I thought about sharing what I am up to but then that would take the surprise out of all my fun. A quick visit to Walmart, some digging in the back of the cupboard for the easels, and pages of notes are ready to be combined to create.
What am I creating? I cannot tell, at least not yet. The goal is the end of June, which starts tomorrow in case you missed how fast time is flying this Spring.
I haven't even shared with my parents. My husband and daughter have a little bit more information yet no one other than me, myself, and my notebook really know. I do think one of my favorite aspects of creating something new, is the surprise element of the project.
I've given you a few pictures as clues but this is all I can offer for now...but if you follow the TOP's Tuesdays during the month of June, I'll be "leaking" a clue each week. Let the fun begin.
Also, I received an exciting email yesterday and once I have confirmation either way, I'll be sharing something amazing with you all! Regardless of how it pans out, I'm honored and blessed.
What do you think Lisa is up to?
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to share Heidi and my testimony with the women at Hillside Alliance in Ithaca, New York. We shared wonderful food, chocolate, coffee, stories, and a time of fellowship. In addition to all of this, they blessed me with a little goody-bag with a new coffee mug, chocolate, and a twenty-five day devotional.
The first day I read the devotional, I decided the verses were in perfect God timing to where we are in life. I grabbed my stand that usually holds my cook book and a white board. There are already dry erase markers in the kitchen for the calendar so I was all set. I started to write the verse for the day on the board and leave it on the stand for Ed and Mags. One morning I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to share the verse on Facebook.
I took a picture of the verse, shared it to Facebook, and was amazed at the number of "likes" and "shares". I didn't plan to share the white board verse on social media yet as I saw the number of people encouraged by the same verse God was using to encourage me and my family, I decided, why not.
I know that many of you are not on Facebook so thought I would share this with you. Do you read your Bible everyday and a verse jumps out to you, why not write it down on a white board or chalk board to share with the ones you live with? Maybe even share it with your social media contacts?
I have other devotionals, so when this twenty-five day devotional concludes this weekend ~ I'm dusting another one off and going to continue. I'm thankful God is using this daily post of my white board to encourage others, it is His Word after all. I'm just writing and posting the picture of the verse we read each time we stand at the kitchen counter, prepare a meal, or snack.
Is there something you do to encourage your family on a daily basis? Why is it important to encourage our loved ones?
A special thanks to my wonderful husband, Ed, for weed-eating around the entire garden and star for Memorial Day weekend. It looks amazing.
Rather than enjoying some time on the deck, he surprised us with this.
This is the first year since the garden was built that the garden wasn't spruced up for Memorial Day. There are a couple reasons.
One, my parents have hired someone to build up the star again and stabilize it. The snowmobiles running over the top of it in the winters has done a number on the wood. So, rather than put in flowers and have to do it again, we are waiting until the new frame is built to add the flowers.
Secondly, the lawn hadn't been mowed yet so we decided there wasn't much use in worrying about the garden since you couldn't see it through the tall grass. Well, my wonderful husband, Ed, decided to take the weed-eater up to the garden after working at our house and my parents.
He knew how much we, my parents and I, wanted the garden to look nice for Memorial Day. He also understood that with the planned reconstruction, we couldn't plant. So he did the next best thing. He weed-eated around the garden, in the shape of a circle so when the store mows, they don't need to worry about getting in the triangles.
I'm thankful for my husband for many reasons yet see the garden stand out in the midst of the tall grass brought tears to my eyes. It's funny how things come to pass down the road. When the star garden was built, I didn't appreciate the full meaning. It isn't really a garden, it's a symbol of community and hope.
Look at the photo and message shared on Facebook this past weekend...Heidi is remembered by many and some of those, stop at the garden to pay their respects.
This might be the location of her abduction, but it's also a place of hope and community.
No matter how tall the grass or worn the wood, one thing remains ~ the symbol of hope and community. Heidi is never forgotten and thanks to our wonderful town of New Haven, there is a place for everyone to stop, visit, pray, and remember Heidi...one of America's missing...
Just like the story of Moses from the Bible, there is hope in the tall grass. This garden might not save lives yet it does offer encouragement to our community, family, friends, and others traveling through.
"Just then, Pharaoh’s daughter went to the river to bathe.
What symbolizes HOPE in your life? A ribbon, bird, or ?
Yesterday as I checked Facebook for a moment for the time of the parade I noticed a post and I thought, This is something I can do and I'd be honored to join this day of prayer. Read the post below.
"Over the past several weeks it has come to my attention that many in our
Today is Tuesday and a day dedicated to Heidi, titled TOP's Tuesday. An attribute of Heidi most remember is her smile and generosity. Heidi put others first so often, it was natural. In honor of Heidi and this year's Missing Person's Day, with inspiration from a local pastor, today's TOP's Tuesday is an opportunity for us to come together in prayer for our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and who ever else we might know on a mission and journey to battle cancer.
I hope you will join all of those coming together in prayer for those thrust into a battle they didn't volunteer for. Pray for the survivors to not look back and take the journey again. Pray for the families grieving the loss of a loved one to cancer.
Thank you Pastor David for this encouragement and inspiration and for inviting all of God's people to come along side you in prayer. May there be a great healing of our sick today.
If there is someone you would like us to pray for specifically today and when God places them on our heart,
Although someone rode for Heidi Allen in 2012, only our thoughts and prayers were with you in 2012 because Mary & I were in Boston for her 8th grade Band Competition and Field Trip. There was a bike ride through Boston the day we toured and we cheered for them like crazy, I'm sure the tour guide was thinking..."Tourist!" , little did he know we were missing "The" ride back in New York. Actually, we told him all about it while we quacked at people on our Duck Tour. LOL
Not due to a lack of effort but I couldn't find pictures of our designated riders for 2009 or 2007. My apologies to my riders for those years, if you have a picture of us, I'd love to have one for our file and to keep the memory. I don't have to share it on the blog but would love to have it in our collection. Thank you all for riding for those who cant, may you be blessed in return.
What is something someone did for you that meant "the world" yet they didn't see the importance or significance?
Mary and Lisa from last year to this year...
So many memories...so few photographs!
Do your memories outweigh your photos? I hope so...
A quick video I took and shared on Facebook as we were getting ready to leave the hotel for opening ceremonies and to see our RMC family...
Video taken as the riders came in to Bellamy Schools on Friday morning - the cold, rain, or coming storm didn't stop or slow them down...Thank you for riding!
In case any of the riders wanted to know what was written on the paper, here was my original message of hope and encouragement. Love you all and know you were covered in prayer, not just rain yesterday as you persevered!
"Hello. I know the planning for the ride starts shortly after the previous ends so I’d like to start by thanking the men, women, and children that have dedicated hours and sacrificed family time to make this day a reality. Thank you.
To the families of the missing, thank you for your love, understanding, and friendship. You are blessings I count throughout the year and look forward to seeing each May. I would say it is like a “family reunion” each May yet wouldn’t want anyone to misconstrue my word usage to think we celebrate this time together. Instead, it’s an annual gathering with family we cherish and an opportunity to share changes in each of our missing loved one’s cases.
Last month, our family and community gathered to remember my sister, Heidi Allen. Heidi disappeared while working alone on Easter Sunday from the small town of New Haven, New York…twenty years ago. This has been the most difficult anniversary to date, for me personally. Two decades later, we still don’t know where Heidi is.
The positive side of this was nearly two-hundred people joined us. I wanted to remember Heidi and have people leave encouraged, one way I found to do this was by inviting our local law enforcement to do finger printing with the children in attendance and our very own NCMEC came to share about their “Take 25” campaign and increase awareness. Similar to your visits to the schools, we need to encourage and inspire the kiddos and their parents – education is key.
For some of you, this is your first ride and you might only see the physical aspect and drain of this day but this is more than a day on your bicycle, this is FAMILY.
April 3, 2014…the 20th anniversary of my sister’s kidnapping. A terrible and difficult day yet one that showered me with love, with a lot of love from THIS family, all of you. Your texts, private messages on FB, your posts, and phone calls…priceless gifts to me every year. To know you remembered Heidi and our family in such a personal way emphasized what I already knew, you are an extension of family.
Later in the evening as I checked into to FB, your generosity and love overwhelmed me again as I see the training ride on April 3 was dedicated to my sister. But it was so much more than that – as I see our friend Clare holding a sign for Heidi with tears rolling down her cheeks and Mr. Dick Jordan standing at her side.
As if this wasn’t enough, I looked up to scan the room during the community gathering and tears instantly filled my eyes as I saw Mr. John Nabors walking through the door. As he wrapped me in a hug, he said, “We love you. I’m here on behalf of the entire RMC.” Thank you all so much.
For the veteran riders, you know this isn’t a ride – it’s a mission of hope on wheels. For you new riders, you will experience an aspect of life, hope, and love you’ve never seen or witnessed before today.
Welcome to the family from our family (motion to the families of the missing section) to yours (motion to all of them). May each inverted decline remind you that life isn’t always easy yet it’s possible to not only reach the top but to sore with the wind on your back when you get to the other side. Never give up, we haven’t and won’t. You inspire us and we’ll be cheering you on from start to finish, and in the months to come. The actual ride is one day, the mission is eternal.
"RFMC 2014 What rain?
What hail? What wind?
Children are missing.
Children need to know
how to stay safe.
Children need to come home.
5 year rider, 6th ride
Note: Photo of the downpour is from the New York State Police's Facebook page - thank you Nancy for letting me know.
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year,
but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place.
If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up,
stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with?”
― Lance Armstrong, It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life
This year's ride was a testimony of this ~ they did not quit but persevered!
They didn't give up but pushed harder.
They never appeared defeated but instead...inspired.
The Ride for Missing Children riders remind the families of the missing, pain is temporary and to never quit - thank you for encouraging and inspiring us every year but especially this year.
One rider shared this yesterday afternoon, thank you Anne Marie Ambrose for your permission to share this with others.
Anne Marie writes:
"4pm, and we have been 'done' for hours but we were never really 'done'. From the beginning of the day, I thought 'Take it all in, you all worked for this day. Watch all the new riders, watch the families, this is a powerful day' all the while we peeked up at the sky and begged the rain to hold off. We didn't stand a chance.
We got to Bellamy school and I ran into Mary Lyall. She was encouraging us and I said 'Mary, you are going through FAR worse than we are!'. Another family member with a green shirt sitting at the table, as we were literally shivering said to me 'You don't know how much what you are doing means to me'. I talked to him a while and the conversation ended.
Tony Artessa then asked a room full of people 'Who's coming?" and we ALL screamed that we were IN. My heart was in but my head was so far into a warm, dry, safe spot that I was conflicted. I then thought of Mary and that gentle man who softly said to me 'You don't know how much what you are doing means to me'.
I looked at my friends and we hugged. We would get each other through this. We saddled up and rode in some of the toughest weather conditions we've ever ridden in. I thought of those 2 moments and rode to New Hartford. It wasn't until The Ring of Hope was playing and we did a tribute that my tears started flowing (um, I don't cry). Big tears.
I looked around me and was sad the day was ending. Sad for all the families who need answers and loved ones brought home! I love everyone in that room as much as life. I love this organization and the awareness it raises. I love my husband for joining this group with me 5 years ago."
Thankful for God's angels in uniform...
Keep the day, the riders, families, schools, and weather in your prayers! Thank you!
A couple news clips, one is from Iowa!! Also a few pictures from last night's family dinner.
Please leave a comment for the riders...
Something to ponder...on a happier note, let this year's Ride for Missing Children commence with much success and keep our children safe...one child at a time. Will you join us in praying for good weather, safe travels, endurance, strength, and whatever God places on your heart.
A special thanks to the over 500 cyclists, the hundreds of volunteers, family members, and all involved in making this such a powerful and encouraging weekend that helps the families of the missing throughout the year. To the communities and law enforcement and rescue personnel, thank you for your hospitality and love.
Please leave a comment of hope for the riders, volunteers, and families of the missing - who knows when your words might be the encouragement someone needs...
"We have an opportunity to do a short Ride documentary video and I really wanted to be able to include something from a family's perspective. I was thinking you would be perfect. Is this something you would be interested in being involved in?"
To say I was honored to be asked is an understatement. The Ride for Missing Children is more than a bicycle ride, it's a mission. Hundreds of men, women, and children come together to educate, inspire, and raise awareness of the plight of missing and exploited children. Since my first ride in 2008 with my cousin Missy, this has become an annual event we look forward to and try not to miss.
On one hand, it is a draining and emotional weekend, yet it is one of the most encouraging times of the year for me and my family. To see hundreds of people coming together out of love for the missing and exploited children across the states, especially those in New York, is beautiful to say the least.
When Katie extended this invitation, I prayed for God to give me the words to share The Ride from the families' perspective. One to encourage the riders, volunteers, benefactors, community, other families of the missing, and anyone that might have the opportunity to see the video. Due to scheduling conflicts I wasn't able to make it to the actual taping so I submitted my portion in writing.
Katie sent me the draft of the video so I could watch how they used it, tears of joy, thankfulness, and hope dripped from my eyes. They did a beautiful job and my husband said, "Wow, you wrote that? That's good." God used their videography talents and my writing to end the video with the intensity and hope the Ride for Missing Children magnifies on a daily and yearly basis.
I hope you take a few minutes to watch the video, share it with your friends and family, and lift prayers for this year's ride. The official ride is this Friday - keep all involved lifted in prayer. Prayers of protection, hope, healing, strength, endurance, and to bring the missing home. Thank you in advance for setting aside a few moments to learn more about the Ride for Missing Children.
Can you leave 1 - 2 sentences to encourage this year's Ride for Missing Children participants? Thank you in advance...
This past April, a friend gifted me the "Sisters by Heart", one of The Willow Tree figurines. As I unwrapped it and thought, where do I put this?, it dawned on me. On the table in our entryway with the other ones. Hmm...maybe I do collect something? I hadn't intended to, yet God has used the thoughtfulness of others to bless me with these beautiful figurines. Each from a friend and with messages of hope to accompany them.
I don't plan on making a Willow Tree wish list and start becoming a collector, yet I cherish the ones I have and the beautiful meaning each represents.
Do you see the Woodstock puzzle? That was my sisters and this reminds me of her. The Dreamsicle Angels on the table were gifts of hope in 1994 when Heidi first went missing.
The framed poem is one I wrote for my mother-in-law, titled, "Thank You is Enough" ~ this reminds me of her and her generous heart.
The medicine bottle collects our change during the month, then we donate it to the GCW Missions at the beginning of the month.
The angel Scentsy was a gift from my Aunt Fran after she read Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey, and reminds me of her.
The lamp itself is the very lamp my Gram and Aunt Nancy kept on in the kitchen around the clock. Gram believed you had to leave at least one light on at all times, so others knew they were welcome. Within the basket part of this lamp are different little trinkets that remind me of different people or events in my life.
So I've decided I do collect something...
Reminders of HOPE...ENCOURAGEMENT...LOVE...
What do you collect? Is it a thing or symbol?
by Jack Ellison
Each generation plants a tree
The next one enjoys the shade
Seeds we plant in young people's minds
Are engraved and will never fade
So choose your path very carefully
They're watching your every step
You might think they're too distracted
Or they think you're old and inept
They're always watching how you react
Each move that you choose to make
Be careful the seeds you sow every day
Will grow with them, make no mistake
The burden is on us for each generation
To guide them and show them the way
Map out the route to a happy life
Don't let anyone lead them astray
There'll be mine fields galore along the way
Protect them with words and with deeds
They'll love you for caring and taking the time
Encourage them to follow your lead
© Jack Ellison 2012
© Nandita Shailesh Shanbhag
You are special; you mean the world to me
You are my daughter, a reflection of my entity
Every year, as I watch you grow by my side
No matter what you do, you are my source of pride
The umbilical cord may have been cut but you should know
You are still bound to my soul, wherever you go
Sometimes I am firm and you may think I am wrong
Remember it is easy to give in, but tough to be strong
Sometimes I am strict and you may think it is unfair
But I correct you only because I love and care
I harden my heart and nag, scold and fight
To teach you the difference between the wrong and the right
For soon, the days will pass swiftly all in a whirl
And into a woman will grow my baby girl
Tomorrow when you need inner strength above all
I hope my values will give you the courage to stand tall
I hope that in my teaching you will find tips few
Soon when you strive to make your dreams come true
At a later date, when the real world you have to face
Today's lessons will help you go ahead in the race
Some day in the future when a mother you will be
From my point of view, the world you will see
For your baby then you will do what is best
To blend discipline with kindness is every mom's test
Leave 6 Words or Less to Describe Your Mom
Happy Mother's Day!
If you think about it, most people can name at least one woman in their life that doesn’t have a child per say, yet is mentoring, loving, caring, raising, nurturing, and encouraging another person or child on a daily basis. One week before my wedding I sat in the doctor’s office to learn I needed surgery immediately and I may never have children. To say I was devastated is probably putting it mildly.
As I made the trip from Syracuse back to New Haven, my first thought, “What if Ed doesn’t want to still marry me? The wedding is next week?” Why did I think this? One of Ed’s goals was to have a lot of children. He is from a family of eight kids – four boys and four girls. I, on the other hand, said two was a good number. We compromised and agreed two was more realistic in today’s society (and this was over twenty years ago). Ed could tell by the red eyes and sniffling the appointment hadn’t gone well. He just held me.
Once I shared the news, he held me tighter. I remember asking him, “Do you still want to marry me? I can’t give you any kids.” Ed’s response was beautiful and perfect, “I’m not marrying you for the kids you might have, and I’m marrying you because I love YOU.” More tears. We didn’t share the news with anyone, except our parents, until after the wedding. No sense in worrying others – of course to hear “This time next year you’ll be a family” in various forms throughout the day was a challenge, but no one knew this wasn’t a possibility.
Or so we thought. Years later when we had finally accepted we would probably never have children, God worked His miracles and blessed us with a daughter. One we love so much and I thank God for each day. I have friends who were in similar situations as us that never gave birth to a child yet they are some of the finest women I know. Their care and ability to help others and make a difference in the lives of many is an encouragement to me.
I say Happy Mother’s Day to all the women out there who may not have their own child or children. To the women who might not understand why God hasn’t given them their own child. To the women that choose to invest in the lives of others in deep, meaningful, and huge ways as they use the gifts God’s given them. I pray for each of these women, for you, if this is you.
Mom is an endearing word to most, while to others it has the potential to trigger pain, loss, and discouragement. Join me in praying that these women would feel the love of God surround them and know their purpose is different than what they may have planned, dreamed, or envisioned YET it’s the one God has for them. This is easier to type and say, than to accept and live.
Regardless of who is calling you Mom (teacher, mentor, role model, neighbor, aunt, grandma, and friend) ~ remember you are not an accident and God has great things for you and your life, even if you can’t see it at the moment.
Who calls you Mom? Who do you call Mom?
Is it in the traditional or non-traditional sense?
Instead of stores being closed on Sundays, so the only thing to do was worship God and spend time with family. There are days I say, “Phew, glad the store was open.” Yet at the same time, if I was prepared, I wouldn’t need to make the emergency stop.
What does this have to do with Mother’s Day? Little to nothing really, my point, we are so “busy” that we can’t spend an entire day with Mom for Mother’s Day so many squeeze in dinner on Friday or Saturday, maybe lunch or an outing on Saturday so they can enjoy their Sunday and relax.
I like to enjoy a day off and be a bum too yet if it wasn’t for God or my Mom; I wouldn’t be here to have these kinds of days. So, rather than cross things off my list on Sunday ~ I’ll start the day at church and then to my parents for the day, unless Mom wants to alone. It’s all about her…right?
Check out today’s video for another aspect of Mother’s Day you might not think about too often…
How are you spending your Mother’s Day Weekend?
Rather than revisit comments I've shared in the past about the cardinal, pop over to Patty B's blog to read what she shares, it will touch your heart. Her belief is one of the reasons there is a cardinal in my newest book, No More Pain: I Can Fly.
Previous Cardinal Blogs by Me: (click on title for direct link)
"Happy 1st Day of School"
P.O. Box 323
A Mother's Monday
Ride For Missing Children
Sewing And Crocheting
The River's End Bookstore