A few days before our marriage the doctor told me "Lisa, you need surgery and will most likely never be able to have children. IF you get pregnant, you will not carry full term." Yikes, not exactly the news you want to hear less than seventy-two hours from walking down the aisle. With tears I shared the news with my groom-to-be and without thinking he said, "I'm marrying you, not the kids you MIGHT have." Phew...
We had accepted we would never have children yet my sister, the optimist said "You are going to have a daughter and she will be just like me!" Jokingly I would roll my eyes and say, "That is all I need." Although Heidi was kidnapped years before this miracle would occur, she always had hope this dream would be a reality.
Every test showed there was no human reason for our precious little girl to be growing and making such gains - nearly full-term, she arrived. In 1998 we were blessed with our "miracle baby" as our doctor name her. Today we celebrate her 13th birthday!
Never give up or stop believing God answers prayer...our daughter is one example of his answering "yes" to prayers lifted
Happy Birthday Mary Margaret!
We love you!
(The man holding Mary is my grandpa Allen, her great-grandfather.)
Three weeks ago our foreign exchange student arrived from Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse, France. We anticipated her visit and prayed for a good experience, new friendships, safety and for positive memories to be created. Along with this anticipation was a tiny bit of doubt, “Have we done the right thing?”, “Are we capable of being a host family?” “What if…” and with each doubt I hurled a prayer up to God to eliminate the concerns and replace them with all the more good times and love.
Oh my goodness, did He ever answer those prayers! At first we were saying, “What will we ever do for three whole weeks?” yet as we closed our eyes last night and finalized last preparations we were saying, “I wish we had one more week? Or even a day?” We had a wonderful time with our newly adopted daughter from France, Miss Coline. She brought positive, creative and joyful energy with her along with a healthy curiosity for the United States and bonding with her American host sister.
We enjoyed three weeks of sight-seeing and laughter as our family opened its arms to include Coline as its newest member. This morning…with the last souvenir and item tucked into her suitcase, we zip her luggage shut to lock it for a twenty-three hour journey back to her home in France. We stayed up until our eyes couldn’t stay open in order to enjoy every minute together. This morning we are a home of mixed emotions. Happy Coline will be reunited with her family yet sad because we will have a quiet sot missing where our newest family member once stayed.
A bittersweet and emotional day…it may have been a short three weeks yet God showed me I do have the ability to love and equally. He blessed Mary with a forever French sister and us with another daughter. Coline’s presence will be missed yet our bond and friendship will last as long as we are on earth. I pray it will last into eternity.
Please keep Coline and the other students returning to France in your prayers – for safe travels and friendships to last them a lifetime. Pray for our family as we grieve the silence and embrace the family we are blessed with, adjusting back to a family of three.
It was an amazing experience and I encourage everyone to host a foreign exchange student…your heart and life will never be the same.
Psalm 136:1-3 NIV
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
Eager to learn
Yes, you read the title correctly. We need to “Embrace Suffering!”, “Stand Firm”, and “Not Fear”! Pastor delivered a powerful message this morning. He has started a new series, “A life with Joy…” Today’s portion encouraged us to live a life of joy by standing firm, fighting for the Gospel and embracing suffering. Do you notice the verbs - standing (yes this is a verb, you have to consciously hold your muscles and back upright to stand), fighting and embracing?
I found the message an encouragement – we need to embrace our suffering, without fear while standing firm in our faith and belief in Jesus Christ. What suffering do you have in your life today? Is it paying the bills? A struggling marriage? No free time without children? A missing loved one? Regardless of your struggle – we are to embrace suffering and stand firm NO MATTER WHAT! Ouch…there was a time I would have exited out of this blog (or walked out of the church) when I heard this message yet today – knowing God has my back, I was encouraged and thankful.
I am the wife, mother, daughter, friend, sister and writer I am today – because I have suffered. It is what we do with our suffering that differentiates us from others. I choose to embrace my suffering (most days, I am human) and write to help others. I pray God uses my book to open doors into people’s hearts and lives. There is hope, so do not fear.
The verse that stood out the most was 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT), “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” While the Lord started Pastor’s message with encouragement for my soul – He also rebuked and encouraged me as it pertains to FEAR.
A couple years ago I trained to run a 5K with my husband on my side. I thought this would be a great way for us to spend some time together as a couple and get healthy at the same time. We had fun and ran our first 5K, for Hospice in memory of my father-in-law. It was great. My husband didn’t walk or run with me again following that. Another reason my husband trained with me was because of my fear – since my sister’s abduction I struggle with being alone.
A fear I face daily yet as much as I love a nice run, I let fear prevent me from a beautiful run in the cool morning air. As I listened to pastor read 2 Timothy 1:7 my heart was awakened. I do not have to fear! Of course I knew this yet God worked through my pastor to encourage me. It brought back words from Jaycee Dugard’s memoir, sharing how she runs alone! I need to face my fears and get over it…and RUN! With God’s power and love I can run without fear…will you pray for me? Pray as I write my first book and also to run in God’s power, love and self-discipline – I will eliminate the fear and replace it with muscles and healthy lungs!
2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity,
but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
p.s. Today's photo is proof there is joy in everything, especially with the syrup on my Dad's homemade pancakes!
Wednesday evening we traveled back to Syracuse for a double-header, Syracuse Chiefs' baseball game. They won both games! Our wonderful foreign exchange student LOVED it to say the least. Now I brought my writing bag with me, "just in case" since I was in the groove when it was time to leave. My daughter captured this shot of me reading an aritcle on how to improve one's query letter. I read a few other articles and reviewed my outline and book proposal.
In addition to this, I finished reading "A Stolen Life". Jaycee Dugard's memoir of her eighteen years of captivity following her kidnapping at the age of 11. Oh my gosh, I couldn't stop crying. Happy she was found and is using her tragedy to help others, sad for the loss she and her family experienced, and torn - Will we find Heidi?
http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/jaycee-dugards-memoir-tops-amazon-bestseller-list_b34047 Some of the proceeds from her book are going towards her J A Y C Foundation Inc. - to help other families!! Jaycee is an amazing woman - keep her, her children, her Mom, aunt, family and friends in your prayers! She writes to help others...
I did watch the game and take photographs but there is a lot of down time at a baseball game. So remember to bring your work next time.
Prior to the game I worked away and then the girls joined me.
Today we went to Sea Breeze in Rochester and I brought another book with me. Dave Fessenden's Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract and nearly finished it. A great book! We had fun but someone had to sit with the bags and cooler - since I don't like rides, and love a good book...Ed and I did sneak away for a ride on the carousel. We were the only ones on it too...tee hee!
Hello everyone! Sorry for going MIA on you. We have been hosting a wonderful young girl from France. It has been a wonderful experience so far and would recommend it to everyone! We are learning as much as she, I think. We have visited many historical sites within a one-hour drive from our house – blessings we don’t nearly appreciate as much as we should. Anyway…back to my writing.
Since returning from the writer’s gathering at Delta Lake Bible Conference Center, I have just about wrapped up the next chapter. I have a new philosophy and mission – one learned while at the Christian Writer’s Gathering. This is my summary based on the different presenters and people sharing messages during the week. Dave Fessenden, Barbara Hansen, Randy Singer, or Rev. John Stumbo – while their messages filled three days and were far more eloquent – this New Haven Country girls sums it up this way…GET IT DONE!
I wrote the first draft over a weekend so it is time to get a fully revised version complete. As I pray and prepare for my Philly departure in August, it is evident I need to step up my game. Why do I procrastinate finishing the revisions? Am I a writer or a person who talks about writing? By golly, I am a writer! God has given me the strength and words to tell my story so another sister or brother isn’t left to hurt for a decade like I did. Some days the writing is easier than others. Some days I know exactly where to go, others I can’t remember that far back. Where did the days and months go? Friends got married, aunts and uncles passed away, a cousin is killed and my brain can’t keep the dates straight. How can I tell my story if I can’t organize events and dates in a sensible and chronological order?
Here is my answer…I don’t need to have them organized, I only need to have them in any order but the order God leads me. The confusion and lost time are a part of my story. I know I missed important moments in my friend’s lives. I let the anger and hurt push people away. This isn’t to say that I didn’t have joyful moments and haven’t enjoyed my life ~ I have. In spite of losing my sister…I’ve learned to enjoy life and people. I have a story to tell and it is time to finish. With the last chapter written ~ it is time to revise the rest.
My newest and biggest goal…by August 8th!! I leave for Philadelphia on August 10th for another Christian Writer’s Conference. With at least four appointments upcoming – keep my writing and this book in your prayers. There are siblings hiding behind a happy face, suffering the loss of their brother or sister – they need to know God loves them and there is Hope! My book is one tool for reaching them…time to write.
For the next few weeks I will still be posting a blog but not on a daily basis. I was beating myself up for not writing enough when I realized I have written over 40,000 words in my blog since April!! That’s write…my next book has been written. “Has the blog been an avoidance, to not work on the book?” someone asked, I say no. It has been a part of the process. Keep reading – I’ll post at least a few times a week!
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to send a note of encouragement while I write. Your prayers and words keep me going, in God’s strength.
“Trust in the LORD
with all your heart
and lean not
on your own understanding;”
Everyone needs a time and place to quiet their hearts, and cast their cares to the One who knows all. I know of people who retreat to the restroom, lock the door and take fifteen minutes to reconnect with their Heavenly Father. I learned of a woman who laid on the couch and put a dish towel over face, this was the family’s cue she was talking with God. Others lace up their shoes for a good walk, run, or kayak ~ renewing their soul while getting healthy. Others of us set the alarm a couple hours earlier in order to be awake before the rest of the house. And I’m sure there are some that set time aside before closing their eyes at night. Regardless of when it is done, the important thing is…they are getting it done!
Time with God is a priceless gift! We don’t have to carry our trials, troubles, and frustrations with us. We don’t need to have the weight of anger, hurt, fear, and annoyance weighing us down on a daily basis. Instead, we can find our secret place of worship and prayer. This may be your living room, the bathroom or a place like shown today. Regardless of the location – set time aside each and every day to cast your cares to the Lord. He is faithful and will relieve the weight, remove the hurt, and open your eyes to all the wonderful blessings He has surrounded you with.
It isn’t until we remove the negative and emotional hurts of life that we can truly start to enjoy God and His presence. He has so much for us. He never leaves us. My book illustrates my negative emotions and feelings of loneliness and God’s departure when in truth…God never left but I didn’t recognize all He had done and provided until over ten years later. I pray before I write, while I write and when I finish writing. I want to write for Him. I want to touch the lives of other siblings hurting and experiencing years of pain after losing their brother or sister.
Please don’t misunderstand me – when you first cast your cares to the Lord, you won’t return to the busyness of life free of pain and hurts yet recognizing what God has done for you – sending Jesus to live, die and be crucified for your sins – then to rise again. He did this for you. Once you release the tears and fears, Jesus will snuggle into each and every crevice where pain used to be. Instead of a cement wall around your heart, preventing you from trusting and loving again – you will have new growth.
I pray you trust Jesus as you sit and watch the calm of the water. Open up your Bible, John 3:16 is a great place to start. As you enjoy God’s creation, remember you are one of those creations – and are dearly loved! God can take away the hurt, you only need to trust.
you will find delight
in the Almighty
lift up your face to God.”
NOTE: If you start the Youtube video first, you can read today's blog entry while listening to my reading.
With fourteen hours of class complete, an hour 1:1 critique and an obscene number of hours at home to perfect…chapter ten was complete for the reading. I’ve never spent so many hours, days and weeks revising and reworking one chapter in a consecutive term. It was exhausting, frustrating and sometimes simply grueling. While the chapter is about people I adore, I was becoming bored with my own writing and started to doubt myself.
In revision, it is best to read your writing aloud. You will catch errors and areas that will cause the reader to pause, if not stop reading. Once I was happy, it was time to read to practice reading in front of a real person. The mirror and my walls didn’t provide feedback, which of course has its benefits when the revisions aren’t good. But since I knew I would be reading this chapter aloud in public the following week, I wanted it to be the best I could offer. I don’t want to stand up in front of people saying “I write for God.” And then blow it.
My first audience was my mom. She is the most upfront and honest with me out of anyone. I read, she listened. Once finished, I looked at her and could tell she didn’t like it. She liked the revisions “so far” but my voice was distant and I didn’t seem connected to the writing. She said I read as if it had no effect on me and it wasn’t my life. Ouch! This is what I needed to hear though.
The following day I bring another revision with me as our class gathers to do a “mock reading” for practice amongst ourselves. I read and thought, Yes! I got it this time. BUT…I didn’t. Everyone liked the revisions (thank goodness, don’t need to worry about those for now) but I appeared “too distant” and “unconnected” to my writing. Alright Lord, what am I doing wrong?
Even though discouraged, I brought this same chapter with me to Delta Lake Christian Writer’s Gathering to read for the “open-mic” portion of the evening in hopes of finally reading my life aloud, the way God would have it. After all I would be surrounded by the Holy Spirit, I couldn’t fail. Have you noticed the pattern yet?
Can you predict how it went? I’m happy to say it wasn’t as horrific as the first time I read it to my mother or as rough and distant as when I read it to my class but it still lacked something. I noticed a few more areas that tripped me up while reading – more revision and prayer after I get home were evident.
I stepped down from the platform. After everyone read I received compliments on my writing, but none on the presentation. People were wonderful about their wording to be sure they commented on the writing. I am thankful the writing was good but if I’m going to stand as an ambassador for Christ, my presentation has to b eon. I vowed to place chapter ten in my folder and not remove it until Tuesday.
Mom called to see how it went when I had returned to my room. I said better than the first two times but it or I were still missing something. She told me not to worry and go to bed. My friend sharing a room with me said it was good and not to worry, I would figure it out. My mom called before 7 a.m. the next morning ~ “Lisa, I got it. You, we, are bored with this chapter. This is all you’ve worked on for two months and you usually jump around a bit. Put it away and we’ll work on it Tuesday.”
I love my mom! I hadn’t meant to keep her awake in worry yet her wisdom on the other end of the phone was the prayer I needed to enjoy the second day of the conference.
Friday’s presentations and messages in the tabernacle must have been written for me. As I listened to various people’s voice carry from the microphones I was encouraged. As writers, don’t let Satan stop you from sharing God’s working in your life with others. Satan WILL put blockades in front – where there is a blessing, there will be an obstacle. With God’s strength and prayer ~ we are equipped with the Armor of God to defeat and stop Satan’s attempts.
Hmm…haven’t I taught this same thing to the kids at church? Instead of wearing my armor, I was swinging it aimlessly in the wind like a child trying to catch a butterfly net in the yard. Instead of slowing down, asking for help and guidance ~ I just kept sharing the negative and my discouragement with others, not God. Novel idea eh? Within moments of giving it to the One capable of handling it…Mom called! God hears and answers prayers.
I put away the chapter and didn’t look at it again until Tuesday morning. We had a “Jammy Day” at my house. I read through, caught a few more areas in need of improvement. Once fixed, I read it aloud to my writing accountability partner. She loved the revisions. She shared hers, and her revisions and voice were great. She was ready. I too…was ready.
The video is about 12 ½ minutes long. Thanks to Amy for taping this so those who missed it, could still hear. I hope you enjoy and would love to hear your feedback. If you would like to post anonymously, enter your hometown and state in the name box. (If outside the United States, if you could also list your country, thank you)
Example: Name: New Haven, New York
I hope to hear from everyone! Enjoy the sunshine.
The cartoon photo below is off our entire class following the reading ~ a wonderful group of writers I will missing getting together with. As the baker said, "Writer's Rule...keep writing!"
A friend traveled about 1 1/2 hours, with her sister-in-law from Arizona this past Tuesday - for support! Thank you for taking time out of your vacation together to include me and my writing. :) Happy tears!
Another friend traveled left the serenity and peace of camping with her family, with her eldest daughter at her side to show her support! Thank you so much! More Tears!
And for those friends that escaped my camera - thank you for coming! Your thoughts, emails, calls, and prayers are a blessing to me and my writing!
Happy Birthday Ed! A great day with Coline and Mary! Exhausted and blessed...a longer and more detailed blog tomorrow. A family day today...
My daughter captured this photo the first evening our wonderful foreign exchange student arrived. She was only with our family less than three hours when she heard “There has to be a blog in this.” With an inquisitive look she asked what my daughter meant. We all smiled and she is a photographer herself so who knows, you might see one of her photos in the next few weeks.
I love this picture for a few reasons. The bright boldness of the yellow lemons, with the red picnic table backdrop, ever so slightly held by the moist white napkins, with only a hint of green and blue in the background. I just love it and made it my new screen saver, it brings a smile to my face each time I look at it. Often when I have a photograph I plan to blog about ~ it earns the title of “screen saver” so each time I walk by my computer monitor its image revisits the creative side of my brain. I also pray each time I look at the picture knowing God has a message hidden within the pixels of the photograph. This photograph is no different.
Have you heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”? I’ve decided this is exactly what I have done. My sister was kidnapped over seventeen years ago. The first ten years were mostly lemons with a taste of lemonade, but it was made by someone else so its flavor and sweetness didn’t last. It wasn’t until I chose to cut my own lemons open and squeeze them out that I was able to not only make my lemonade, but an eternal and heavenly sweet glass.
It took me ten years to realize God hadn’t taken my sister and I had a choice. A choice to live a bitter and sour life blaming others and Him or open up my those same feelings, squeeze out of the negativity, anger, hate and fear ~ add a relationship with my Jesus for the sweetest life one can have. Of course I still have lemons tossed at me sometimes yet keeping my eyes, heart, and mind in the Word ~ is the protection I need. It is my armor. I will use the sword of Spirit to deflect the lemons. It isn’t always easy yet with God’s strength and armor ~ I’m drinking the sweetest lemonade and have a voice, a pen if you will, to share my lemonade with others searching for something, for someone to stop the lemons from flying at them long enough to cut and squeeze the ones they already have into lemonade.
Enjoy the summer and some homemade lemonade! God’s Word is alive and active, providing the answers, encouragement and strength to eliminate all the lemons in our life. I pray you choose to make lemonade today.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I choose to live and celebrate! With God by my side...all is good! He has the strength, wisdom and know-how to accomplish everything as I persevere through life.
I hope you choose to celebrate by squeezing the lemons of your life into a glass with sugar and make lemonade!
I hope you all will join me and my fellow writers as we present our very first public reading at the River’s End Bookstore @ 6:30 pm. The night will be entitled "An Evening with Writers from The River's End: Readings from Neighbors You Never Knew." Programs will be handed out prior to the evenings event that will include author bio’s and a synopsis of the work being read. Below is the link to the bookstore for more information: http://www.riversendbookstore.com/event/rivers-end-reading
Thanks to God’s inspiration and provision while at Delta Lake Bible Conference Center outside Rome, New York I have finally written the last chapter to my book. Stop jumping up and down! It isn’t time to celebrate completely. I still am revising the original manuscript but one thing my book has always been lacking was a last chapter…a finale…an ending…my sister.
As I listened to a couple of the presenters during the workshop I realized I’ve struggled with ending the book because the story hasn’t ended and Heidi is still missing. The following day as I listened to John Stumbo preach he talked about the book he was writing. He WAS having the same dilemma, where to end? How to end? He shared the answer to this mysterious question. I believe it was his editor that told him to finish a pivotal point that both concludes the journey included the book yet leaves it open for the journey he’s been on since. (This is of course my interpretation of his message and is not verbatim and don’t claim it 100% accurate.) God spoke to me through the presenters (again this year, thank you Jesus) and John Stumbo during the conference. God answered the prayers I had been praying while at Delta.
As I thought about it this morning and prayed in thanksgiving, a notion crossed my mind. Had God been answering my prayers but I hadn’t slowed down and quieted my heart enough to listen? I don’t know but I do know this…I’m not going to waste time contemplating if I missed the prayer earlier, I have a book to finish revising before school starts. I’ve apologized to God if He had tried to tell me earlier and thanked Him at the same time. Personally, I think this is one way Satan will try to stop someone writing for God. If I was to be hung up on “not listening” then I would miss the next message and provision. I choose to move forward ~ I’ve apologized and prayed for the heart to listen better when not in a little piece of heaven-on-earth at Delta.
My prayer today: to finish the revisions before school starts in September, for the agent and publisher God would have for me, for the siblings that will read my book to know they don’t need to live a life of pain and searching, and for my writing to touch people’s hearts and draw them to Jesus.
I haven’t transferred my chicken scratch writing onto the computer yet for the last chapter but plan to do that today. We picked up Coline, our wonderful foreign exchange student. She is so sweet and thoughtful. God planned a great three weeks for us!
Oh my goodness I’ve prayed and thought since returning home, of my favorite part of the Christian Writer’s Gathering at Delta Lake Bible Conference Center during their family camp but cannot select one thing that would be my highlight.
Of course traveling with a friend for three days of learning is wonderful. Reconnecting with friends of past and making new friends is always a plus. Was it the new friends we met and played “Banagrams” with until 1 a.m.? I can’t show you her picture because she is still a “closet writer”, a wonderful one at that.
Spending three days at Delta Lake in itself is amazing. Was it the walks around the camp? Was it sitting on the swing, listening to the birds sing and peck? Was it breathing God’s beauty in its most undisturbed and pure form?
Was it the messages shared by the missionaries? Was it the message during the morning and evening services with Frank Chan and John Stumbo? Was it the worship? Is it the heightened prayer? Is it the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit on the property?
Was it the heart of Deb T. for planning this wonderful weekend? Was it the presenters and their wealth of knowledge, expertise and love of the Lord? Was it reading our own writing on the platform in the tabernacle? Or maybe attempting to get the Skype working?
Was it the fun found in playing with play-doh or the delicious food?
Is it the writing I accomplished during our breaks (although brief open times, they were used to do some writing for the most part)? Or is it because I relaxed, rejuvenated and reconnected with God in such an amazing and powerful way? Regardless…there is no way to share it all in one blog. Phew…I’ll have to share it sporadically! Yeah, I can relive the Delta Writer’s Gathering over and over as I share it with you. God is good.
We all made it home safely! My daughter came home early with a swollen eye but other than that, all is good. She had so much fun and I'm thankful for the wonderful, Christian family that continues to invite her to join their family camping experiences. I remember joining my friends when I was my daughter's age - priceless memories. Prayers of thanks and appreciation to them.
Ed golfed, watched sports, fixed my desk drawer (SUPER HUGE THANK YOU AND KISS TO HIM FOR THIS ONE), vacummed, mopped, and had ALL the laundry done when I walked in the door! Super smooches to him!
The Christian Writer's Gathering was once again, a blessing! I learned so much and spent some time by the lake implementing new strategies, revisiting new ones, and in prayer. My friend who went with me enjoyed it too. We had a wonderful time of fellowship, writing, and prayer. I'll write more over the next few days, can't sum it up into one blog.
I did reconnect with friends made last year, made new friends, and I read once again for open-mic. The new twist this year...it was held in the main tabernacle!! It was such a blessing. Many hearts healed with God's strength with stories written to help others heal...I was blessed to listen to so many amazing and powerful stories.
Our foreign exchange student arrives tomorrow around 4:30 in the afternoon. We are so excited and since Ed has the house clean already, I can concentrate on the little things to prepare for her visit. We haven't bought groceries yet because I want her to help select items she likes.
Sorry for the random notes today! I might blog later tonight (yes, twice in one day) if I get home in time. We are attending a surprise birthday party for my brother
The bags are packed, the car is loaded, and the anticipation is consuming us. While I spend the next three days at the Delta Lake Bible Conference Center for the 2nd Annual Christian Writer’s Gathering, my daughter will enjoy camping with family friends, and my husband is taking advantage of the extra time to golf and help his sister and brother at their new house. While we are all divided ~ we’re each excited and looking forward to our mini-vacations.
There is an open-microphone tonight at 9 p.m. and I’ve brought something to share again this year. Last year’s experience has been life changing so I’m hoping this year will be a witness of God’s love and provision in my life. A change this year is I have a friend traveling with me ~ this will be her first writer’s conference and the first big step out of the closet – letting the world know she is a writer!! I love it!
Due to the conference there will be no blog tomorrow unless God provides my new netbook before we leave at 10:30 a.m. It was suppose to be ready Tuesday or Wednesday but still wasn’t ready for pick up. I’m bummed ~ I was looking forward to bringing it so I could stay connected to you all. Instead I will enjoy the peace, quiet, and serenity Delta Lake has to offer during our breaks.
Have a great weekend everyone!
My mater’s level writing class came to a close last night. All but two of us gathered to practice reading our writing for next week. There are ten students in the class and we each have up to ten minutes available to read our writing.
The evening started light and jovial once the cupcake-cake was revealed. Our host for the evening had called and requested “Writers Rule!” to be written on top with one letter on each cupcake. Well…As you can see, not only were the letters not written on the individual cupcakes BUT whoever decorated the cake made a huge grammatical error.
The irony of this innocent mistake – it was a cake for a room full of writers in critique mode. Instead of reading “Writers Rule!” it read “Writer’s Rule!” Hmm…we own a rule? Or do we have many? Or does it stand for the rule we don’t follow? We enjoyed both reading and eating our cupcakes once we finished our practice read through.
I hope you are able to join us at the Rivers End Bookstore on July 12th at 6:30 p.m. for our reading. During this two hour time together you will hear memoir and personal essay snip-its of: gardening rendezvous, kayaking adventures, a Canadian Caper with cattle, the love of one’s horse, the loss of a family friend and pet, one soldier’s first experience with snow, the power of a pink shirt, one mother’s worst fear becomes a reality, some poetry and of course I’ll be reading from my book about my sister’s kidnapping.
Humor and tears, life and death, with ten writers full of heart and dedication to their writing. Our goal is to share our stories and touch your hearts.
First of all…Belated Happy 4th of July! Although I didn’t blog I did finalize another chapter while enjoying time with my family ~ all day. We didn’t “do” a lot yet we spent time in each other’s company ~ laughing and chilllaxing! A fabulous day…
Today’s photograph was taken of the Heidi Allen garden located at the intersection of Route 104 and 104b next to the convenience store where Heidi was kidnapped from. May 22nd, I shared the transformation of overgrown and dying plants to a garden full of life and beauty ~ thanks to many hands, hearts and donations. It was a wonderful afternoon and time of fellowship.
Once the garden’s facelift was complete, my parents placed solar lights at each of the five points. I had some request a picture at night to show the garden aglow. I haven’t forgotten this request and have tried a few different times. After the store closes it is too dark to still have the garden illuminated so I tried at dusk ~ this came out beautifully. (I think) You can still see the garden yet it is dark enough outside for the solar lights to work. Whether it’s day or night…the garden is a constant reminder and encouragement to my family, me and the community.
Heidi is and will never be forgotten! Thank you New Haven!
Have you ever read the poem "Footprints in the Sand"? Mary Stevenson's poem, "Footprints in the Sand" has been in print since the late 1940's for generations to enjoy and hold dear to their hearts. The first time I remember reading it was during my high school years. Although I found it beautiful, I didn't quite get it. My husband and I were given this poem as a wedding gift, it was beautiful yet I still didn’t quite grasp its significance…until walking with my dad.
I saw my father's footprints in the garden and all of sudden this poem came to mind. My father's gardens always look beautiful because of the tender loving care he gives them on a daily basis. One of my favorite things to see (and smell) is a freshly tilled garden. I love to kick my shoes off and feel the fresh soft dirt under my feet and between my toes. A couple weeks ago after Dad finished he had to return and connect the watering hose to provide some nourishment.
As I watched him enjoy the journey on the soft soil, I smiled. While it was evident he likes to walk on freshly turned over soil as much as I do ~ it was the ginger and careful way he continued straight through the garden. Once the water was hooked up he didn't turn and exit the same way he entered, but instead, continued through to the other side. I wanted to enjoy the walk but didn't want to ruin the fresh look so I "walked in my father's footsteps" through the garden.
Our heavenly Father has done the same thing for us…He sent his Son to walk the earth so we would never have to walk on new soil or circumstances alone. God is always right there ~ in good times and in bad. Sometimes we can see His footprints all around us, and other times…we have to be looking!
I honestly believed He left me when my sister was kidnapped. In my anger and frustrations I walked away from God yet He NEVER left me, but instead carried me until I was ready to see His working in my life. Thank goodness He didn’t leave me alone! His footprints were always there but “I” wasn’t looking, so all “I” saw were “my” own – once I stopped and looked outside myself…His blessings were everywhere!
I pray you take time to walk with your Heavenly Father today…He will never leave you and is always listening and caring for you! Thankfully I still have my earthly Father to walk with and visit with too…doubly blessed ~ two Fathers who love me unconditionally, who believe in me and hold me up. I thank God daily for loving and blessing me and for the wonderful parents He has used to model His love and provision.
As the delphiniums bloom each year I marvel at their brilliance and beauty. This year is no exception yet I noticed something far more beautiful than in years past. My parents have purple, blue and white and have just learned there are red delphiniums too (so you know they are on a hunt). While I wait in anticipation for the patriotic blossoming next year I will continue to enjoy the beauty of this year.
Walking towards my van to return home the other day I noticed something new about these beautiful flowers. I stopped in my tracks and changed the direction of my walk so I could take a closer look. With the iridescence of dusk glowing the purple flower seemed to be a mixture of color. As I got closer, my breath was taken for a moment as I absorbed this new beauty. I called through the window to my Mom while grabbing my camera off the front seat. Mom had recently noticed this too.
In the bright sunlight, the pungent purple, bold blue and witness of white present themselves with a strength and beauty rare to a flower. Yet at dusk when the sun enters a slumber until morning, instead of resting their colors ~ they are only enhanced.
Imagine if this same principle was true of all believers. When the darkness of life seems to be taking over our spirit and hope ~ what if we shined a rare and unseen beauty to those around us? What if we continue to radiate hope with a new twist? What if we view the darkness as a temporary state, knowing the Son will rise again in the morning? What if we applied the marvels of the delphinium to our life…everyone would see Jesus in our lives, especially when times seemed to be darkening.
Psalm 27:1, 13 – 14 “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Yesterday's Writing Accomplishment: Met with professor, working on more revisions to chapter 10 based on his 1:1 critique; have printed all blogs from July 12, 2010 – June 30, 2011 and filed them in case I need them down the road; have 19 blog drafts in the works; downloaded photos – worked on cropping and touching them up for future blogs
Today's Writing Goal: Finish next revision of chapter 10 and start practice read aloud for my July 12th public reading at the Rivers End Bookstore at 6:30 p.m. with my wonderful class of writers
Tomorrow's Writing Goal: Chapter 11, practice read aloud, work on blog drafts
Prayer Request: Continue to pray for the agent and publisher God has for this book. Join me in praying for those who will read my book when it is published, that they would see God's hand and working in my life and find healing in his Again, thank you all for following my blog and for your prayers. Your emails, posts, and notes of encouragement and prayers lift me up on a daily basis.
Through the Master's Writing Class, with Bob Comenole, a public reading of the writing worked on during the class will be held on July 12th!
I will be sharing at least one chapter from my book during as my reading. I have some revisions to make and need to practice reading aloud to time myself. :)
The reading will be held at the Rivers End Bookstore located on West First Street in Oswego, New York. on July 12th at 6:30 p.m. along with nine other local writers and authors from the class.
I hope you are able to make it! :) You will enjoy listening to ten writers share their personal memoirs, essays, and hearts with you during this public reading! Mark your calendars and bring your friends and family.
*Note: Today's photograph was taken by Claudette Ferone at The Ride for Missing Children this past May when I spoke during closing ceremonies.
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323