Keeping it Real...
Welcome! No matter how you found this, God knew you'd be here today. May you absorb the message He has for you. In 2011 I shared through my writing, today I've learned there is more to me than just writing. I have the energy and passion to share with others. Sometimes through Facebook live and others with my blog and most importantly, I've learned my passion to cook and bake is a vessel to share my writing and live presentations, while glorifying God in the process. I just needed to let go, and follow His lead.
Once a month I travel with my writing friend Amy to Rome, New York. If our schedules allow, we try to have a working dinner too. The drive is always full of conversation on our current writing projects, upcoming deadlines, and thoughts for the future. You might say it is a traveling writers’ group in route to a larger group.
I look forward to this evening from month to month. You might think it is for the support, critique, and challenges to my writing yet this is only the beginning. Of course, these are important aspects but these are only the beginning.
I expected these attributes from a successful group with published authors BUT what I did not expect were the friendships born and nourished each month. We started as writers with a common goal to be published yet today, we are friends in contact throughout the month. An added blessing to our group.
If you already have a writers’ group or are thinking about joining one, consider the following things. These are priceless gifts for a writer. I pray you find them in a group near you.
*A place for honest and loving critique
*Laughter and fun
*Fellowship before and after
*Share time in the beginning for “what is new” with each of us
*Share upcoming conferences and contests
*Announce accepted articles and books for publication
*Simultaneous yet separate conversations all about writing
*Old ideas laid to rest
*New ideas birthed and/or explored
*Teach, learn, and grow in our craft
*Opportunity to pray for each other
As I think of my writers’ group, I am thankful. A few months ago, they commented on an article I planned to submit. Since then, this article has been accepted for publication and I await the issue it will be printed. I have brought chapters from my book, “Where’s Heidi? The Search Begins”. This month I shared notes about a recent edit on my book proposal in order to save my friends from similar errors on theirs. We need to help each other as we learn the ins and outs of the publishing world in order to be successful.
Each month we have fifteen minutes to share, read, or talk through whatever is on our mind and sometimes it means working on the computer to help each other. Our group strives for our best and to help each other with the goals we have set for each other. I am blessed to work side by side with these women yet the biggest blessings are the friendships and sisterhood formed.
If you write, find a writers’ group. If you cannot find one, start it! This group is a resource beyond writing when everyone has similar goals and beliefs.
Here are some of their blogs, please share with your friends and family ~ you will be blessed.
A Peace in the Puzzle of Life
Blogger and writer...our go to girl
Author and advocate - Look, Listen & Think
Elaine W. Miller
Author of newly released We all Married Idiots
and the Splashes of Serenity series
Author of newly released
Sometimes the Wind Blows Sideways
Poet and songwriter
We continue to pray with our friend Melissa as she writes and shares her beautiful words with those around her. She is a blessing and so is her writing, one day maybe a blog to share with all of you. In God's time.
Devotional musings, Christian-based
teachings and thoughts
I wrote today’s post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing’s “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” mass-blogging event celebrating the release of Finding Emma by Steena Holmes (www.steenaholmes.com).
Steena is a woman who believes that 'in the end, all things succumb...to the passions of your heart'. Steena's life revolves around her family, friends and fiction. Add some chocolate into the mix and she's living the good life. She took those passions and made them a dream come true by pouring her heart into each of her stories.
Finding Emma has quickly become a bestseller. Proceeds from each book will be donated to The Missing Children's Society of Canada - an organization dedicated to reuniting families. Visit www.mcsc.ca for more information.
If you comment on today’s post on this blog or any of the others participating the "Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories" day, you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Finding Emma!
To read Steena’s about childhood memories and view a list of other blogs participating in the "Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories" day please visit http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/
I am blessed with artillery of wonderful childhood memories. Each time I started this blog, another story infiltrated my thoughts. I stopped and prayed for the Lord to help me choose the one to post, as part of today’s tour yet not one seemed to stand out in comparison.
Over the past, couple weeks I have looked through some of my Gram and Aunt Nancy’s old photo albums. Many pictures have been scanned for future blogs while others simply brought a smile to my face and memories to the surface. Although not all the scanned photos will be shared on the blog, they did help me determine my favorite childhood memory.
Drum roll please…
The favorite childhood memory I will share is a location, not an event. Double digits of photo albums helped me realize with the exception of some memories, most involved my family and time spent at my Gram and Aunt’s house. Gram’s farmhouse was the hub of our family activities.
Instead of telling you about the time my father taught me to drive his new rider lawnmower only to watch me run into and up his woodpile, I have decided to focus on memories of Gram’s house. In case you are wondering, I did not mow the lawn again. If anything, Dad encouraged me not to help.
Do you remember when businesses were closed on Sunday? I do. Instead of running errands or going out to dinner, our entire family gathered next door at my Gram’s. No one need RSVP, just show up. If you had friends over, bring them with. Gram and my aunts took care of the food and drinks. This was a time to come together and enjoy each other’s company.
The adults played cards, watched television, or simply visited around the kitchen table. The kids retreated to either the front porch or the attic when the weather was bad but if we could be outside, we were. Swimming, hide and seek, running in the pasture, and kick ball were some of our favorites. As if this was not enough, Gram always made sure there was a family activity for us to do. Sometimes this was done ahead and judged on Sunday and others, we did it once there.
The best part about Gram’s house, we did not have to wait until Sunday to be there. My cousins Missy and Shawnacy and my sister Heidi, and I were at Gram’s house one day when the power went out. Although it was daylight, our drama intensified because it was dark in the house. Gram knew how to solve this problem.
“Girls, if you make a tent in the living room using the extra sheets and blankets, you won’t notice how dark it is.”
We didn’t need her to tell us twice, we got to work. She even let us rearrange the furniture. The dark stairwell of horror from earlier became a rescue tunnel as we ascended with flashlights to find treasures hidden in the linen closet. With our tent complete, we hauled in books, crayons, paper, coloring books, and our flashlights. I do not know how long we were in there but time did not matter anymore, and neither did the lack of electricity.
Before we knew it, Gram leaned with a plate of her chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies for us. Gram replenished our empty dish a couple times before we realized something was not right. Without a word, we exited our hideaway and transitioned to towards the kitchen surrounded by darkness until we neared the kitchen. Light and the aroma of Gram’s cookies greeted us half way.
“When did the lights come on? Why didn’t you tell us?”
Gram smiled and laughed at us. Her only reply, “How did you think I made the cookies? I thought you would figure it out.”
We all laughed now, until my Aunt Nancy returned.
We stayed in the kitchen with Gram while she entered the living room. “Girls, what happened in here?”
Before we could speak, Gram came to our rescue. “Leave them alone, I told them to do it.”
Gram to the rescue so we did not get in trouble. Aunt Nancy helped us clean up and never complained about the mess again, at least to us.
My favorite childhood memories reside on County Route 6A at my Gram’s and parent’s homes. I pray my daughter will look back someday and have difficulty choosing just one too.
Do you have a favorite childhood memory?
Will you share with us today?
To read my book review of Finding Emma ~ read my blog June 14th.
Have you ever been to Boston, Massachusetts? Last weekend I had the opportunity and pleasure to travel with the middle school concert and jazz bands to this beautiful place. Of course, our goal wasn’t to enjoy the clean streets and sidewalks but to compete in a few band competitions but since we were missing school, we needed some educational tours and visitations.
All one-hundred thirty-six of us enjoyed the aquarium, IMAX, Math and Science Museum, and Quincy Market yet the time spent on the duck boat with Captain Ray Beez was the most memorable. They might have won the trophy for most disciplined band at the competition but while on the boat with our captain, they were a little quaked up.
Our duck boat captain, Ray Beez not only knew his Boston history, he understood seventh and eighth graders AND the curriculum they study in school. Wow! I still struggle but our captain did it while driving a duck boat. Amazing to say the least. Our kiddos did not want to get off the boat because they wanted to go again.
Our duck boat stopped in the middle of busy intersections, slowed in front of historical sites, and raised a ruckus across town and into the harbor. Captain Ray Beez made sure our group had the opportunity to snap pictures of the United States history they learned in school. He also shared tidbits of facts you might read in a “101 Things you Might not know about Boston…BUT SHOULD” book.
Some of you who are much smarter than I probably already figured our tour was going into the water. I was not prepared. I just thought it was a clever name for the tour company, with tour busses that “looked” like a duck boat. Yikes, no such luck. For those of you who do not know, I am not a boat person. I prefer the land, lol. Anyway, once in the harbor Captain Ray Beez lost complete faculties and let the middle schoolers, and even a toddler drive the boat!
Each person who drove the boat was given a sticker, well on the other tour boats they were. Our boat was special and Ray Beez wins the prize for sticker design and a good time. As our kiddos, and one chaperone, drove the boat he continued to tell us the history of Boston while creating masks our of stickers on the driver’s face. It was hysterical. As if his jokes and silly facts did not have us laughing enough, the sticker art sealed the deal.
The sticker read, “I drove the duck boat.” With the tour company’s name on it. I did not drive but Mags did. I have posted her before and after photos so you can see Captain Beez’s work of art. When we returned to the “dock” and regrouped with the other Mexico students and chaperones, the laughter erupted again. All the kids wished they were on our tour boat. So much fun!
Thank you Captain Ray Beez and the Boston Duck Tours for an informative and fun time last weekend. The Mexico Academy and Central School Middle School bands appreciated your patience to wait while we found our way and especially for the tour guides who brought history alive for our kids. And to Captain Ray Beez, you are one cool cat, keep it up!
Planning to go to Boston? To schedule a duck tour:
www.BostonDuckTours.com or (617)267-3825
*I do not receive any profit or promotion for this email. It is simply a gift to our Captain for making our duck boat tour the highlight of our group's trip.*
From the time, I can remember it was the New Haven Memorial Day parade I looked forward to. It starts at the New Haven Elementary School and concludes at the New Haven Cemetery. Everyone came out for the parade. The schools all sent their bands, families decorated bicycles and wagons for their children, organizations and scout troops decorated floats, and picnics and family gatherings were scheduled around the parade and the memorial service at the cemetery. This year I realize change is inevitable.
Instead of joining my mother-in-law in Oswego at the Riverside Cemetery for their annual Memorial Day service, we dressed in our band attire and headed in the opposite direction to Mexico. Mary marched in her first parade today with the Middle School Marching Band. Once the rain, thunder, and lightning finished their show, it was time to start the parade. I forgot my camera in the car and did not want to race back and miss Mary marching so we called Auntie M and Kenny to save the day. Phew, they were only a little ways down the road.
We joined the Mexico community for a service at their cemetery at the conclusion of the parade. The band played our National Anthem spectacularly with guest speakers and prayer. It was the heart and openness of our school superintendent that brought tears to my eyes. Each Memorial Day we remember the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.
It is easy for me to visualize my Great Uncle Bob and Bill sitting around Gram’s kitchen table reliving the battles or my Dad and his buddies from Vietnam, yet as Mr. Pritchard shared his experience…the price our soldiers pay is taken for granted by many. One man stepped up and took Mr. Pritchard’s place for a tour so he could have time to get reacquainted with his two and four year old children. This soldier never made it home. With less than two weeks to his tour, he lost his life when a car bomb exploded. Mr. Pritchard and his family truly understand the sacrifice and are thankful for each day they have together.
At 3:00 p.m. is a national time of silence for our fallen soldiers. I pray you will take a moment to remember all the men and women who have given their lives to keep us safe and for our freedom. Remember the men and women still serving. Remember the families left behind. Be thankful for all you have…it is comes with a cost.
“Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.”
1 Chronicles 16:24 NLT
Hi ho, hi ho…a writing I will go
With pencil in hand
And ideas aflow
New stories created
Leaving my cheeks aglow
“Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.”
Psalm 96:3 NLT
SIDENOTE: Before I get into today’s blog I want to THANK YOU ALL for visiting yesterday’s blog posting and leaving comments. As of the posting of today’s blog, there are 40 comments! Wow! 33 comments to equal the 33 years Etan Patz’s parents searched for closure. We are 11 comments to equal one comment for each year my beloved sister, Heidi M. Allen has been missing. It is not too late. If you did not get a chance to post on yesterday’s blog, feel free to do that now. It is NEVER TOO LATE to encourage the family of a missing child.
Thank you again!
My parents know how much I love to sit on their deck when the weather is nice so they decided to gift us one off the back of our house. Throughout the year as birthdays, holidays, and our anniversary come along we will thank our parents for the ultimate blessing.
During the winter months, our deck was a dream. As with most dreams, no two people have the same dream. While the vision or concept might be similar, it is not the same. Dad shared his idea and we could not wait. I closed my eyes with visions of a cute little ten square feet platform outside our back door. My father though, his numbers and plan were VERY different. We SO BENEFITED from his dream!
This masterpiece is the gift of all gifts. One we will cherish for years to come as we retreat after a long days work or to enjoy some quiet during the summer. The deck has only been completed less than two weeks and I have already logged some serious time. With the birds singing to each other as background music, the words and ideas flood the brain.
I am thankful for a job I love yet as the last three weeks of school wind down, I am so looking forward to retreating to my writer’s deck for hours upon hours of productivity and relaxation. Thank you Dad and Mom! We love it and love you even more! This blog is for you…
p.s. I still plan to visit your decks this summer. lol
President Ronald Reagan declared May 25th National Missing Person’s Day in 1983 because of the mystery and intense search for missing child, Etan Patz. Etan Patz, a name many of you have heard in the news over the past couple weeks.
Etan disappeared on his way to school thirty-three years ago. The first time he was allowed to walk alone and the last time his parents saw him alive. His parents have lived in the same apartment with the same phone number holding out hope of his return. This hope ended this past week when a man was arrested for the kidnapping and murder of their precious son.
Some believe when your lost child is found the case in closed yet in truth, it is another beginning. A new journey and new emotions evolve to strengthen the family of the missing child, even if we are not strong at the time.
Each year on May 25th, I remember all our missing children yet this year, a special prayer for Etan Patz and his family is lifted. Thirty-three years ago, Etan Patz was kidnapped, murdered, and brought sorrow to his family and the nation and on the anniversary of this tragic event, his kidnapper is charged.
Etan Patz’s photograph was the first to appear on the milk carton and some say the most famous missing person’s case in New York City to this day. As his family starts the grieving process once again and travels into unfamiliar territory, will you join me in prayer to support and uplift them all during this most difficult time?
Today represents one day in the year set aside to remember our missing children. This year we have the added blessing to join the missing child responsible for the creation of this day as justice is served on his behalf.
My sister has been missing eighteen years. A case like Etan’s gives hope to those still searching. Only in God’s strength do I have fifteen years in me to continue to hope yet I know God does not give us more than we can stand (even if it feels like it sometime) and He never forgets.
I encourage you to share in a post below words to encourage Etan Patz’s family and the thousands of families still searching for their missing son, daughter, sister, brother, niece, nephew, grandchild, cousin, and friend.
Every missing child is someone’s family…do you have three minutes to share words of hope with families who wait decades?
My goal is for at least 33 comments to represent one for each year precious Etan was missing. My super goal would be for 51 comments so there would be one for each year Etan and my precious sister have been missing combined. Do you think there are 51 of you willing to take 3 minutes to comment to show support for the families of the missing?
I think there are…Thank you in advance.
After you post your comment, if you would like to read more about the latest developments in the Etan Patz case, click on card of Heidi below for a direct link to an article and video.
Last weekend as we helped, my parents finish the deck and gardens in our back yard, God sent angels to tend to the “Heidi Allen Memory Garden”. The garden is located at the intersection of State Route 104 and 104b in New Haven, New York. Its location represents Heidi’s last known whereabouts. She was kidnapped while working alone at the D & W Convenience Store (now Valero) on Easter Sunday, April 3, 1994.
Our beloved New Haven community’s support from the moment Heidi disappeared until today continues to encourage and uplift my family. Shortly after 9/11/01, this memorial garden was birthed through the dedication and hard work of these same people. To commemorate the garden, a candlelight vigil remembered Heidi along with the men and women who lost and gave their lives on that fateful September day.
Years later, the garden continues to blossom with hope and love. Most years my parents and I say, “The garden needs a facelift before Memorial day.” However, before we make it there, it is done. Angels come and go without being seen. They don’t seek recognition but instead, to bring joy.
This year I caught some of the angels at work. I arrived at the gas station to replenish the soda and chips for those working at our house to see cars, flowers, and people working ever so hard to brighten up the garden. I sat in my car and watched them work as tears trickled down my cheeks. Do I interrupt to tell them thank you? Do I forget the half a dozen people at my house awaiting cold drinks and join them? I want to help yet their generosity causes my heart to leak tears.
Before entering the store, I decided to walk over to say thank you. They didn’t stop working and barely even looked up. I thanked them for all they were doing. “No problem…not a big deal…we are glad to…” were some of the responses. My response, “It is a big deal and it is appreciated. Heidi is my sister. On behalf of my entire family, thank you.” I could tell my words made them uncomfortable so I returned to my mission and entered the store.
Once inside I asked the manager, John, “Are you responsible for the angels at work at the garden.” A simple “Yes, it is the least I can do.” Before heading to the cemetery to care for their family’s plots, they spent the morning on their hands and knees to restore beauty and hope to a desolate corner.
To the garden angels of this year and years past, THANK YOU! Although two little words, consisting of only eight letters in total – we appreciate you more than you might understand.
You stripped the dark decay of winter and restored it with fireworks of color and life once again.
May God bless you in return for your kindness and generosity.
Each year the Oswego Reading Council's annual writing contest provides opportunities to youth and adults alike to share their writing with others. This year's topic was "Reach For the Stars". There are no guidelines or a particular format to follow. The purpose of the contest is simply to encourage writers from pre-kindergarten through adult to write for enjoyment.
There are two rounds of judges, with only the top ten moving to the final round. The top three receive a certificate, ribbon, journal, and pencil to encourage further reading and writing. Family and friends are invited to hear the the first place entries read aloud.
I cannot choose one aspect of this outreach over the other. Some of my favorites are the show of teacher and family support during the award ceremony. Another is the look of accomplishment and excitement on the children's faces when they receive their award. As if these aren't enough, the words expressed by the children and adults in the entries tell tales of hope, loss, and humor.
I am proud to have chaired this annual event again this year. Next year will be our 25th anniversary. The topic will be revealed in September 2012.
Due to the age of the children, I have not included their names and photographs. I wish you could see the ear to ear smiles and sense of accomplisment on their faces. Look at the adults, magnify this times ten for the children who won. It was a great night.
The bottom photograph is of Amy Quonce, she won third in the adult division. Not to mention, she is a member of my writer's group.
Adult Winners 2012
1st - Martie Talley
2nd - Sandra Harmon
3rd - Amy Quonce
A few weeks ago, our van decided her years of service were complete. I begged her each time I turned the key, “Please, just one more year.” Well, the van had other plans and instead of working as a mode of transport, she serves as an ornament in the driveway.
A car loan is not an option so the funds to replace her were extremely low. My husband and I kept our eyes open and one day we say a car we thought was in our range. We thought wrong! Yikes. I should have checked my investments before scheduling the appointment. Embarrassed, we kept our appointment to look at the car. I felt terrible for wasting his time yet as the men talked “car”, I silently prayed.
“God, you know our situation. I place this in your hands.
As we wait, help us to see what YOU would have us do. Amen.”
Once home, Ed and I talked about alternatives to get us by until we could afford a car. I told him we should sleep and pray on it. God was in control, as always, we needed to trust Him…not ourselves.
We offered an offensive offer, yet it was all we had. Never expecting they would accept it, we waited to see what the next step would be. BUT then the phone rang the following day.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably
More than all we ask or imagine,
According to his power
That is at work within us,
To him be glory
In the church and in Christ Jesus
Throughout all generations,
For ever and ever! Amen.”
God answers prayer always. This time He said “Yes”.
With tears running down my cheeks I thanked the gentleman, hung up and cried in thanksgiving for the amazing way God has used one sweet and precious family to answer prayer. While I was embarrassed to share our current situation, God used this as a blessing.
We continue to pray the Lord will bless those who have blessed us. Only He could have arranged such a beautiful and caring arrangement.
God is faithful and ALWAYS answers our prayers. He might not always say “Yes” but then again if He gave me everything I prayed for, I would be in trouble.
Do you trust God with the situations in your life?
When faced with a difficult situation,
do you run to God or your friends?
Will you share an instance of going
to God in prayer first?
How did He answer your prayer?
“Do not be anxious about anything,
But in every situation,
By prayer and petition,
Present your requests to God.”
Home from a fabulous long weekend in Boston with the Mexico Middle School Band with a smile on my face. Of course, we are exhausted yet to sleep in was a blessing. In addition to wonderfully behaved children, they won two first place trophies for “Best Concert Band”, “Best Jazz Band”, and “Best Overall Middle School Concert Band”. HOWEVER, their GREATEST ACHEIVEMENT was to receive the ESPIRIT DE CORP TROPHY! This signifies their behavior, attitude, and character from the time they stepped off the bus until the award’s presentations. I could not be prouder of each student in attendance, the parents, our bus drivers, and most off…their band director, Kevin Upcraft.
It was an encouragement to watch Mr. Upcraft interact with the kids and the level of respect they have for him. I am thankful to have the opportunity to chaperone this weekend.
True confessions of a Christian, I am NOT perfect. Actually, I am as human as the next person is. This week in a moment of weakness, I lost control. This is not my first blunder in life or my first since choosing to trust God with my life. It will be the first time to share one of my moments with the world and some of my close friends will laugh through a majority of blog as they think, “Wow Lisa! This tops anything you have done in the past.”
With a broken window, shaking body, and a look to freeze someone in his or her tracks I arrived at work. My husband, Ed, drove me and said, “I hope your day gets better. I love you.” With a “Ditto”, I closed the car door and walked into school. Instead of a Tigger bounce through the main office, I felt like Eeyore beaten down by life. The secretary asked, “Are you okay?” and the only words I could utter, “Murphy and his law seem to have control of this day.” I was not a picture of joy or the power of Christ in me.
Shoulders low and eyes glazed, I had a decision to make. I either put on the mask of past years or carry on as if nothing happened or I could confess my failing and move forward. I chose the confession. After bearing all to a friend, I gave it to God and asked Him to forgive me. A few times throughout the day I retreated to the restroom to let some of life’s tears go. Why didn’t I go to God first?
What triggered such childish behavior? A slow working computer, I thought. In reflection, the computer was not the target of my frustration but the final thing to push me over the edge. Instead of prayer, I swore. Instead of asking God to help me, I cried. Instead of walking away, to take a break, I threw the closest thing to me. A teaching series titled “The Safety Zone” by Joyce Meyer. I love the irony of my choice in items to lose control with, don’t you? God used this as a gentle reminder when I returned home to clean up my mess.
I am not recommending you become so frustrated you bust a window yet at the same time I believe it reflects one’s life before we trust God to take care of our troubles. We are cracked, broken, and sometimes shattered for the world to see. It is only through the bloodshed by Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins that we are healed and forgiven. Jesus did this out of love. A love far greater and more pure than any love we will experience here on earth.
Although we might have broken shards of the past on the inside, through our relationship with Jesus and His blood pierced hands…we are new. Our heart healed so all those on the outside see are the brilliance of healing and joy. May we give our stress, troubles, concerns, and whatever ails us over to Him. Only He has the capacity and willingness to carry it for us.
My bad morning turned into an amazing day once I smartened up and realized I could not do it on my own. I needed help, Divine Help. Moreover, He…is Faithful.
As we packed our bags yesterday in preparation for today’s trip, memories of years past were the topic of discussion. This year, plans have changed. Instead of joining our Ride for Missing Children (RMC) family in the Mohawk Valley, we are traveling with the middle school band to Boston, Massachusetts. The decision to attend was easy yet difficult. Life is about change and one’s choice to do so.
During the first parent’s planning meeting for the band field trip I fought back tears as I realized in order to attend, we must miss the Ride for Missing Children. My precious daughter saw the look in my eyes and with such sweetness, “Mom, you can still go to the ride. I will be okay. I understand. You have to do this for Aunt Heidi.” This is when pain pierced my heart the most.
Ed, Mary, and I all enjoy our time with the families of other missing children, volunteers, and the riders yet the opportunity to spend a weekend with Mary in Boston is a once in a life time situation. Thankfully, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) dedication to increase awareness and keep our children safer, “one child at a time” allows us to join them again in September.
This week I have been a bit on edge and could not figure out the reason. At first, I thought it was anxiety for my role as chaperone on this field trip but then a friend opened my eyes to the hidden stressor. “Lisa, isn’t the Ride for Missing Children the same weekend. You might be a little off because it is the first time you haven’t been at the ride since your initial one. Maybe it is guilt for not being there to keep Heidi’s memory alive?”
Hmm…that was a statement to think about. I walked through the door and tears warmed my eyes as I transitioned down the hall. How do I express to you the turmoil and confusion felt to make the right choice?
I want to be there for my daughter, 110% of the time yet I also want to share my missing sister with others who might not about her case and to keep her memory alive. We also enjoy time with our NCMEC/RMC-MV family. We look forward to time with other family members too, the only people who “get it” without a word spoken. HOWEVER, none of this is more important than our daughter to know she is loved, respected, and our first priority when schedules conflict.
In cases of missing loved ones, it is common for the living to blend into the background. This is not deliberate yet it happens. Events like the RMC provide one on one time with other mothers, fathers, siblings, and extended family to gather and share the joys, pains, and struggles of living life in the unknown.
It is this same reason I know they will understand why we are not with them tonight and tomorrow. We need to live for the living. Our parents, children, aunts, uncles, and community need to know we love and value them as much, if not more than our missing loved ones.
Mags, it is with pure joy and love that I join you on this wonderful field trip. To our RMC family – love, prayers, and hope lifted to God in your name today. If you are on the bicycle, may the wind be on your back tomorrow, with hope in your heart for the thousands of posters you raised with your fundraising.
Life is full of choices. Some will be easy. Others will tear at your heart. Regardless of the level of difficulty, with prayer and guidance from God we will survive.
Each minute, hour, and day I walk with Him through the good and the bad. Did you know if you list three things you are thankful for each day, you will have 1,000 by year's end? Only three a day. The more I compile my list, the easier it is to recognize the blessings in my life. Some are small and others knock me off my feet yet the warmth in my heart is the same.
Do you recognize the blessings in your life? Think of one thing you can be thankful for in the past hour? The more you do this, the higher your level of peace, joy, and hope will be. It is difficult, if not impossible, to be cranky or depressed when you strive to see the good things happening around you.
*A ride to and from work each morning
*A ride with friends to this evening's Oswego Reading Council event
*To travel with His hedge of protection over all of us this weekend
*A finished deck made with love
*Beautiful gardens planted in love with flowers and plants from my parents, friends, and our church
*Rain to fill the creek
*A bed to sleep in
*Spending money for the trip thanks to our parents
*To work with friends
*Friends I have yet to meet
*VH’s help, prayers, and encouragement
We have another HUGE praise of thanksgiving this week yet it isn’t time to share it publically.
*Mary (Mags) is feeling better each day
*Friends to critique in love
*A supportive husband
Each day is a gift in itself. I encourage you to take advantage and appreciate them. We do not know what tomorrow or five minutes from now will bring BUT I know God is with me every step of the way. In His strength, love, grace, and mercy I seek to recognize the array of blessings in my life.
Will you share 3 things you are thankful for today?
1 pertaining to your family
1 pertaining to your current employment situation
1 pertaining to a special talent or gifting you have
I cannot wait to hear how God has blessed you this week.
Welcome Mari McCarthy to the blog today.
Thanks for stopping over Mari! :)
You've been journaling for years and your collection of notebooks is now messy and disorganized. You're thinking it might be wise to set up a system that would allow you to categorize your posts. That way, they could be more easily found, and you could read entries on a given subject in simple sequence.
Or maybe you're just starting to journal and are confused by all the many approaches to the practice. Do you want to chronicle a project, set yourself a goal, dump emotions, write memories? Should you spend an hour in the morning, or ten minutes at lunch, or record your thoughts aloud as you commute? Would you prefer freestyle, or journaling that is guided by prompts?
In these or similar cases, I recommend getting organized!
Newcomers to journal writing might try a variety of themes, modes, and times for their practice, perhaps settling on one or another after a while. You might decide to journal for ten minutes just before bed, and also keep a journal that reports on your vegetable gardening, as well as a third that is two or three-sentence entries to Evernote.com whenever you get the urge during your day at the office. Experiment with many variables until you find a journaling style that really works for you.
If you're a veteran journaler, trying out a practice of keeping separate journals for separate subjects – and modes of journaling – may be rewarding.
If you normally use your journal as a way to unload emotionally, stretch yourself by adding a journal in which you write about your golf game or your children, your work or your faith.
If you journal at a certain time of day for a certain length of time, devise an opposite mode to use for a second journal, and see if you're inspired by the exercise.
If your aim in journaling is to record what happens each day, find another notebook to use to record your dreams, or to write fantasies or play with prompts.
And so on. Possibilities are endless. And why is it helpful to organize your journaling in this way?
First, you'll apply the benefits of journaling to more areas of your life. Benefits like taking time to reflect, giving your thinking the calm analysis of writing, establishing witness to your existence, availing yourself of the inner counsel that journaling provides.
Additionally, you may find your enjoyment of those parts of life that you're journaling, to be greatly increased. Can you imagine actually looking forward to your long commute? If you can talk-journal while you drive, you might come to value that hour.
Or if you journal about making dinner for the family every evening, your enthusiasm for the job will blossom.
Or it can even happen that once you start keeping a journal about your relationship to your boss that things get miraculously easier between you. These things can occur because journaling requires reflection, which results in enhanced living.
Mari L. McCarthy, journaling therapy specialist and author, owns Create Write Now, a website dedicated to all things journaling. The site includes hundreds of journaling prompts, personal journaling stories, interviews, a blog, and many other resources. Mari publishes many ebooks and e-workbooks to help journalers accomplish amazing things. She also conducts online Challenges, and you won't want to miss her upcoming Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days Challenge, June 4-10.
I must admit Mari L. McCarthy’s book, Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days peaked my interest the first time I saw it listed. Contradicting thoughts entered my brain via the cartoon characters on each shoulder. “Lisa, you could use a one-week journey back to your journals.” While the other shoulder was skeptic, “Honestly Lisa, can one book, with a mere seven day plan really ignites fire in your journaling laziness? Doubt it.”
When the opportunity to review this book was placed before me, I was thrilled to say the least. I would be able to extinguish the little voices of reason sporting their red and white off my shoulders with my own educated opinion after reading and applying the principles of the book.
In the month the book has been in my possession, I have read it a few times. I had yet to put any of the strategies into practice but looked forward to doing so. Mari’s 7-day journey is easy to read, thought provoking, reflective, and provides a variety of ways to jump-start one’s journaling endeavor.
Her title states the book is for a one-week journey yet the book offers a month’s worth of strategies and challenges to start a fabulous writing frenzy. Mari’s reflective processes, hands-on activities, and prompts are the answer to every writer’s need for guidance.
This book is written for those just starting to journal and to motivate and rejuvenate the journal writing of veterans like myself. My first journal was during my middle school years and has morphed through the years into many styles and manners. I found Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days interesting and motivating.
As a first-born, type A personality…I have not completed the seven day challenge yet because I don’t have the time to do it “right”. Mari has provided enough material to last me a month yet once the school year is over, I look forward to taking on the one-week challenge. I like the versatility of the book. If you are in the mood for a grilling week of journaling, this is your book. If you are looking for innovative and thoughtful techniques to boost your writing (to include journaling), this book is for you.
While she has written to share the joy and reward of placing words in your journal each day, in the end, she did this AND developed a book to battle one’s writer’s block too. Therefore, whether you have the time this week for the 7-day challenge or have a personality like myself, this book is for you. If you love to write and are looking for new ways to trigger the inner thoughts into morphing themselves into your next journal entry, article, or book then you want to read Mari’s book.
Click on Mari’s photograph above for
a direct link to her website.
Click on her book cover below for
a direct link to purchase her book.
Happy writing everyone!
Mari L. McCarthy is The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Create Write Now and Journaling for the Health of It™.
Mari offers guidance, counseling and encouragement to writers through her many journaling eBooks and in private Journaling Jumpstart consultations.
Mari’s next Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days Challenge will be June 4-10 http://www.createwritenow.com/start-journaling-workbook.
Please join her!
Today I am going to start with filling you in with what is happening in my life right now. Lately I have been sick and most you have known that. I am glad to assure you that I am healthy once again. Thanks to God’s answered prayers and meds, I will be joining my fellow band mates on a legendary trip to Boston this week!
Now that I brought that up, let’s go on with the blog!
This week I will be leaving to go to Boston for a weekend of friendly competition and plain old fun. My mother will be coming on this trip to. We will be competing in Boston! In addition, we will be going to see the amazing Blue Mans Group in concert (a video of them is below).
We will also be going to Fire and Ice, an epic restaurant according to its website. However, as the dates come closer I keep on thinking … “This is going to be epic”
I would greatly appreciate prayers for safety, winning, and for wisdom as adults have to stay with us giddy teenagers for one whole weekend. I will have my mom post some pictures when we return from Boston. Well I have to go pack! Thank for reading.
Happy belated Mother’s Day moms!
Each family and individual has his or her own way to show appreciation for their Mom, mother-in-law, wife, or grandmother. Some of this is determined by the way, in which we like to receive similar recognition. If we are truly blessing our mothers today, then we need to do the things she likes, not us.
Have you ever heard of the “Five Love Languages”? Gary Chapman has written a wonderful book to help us understand we each express and receive love in unique ways, specific to us. He even has a book written specifically for children’s love languages. Anyway, back to the subject.
Anyone can pick up a card, flowers, or lottery tickets for their mother, even a stranger could do this. BUT what if these don’t represent love and appreciation to your mother?
Your mom might enjoy dinner and to visit for the day or to have you plant the new garden she has been wanting or to mow the lawn or send her a note or give her a big hug when you walk in the door. Only you know your mom and the way in which she would LOVE to be blessed this special day.
It is important to remember, even though you might not like to waste money on lottery tickets but if your mother loves them, then put aside your stubbornness and buy the tickets. On the flip side, you might find a bouquet of flowers the perfect gift but your mom doesn’t – don’t buy them. Think of your mom, not yourself.
Don’t forget ladies, if you have a daughter or son of your own…you have reason to celebrate and take a moment for yourself too. If your pets serve as your children, let them bless you with some treat today. Our kids and pets might now understand our love language but they do know us…accept their gift of love as that…a gift.
Mags cleaned her room to MY liking today…love it!!
Each year the excitement and traditions to prepare for their high school. The past couple years I have known at least one person going through the motions to select the “perfect” dress and shoes or tuxedo. This year, I decided the aging process might have started to kick in. Oh No!!
I have learned some young men do not wear a full tuxedo anymore and not all the girls dress up like a princess for the evening. This is half the fun. Of course, there are extremes too. I know of girls paying over $300.00 for their prom dress! Yikes! That is more than I paid for my wedding dress but then again, I tend to like what I like and keep it simple. Twenty-three years ago, I only paid $100.00 for my prom dress, with my parents splitting the cost with me.
They gifted me $100.00 towards all the prom festivities. This included the dress, shoes, jewelry, the limo if I decided to go that route, my ticket if my date was a cheapskate, and dinner before the prom (again, if the date was cheap, lol). I always been a worker and I’m VERY thankful for my parents determination to teach me a good work ethic and the value of the almighty buck. They worked hard for their money and to earn half of most things as I grew up helped me to be who I am today. With my parent’s donation to the “Send Lisa Buske to the Prom” fund and a date to pay for my dinner and the tickets, I knew the items I needed to purchase along with the miniscule amount of money I had saved.
I borrowed jewelry from my Mom and a shawl from my Grandma Mary. My friend and I bought our shoes together on a “Buy 1 get 1 half off” sale, and then split the cost in half. I carried one of my mom’s evening bags from her business dinners with my dad. My dress on the other hand took the wallop of my wallet BUT I loved it. I went through a polka-dot phase and I found a prom dress to fit the style. I did not need a limo, all I needed was a car or a Red Chevy Pick-up (Dad said “No!”, lol) and I was a happy girl.
The Prom is about making memories with your dearest friends from high school. It is one of life’s milestones transitioning us from children to young adults. I am glad I earned my prom and did not take out a private loan to make it happen. We had so much fun, danced all night, and went to one of our friend’s house after the party for a PARENT-CHAPERONED party. It was GREAT!
I hope today’s generation sees the value in using their money for something more important than a dress, limo, or fancy flowers that will die by morning. Do not misunderstand me; I enjoy an evening of playing “princess” as much as the next girl but not at the expense of my bank account or my safety.
Join me in prayer this weekend and the weekends to come for the teens attending prom. May they trust God, respect themselves and others, and save the most precious gift they can give their spouse for marriage. May they all arrive to the prom and return home safely. Thank you for joining me in prayer.
I miss you! Each day as I write this blog I think of you and remember days of the past and dream of the future. The hours spent scouring Mom’s pictures bring joy, sadness, and memories all at the same time, did you know so many emotions could run parallel?
This week I visited Auntie M and Unc to borrow Aunt Nancy and Gram’s photo albums. I didn’t bring all the bins or albums with me this time yet there are still a lot here. Ed, Mary and I have been looking through them each night to mark the photographs we would like to copy. Some of the pictures of you…take my breath away, while others…break my heart.
You lived a life of joy with a forever smile on your face. Ed teases me often, “The first thing Heidi will do if she is alive and found is yell at you for putting her pictures on the Internet.” This brings eruptions of laughter each time because my response is similar each time, “This would be a welcomed rebuke. She would have to yell as I hugged her.” What if one of these pictures triggers compassion, love, and gumption in the heart of the person or persons responsible for Heidi’s kidnapping? We never know.
Each album cover opened and each page turned opens the door to share “Aunt Heidi” with your precious and lovely niece. You would absolutely adore her. She is strong, independent, creative, and a spitfire! Go figure, the Lord blessed me with a spitfire for a daughter. LOL (new lingo to mean “Laugh Out Loud”)
The conversations, stories, and memories relived because of one picture…priceless gifts. I am so thankful our family is such “picture nuts” because it is the same photo ops we joked about as children that bring such healing and opportunities to share you with Mags.
Sunday is Mother’s Day. This must be a bittersweet day for Mom and the thousands of other Mom’s who have lost a child. On one hand, they can remember the day the Lord blessed them with their son or daughter yet to recall the day and moment they lost their precious gift from God…pain.
How do I truly celebrate Mom this year Heidi? Each year I try to give her a gift that represents us both. She will never forget you. Some days are easier than others but it seems on a day celebrating her life, as a Mom must be one of the most difficult days of the year.
Our parents are still married to each other and ALWAYS put us first ~ the best gift we can give our children, ay? I don’t know what I will give her on Sunday to show “our” love for her yet I do know this…Mom loves us 110%, forever. And we loved her in return. We are fortunate kids.
In closing, I wanted to let you know how much you are loved and missed. There is not a day that goes by you are not remembered by so many others and us. At next week’s Ride for Missing Children in the Mohawk Valley, over 450 riders will remember you. You are never forgotten!
Love ya Sis!
**A chapter in Steena Holmes’ new book, Finding Emma inspired today’s blog. I will post a review of this book in June as part of Steena’s blog tour.**
Thought to ponder:
Consider one or more of the following:
Now, pick one and ask yourself
the following questions.
What did I learn once I was through the battle?
What scars remain on your heart?
What blessings did you receive in the end that you would have never imagined were possible?
Were you able to use this difficulty to help someone else?
Each time I write and speak,
I think of the words written in the Bible.
“Praise be to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
The Father of compassion and
the God of all comfort,
Who comforts us in all our troubles?
So that we can comfort those in any trouble
With the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
Will you share one of your answers with your fellow readers today? You never know when your struggle and testimony might change the direction of another’s life.
Feel free to sign your blog like a letter in “Dear Abby” with your struggle.
ie. From Looking for my Sister
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323
All 2017 Goals A Mother's Monday Cooking With Lisa Delta Lake Fitness Friday Guest Blogger One-Thousand Gifts Ride For Missing Children Sewing And Crocheting Speaking Thankful Thursday The River's End Bookstore Tops Tuesday Writers Wednesday
Available on Amazon.com
Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey *
When the Waves Subside: There is Hope *
Encourage Others: One Day at a Time
No More Pain: I Can Fly *
YOU are a Rainbow *
Goal Setting for a Renewed You
*Also available on Kindle*
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