I hope to see you there -
check Facebook throughout the day
for pictures too...
Let the Christmas Shopping Begin...
Picture above: Taken at the Mall in the middle of the day. We had to test the "husbands" lounge area at one store, just to be sure it was comfy. LOL
Let us know how you spent your day below...
What are you thankful for this year?
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Oh happy day! It's a picture perfect day. How could it be wrong with two dogs and a kitten sharing the couch in perfect relaxation and chill mode, right?
When you consider the relationship between dogs and cats, usually the first is one of strife or disagreement but in truth, sometimes cats and dogs do get along.
As children, we, my sister Heidi, and all the cousins, spent a lot of time at my Gram's and Aunt Nancy's home. And...we got along ALL the time, NOT! We were kids, for goodness sake, even as adults we don't live in a perpetual state of agreement.
Another value I appreciate and strive for, is to "be there" for my family and friends. First and foremost, to be the best mother to my daughter I can. I'm thankful for generations of Godly and dedicated women who modeled how to be wonderful Mom's, sisters, aunts, cousins, and women. An aspect of of this, is how they pulled together to care for each other, and each other's children. Ever since Mary was little, she was blessed with the opportunity to be cared for by her grandparents, her great-aunts, and friends when I was at work. This is a blessing I count daily.
When our daughter was very sick, my parents were able to care for her so my husband, Ed, and I could continue to work the majority of the time. We thanked them daily and each time they said, "It's our pleasure and glad we can do it." Neither Ed or I have a surplus of sick time yet we have enough. We've taken sick days and days without pay in order to get our daughter to necessary doctor's appointments to determine what was causing her pain and sickness but the majority of her time, was spent with my parents.
Some days I went to school with the weight of mother's guilt weighing me down, shedding tears as I drove to work and putting on my happy face on before walking in because the kiddos deserve the best we can give them. My prayer often was for my daughter's teachers, to be as understanding and dedicated to her as I was to my students. I'm thankful this prayer was answered with a yes. The reality is that thanks to my parent's generosity and love for their granddaughter, I learned to focus on the positive and be thankful...thankful I didn't have to quite my job or entrust our girl to a stranger.
This year, our daughter has been much healthier thanks to God answering prayer, the many doctors He placed into our lives, and our daughter's determination. While her energy hasn't always been 110%, it's so much better and she's been able to attend school, work part time, and make memories with friends. These are exciting things. The day I wrote this blog, our daughter had to stay home sick, only the second time this school year (Yippee!). My parents weren't available so I had to take the day off. I'm so glad my friend encouraged me to be a "Mom first", because it was a special day.
After a visit to the doctors, we both returned home with a prescription for antibiotics, yes, both of us. We had to wait for the pharmacy to open a little bit before returning home. We lathered in Vicks (My Gram's secret remedy) and I surrounded her with warm corn bags and multiple blankets. Within a half hour, she was sound asleep.
While she slept, I watched Heaven is for Real (it was good but I like the book better) and I think possibly, dosed off a few times throughout the afternoon. Once she woke up for the afternoon, we watched the second Hunger Games together since the next one releases later this month. I'm glad I didn't watch it sooner because now I can't wait for the next one either.
Same picture as above but with descriptions...
I hope today's blog doesn't leave you shaking your head too much but instead, I hope you choose to celebrate your family and health. I hope you take advantage of those times when you can just be "Mom" or "Dad" in the midst of life. We are always parents, forever, but sometimes, it is okay to call in and care for our kiddos. I wouldn't trade being Mom today for anything.
When you or your kids are home sick,
what is your favorite "spoiling"
treatment given and/or received?
Example, warm corn bags and snuggling to watch a move...
"In the 1960s, Jerry Waxler, along with millions of his peers, attempted to find truth by rebelling against everything. After a lifetime of learning about himself and the world, he now finds himself in the middle of another social revolution. In the twenty-first century, increasing numbers of us are searching for truth by finding our stories.
In Memoir Revolution, Waxler shows how memoirs link us to the ancient, pervasive system of thought called The Story. By translating our lives into this form, we reveal the meaning and purpose that eludes us when we view ourselves through the lens of memory. And when we share these stories, we create mutual understanding, as well.
By exploring the cultural roots of this literary trend, based on an extensive list of memoirs and other book, Waxler makes the Memoir Revolution seem like an inevitable answer to questions about our psychological, social and spiritual well-being."
Many of you know I enjoy doing book reviews for other authors. There is a double positive to doing this. First and foremost, it helps promotes another author's books, website, services, and social media personas. The bonus, if you do a book review as part of a blog tour, like this one, my blog is also highlighted by the author as a "reviewer", possibly reaching a new reader and sharing a little hope to a new audience. Today's review was a book I was interested in reading because Jerry Waxler writes about memoir writing.
If you have read my book, Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey, then you understand why reading books to improve my memoir writing skills is enjoyable and necessary to continue to improve my craft, the craft of writing. I read Memoir Revolution for this blog/book review. When I visited Jerry's site to include links for all of you, I learned he has other books available and blogs about memoir writing. I am excited to look further into Jerry's resources and learning more from him.
While Jerry has "how-to" books for memoir writing, I found Memoir Revolution: Write Your Story, Change the World, to be more encouraging and inspirational for the memoir writer. Early in the book, Jerry writes, "Now, I see the signs of a new set of momentous changes taking place. I keep reading more books about the literature and psychology of personal storytelling, and meet more people who feel passionate about sharing their life story. I believe that all the forces are in place for an exciting shift in our attitude about individuality. The self that was falling apart in the twentieth century is due for a renaissance in the twenty first. It's difficult to understand the whole story-arc while we're in the middle of it, but in forty years, I believe people will look back on this and think, "That's a really good story."
In addition to talking about the personal connection and importance of writing your story, Jerry spends a lot of time sharing hundreds of different memoirs he's read over the years. I found this very interesting and my "to-read-list" has grown. One lesson I learned at my first writers' conference was to read books in the genre you plan to write. I've read memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies since I was a little girl, never expecting one day I'd write my one. As much much as I enjoy these types of books, Jerry introduced me to SO MANY more - it is wonderful. He shares the title and then some of the details about the book. He wrote one book to encourage and inspire memoir writers and spotlighting many more.
Jerry writes, "Through this healing perspective, I could see more clearly what Tobias Wolff had given me. Instead of cowering in the face of his memories, he turned a curious, storytelling eye toward them. By revealing his adolescence as a stage in the whole human drama, Wolff showed me and others that you can transform unpleasant emotions from isolating events into stories that bind us...The goal of reproducing the past is not simply to return to it, but to bring it out of hiding and share it. By allowing readers to accompany us, we can again see ourselves, but this time we begin to see ourselves through other eyes."
This is a book I've added to my, "to buy" list so I can add it to my resource shelf in my office. Jerry sent me a PDF version to read for the review and I've read and reread different portions of the book since getting it. One of my favorite aspects of this book, he lists all the memoirs he mentioned in the book at the end of the book. Of course I didn't find it until I finished reading but now I have a list at my finger tips when looking for a new memoir to read.
If you write memoir, have ever thought about writing your memoir, or enjoy reading memoirs - check out Jerry's book. It's a book written for writers and readers alike - looking to learn more about ourselves and others. Thank you Jerry and WOW for letting me join this Blog-Book tour.
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Jerry Waxler teaches memoir writing at Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, PA, online, & around the country. His Memory Writers Network blog offers hundreds of essays, reviews, and interviews about reading and writing memoirs. He is on the board of the Philadelphia Writer's Conference and National Association of Memoir Writers and holds a BA in Physics and an MS in Counseling Psychology.
Have you written a memoir?
Thought about writing your memoir?
What's holding you back...?
This photograph was taken at the Syracuse Airport the day our family met the Governor. I'll be honest, not sure why, but we did. I think we (Heidi's family) gave him certificate of thanks for helping with the search for Heidi Allen, and he gave my parents a certificate of some sort for their strength while they search for their missing child.
I apologize for not remembering the details about why we were there, but one thing I know, I was surrounded by family. Mom, aunts, uncles, and cousins waited together, shook hands, and posed for pictures with the governor. While waiting, my aunt took this picture of me. When I first saw this picture, I thought, "I look better than I felt."
I'm thankful God used one child to remind me of how much He loves me. I was never alone even though I felt that way. Today, Heidi is still missing and with upcoming court hearings in the future, some days are overwhelming BUT this time, I know, 100%, I'm never alone. God is always right here with me. I'm completely His...no more loneliness or running away from Him. Planting my heart, hope, and faith in God because He is All-Knowing, Ever-Present, and All-Powerful. Thank goodness...if you feel alone, close your eyes and say "Hello", God is with you, just waiting to hold you in His arms. We are never alone, even when we choose to be, God's right there by our side in case we call to Him.
Any temptation you face will be nothing new. But God is faithful,
and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can handle.
But He always provides a way of escape
so that you will be able to endure and keep moving forward."
1 Corinthians 10:13 VOICE
What helps you overcome feelings of frustration, fear, loneliness, or being overwhelmed?
On the flip side, thanks to Jesus' death on the cross, our filters are wiped clean and are pure white. Something I've learned, when I've spent some time reading my Bible and in prayer, it's much easier to think and say what is kind and right because my filter is clean but when I start my day on social media or the busyness of life, the clogged filter can't work properly. So if I know this, why do I continue to make poor choices or let words ooze from my mouth that are unkind to or about someone else? The easy answer...I'm a sinner. The more challenging answer, it's easier to "let it fly" rather than bite your tongue.
Do not be too hasty to speak your mind before God
or too quick to make promises you won’t keep,
for God is in heaven and you are on earth.
Therefore, watch your tongue;let your words be few.
For just as busyness breeds restless dreams,
so wordiness reveals the voice of a fool.
Ecclesiastes 5:2-3 VOICE
I'll be trying to better on this too. In case you are wondering, after saying something I shouldn't have with the first breath and following it with a "Oh, sorry, I shouldn't of said that. I need a vacation because my filter is shot.", a friend wittingly responded with, "You just have to put some pie in your pie hole." There were a few of us in the room and we just laughed. We laughed because my friend who said it usually is amazingly kind and only sees the good in everyone and all situations AND because, the analogy hit home. We, as a society, need to focus more on thinking first then speaking.
You know what happens when you eat too much pie, you'll get fat. So rather than fill up on pie, open your heart and schedule for True PIE - Prayer Instead of Eating. Instead of our waistlines expanding, our patience, tolerance, acceptance, outlook, attitude, and view point will burst with joy and peace when the day is over.
Do you need to eat a piece of pie or PIE!?
One of my favorite shows to watch to prepare for Thanksgiving was "Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving". As kids, Heidi and I looked forward to watching this holiday classic. We were, and I still am, Charlie Brown fans, but it was the activity surrounding this show that we enjoyed the most.
We watched this as a family, as soon as the TV Guide (do you remember this necessary item?) came, Mom marked the calendar for when each of the holiday shows would be on. The night Charlie Brown was on, Dad was always home to watch it with us. He never worked late because it was one of the special things he liked to do with us.
Thanksgiving is a very important holiday. Ours was the first country in the world to make a national holiday to give thanks. --Linus"
But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown. --Marcy
This is the childhood memory of why I like this annual tradition. As an adult, Charlie Brown was my mother-in-law's favorite holiday cartoon. Charlie Brown never grows old and the message of love, hope, and thanksgiving fill this show. When I was a kid, we had to wait and it was a special night because it was only on once. In today's society, you can buy all the Charlie Brown shows on DVD and watch them whenever you want.
There's enough problems in the world already, Chuck,
without these stupid misunderstandings.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving rerun
or movie to watch each year?
The situations in our life are like CNY snow falls. Sometimes they are light and fluffy and other times, they are fast, furious, and heavy. As I looked at my beautiful smoking bush last week, a frown curled on my face. I spoke, "Oh, poor baby, it'll be okay. The snow will melt soon. Hang on.", and smiled. My daughter chuckled because I was talking to my plants again and this triggered a conversation of why it's okay to encourage plants, they are living things after all.
It wasn't the silly conversation about the importance or value in talking to plants I want to share with you though, it's the likeness of this plant and us. There are a couple different levels to look at it.
The first I already mentioned, life's situations, good and bad, are the snow in our lives. Sometimes it weighs us down and other times, we are able to keep our branches high and brilliant in the Sonshine.
A commonality is our roots, when rooted in a relationship with Jesus, it's easier to shine and it's easier to endure the weight of the snow. Why? Because Jesus is in, and with us, through it all.
Like you, there are days I throw my hands in the air and ask, "Why God, why?" When God, When?" yet I know He is listening. When we talk with God, this is prayer. How many of you have been praying daily and didn't even realize it? I don't know when God will answer my prayers, or how He will do it but I know one thing for sure...God answers prayers in His time, in His ways, and for His good. I need only be patient, wait, hope, and move forward in faith.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness,
but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish,
but that all should reach repentance.
Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land…
2 Peter 3:9; Psalm 37:34a ESV
Are you focused on your timeline
or trusting God as you wait?
"The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." Zephaniah 3:17
I found an article online to illustrate the importance of HOPE for families of the missing. Families of the missing NEVER GIVE UP! There is evidence, miracles happen, and missing loved ones are found - some "recovered" (alive) and others "discovered" (deceased). Yet, each missing loved one found is an answered prayer...
"Smart, in comments on ABC's Good Morning America, urged the Ohio women to focus on the future. Dugard, in a statement, said the events of the past 24 hours suggest that families should not give up hope.
"Every time one of these things happens, for the missing-person community, it's a joyous reminder that this can happen, and people really do have to keep hoping," said Tony Loftis, whose daughter vanished for 12 days in 2011 before being found safe.
"I hope that it reminds every one of them that miracles do happen," said Loftis, whose experience led him to start Find Your Missing Child,"
To read the entire article: Click Here
How do you keep HOPE alive in your life?
Will you share?
Let's honor our military,
The men and women who serve,
Whose dedication to our country
Does not falter, halt or swerve.
Let's respect them for their courage;
They're ready to do what's right
To keep America safe,
So we can sleep better at night.
Let's support and defend our soldiers,
Whose hardships are brutal and cruel,
Whose discipline we can't imagine,
Who follow each order and rule.
Here's to those who choose to be warriors
And their helpers good and true;
They're fighting for American values;
They're fighting for me and you.
By Joanna Fuchs
Simply, you share (post) one thing you are thankful for each day and encourage your friends and family to do the same thing. If you miss a day, you just share two the next day. I've participated the past couple years and will probably join the gratefulness parade this week yet as I thought about it last night, after reading a dozen or so "days of thanks", on my friend's post...I asked myself an important question...why do so many wait until November to be thankful?
"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10
Keeping this in mind, doesn't it make sense to give thanks every day? I think so. I'm excited to enter the season of Thanksgiving and transition into Christmas tidings because even those that tend to focus on the negatives in their lives, set aside this tendency and zone in on the hope, joy, and good around them. This is exciting stuff. We need to share at least one thing we are thankful for each day, this helps keep a positive perspective on life and easier to maintain a smile on your face.
Would it be too lofty a goal to share one thing we are thankful for on social media every day? Maybe, but maybe not. This reminds me of when I started to journal differently during my quiet time. Our pastor's wife at the time shared how she set up her journal and it spoke to me so much, I took an old notebook and attempted this format. A decade later, I still journal this way. Let me share with you...
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Rather than have everything together, the front and back of this journal have different purposes. My free writing journal is a separate from this and varies but for the initial part of my quiet time, it starts like this.
In the front, the pages are divided into two columns. On the left I lift praises to God. These are things only God could do in my life.
"I will shout for joy
as I sing Your praises;
my soul will celebrate because You have rescued me."
Psalm 71:23 Voice
The column to the right is for the things I'm thankful for. These are things God is doing in my life through family, friends, strangers, neighbors, at work, the grocery store, and in my life.
Basically, these are the things I'm thankful for, God is at the root of all that happens in our life yet a lot of the things in my thankful column reflect the people and situations God used to bless me.
"Pray, . Be alert and thankful when you pray."
Colossians 4:2 Voice
So as you share and/or read everyone's daily posts of thanks, start sharing your own every day, not just in the month of November. I know many of us do this throughout the year in writing, verbally, and in prayer yet I wonder...what if...
What if we had "365 Days of Thanks" on social media, how might this change the heart of those reading our posts? You never know when your one shout of thanksgiving might encourage someone ready to give up or in need of a different perspective. Something to think about and consider this month.
I will praise the Eternal in every moment through every situation.
Whenever I speak, my words will always praise Him.
Everything within me wants to pay tribute to Him.
Whenever the poor and humble hear of His greatness, they will celebrate too!
Come and lift up the Eternal with me;
let’s praise His name together!
When I needed the Lord, I looked for Him;
I called out to Him, and He heard me and responded.
He came and rescued me from everything that made me so afraid.
Leave a comment below of ONE thing/person you are thankful for and why...you might be the encouragement another reader needs today. Thank you in advance, I'm thankful for all of you each day!
What is this Greek tragedy all about?
A summary from Wikipedia:
"Electra or Elektra (Ancient Greek: Ἠλέκτρα, Ēlektra) is a Greek tragedy by Sophocles. Its date is not known, but various stylistic similarities with the Philoctetes (409 BC) and the Oedipus at Colonus (401 BC) lead scholars to suppose that it was written towards the end of Sophocles' career.
Set in the city of Argos a few years after the Trojan war, it is based around the character of Electra, and the vengeance that she and her brother Orestes take on their mother Clytemnestra and step father Aegisthus for the murder of their father, Agamemnon."
To read more - click here:
I never felt like I was watching a high school play, this was intense, riveting, and engaging. I forgot to take pictures a few times because your acting drew me in and I was captivated by the intensity and drama. If you enjoy high school drama, watching children excel, and are looking for something to do this weekend...look no further.
See you tonight (11/7/14) and tomorrow (11/8/14) ~ curtains go up at 7 p.m.
Mexico Drama Presents:
Elektra - Watch live stream
Copy and Paste the UStream address to view Mexico's production of Elektra.
(or click on the link below or the photo)
The show will also be archived and available on our site.
Break a leg Mexico ~ You have raised the bar for high school drama!
Friday~ November 7, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Saturday ~ November 8, 2014 at 7 p.m.
"The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy."~Jim Rohn
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
"If you don't manage
As I got up earlier this morning to be sure my TOP's Tuesday blog was written and posted, I realized something - I only blogged once since last week's TOP's Tuesday. And last week's blog was short, sweet, and a little dancing, rather than blogging. The week before, there were only a couple blogs. One a tribute to my friend Laurie and all she does to encourage the families of the missing. Why haven't I blogged daily? Where are the daily posts of encouragement?
A friend once told me, "You can't trust emotions." She is correct, yet when life gets crazy, it seems the emotions take the forefront and start to determine the direction of my days and evenings. As I wake in the morning, I start with a little prayer, "Lord, give me the strength for this new day. Let my thoughts, words, and actions reflect You and not my reactions to the world's going ons. Amen." This may not sound like much of a prayer, yet it helps to get my mind focused on what and Who is important in the midst of the storm.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are already challenging holidays to transition through, remembering the times with Heidi while praying not to focus on the memories we/she were denied when she was kidnapped on April 3, 1994. A factor many might not realize, something usually happens during the holidays to intensify the raw emotions of loss and grief. Sometimes they are in the news and other times they are not. Regardless, our loss of Heidi, only increases our sensitivity to others and makes us stronger each day.
Facts are facts though:
Heidi Allen was abducted on April 3, 1994, Easter Sunday and remains missing today! Her parents, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, family, and community remember her smile and pray for her return daily
A hearing is scheduled for January, and we (Heidi's family, friends, community, and prayer warriors) have a choice - focus on Hope for Heidi Allen or be swallowed in the drama of life
Heidi Allen is STILL missing! Her parents, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, family, and community remember her smile and pray for her return daily.
I don't know about you but I MUST choose HOPE and PRAYERS for my sweet sister, Heidi Allen. I choose to FOCUS on my parents. It's the deep pain in their eyes again that weighs on my heart, no one can take this pain away, as they relive losing their youngest daughter all over again.
If you think of it, would you join me in prayer...
- for Heidi to be found - this was the goal in April 94' and the goal still today...to find Heidi
- for the strength necessary to move forward each day
- for the words and ability to encourage, inspire, and help others
- to spend time daily in the Word and with the Only One strong enough to carry through this
- for truth, justice, understanding, and compassion for all involved
- for a joyful Thanksgiving and Christmas season - may our grief not consume us but be a springboard to make hope, love, and joy the focus and one we share
"Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged,
for the LORD your God
will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9 NIV
Pardon the ramblings on this TOP's Tuesday, keeping it real.
TOP's Tuesday is about Heidi Allen...Still missing, 7,521 days later
Choosing Hope, Joy, and Love...
P.O. Box 323
A Mother's Monday
Ride For Missing Children
Sewing And Crocheting
The River's End Bookstore