Diane Marthaler's Journal
Written Nov 27, 2013 2:16pmOn the 10 month anniversary of losing the love of my life, and the day before Thanksgiving, I want to stop and give thanks to a women who made me feel so very thankful for every day that we were blessed to share together. Thank you Tooter for your love. Thank you for teaching me the real meaning of true love when I didn't think it really existed. Thank you for your friendship for almost 30 year...s. Thank you for showing us all how to live with grace, dignity and how to live with a smile on your face as you carried a cross for your God. Thank you for being a testament to His glory and His love for all of us. Thank you for changing the lives of so many people in ways they may never even realize. Thank you for teaching me that the simplest things in life are the most important. You showed how family is the most treasured and valued gift we can have. I wake up every day missing you, and I go to bed every night missing you. I am so very thankful that God gave us to each other. There are not words to say how much I miss you, but at the same time I am so very happy that you are with the Father in paradise, where there is no cancer or pain. I am so very proud of you for everything you gave to me, Ashlynn, Logan, our families, friends and to everyone around you. You touched us all so deeply and I will never forget you or your sweet love. Happy Thanksgiving Tooter. You are always on my mind and always in my heart.
Written Jul 13, 2013 9:40amJuly 10, 2013, was Ashlynn's 14th birthday. I sent her a happy birthday message on facebook. I told her that i loved her and that i was so proud of her. I told her that i wish i could celebrate it with her and give her the card that her mom hand wrote to her just for this day. I hope she understands that I simply cannot risk that card being intercepted by her biological dad and destroyed before she ever knew i sent it to her. I will have to keep it for her, just like all the other cards and gifts i have had to save for her and Logan. This house has become deafeningly quiet now. After months of pouring my heart into trying to get visitation with the kids, and having to watch the kids being used as helpless pawns in a twisted game of win at any and all costs, I finally had to come to the realization that the kids were going to lose in this game and be forced to pay the ultimate price for it. Sadly enough, it was all for money and revenge. My love for those kids knows no limits. And because of my love for them, as heartbreaking as it is, I have to love them enough to let them go, for their sake, or the sad game of using them for financial gain and revenge will simply continue to hurt them. I have to realize that obviously God has a plan for them that is not my plan or timing. it's God's plan and timing that the kids endure living with their bio dad for now, for the sake of their future and reliance on Gods love for them. This is the ultimate test of my belief in "let go and let God". I cannot be selfish here, and i need to bend to God's will and plan for them. I continue to pray for Ashlynn and Logan every night as well as their bio dad and his wife and their attorney. It's the most i can do for them.
The next day July 11, 2013, Toot and I would have celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary together. It was a long and hard day on the emotional roller coaster. I started the day by bringing her 4 red roses and having yet another long heart to heart talk with her. I told her how thankful and grateful I was to have had 3 1/2 years of the best marriage you could ever pray for. And while I had hoped that it would have been God's plan for us to celebrate many more together, God had a much greater calling for us. Despite the pain of answering that call, neither one of us would have come to know Christ or realized our salvation had we not answered that call. I am eternally grateful for the 30 years that He blessed us to be a part of each others lives in order to prepare us for His calling. This is why I choose to focus on that rather than get caught up in the terrible "why us" black hole that is so easy to do. I apologized to Toot for failing to avoid her greatest fear after she died. I have to believe that after she passed, she already knew what was going to happen and what God is asking us to do for Him. Have faith and trust in His plan for the kids. My losing them may possibly only be temporary. It's in Gods hands and Toots loving and ever watchful eyes for her children that she loved so much.
I then went and hand picked out a tree that will be planted in St. Mary's cemetery, not very far from Toot's grave site. I believe that, like Toot, it will be beautiful as it matures and branches out for all of us to sit under its shade and enjoy its shelter.
That evening, Renae and I joined two other very dear couples and went out for supper to celebrate our anniversary. The highlight of the evening was a toast that we made in her honor and loving memory.
Friday, July 12, marked the 12th anniversary of Renae losing her brother Rick Bernard to cancer. I never had the chance to know him personally, but from what Renae tells me, he was an awesome person to know. Ironically, Ricks daughter Sherri used to work for me. After he passed away, it was decided that they were going to tear down an old machine shed on the farm. Sherri, knowing that I am always on the lookout for old weathered buildings, had who ever tore it down, take a chainsaw and cut the entire front of the shed off for me. I was so excited about this! I got a trailer and drove down to Fairmount and loaded it up in 3 pieces and took it back to the studio. I have used that old shed ever since then and I use it a lot to this day. It is the set that is called "the old house". When I first realized that Rick and Renae were brother and sister, I couldn't believe the coincidence. I now look at the set with a whole new appreciation every day.
Needless to say, it has been a long and emotional three days for both of us. I am so thankful for God's grace and love to help us through times like these. Through the blessings of good friends, Renaes love, and God's faithfulness to us all, there is no storm we can't weather. The plaque that Renae gave to Toot says it best, "life is not about waiting for the storm to pass...it's about learning to dance in the rain".
In the Shadow of the Savior
by Charles Swindoll
If you wish to be a man or woman who desires to live a godly life that will leave its mark upon this world, you must stand in the shadow of your savior. Trust Him to work through the trials you encounter, the extreme circumstances you cannot handle on your own. He is still the God of impossible situations. He does what no earthly individual can do. You must approach the impossible with calmness and contentment, with gentleness and self control, with faith and humility. Examine your own life for these character traits and take them one by one before God. You might say, " Lord, today I want to do what You say regarding contentment; I want to have a calm and gentle spirit. I don't simply want to call myself a Christian...help me this day to face everything and deal with everyone with a gentle and quiet spirit. Help me to be content, even though I don't get things my way." This is how we personify a life of faith.
Tell your family that you love them and let go and let God.
The 4th of July - 2013
Written Jul 8, 2013 9:19pm
Our family crossed another "first" this past weekend. Our first 4th of July without our Tooter. We all seemed to miss her even more than we did during the Memorial Day weekend, and yet we all celebrated her love and her memory all the more this 4th of July. We all shared some wonderful memories and I was so happy that both my daughters and granddaughters were there, as well as my sister Josie from Waukesha Wisconsin. One of the many great memories we shared this weekend in Toot's loving honor, was the final touches on her pink chair. They included her name, the year she was born and the year she left us. There was also a pink ribbon angel that I gave to my mom and dad to put on the top of her chair as well. It will now be signed by everyone who comes to visit and celebrate at the lake with us as a lasting tribute and testimony to the impact she made on all our lives and our never ending love for her.
Another tribute to her was for us to make Bailey Blasters (Toot's favorite drink at the lake and Arizona) and cheer a toast to her after supper one evening. Perhaps the most memorable event this weekend came later on that evening. A very good friend of my sister Michele and her husband Joe's, Pam Bilek, gave Michele about a half dozed of those rice paper floating lanterns that work like a miniature hot air balloon with a simple candle inside. I have seen these on TV before, but have never tried one myself. We waited until late dusk. It was almost totally calm and the temper4ature was very pleasant. We all went down to the lake and out onto the dock and started unpacking these lanterns. I think everyone was a little weary about how well these would actually work. We got them all unpacked and the candles lit. Then, one by one, they were released into the air. And one by one, each and every one of them slowly and successfully raised up into the sky with a golden glow that could be watched and enjoyed a for a long time until finally they disappear out of sight across the lake. It was one of the most exciting and beautiful memorials we have ever had for Toot and it left a truly beautiful memory in each of our minds. None of us will ever forget just how beautiful that was. We were all so excited and impressed with this memorial, that we almost instantly decided that this was going to be done for all three of the major summer holidays each year. My sister Michele has already ordered a hundred of them! Thank you Pam for such a wonderful idea and what turned out to be a great memory and new family tradition.
We also retook the family picture that we took on Memorial Day, as we had more family members here this time. I so wish we could have had everyone there, but when your family starts getting that big, there are so many things going on in everyone's life that it becomes rare that we are all in the same place at the same time. We all had our pink "Hoot for Toot" shirts on wore them with love and pride.
Several of us loaded up a couple of vehicles and went to Toot's favorite place at the lake, the Chocolate Ox in Cross Lake. It is an ice cream and candy lovers paradise. Toot's favorite ice cream was called Pirates Booty and so I ordered up a double scoop dish in her honor. That is some truly awesome ice cream!
We also spent time much time on the pontoon, which was another one of Toot's favorite lake activities. The weather was so awesome for it too. We spent time playing Toot's favorite card game, Hand and Foot as well. We all signed Toot's chair over the weekend and left our love for her on it. There are some beautiful things written on it already. It would be a thrill for me to somehow arrange to get the Sassy Survivors all together for a weekend there so that they could see Toot's favorite place to be in the summer and so that all the Sassies could sign her chair. If that does not happen, I think I may try to arrange for the chair to come home with me for the winter so that they can see it and sign it.
Many great memories were made and the precious time spent together making those memories. We had all truly hoped that Ashlynn and Logan would be with us to be a part of making those memories and be a part of remembering and honoring the love of their mom. We had all hoped that they would be able to sign their mom's chair. But God's plans are not our plans. As hard as it is to understand and accept sometimes, God's plans are perfect. We all felt Toot's presence with us all weekend. One of the lanterns that were launched had a hole in it and we did not think it would fly. When it was released, it did start to take off and looked as if it was going to make it. Then, slowly it started to drop and we thought for sure it was hit the lake and go out. Suddenly, despite the hole, it started to rise again as we cheered it on. There was little doubt in anyone's mind that Toot had reached down and gently lifted it up into the sky to let us all know that she was right there with us, sharing in all the memories. God bless you Toot. A big thank you to my parents for putting up with all of us as well as all their love and dedication to us, but especially for the thought and love they put into Toot's chair. Thank you to the rest of my family for everything you all did to make this weekend so special. I love you all so much. I have posted some new picture from this weekend in the photos. I am also posting even more pictures on my facebook page.
We all continue to hurt as we miss you being here with us Tooter. You were always the life of the family get together's and we are doing our best to always keep you here with us in our hearts and minds. But know that with God's grace and love, we are all healing one day at a time.
Everyday Grace - Patience is all about waiting things out. It's about holding on another moment longer. It means enduring hard times. As a younger person, you probably felt you couldn't possibly endure certain things, but the older you get, the more you realize that you can. If you just wait long enough, the tide always turns. Hold on. Your life will change. God's grace will rescue you.
Tell your family you love them and let go and let God.