Would you like peaceful schools in your neighborhood? We all would, right? Here is your opprotunity to help, Peaceful Schools is striving to earn a $250,000 grant to further grow and improve this mission. Of course it is a "business" yet in my heart I view it as a mission. The children are the future of this country. Would you like to see peaceful and positive children blossoming into productive adults? I know I do.
I had the joy to interview Lura Lukenheimer, owner of "Peaceful Schools" located in Syracuse, New York. I encourage you to meet Lura and then respond to her plea and heart - to bless the Peaceful Schools in our Syracuse area. If you want more information about this amazing business, you can contact Lura via Facebook and LinkedIn.
I have the pleasure of knowing Lura outside the school setting too. In addition to helping to develop peaceful schools, Lura is VERY active with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and its Ride for Missing Children. Well, you all know how precious this organization is to me. Lura is an amazing individual trying to help others.
Will you take three minutes to help her? Simply click on any of the pictures in today's blog for a direct link over OR copy and paste the link from below. Thank you in advance!
Vote today - less than 48 hours left and she still needs over two hundred votes!
Lura L. Lunkenheimer, Owner and President of Peaceful Schools
What is "Peaceful Schools"?
Peaceful Schools mission is to provide schools with training, programs and materials that support the creation and maintenance of Peaceful Learning Environments. We believe that Social and Emotional wellness plays a critical role in the students lives. Learning the skills of cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy and self-control have been proven in over 200 studies to lead to resilience in the face of adversity, allowing students to recognize manage and respond to problems in a positive productive way. Our work provides students with opportunities to learn and practice these skills.
You obviously have a heart for these kids and others - if you could express in one sentence (commas are okay, lol) WHY you are so passionate about your business "Peaceful Schools", what would it be?
I am passionate about Peaceful Schools because for 10 straight years teachers and students have shared with us how our work impacts them. When a young person tells you that being a Peaceful Person has helped him/her to feel calmer, to make better decisions, to take responsibility (the list goes on and on) then I know we have positively impacted them, now and for the rest of their lives.
Why should people vote for "Peaceful Schools"?
As a school psychologist I observed first hand that all students struggle to manage the complex social world in which they live. Students with the most resources often felt they could not tell others when they were having a problem because they thought the grown ups in their lives would be disappointed. Kids with the least resources often felt they would burden their grown ups if they shared their problems which seemed insignificant in comparison to the challenges the family was facing. For me the bottom line is that every child needs a chance to learn effective problem solving, communication and decision making.
How will the grant monies be used when you earn it?
The grant funds would support a new effort to make our materials broadly accessible through an on-line subscription library that teachers could access. Our goal is to take what we have developed and share it broadly, and do it in a way that recognizes teachers need for materials that are easy to access, require efficient preparation time (i.e. easy to prep for) and are engaging to all of their students (ESL, Special Ed, diverse cultural backgrounds etc) You can read my full application on-line when you search and click on Peaceful Schools at Mission Small Business. I outlined what we have already put into this project and how we would use the funds to ensure its success.
Any last comments you want included?
Thank you for offering to blog about this. I don't know if I will win, but I want to have the chance to have my proposal reviewed. Everyone says they care about students, and reducing bullying etc. but public funding has not been put into place to really make systematic changes. i want to play a role in reaching as many students as possible.
Would you mind supporting my small business application at Mission: Small Business. I need 250 Votes to qualify my submission for the review process and if you wouldn't mind sharing on your wall and asking your network to support Peaceful Schools that would also help.
To logon go to www.missionsmallbusiness.com then click the login with FB option search for Peaceful Schools as the business and simply click the VOTE button.
School is out! Our first week of summer vacation is ending, yet September 4th is still weeks away. Friends are packing their cars for their annual summer vacation and some stay home and enjoy not having to be anywhere. I fall somewhere in the middle.
My daughter would love to be jet set all summer between going to a friend’s house and having them over but I would prefer to hibernate on the deck and get some writing done. Sadly (but thankfully) my husband, Ed, is working with the exception of some vacation in August so it is really us girls on the loose with choices to make.
I haven’t posted a “Goal List” in quite awhile on the blog so here we go:
1) Organize the house – it seems a bomb goes off during the month of June in our house, hmm….Have you ever had this problem?
2) Take care of business – pay the bills, organize the new calendar (I use a August 2012 – July 2013 to coordinate with the school year) with important dates
3) Writer’s Conference – attend at least one
4) Edit “Where’s Heidi?” – the goal is the BEST manuscript I can have before September 4th
5) Family Fun – a given and probably should be 1st, lol, but since I spent today watching movies with my daughter and NOT working – I’m probably good here
6) Set a Timer – daily writing time (work) – using a timer so I can work all summer and be more prepared for the upcoming year
7) Speaking Ministry – send out information packets and schedule at least one even a month for this summer and upcoming school year
8) Write, Write, Write!!!
9) Chillax with the family
What are your summer goals?
I have heard many say “I don’t know what else to do but JUST pray.” A friend once told me “We don’t JUST pray. It is the first and foremost thing we should do.” She has such an amazing perspective on life and prayer. We should all pray. We don’t JUST do it; it is a blessing God gave us through His Son’s death on the cross. The LEAST we can do is DO IT.
As I think about the significance and blessing to pray for each other I have decided to list a few ways you can be praying for me when the Lord places me on your heart. When you have a quiet moment or think of me, would you pray?
Know this, when the Lord places your name on my heart I pray for you. If you post or email a specific need, as the Lord places it on my heart, I WILL pray for today We don’t just do it, it is a blessing in disguise. How can we be praying for you?
Do you remember the shattered patio table from yesterday’s blog? Since the shattering of glass, tears, and a vision our table has transitioned from wasted material to a fully functional and beautiful addition to our deck. Some will say, “That was quick! It only broke on Thursday and you already have a new table?”
My answer, “Not exactly…” After my sister’s abduction, I blamed God and walked away from Him. He did not leave me, I left Him. This is an important point for you to realize. God never leaves anyone, especially YOU! He loves us all but sometimes we need to be broken and shattered before we recognize the magnitude of our need for His love, healing, and strength. In essence our shattered and shard patio table’s glass looked like the inside of my heart for the first decade after Heidi’s disappearance BUT thankfully others saw the light reflecting from the shards and shared the greatest hope a person can have, Jesus.
Once introduced to the person Jesus was and IS I realized I could not do it on my own. Jesus shed His blood on the cross for you and me. There was no reason for me to live each day with the shards of anger, grief, hurt, confusion, frustration, and so many more tearing at my heart. God sent His One and Only Son, the least I could do was accept I couldn’t do it on my own, admit I choose to follow my own accord, and recognize all Jesus sacrificed for me (and you) on the cross.
Just as my table did not break on Thursday and become the beautiful restored table it is this evening, I too needed time. The peace and love I felt was instantaneous but the healing is continuous. I am a work in progress. I am still the same Lisa M. Buske I was on April 3, 1994 when Heidi was taken from our lives at the hands of her kidnappers BUT I am restored, healed, and new person with my eyes fixed on Jesus instead of the shards.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin."
Thanks to a team effort our new table top is near completion! Mom, Dad, and I measured and inserted the new plywood top. Mary, Ed, and I went through our family photos to find some for the collage. Then we all placed them around the table and glued them down. Then four coats of ModPodge over the pictures, four coats of Polyeurathane (a fifth one within minutes of posting this blog), and about fifteen - twenty hours of work total.
In life there will be things that happen to bring you pure joy and others to leave you shaking your head asking, “Why God?” Some will seem small and insignificant concerns in the grand scheme of life compared to unemployment or a cancer diagnosis but at the time, the sting might be the same. Of course, it passes much quicker and our focus becomes clearer with our priorities in check.
Eighteen years ago my only sister was kidnapped. Within the following eighteen months we lost five more relatives to suicide, a motorcycle accident, and various illnesses. All hope was gone, shattered and irreplaceable.
Have you ever dropped a glass and watch it shatter before your eyes? This was how I felt during 1994 – 1995. On my daughter’s last day of school she had friends over. After she was on the bus and before I left for school that morning I set up our new deck so it was ready for her gathering BUT before her bus arrived, all hopes of her seeing a decorated deck were shattered.
The wind picked up the umbrella, slammed the table down, and lifted the umbrella into the neighbor’s lawn. CRASH! Do you see where this is going? Our new patio table shattered into millions of shards. Decorations tossed in the garbage so no one got hurt. My husband and brother-in-law swept and vacuumed the deck so no one would get hurt and then waited. Waited to break the news to me, knowing my response would be grief stricken.
The shattering of the table is one of those small things in life yet as I hung the phone up with my husband I fought back tears. I was grieving the table, to surprise set up for my daughter, and all the hard work my parents had put forth. I was devastated and wasn’t sure what we would do next. Thankfully a dear friend made a suggestion on how to recover from this devastation.
Sadness overcame me throughout the day but during the night I transformed my friend’s suggestion with an idea that woke me up in the wee hours of the morning. Do you want to know how this shattered table became a dream come true? Read tomorrow’s blog to learn how there is ALWAYS hope. God even cares about the little things.
Have you ever lost something little, only to see our Almighty Father stop to care for you in this time of need? Would share with us? I look forward to hearing how God has and is working in your life.
BE SURE READ TOMORROW’S BLOG TO SEE HOW ONE SHATTERED TABLE IS A DREAM COME TRUE!
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Proverbs 19:21 NIV, Romans 8:28 NLT
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. For You are my hope, O Lord GOD;
You are my trust from my youth.
(Psalm 199:9 NIV, Psalm 71:5 NKJV)
...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 NIV
I pray each of our graduates and their families celebrate this great accomplishment! I also pray for the young adults each have become. Congratulations to our graduates across the country and beyond.
I spent this evening at the Mexico Academy and Central Schools annual baccalaureate service. There were members of this year’s graduating class, their families, teachers, community members, and some of their administration. Although my daughter hasn’t been one of these high school seniors as of yet, I still attend. A couple people asked me tonight, “Why are you here? Is a relative graduating?” My answer is a simple “No. I am here to support our future.”
Is there a baccalaureate service in your hometown’s school district? Some places hold individual services at their church and this is good but I am blessed to live in a district that brings ALL their children together for this special event. All our churches are represented and participate to make this evening a success. In addition, and probably one of the biggest joys is the fact our collaborative service is held in our high school auditorium! Wow, this is a community working together for the betterment of their youth and society.
Our school superintendent, Mr. Bob Pritchard shared from his heart tonight. His message was directed to our graduates yet his words resonated with me. As I continued to listen to his message I decided to accept the challenge he presented to the graduating class.
After sharing the moment of his first prayer and the impact it had in his life he explained the prayer. The “Cadet’s Prayer” is a wealth of information and a great starting point when one might be facing death before old age, as most of our military have, are, and continue to do.
Top of Form
O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of human hearts, help us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth. May our religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of Thee be natural.
Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretence ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy. Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance, and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer. Help us to maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished and unsullied and to show forth in our lives the ideals of West Point in doing our duty to Thee and to our Country. All of which we ask in the name of the Great Friend and Master of all.
Prayer from: http://www.usma.edu/chaplain/SitePages/Cadet%20Prayer.aspx
Out of this prayer developed an activity to guide Mr. Pritchard in his life. Its impact has been so significant; he encouraged the graduates to do this also. I decided to accept his challenge also. Of course, he didn’t call it a “challenge” but this was the way I heard it. What did he encourage them and challenge me to do?
Most successful businesses, schools, and organizations have something called a “mission statement” to guide them in their endeavors. Mr. Pritchard suggested each set aside some time (after graduation) and write out their mission statement for life. A statement to represent who and what is important to them and why they believe and do what they do. Wow, this is a challenge I plan to pray through and DO!
Okay, relax! The skinny on “writing a life mission statement” by Lisa M. Buske. Think about what is important to you and why. In 40 words or less, write it down.
Congratulations to our graduating seniors tomorrow night and a special thanks to our school-district pastor’s group for such a wonderful evening.
Hello everyone, I have missed you. I apologize for the sporadic blogging the past few days yet it was a very productive few days as it pertains to my writing. Today is my rendition of “Walk with Him Wednesday” as inspired by Ann Voskamp’s book and blog, One-Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You are.
Ann’s gift to see the blessings God places before her is a rare and special skill. Yes, I said skill. I believe anyone can rattle off a list of things they are thankful for BUT to be able to acknowledge God is responsible these things and to give Him the credit is an all together different issue. Even in the depths of darkness after my only sister’s kidnapping, I was able to be thankful in my life.
I did not believe God was responsible or even in my life for that matter but I knew there were still some good things happening.
Things I am thankful for this week…
After Heidi’s kidnapping yet before my relationship with Jesus:
Remember I told you there has been a lot of writing happening here, just not for the blog? Well, I decided to enter a rather prestigious writing contest and the deadline was today. Instead of penning thousands of words for here, I worked to perfect less than 2,000 words for this opportunity.
An editor I met at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers’ Conference last year suggested I submit something to this contest. As a friend from church saw this same writing contest in her magazine she said, “Lisa should enter this.” And brought it with her to church the following Sunday. I love these God nudges, don’t you?
I may not “win” the contest per say yet I have won because there is so much to be thankful in the preparation to enter.
Do you know God is responsible for the blessings in your life? Post 1 thing you are thankful God did in your life today?
About the Book
I married an idiot–and so did my spouse. The word, “idiot” is derived from the Greek word meaning “common man.” Aren’t we all common man? In fact, there is only One who was uncommon man–Jesus Christ. Elaine W. Miller encourages couples to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus and run a marriage marathon like an idiot, but not like a fool. An idiot may stumble or fall, but a fool runs the wrong way. We All Married Idiots teaches husbands and wives to stop concentrating on the three things you will never change in your marriage and begin focusing on the ten things you can. Then, you will esteem your mate as a gift to treasure, not as an idiot to tolerate. You can purchase the book here or by clicking on the book cover above. Elaine's other books are also avaialable for sale on Amazon, click on the book covers below.
About the Author
Elaine W. Miller is a popular author and speaker known for sharing biblical insights with warmth, enthusiasm, and humor. A member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she has been encouraging audiences for over 25 years. Elaine and her husband, an ordained minister, have been married 41 years. Together they have led many marriage retreats and counseled numerous hurting couples. Residing in upstate New York, Elain e and Dan enjoy a beautiful and sometimes idiotic life together. Elaine is the author of two additional books, Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms and Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives
Other places to find Elaine:
Did you know you married an idiot?
Worse yet, did you know your spouse married an idiot too?
Elaine and I traveled to Philadelphia last year to attend the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference (http://writehisanswer.com/philadelphia/). The laughter and conversation never ceased. When she told me the title she planned to pitch at the conference, tears streamed down my cheeks.
Oh my goodness, “I would buy the book just for the title.” This is the truth. To know it is full of Biblical and relationship truths, strategies, and revelations are a bonus. Of course, the powerful information within the covers was Elaine’s purpose in writing the book but with my sense of humor, the title pulled me in.
Seriously though, Elaine’s We All Married Idiots: Three things you will never change about your marriage and ten things you can is a must read for the engaged, newly married, and even those celebrating their golden years of marriage. My husband is not a huge fan of reading yet this is a book he has not only read but also enjoyed. Initially I was going to read, write the review and then read with my husband BUT as soon as I read the first two pages, I couldn’t wait.
She starts chapter one with an “I can’t stand your idiosyncrasies…” Yikes, it was only chapter one and she is already focusing on the little things our beloved does that might drive us crazy. Notice I didn’t say, “To make us crazy”. An idiosyncrasy is just something they do and we need to learn to appreciate these little annoyances because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Someday you might long to hear your husband tapping on the steering wheel while he drives or clicking his pen top non-stop. Can you tell what drives me crazy? Lol or that your wife will pick up your dish and wash it before you can refill it? Yes this is one Ed might share with you.
I was laughing so hard Ed asked me “What is so funny?” and so I started to read aloud. We are reading the entire book this way. Some nights in the living room after Mary has gone to bed and others out on the deck while Mary finishes homework. Elaine helped us to understand we aren’t going to change those idiosyncrasies so we might as well learn to accept them. We also can’t change the fact we are both sinners. The last thing we can’t change is the confusion between how the male and female think, act, and react. Instead of focusing on the things we’ll never change, our energy needs to look beyond.
At the end of each chapter, Elaine provides Bible verses for meditation, a reflection, and then questions about change. Elaine suggests you write the answers down but Ed and I decided to talk them through. Some of our answers were exactly what we would have expected while others left us with something to think about. We have been married over eighteen years later and are learning new things about each other with each chapter and set of “change” questions.
What are some areas you can change?
Ed and I have not read the entire book yet but our conversations and time spent together with our marriage as the focus are priceless. We will finish this book with a new understanding about our idiot spouse and the role we each play in God’s eyes for this marriage. Our goal after completing the book is to have a book study with other couples. It will be a date night of fellowship and growth.
Elaine has written with honest humor. The topics she discusses are tough and require thought and for each idiot to look within his or herself first. As you read, it feels as if Elaine is sitting next to you in conversation. Your marriage will only be stronger after you read this book when you apply the principles discussed and expanded on.
Read it by yourself, with your spouse, or as a book study BUT READ THIS BOOK!
You, your beloved idiot, and your marriage are worth it.
The author sent me the above book for review purposes. She will allow me to keep the book. I have no other connection to and have received no other compensation from Elaine W. Miller.
Elaine has graciously donated a book to be given away as part of today's blog.
Leave a coment below to be entered in the drawing.
You married an idiot afterall, isn't it worth leaving a comment to win this amazing book to learn about the idiot your spouse married?
What intriques you the most about this book,
just from the title?
What aspects of things you can and
can't change spark an interest with you?
A ble to read my mind
P uts others first
Y et to be figured out
A lways there for me
T alented in many areas
H elps those in need
E njoys time with his granddaughter
R ole model
S aves the best for others
D early loved
A nswers the phone, “What’s up Kid?”
Y oung at heart
D evoted to your family
A nticipates my next thought or move
Written by Lisa M. Buske for her Daddy
Love you Dad, Happy Father’s Day!
Why do I write?
Mrs. Emerson triggered my desire to write in the first grade, “Lisa, you are a great writer. You keep writing, okay?” In seventh grade Mrs. Mahaffy encouraged me to journal through the summer, “You’re a gifted writer Lisa. Don’t stop.” In eighth grade Mrs. Pryor introduced me to parts of a sentence and the exhilaration in creating a story to evoke emotion.
Senior year with Mrs. Egan was a blessing. Due to my grades, I was declined acceptance in the AP English class. I was devastated so I went to Mrs. Egan, she listened and offered to let me do the same work as her AP class as an extra. I wouldn’t receive a credit or grade but if I could keep up with both English classes, I was welcome to do the reading on my own time, complete the assignments, and work with her during my any free time. I am happy to say, English AP was my highest grade and greatest achievement, one that never appeared in a report card yet next to keyboarding it is one of my favorite high school memories.
Mrs. Egan saw more than three years of goofing off; she saw a desire to learn and fed it with books, writing assignments, and rewrites.
My favorite classes in college involved a lot of writing. The best collegiate level English course started everyone at an “A”. We worked to keep this grade and had the opportunity to rewrite every assignment until it was “A” quality. The professor graded hard BUT he took the time and energy to make notes on EVERY student’s paper.
It was our choice to make the corrections to improve our writing (and grade in the process) and I LOVED it. The professor teased me, “Lisa, you are the only student who has ever rewritten a B+ or A- for a higher grade. You read my notes and take the time to make the corrections. Thank you.” With a smile, “But how else will I learn? The 4.0 is nice too.”
That was then, but what about now? Why do I write?
In 1994 when my sister, Heidi M. Allen was kidnapped while working alone at the D & W Convenience store in New Haven, New York I used writing as a method of expression. No one ever read the words written, and no one ever will. I wrote out of necessity to let out the anger, frustration, and all the ick I buried on the inside so I didn’t become a burden to my parents as they looked for their youngest daughter, my sister. Then one day I decided, “I don’t want anyone else to read this emotional vomit,” and I burned it all. With the exception of one blue fabric covered journal, my innermost thoughts turned to ash in the heat.
To look back I believe it was a symbolic burning. I felt as if my life had gone up in flames after Heidi disappeared. I spent hours and years trying to figure out why such a terrible thing happened to my beautiful and vibrant sister. Instead of opening up to an individual or asking God for help, I used the lighted match to have my thoughts and emotions represent the way I felt…burned out and dead.
I wasn’t sure I could live without my sister, well not with true joy and hope.
When did therapy writing transition to a ministry to help others?
In 2004, one child changed my life with an introduction to Jesus. Not God or one-third of the Trinity hanging on a cross, but the Man and Friend waiting to hear my troubles. The One who already knew everything, I only needed to trust. Thank goodness I did. Life was never the same.
Two years later it was time to let go of all the thoughts, memories, and ugliness I didn’t feel I could tell anyone else. With lots of prayer and others praying for me I sat down to write my first book. In three days I dumped seventy-six pages of emotional vomit organized into chapters. Not only did I write it, I submitted it to a writing contest! What was I thinking? The judges sent a hand written note to encourage me to finish the book and seek publication.
Instead I pushed it aside to collect dust while I did a lot of fun writing. Then the Lord placed a flyer for an upcoming writers’ conference less than two hours from home. From the moment I my eyes caught a glimpse, my heart stirred with excitement to attend. It was here that God encouraged me to take my book off the shelf and get to work. This time it wasn’t for healing but to help others.
Today I write in hopes of saving someone else years of pain and searching when the answer to their struggles is available twenty-four-seven. The words penned on this blog and in my books is first and foremost to bring glory to God yet to know both Heidi’s name and story is not forgotten as other’s hearts are touched is an inspiration.
Is there more to you than being a writer?
I am a wife, mother, daughter, and speaker.
I married my beloved less than a year before Heidi’s kidnapping with the photographic memories of this day appearing on Day One, America’s Most Wanted, and every local media outlet. When a loved one goes missing the first question you hear is, “Do you have any recent photographs?” Between Heidi’s graduation shots and our wedding, pictures we had.
Our daughter is a thriving teenager and we are embracing this time of parenting.
While I may still technically be the oldest my parent’s two children, my adult life has been spent as an only child in essence. A different role, one I cherish. I can’t imagine how hard this must be on my parents. I pray they know how much I love them and pray for them. I pray for my sister too. In God’s time…
In 2010 I started to establish myself as “writer”. Less than two years later I began the journey to add “speaker” to my resume. God used a few wonderful ladies to open this door in December of 2011. Since this first event, I have spoken a few more times. Each time God opens the door I pray to give His message with those in attendance. I speak for the same reason I write, to help others.
BUT do you know the best part? Each time I speak, the hours spent looking up Bible verses and in prayer strengthen me. I plan, prepare, and pray for those who will hear my message. I want to be an ambassador worthy to share God’s message for whoever might hear the words God gave me. Sometimes I find myself thinking, Are you sure God? I’m not sure I can do this…Okay, this is Your message not mine. And each time, the feedback brings tears to my eyes.
I am stronger and more dependent on God with each speaking event. It is through this intense time of study, prayer and preparation that I focus on the story and message God has for others. My healing and strength is an added blessing.
Are you scheduling speaking events at this time?
Yes I am.
You can contact me directly through my email at email@example.com or by visiting my “Contact Me” page on this website. There is information for event planners on my “Speaker” page. You may also Facebook message me.
There are still dates available for this summer and I have started to schedule for the Fall. I look forward to hearing from you.
Is there something you would like to ask me?
Maureen's Story We all go through experiences in life that leave us a changed person.
I don't think I had ever truly understood how essential it is to live your life with hope until I watched my younger sister Maureen during her two year battle with cancer. Hope gave her the courage to face life's challenges and the belief that life holds wonderful possibilities. It kept her dreams alive and nourished her spirit. Maureen was blessed with hope and though it exists for all of us, sometimes it must be found.
Susan Bertrand, Founder
Many good things have been going on with Maureen's Hope and here's just a few happenings we wanted to share.
How can you help Maureen's Hope receive an $8,500 grant from the Central New York Community Foundation? Simply by taking a moment and clicking on the link below to cast your vote.
Our patient Comfort Care Packages have been selected as one of the projects in the running for this grant and your vote can make it happen! You may cast one vote per day per valid email address from now until June 30, 2012.
Click here to Vote today for Maureen's Hope!
Keep our Spirit of Hope Shining!
Today's post was reprinted with permission from Susan Bertrand.
To visit Maureen's Hope website:
click on the logo above or copy and paste the link below
To vote in support of Maureen's Hope grant:
click on the photo of Maureen with her sister and mother.
Author of the new heart wrenching story "Finding Emma", Steena is a woman who believes that 'in the end, everything succumbs...to the passions of your heart'. Steena's life revolves around her family, friends and fiction.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
A child torn from the arms of loving parents, a relationship torn apart from loss...
Megan sees her daughter Emma everywhere. She's the little girl standing in the supermarket, the child waiting for the swings at the playground, the girl with ice cream dripping down her face. But it's never Emma. Because Emma's been missing for two years. Unable to handle the constant heartache of all the false sightings, Megan's husband threatens to walk away unless Megan can agree to accept Emma is gone. Megan's life and marriage is crumbling all around her and she realizes she may have to do the thing she dreads most: move on. When Megan takes a photo of a little girl with an elderly couple at the town fair, she believes it to be her missing daughter. Unable to let go, she sets in motion a sequence of events that could destroy both families lives.
50% of the proceeds of this 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.
Paperback: 276 pages
Publisher: Steena Holmes (April 8, 2012)
Twitter Hashtag: #FindingEmma Finding Emma is available in both paperback and for Kindle at Amazon, in paperback at Barnes & Noble, and your local indie bookstore.
I first learned of this book through the “Women On Writing” mailing. After reading the book jacket, there was an instant connection and desire to read this book. I added it to my “Wish List” with hopes to purchase it with my next paycheck. Later in the week though, the opportunity to read Finding Emma and write a review became an opportunity I didn’t want to pass this up.
I called my Mom, “Remember the book, Finding Emma? I am going to be able to read it and write a review. I’m so excited.”
My mother’s response, “I already downloaded it to my Kindle and plan to start it tomorrow.” with a mischievous chuckle in her voice.
All I could do was shake my head on the other end of the phone. “Mom, will you at least wait until I get my copy so we can read it at the same time?”
“I guess so…” with more laughter.
The book opens with one exhausted mother falling asleep while her three children indulge in a water fight. She wakes up with mother-guilt for napping on the job yet reminds herself it is only because of doing the books for her husband’s business. The story moves quickly with an introduction to Megan, and her three daughters. Alexis, Hannah, and Emma are the joy of her and her husband Peter’s lives. Emma, the youngest is always escaping outside, in spite of the high lock on the door.
It was her youngest daughter, Emma’s birthday and it was to be spent at the carnival downtown but before they can leave tragedy strikes. Instead of making lemonade with Emma while Hannah and Alexis finished getting ready, she stopped to answer the phone. Within moments, Emma is gone…kidnapped.
The story of the mother searching for her little girl Emma, while sharing the couple raising “Emmie” as their granddaughter only a short distance from their home heightens the reader’s adrenaline. Will they run into each other? Do the grandparent’s know “Emmie” is the kidnapped Emma from the neighboring town?
You will attempt to solve the mystery while not only falling in love with Emma’s family but you will also embrace the couple raising “Emmie” as their own. Two families, two stories, one child, and one story. Megan’s continuous search creates tension with her husband, Peter and their children. One daughter assumes the parenting role with the other withdrawing inward, except for the journal she uses as an escape.
Steena Holmes captures the masks worn by the family of the missing at times, in order to “do” and “be” what society expects. The relationship between Megan and her daughters triggered feelings long repressed since my sister’s initial kidnapping. Although a fictional read, it reflects the feelings, conversations, and emotions felt behind closed doors for most families of missing children.
I encourage you to read this book. As you turn each page, you will pray for Emma to be reunited with her family yet at the same time, you will pray for the well-being of the elderly couple if this prayer is answered. In order to save her marriage and keep her family intact, Megan agrees to hold a memorial service and purchase a headstone after Emma’s second birthday. Will this act of closure happen or will Emma be reunited with family? You will have to read Finding Emma to learn the answer…either way, read the last couple chapters with tissues.
Kudos to Steena Holmes! As the sister of a missing child, I have to say you hit a homerun with the bases loaded with this book. You deserve some cotton candy as a reward for a fabulous story. Thank you.
To visit Steena Holme’s website click on her photo above or copy and paste the link below:
To purchase Finding Emma in paperback or download to your Kindle - click on the book cover or copy and paste the link below: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Emma-Steena-Holmes/dp/0987856863/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338751485&sr=1-1
We are on a Scavenger Hunt! Visit Each of the Blogs Below and Collect a Clue!
Warm summer nights, lights and spinning wheels, laughter, candy and games--it's carnival time! The best memories of any carnival or fair are the prizes won at the game booths. Ready to play?
We're on the hunt for all things related to carnivals.
At each stop along our Finding Emma tour there are clues. These might be words hidden in a guest post or a "word for the day" at the bottom of a book review. Each time you find a word submit it on Steena's Scavenger Hunt page.
Each entry equals one ticket to win.
Please enter only one "clue" per entry. Each entry earns another chance to win.
First Prize: Work with a Bestselling Author. Our Grand Prize winner will help create a character for Steena Holmes' next book!
Second and Third Prize: Winners will each receive a signed copy of Finding Emma and a special pewter angel figurine from The Missing Children's Society of Canada, an organization dedicated to bringing children home.
Contest runs June 4 - July 7. Open to U.S. and Canada. In the case of an international winner prize will be an eBook copy of Finding Emma. Three winners will be chosen at random. Winners to be announced on July 9th. Winners will be posted on Steena Holmes' website and notified by Steena Holmes via email.
For even more fun, visit the Carnival Board on Pinterest:
Steena (and Emma) love the Carnival. Come see their pictures of favorite memories of summer fun and fairs and pin up some of your own! (Hint . . . the pics will give you a clue to the word for the day)
Enter your clues here: http://www.steenaholmes.com/wow-scavenger-hunt/
June 4 @ The Muffin! - Today! Stop by The Muffin for an interview with Steena Holmes, and enter to win a print copy of Finding Emma!
Tuesday, June 5 @ Writer Inspired
Have you ever thought of leaving a journal of letters for your child? What about sharing a journal with a child? Today we're talking about letter writing and we're also giving away an e-copy of Finding Emma!
Wednesday, June 6 @ Jennifer Greenleaf: Maine Author What secrets about you lie waiting to be discovered? Find them through journaling! Also, this Maine Author treats us to her review of Finding Emma.
Friday, June 8 @ The Guilty Parent
Do you know what to do if your child is missing? Steena shares some tips. Also, Nichole shares her review of Finding Emma.
Monday, June 11 @ All Things Jill Elizabeth
Ah, the sting of rejection. As writers we know this well, but how can we make it work to our advantage?
Tuesday, June 12 @ Words from the Heart Today Steena talks about taking the fear out of danger with kids and Linda treats us to her review of Finding Emma. Come on over!
Wednesday, June 13 @ Books, Books, the Magical Fruit Get to know Steena Holmes. Sue is hosting an interview and giveaway today! http://booksbooksthemagicalfruit.blogspot.com/
Thursday, June 14 @ Lisa M. Buske
Get the scoop on Finding Emma--Lisa shares her review!
Friday, June 15 @ Thoughts in Progress
We all know they do but...just why do chocolate and writing go hand in hand? We're giving away an eCopy of Finding Emma so come join the fun!
Saturday, June 16 @ A Tattered Past
Is there a family meal that takes you back in time? Steena talks about favorite childhood recipes that somehow define us!
Monday, June 18 @ CMash Loves to Read
Come join Steena for a talk about finding passion in your everyday life. Enter to win a copy of Finding Emma and read Mason Canyon's review of Finding Emma!
Tuesday, June 19 @ Workaday Reads
Come on over and learn the story behind the story. There will be a book review and giveaway too so come join the fun!
Wednesday, June 20 @ Dianna's Writing Den
Come over to the Writing Den for an interview with Steena Holmes! Enter to win a copy of Finding Emma.
Saturday, June 23 @ Barbara Conelli's Chique Show
Join us for a live interview!! Call in or text your comments and questions. It all happens at Noon EST.
Thursday, June 28 @ Crazy for Books
Join us for one of Jennifer's fun book reviews! Enter to win a copy of Finding Emma.
Welcome back to our “Walk with Him” Wednesday blog series. I apologize for the past couple weeks of varying blogs yet due to some scheduling, is the way the schedule worked out. I want to assure you that although this series wasn’t posted online, my list of things to be thankful for is maintained in my prayer journal.
Each week as I prepare to share the various and amazing ways God has blessed, enlightened, and provided for me I write them down. I may not have a journal near my sink, chair, and bed yet when it is only God and myself I take time to add them to my journal. It isn’t fancy. An old three-subject notebook divided out. The front has my praises to God for things ONLY He could do with another column for the things I am thankful for. Sometimes one column will seem to be longer than the other is so in prayer, I pause and remember.
Do you want to know something? There hasn’t been a day my columns haven’t been the same. Whenever I slow down and take the time to reflect, more things flood my mind. In the back of my journal are my prayers. One stops quiet time reflections and prayers. Today these are between God and me yet someday, they will be future generations. I pray my journal is a hope and reminder to my daughter to always trust God and “Give it to God”, not man.
Ways I am thankful today:
A completed deck – designed and built by my dad with the help of my mom, husband, brother-in-law, and family friend
A new grill on the “grill deck” when I return home one day
New plants and gardens
Rain to water these new plants
Encouraging words from publishers
A faithful husband
Literature that draws the world to God
Answered prayer – even when it is “No” or “Not right now”
Youth with a heart for Jesus
Summer vacation is only seven school days away
Gifted family and friends
For each new day to share
For all of you
What are you thankful for today?
Will you share at least 3 things in a comment below?
Thank you, you are one way God inspires me.
Do you know where to look when life's struggles, tragedies, and joys enter your life?
Will you share an instance when
you didn't think you could handle
one more minute and then
the "Aha" Bible verse penetrated
through the hurt to bring healing?
Is there a Bible verse you meditate
on when life is going great
and you are full of joy?
Will you share a story and/or verse with us today?
I pray you will.
Hello readers this is yet again a Monday with Mags.
Today you are going to get a special look on a novel I have STARTED writing it isn’t exactly a religious book but it also isn’t a bad book! I am hoping to publish it one day when I finish … please read and leave me a comment on what you think of sample and if you would ever read it. In addition, please do the survey after reading, have a great day!
The piece is fictional and below for you to read.
Thursday December 1st
Dear Divorce Diary,
My name is Georgie, short for Georgia, and yes, Georgia is a place. However, you can’t find me on any old map, for I’m only 13! Now that I think about it you can’t find me on a thirteen year old map either. Wow, maybe I’m not that important? My parents think I’m important, for whenever there together there always fighting over who will get custody of me. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to fall apart, from all of the different ways my parents are pulling me. Divorce is making my life a living h*#@, not joking!!During the weekdays, I live my mom because she lives in the “school limits”. Moreover, on the weekends I stay with my dad and his soon to be wife. She’s ok I guess, she’s barley ever around when I’m there. She goes to Oswego NY where she lives. I’m trying to get used to this house-to-house thing while my dad is maintaining a long distance relationship from Florida to New York. My parents try to “Play nice” when I’m around. However, when I leave the room I’m sure if there is another war happening!
Divorce = court
Court = me in a suit L
What did you think? Please leave a comment about my story and do the survey.
Do you love today’s title? I wish there was some off topic reason for it yet there isn’t. This statement is one I find to be true in my life. Mags will often say, “I am having a bumper sticker made for your car. ‘Sin most while driving’ for the world to see.”
I always laugh and we discuss alternatives to growling, making faces, or letting someone else’s driving steal me of my joy. Typically, the remainder of our trip is less eventful thanks to my daughter’s gentle reminder.
Is there a bumper sticker your children might say, “Mom/Dad, you need a bumper sticker to say…” and you will in the blank.
It might have to do with:
*overeating after the kids go to bed
“I hide the Oreos for myself so my kids can’t eat them”
*repeated use of bad language
“I swear when angry.”
*abusive behaviors (emotional, physical, sexual, or spiritual) –
“I belittle others to make myself feel better.”
“Watch your back, I am not always honest.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll talk about you when you are not around.”
“I attend church when it is raining.”
“I can hold a grudge”
“I am miserable and proud of it.”
“It’s all about ME! Who are you?”
This list could go on and on if we all had an opportunity to sit together and discuss this. HOWEVER, since we are each in our individual surroundings, today I want to encourage you to think about an area in your life you tend to struggle with doing what YOU want instead of what GOD wants.
The NEW and improving bumper stickers might read:
“I hide the Oreos for myself so my kids can’t eat them, pray I learn to share and eat healthy.”
“I swear when angry, pray I learn to control my stress.”
“I belittle others to make myself feel better, pray I put God then others first.”
“Watch your back, I am not always honest, pray I only speak truth.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll talk about you when you are not around, pray I am a good friend and only share another’s troubles with God in prayer.”
“I attend church when it is raining, pray I would desire to worship every week.”
“I can hold a grudge, pray I learn to forgive and move forward with the past…in the past!”
“I am miserable and proud of it, pray I desire a joyful life surrounded by others with a similar heart-a-tudes.”
“It’s all about ME! Who are you?, pray I think about others instead of myself.”
Now my bumper sticker reads:
“Sin most while driving. Pray for me to slow down and enjoy the drive.”
COMMENT BELOW: If your children or grandchildren were to have a bumper sticker made for the back of your car to announce to the world one of your weaknesses, what area would stand out most to them?
Part I: Post your “bumper sticker” slogan below.
Part II: add a tagline to the end of your bumper sticker to encourage you to remove this bumper sticker from your life.
I pray all our bumper stickers will start with positive statements after a time of reflection, change, and prayer. We want people to first read, "I live an obedient life for Jesus, pray I continue on this road until I join Jesus in heaven."
Where: Your own backyard, park, or in your heart!!!
17 years ago on June 9th, a beautiful 6 year old girl, Morgan Nick, was abducted from a Little League baseball field while she was catching fireflies. Morgan is still missing. Her mother, Colleen Nick, is a very dear friend of mine and a strong advocate for the missing. ... Our friend Julia had a brilliantly touching idea to ask everyone to honor Morgan by catching 17 fireflies and taking a picture of them to commemorate the moment of HOPE. I hope you will join me in catching the fireflies and post your picture on Facebook or send it to me. Please forward this event to everyone of your Facebook friends. Thank you!!!
We would love to let Morgan's family know how many people around the world are thinking of Morgan and sending positive thoughts of HOPE to help bring Morgan home! If there are no fireflies in your area, please spend a moment to think of Morgan and her family, and light a candle if you are able.
To find out more about Morgan and see the amazing
good work Morgan's mother does every day,
please visit http://www.morgannickfoundation.com/
Please take some time to speak with the children in your life about safety. Education is key to combating crimes against children. You can find helpful publications on this at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website: www.missingkids.com. Consider enrolling your kids in a self-defense/empowerment course so they have knowledge about how to protect themselves, no matter what their age. Catching fireflies is such an iconic childhood pleasure- let’s work together to keep all children safe and joyful!
Thank you my friends!!
To those of you who participated in this event last year- Thank You!! Your thoughts, prayers, best wishes and pictures meant more to this family than words can say.
Today's post is from Abby Potash.
I have met Abby a few times through the National Center for Mising and Exploited Children at their annual Ride for Missing Children.
Abby's son was recovered and a succesful young man today. My sister remains missing. To have a loved one goes missing creates an unexplainable bond...
If you have words of encouragement for Morgan Nick's family, please leave in a comment below. If you are able to join us in lighting Morgan's way home by fireflies...post your pictures on Facebook and link it to "Fireflies for Morgan" and if you can, me to so I can see the light shining.
In 2010 I attended my first writers’ conference, the Christian Writer’s Gathering at the Delta Lake Conference Center in Rome, New York. It was a small, educational, and motivating experience. I left with an overwhelming amount of information to transform my hobby of writing into the career it is today.
In 2011 I returned for another great conference but this time a friend joined me. We had a great weekend of writing, fellowship, and prayer. At the conclusion of the conference the organizer asked for volunteers to help with the 2012 event. I prayed about it and this year I joined Deb and helped as I could.
This summer, July 5th and 6th the Delta Lake Conference Center will host its annual writer’s gathering during their family camp. In addition to writing, attendees also have the opportunity for morning and evening worship services, fellowship, and quiet time of prayer.
One of my favorite aspects of this conference compared to a larger conference is the environment. In addition to “learning”, there is plenty of time to write and spend time in God’s presence.
If you have never attended a writers’ conference, this is a small yet informational conference. If you are a veteran, you will appreciate the down time to reflect and apply all you have learned while taking advantage of the quiet time to connect and write.
Below is a PDF for your viewing and to print with additional one for you to download if you prefer.
Have you attended a writers’ conference in the past? What is your favorite part? If you haven’t, what aspect of a writer’s conference peaks your interest the most?
As you write for God, are you ready to take your writing to the next level? A Christian Writers’ Gathering is a great place to start…
To some this moth is ugly and not as beautiful as a butterfly. Yet as Mags and I watched it flutter about one evening, we smiled. It is beautiful. We snapped pictures (of course) and once we returned inside we researched what type of “butterfly” this was out so late one evening. To our surprise, it is a moth.
Hmm…this left me to think. When people look at me, do they see a moth or a butterfly? I will be honest with you, there are days I feel yucky, sad, or just plain moody yet when I walk through the door of my house I place on my “happy face” for the world. HOWEVER, it is hard to keep up a false front. The Bible tells us the thoughts of our heart will eventually come out through our words and actions.
I am thankful for a God who forgives and my heart to seek forgiveness. In truth, whom am I fooling? And for that matter, why do we try to hide our “bad days” from the world? Everyone has a bad day. Instead of walking out the door masquerading as a butterfly, we need to hold our head high and be the moth we are feeling like. I have learned when I am honest about my feelings and heart-a-tude, God brings someone or something across my path to turn my day around.
I have learned if I walk out the day with a prayer of “Lord, you know I am _____ today, may you use this for your glory. May I not become stagnant in my trouble but instead break through with joy and thanksgiving to give you the praise. I am Yours, may I reflect you.” No mask but instead an honest prayer because I am human and so are you!
It doesn’t matter the how professional the mask you where is, God knows your heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 - "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (NIV)
So you might as well admit your feelings and troubles go God, he already knows.
Have you ever worn a “mask” for the sake of others? Instead of sharing your troubles, stress, or hurt with God and others, did you bury it deep in your heart? If so, what happened later in the day or evening?
How has God worked in your life when you start by giving all those things to Him first?
Please share in a comment below. You never know when your words will be the encouragement another needs to make it through a season in their life.
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323