God is always working to make His children aware of a dream
that remains alive beneath the rubble of every shattered dream,

a new dream that
when realized will release a new song, sung with tears,

till God wipes them away
and we sing with nothing but joy in our hearts

--Larry Crabb

Friday, November 13, 2009


I went into this week with mixed emotions. Excitement to get away from home for a bit and spend time with my mom and extended family, but a little reluctant, knowing that we were going to Branson on a trip that my dad had planned when life was normal. On the drive down I was inundated with thoughts of things Dad would say or do or how much he'd be enjoying the company or how he'd be helping the driver to take the very best route. When we checked into the condo my mind was flooded with memories of all the times that we had traveled there with Mom and Dad. When we went with Mom to talk with the timeshare people about how it all works I nearly cried when the rep talked about considering removing Dad's name from the deed. As we entered the theater to go to the Pierce Arrow concert I missed having my dad there--seeing the excitement on his face as he got ready to watch a show that he enjoyed so much. Once the concert started, I missed hearing his laughter at the comedian who was very funny. When we went mini putting it I was thinking about last spring when Craig and I went to Branson with Mom and Dad and we putted at least 20 holes until we were so tired that we were falling over--in a still slightly deformed bush to be exact. Dad loved his golf--mini or regular.
Maybe it's being around my aunts and uncles on the N side. Maybe it is going places that we used to go together for the first time without him. Maybe it is just because I miss my dad that has made this trip difficult, but it has also been wonderful.
Wonderful because I get to see little reminders of my dad in my aunts and uncles--a smile, a twinkle in an eye, a clever pun. Wonderful because we talk a little about him and grandpa and some of our best memories, and wonderful because we are going to my cousin Megan's wedding tomorrow.
I remember wehn Megan was very little. Her parents were living near us at the time and her mom babysat me on occasion. I was very concerned that her mom wouldn't have time for me anymore and she had just taught me how to fold socks. In retrospect maybe she was just coercing a little child labor to help get her laundry done, but at the time, learning to fold socks was pretty cool. I have very few if any memories of Megan as a young kid without her Cabbage Patch Kid, Roy. It is neat to see her all grown up and ready to get married. I am so glad that she has found love. Congratulations to Megan and Scott.
That's all for now.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Sometimes, Lord, it is hard to be joyful when the pain of life weighs so heavy on our hearts. Please help me to be joyful. Worship the Lord with gladness. Gladness to me means with a willing heart. I will worship you with a willing, but broken heart, Oh Lord! Come into His presence with joyful song. His presence. What a wonderful place to be. So serene and simple. Know that the Lord is God. I know, trust me, I know. It is He who made us. In His image He created us. Not evolution, not the big bang, GOD. We are His. We were purchased with his blood and belong to Him. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Lord, you know us as a shepherd knows his sheep. You know my hurt and fear. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Just as Dad has already, I too will enter those gates with gratitude and adoration. Give thanks to Him and bless His name. Thank you, God for all of the blessings you've given. Thank you for the memories of the past, the comfort in the present, and the hope for the future. For the Lord is Good. Is he ever. The best. His steadfast love endures forever and His faithfulness to all generations. God, You have been faithful. Your love has never left us, even for a moment. You were faithful to my grandparents, to my parents, to me, and will be to my children. Thank you for that. Psalm 100.

Mom and I have been working on memorizing this scripture. It was printed on the back of the memorial folder for Dad's funeral. Currently, it is 3:00 AM. My body is exhausted and craving sleep, but my mind won't let me rest tonight. It has now been just over 8 weeks since my dad died, and in so many ways it still does not seem real. Now more than ever I just yearn to sit down and have a talk with my dad. I have so much I want to tell him. I don't even know where I'd start, but I just want to be near him. I want to see his smile, hear his laugh, feel his love.
I've heard it said that in times like this the only people that don't get angry are the ones who didn't have a relationship. At this point, I have to admit that I am a little angry...maybe even more than a little. Not at anyone or anything in particular, but at the situation as it is. I am daunted by the evasive answer to the ever-present question of WHY? Why now? Why him? Why me? Why why why. For a long time I tried to not ask why, but have now learned that all change begins with a question. If I don't question why, then I can't find the solution to "How." How do I move on? How do I honor my dad's memory without reliving all of the hurt? How long until I feel normal again? How will our family ever adjust to this loss? How how how?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Craig

My Craig. Sometimes I can't believe how blessed I am to have this man in my life. He is so good to me. Today he spent the entire day outside making our yard look nice. He raked up and bagged the leaves--9 bags so far and a few to finish tomorrow. He dug up the last of the stumps of those darn mulberry trees that keep growing up in our lilac bushes with his shovel and chain saw. He trenched in some more of the landscaping bricks. And that was just one day. He's always doing something around here!
At his "for pay" job he supports the Army as a Program Manager. He is currently working on MRAP support equipment and also the Hydraulic systems test and repair unit. If you want to know more details, you'll just have to ask him, though, because all of the military acronyms and technical talk makes no sense to me. I do know that he earns "excellence" awards at work complete with certificates, for which I just received reprimand--Craig informed me that he has only worked for PMSKOT for 3 weeks and already received and award and certificate, and in our 9 years and 3 months of marriage I have never supplied him with a certificate for anything. I'm working on that.
Craig also volunteers with the youth group and is active in Primerica where he recently became licensed in life insurance, securities, and mortgages. Somewhere in there he also makes time to spend with Maddie and I and has been a big help to my mom in assisting her with Dad's insurances and paperwork. I am VERY proud of him and all that he has accomplished.
With that being said, there are a few fine points that we are working on. Craig is trying to make a little less noise while eating potato chips, and I am happy to report that his average crunch is down to about 50 decibels from an all time high of 90, so hearing protection is no longer required. We are also in the process of acknowledging that there is a problem with the sleep walking/talking/waking me up. The past few nights he has woke me around 3 am by putting his arm around me, pulling me close, and saying that he loves me. While the initial gesture is nice, the incessant rubbing of my arm that follows is just plain annoying. To top it off, when I tell him to roll over and leave me alone, he then blames ME for waking HIM up. Like I said, we're working on it.
Seriously, though. If I believed in luck, I would consider myself the luckiest woman on earth, but I guess I'll refer to it as blessed instead. So blessed that he is my husband, my soul mate, my love. He takes good care of me and provides well for our little family. I can hardly wait to share the next stage of our lives together...whatever that may be. I love you, Craig!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Dear Mediacom,
It was been a pleasure being the victim of your screwed up policies today. I love it how you disconnect cable and internet service, then refer us to your website to review our account. That is fun to try to do. When I discuss with your "I can hardly speak your language and this is my first day off of orientation" customer service lady that it is impossible to review an account online when you can't GET online, the extra soothing voice and excessive use of "thank you Ms. Riedel" is very comforting. I needed some good old theraputic communication. That is why I called.
I am a little confused as to why our service was disconnected in the first place. Perhaps April was correct when she said that our check bounced, despite the fact that we didn't write a stinking check. Or maybe it was Jasmine that had it figured out when she told me that we never made a payment in the first place, which, according to your own records, was made on October 26th. Last but not least, I don't want to discredit Sasha as she attempted to explain that we had insufficient funds in our account. Funny how that could happen...we have overdraft protection, just in case the several hundred dollars we had in there wasn't enough. My very favorite, though, was Marie who kindly explained that they have a lot of people who don't pay their bill, so they have to disconnect their service. I kindly reminded her that for 5 years I have never had so much as a late payment and was apalled that my service was disconnected without even so much as a phone call. In my mind I was bracing myself and my mind cautioned her not to say it...but she did. They didn't have my phone number. THEY provide my stinking phone service. GRRRRR AHHHHH
Carol made me laugh when she listened to me vent about the rediculousness of all this and then prepared to transfer me to an "Internet Specialist." I don't think that she knows that she only thought she was talking to an internet techy when she told me all about how she had this "extremely pissed off customer that has already called 4 times and got stuck talking to the people who didn't know what they were doing and we really need to help so that she doesn't take this to management." Followed by "hello?? Is this internet support?" Following a couple of clicks she said "Ms. Riedel! I thought I lost you!" I heard the whole thing. :)
The internet service technicians, Danny and Donny, in their infinite wisdom instructed me to disconnect the router, which led to me losing my phone connection both times, even though they assured me that it would not.
After 2 hours of me freaking out on your people and 8 different calls, guess what! My internet came back on! As it turns out, we made a payment 2 weeks before the due date, none the less! Who reversed our payment setting this whole stupid thing in motion???? MEDIACOM!!! Evidently once the payment is reversed the service is disconnected without warning...even if it STILL isn't due for another week! Amazing! Thank you for providing such great service! It is nice to know that your policies reflect the best interest of those you serve.

Your loyal customer,
Ms. Riedel

PS. Don't EVER take my internet away again without reason--or even with reason! My current emotional state does not allow for rational responses.