Holidays with Your Solo Parent Friends


In case you haven’t been to the stores lately, I’m here to remind you that the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays are right around the corner. It seems stores couldn’t wait to get the fall decorations off the shelves and start putting out the stuff that will get them back into the “black” in their sales.

As I was counting my blessings the other night falling asleep, it dawned on me that many of you have solo parent friends/acquaintances in your lives. I have had some wonderful  (and anonymous) friends bless me over the holidays, and I wanted to share some of the things they have done so perhaps it would inspire you to pay it forward to YOUR solo parent friends.

  1. First and foremost, pray for him/her to have a special time of celebrations with the family and financial wisdom especially during the holidays. Then send a note telling him/her that you prayed for them.
  2. Pray for each of his/her children to be other-centered and loving during the holiday stressful times.
  3. Use your groupon type coupon to order a Christmas tree online for the family. These places run great sales early in the season and even deliver the tree to the front door.
  4. Offer to put up the outside lights at their house, bringing all your own supplies.
  5. Buy and deliver an entire holiday meal.
  6. Ask the parent for one gift idea for each family member. Deliver them before Christmas, wrapped.
  7. Bring over pumpkins to decorate the outside flower beds and porch.
  8. Take the parent shopping for gifts for the children OR take the kids shopping for the parent.
  9. Deliver a basket of various gift cards to fast food restaurants and grocery stores.
  10. Make holiday cookies with the children.
  11. Help get the inside home decorations out and displayed.
  12. Take a family photo for them and frame it for the family OR make Christmas cards to mail (don’t forget the stamps!)
  13. Mail an anonymous cashiers check to the family.
  14. Take the children to a holiday spot for a photo then get it framed as a gift for the parent from the children.
  15. Offer to do some odd jobs around the house on a certain date. Ask them to have a list ready if they can.
  16. Pay for summer church camp for one of the children.
  17. Buy and deliver a fancy cooked ham or turkey.
  18. Anonymously leave a bag of grocery staple items on the front porch.
  19. Take the family with you to look at Christmas lights.
  20. Lastly, if you are doing it, she/he is also but without any help from a partner. Think about  all the things you want/need to do over the next few weeks, then consider if you can do one of those things on your list for your single parent friend.

I hope this gives you ideas to start with. Take the ideas and mold them to your own ideas. Let me know if you have more ideas for me to add.

Have a great rest of the year!



Those Eyes


Today I shared this on Facebook. Maybe it will be relatable to others, no matter the grief.

Numerous times a day I glance at this photo. And numerous times a day I’m reminded of the laughter and joy I felt at that moment. We had some good times.

It isn’t saying I haven’t had laughs since or that I haven’t been joyful… it’s just different now.

Now, when I see myself in photos, I see something in my eyes that wasn’t there before. Or I see something missing in my eyes that was in so many photos for the first 40 something years of life.

These eyes had never cried like they did later. These eyes never had to watch death come over a person. These eyes never looked at Six fatherless children. These eyes had never seen her own name on a headstone. These eyes were still madly in love with her man. These eyes believed life was more of a recipe than a crap shoot. These eyes saw a future that included grandparenting together and retirement.

But now my eyes have seen God take care of us in huge ways. My current eyes still cry in ways I never did before. My current eyes see a future empty nest with trepidation. My current eyes are trying to focus, through the tears, on the One who promises to be the Father to the fatherless and the defender of widows.

The eyes truly are the window to the soul.

But on a humorous side, he was never this much taller than me! He was probably on his tippy toes, which he would do in photos and make me laugh.

Podcast Episode 2!


Click the link to listen. And don’t forget to subscribe so you will be notified about each new episode.

If you feel so led, leaving a review would be helpful also. Reviews help get the podcast more available to searches. It’s strange, I know.

Thanks, you guys!

5 years later


I woke with a start at 330 this morning. Somehow my body knew before my brain could fully comprehend. Today is the anniversary of my severing. An Amputation. Today marked the ‘death’ in ‘to death do us part’. Five years ago today I held him as he entered eternity. I cried as I let the machines be turned off, one by one.

And now I carry so much of my twenty-five years with him wrapped around every cell of my body. A Day never passes without a thought of him. Everything was changed from this moment forward. And I began again that day. Rising from the ashes. Discovering. Becoming. Transforming. Embracing. Releasing. I will never be the same.

This man is a large part of who I am today.

Mark R Dyer-1961-2012

When the Anniv Gift Isn’t on the Lists


As I understand tradition, there are specific types of gifts for each year of marriage.

What if there were gifts for each year POST marriage?

Here are mine.

Year 1: cowboy boots (someone sent me a check for the exact amount before the fact!)

Year 2: for some reason I cannot remember!

Year 3: I traded in a broken Silpada necklace for 6 stacking birthstone rings representing my kids

Year 4: a new bed frame since I didn’t want to take the one from our Day 1- I got this great deal on a metal frame which is very different from the solid wood from before.  But after watching a few episodes of any BBC series, I now believe it looks like a hundred year old hospital bed.  Insert smiley face here…

Year 5: I had considered looking for a keepsake from the James Avery store for this anniversary but got worried they would send me to the “full FINGER” area of the store after shopping for “unmentionables” earlier in the day.

But I ventured into the store finally and found a ring to commemorate this 25th wedding anniversary. It has Hebrew letters that say the verse from the book of Ruth. “Wherever you go, I go.” It will be my constant reminder that I am following God on this journey, wherever it leads me. It kind of goes with the heart necklace I bought the first year with the German phrase “Allein Gott”, meaning God alone.

On this journey I need to be continually reminded of my connection to Christ. Do you? It is so easy for me to get distracted by the glittery things of this world and this culture.

So now I wear the six stacking rings to represent my children, my thumb ring we found while cleaning out the garage that was an unknown man’s wedding band that I wear to represent 3 men in my life who have gone ahead of me (my brother, my husband , and my dad), and now a ring just about me following God.

Ruth was a widow who left behind all she knew and was comfortable with to go with her mother-in-law to a new land, new language I’m guessing?, and a new culture. She was not part of the Israelites. She was an alien.  She had no way to provide for her little home. But she followed her bitter mother-in-law to her homeland and did all she asked of her. And her obedience helped turn her mother -in-law’s bitterness around to sweetness. Her obedience and new faith put her in line for the Messiah. She became King David’s great-grandmother! I believe she is a great model for me from Scripture. She modeled obedience, love, purity, faith, and trust. Exactly what I want said of me.

And the largest readership I have ever had was this facebook post I made on my 25th wedding anniversary. If you missed it, here it is. I had over 5000 people see this. Crazy.


Twenty-five years ago I married this man. I dreamed of this anniversary because we had big plans. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer. At least we covered all our bases. Married life seems like a faraway dream. So much has changed. I’ve forgotten what it is like to be the number one person in someone’s world. I’ve forgotten what his whiskers felt like against my face. Hugs are different now. All the movie quotes and song lines that I repeat just fall to the floor with no understanding. The stories I want to tell someone but no one will understand or care. But life is good. I miss all those things but I have so many blessings. So this, this 25th wedding anniversary, is the day the Lord has made. I WILL rejoice. I WILL. and be GLAD. in it. Glad? Yes, Glad. Glad for all the 30 years of memories with Mr Mark. Glad for these six children we had. Glad for his smart genes that have been passed down to my kids. Glad for his biblical knowledge he shared. Glad. Because 25 years ago he gave me his name. Happiest of anniversaries, honey. I miss you each and every day.

The Tale of Two Widows


She who is truly a widow, left all alone,

has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day,  

but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.

1 Timothy 5:5-6 ESV


Did you despise the word the first time you heard it applied to you?

Were you repulsed by the classification?

The word is kind of a “show stopper”, so to speak. When you are asked about your husband and you respond with this word, the crickets can often be heard in the background! The conversation comes to a screeching halt. As my teens at home would say, “Drop the mic…”, meaning the show is over.

God made special laws concerning widows and their care by the Hebrew people. In the early days of the church, the Apostle Paul made special comments regarding their care.  Sometimes I get caught in the “care” part, complaining why the “church” isn’t doing what Jesus taught “them” to do with widows, wishing the “church” would just meet my needs. But beyond their care, I found two types of widows discussed in the New Testament that are directly pointing at me. And as I studied it got personal real quick!

According to Scripture, widows can fall into two categories: consumed with prayer or consumed with self. The word “widow” is used over a hundred times in Scripture, so I took the time to read every verse in every chapter in every book, in context. Here are some of the descriptions:

  • Place their hope in God (1 Timothy 5:5)
  • Have a reputation of good works (1 Timothy 5:10)
  • Busybody (1 Timothy 5:13)
  • Self-indulgent (1 Timothy 5:6)
  • Having passions that draw them away from God, their physical desires overpowering their devotion to Christ (1 Timothy 5:11)
  • prayerful (1 Timothy 5:5)

There are no 10 Commandments of Widowhood to follow or a list of dos and don’ts of widowhood. For each of us it will look different. I must stop judging the other widow for her life – instead look at mine and see how I measure up to the list from Scripture.  God may show me areas where I am a busybody in ways He hasn’t led me. God may show me areas where I can pray more or be more hopeful in ways He hasn’t shown me.

This is what it looks like for me today:

  • sets her hope on God“= my hope for the future cannot be linked only to the hope of a future husband and father for my children or the hope of financial security. I have to place complete trust in God who has written and redeemed my story from beginning to end, even when it doesn’t make sense here on earth.
  • continues in supplications and prayers, day and night“= I have fought the lack of sleep “beast” for about five years. I have taken various medicines to help with sleep but recently, in the last six months, I have changed my focus. I have decided God has gifted me these “wee hours” to pray. I pray for friends whose marriages are in crisis, for rebellious teens running from God, for widows with hopeless situations, for my own children, etc. My grandmother used to remind me to pray through the alphabet – A for someone whose name begins with A, B, C etc. I do not turn on lights or open my phone, just plain old-fashioned praying.
  • self-indulgent“= there are certain things I want to do for my own sanity but I don’t always have the money for them. I make sure I give money to my local church and pay all the bills first, of course. But after that, I might want to sit at coffee one morning with a friend, enjoying a breakfast scone and a latte. Or if money is tighter, it might just be sitting on a back porch with a fire in the chiminea, sipping on hot chocolate, talking over the day with another single parent. If you pray for God to show you if you are being “self-indulgent”, God will point it out to you clearly. If He has given you peace, then enjoy the sanity break and breathe in deeply.

I encourage you to pray over these verses today, and consider which of the two widows you are.

Let’s commit to being the widow of hope, the widow of prayer, the widow of good reputation. That is the path of true joy.

Lord God, I put my hope in You completely today. Take away the passions that pull me away from following You as closely as I can. Forgive me for judging others for their journey and open my eyes to my journey. Keep me close to You in prayer throughout the day and the night when I wake. And when You provide moments of relief, help me breathe deeply of the peace You send my way. Amen



Recently our team members Erika and Lori wrestled with some really tough issues dealing with the missing physical aspect of widowhood. You can read their articles here and here. They both made the point that each widow must look at her own life and ask God for discernment concerning areas that are not spelled out in Scripture.
Eli12615501_10207224865214213_1344952754011757354_ozabeth Dyer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries Inc.  She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, guinea pigs, and most recently, hermit crabs keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and she loves to share how God is leading her on this new journey.


Would you like to read more articles by Elizabeth? Click here!

If you are looking for speakers for your next event, contact us at


This article first appeared on on March 9, 2016

2016 State Fair

2016 State Fair

I keep thinking that this tradition is going to die but I keep resuscitating it!

I have a long history with our state fair. When I was a child, my parents worked with a Christian ministry who had a booth at the fair. They would tell Bible stories to the children coming through. In those days, the kids would stay and sit and listen while the parents hung around in the area. We even had this strange contraption like a Ferris Wheel but for animals! I’m sure PETA would have been on us like ugly on ape nowadays. In the midway, there were freak shows and rides and any kind of unusual person you could imagine.

After college, I moved back to this great state. In the first months, I was working a job at a Christian talk radio station (no, not as a DJ or a talk show host…) and they needed me to cover their table at the fair. They even gave me 4 tickets to get in so I could take a couple friends. I had met some neat people, some cool cats, at the church class I was going to, so I asked these two handsome young men to go with me (and a gal who looked sweet on one of them just for good measure) and we went to the fair. I had an awesome cinnamon roll that day.

Those two handsome men were MarkandNeil. It became the one name for the two of them. They were best buds and I was their third wheel. We did everything together for five years.  We took road trips to Dallas and small plane trips to eastern Oklahoma. We even took a trip around Europe. Best times.

The week Mark proposed to me, he took a state fair cinnamon roll out of the freezer and warmed it up. He saved it for months for that moment.

Mark and I got married and we had a room in our house that was ‘Neil’s room’ for many years. Until we needed it for kids. But probably every year, Mark and I attended the fair. With stroller. With babies. With toddlers. We always had a cinnamon roll.

The last year we attended the fair, Mark was not very healthy. He mostly sat at the cooking demonstrations while I swept through the aisles of the buildings with the kids. We continued to make state fair memories. He always liked to look at the leather booths while I was suckered in by the free things.

As the kids have gotten older, schools don’t let out for ‘fair day’ any more, so we don’t get to go with the whole family. Two years ago I went with one child on her school field trip. Last year my sister and BIL took two of my kids, and included freak shows this time….thanks. This year I am homeschooling so I took those two during the day and we nearly passed out from heat stroke. Seriously. I even offered them to go on a ride, which I NEVER EVER do, but they actually said it was too hot! We did receive a small evergreen tree to plant. And the kids got some caterpillars that will hopefully turn into butterflies. They are pretty excited about it.

So the fair… I have loved it for so many years. I’m not sad when I go. I am thankful for the memories. And I want my kids to have memories to share with others. Sometimes those memories are good. Sometimes they are strange. Sometimes bittersweet. But all the memories together make a beautiful tapestry of life.

And this year, I just had a corn dog, for the record. No deep-fried Oreos or bacon-wrapped chicken-on-a-stick. Just an old-fashioned corn dog.

Collect memories today, friend. 

And now, back to your regular programming…

And now, back to your regular programming…

That is how I feel. I am back to “normal” after a momentary lack of joy and sanity.

Certain days on the calendar are more difficult because of the anticipation of the day.

Yesterday was my birthday.

A couple years ago I was so glad to find an idea that seemed to work with my kids. I have written about it on several blog sites. I guess even the best laid plans even fall apart. The idea was that all the days on the calendar where a celebration or small gift might be in order, one of my children was assigned to a day. It really helped them think about someone other than themselves. One kid had my birthday, one had Christmas, one had Mother’s Day, etc. They seemed to get the hang of things so we didn’t need to assign anything after the first couple years.

Enter this year.

Early in March the topic of my birthday came up and the kids assured me it was settled.

Ahhhh, a sigh of relief. My kids are growing up. They are looking beyond themselves. I have succeeded as a parent!

The night before my birthday arrived and the fingers began to point in all kinds of directions – HE didn’t this and SHE didn’t that…In other words, NOTHING got taken care of.

My attitude began to sink into the sewer. I have always had trouble with high expectations. And this was no exception. Those unrealistic expectations that my children/family/friends/enemies/people-I’ve-never-met would shower me with cards and gifts and various surprises.

So as the day loomed ahead of me, I worked up a wonderful pity party for myself. If no one else was going to throw me a party, I might as well throw myself one- a huge stinking pity party.

I had a few wish me birthday wishes on facebook but the close local friends? One called and we talked a while and hung up without her ever mentioning my birthday. Another called and, again, we talked a while, but no mention of birthday greetings. Another texted about various things, none of which were my birthday plans. I even invited one friend to dinner, my treat, and she had other things going on! I couldn’t even bribe a friend to eat with me. I did run into a church friend at the store who offered to join us for dinner that evening (Thanks, you-know-who-you-are!).

To the various friends who texted me birthday greetings, I responded with “thanks but birthdays pretty much suck nowadays.” What a show stopper. In retrospect, I guess I should have just stopped at “thanks”. Guess the last part wasn’t really necessary?

And, truth, my mother had already celebrated my day on Sunday with some of my siblings and my kids. So I wasn’t nearly as forgotten as I pretended to be!

But they do stink–these days. I miss having someone think about my birthday without being bribed or coerced. I miss being married. I miss being a wife. Birthdays, and Valentine’s Days, and Mother’s Days, holidays – they all can stink. How do I NOT let them stink?

Attitude. And having friends who think about me non-stop. But since that isn’t likely, guess I have to stop at my attitude. Why can’t it be someone else’s fault? Because I have to own this stinking attitude I have.

By the end of the day, all three friends who had forgotten my birthday had contacted me with apologies. They are all competing for “worst friend of the year” they think. But actually, I am probably closer to “worst friend” because I can feel so “needy” and “unloved”. Grow up, Liz! Acting like a 4 year old is really unbecoming!

So today, it is back to normal for me. I’m not wallowing in self-pity or wondering why there isn’t a pile of gifts at my bedroom door waiting for me. Because, like, when has that ever happened anyway? So apparently expectations don’t even have to be realistic.

In the grand scheme of things…this is really a pretty small thing. I would like to help my children think outside of themselves. And they do that sometimes. I love my friends even when they forget about me. And it will be in reverse more often than not, I’m sure.

And I already have next year’s birthday planned a year in advance. Yes, it involves a plane ticket and a suitcase. So there you have it!



A Land I Never Planned to Visit

A Land I Never Planned to Visit

This was my most recent article for AWM. I believe it can relate to anyone though. 


Do you ever imagine we are on an extended trip, living in a land we never expected? I would never have chosen this trip. I didn’t pack appropriately for it. I don’t even like the accommodations! You too?

But when I read Scripture, I find this happens more often than not.  Some of the Biblical characters went willingly to the unknown, some fought it the whole way. Some were there because of other people’s actions, some were there because of their own. Let’s see…







I was thrilled recently to find someone else in the Bible who was sent to a land she never planned.


But I was struck by something I never noticed before.

Esther 2:8 (ESV) So when the king’s order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king’s palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women.

It never occurred to me that Esther was most likely there against her will. I guess I had this romantic image of her attending a voluntary beauty pageant.

But this verse leads me to think otherwise. The king made a proclamation for the gathering of young virgins in the land. She was taken away to the king’s palace to prepare for the “pageant”. I’m preparing for a “pageant” also–  God is preparing my heart for the Bride’s feast in Revelation!

Esther went through lots of preparation before and during the pageant, but I find great encouragement knowing that Esther was ready for her uncle’s statement and the climax to the story in chapter four.

Esther 4:14 ESV And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Can I ever imagine that I could be used for God’s Kingdom when I am in the “land” of widowhood, where I never planned to be? Could I be at this point in history for a reason?


Car being towed recently after dying in a parking lot

I sometimes fall into the trap of my fantasy–my marriage lasting into old age, ministering to my friends from the vantage point of a wife, raising my children with my husband, etc. What I am living now is far from that fantasy! I get so frustrated having to make decisions regarding  an old vehicle and lots of kids to transport around town. I am “over” living in this “land” and wish to be back in the “land” of married wife, taken care of by a car guy. Son broke his glasses. Cat had an expensive vet visit. My best friend is going through tragedy of her own.  I want to pack up and move back to the other land–the “land” where I don’t have to make all the decisions, where I had an adult to share responsibilities and worries with.

But could I be in this “land” for a reason? I realize, if nothing else comes of my time in this “land”, I have such empathy for my friend going through personal tragedy and a love for widows. For such a time as this…What is my “this”?

My perspective needs to change from looking inward at being in the “land” I never planned, to looking outward for such a time as this.

Lord Jesus, turn my vision outward. Give me eyes to see a purpose for being in this “land” of widowhood. Help me to encourage others in my home to see their purpose as well. You have put us here, for such a time as this. Give me a new perspective today and a compassion for others going through tragedy. Amen

***Here is a link to the book of Esther in the Old Testament.  If you really want to research the history surrounding the book of Esther, it is believed to fall between the chapters of six and seven of the book of Ezra. The name of God is nowhere in the book of Esther, but His sovereignty is found on every page. The Jewish people even celebrate the Feast of Purim as a way to remember the delivery of the Jews through Esther.

Elizabeth DP16-b8fb6yer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries Inc.  She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, guinea pigs, and most recently, hermit crabs keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and she loves to share how God is leading her on this new journey.

Want to read more from Elizabeth’s journey? Click Here!

Looking for an article to read more about Esther? For Such a Time as This by Sheryl

for such a time as this esther414ps04