I've shared the transformation of the Heidi Allen Remembrance Garden over the past week. It was a joyous, uplifting, and somber time. Maintaining the garden is one way I remember, show love, and keep Heidi's memory alive. This year I had this idea to dig out all the greenery and replace it with 30lb bags of stone, three different colors. My Dad, hubby, and daughter liked the idea and when we were finished, we all took a deep breath and smiled.
The one thing I didn't count on was banging up my knee prior to this renovation. I found myself thanking them more and apologizing for not being able to do more. Today's photo is a scene that caused much laughter as we worked. It was amusing to watch me try to rake while holding the crutch, cut the bag of stones and dump them, or move around taking pictures.
I even managed to figure out how to get down on one knee with my other knee extended. Getting up was a sight but I was able to help. There were times I got frustrated with the crutch and would toss it then be looking for it when I'd need to walk so I'd use the rake as my crutch. Why do I share this with you? It's simple, when we make a decision, we need to follow through regardless. One thing I chose to do, as long as I have breath in my lungs and the ability, is to keep the #HeidiAllenRemembranceGarden a beautiful symbol of hope and love.
We have all lost someone in our lives. We chose to remember and honor them. It's different for each of us, and I'll bet it's probably different for you than it is for another member of your family. Don't focus on the difference in your remembrance, focus on how loved this person is to you and others. Regardless of how you chose to remember, don't let the little things get in the way. Don't let the bumps and bruises of life get in the way of your dreams and follow thru. If one thing isn't working, use something else. Sometimes we need to toss the crutch to the side and use a rake. Other times, it goes like a well-oiled machine with no bumps.
The thing to focus on is remembering.
Our loved ones deserve to be remembered.
They helped us become who we are today.
What is it you have to do?
Years ago, I met Laurie Travis Schirmer, at the New York State Missing Person’s Day after I spoke to the families about my sister, Heidi M Allen, and her kidnapping case. Laurie and I have a connection, both our sister’s are missing. Laurie’s sister, Rose Marie Gayhart, disappeared from North Fort Myers on March 14, 1985. Laurie is an advocate for missing persons, especially, her sister Rose.
Laurie is the one who introduced me to Diana Trepkov. Diana is a forensic artist, professional speaker, and now a podcaster. Diana’s passion and desire to help families of the missing is a blessing. To talk to Diana is like talking to a long-lost friend. Her calm openness when you talk invites you to share from the depths of one’s heart. My first interaction with Diana was in 2013 when she used her forensic artist talents to develop an age progression for my sister, Heidi. If you click on the age progression, you’ll be linked to an article written by Steve Yablonski with the Oswego County Today newspaper.
Since this first “meeting”, Diana and I have kept in touch through social media. Diana started a podcast this year, “Can I Help Find Your Missing Loved One?” It's a must listen if you like true-crime. http://www.canihelpfindyourmissinglovedone.com
Since starting her podcast, she’s interviewed:
I shared Diana’s new podcast on my social media so others can learn of her selfless dedication to the families of the missing, and in hopes that someone listening might be able to help bring home someone else’s missing loved one. The day Diana messaged and invited me to be her guests, I teared up and was shaking. I accepted. I thanked God for her generosity and invitation. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share Heidi and her kidnapping case. Thank you Diana for all you do for the families of the missing and your heart to bring all the missing home.
You can listen to my interview with Diana Trepkov by clicking here. In addition, I embedded a link to her podcast, “Can I help find your missing loved one?” on the sidebar of my blog so you can follow her too. Happy listening! Feel free to visit any of the Youtube videos, book links, and other podcasts after reading today’s blog and listening to her interview with me. You are blessings I count!
More About Diana Trepkov
Diana P. Trepkov is a Forensic Artist, Author, Lecturer, Producer & Host of the Podcast, “Can I Help Find Your Missing Loved One?" She is best known for her work in forensic art. She started off her career volunteering at the Durham Rape Crisis center to help victims of crime. Throughout Canada and the United States, she has been an artist for many years and has been involved in 230 law enforcement cold cases to date, which involved her forensic artwork techniques. Ms. Trepkov has helped to solve high profile cases in the United States.
Ms. Trepkov has appeared on national television shows, such as CTV’s Canada AM, CTV news, Global News, Rogers TV, CTV National News, Mystery TV, WINK Florida News, GTA’s Most Wanted, First Local, My Community Rogers TV, CP24 NEWS, ABC 15 Phoenix, History Channel, Nancy Grace, CNN World News Live, CNN Headline News live with Ali Velshi, CNN Breaking News with Brooke Baldwin regarding Baby Doe from Boston and News 14 Carolina, and was featured as the cover story for PI Magazine, which is an international magazine and the cover story for Blue Line Magazine. She was recently on CBC Radio The Current-To catch a criminal, police sketches. Her forensic artwork has been published all over North America in various newspapers.
Ms. Trepkov has written articles for the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police Agenda. She was a presenter for the FBI Conference and was awarded a plaque. Ms. Trepkov was featured in the Toronto Star Newspaper “Face to Face with 2 Doomed Franklin members.” Another article was written in the World in Brief Exclusive Sunday Post in Scotland regarding the Franklin Expedition titled “170 years on, is this a face from one of the Navy’s darkest hours?” Diana’s work on the Franklin Expedition was featured many times in the Above & Beyond Magazine – Canada’s Arctic Journal (First Air, The Airline of the North).
Her work on the 1845 lost Franklin Expedition and the facial reconstructions have been displayed at the Canadian Museum of History with several other institutions both internationally and within Canada. The exhibition was open at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, UK before travelling to Canada. Diana presented a lecture about the Lost Franklin Expedition facial reconstructions at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in September 2016.
Ms. Trepkov previously worked for the York Regional Police Service in the Forensic Identification Bureau and previously served as a Toronto Police Auxiliary officer with the Toronto Police Service. She is a member of the Toronto Police Victim/Witness Advocate Committee. She is a good standing member of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police since 2005, The Canadian Liaison for The Associated Licensed Detectives of New York State (ALDONYS) and Alba Investigations, Inc. Her articles have been published in Blue Line Magazine, which is Canada’s national law enforcement magazine and H.Q. which is the official magazine of The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.
Her forensic artwork has also been featured in Unsolved: True Canadian Cold Cases a book by R. J. Hoshowsky. Diana's first book was published in April 2011 and is called "Faceless, Voiceless- From Search to Closure, A Forensic Artist's Inspirational Approach to the Missing and Unidentified." Diana also has 4 children books published. These books have a mission and that is to help prevent children from going missing and to help them make the positive choices in life.
Click on the book cover to learn more about each book and/or to order through Amazon.
For families of the missing,
About the Book
This is a book about walking your way to better. Everywhere you turn, people, podcasts and gurus promise a simple path to the life you want. But few of them work. Why? Because simply reading the words is rarely enough to call your heart and mind to action. This book is different.
Each section provides a thought-starter, insight or story. But I don’t want you to just read it. I want you to read a section and then lace up your sneakers and head out the door. Because while walking, your brain processes in a unique way, enabling you to recognize the things that are truly holding your back and the changes you actually need to make.
Find Joyce online at:
You will literally Walk Your Way to Better.
Along the way, you will forge a powerful connection between your mind and your body. And bonus -- you’ll feel better and become fitter.
Are you ready to Walk Your Way Better?
Each section provides a thought-starter, insight or story. But I don’t want you to just read it. I want you to read a section and then lace up your sneakers and head out the door. Because while walking, your brain processes in a unique way, enabling you to recognize the things that are truly holding your back and the changes you actually need to make.
You will literally Walk Your Way to Better. Along the way, you will forge a powerful connection between your mind and your body. And bonus -- you’ll feel better and become fitter.
This book is written from your best friend from twenty years ago, you know the one, The One you can call on and is always there offering support, encouragement, and just the right advice. This is Joyce Shulman, as she encourages you to take time for yourself. She motivates and inspires you to get off the couch, out of the house, and to leave the laundry in the basket for someone else to fold.
After reading the introduction, I was ready to grab my socks and sneakers. I do enjoy walking and getting outside. I do some of my best thinking, unwinding, and relaxing while walking in the great outdoors. Are you wondering why I'd like a book with ninety-nine pre-walking devotionals, prompts?
Let me tell you. When the weather is crummy, which it is a lot in Central New York, I use the treadmill at the YMCA. I do NOT enjoy walking the treadmill, I feel like I'm going nowhere and struggle to block out the distractions around me...until now!
I've read a few of the pre-workout readings and made a decision, this book is going in my gym bag. This is just what I need to read while doing my warm-up on the treadmill, before turning the music up (to drown my plodding feet) and burn some calories. This book going to be a valuable resource at the gym. A neat perk, there are 99 titles to choose from. I don't have to read in order, I can read the one catching my attention on a particular day. I'm woman, and never know what direction I'm going until I'm there so I like the options. If you are just starting a walking routine or a veteran walker, this book is a resource you'll want to add to your gym bag and tool box.
Okay Ladies, who is ready to walk their way better?
We took a different approach this year. Instead of pulling weeds, adding new topsoil, planting new flowers or plants, then adding fresh mulch on the outside...we went rogue. I think my mom would have liked this new and bold approach. The hours we'd usually spend pulling weeds, we dug out the surviving plants. The only two that made it through last year's season of weeds and the winter: five rose bushes and the hosta plants. I moved these to my house, in to the one garden the moles seem to own and nothing survives. I figure if they could make it at the Heidi garden with minimal water and choking weeds, they may like it here.
The centerpiece is of two kids reading book and also serves as a little bird bath after a rain. My Mom would love that. Mulch wasn't available so rather than wait, we returned to the store for red stone, the same color as the mulch we usually have. Initially we planned to cut the black paper off the wood frame but we liked the look of the black paper, makes the star pop a little more. We need more stone, but it will have have to wait. We were pooped, tomorrow is another day.
The garden is a symbol of hope for so many. Now, at night, in addition to the lights at the points of the star, there will be light spread within the star. Even in the darkness, with hope and faith, The Light will always win. Our hope and prayer is the weeds lose this new battle and the brightness and light replace any darkness. May we always hope and look for the bright side.
One thing is constant...Hope is Eternal!
I will communicating with my students through the week yet I look forward to uninterrupted time at my writer's cottage, quiet time on the deck, bonfires, and helping others. One way I am helping others is to volunteer at the local food pantry, send hand written notes, and join book launches and blog tours. This is my excitement to share today. I was selected, along other amazing creative people, to join @shawnsmucker & @Amy_Odland for Shawn's #TheseNamelessThings book launch. This is a fun opportunity to meet others and help a fellow Christian author.
In June, I'll have a couple blogs about Shawn Smucker and his other books and a special blog on June 30, 2020, when his book is available for sale. Shawn has accepted my invitation to guest on my podcast too! I'm so excited. I met Shawn Smucker last summer and learned a lot from his feedback when I signed up for a author meeting with him. I'm not a good fictional writer, Shawn on the other hand is fabulous. His book, Light from Distance Stars released last summer. I'm rereading this now as I wait for #TheseNamelessThings to arrive.
In addition to authoring seven other books, Shawn and his wife, Maile, have a wonderful podcast, The Stories Between Us. Their love, banter, honesty, humor, and willingness to share keep you coming back for more. I don't consider myself on Shawn's level yet, but with his kindness and encouragement, I know I'll reach my goals one day. Shawn's humility and desire to help other creatives is something to modeled by other authors, bloggers, and podcasters.
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Shawn-Smucker-Writer-248786208498879/
Instagram & Twitter - @shawnsmucker
Get Ready Everyone,
You'll be hearing about #TheseNamelessThings
a lot over the next few weeks!
“I will instruct you and teach you
in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”
Each morning when your feet hit the floor you decide to live, but who are you living for? Are you living for yourself, the world, or God? Many who say they live for God aren’t modeling this, hence the mixed messages we send potential sisters and brothers in Christ.
Did your parents ever say, “Do as I say, not as I do?” Better yet, have you made this statement to your children or students? Ouch, right? Here’s the deal, people listen to what they see more than they hear what we say. Did you catch that? People listen to what they see more than they hear what we say. We can talk until we are blue in the face, but the aspects of our life people remember are the things they see.
Lent is a good time to look in the mirror. If you were an outsider looking in, or a five-year-old mimicking your every move…are you proud of the reflection and display? If not, what can you change today so when you look in the mirror tomorrow, you lift words of gratitude and praise to God for the change? Set baby goals.
One of my goals each year during Lent is to spend more time reading God’s Word, my Bible. I could list reasons of why this is needed every year but rather than bore you with my excuses, I’ll encourage you. We all have areas we need to be hyper vigilant with or the devil will create a wedge to draw us farther from our relationship with God.
During Lent I am determined to spend time reading my Bible and learning more about who God is and who He wants me to be. In the months following I strive to revisit the lessons learned so God doesn’t need to attach a bit and bridle.
If I want others to know it’s a joy to follow Jesus, then I need to model it, not say it. How are you modeling Jesus today? How would you change your witness from yesterday? What will you do different tomorrow? Life is about choice, may you choose to be the best witness of Joy you can.
Additional Reading: Psalm 32:8-11
@Copyright Lisa M Buske - This may not be copied or reproduced in any way, without direct permission from the author. Thank you for your understanding.
How are you modeling Jesus today?
How would you change a decision made yesterday?
What will you do different tomorrow?
I'll admit, the title of this book got me excited. I LOVE writing and completing lists. I'm second or third generation list maker, my daughter is following in our foot steps (Yes!). I'll admit this book initially intrigued me because I wasn't sure how someone could write an entire book on writing a lists. Oh. My. Gosh! This book is a must read for all list makers, and for those who have ever thought about writing a lists.
Alexandra Franzen goes into the history of lists, which was fascinating in itself. She also talks about how lists are more than a list of things-to-do. Up until reading this book, this is what I thought a list was but she has transformed the way I think about my beautiful lists. Lists aren't just helpful, they are necessary:
You're helping yourself to remember all the extra things
that your regular human brain can't successfully remember on its own.
This creates a feeling of emotional relief...much like closing all the tabs on
your Internet browser, you're closing all the extra tabs in your brain." (Page 45)
I must admit, to change my thought process about my lists, I have been more productive. She has a list for "Marketing" too and my hope is to try this list for the release of my next book. She has the templates for all her lists available on her website for FREE yet you need the book so you understand the mindfulness and thought process into creating these lists for success.
I shared this book at a faculty webinar, showed it to one person, and they ordered 2 copies. It's that good. What are you waiting for? Order your copy today!
- feel stressed, tired, overwhelmed ("Too much to do, not enough time").
- want to strike a healthier balance between "work" and "the rest of life."
- crave more calm and simplicity in life.
- enjoy exploring life's big questions.
- love LISTS (list fanatics!) and list-curious newbies, too.
- want to set yourself up for a calm, focused, organized, and meaningful day.
In the life-changing Checklist Book, learn:
The history of the checklist and why it remains to be relevant and effective today
The science behind the success of checklists, such as the instant satisfaction we feel when we put a check next to a finished task
How to create a basic daily checklist―and checklists for specific situations, like moving to a new city or navigating a divorce
As if a great book isn't enough, Alexandra Franzen offers FREE DOWNLOADS
on her website too! I personally used an old spiraled-one-subject notebook.
ALEXANDRA FRANZEN is the author of several books. She has written articles for dozens of sites, including Time, Forbes, Newsweek, HuffPost, The Muse, and Lifehacker. She's been mentioned/quoted in The New York Times Small Business Blog, The Atlantic, USA Today, BuzzFeed, Brit+Co, and Inc.
Alexandra is best-known for writing about creativity, productivity, the power of setting tiny goals, how to develop more confidence in your writing skills, and how to stay motivated, keep working towards your personal and professional dreams, and never give up.
She also works as a copywriter, ghostwriter, writing teacher, and consultant. She helps her clients to develop podcasts, videos, websites, speeches, books, and other creative projects.
Find Alexandra's latest projects, classes, and hundreds of free articles and resources at: AlexandraFranzen.com
Other Blogs Sharing About This Great Book
May 11th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Make sure you visit the WOW blog today and read an interview with author Alexandra Franzen and enter to win a copy of the book The Checklist Book.
May 12th @ Karen Brown Tyson
Stop by Karen's blog today and read Alexandra Franzen's inspiring guest post entitled, "You Are Going to Survive."
May 13th @ World of My Imagination
Join Nicole as she reviews Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
May 15th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf
Visit Veronica's blog today and you can read her review of Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
May 16th @ Lapidus International
Stop by the words for wellness organization today and read Alexandra Franzen's guest post about the importance of nature time.
May 18th @ One Sister's Journey:
Keeping It Real
May 19th @ Chanel Bevis' Blog
Stop by Chanel's blog today and read her review of Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
May 20th @ And So She Thinks
Visit Francesca's blog today and you can read Alexandra Franzen's guest post about what a checklist can do you for you.
May 23rd @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion
Visit Linda's blog and you can read her interview with Alexandra Franzen. Don't miss it! http://bootsshoesandfashion.com/
May 25th @ The Frugalista Mom
Stop by Rozelyn's blog today and you can read her post about Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
May 27th @ Dog-Eared Days of Summer
Visit Courtney's blog today and you can read her review of Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
May 28th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi's blog today and read Alexandra Franzen's guest post unplugging more.
May 29th @ Wild Hearted
Visit Ashley's blog today where she shares her review of Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
May 30th @ Memoir Revolution
May 31st @ Michelle Cornish' Blog
Stop by Michelle's blog today and you can read a guest post by Alexandra Franzen about shifting away from perfection. A post we all need to read today!
June 1st @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi's blog today to read her review of Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
June 2nd @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog
Visit Bev's blog today and you can read her review of Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
June 3rd @ Rachael's Thoughts
Visit Rachael's blog today and you can read her review of Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
June 4th @ Michelle Cornish' Blog
Visit Michelle's blog today and read her review of Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
June 5th @ Editor 911
Stop by Margo's blog today and you can read her review of Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
June 6th @ Megan Writes Everything
Visit Megan's blog today and she reviews Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
June 7th @ The New England Book Critic
Visit Victoria's blog today and read her review of Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
June 8th @ Dog-Eared Days of Summer
Visit Courtney's blog again and read Alexandra Franzen's guest post about focusing on tiny wins.
June 9th @ Alternative Grace
Stop by Amber's blog today and read her review of Alexandra Franzen's book The Checklist Book.
June 10th @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog
Stop by Bev's blog again and you can read Alexandra Franzen's guest post about putting self-care into your daily checklist. An absolute must-read!
June 11th @ Jill Sheet's Blog
Visit Jill's blog today and you can read Alexandra Franzen's guest post about getting the phone out of your room.
Are you a list maker?
Would you like to be more mindful and productive?
Do you want these worlds to collide into
If so...you NEED THIS BOOK!
On the flip side, you may be at a place in your life where you have the funds, supplies, and time to give back. There are so many ways to help others in need of a little help or need. Each pantry, whether small or large, runs differently. The commonality is that no two pantries are exactly alike. The pantry I volunteer at was in the church basement when I first started to volunteer, moved into a very small one room shed-type-building, and now is housed in a beautiful, spacious, and well maintained building.
If you are interested in helping your local food pantry, I'm sure you can google and find one near you. I volunteer at the Mexico Food Pantry, located in Mexico, New York. My hope is to share ways our volunteers and community keep our pantry open and a success. This may be different for your pantry but I hope it inspires you to get involved using the gifts and talents you have...to help others. There is no better time than today.
Ways you can help your local food pantry:
- Monetary - your $1 is worth $4 when you donate, so a $25 donation is like giving the food pantry $100.00 of buying power through their food bank
- Food - this is a great way to provide flour, sugar, cooking oil, kid's cereal and other items pantries can't purchase (because they aren't healthy) but are necessities
- Health and Beauty items - monetary donations are used for food so donations of shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotions, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and such are some of the first items you may stock up on but a lot of pantry clients are forced to treat these like luxury items. (We have a woman who donates health and beauty items each month because when her kids were little, and she was forced to be a single mom, it was the health and beauty items she missed the most. The pantry provided food but the others were extras, she donates each month so our client's kids can have bubble baths and enjoy these luxuries)
- Hobby Magazines - you know the quilting, woodworking, sewing, crocheting, and hobby type magazines you pick up while waiting in the checkout line, these are precious to our clients as they can make gifts for their family and friends using the patterns in these magazines
- Children's books - a lot of families bring their kids and they don't have extra money for books, so we like to keep an assortment of books for the kids to read and KEEP
- Time - there are an array of ways you can spend time helping your pantry
- Unloading Delivery trucks
- Putting away delivered items
- Stocking shelves, freezers, and coolers
- Cleaning the pantry shelves, floors, walls, appliances, windows
- Organizing donations (especially around the holidays)
- Handing out food on distribution days (outside during COVID-19)
- Walking shoppers through while they shop
- Talking to clients while they wait to shop
- Carry boxes/bags to the cars for disabled or senior citizens after they shop
- Bake for the volunteers (yup, we have people who treat our volunteers as a thank you with their baking talents)
- Answer the phone
- ??An idea yet to be thought of??
As you see, there are so many ways for you to be involved with your local pantry. Our pantry has a dedicated and tireless coordinator, dedicating her life to keeping this pantry moving forward and a vital part of our community. Next to her, it is only because of the multitude of volunteers that we are able to serve all the families in our school district. During COVID-19, we have provided food for more than four times our regular number of clients. People travel from other districts so they have food to eat. This is one of the most rewarding parts of my week.
I was going to list all the benefits of giving back and helping at the food pantry but I'd like to hear from you. Leave a comment of why you volunteer? How it makes you feel to volunteer?
Thank you for volunteering!
You are making a difference.
How are you helping your neighbor?
How does it make you feel to give back
and help those in your neighborhood?
I remember the first time my mother-in-law came to one of my speaking events. Her first comment to me, "That was touching but you didn't talk about my son enough." Ed shook his head and responded, "Mom, she is NOT supposed to talk about me at all, unless it's to say how terrible I am." Then we all exchanged glances, I laughed, they stared. Humility is a wonderful characteristic.
But above all these,
put on love!
Love is the perfect tie to bind these together."
Colossians 3:14 VOICE
I try to keep my Pollyanna attitude going and in the forefront yet sometimes, the reality of our current situations hit me hard. And you know who is there to be my Polyanna? Yup, that big toughy of a hubby. He's my guy and knows how to drive me crazy through the good, bad, and ugly. He also knows how to drive me crazy with his idiosyncrasies. Guess what, I'll take them all and love him for it all and he loves me even more. He's quite a guy. Since he doesn't read the blog, he'll never know but I think the world should know he's what, and who, I'm thankful for today.
Who or what are you thankful for today?
A devotional has popped into my mind before yet this spring, God inspired me to do it. Who knows, the inklings could have been God tapping me on the shoulder and I paid Him and them, no mind. I don't know and have no intention of dwelling on the was it, or wasn't it. Instead, I'm moving forward in faith.
As I sat in an Ohio hotel, praying for my daughter and for God to direct my writing, He clearly placed this writing project in front of me. I delved into my Bible, concordance, and the Internet with excitement and a desire to write. The only thing greater than this renewed passion was the surprise of the topic. I was creating an outline for an Easter devotional! Yup, Easter.
While the idea of my first devotional focusing on Easter shocked me, my Beta readers were not. One said, "It only makes sense that your first devotional is about Easter. It's like you came full circle." It took time for this to process before tears started to fall. Since starting this devotional, I have started to outline my first Bible Study. The renewed passion, desire, and inspiration to write came at a time when I knew life was changing and I was trying to figure out what the new normal would look like. I'll be honest, this was not what I expected yet I'm thrilled for the journey ahead.
Not all my beta readers are online or social media, but if you are, and you are willing, would you leave a comment of why you think someone might want to read this Easter devotional?
Next week I'll share an entry from this devotional.
What qualities do your favorite devotionals have?
No words at first, just laughter. You see, my husband and daughter have been in Indiana helping our nephew and his family for a couple weeks. The weather they left behind, is sunny and in the 70's and 80's so the thought of returning to New York's fluctuating weather has to be less than appealing. My heart breaks for them. They've experienced warm weather and sitting outside and making memories.
I look forward to seeing them yet am bummed they are sacrificing sunshine and freedom to return home. They've left an area where they can get outside and go to the store, only to be in New York where they must shelter-in-place and remain away from people. I love New York.
I am New York strong and all the other slogans being pitched on a daily basis but for the first time since our announced she'd attend grad school out of state, any state but New York...I get it. I'm excited and look forward to her journey more than ever. Let her experience life and adventure, we'll still be sheltering in place at Christmas at this rate. How is this for "Keeping it Real" today?
When it snows in May,
what is the first thing you think of?
As you think about the past few weeks and the multitude of changes, how do you see yourself in the weeks to come? Yes, these are times of unknown. Yes, life will not go back to the same. Yes, we need to accept this change. Yes, you can!
You have the strength, ingenuity, ability, and power to move forward with hope, joy, and curiosity. Don't focus on the negative and unknown, focus on the excitement and possibilities of new things. Some days will be easier than others but the way in which we react, model for those watching where we put our faith. I have faith in a God that knows what tomorrow will bring and I need to trust Him as I anticipate the new normal. Who do you have faith in?
You have the ability with faith in God
and a focused mind to move forward...
Who is watching and learning from you?
I thought it would be fun to remember better times. What is a favorite high school memory you have? Today's photograph is one of mine. Singing into candle sticks because we didn't have microphones or a karaoke machine. We had imagination, ingenuity, and creativity. I'm thankful for the absence of pocket size telephones, button size digital cameras, and Internet.
We spent time making memories and enjoying time with each other, rather than recording them. Physical snapshots are minimal but memories are plenty!
What is your favorite high school memory?
In addition to crossing items off the list, I went for a walk and enjoyed breathing in the fresh air, listening to the birds chirp, and the water flow. I have the blessing of a trail near my house. I used this as my warm up and cool down, banging out a 5+ mile walk. It felt so good. My muscles are screaming tonight and in response, I celebrate the ability to get outside and exercise. My brain and heart are better for it. So what do I have to say to my legs? Easy, "Shut up legs!" As I finished my walk, I recorded the Faith Filled Friday Podcast, on Saturday.
Do you practice mindfulness? Did you know mindfulness isn't something new or new age? Jesus was one of the most mindful people to walk the planet. Want to learn more? Visit my podcast and start back in March, each Friday I share how mindfulness is a way to connect and/or reconnect. What is your favorite mindfulness practice?
How do you practice mindfulness?
Today is the day most in the United States looked to in hope. The day President Trump hoped the United States would return to business as usual. We are scheduled to return to school and business as usual but are we? I'm drafting this email before Easter in anticipation of life resuming to the pre-COVID-19 hustle and bustle yet my friends and family encourage me "not to get my hopes up". I'm holding on to my Polyanna attitude as long as possible and hope that while you are reading this email, I'm in school.
On the off chance the shelter-in-place was extended, then know I'll spend my afternoon on the back deck listening to some of my favorite Jazz artist. When I write, Sinatra is my jam. To worship, Chiz Rider. To chill on the deck with no purpose, Buble. I've included a few YouTube videos below with each of these gentleman for your listening pleasure. Don't give up, let the encouragement found in music speak your language. It's not just international, it's universal.
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Do you have a favorite Jazz artist and/or song?
Share in a comment below...
I have a new appreciation for going out and looking for the place that seems to beckon or call us in for lunch or a drink. During our time of COVID-19 restrictions and the encouragement to shelter-in-place, the only table most are sitting at...the kitchen table. How can we experience a new meal or location when going out might put us, and the ones we love, at risk? What if we invite someone in?
Wait, hold the phone! No one can come over either. Yikes! These new times are unlike anything most of have experienced. We might not be able to invite a real person over for dinner or tea BUT if you could invite ANYONE, yes, anyone, over...who is it?
Who is the first person you want to have dinner or coffee with once restrictions are lifted? Who is the one person you wish you had the courage to invite over but haven't? If money and location weren't an issue, WHO is joining you at the dinner table? Why?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the LORD your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
Who can you imagine joining you at the table?
In this fun book, find out everything you ever wanted to know about this iconic snack food:
-Learn the origin of the very first pretzels and the meaning of its shape
-Explore the history of how pretzel baking evolved
-Local pretzel folklore, trivia, and true stories
-An interview transcript ~ Julius Sturgis’s grandson
-Step-by-step directions on how to twist pretzels
-Some of the Sturgis family’s favorite pretzel recipes
"You've probably already gathered that I'm an author, but my work as a wordslinger is just a small part of the big dream Jesus put in my heart long ago- to live in a world where the good news of Jesus Christ has been shared with every single person in every country, group, tribe, and village.
Every day, I do my humanly best to obediently live, write, and give my life in a way that ultimately serves that God-glorifying purpose. What could be a more worthy calling than that?!...But what do I REALLY want you to know about me? Well, I love Jesus with all of my heart, and I want you to know His perfect love in your heart, too!"
To read Jill's full bio ~ click here.
I'll be honest, if it wasn't for meeting Jill last year at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, I would have missed the opportunity to read this amazing little book. I am so THANKFUL for the conversations Jill and I shared and for her obedience to write the stories God's placed on her heart. I plan on investing in her other books. As I read Twisted: Mindful Pretzel Consumption, I felt as if Jill was sitting in the living room with me. Her writing style is warm, engaging, and encouraging.
First and foremost, I learned a lot about the history of pretzels and kept interrupting my daughter to share the cool facts I learned. Although the pretzel started in Europe more than 1,400 years ago, it made it's debut as the hard pretzel I LOVE during the Civil War. There are facts and myths shared. There are actual pictures dating back to 1861, sharing how the Sturgis Pretzel factory has evolved over the years.
If you are a history buff, you'll enjoy this book for the many tidbits of information. If you enjoy eating pretzels as a snack, you'll understand their taste isn't the only wonderful thing about them, they are a treat and symbol of something better. For the bakers out there, the last few pages share some of the Sturgis Pretzil recipes. In less than seventy pages you'll learn history of a family dedicated to more than serving the community with delicious pretzels, they serve God and bless others through it all.
Click here to visit her store!
What pretzel recipe will you try today?
There are two in the book I hope to try today.
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