I pray your Memorial Day was joyous and honored day. Our morning was off to a late start yet we still had twenty minutes to take the flowers down to the relative’s headstones, do a little weeding and place the flowers, or so we thought. Upon walking through the chapel doors we found the service half over ~ the Veteran’s group arrived early, so they started the chapel service scheduled for 9:30 early. Our hearts were heavy and I prayed to fight off the disappointment and anger, trying to keep my mind focused on God and the reason we had gathered together. We had missed over half the service (along with fifteen other people) yet when I put it into perspective…we were there to honor service men and women lives lost defending our country.
Ouch…my missing half a ceremony is miniscule compared to someone losing their life so I have the freedom to attend a Memorial service. My selfish human mind got the best of me, instead of reflecting Jesus I was reflecting a frustrated and selfish individual ~ wanting schedules to progress as planned so my orderly little world stayed in line. On a positive note ~ this was the first year we weren’t racing to the Veteran’s Memorial Park for the start of the service there. Ed, his mother and sister, and our daughter enjoyed a walk down linear park. I enjoyed a few moments to reflect and write with a cool Oswego River breeze keeping the intensity of the sun to a minimum. The day was looking up.
The MC concluded with a reminder to thank our veterans and to thank the individuals still serving. Thank you!!! This brought tears to my eyes as I knew our phone would ring Monday evening with our beloved nephew Justin on the other end. Justin was deployed for his second tour to Afghanistan today. The picture above is of Justin with his niece, one last walk before leaving for another journey and privilege to defend our country overseas. As the phone rang there was silence, we looked at the caller ID recognizing who it was. This would be our last phone call for awhile from Justin. We will transition from nightly calls to sporadic calls, if any until he returns stateside.
My husband answered and their conversation and laughter were instantaneous. Our daughter made small talk before passing the phone to me. My visit was short ~ “We’re praying for you. Have fun and be safe. We love you. If you need anything, you can always call. We’re praying. You’re never alone.” Mary blessed him with two soldier pocket Bibles when he was home in April and we encouraged him to trust Jesus and be reading his new Bible, he even has a spare for a friend. When our military enlist in the service, regardless of their branch ~ they have signed a contract giving the United States the right to do whatever they want with them and to send them wherever they want. This is voluntary ~ an honor and blessing for those of us not called to serve in this capacity. Thank you to all who have served, who are currently serving and to those praying about the decision.
I encourage you to pray for our service men and women, for their families and for our country. Pray a hedge of protection around them, for the strength of their parents here in the states and for all their friends and family anxiously awaiting their return.
Justin is our nephew yet to my husband, he is so much more. Ed considers Justin to be like his son and our daughter thinks of him more as a brother than a cousin. Ed helped his sister raise both Justin and his brother Travis. Ed is a Marine (“Once a Marine, always a Marine” is commonly echoed in our house) although he hasn’t worn a uniform in years. He was overseas during Desert Storm and Shield and returned home safely. While watching the boys and modeling life to them, he and his brothers instilled a desire and love for serving our country. Both Justin and Travis enlisted in the Navy a couple years ago and are currently stationed on the West Coast. One of the things that attracted me to my husband was his interactions with these two boys – he was a great uncle and I knew he would be a great dad.
Years later, sitting in the same order and the same joy and laughter consuming them. Ed loves his boys...although only an uncle, he has always loved them like they were his own. A special bond never to be broken.
Thankfully both boys grew up in to be fine young men. Travis is a great dad to his children and Justin is a wonderful uncle. Both chose to serve their country and fight for our rights and the rights of others. Safe travels Justin…we love you and are praying! Thanks for having a heart to serve, see you when you get home!
Justin leaves today with his unit for his next tour. Keep him in your prayers as he walks off base to his next adventure. He has grown into a fine young man ~ serving his country ~ It looks like he was listening and watching everything "Uncle Ed" told him. Love you Justin!
May 30th, 1868 was the first official celebration of Memorial Day with flowers placed on the graves in Arlington National Cemetery. More than two dozen cities take credit for starting this precious holiday yet President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, New York the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1966. The National Holiday Act of 1971 declared Memorial Day would be celebrated on last Monday in May. Memorial Day is a time for Americans to remember the men and women who have given their lives while serving our beloved United States of America. While many remember all our men, women, boys and girls currently serving in the Armed Forces, knowing the sacrifice they make each day so we can enjoy our luxuries and freedoms within the states ~ the true reason for everything closing down and family gatherings is to REMEMBER…remember our fallen soldiers.
Moina Michael is the author of “In Flander’s Field”, written in 1915. The first stanza of this beautiful poem triggered the tradition of wearing a red poppy to remember our fallen soldiers, our heroes. Thank you Moina Michael for using your gift of writing to ignite a time honored visual remembrance. One tradition not lost. It opens with:
“We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.”
Each year we start our day at the Riverside Cemetery in Oswego, New York. At 9:00 a.m. the Veteran’s arrive with wreaths, flowers, a trumpet and prayers to honor the fallen through a short yet powerful service. After the flag is raised everyone is invited inside the Page Memorial Chapel for a beautiful and emotional reminder of God’s love for us and those called to serve focusing on the lives lost in the line of duty. By 9:30 a.m. the chapel is full of music, poetry and the message of remembrance and hope. The music permeates your being, with goose bumps and tears everyone is reminded of the importance and true meaning of this beloved holiday…Memorial Day. This is open to the public and a most precious and powerful way to start your day.
In December of 2000 the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution passed. This resolution ask ALL Americans to set dedicate a few minutes at 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps." The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.” http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html#1
At 3 p.m. today will you observe a moment of silence, sing a patriotic hymn of praise or play Taps to remember our fallen soldiers? We are the UNITED States of America…let us unite in prayer, silence and remembrance at 3 p.m. today.
A photo tribute in honor and remembrance of our fallen soldiers…keep their families in your prayers throughout the year, but especially today.
At the conclusion of the Riverside Cemetery's Memorial Day services there are light refreshments and fellowship. With a mid-morning snack quenching our thirst and hunger we transition to West First Street for another Memorial Day tribute. This one usually includes a fly by during the service...amazing. Another tradition is the New Haven Memorial Day parade ~ starting at the New Haven Elementary school and concluding at the New Haven cemetery. Each year the teachers walk with the students in the parade, this will be my first year not walking with my school family. In order to join the parade I have to miss the family picnic, or arrive very late. This year I've decided to slow down and enjoy the day differently, instead of racing between locations I will spend 8:30 a.m. through Noon remembering the soldiers that gave their all for our country and then relax with my family for a picnic and fellowship.
Following the parade as some head home or to their family picnics I usually enjoy a walk through the cemetery. It is a quiet time of prayer and remembrance. I'm always humbled by the amount of American flags flying in our small cemetery. We may be a small town yet we've had so many that dedicated their lives to defending our country. The headstone to the left is for Mossman Leishman ~ not only is he a veteran, he was an amazing man, gardner and neighbor. He lived next door to my parent's house and always welcomed me over. His mail and paper boxes were in my parent's yard instead of his because he like the Oswego mail system better than Mexico, so he moved his mailbox. Too cute. As he progressed in age I would race out the door when I saw him coming to bring him his mail or paper to save him the trip. I enjoyed helping him yet it was the goodies he pulled from behind his back or from within his deep pant pocket that ellated me. Sometimes it was a quarter, sometimes freshly picked strawberries or a fresh vegetable. The hugs and smile were always a bonus too...a dearly missed man.
My buddy Yvonne and I would ram around Mr. Leishman's yard, gardens and barns. He was her grandpa so I got to spend oodles of time with him and Mrs. Leishman. As we helped in the garden or watched him work in the barn he would tell us stories of the places he went and the people he met while serving for our country. He expressed how important it was to honor and respect ourselves and our country. "Marry a service man!" (I did too...I think he was hinting to marry his grandson but that didn't happen. An ongoing joke and memory we talk about to this day) I hope all our youth take time to listen to our soldiers and cherish their memories...some day, this is all we have left.
With each new day and drop of rain, growth and discovery are available to each of us. I’ve learned it doesn’t matter the time of day or the weather ~ beauty and hope surround us if we keep our eyes open and focused. God’s love for us comes in all different colors, shapes and venues ~ some we recognize instantly while others require us to be more purposeful.
Although the weather was drizzly this past Saturday my father meandered around the house, walking the new puppy when he noticed one of the tulips had opened up. The manner in which it opened resembled a rose more than a tulip. It intrigued my dad because of its uniqueness and beauty. As he leaned it, he confirmed it was a tulip yet what he discovered within this fully blossomed tulip took his breath away. Leaning in for a closer look, he couldn’t believe his eyes. He discovered the most breathtaking, hidden treasure on the property. One easily missed if he hadn’t paused, knelt and observed more closely. Concealed within the center of that brightly colored tulip were three hearts. After going back in for his camera, he snapped a few photos in hopes of capturing the essence of the tulip’s typically veiled beauty. (He also thought “I bet Lisa could blog about this!” - you were right Dad! Thanks for always thinking of me.)
I didn’t observe this mysterious interior until the following day but was able to witness it through the photos on Dad’s camera. I was amazed and awe struck, it was beautiful and I was looking forward to coming down after church the following day to see it for myself. As I examined the photo I said, “There is a blog in this.” To which Mom and Dad smiled to each other, they knew that was coming.
Within the tulip are three hearts and I would like to use the tulip as an analogy for God in three persons, the blessed trinity. (Are you singing, “Holy, holy, holy…”)
Although at first glance we see one tulip but upon further investigation, hidden in the depths of the flower are three hearts. I envision the tulip as God – One in nature yet three persons within that nature. He is our Triune God ~ the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God wants us to communicate and relate with Him. He recognizes our inability to fathom who He is so He sent Jesus to live among us in order to know God as man. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins and then ascended to Heaven to rejoin His Father, He left us the Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf. All three work together as a family in order for me and for you to begin to comprehend God’s love for us.
“…God is Three Divine Persons who share one Divine Nature…The truth that God is "Three-in-One" also shows us that there is a "Community of Love" within the Godhead. God is not a solitary Monarch, reigning all alone in Eternity. Rather, God is a "Family", so to speak; a Father and a Son bound together by an Eternal Love which is a Third Person, the Holy Spirit. This is a very beautiful thought. Finally, the doctrine of the Trinity allows us to understand how God gives us a share in His own Divine Life. The Father sends the Son, Who becomes flesh, taking on Himself our human nature. The Son then unites us to His Sacred Humanity, making us one Body with Him. By this union we also partake of His divine nature (see II Peter 1:4), and so become sons and daughters of God in the Eternal Son. Jesus then loves the Father in us, and the Father loves Jesus in us, and so their mutual Love, the Holy Spirit, becomes present in our souls. The Spirit causes us to proclaim that Jesus is Lord (I Corinthians 12:3) and cries within us "Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).” http://home.earthlink.net/~mysticalrose/trinity.html
I enjoyed preparing for today’s blog, reading an array of Scripture versus that prove this to be true. I didn’t come across one verse in particular yet the large number of verses, commentaries and articles I read brought a joy to my heart to know God loves me enough…loves you enough to have Three Persons available to us each and every day. Simply amazing…whereas the tulip will die, God is Eternal!
A special thanks to my Dad for another fabulous photo and reminder of God’s love for us…hidden within His creation. It was just the reminder I needed at that moment…
This first photo was taken on May 23rd after two hours of weeding and refreshing of the soil.
Three days later...a vision of new life and growth.
On Monday afternoon as I drove up my parent's drive I noticed all the weeds and grass lying in the yard bordering Mom's flower garden encompassing her buggy barn. Once out of the van I paused to savor the time and love put into pulling each of those weeds from the garden so the beautiful flowers could flourish. The weeds were so tall and entangling; the flowers were being choked out and struggling to survive. My father noticed and prioritized his tasks for the day in order to save the flowers. Weeds removed, sunlight and moisture added and in three days…beauty and life restored.
God does the same thing with us. As we live our lives we can get so caught up in the trials of life and our sin that we start to have the life choked out of us. God doesn’t want to see his children in pain and suffering. He will try to pull the weeds from our lives, to save us. God might use the gentle words of another, a song, a photograph, or my dad’s green thumb. Regardless of the venue in which God touches your heart to remove the pain, sin and trial…we need to remember it is all done out of love. He loves us enough…
Hebrews 12:1-3 “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.”
He sent His One and Only Son to show how much He loves us, He let Him suffer and die for these same sins and Jesus rose again to free us from our sins and pain. All we have to do is acknowledge what God has done, repent of our sins and start living for Him, not ourselves and the world. If we pull out the weeds, the Son will bring healing and growth.
Today’s challenge: Take a look at your life. What burdens, trials, sins or aspects of your life are weighing you down? Is there an area in your life you know needs to be fixed? Is there a battle you are hoping to win and conquer? Give it all to Jesus and ask Him to carry it for you. God is forever faithful, we only need to humble ourselves and give it over to Him. What weight can you remove and give to God today?
Psalm 111:9 - “He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever— holy and awesome is his name.”
This evening the students at Mexico High School will celebrate their prom. Although the prom is tonight, the preparations started months ago. The first and most important task is selecting one’s date for the evening. I believe it was “ladies choice” this year, I think this is a wonderful idea. Not all guys will procrastinate but with the girls it eliminates some of the girl’s stress. Once their date secured, it is time to start planning, prepping and primping. Yes gentleman ~ it all starts months in advance.
Some of my fondest memories of prom were the time spent with my best friends shopping and trying on dresses. We tried on dresses we knew we would never wear and we tried on dresses we “thought” would look good BUT were just the opposite. Then, weeks later, we put on “THE” dress knowing it is the one. By this time, we’re trying dresses on in our price range and within dress code. I still smile when I think of my dress, I wish I wouldn’t have given it away. I chose a strapless (which slowed the fast dancing, lol) number. It was black on the top with a white and black polka dotted bottom. Mind you, polka-dots were kind of my wardrobe theme for a couple years so when I saw this dress I was overcome with joy and excitement. My pulse raced and I was full of anticipation of going to my first prom.
As prom approached the hair appointment was confirmed, shoes were purchased, and my Gram’s shawl was borrowed. I was ready to conquer the world and enjoy an evening of dancing and laughter with my best friends. We were a small class of around thirty people, so our prom was small enough to be held at Vona’s Restaurant in Oswego. Our theme was “The Best of Times” and it truly was a wonderful time. Good friends and memories. Following the prom we all gathered at Gordy’s house – chaperoned by his parents and continued to party until morning when we went to breakfast. I was blessed with a small, close-knit and wonderful class ~ not only classmates, but friends!
My next prom memories were of Heidi’s prom. She was so beautiful and tall. She chose a hot little black dress for prom. We laughed about both choosing black for our prom, as if it we were in mourning for the end of our high school careers. I wasn’t able to be home when she was getting ready or leaving for the prom because I had to work. I was upset until one of the waitresses came into the kitchen and said, “Lisa, someone is here to see you.” And when I walked through the swinging door I saw Heidi smiling ear to ear and looking more beautiful and radiant than I had ever seen her. Oh my goodness! I was teary eyed…not only was she beautiful, she deviated from her original plans and schedule by having her date drive her thirty minutes out of the way so I could see her and be a part of her evening. I was so thankful, a memory no one can take from me.
We did a photo shoot in the middle of the restaurant. Heidi also worked there as the hostess and salad bar girl so she posed with all the girls too. We laughed, fussed and doted on her while she was there. Her poor date had a slew of “mother hens” reminding him of his manners and etc. My sister warning was made clear too, he smiled and assured me I had nothing to worry about, “Heidi can take care of herself. I’ll behave.” We smiled as Heidi rolled her eyes at me. After Heidi left, my buddy Jeanine snapped a photo of me biting my nails in worry. I was nervous, but not worried. Heidi could handle herself and she had a great group of friends.
Prom is an evening to celebrate, make memories and a rite of passage. Prom signifies the beginning of the end…our high school career is nearing completion with college, the Armed Forces or the work force closer than we once imagined. For those attending prom tonight – be safe and make good choices. For the parents sitting at home while their children are at prom, remember you have worked hard and prepared them for tonight and their future.
Will you join me in prayer today and tonight for our teens attending prom? Pray for safe journeys, wisdom and happy memories throughout the evening and into the morning hours. May they practice the life lessons taught to them thus far...
Earlier in the month I reviewed my May calendar and thought about my May blogs. Today, May 25, 2011 is the 28th National Missing Childrens Day.
From the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) website:
“May 25th is the anniversary of the day in 1979 when 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school and has been observed as National Missing Children’s Day since 1983 when it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan. Etan’s story captivated the nation. His photo, taken by his father, a professional photographer was circulated nationwide and appeared in media across the country and around the world. The powerful image of Etan has come to symbolize the anguish and trauma of thousands of searching families. The search for Etan continues. He is still missing.” http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/NewsEventServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=4498
As the day approached I prayed for God’s direction for today’s blog. I want this to be a special blog dedicated to all our missing children and their families. While many families remember their missing loved one on their birthday or the anniversary of their kidnapping, many of us are overwhelmed with emotions on a day like this. Not only do our families, neighbors, community and friends remember our missing loved ones but the entire nation remember the 800,000 children reported missing each year, this is over 2,000 each day! Of this number, one fourth have been abducted by a family member and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members. Out of that number, it is estimated that only 115 “…are the victims of the most serious abductions, taken by non-family members and either murdered, held for ransom, or taken with the intent to keep.” My sister falls in this percentage…will you join me in saying a special prayer for her today along with the prayers of all our missing? Thank you!
I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone with statistics or require you to purchase any more tissues yet I wanted to express the importance of advocacy and remembrance for our missing ~ God provided a wonderful story for me to share with you. One of celebration and victory as one child’s abductor is sentenced to life in prison, and she was able to be there to say her peace and stand with strength and faith to watch him receive his sentence.
Elizabeth Smart was only fourteen years old when she was kidnapped from her bedroom with a knife to her throat. She spent nine months being held against her will with the unthinkable happening daily. Thankfully someone recognized her face from one of the missing person flyers and made the call ~ Elizabeth was returned to her parents alive. She returned home from a mission trip in France to attend Brian David Mitchell’s sentencing. He received a life sentence in jail and his wife, Wanda Barzee is already serving a fifteen year sentence for charges related to Elizabeth’s case.
As I watched Elizabeth Smart speak with reporters today, her father standing strong behind her ~ I cried. I cried tears of joy for the victory and justice in their lives. I cried as I watched her father, Ed Smart fight back tears. I cried knowing today, Missing Children’s Day would mean more to the Smart family than it has in the past. A day to remember our missing children and the day America’s next child advocate, Elizabeth Smart addressed the media with her pledge to advocate for other children and protect them from kidnapping. Thank you Elizabeth for your strength, perseverance and faith!
Thank you for following my blog and thank you for praying for all our missing children to be recovered and returned to their families. I pray the thousands of unidentified bodies would be identified so they can have proper burials and stop their family’s search. May there be no more missing children and our current missing children, be found.
My love for writing started in first grade in Mrs. Emerson’s class. She always encouraged me to do my best and said I was a great writer. I believed her. The next teacher coming to mind for inspiring me to write is Mrs. Mahaffy, 7th grade English. Her love of literacy was catchy, we always were writing for one reason or another, I loved it. Her encouragement to persevere through the corrections (because this would make me a better writer) gave me the confidence I needed to always learn from her feedback. The following year I had Miss Metcalf and it was wonderful. She was full of life and always challenged us to reflect a love for life in our writing. She too provided feedback and encouragement.
I honestly don’t remember my 9th or 10th grade English teachers but Mrs. Remmel and Mrs. Egan were angels in the classroom for my junior and senior years. I didn’t care much about school or working hard the first couple years of high school so when it came time to take some “extra” classes, I wasn’t eligible. Lesson learned…always do my best because you don’t know what might be lying around the next corner. Mrs. Egan taught an advanced English course of some type that I couldn’t take because my grades weren’t good enough. I was so bummed as I watched my friends complete their assignments. Their homework excited me yet “I wasn’t smart enough to do it.”
One day I shared with Mrs. Egan how much I wished I could have taken her English class. Instead of lecturing me on what I could have done differently to have changed things, she turned and walked back into her room. Within a minute she was back at the door with a book in her hand. She handed it to me and said, “This is the book we are reading if you would like to read it with us.” She even gave me one of their homework assignments. I don’t remember the book yet I remember the feeling of hope and excitement. It wasn’t because I was doing the “advanced” English so much as it was Mrs. Egan believed in me, just like Mrs. Emerson had in first grade. I had lost sight somewhere in the past eleven years. Mrs. Egan empowered me to be the best reader and writer I could…a gift of a lifetime.
Today’s photographs are of the magnolia tree at my parent’s house. Think of it this way, our children are like the magnolia tree early in the spring with buds just starting to appear and grow. These are the preschoolers through elementary school age children. They are strong and willing, ready to grow. They only need the right soil, sunlight and nourishment. They need teachers willing to devote time, love and energy towards them ~ encouraging them with praise and correction to be the best they can be. If we continue to provide the tools, support and care they need…the sky is the limit.
Through the Oswego Reading Council I had the honor and privilege to present this year’s writing contest award certificates and ribbons out to our winners. Over 800 pre-school through adult entrants devoted time to write about a special person in their life. The top three winners were invited and so were their parents and teachers. Some read on stage with no help while others leaned on their teachers for a little support. It was like watching the magnolia tree blossom before my eyes. With the first preschooler’s writing masterpiece through the last adult’s reading ~ it was evident I was surrounded by wonderful writers…blossoming into this beautiful magnolia tree.
Now, many years later as I work in a kindergarten classroom I wonder…would my perception and love of writing be different if my first grade teacher hadn’t praised me or emphasized its importance? I could have been like the petals blown to the ground ~ full of beauty and talent yet never reaching my full potential.
Thankfully my teachers recognized something special in me and highlighted it ~ what positive gift could you highlight in a child’s life today? You might never know the impact and role you play in one’s life…make it a positive one.
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." Habakkuk 3:17-18
This past weekend was an exhausting, overwhelming and wonderful time of fellowship, support, hope and determination. The Ride for Missing Children opened the weekend on Thursday evening with joining our community to refresh the garden designated in remembrance of my sister yesterday afternoon. I snapped the photograph above last week while at my parent’s house ~ the simplicity of the purplish-pink flower of the red bud tree with the apple blossoms and glorious green hilly terrain blanketed with an overcast sky… breath-taking.
During our church service yesterday we had a guest speaker, Andy Phillips from A Basic Church in Cicero, New York. His message was simple yet powerful, just like this red bud tree. Both created by God with a specific purpose. Andy traveled with his wife Joy (FYI - Joy has also written a book titled, Jesus Saved Me: A Song of God’s Love. A beautiful children’s book.), and their three children to share God’s Word with our church family and the way A Basic Church is working to be relational, attend to needs, simplify life, imitate Jesus through their call to multiply God’s people. If you are in the Cicero area and looking for a Bible based church family – give Andy a call or visit their website at: http://www.abasicchurch.com/
Andy’s message was a blessing on so many levels ~ as we drove to church I was feeling bad for having to miss the luncheon after church in order to work on the garden with the community for my sister. I wanted to be at both spots at the same time – life is about choices, this I know ~ so decided to be blessed by Andy’s message and then scurry to the garden ready to work for 12:30 p.m. As I made the short walk and drive my heart soared at the thought of spending a few hours with others that cared so much for my sister, knowing it was where I was supposed to be with confidence. Thank you Andy for sharing God’s message with us, you spoke to my heart!
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 says “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Each day we have a choice ~ to accept the love of Jesus and let His light and strength shine through or to let the world get the best of us. I’m so thankful on the days when it is hard to place my feet on the floor, that Jesus has blessed me in countless ways to restore, replenish and grow a hope and power only possibly because of His mercy and grace.
Andy Phillip’s message showed how our lives are like jars of clay, bruised and battered but with Jesus ~ we are restored and a new creation. As Andy brought us to Judges 7 and Gideon’s battle, my eyes were opened to a new illustration. Gideon started with only 32,000 men to defeat 165,000 but the Lord said this was too much and by the time they were to head to battle, there were only 300 men. These men didn’t carry guns but instead they carried trumpets and empty jars containing torches inside. Statistically Gideon and his men should have perished yet because of his faithfulness and trust in God, because he listened and obeyed God’s commands ~ those jars were broken to illuminate the darkness with such magnitude, the enemy ran. The battle was won! Our battles can be won too when we listen, obey and trust ~ especially when it doesn’t make sense.
A friend of Andy’s told him “Don’t go to church, be the church!” I pray I continue to see the beauty in all God has created, enjoy the simplicity of life and keep my eyes fixed on Jesus through whatever journey the Lord puts in front of my path. While visiting with my Dad, my Father allowed his creation to shine and stand out on the hill. May we all shine the light of Jesus and stand out in love and truth so others will say “Why are you so happy? What makes you different?”
Thank you New Haven community for once again bringing hope, joy and smiles to our family. Thanks to John for initiating this wonderful afternoon of work and fellowship. Many hands make light work ~ in less than two hours the dreary and overgrown garden was transformed into the beautiful garden of hope and remembrance it was designed and meant to be. Thank you to those who brought flowers, tools, mulch, gloves, and a heart for my beloved sister. After three days with our Ride for Missing Children family ~ working with all of you was the cherry on top of one fabulous weekend! Thank you!
On our way to church this morning I stopped to snap a some "before" shots of the garden. The two little pots behind that post are black-eyed susans, one of my mom's favorites. A friend and sister-in-Christ left them on her way to church this a.m. They were actually planted along this same post so my mother's love would be always surrounding the post bearing the plaque designating this as the "Heidi Allen Community Garden." Thanks to all that brought or donated plants and flowers! Your love will blossom throughout the year and into next ~ reminding us of the amazing community we live in ~ always remembering Heidi.
Before leaving the store I snapped a few more photographs of the finished garden, or so I thought. I drove off with tears in my eyes ~ tears of joy and sadness. Ever so happy to have spent the time with such wonderful and caring people and saddened by the reminder, Heidi is still missing.
Four orange lilies surround the center ~ orange like the ribbons wore in hopes of finding Heidi seventeen years ago. Today, four orange lilies planted for the hope we still have for Heidi's recovery and discovery. Some pray for closure. Some pray for justice. Some pray for recovery. Most pray for all. Thank you for joining us in prayer.
Hebrews 6:11 NLT
"Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true."
Minature roses within the circle of orange lilies ~ small yet powerful reminders. It doesn't matter how long the days, weeks or years between visits ~ true friends are blessing! Thank you!
Psalm 130:5 NIV
"I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope."
My daughter's photography improves daily...I might have to hire her as my "blog photographer", lol. :)
And the finishing touch, some rocks from the lake to surround the lilac trees and post proudly displaying the garden's significance. The sun shining on the day's hard work...rays of hope on a newly restored and refreshed garden.
The only picture left to capture is at night with the solar lights aglow in the darkness...lighting her way home!
Romans 15:13 NLT
"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."
As some of the families joined in Holiday Inn's front lobby on Friday morning we shared memories of previous rides, friendships made and the relationships yet to be created. There were 66 families at this year's ride and 8 recovered children! Wow! Sadly the number of families involved increases yet so does the number of recovered children. Ed Smart spoke at closing ceremonies and emphasized how valuable each rider was ~ they/you are taking a proactive venture to educate our children and their families to prevent further children from being abducted. Beautifully said...with all the prevention and education available and funded through the Ride for Missing Children and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ~ our kids are safer!
The first photograph is of my family with our "Designated Riders" - who ride a bicycle in honor of Heidi and each of us! Thank you for each peddle of your bike, each hug before and druing the ride and all the prayers and support throughout the year.
Opening ceremonies at the YMCA before heading to the bikes to start this year's RMC - Making our children safer, one child at a time! Trooper Jim Simpson joined us for the last time as trooper to encourage and prepare all the riders for the day's ride, making sure everyone was kept safe. Each ride opens with words of encouragement from a family member searching for their missing loved one. This year a RECOVERED CHILD spoke with a strength, perseverance and dedication to SURVIVE! She uses her gift of life and speaking to educate other children and law enforcement ~ God has once again transformed tragedy and pain into power and strength utilized to help others.
In addition to having our wonderful designated riders ~ each family (all 66) are blessed with a "Family Buddy". Our family buddy, Maria was so sweet. She spoiled me so much I had the "Queen's breakfast" special this morning at breakfast. LOL Seriously though ~ while at the RMC, family members need to be careful with our wording. Miss Maria kept asking "Can I get you anything? Do you need anything?" and I would assure her we were all set, took wonderful care of us. (If Miss Deb had to start a new venue at the ride, Miss Maria was a beautiful and welcome addition.) A couple times when asked if I wanted anything I responded with "Yes, a netbook please." We would laugh. I told Mary "I better be careful or they'll find one." and we laughed. Maria took such good care of us ~ we wanted and needed for nothing!! Thanks Maria! You said to think of you as our "ambassador" for the day - you will thought of and prayed for often ~ you were a wonderful ambassador (and chaperone).
Ephesians 6:19-20 says: "Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."
While 481 bicylist peddled their bicycles 100 miles ~ the families divide up and start their journey. Some ride their bicycles, some ride in the family van or bus, some volunteer, some watch from a distance, some stay home to pray for everyone involved and others are blessed with special "side journeys".
This year Mary and I were blessed with a wonderful start to our ride. Instead of boarding the family van we were escorted down the drive. Mary kept asking "Where are we going? The family has already got on the bus." Even though we reassured her it was part of her surprise, she was apprehensive. They told her she had a special seat for the first leg of the ride ~ we rounded the corner to see four law enforcement officers on their motorcycles. Oh my, if I had a camera to record the shocked look on her face, it was priceless. We didn't let her stew too long before pointing out the "Official Pace Vehicle" illuminated in white behind the motorcycles. Someone should have had a camera to capture the wide-eyed glow beaming from her ~ we would be riding in the very front, directly in front of the riders! Yippee...a fabulous and joyful way to start this year's journey.
The weather wasn't predicted to be sunny and beautiful yet with 481 riders and an equal number of family and supporters praying ~ we knew it would be a glorious day for a ride and it was. This photo is one taken from the official pace car at the start of the ride! Yipee!
Although this is a "ride", we are all reminded throughout the day it is more than a ride. During the ride there are "silent tributes" in honor of the missing children that have been recovered and wait for their families in heaven. This is an emotional and powerful part of the ride as the families stand behind the sign with their child's name and date of disappearance listed while the 481 cyclist ride past in complete silence with tears in their eyes, hands on their hearts and making the sign of the cross to show their love and support for the families. Jenni-Lyn Watson disappeared from Liverpool, New York, close to where we live. Her family wasn't able to be there so my daughter and I were honored to stand-in on her families behalf during this special remembrance and tribute.
This is a picture of my cousin's daughter Sabrina ~ this was the first year she could ride the entire 100 miles in honor of her cousin. She was all smiles as the ride began and looking forward to resting at the end of the day! Thanks for riding Sabrina! It meant a lot to me and the rest of the family.
Each year we meet new people and make new friends. This year there were two recovered children, true survivors riding in the family bus with us ~ one of which was a blessing beyond words to my daughter. Alicia Kozakiewicz was kidnapped at the age of thirteen and held captive for four days. Instead of being bitter, angry and withdrawn ~ Alicia has conquered those demons in order to help other children. She graduated last week from college with plans to work with other abused children so they know they will survive. Don't let the pigtails and angel ribbons (note the angel ribbons were gifts to the family members from one of the riders as a special gift so we know we're not alone - beautiful...thank you) fool you. Alicia speaks with children and law enforcement, depending on her audience ~ she determines her look. The students at the schools were drawn to Alicia ~ the riders were in awe of her strength. Alicia was our opening speaker ~ she spoke with power and strength as she talked about how one missing person's flyer (hers) "crafted her miracle".
Thank you Alicia!
During the rest stop at Reese Elementary school, Alicia spoke with one of the 5th grade classrooms. She shared her story and encouraged them to trust the facts and strategies their parents were teaching them ~ "It can happen to anyone, it happened to me...It is an abosulute miracle I'm here..." Alicia and Mary spoke with the children with honesty and respect, at a level they understood and accepted. Through the dedication, strength and wisdom of two young ladies ~ students at the schools along the RMC route were exposed to an honest truth and hope. They could be a statistic unless they practice the lessons taught. Thank you Alicia and Mary for devoting time to your peers and children younger than you ~ to "Keep our children safer, one child at a time."
The clouds tried to dampen the morning yet the sun pushed them away! :) It was a glorious morning. The rain, thunder and lightning did make an appearance in the afternoon ~ forcing the riders into one of the designated "protection sites."
While waiting out the storm - we were blessed with shelter at a Russian-Bosnian church along the route. They were wonderful hosts ~ Thank you!
The next couple photos are from our forced rest stop ~ a time of resting and recouping.
And the ride concludes on Genesee Street ~ concluding at the Recreation Center. Pictures are unable to capture the Spirit of hope and dedication riding by.
Prior to the riders entrance ~ there is a procession of law enforcement sounding their sirens continuously. Each siren sounded ~ is one child returned home to their families!
Keep riding! Keep praying! Keep hoping!
There isn't a way to possibly share all that happened yesterday - I apologize if something was overlooked. For instance - At the Utica college the family was told we were going there so the "riders could regroup" instead we were saluted by 481 riders - 240 on either side of our family van and bus as a sign of their love and hope for us and our missing loved ones. Oh my goodness...I never pulled out the camera. The only thing I could reach for were my tissues for the remainder of the ride. It was breathtaking...heart moving and inspirational! Thank you to those behind the planning and to the riders pausing once again for us...you are amazing!
Balloons lifted for each missing child, each recovered child, for their families, for the RMC and most importantly -Sara Ann Wood to whom this ride has blossomed into such a powerful outreach and mission to keep our children safer.
And the artwork and hope of the recovered child and the neice who has never met her aunt!
At the conclusion of the ride each year, all gather for one last meal together and a closing ceremony. This year I was asked to share my experience of the day's ride. I was honored and blessed by this experience as I listened to Abby Potash and her son Sam share about his kidnapping and recovery, as Ed Smart talked about the overwhelming and powerful experience he had and the proactive effect they are having on their community. With Ahmad and Sayeh Rivazfar shared the impact of the ride on their lives - Sayeh and her sister were kidnapped at the same time, left to die. Sayeh rides for her sister Sarah and as a recovered child. She summed it up beautifully yet I can't recall her words but can still feel the lump in my throat. Thank you Ride for Missing Children Mohawk Valley!
Side Note: Tomorrow, Sunday, May 22nd – at 12:30 p.m. John, the manager of the Sun Up #7 (formerly D & W where Heidi was kidnapped from) will be working on the “Heidi Garden” located at the intersection of State Route 104 and 104B in the town of New Haven. All are invited to join in the fun of restoring the star garden created by our beloved New Haven community. If you have anything you would like to bring to help with the restoration and planting, it is welcome and appreciated. Due to a budget cut at the Sun Up #7, John’s resources are limited this year so he is hoping the community would like to join him with this project. Thanks everyone!
This year’s Ride for Missing Children (RMC) in the Mohawk Valley represents the 15th annual ride. The disappearance of Sarah Ann Wood on August 18th, 1993 was the closest kidnapping had come to our neighborhood, until my one and only sister disappeared that is.
This is the fourth RMC/Mohawk Valley I’ve attended ~ it is amazing to say the least. The outpouring of support and love is encouraging, uplifting and motivating.
I’m always amazed at the organization and dedication of those involved with the planning and coordinating that make this weekend, an event the families look forward to. On Thursday evening, less than twelve hours from the start of the ride ~ the family members of our missing have the option to gather for a “Family Dinner”. It is a time of reunion, fellowship and introductions (the saddest part – there is always someone new to meet). After a half hour of hugs, tears and laughter ~ the official ceremony starts. This year our wonderful (to say the least) family coordinator, Miss Lura welcomed us by sharing her heart for the blessing we are to her and how much she enjoys chairing the family committee.
Then Mr. Frank speaks with a trembling, loving and encouraging voice to share some statistics and facts about this year’s ride in particular. This year there are a record number of recovered children involved in the ride!! Praise God! There is a large number of family members riding their own bicycles, volunteering, watching from afar, or helping in anonymously. The RMC respects the families enough to honor their request in how we will enjoy the day. This year my husband will be helping in the sag wagon – a lot of time and direct contact with the riders while using those muscles to load and unload their bike duffels. As for Mary and I – we’ll ride with the family ~ being encouraged, uplifted and restored through the conversation and friendships coming to life during our journey together. I’m even saying a few words at the closing ceremony – a blessing and honor to be asked. A small way I can thank you on behalf of the families and honor my beloved sister.
Following dinner we return to our hotel rooms for a time of relaxation and more time with our “missing” family. There is a common bond uniting us today and through the year –our missing family members. The spirit and love in the room when we gather gives me goose bumps – we are a family. This is our family reunion weekend. Some may be blessed with their child at their side, returned safely home. Others may have laid their precious child to rest while the majority of us…wait…wait and pray our loved one will be found. Regardless of the status of our missing loved one, we have a common bond and understanding. Sometimes no words are spoken yet we know how the other is feeling.
I don’t have the words to express the families’ (of the missing children) appreciation for everything that is done this weekend and throughout the year to make this weekend a success. In addition to the success of a safe ride, laughter, high hopes, joy, peace and perseverance – funds are raised to continue educating the innocent and finding the missing. Thank you NCMEC/Mohawk Valley and everyone involved!
The RMC started in 1995 with a handful of riders, today there will be around 400 riders joining together to honor all missing and exploited children, raise awareness, raise funds to support NCMEC’s outreaches/poster distribution/education programs and to assist NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children), especially in the Mohawk Valley.
A ride that started for one precious twelve year old girl has sparked a mission to keep all our children safe and find our missing. Today’s photo is of a drawing given to my parents by the teachers of New Haven Elementary School. I’ve always loved this picture and admire it daily as I walk through the front door to my parent’s home ~ since joining the RMC family it has an even more powerful connection to my heart.
Pray both Sarah and Heidi and all our other missing children are found! Pray for their families. Pray for the riders today as they pedal their bicycles 100 miles to honor missing children, raise funds for posters and for the education provided to each child in the schools.
God is good and His plan is bigger, better and always right ~ even when we don’t see it, we need to trust Him. Someday I will know where my sister is…in His time, not mine.
Another aspect of the ride is the remembrance and honoring of our missing children. Throughout the day there are silent tributes to honor and remember our missing children ~ every rider, spectator and law enforcement travel past a sign and wreath bearing the name of different missing children in pure silence. Tears moisten my cheeks remembering previous rides, as riders nod, cry, pat their chest or make the sign of the cross as they pass the family of that missing child. There is also a ring of hope for our missing children yet to be found. Keep every missing child, their families and the riders in your prayers between now and Saturday. Many travel miles simply to ride their bicycles 100 miles to increase awareness, bring home our missing children and keep our other children safe.
Our day starts bright and early tomorrow – up and out of the hotel by 5 a.m. , with closing ceremonies concluding between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. May God bless all involved.
After this morning's weather report I learned it will be warm with a chance of rain and thunder showers tomorrow then 80's and sunny Sunday. Will you join me in prayer for the sunny weather of Saturday to move in quicker? This will keep the riders both drier and safer. Thanks for the prayers.
Statistics as of yesterday on the website, 2011 at 10:23 p.m. - I pray Heidi will be 4,670
To encourage the riders, PLEASE POST AN ENCOURAGING WORD FOR THE RIDERS AND/OR THE FAMILY OF THE MISSING CHILDREN IN ATTENDANCE at tomorrow's ride. If you prefer to sign anonymously ~ list your name as "encourager", your email is kept private and isn't listed online or used for solicitation.
Your positive, prayerful or uplifting post has potential to motivate, encourage and uplift hundreds to persevere through the weather and 100 miles tomorrow, and for the days and weeks to follow.
In 2008 I was blessed with my first experience with the Ride for Missing Children (RMC). The ride started in 1995 with seven men riding their bicycles from Utica, New York to Washington, D.C. with two missions: to raise awareness of missing children and to share the importance and message of safety with those they met along the way. On May 25th, the first National Missing Children’s Day, they concluded their ride at the foot of the Capital. In 1997, a similar ride took place with 43 riders starting in Albany and ending in Utica with the same mission. A ride that started with 7 men has flourished to 400 + rider, joining together this coming Friday, May 20th to “Keep our children safer, one child at a time”
We are truly blessed to be a part of this 100 mile trek. One ride has multiplied into five across New York State ~ the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) use the donations raised to “…bring safety education to thousands of school children across New York State as well as their families and communities. The funds which are raised help to support missing child poster distribution, educational programs, case management, and the mission of the NCMEC-NY Branch Office located in Rochester, NY.”
As a family we will travel with my cousins to join our RMC family for the 2011 ride. While there we will reunite with other families directly affected by kidnapping and meet new families attending for the first time while being encouraged, uplifted, prayed for and blessed by every rider, volunteer, sponsor and school we come in contact with. God is at work through this mission…and he IS keeping our children safer because of the angels he is working through.
Keep the riders in your prayers…pray for the wind to be on their backs and the rain to stay in the clouds until they arrive for closing ceremonies. I’ve been asked to say a few words at closing ceremonies – an honor, pray I have the words of encouragement and hope for the riders – so each and every rider knows how important and precious their dedication, compassion and love is to every family member attending the ride and following it in the media. Thank you NCMEC and the RMC!
For more information about this year’s ride, visit:
A video clip from a previous year’s ride is below. I pray you’ll take the time to experience only a tidbit of God’s work through the Ride for Missing Children.
With the sun shining and a gentle breeze lifting my papers from my lap, we enjoyed a high school baseball game and fellowship with family. While I didn’t watch as much of the game as my husband, I did look up often to watch the foul balls and the direction in which their descent would be. Thankfully none of them landed a top my head.
I brought my book with me, at one point I was so involved with my thought process and writing ~ my daughter had to shake me out of it to watch another ball above our heads. I accomplished a lot of writing and she…drew a picture of me! I wore a hat to the game to keep the sun out of my eyes, but not your typical “baseball hat”. Instead I wore a beach style hat with a floppy bring encircling my head with the light air creating an urge to be digging my toes into warm sand, not the moist grass at the ball field on a colder than normal May day. Wearing the hat warmed my thoughts with days to come.
Throughout the game I would look up to see who was batting, pitching or why our family was laughing behind us but mostly, I worked. With my daughter snuggled closely we smiled at each other often and then went back to our own thing. She asked if I had extra paper, to which I said “What size and color?” She laughed while making her selection, then chose the Tigger pen (from my Secret Pal at school) and went to work. She started to doodle instantly but wouldn’t show me it until she was done. When she showed me, I was ever so touched ~ a beautifully drawn portrait of her daughter. I reached into the pocket of my laptop bag, retrieved my camera and snapped a couple photographs. A day of American traditions…baseball and family ~ I’m blessed with both.
I could have accomplished more with my writing if the temperature hadn’t dropped in unison with the increased wind. Brr…My daughter and I retreated to the car, turned on the heat and visited while we waited for my husband and his brother to join us. Following the game we ventured home to warm showers, jammies and a good book before bed. We are looking forward to warmer days and time outside, aren’t you?
Have a great Wednesday!
Note: This coming Sunday, May 22nd – time TBA. John, the manager of the Sun Up #7 (formerly D & W where Heidi was kidnapped from) will be working on the “Heidi Garden” located at the intersection of State Route 104 and 104B in the town of New Haven. All are invited to join in the fun of restoring the star garden created by our beloved New Haven community. If you have anything you would like to bring to help with the restoration and planting, it is welcome and appreciated. Due to a budget cut at the Sun Up #7, John’s resources are limited this year so he is hoping the community would like to join him with this project. Once a time is established ~ I’ll post it. Thanks everyone!
On our initial walk through the park, we traveled a path between locations (I can’t be more specific due to my directionally challenged brain – all I can tell you is that we did find a quiet little path between areas). It was quiet in spite of the rides, games and music festival occurring all around us. While enjoying some quiet time and conversation with friends we happened upon this bush. It is beautiful. My photo doesn’t do it justice yet I’ve learned that many of the things in life that take our breath away can’t be captured by even the best of photographers.
It all started in Genesis 1, with God’s creation of nature and mankind.
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
On the seventh day God rested. I’d like to imagine God kicking back in his reclining lawn chair. Can’t you just see him sipping Son-made ice tea while wiping the sweat from his brow (do you think he sweats? Hmm…) preparing the words he would later share with Matthew, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Matt 4:26-29 NIV) God is the author of the Bible…this photo brought the image of God, the Creator and Author ~ resting and reflecting before speaking and watering! A life lesson we could all benefit from.
If we continue further in Genesis we learn that although the seed-bearing plants and trees were there, “Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground…” (Gen 2:5) I find it interesting that although God had created the earth and placed the plants and trees within the soil, nothing appeared until after he had rested. He didn’t need a quick gratification but instead showed patience as he rested first, knowing the beauty waiting to burst forth through the soil.
I challenge you to rest and reflect after planting…God will provide the water!
Side Note: I’m not sure what this bush is called and no one within ear shot did either (if you do, feel free to comment the name below). My parents put in a new garden last year with some of the smaller smoking bushes ~ this would be a beautiful addition to this little garden, yet I have no idea what it is called to bless them with one. Hence the reason for asking if anyone knows what it is called.
Yesterday started at 4:30 a.m. with the alarm startling me awake, only a couple hours after falling asleep. The sound of the alarm was a reminder of my sleepless night ~ we were off to Alexandria Schools and then Darien Lake for a band competition and award ceremony. Both my husband and I were chaperoning, along with some of our best friends. After two hours of wrestling my own fears and searching out Scriptures to provide the strength, direction and TRUST needed to survive the day ~ I gave it over to God. Instantly the anxiety lifted and I was able to sleep.
Two busses, two vans, a few family vehicles and seventy-three children loaded and started the convoy from the middle school for the 2 ½ hour trek to face one of my greatest fears…letting go and trusting my sweetness to God. The competition was wonderful, the students behaved beautifully and we were able to listen to a couple of the other schools perform. With competition out of the way, bag lunches distributed and rain gear on ~ we transitioned to Darien Lake for eight hours of fun in the park. I heard “The hard part is over, the rest of the day is fun and relaxation.” more times than I can count. While the majority had relaxed, I was starting to stress.
The band director gave directions, meeting location and times to both busses of students before releasing them in groups of four or more, with explicit directions to ALWAYS be with a buddy. Anyone found walking by themselves would spend thirty minutes with the chaperone catching them in violation of the rule. While traveling the short ten minutes to the park I had a choice to make, to trust or not to trust God with our daughter. I could spend the day sick to my stomach with a migraine or I could remember the Scripture verses (the truth) I had written down through the wee hours of the night ~ knowing and trusting God would be with her, and me. I chose to trust!
As my feet hit the pavement of puddles the fear and anxiety started to creep back in, my knees wobbled and then “SPLASH!” I jumped in the puddle. If I truly was accepting to trust Jesus, then I had to enjoy the day. Puddle jumping was the best way to start the day. I tried to remember the verses and replay them in my brain, knowing I had written each one out in a notebook hidden in my bag in case my brain quit working. I visualized the page the verse was printed on, knowing my little Bible was hidden in my bag too. After a walk around the park so I could “see” everywhere a child could possibly walk or hide ~ I thank Jesus for taking care of Mary. I rebuked the Devil and said “You will NOT have control over me or my daughter. Jesus is her protector, not me.” I’m thankful for a fun filled day of laughter, rain and puddle jumping.
We didn’t arrive back home until 12:30 a.m. (yes this morning) so I missed blogging on Saturday yet my conversation with God and the blog were never far from my mind. I took photographs to write about and reflected on the amazing, wonderful and truthful God I entrusted our daughter to. Sleeping until Noon sounded fabulous yet how could I stay in my jammies when God had blessed me so much in the past twenty-four hours? Off to Sunday school and church I went ~ guess what Pastor preached on? You know it, TRUST!!!
To trust or not to trust…I choose to trust! He is faithful! Otherwise I could be bit and swallowed by the shark. I would rather reflect Jesus 100% then be consumed.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear,...God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Today's first photograph is a "reflection" of a couple rides and the last two are of me being "bit". As I saw the reflection on the water I remember Pastor's latest series of "Who is God?" and the importance of us "reflecting" His (God's) qualities to others - If I let my anxiety overcome me, then I wasn't reflecting God.
God was, is and always will be faithful. He NEVER leaves us...we leave him.
Pastor Rick reminded us this morning, “God will NEVER let us down!”
2 Timothy 2:13
If we are faithless,
He will remain faithful,
For he cannot disown himself.
I jumped out of the shark's mouth and enjoyed the day, the first of many yet to come! Thank you Jesus and my wonderful friends & prayer partners!
Today's blog...no, tonight's blog (LOL) is dedicated to my wonderful husband, Ed. Today's photograph is from last year's Dunsmore Family Reunion, with an armed forces theme. I was sporting my "I love my Marine" t-shirt bought at the Salvation Army for either a $1 or $.50! Love it...
I had a "Belt Bag" party this evening ~ it was GREAT! I've never seen so many different color combinations, styles and sizes of bags. Not to mention the assecories. Anyone who has attended "Financial Peace University" with Dave Ramsey would classify this as a huge cheetah party! LOL..If you would like to see the products, visit Jessica's site at:http://jjscreativegifts.com/ (note - the photos on the website are good but they honestly don't do the bags justice - they are better in person) I have the laptop bag already and it is fantastic - durable, functional and attractive. A winning combination.
A fun evening of laughter, pastry and coffee ~ with purses! What could be better?
Let me tell you...
Alright ladies, you are saying "Nothing could top that." but you are wrong. My wonderful husband went shopping after work for the creamer and a couple other grocery items, vacummed the house, mopped and even helped my daughter clean her room so I wouldn't have to! Oh yeah! That is love and the cherry on top of a fabulous Friday ~ too sweet! He's all mine, sorry! Thanks Ed...love you!
Time to sign off...getting up at 4 a.m. on a Saturday to spend the day with my daughter! Can't think of a better reason to drag myself out of bed that early on the weekend. Life is good...a hubby working harder after work just so I can enjoy the evening to be followed with fun and fellowship with my girlfirends with the morning kicking off with my daughter! Life is good...Thank you Jesus!
Have a great day everyone! If there is a blog on Saturday - it would be really, really late! LOL...Be sure to visit Jessica's site ~ if you are feeling compelled to book a parety or order, let her know who referred you or mention you saw it on my blog. Either will work. Enjoy the weekend! :) Lisa
I nearly finshed the next chapter - need to work on my conclusion. I'm rethinking my original "chapter summary". I feel another change coming on. When I submitted my book proposal I said my estimated word count was 24,000 and I'm around 35,000 right now. I still have chapters only written as a paragraph summary, waiting to be written. Each revision provides more detail and more words. I've been using my summary to guide my revision yet I can't let it dictate the flow of the story. It is in God's hands...may He guide my mind and fingers and the words traveling through.
I spent 1 1/2 hours sitting along the Oswego River with a cool breeze blowing across, the sun warming my back and arms and the view of the LaFarge Towers standing tall. I met with one of my accountablility partners this afternoon. There was minimal discussion. We swapped chapters and got to work. Then we were off. The life of working mothers and writers!
It was a beautiful afternoon. I enjoyed the river, the critique, time with a friend and memories of LaFarge. My dad worked there for years and I smile when I think of all the wonderful people he worked with and for. They are an amazing company, their employees ar
Hello and thanks for reading. Not much of a blog today - I have a chapter to finish before I meet with my writing accountability partner tomorrow afternoon. :)
For those of you who read last Wednesday's blog about my terrible weight gain of 7 1/2 pounds...I did lose 3 3/4 lbs. this week! Yipee!
Warm and sunny weather...time to get walking. 4 out of 7 seven days this week I walked with a friend at school in the a.m. Now it's time to start walking in the afternoon too.
Off to write...more tomorrow.
Last year the Oswego Reading Council's writing contest topic was "If dreams could come True". I started to write a piece for submission but changed my mind since I am the president of the council, I didn't think it would look honorable so I filed it to finish another day. I would like to share the start of my writing with you, never submitted and never finished...kind of like my sister's case - never found and no closure.
Written last March - prior to the 16th anniversary of my sister's kidnapping:
I started my thought process and knew instantly the dream I would write about coming true. This April 3rd marks the 16th anniversary of my sister’s abduction, eighteen years of age at the time. Still missing, still lost. I sat down to start writing and knew I would be sharing a dream of my sister calling in sick for work on that blustery cold Easter Sunday instead of going to work and all the fun and exciting things we would do as we both grew into adults. Yet this isn’t the dream I will to share.
I shared my beginning with my daughter and without blinking an eye she said “Mom, if that dream was true we wouldn’t have met Dick and Stacy and all the people with the Ride for Missing Children or with the Center for Missing and Exploited children!” Whoa! Out of the mouth of babes…I hadn’t thought of how dreaming of Heidi never being kidnapped and growing into an adult right behind me would have changed the adult I have grown to be. At eleven years of age my daughter recognized the importance of this event in my life yet viewed it as a positive in light of the loss she feels on some days for never have met her only aunt on my side of the family.
If dreams could come true I would dream of watching my daughter mature and make a difference for other children, families and communities affected by abduction while also preventing future abductions from occurring. I dream of the day when abduction is something merely read about in textbooks and is an extinct occurrence. We teach our children at home and at school about the dangers of cutting down the trees in the rainforest, of slavery and war yet we aren’t teaching them to protect themselves.
If dreams could come true…children wouldn’t go missing anymore!
What if...we can't live our lives asking "What if?" instead we need to say "What next?"
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323