was too exciting not to share with Mary. I’m glad I did give her a heads up. It was fun sharing the “behind-the-scenes” aspect of publishing with Mary and I look forward to seeing how God uses her gift to write and share with others in the future.
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM TODAY!!
Suzie B is available in Print and on Kindle - click for a direct link.
If you want a signed copy, I’ll have some at the First Congregational Church in New Haven, New York on May 21st, 2016 between 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
In addition to Mary’s first book, I’ll have my books there also.
Please stop by and support a youth author and the publication of her first book.
Congrats Mary, I’m glad you like your surprise.
Will you take a moment to leave a word of encouragement
for this young writer? Thank you in advance!
Anyway, let me share a snip-it of how my vacation started. Unlike no other break, I used a half personal day to join the ladies from church for our annual Spring Refresh. To start the week retreating with the ladies from our church and churches across the North East District was such a blessing. Instead of starting my vacation as Martha, I enjoyed a couple days of being Mary.
If you aren't familiar with Mary and Martha from the Bible, check out the following verses, Luke 10:38-42. Click here to read them. It's a beautiful story, there are a few books written by Joanne Weaver, I've read them and they are an encouragement. The last time I loaned it out, I didn't get it back, (sad face), but I plan to add it back to my collection so I can re-read it. There is a second one too, check them out here.
A couple verses of reflection from Kolleen's message:
Luke 7:36 - 50 Mark 5: 24-34
A few verses from Lisa's messages to reflect and feed on:
Proverb 19:21 Psalm 139:13
Romans 12:4-6 Colossians 3:17
Psalm 37 Psalm 119
There are so many more, this is
only a snip-it of what I'm digesting for the next couple weeks.
Do you take advantage of your church's annual women's retreat?
If so, why do you prioritize this time with the ladies?
I shared with the ladies in attendance about the challenges in the preparation in the months, weeks, and days prior to our time together. This was the first speaking engagement scheduled and to happen since my Mom passed away. Prior to this, I shared the Bible verses and ideas God placed on my heart with my mom and she helped me fine-tune my presentation. Through the process of preparation this time I learned something, I AM is able to do this because of the same relationship I shared and stressed with the ladies, the one with Jesus.
Did I miss my mom as I prepared? Yes. Did I miss calling my Mom on Saturday morning to tell her what I was wearing and practice a little? Of course. Did I call and cancel because the tears and grief broke my heart? No Way! God called me to speak for Him and to this Live More Ministries' event, the last thing my mom would want is to know I wasn't falling His calling.
Part of the reason for my nerves and uneasiness was the nature of my presentation. You see, I tried something I've never done before in front of a group of people, and something I'm not super good at BUT because I was obedient to the message God wanted me to share, it was a wonderful presentation. (At least the gracious women in attendance seemed to enjoy it) They left talking about how God worked and is working in their life and what they needed to let go so God could renew and transform them. His message was delivered with me as His vessel.
The irony, I painted as I shared. Yikes! My mom was the gifted painter so as I think about this past weekend I smile because through the painting, Mom was standing right beside me and helping me with each stroke of the brush. I didn't see this as I planned and prayed, all I could focus on was the difficulty of painting a butterfly while delivering God's message without failing Him, Heidi, or my family. I'm so silly, I forgot that when we are following God's plan/will with a pure and faithful heart to serve Him...He will not let us fall but instead will lift us up.
Over a hundred women wrote down at least one thing they would give to God this past Saturday. They released the weight of...
*negative self talk
*negative relationships with their children
Don't be afraid to step out of the box when God asks.
At the end of my presentation I drew a name from the basked and gave away my butterfly painting. Meet Shirley, she was so excited to win it and her comment made my day when she shared she was going to ask what I planned to do with the painting afterwards. God knew she'd appreciate it.
Tragedies are a part of life at one point or another.
Today, release the aftermath of this tragedy by giving it to God.
Simply put it in writing ~ you don't have to post it in a comment below BUT I encourage you to put it in writing somewhere!
Take the power of the pain away and THRIVE because you are made for so much more!
Last week was busy, exciting, and inspiring. Yesterday was the first of many as we spent the day at our daughter's "accepted student day" for college. Instead of blogging last week, I spent my free moments wrapping up my thoughts, Bible verses, and message to share with the Live More Ministries this past Saturday. It was a challenging and uplifting time of preparation and presentation, with God leading the way each and every moment. It helped to know I had friends and family praying for me too because I know God answers prayers still today. To say my Saturday was full of laughter, friendship, and love is an understatement. It was a refreshing day, one I am thankful for.
After sharing about being "Transformed Through Tragedy" with the ladies in attendance at the Ellisburg Church, I spent the rest of my day with family. We enjoyed a home cooked meal, movies, and Mary and I even managed to take time to go "senior-dinner-dance-dress"with success. She even found shoes. After a morning of worship and potluck with my church family, I enjoyed a walk with my aunt and wrapped up the day snuggled in watching movies with my husband and daughter. A relaxing and refreshing weekend.
As we plan and gear up for our daughter's graduation and transition to college in the Fall, we take advantage of the moments available to enjoy some family time. In order to do the things God has for us and be the person God's calling us to be, we need to take time for ourselves and our families.
I enjoy blogging and interacting with all of you yet after my Mom passed, it was difficult because I missed our "blog conversations" then as I looked up a previous blog, I was blessed. To read my Mom's comments and our interactions brings me so much joy. God knew long before my Mom and I, He used my blog as one way my mom could encourage and inspire me still today. Her legacy and advice remain in cyberspace. Thanks God and Mom!
With this being said, I've let go of a lot of hurt and bitterness in the past few months and continue to open myself up for more God and less grief. Will I ever stop grieving my Mom? I don't think so, I don't believe anyone every truly gets over losing a parent. But, with each day it becomes easier to put one foot in front of the other and enjoy life. We are called to enjoy life after all, to thrive. Tomorrow I plan on sharing about this weekend's message so make sure you come back to learn more.
Is it priorities or excuses preventing you
from doing what God's calling you to do?
There is no reason to save this for another day, today is just as good a day to remember this as the next. Don't you think? Last night we had the pleasure of joining our Ride for Missing Children Family for their April meeting. We like to attend at least one meeting a year before the actual ride. It's an opportunity to encourage and talk with the cyclists before they are riding one-hundred miles to raise awareness of missing and exploited children.
If you'd like to support this mission of education, awareness, and hope...click here to make a donation. There is a tab if you want to donate in "honor or memory of" too, if you'd like to remember Heidi Allen or a missing and exploited child close to your heart, list their name here. Donations help support the Mohawk Valley Branch of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). If you'd like more information about how monies are used, click here.
In addition to printing and distributing posters of missing children, NCMEC uses monies to provide FREE education programs to schools! This is an asset many schools aren't utilizing. If you haven't had NCMEC come to your child or grandchild's school to present one of their top-notch programs, contact Wendy Fical or Ed Suk and they'll connect you to the NCMEC school-education representative in your area. My daughter's district did this a few years ago. They presented in each of our schools and did a parents'/community night to educate the adults too. It is wonderful.
National Center For Missing & Exploited Children-NY/MV
934 York Street
Utica, NY 13502
Executive Director, NY
National Center For Missing & Exploited Children
New York Branch
275 Lake Avenue
Rochester, NY 14608-1042
(585) 242-0900 ext. 3330
of the United States and beyond. Your prayers and thoughts mean so much!
If you have experienced the Ride for Missing Children or a NCMEC event, will you share how it impacted you personally?
Why do I share this with you? The beauty of God is we can talk to Him where ever we are, whenever we want to, and it doesn't matter to Him where we are located. Yet, for me, it's easier to connect while sitting on my deck than at the kitchen table. It could be the sound of the birds, the fresh morning breeze, or it could simply be I can't see the "to-do-items" when I'm on the deck. I let the lists and burdens go and savor each moment.
Over the past few weeks as I prepare for an upcoming speaking engagement, God reminded me how important it is to spend time with Him. God used my prayer and prep time to renew my focus and strength and the direction of my gaze. Someone once said, "Keep your eyes focused on God, not the problem." or something like that. Sadly, my focus lately has been on the "stuff", not on God. BUT, guess what, when I take time in the morning (even though it's inside and not long enough for me), my day is so much better.
Without realizing it, my stress has been visible. The only difference last week was taking time to write in my journal, pray, and read my Bible in the morning for at least fifteen minutes. The result, a more peaceful Lisa. I received compliments last week on how nice I looked and was confused. I wasn't wearing new clothes or even taking time to do my hair. It confused me but I responded in kind with a "thank you". I mentioned it to my daughter and out of the mouth of babe, "Mom, it's how you are carrying yourself, there is something different. I don't know what it is, but it's something from inside I think." Hmm...time with God, a brighter exterior? Go figure.
I enjoy speaking and sharing with churches about my faith. It is such a gift. God blesses me as I prepare as He renews disciplines I've relaxed on and restores my faith in ways I can't explain.
"God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.
Use them well to serve one another.
Do you have the gift of speaking?
Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you.
Do you have the gift of helping others?
Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.
Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.
All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen."
1 Peter 4:10-11 NLT
Where and what are you focusing on right now?
What direction are you looking?
Have you set goals for 2016?
Instead of setting goals for the new year, set goals for a new you!
It's never too late for #goal setting!
Rather than be depressed about what is missing, I'm choosing to focus on the new and exciting. It will be the first time Dad gets to see the new book, first. Mom tended to grab the first copies before the rest of us could. But then again, we enjoyed it so much, we played the game of who could lift the first book out but always let it be my Mom. This time, Dad is opening the box because there is an added surprise in the package for him. We've teased him a little about this, but don't know if he's realized it. (Until reading this blog of course, tee hee)
SO...What is this new book all about?
Goal Setting for A Renewed You: Because You Deserve It! makes its final transition from idea and personal plan, into a book and journal for you as you are reading this blog. It's in the final publication phase and I am excited for the first proof to arrive. This book is designed to help you understand the importance of goal setting and offer a realistic outline and direction to get you started. This is an opportunity to get to know yourself better.
Once you take a deeper look into YOU, then set one, two, or many goals and start developing a plan to achieve them. You might notice a common theme or pattern in the midst of the different goals area, making it possible to have mini-goals that align to reach your other goals. Goal setting can be fun and always benefits you in the long run, if not much sooner.
I hope to release Goal Setting for a Renewed You: Because You Deserve It! in the near future but I'm looking for some feedback from a few of you first. Here is my idea, I'd like to GIVE 5 copies of Goal Setting for a Renewed You: Because You Deserve It! away to 5 people willing to dedicate time over the next couple weeks to read, review, and set some goals! IS THIS YOU? Are you thinking, this is the time for me to finally put those thoughts, dreams, and ideas into writing and start planning how to achieve them? If so, leave a comment below.
Leave your name and email (I'm the only one who will see your email) and a comment of why you should be one of my 5 BETA readers and goal setting trend setters? I'll use a name generator to pick the 5 lucky recipients on Friday, April 8th and announce your names on the blog. I'll also contact you via email for your mailing address so I can send your PRE-RELEASE COPY of Goal Setting for a Renewed You: Because You Deserve It! out in the mail once they arrive.
Thank you for setting time aside to improve WHO you are because you deserve. A special thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book with your family, friends, social media, and blogs too. I can't wait to see how many people comment for a chance to be ONE OF 5 PRE-RELEASE BOOK RECIPIENTS. Not only do you get a FREE BOOK, you'll have the spring board to set and reach your goals.
DRAWING ON FRIDAY, APRIL 8, 2016
5 WINNERS - 5 PRE-RELEASE COPIES
Goal Setting for a Renewed You: Because You Deserve It!
Leave your name, email, and WHY YOU should be one of the BETA readers.
Thank you in advance and we look forward to reading your reasons to win.
This past September my mother said good bye and closed her eyes, leaving earth with the pain of not knowing where her youngest daughter was or what happened to her. Today, twenty-two years later, if you are reading this blog and have information to help answer the question my parents asked on Easter Sunday more than two decades ago, will you contact law enforcement? Will you help bring Heidi home so no more family close their eyes and take their last breath with the pain of not knowing as one of their last thoughts?
Thank you for taking the difficult step to come forward with the truth to bring Heidi home. Someone knows something, I pray if it is you...you put yourself in my Dad or my shoes...please bring Heidi home.
Where's Heidi? Do you know the truthful answer to this question?
Contact any of the following organizations to give your tip...
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's CyberTiplineHours:
24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English, Spanish and 178 more languages
1-888-349-3411, 1-800-724-8477 or 315-349-3411.
Tomorrow is the 22nd Anniversary of my only sister's kidnapping. Heidi Allen, abducted while working alone at the D & W Convenience Store on Easter Sunday, April 3, 1994...remains missing today.
Something else that remains is our hope for Heidi's return one day. Heidi's family, friends, community, and even people she never met continue to remember Heidi in their prayers. More than two decades later, people take time out of their schedule to remember Heidi and offer encouragement.
Life changed in our small town on that Easter Sunday. Doors are now locked and people are more cautious yet at the same time, awareness and motivation for change increased. A close community united on a higher level with a common goal, to find Heidi.
Prayer increased, hope filled the air, and we all took time to do our part in finding Heidi. This forward motion still happens today. Yesterday one of Heidi's friends took time out of her busy schedule to drive to New Haven and remember Heidi by leaving a couple helium balloons at the "Heidi Allen Remembrance Garden" located at the intersection of State Routes 104 and 104b, the very location she disappeared from twenty-two years prior.
This wreath was created and made by Sandy Falcetti of "Sandy's Handmade Designs" located in Oswego, New York. It is the perfect breath of spring and hope as April begins.
Our family appreciates the encouragement in how many people remember Heidi. We are overwhelmed at the remembrance her friends continue to extend year after year. We want to thank each of you for remembering Heidi in your thoughts, memories, and especially your prayers.
New Haven, NY...a community filled with heart and hope. Thank you!
Click on the year to read a past April Fool's blog. Have a great day!
What is your most MEMORABLE April Fools Prank?
Leave a comment below.
P.O. Box 323
A Mother's Monday
Ride For Missing Children
Sewing And Crocheting
The River's End Bookstore