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I haven’t posted here in forever, it seems like…I started a new blog for the Week of Service effort in Susan’s honor, and all my time was taken up with that huge effort.  Then I got sick…really sick, with a terrible cold.  The months of stress, exhaustion, and worry finally caught up with me, I guess.

Now I’m better, and back at it with all my energy.  There is not a second of my day that goes by that I’m not thinking of Susan.  Even when I’m cooking dinner or reading to my kids, my mind is dwelling on her and her case.  It is so very hard to wait…wait for some new developments, some word from the police, for something to happen, for Susan to be found.

I’m currently reading three books about Elizabeth Smart (Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope, In Plain Sight: the Startling Truth Behind the Elizabeth Smart Investigation, and Held Captive: The Kidnapping and Rescue of Elizabeth Smart).  Like everyone else in the country, I followed Elizabeth’s case while it was all happening.  I still remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the shocking and miraculous news of Elizabeth’s return.  I remember calling my mother and both of us crying tears of joy for this girl and her family that we didn’t even know.

I know that Susan and Elizabeth hardly have anything in common…their circumstances are very different.  But I felt that it could only help to read about Elizabeth’s case and everything her family did to find her, to see if there was anything that would help us in our situation.  I find myself identifying so much with the things her family went through, feeling many of the same emotions, thinking and believing the same things they did. 

One huge thing that really helped Elizabeth’s story was the spectacular media coverage.  The Smart family did a terrific job of keeping Elizabeth in the news constantly, even when there was no news to be found.  We’ve tried to do the same with Susan, creating events and activities to make our own news when there isn’t anything official coming from police.  Keeping Susan’s face and name constantly in the public eye is so important.

We will be holding candlelight vigils this Saturday to mark the three-month point since Susan disappeared.  The one here in Salt Lake County will be held at Centennial Park in West Valley City.  Details:

What: Candlelight vigil for Susan Cox Powell

Where: Centennial Park, south-east corner of 3100 South and 5600 West in West Valley City

When: 7pm

Please come support Susan and her family.  Bring a candle and invite everyone you know.  Three months is FAR too long…this beautiful mother should have been reunited with her children long ago. 

If you don’t live in Salt Lake City or Puyallup, please consider holding your own vigil in your area.  If you do set one up, leave me a comment and I will publicize it on the official Find Susan Twitter account and the Facebook group.  You can call your local media, as well, to invite them.  The more coverage Susan’s story gets, the greater the chances of finding her. 

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The friends and family of Susan Powell are working feverishly to plan a social media blitz.  Details:

When: Monday, January 4, 8am—Thursday, January 7, 8am

Where: Everywhere! Facebook, Twitter, blogs, e-mail, YouTube, blip.TV, podcasts, anywhere and everywhere on the internet.

Why: To FIND SUSAN. To get her name, picture, and story into every household in North America and spread it across the world.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Please send an e-mail to findsusanpowell@gmail.com.  You will receive an e-mail this weekend of instructions of what to do on Monday morning.  Basically, we’re asking people to do three things:

* If you have a blog, put up a short article about Susan (which we will send you) that will include links to Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, along with a brand-new slideshow video and Susan’s “missing” flier.

* E-mail at least 5 of your friends with this information and ask them to help.

* If you’re on Twitter, tweet a link to your blog or other avenue for spreading Susan’s story.

We are also starting a ribbon campaign in conjunction with the blitz, which will also begin on Monday morning and continue indefinitely.  A press release about this will be issued this weekend, but basically we’re asking people to wear a purple ribbon, tie it around their trees, to their car antenna, and display it anywhere you can as a symbol of Susan.  Purple is one of her favorite colors.

One final word: I know there are many who think this “blitz” is a total, complete waste of time.  Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and that’s fine.  But would you at least consider helping us with this anyway?  It won’t take more than a few minutes of your time to e-mail 5 friends and put a short article up on your blog, if you have one.  What can it hurt?  And I believe it will help in a huge way.

I am personally grateful and I know Susan’s family is, too, for anyone who chooses to help us.  If Susan were here, she would be overwhelmed at all the love and support pouring in for her from across the world.  THANK YOU and please feel free to share links or quotes from this blog entry anywhere you need to for the purposes of this social media blitz.  We need everyone’s help.

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Two weeks and counting.  Does it get any easier?  No.

I’m not crying as often as I was…but that’s because I have hope.  Hope that, yes, she is still alive, being held somewhere against her will.

The media coverage has increased and we’re even busier than we were before, but this is a very good thing because it means Susan’s face and story are reaching even more people.

In fact, I have been so touched, uplifted, and strengthened over the past few days as messages of support and love have poured in from all over the United States and across the world.

I’d like to share some of these messages here…these all come from the Facebook group, Friends and Family of Susan Powell.

From Carrie:

Susan and the Boys are in my prayers!! The whole state of Iowa is hoping Susan is home in time for Christmas!!! Stay strong in faith and may God bless you and your family!!!

From Frances:

Our prayers are with you, family and friends of Susan Powell…we may not know you but our faith is the same and we are thinking of you as we follow the story from TX

From Emily:

Susan….tonight is surely not a "silent night", voices all over the world are singing and praying for you. We miss you.

From Dax Guzman:

Image of friends and loved ones supporting Susan Powell’s safe return. Even in the coldest and darkest nights we will hold on to hope and pray for her return. We love you Susan.

 

From Troy:

Dearest Friend and Family of Susan Powell, the cold and the ice here in Renville Galway Ireland was to dangerous for people to gather as I had planned, the ice started at 6pm and I could not even get over to my love of my life Celine’s house at 2am, so we all did our candle vigil for Susan on our own listening to Dean Martin singing Silent Night, Josef Mohr would have been so proud of all this outpouring from across the globe for Susan. I know that Susan has heard us. With great respect and love to you and Susan’s family.

From Lori:

Our prayers to find Susan and bring her home. Heartfelt hugs to Susan’s family and friends from Branson, Missouri. May they find comfort during this difficult time.

From Regina:

From the mountains of Western North Carolina, I add my prayers to yours. The trials of this family break my heart. May God bless all and return Susan to her loved ones.

From Spencer:

To the family of Susan powell… i pray that your Loved one susan will be in your hearts while going thru this hard time… i no that if you stay close to god through this hard time you will feel peace… i also pray for you … thos little boys NEED there MOMMY please pray for her return Everyone!!!!

Spencer …. (Eastern Europe, Bulgaria)

This is just a small sampling of the messages we’ve received. 

Here is the statement read last night at the worldwide prayer/candlelight vigil in West Valley City, Utah:

_________________________________________________________________

Over the past few days, Susan’s family and friends have been sustained, comforted and uplifted by love and support pouring in from China, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, Germany, France, Africa, Australia, Bulgaria, and all across the United States.
We are gathered tonight to join in a united prayer heard around the world. At this same moment across the globe, people are praying for Susan and her family in:
Sydney, Australia
Galway, Ireland
The United Kingdom
New Mexico
North Carolina
Maryland
Ohio
Washington
Michigan
Alabama
Georgia
Iowa
South Carolina
California
Wisconsin
Various parts of Utah
We join Susan’s family and friends in Puyallup, Washington to light a candle of hope for Susan. We have not given up and we will not give up until we bring Susan home.

___________________________________________________________________

Please keep those flames burning in your hearts and send Susan’s face and story throughout the world!

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Since my closest friend Susan Powell went missing one week ago, my life has changed forever.

I have felt heartache of such a deep kind that I hope anyone reading this never has to experience.

I have cried, and cried, and cried some more, pulled myself together, fallen apart again.

I have prayed hundreds of prayers.

I have become part of a very special community…both online (through the Friends and Family of Susan Powell Facebook group) and in real life, as complete strangers from different parts of Susan’s world have met each other and hugged and cried, both together and reaching through virtual space.

But most of all, my life has been ruled this past week by the media. 

The media: so strong, so powerful.  So often wrong, so sensationalized, so quick to spread rumors as truth.  But also, a powerful tool we can and must use to get Susan back. 

It began Wednesday morning, day 3 since Susan went missing.  I was doing school with my children and fresh out of the shower (damp hair, ratty old clothes) when there was a knock at my door.  You could’ve knocked me over with a feather when I answered it and found Marcos Ortiz and ABC-4 at my door, wanting to come in for an interview.

Why?  I guess because I’m Susan’s best friend.  Because I was one of the last ones to see her.  And because I started the Facebook group the night before, simply as a way for us as a church congregation/family to keep in touch and share updates, news, and comfort. 

The ABC-4 crew graciously gave me 5 minutes to look a little more presentable before they filmed my first-ever TV interview.  Scary?  Terrifying.  I’m not comfortable with my physical appearance on any day, let alone on TV.  But I did it because I want to help Susan.  The more people that see, the greater the chance that someone knows where she is. 

After they left I thought “that was very surreal” and prepared to return to my day.  Soon after, there was another knock at the door—this time Chris Jones with KUTV-2.  A couple of hours later, I received a phone call from KSL and Sandra Yi and crew were soon at my house. 

Thursday morning I believed that since I’d done three of the four TV networks in town, that’d be the end of it. 

The opposite was true.  Another knock at my door—this time the Deseret News.  Later in the day, Chris Jones was back.  And soon after that, the 4th TV station in town—Arrika Von and Fox 13. 

Meanwhile, the Facebook group had exploded with hundreds of new members in less than 2 days.  I received a huge and unexpected support/help in Damon Talbot, president of the non-profit Destiny Search Project.  He has been an invaluable adviser to help us organize and focus our efforts on better ways to help with the search for Susan.  Damon suggested we hold a candlelight vigil that night…to gather people in love for Susan, and to provide more publicity.

We did, and it was very successful.  All the TV stations and newspapers in town had reporters there, and there was a wonderful feeling of shared love.  I spoke with more reporters as well as the Salt Lake Tribune.

Friday morning things got even crazier when the national news shows started contacting me.  I heard from CBS, CNN, FOX national, and others.  I was scheduled for a live interview with the CBS Early Show in New York City on Saturday morning, with a car coming to pick me up at 4:30am, along with Debbie, Susan’s excellent childcare provider. 

You haven’t experienced strange/surreal until you’re sitting in a chair, covered in layers of makeup, with an earpiece in your ear, staring into a camera and talking to someone thousands of miles away. 

The rest of the day on Saturday was very busy.  I had two events to attend with my children (they performed with their dance studio and we went to the Mountain West Ballet’s Nutcracker that night) and managed to get a two-hour nap in (after only getting one hour of sleep the night before…I was afraid I’d oversleep and miss the car).  I talked to many more reporters on the phone, attended a lovely special fast/prayer meeting for Susan at our church, did a phone interview with AP Radio out of Washington DC as I was driving my kids to the Nutcracker.  CBS called back and wanted to do another taped interview at some point on Sunday.

This morning—Sunday—my phone rang the second I turned it on.  This time it was Jason from Good Morning America.  They wanted to do an interview, too.  And a few minutes later, it was FOX…also wanted an interview. 

Things got a bit crazy during the day as the networks juggled what they wanted to do, but I ended up doing two taped interviews with CBS and GMA crews in my home this afternoon/evening.

Do I love being on camera?  NO.  No, no, and again, no.  It is embarrassing.  It’s hard.  It is most un-flattering.  It’s not fun.  And crying on camera never looks good—unless you’re an actress.  But I keep telling myself: the more interviews I do—the more people I talk to—the more places this story goes—the greater the chances of someone finding a tip or a lead or a clue that will lead the police to Susan!!

I want to publicly thank my friend Emily for being a true friend.  She came over today: spent her day cleaning my house, cooking us a delicious dinner, and doing laundry.  She has never even met Susan in person.  And my friends from church have been praying for me all week, offering any kind of help I can imagine, and giving me soft shoulders to cry on. 

Please, everyone, let’s keep spreading this story.  Keep Susan in the public eye, mind, and heart.  Share her posters and videos via Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, blogs.  Print off fliers and take them around.  Join our Facebook group and become part of our community.  Help us bring Susan home!!

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