“Tomorrow, is the first blank page
Amy Ferris is an author, editor, screenwriter and playwright. Her memoir, Marrying George Clooney, Confessions From a Midlife Crisis (Seal Press) is off-broadway bound, CAP21 Theater Company, March 2012. She has contributed to numerous anthologies, and has written everything from Young Adult novels to movies and films. She co-wrote Funny Valentines (Julie Dash, Director), and Mr. Wonderful (Anthony Minghella, Director). Funny Valentines was nominated for a Best Screenplay award, and numerous BET awards. She co-created and co-edited the first ever "all women's issue" of Living Buddhism magazine. She serves on the Executive Board of Directors at The Pages & Places Literary Festival, Peters Valley Arts, Education and Craft Center, and is on the Advisory Board of The Women's Media Center. She is on faculty at The San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference. She is a visiting teacher at the UCLA Writers Workshop (extension). She contributes regularly to iPinion Syndicate. Her number one goal, desire, dream: Is that all women awaken to their greatness. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ken.
You can find her blogging in the middle of the night at:
To purchase this book click on any of the above photographs or copy and paste the below link.
Hollye Dexter recently completed a second memoir, What Doesn’t Kill You. Her essays have been published in anthologies (Chicken Soup For the Soul, Answered Prayers, and Character Consciousness) and in many online publications. She writes regularly for iPinion Syndicate and AOL Patch News. A singer/songwriter with four albums out, she also founded the award-winning nonprofit Art and Soul, running workshops for teenagers in the foster care system. In 2007 she received the Agape Spirit award from Dr. Michael Beckwith (from The Secret) for her work with at-risk youth. Together, with Amy Ferris she teaches writing workshops, helping others to find their authentic voices. She is on staff for the San Miguel Writer’s Conference and a visiting author at UCLA extension. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three children, where she hikes, plays music and blogs about living an authentic life at www.hollyedexter.blogspot.com
This week in preparation of Christmas I cleared our schedule of appointments and events so we could enjoy some family time and quiet time. Of course I have a Christmas grocery list and menu to prepare and cookies to bake and frost, but my hope is not to have them the priority or focus. Family and Jesus' birthday should be and this is my goal.
*The final (I hope) proof book is in the mail! Woo Hoo! Special thanks to my wonderful editorial & critiquing friends and family.
*Our Christmas gift/video will be posted Friday, December 21, 2013.
* The feedback from the mini-blog posts and family photos on the "Where's Heidi?" Facebook page are such an encouragement to us. My entire family is touched by your words, prayers, and notes.
Why is is called T.O.P.'s Tuesday? Great question! Heidi played volleyball for the Bishop Cunningham Jr./Sr. High School until it closed in 1992. On February 14th, 1992 the Palladium Times (an Oswego, New York newspaper) named
my sister, Heidi M. Allen athlete of the week. This was exciting and we were all proud of her but it was the name they gave her that stirred the most attention, "Tower of Power".
The loss of one child, in an individual setting, is hard to comprehend, so the thought of multiple horrific acts of violence is mind boggling. My heart continues to break for the loss of my only sister. It has been over eighteen years since her kidnapping yet Heidi and her tragic abduction aren't events of the past.
Our family and community continue to remember Heidi throughout the year. The holidays remind those affected to reflect and appreciate the friends, family, and neighbors God has blessed them with. A sweet woman on the "Where's Heidi?" Facebook page shared thoughts of encouragement, love, and compassion.
"I am sure that you do realize, that like these children from Connecticut were everybody's children and their loss has affected the nation, Heidi was the communities child and we have and will forever feel her loss and remember her!"
Continue to pray for all affected by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Cherish the moments you have with your loved ones. Choose to make a difference and help to keep our children safe. Do all these things in love and hope for tomorrow.
Don't let fear captivate your heart and mission in life. God didn't take those innocent lives, a man did. God gave us free-will and choice ~ choose to bless, inspire, uplift, motivate, encourage, and be there for those in need when they ask the tough questions.
This isn't an easy task, trust me. I spent a decade focused on the loss, discounting God and blaming Him. It wasn't until one child said, "Mrs. Buske, you need Jesus!" that I truly realized how lost and hurt I as. You may not be able to see the good or live without fear today but please continue to pray and talk with God. Give it to Him, His shoulders are big enough to carry our burdens while embracing the twenty-plus angels that joined Him on Friday.
"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I
trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"
Note: The Christmas video scheduled to be shared on tomorrow's TOP's Tuesday blog will be posted on Friday, 12/21/12 out of respect for those grieving in CT.
I continue to pray for everyone affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary school tragedy. Of course the greatest loss is to the parents but my heart was ever so touched as one reporter talked about the effect it would have on the siblings of the students involved. The loss and pain starts at home but dominoes into the extended family and friends, to the community, and to our entire country.
My words are few today and the weight on my heart is heavy. Please pray for everyone affected, including yourself. There is great tragedy in this world but thankfully, Jesus overcame this pain and sorrow when He was crucified on the cross just for this.
May we lay our troubles at the foot of the cross and let Jesus comfort us in the midst of such great loss. Amen.
"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen."
1Peter 5:7, 10-11
As I researched for first book, Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey, I used my grandmother's diaries to trigger memories and see Heidi's kidnapping through her eyes. Her journals date back to when my Mom was a child. I could have gotten lost in my Gram's words. I only read through the 1990's. From 1994, when Heidi disappeared until 1999 when she passed away.
Some might say, "That's a lot of work." They would be correct yet to read what happened each day in my Gram's life was exciting. See, my Gram didn't use a typical "diary" to journal in. Instead, she used a calendar. You know, the ones with Monday through Sunday split between two pages.
A common complaint was there wasn't enough room on Sundays and this was the day the most happened in our family. lol This was also the day we all gathered at Gram and Aunt Nancy's, so I know there were probably too many stories to for even the entire week.
I think this is the reason I love handwritten notes and cards so much. There is something about each person's unique handwriting, spacing, and flow from word to word. I can drop an email or note in less than a minute but a card, this takes time ~ time to pick the perfect card, to choose the right color pen to use, and to formulate the words to be written ahead of time in one's head.
Unlike a typed document, we can't "delete" if we make a mistake. We are committed to the words written or we scrap the selected card to start the process again. If my Gram's journals were in a word document I would have missed priceless gems of truth and love as I "searched" for particular words in her document.
Life is too short and we don't know what tomorrow brings. Instead of "searching" with a common word, we need to slow down and really listen and read. Whether it be a sweet note from a friend like the few I highlighted today or the words written in your Bible ~ one thing is required...your time. Cherish the words and hide them in your heart.
These are not merely letter formations working together to make words, sentences, and paragraphs ~ they are an expression of love, concern, and care for you by the one who sent it.
Have you written a note to tell someone how precious they are to you lately? If not, I encourage you to do it today. The price of a stamp is miniscule compared to the joy on the face of the person receiving your loving message. Who will you send a note to today?
this year, Instead of my traditional blog series,
I am trying something new this year
to honor my younger sister, Heidi M. Allen.
No worries, there will still be daily blogs and some will
share Christmas memories of our family. This coming Tuesday's,
TOP's Tuesday blog, will have a Christmas gift from our
family to yours ~ a video song to share Heidi and I,
and our family with all of you. We are so excited to post
this next week. My production team worked hard
and chose two of my favorite Christmas songs,
one of which is "Sisters" from the
movie White Christmas. I can't say anymore,
you'll have to read the blog on December 18th, 2013.
So for the next twelve days leading up to Christmas
you are really getting a double-blog. One here as normal
and a second on my "Where's Heidi?" Facebook page.
If you haven't liked the page yet, it isn't too late.
Christmas photos of Heidi and I, and maybe some
of our family too will be posted on
the "Where's Heidi?" Facebook page
with a little snip-it. A mini-blog, if you will.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours.
Double blogs from now until Christmas Eve!
I pray you are as excited as we are for this.
"Why 6,935 Facebook likes by April 3, 2013?"
This is the number of days Heidi will have been missing, as of 4/3/13 ~ 6,935 days. Our hope and prayer is to have as many Facebook likes as the days Heidi is missing. A way to honor, remember, and pray for her.
With each like, there is at least one prayer said.
Our missing loved ones might be missing but never forgotten. If each person reading this likes and shares the "Where's Heidi?" Facebook page on their page, and at least one person from your Facebook page did the same, we would surpass the goal and would have extra likes to share with other missing persons.
A fun and creative way to remember the missing.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
My first draft was birthed as part of a writing contest. Each Labor Day weekend their is a "3-Day Novel Writing Contest", in 2006, the entry fee was $50. I knew there was a story in me but couldn't find the motivation or heart to write it down. Once I saw this contest advertised, something stirred in me. I decided to pay the money and register instantly. Of course, after the check was in the mail I regretted it but because I spent the money, I was committed.
At the end of three very long days I printed and submitted my entry. Seventy-six pages of emotional vomit to share Heidi's kidnapping from the sister's perspective. I never expected to win but knew I needed to get it out, so in my eyes, I was a success. One day I noticed an envelope from the contest with my name and address handwritten. "Does anyone write anything by hand anymore? Especially from a national writing contest?" The answer, yes.
Although I didn't win the contest, something more valuable was within the envelope. A handwritten note from one of the judges and contest organizers thanked me for entering with encouragement to finish writing my story. My book didn't meet their expectations for what they were looking for that particular year yet the judges all connected with my story and hoped I would finish and seek publication.
Fast forward two more years, 2010, this is when God grabbed my attention and my heart. Until writing this blog, I didn't realize the very month God revealed I was to write this book, was April. Of course I know it was April, because it was at our annual Spring Refresh that I saw the flyer for an upcoming writers' conference. God is so good. April can be a tough month and this is the same month I decided to seriously write and seek publication for my first book.
I attended this conference in July, 2010. I left inspired, motivated, determined, and very overwhelmed. I never realized how intense and involved the process of seeking publication was. There are multiple steps and many of these end with rejection. One thing I am thankful for continues to be the encouragement each rejection or fork in the road provided to me.
I never thought I would send my book to a publisher and they would instantly decide to publish my story but I never expected the steps necessary to even approach a publisher. You need a platform, book proposal, website, blog, a pitch, and of course a well written manuscript. Sadly, the last thing they see is your actual writing. I am thankful my parents raised me to understand that anything worth having is going to require work and perseverance.
Over six years later and my dream is coming to be a reality. I did submit my book to multiple publishers and even a literary agent. I'm blessed to say I received multiple "acceptances" yet the contracts did not honor God or Heidi, in my opinion.
God works in mysterious ways, this is so true. Not only did I decide to self-publish but some of the same editors from the publishing houses have provided editorial and publishing guidance to make Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey the best possible book it can be.
I am thankful to have the opportunity and support network to make my dream become a reality but I couldn't do it on my own.
Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey will be available on April 3, 2013 thanks to:
A God who provides
The encouragement of professional editors and publishers
Prayers of friends and family
Love of friends and family
Hard work and determination instilled by my parents and fueled by God
I pray you enjoy reading my first book when it is released. After Christmas arrangements for a book release party in Oswego will be finalized. A mystery book signing on April 3rd, in addition to the big celebration at The River's End Bookstore in Oswego, New York, will make this the best April 3rd our family has experienced since the fateful day we lost our Heidi.
My heart desires to help others hurting after the loss of a loved one. We all experience loss in our lives. Of course to lose Heidi is my greatest tragedy yet loss is loss. Do you have the heart to do what is necessary to heal and move on? How do you think reading my first book will help you through this process?
As I read Facebook and listen to conversations at lunch there is a common theme, "While decorating the Christmas tree I..." so I thought it would be fun to carry this onto the blog this week as part of TOP's Tuesday. I will start with a two lies and a truth game.
While decorating the Christmas tree I realized my daughter has grown so much, she is taller than our artificial tree.
While decorating the Christmas tree I stepped on the soft angelic snow in the manger placed beneath the tree, thought it was a mouse, and screamed so loud Mags jumped. Then we both laughed till we cried.
While decorating the Christmas tree I realized there was a bird's nest snuggled within the branches, with two golden eggs still. So my adventure begins.
The choice is yours of what you share or how detailed your response is but please, pretty please, share a Christmas memory of past year's or this year. There is much hustle and bustle this time of year, can you pause to share a memory that might brighten the smile on the face of another. Priceless gifts and treasures. Thank you in advance.
*Thank you for your prayers for my two speaking engagements this past weekend. I was blessed so much and the feedback has been positive and encouraging.
*Edits and revisions are still in process with hopes of wrapping them up with a pretty Christmas bow and returning the revision to the publisher for the next round of proofing.
*Christmas Video to be released on Next Tuesday, 12/18
Scavenger Hunt ~ As part of the March TOP's Tuesday blog series there will be one clue a week for a mystery book signing on April 3rd, 2013. Of course, the big release party will be at the River's End Bookstore (Oswego, New York) but in true Allen fun, I will be hidden somewhere for a special release with a limited number of copies. Nineteen years ago we searched for Heidi, on the 19th anniversary, I encourage you to search for the book detailing the story behind the headlines, as seen through the eyes of a sister.
*"Heidi Allen Remembrance Garden" ~ please say a prayer for Heidi and our missing children as you see the angel and star lighting their way home this Christmas season. See the December 2nd blog
for more details on this beautiful sight.
Why is it called T.O.P.'s Tuesday? Great question! Heidi played volleyball for the Bishop Cunningham Jr./Sr. High School until it closed in 1992. On February 14th, 1992 the Palladium Times (an Oswego, New York newspaper) named my sister, Heidi M. Allen athlete of the week. This was exciting and we were all proud of her but it was the name they gave her that stirred the most attention,"Tower of Power".
"While decorating the Christmas tree I..."
P.O. Box 323
A Mother's Monday
Ride For Missing Children
Sewing And Crocheting
The River's End Bookstore