For Tina, on the anniversary of her upsetting the balance of the universe.

Happy, happy my dear friend.

May peace and chaos always find the right balance in your home, and those under your roof know the depth of your love for them.

May you and yours prosper and never want, and the light in your hearth never dim.

May those close to you never fail to show their appreciation and affection.

May your aim always be true, judicious and merciful.

May all of your dreams come true, your adventures be epic and shared.

Thank you for being my friend, my evil big (older!) sister, my Tina.

Happy Birthday!

Love ya,

Mark, aka “your stupid little brother” 😉

P.S.  Yeah, I so didn’t get you a card…


Why Seth?

I published this on Facebook a while ago…

But I want to reactivate this blog, so…

Karen and I were married in 1983. In November we discovered that she was pregnant. I was 19. Already a step father to a four year old daughter, I wasn’t sure I was ready for another child, but it was kind of a moot point. So we waited and planned.

Karen was in the Air Force at the time, so this made planning a little easier since our health care was provided by the USAF. Like all prospective parents, one of the things we discussed during our planning was names. We decided that if it was a boy we would name him Ian Alexander and if a girl, Sheena Moira – good gaelic names.

Well, as it went, Sheena was born in July of 1984 and in August, we moved to Virginia from Florida and Karen separated from the Air Force.

As we began our lives together in Virginia, we continued to try to have another child. We, meaning I, wanted a son. Karen was certainly agreeable to the idea, which was a good thing. Otherwise, it would have made the trying a bit difficult!

I don’t remember when she first told me she was pregnant again, but it was after I began working at Allstate in December of 1986. We were excited, and we had health insurance! Unfortunately the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. We were devastated.

This began a long period of pregnancies and miscarriages, a tubal pregnancy, and a couple of D&Cs. Needless to say, this was brutal for Karen. She was a trooper though. With each new pregnancy she was excited all over again, seeming to forget the past difficulties and glowing with that expectant Mom glow. This, of course, made each failed pregnancy that much more traumatic.

Another hurdle we had to cross was the gross insensitivity of members of our “church family”. Shrewish women who didn’t hesitate to pass judgment and declare that Karen was suffering God’s wrath for “sins” earlier in life. These horrible women with their deformed theology couldn’t explain how previously Karen had carried two pregnancies to term without issue.

Probably for the best, Karen would never tell me which of our “church sisters” said such things, as I was liable to deliver some of God’s wrath myself!

So on we went with our lives. A pattern emerged of pregnancy and miscarriage over the next few years. So you can imagine my reserved response when in January of 1990, Karen told me she was pregnant again. I thought to myself, “here we go again”. Karen was ecstatic!

Little did I know at the time that Karen had what she called a vision. After suffering yet another heart breaking miscarriage she was taking some quiet time lakeside during a lunch break. As she was sitting there watching the typical scenery of the town center and the lake, she saw a mother duck with her gaggle of ducklings in tow. Seemingly out of nowhere, a stray duckling appeared at the end of the line. Determined not to be left behind, he was paddling furiously. A voice came to Karen and said something to the affect of, “your straggler is still on his way, have faith”.

Call it the Holy Ghost, or her own inner voice – whatever, it gave her the faith to believe that she would one day bear the son of her heart. She didn’t tell me this until after September 4th, 1990 when Seth was born.

Her first trimester was brutal, which we considered a good sign. Normally, all of her pregnancies would appear to be going smoothly until they failed. So when she was very sick for the first trimester we were strangely encouraged. She even lost weight!

Again though, she suffered the slings and arrows of heartless women around her. This time it was co-workers at Allstate who attacked her choice to “bring another child into this world”. Again, she wouldn’t tell me who the offenders where. She is much wiser than I am.

After the initial sickness of the first trimester, she began to sail through the pregnancy. The only two things that were uncertain were the sex of the baby and just how big it was going to be. We had agreed that we didn’t want to know the sex of the baby. Or so I thought… It turns out that Karen and her Doctor where conspiring against me!

After a few false starts Seth was born two weeks late at over 10 pounds and 23 plus inches long. I finally had a son! It was one of the happiest days of my life.

So, I tell you all of this as a preface to “why Seth”? As I mentioned earlier, we were going to name our son Ian Alexander. We both liked Ian and Alexander is a family middle name, shared by me, my Father and Grandfather. I was never too crazy about it one way or the other.

I was inspired by the story in the Bible of how after losing their first two sons, one to murder the other to exile, Adam and Eve named their next son Seth. Here was the son that God had chosen to replace all of those lost sons that Karen and I never got to know. Seth seemed providential and strangely appropri ate. When I suggested it, Karen’s eyes welled up and she declared it perfect! We chose Marshall simply because it’s my Mother’s maiden name and I thought it sounded pretty cool. This was before it became a popular choice for little yuppie babies.

So now you know the story. The Bible says that a good name is better than riches.

As an aside; Seth is also an ancient Egyptian god, who was originally the god of the desert, Storms, Darkness, and Chaos. This could explain a lot about recent events… LOL. If I had only known.

Erin’s Obit

Erin Allison Pfister was a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter and a proud U.S. Marine. Erin passed away Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008.

She was born in Huntsville, Ala., Dec. 17, 1988. Throughout her life she brought joy to everyone in her life with her love of laughter and her wonderful wit. She excelled in school and participated in gifted and talented programs during elementary school in Ham Lake, Minn., and Loveland, Colo., and also in middle school in Loveland. She graduated one year early with honors from North Stafford High School in Stafford County, where she made many dear friends and loved her participation with the preschool program. She always loved young children and hoped to be a teacher, as well as have a large family.

After high school, she worked as a preschool teacher prior to joining the U.S. Marine Corps Sept. 10, 2007. At her boot camp graduation Dec. 7, 2007, Erin received honors as her company’s high shooter. After training, Lance Cpl. Pfister was assigned to Marine Air Control Squadron 2 at MCAS, Cherry Point, N.C., where she made many close friends and worked as a supply specialist.

Her plans for the future included going to college for a physics degree. Erin was a vibrant, spontaneous and smart young woman, who loved animals, Japanese anime, music and tattooing. She was a dedicated and loyal friend, who always took the time to tell family and friends alike that she loved them.

Erin is survived by her mother, Betsy Pfister of Stafford; a sister, Melinda Pfister of Fairfax; her grandparents, Robert and Claire Thrift of Masonville, Colo.; and a large extended family, as well as many friends who also loved her. “We love and miss her, and will hold her in our hearts forever.”

Erin’s family will receive friends at Mullins & Thompson Funeral Service, Stafford Chapel, on Thursday, Aug. 14, from 5 to 8 p.m.

A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 15, at Quantico Marine Corps Base Chapel. Interment will be private.

From the Free Lance-Star

She’s Gone

Erin was an old girlfriend of Seth’s. She took her own life last week. We don’t know why. All we know is that she left us all with void we will carry for some time, if not forever.

As you can see, she was a beautiful young woman, and while we didn’t see much of her lately we were fortunate enough to have her visit for a while one afternoon over Memorial Day weekend.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and many friends. We are all devastated.

Good bye, Erin.