Monthly Archives: August 2013

Trash day

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Why does Trash Day bring out the psycho mom in me?

Why does it bring so much conflict?

And it sucks the joy right out of me.

Every week I try to cover all of my bases.  I attempt to give every possible instruction.  You know the drill…all the trash cans, all the trash around the cans, upstairs and downstairs, take it all out to the street, replace bags in the cans, etc.  What did I leave out?

Every week it is something.  A can doesn’t get taken out front.  Trash left on the floor.  Bag left at the back door.   Bags not put in small cans.  Cans not taken back to correct rooms.  I just can’t make this stuff up!  You would think since we have been making trash our whole lives that we could get this mastered.

Did I mention It just sucks the joy out of my life?

So I gripe and complain all the way taking teen to early band.  You know the voice.  Some of you might even use the voice occasionally.  I am sure he tuned me out as we pulled out of the driveway because he has heard it all before.  And it is never his fault.  So I am sure he was thinking about how he wishes I would just go home and have my coffee.

Thankfully I get another opportunity to also master my responses.  Every week, does God wonder why I can’t just practice a little grace towards my kids?  Does God think I should get it right one of these times?  Does He hope that this will be the week I don’t lose it?

So, with water bottle raised in toast, I say, “To next week!”

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A Visit to the Graveyard

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I drove out to the cemetery today to see the gravestone that finally was, well, installed.  It finally arrived.  My mother and I drove slowly over to the section where the grave is located and I knew where it was before we even stopped.  It was the glow shimmering off the highly polished brass that was my first clue.  And the fact that the vase was turned up without flowers.  The only vase turned up without flowers.  But as I followed the bright light to the grave, I noticed it is unique.  Everyone else has headstones that are MUCH smaller.  And less, shall I say, exotic looking.

Note to self: when choosing a headstone, one does not necessarily need to go with the cemetery’s people.  Did you know you can have anyone do it and put it in?  At least that is what it appears.  Most of the other stones are small and nothing but the basic info.  Mine looks like a fancy icon or something!  I did shed a tear on my first glimpse of it.  Then I laughed.  Mr. Mark would not have wanted something so ornate.  He would have wanted nothing more than a garden stake with his name written on a piece of cardboard.

When the kids and I went down to my uncle’s funeral in Texas last February, we chuckled at the obelisks and cherubs all over that ancient burial grounds.  We laughingly thought that we should get life-sized Greco-Roman wrestlers perched on their dad’s grave.  It would have fit in with some of the crazy things at that old cemetery.

But I met with the cemetery officials here way back in March to plan this thing.  It took forever.  I had no idea.  My dad got his months before Mr. Mark.  But not really knowing anything about how things like this are done, I just went with it.

And this is what we got.

Aquamarine colored brass with shiny brass edges.  It catches the sun just right.  I feel so, well, like I am the “got rocks” looking at this.  It did cost a ton…I didn’t know it could be done any cheaper.  I just went along with what they told me to do.  I’m sure they saw me coming.  Nothing against them – they have a product to sell and a service to provide.  For a fee…

So why am I the only one with a headstone like this out there if this is what they sell?  I don’t know the answer to that so don’t ask me.

This is the headstone I worked so hard and long to design.  I looked for drawings that represented Mr Mark.  How do you choose a couple sketches to represent everything about a person you loved?  I narrowed it down to a running shoe, OSU, music notes and a cross.  There could have been so much more.  He was a complex person.  Like you or me.

Yes, it brought tears to my eyes.  To see my husband’s name there in brass was a sad and defining moment.  To see my name in brass…surreal.

The Headstone

And did I mention that it is the brightest and largest headstone in the cemetery?

I wore my anniversary boots, fitting for the occasion.  I love the beautiful blue color called aquamarine, which is our birthstone.  I chose the verse because it was one he loved.  Plus it always reminded him of the song by Michael Martin Murphy called “Harbor for my Soul”  I can just hear the stereo pumping out the song at great volume, bass speakers beating away.

 https://myspace.com/michaelmurphey/music/song/harbor-for-my-soul-46949-161981

I wonder what MMM would think about the Bible verse being connected to his song?

So I never have to visit the cemetery again, really.  My job there is finished.  I buried my husband.  I paid for the headstone.  But I will visit.  Whenever I want.  But will I want to?  I just don’t know.  He isn’t really there.  I don’t feel closer to him when I go there. I don’t talk to him when I go there.   I feel closest to him when I sit with my children around the dinner table, praying over our supper and reading the Bible lesson together.  I feel closest to him when I find myself singing a song that he loved or when I hear one of his on the radio.  I feel closest to him when I move forward.  He would have wanted me to keep the family moving ahead.  Moving toward a goal of godly character.

Now I get on with living, or get on with dying.  I choose to get on with living.

Philippians 4:19

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Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

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from MrMark’s Bible

But what does this verse mean to me and my situation that life has handed me?

Our pastor spoke on this verse last Sunday and it really got me thinking.

What word should be emphasized? Needs? All? God? Supply? I did a little Internet searching and this is what I discovered.

The context of the verse is that the Philippian people supplied Paul’s needs according to their poverty and God would supply their needs according to His riches. So maybe in generosity to others, God provides for the giver. I guess we have to trust God that we will have enough when we give away what isn’t ours in the first place. When we give, we are showing our faith. So if we think we don’t have enough to start with, which makes us think we can’t give it to God’s work, then I guess we don’t have faith that God will provide. Is God big enough to provide for our needs or not?

According to His riches or according to today’s economic standards? Recessions, layoffs, firings, down-sizing , inflation. Are these only spiritual needs that are met or actual financial needs? When Jesus fed the ‘5000’ (plus) there was an abundance of leftovers. Is that what I am expecting? Or can I even consider that as a possibility?
I often think of the orphan home keeper George Muller. He never told anyone of their needs and God always provided milk, bread, and all sorts of supplies they needed. Do I have enough faith in God to sit down at an empty table full of children and say our prayer for dinner, believing God will provide? I just don’t know. Have I ever tried that? Have I ever allowed God to provide in that way?
The Amplified Version of this verse says that God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need.
So in my thinking about my situation, and the desire of my heart is to concentrate on just being a single parent while helping other widows with young children, is it fair for me to think God would possibly bring money in to pay our bills? From sources unknown? I just don’t know. The financial advice I keep getting is to work and invest and make money to take care of the family. But my heart tells me to stay home and not work and be as involved as I can with my kids in their schools. I don’t want to invest the money because I want to be safe and secure right now, not in the next 15 years. I believe in ten years I will regret the time I didn’t give my kids that I gave to making money instead. Money that was needed for the family. Money to pay bills. It isn’t like I am trying to make money to buy fancy furniture or excessive clothing or exotic vacations. All good reasons to work but what does God want me to do?
As I was writing this, I received a call from a woman in another state about the possibility of my volunteering in their widow ministry. It would be something I have to commit to, to write and correspond with every day for at least an hour, to give the time I would devote to working at a paid job to devoting to ministry to widows. That is where my heart really is. So do I step off the cliff into the unknown of potential poverty or do I choose the secure path?

For now, I have decided to stretch my faith and go with the widow ministry. This probably seems like foolishness to many but God has put this on my heart to do. So now, I believe that if He has called me, He will provide for me.

You don’t have to understand my journey but you can pray for us.  Pray that I have peace when I tend to be frazzled.  Pray for confidence when I doubt what God is doing.  Pray for strength when I feel weak.  This is my journey.  Yours will look very different.  That is the beauty of the Christian walk.  It looks different for everyone but the end goal of maturing in our faith is the outcome.  Don’t live like me.  Live like God leads you.

My God.

Will meet.

All my needs.

According to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

This is personal, folks.  My God.  My needs.  Your God.  Your needs.

Removal of My Ring

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Our rings

There was no fanfare.

There was no trumpet blast to announce it.

There was no sign from God.

It just seemed right.

The day after the twenty-first anniversary of becoming Mrs. Mark Dyer I removed my wedding bands.

It wasn’t easy, and I don’t mean emotionally as much as physically! It took a lot of work and I had a lot of time to back out. But once I committed to doing it, I kept at it until it was off.

Now my finger looks naked. It is dented in after so many years of not removing. And so many years of having children. I will blame that part of the dented finger entirely on them!

So I removed his wedding band from where I had been wearing it since the day of his death, on my right hand, and placed it on my left hand, middle finger. It suits me there. It fits nicely and feels good there. It is a symbol to myself of Mr. Mark’s enduring love for his family. He may or may not be looking down from heaven on us but regardless, I have the memories of our wedding day and twenty years along our rocky road of life.

His ring is also a reminder of God’s grace in my life and his. When I look at the ring I am reminded to look at Mr. Mark through “grace glasses” and not judgment.  That I am forgiven just as he was. That Mr. Mark understood God’s grace in a way I may never.

Ring trivia:  His ring had to be replaced after being lost on a backpacking trip with the youth group about ten years ago.  My diamond is his grandmother’s diamond.  She felt he should have it and then had a CZ put in her ring. Our Mary Grace was named after her and my grandmother Grace.

And inscribed inside his ring are our initials, the date of our wedding, and the words in German, “liebe immer”. Love always.

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The Anniversary of my Anniversary

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New Boots!!

It was coming.  There was nothing I could do to change it.  I had been dreading this day for months.

So I had a choice to make.  I could mope around and be sad, grumpy and/or depressed OR I could choose to make it an enjoyable day.  Something to look forward to.

July 25th was coming soon and I couldn’t just look past it.  I had to make a plan.  Knowing I have such wonderful friends who have blessed my socks off many times before, I texted a few to see if they were interested in spending an evening with me.  We would meet for dinner and then do something fun.

The friends were happy to join me so we drove off to Cattleman’s Steakhouse in the heart of the Stockyards.  I guess the beef doesn’t have to travel far.  Talk about fresh!!  We gathered around the table and I thanked the Lord for my friends and for the occaison of my anniversary.  This should have been the celebration of 21 years of marriage.  Instead it was a celebration of the memories of 20 1/2 years of marriage.  We laughed about memories we shared of each other’s marriages and dating.  These ladies certainly are a blessing.  They took a day that was headed for sadness and turned it around to happiness.  We enjoyed sumptious steaks and never once was it painful for me to be there with them  They are a true gift from God.

This day should have been, could have been, a special time with the man I loved.  Instead I had a chance to reminesce about past anniversaries.  I thought about the early years, with young children.  And the middle years with young children.  And the later years with young children… I remembered some anniversaries were fun and happy, some were painful and hard.  There was even one year that I just hoped we would make it through dinner and not have a fight.  There was always the plan of someday taking that anniversary trip – either a cruise or traveling to the Biltmore Mansion in the mountains in the Carolinas.  Those plans we made together that will never come to pass.

But this year I celebrated all those memories and more.  I celebrated the good, bad, and everything in between.  Twenty-one years of being Mrs. Mark Dyer.  And after our best steak ever, we walked across the street to look at cowboy boots.  Mark’s last birthday on earth was the year he got the coolest OSU cowboy boots.  They were not the ones with the orange part but the more subtle boots that had the OSU branded into the leather.  I knew he loved them when he got them but I also knew that every time he wore them he did it for me because they were not comfortable!  The last time he wore boots was when he had gray Ropers back in the late eighties!  So with that in mind, I bought a pair of awesome boots.  And everytime I wear them, I will be reminded that marriage is like a pair of boots…a good fit is unbeatable but there is still pain involved!  I made that up.  Not even sure what it means…

Thank You, God, for the friends You have placed along my path.  I couldn’t survive this journey without them.  And thank You for the gift of my marriage that blessed me with six wonderful children.