Two weeks from today, at this time, we'll be at the New Haven Fire Barn, remembering Heidi with an social hour to visit, catch up, meet new friends, and enjoy some light refreshments before a candle light vigil at 7:42 p.m. Pray the weather is warm and inviting, and if it's not ~ remember it snowed on April third twenty years ago. We'll have to bundle up.
Tonight, I'm snuggled in and hoping to have the draft of an interview for "Mom's of Faith" complete so I can do the final read through on Saturday and return it to the interviewer on Sunday. They are featuring my story, Heidi, and hope in their April article. A great way to honor and remember Heidi, while highlighting it's possible to survive tragedy to others who might need to know this is a truth, not just the end to a Hollywood movie.
I also have an article to write for The Valley News. Debra Groom, journalist, invited me to write a story to run along side hers, to talk about Heidi's kidnapping, twenty years later. A little pressure here, as Debra's writing is amazing, so praying mine will enhance the story she is writing. Our duo-article will run in next week's Valley News ~ I can't wait. This local paper will ensure many will know about the Community Gathering of Hope on April 3rd at 6:30 p.m.
It is common for us to have dinner with my parents, so tonight was no different BUT when we drove by our house I noticed a box hanging on the door. I turned into the neighbor's driveway and went back to retrieve the package hanging on the knob. I wasn't expecting anything so was surprised. I gave it to my daughter and she read "Gift Delivery". The curiosity was building and we brainstormed what it might possibly be. We finally decided it must be a book or two, but why would I receive books as a gift.
Once in the warmth of my parent's wood stove heated kitchen, I opened the box. I pulled the envelope from the top and it read, "This is a gift, open the package before this envelope so you don't ruin the surprise." Of course, I didn't listen because I still thought there was an error, after all, who would send me a gift?
I read the description, "Willow Tree Sisters By Heart". Now my eyes are wet but not weeping...yet. I removed the card, opened it, and read...tears flowed now. I tried to read the words aloud for my Mom to hear but couldn't even speak. A friend shared words of encouragement and a reminder, no one can take the place of my sister, yet she is thankful God surrounds me with sisters-in-Christ. Now the tears can't stop. I hadn't even opened the box yet! Ugh...I opened the box and saw the two sisters, when you connect their arms, it makes a heart. Oh my goodness. As if last night's prayers weren't blessing enough, today was the cherry on top of a God-filled-week-of-moments.
While my heart is heavy and I find myself missing Heidi more than I have since the initial days of her disappearance, there is also a peace, comfort, hope, and love that lifts me up. God has used many people to encourage me, but let me share a few with you now.
Someone messaged me from the state of Texas:
"live in Texas now. About two years ago I saw a truck traveling through abilene with a flyer of Heidi on the back window. I have wished for her return so your family could find peace and closure. Bless you"
This brought tears of thanksgiving, hope, and encouragement. First, because someone on the other side of the country still has Heidi's flyer on their vehicle, and in the state of Texas none the less. But secondly, and just as touching, someone saw this truck and took time to contact me via Facebook and let our family know. God is so good.
Asked to do an interview for
a video documentary
to share the family's perspective.
Honored, humbled, and blessed...to say the least.
"I just finished your book 'where's Heidi, One Sister's Journey'... Really, I'm speechless, but I cannot leave it as that... Amazing, that's more like it... I had tears, tears of pain, tears for you, for your loss, some laughs and just WOW!
YOU have inspired me in so many ways, I have not lost a brother, sister or parent so I do not know your pain, but I have pain for you. I was young when your sister went missing but I remember that day, hearing about it, and always praying long before I could remember for you, your parents and just for the safe return of your sister.
You have come so far, and have helped so many people, STRONG, that's all that comes to mind... You are amazing and like you said some days are harder than others you still try your best... Thank you for that book, I'm looking forward to reading your others... Such a beautiful book and message... Thank you :-)"
(a link to Amazon with ore information about this book is attached to "Where's Heidi?" photograph)
“I didn’t personally know Heidi but feel like I did after reading this book. she now holds a spot in my heart...I am usually not a reader and big into books seems I have 5 young little ones and a busy schedule but after moving to New Haven, NY and remembering Heidi’s disappearance as a young girl, I was very curious and HAD to read this book.
It was very well written I must say and interesting. I broke out into tears several times throughout the book. After only 8 days of having this book I had finished it…it brought life into a new perspective for me and has made me open my eyes to the beauty of family and our relationships we have.
I would love to personally thank Lisa for this book as I know it was a hard thing to do but in doing so you have changed many people’s lives, I am sure of it.
Thank you again for the inspiration and bringing God back into my life.”