Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our New Normal....

is still so strange. We are making it work of course....we don't have a choice! I just wanted to update you a little on the boys. They are doing really well. Scot is being his usual Superdad self and they are all three just marching on. We know there will be tough days, but so far we have been blessed with A LOT of great days. The boys have no problem at all telling people about their momma and how she is in Heaven. We talk about her all the time. We had Claire's birthday party last night. It was tough for me. This was the first birthday party for our family since she passed. I miss her. However, we made the best of it. It helps when Scot walks up with his sweet smile on his face, Levi in one arm and a gift bag in the other complete with a gift for the birthday girl AND a gift for the brother who was so excited that Scot thought of him! It helps to watch the kids run and play together without a care in the world. At the end of the party, we wrote notes on the balloons and sent them to Heaven so Steph could be a part of our celebration. The kids love including her...and so do we. I just miss her so so so so so much.






Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Favorite.

I watch this...a lot. I love it. I linked to it yesterday, but just wanted to make sure everyone gets to see it. Thank you KSPR 33 and Whitney Scott.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yesterday.

It was a beautiful service. Filled with beautiful people and beautiful words. The support was overwhelming. For those who couldn't attend, I wanted to provide some links for you to look at today. But first, I must share with you the most precious part of the day that not many saw.

The Missouri Highway Patrol had the roads blocked off for the funeral procession. As the horse drawn hearse would pass by, they saluted. Drew took notice of this. When we arrived at the cemetery the casket was taken from the hearse. As the pallbearers walked past Drew....he saluted his momma. OH how I wish someone would have snapped a picture. It was a memory that will forever be close to my heart. The boys are doing well. ALL of the kids were exhausted yesterday so it was an early night for all of them. Uncle T (Scot's brother) was there to pick up the boys today for some fun and they were really looking forward to it! Please continue to pray as we all find our new normal.

KSPR 33-Tribute to Coach Phillips

KSPR 33-Honoring the Life of Stephanie (**BEAUTIFUL**)

KY3-1974-2010

KY3-Funeral

KOLR 10-Celebrating the Life of Coach Phillips

News-Leader-Michael Stacy

News-Leader-Pam Clark

News-Leader-Matt Schoch

News-Leader-Pam Clark

News-Leader-Pam Clark

Thank you all from the media who have so respectfully and beautifully shared our story with the community. We are so thankful that we will have all of these tributes to someday show Drew and Levi, just what kind of impact their mommy had on this earth.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

She will never be far.

**Photo by Auntie Karen @ by george Photography**

Over the last month, I thought a lot about what tomorrow would be like. I wish I had the nerve to stand up and speak in Steph's honor. I would do it in a heartbeat. I don't fear speaking in front of the crowd...especially the crowd of "her people." But I know, it just wouldn't happen without A LOT of tears so I thought it best to leave it to the professionals. But I do have a message that I want shared with the masses. So here it goes.
From the very day we were told of Steph's diagnosis our thoughts immediately turned to Drew and Levi. We eventually made peace with the fact that God may take our precious friend from us. We, as adults, could manage. What we could NOT deal with, was the thought of God taking Drew and Levi's mommy away. That seemed impossible to accept. It is no doubt a HUGE reason so many have been drawn to this story. People are drawn to Drew's beautiful brown eyes and infectious laugh. People are sucked in by Levi's beautiful pouty lips and kissable cheeks. No one can resist their matching smiles that just melt your heart! I want to share with you how I came to terms with this myself, in hopes it will help you to understand God's way.
In January, I was really struggling. We were coming to terms with the fact that we were nearing the end of the last treatment options. I was praying to God for a miracle...if I couldn't have that, I needed some way to tell my heart how to go on. Well, I'm sure you've heard about our God and his perfect timing. My answer came, fittingly enough, in the form of an athlete in the Winter Olympics. I don't remember her name or even her event, I just remember her story. She talked about losing her mom when she was just 18 months old. She said that she didn't remember her mom, but she KNOWS her. The people who were left behind to raise her made sure of that. She spoke highly of the group of family and friends who pulled together to raise her and finished by saying that she never missed out because her mom isn't here on earth.
These boys will ALWAYS have a momma. She will ALWAYS be in their hearts. They will know their momma. They will understand it is because of HER love and loyalty that they are surrounded by people who only want the best for them. They will always have their wonderful daddy who was hand picked by God and perfectly matched with their momma for a very special purpose. They will grow up in a community where their momma was respected and loved and will never be forgotten. We will pull together, in true Lady Chief fashion, and do exactly what Steph taught so many young athletes to do. We will PULL TOGETHER as a TEAM and make sure these boys feel the love of their momma every single day. She will never be far. You can count on that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fund For the Phillips Boys

A memorial fund has been set up to benefit Drew and Levi Phillips at:
Oak Star Bank
1020 E Battlefield St
Springfield, MO 65807
(417) 877-2020

Stephanie (Thurman) Susanne Phillips

On July 10, 2010 Stephanie Susanne Phillips of Springfield, Missouri was called home by our Lord and savior after fighting tenaciously for almost three years against stage four colon cancer. Stephanie was born March 8, 1974 in Rolla, Missouri, to Ed Thurman and Edna Happ.
She was employed with Springfield Public Schools as a Physical Education teacher at Kickapoo High School. She took great pride in her position as the head coach of the Kickapoo Lady Chiefs basketball program. Her most important role was the role of wife to her wonderful husband Scot and mother to her two precious boys Drew(six) and Levi(three).
Stephanie passed away in the home of her very dear friends Kenneth and Cheryl Giddens. During her last few weeks of life she was surrounded by family and friends 24 hours a day. They cared for her, covered her in prayers and showered her with love.
Stephanie was preceded in death by her grandfathers, Jake Seiler and Alva Thurman and her step-father, Larry Happ.
Stephanie is survived by her husband, Scot Phillips; sons, Drew and Levi Phillips; mother, Edna Happ; father, Ed Thurman and his wife Pam; brother, Jon Thurman, his wife Abby and their son Chandler; brother, Ryan; step-sisters, Neisha Rogers and Monica Tosspon; grandmothers, Frieda Thurman and Marie Seiler, as well as loving extended family; a wonderful group of in-laws and so many amazing friends. Funeral services are open to the public and will be held Thursday July 15, 2010, at 10 a.m., in Second Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri and a grave side service will immediately follow in Rivermonte Memorial Gardens, under the direction of Klingner-Cope Family Funeral Home at Rivermonte. Online condolences may be made at www.klingner funeralhome.com.
Memorial donations may be made to:
American Cancer Society,3322 S. Campell, Ste P, Springfield, MO 65807
St. Jude Childrens Reserch Hospital, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105
Ronald McDonald House of the Ozarks, 949 E. Primrose, Springfield, MO 65807.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Steph Won.

I know the most common way to describe a situation where a person has cancer and dies is to say, "They lost their battle with cancer." True. Cancer claimed the life of our dear friend. Cancer took her away from her husband and two beautiful boys. But cancer did not win. In my humble opinion, cancer HAS to be of the devil. The devil wants us to be afraid of cancer. He wants us to crumble and give in. He wanted Steph to curl up in a ball and curse God for doing this to her. The devil wants us to sit and cry. He wants us to turn away from God. He wants us to be angry at God for allowing our friend to suffer like this. He wanted Steph to lose.

Newsflash Mr. Beelzebub. YOU lost. STEPH won.

She won because she NEVER cursed our Lord, but only praised Him for the blessings he bestowed upon her BEFORE she was diagnosed that made it so much easier to fight this disease. She won because THOUSANDS of people have followed this blog and taken the time to e-mail us with testimonies about how their faith has been strengthened through Steph's story. She won because she went out like a champion. Her last weeks were spent listening to Christian music 24/7 and her friends reading scripture to her and praying over her. Her last breaths were taken as a room full of GOD FEARING relatives and friends showered her in love and prayers. She won because she is now in Heaven cancer free, most likely showing the angels a thing or two about how to play defense.


No, Steph did not win in the way WE had hoped she would. But she won by keeping her faith. She NEVER gave up on God and he NEVER gave up on her. Until she took her very last breath, His fingerprints were all over her story. They still are.

Her story will live on in her two beautiful boys. I never told her I was going to do this, but I have a feeling it's what she would have wanted. On Thursday, we will close a chapter of this blog as we celebrate Steph's life here on earth. The blog will soon take on a new meaning. The blog will be a place where you can all come to keep up with the boys. A place for YOU to come and heal. I want to do that for the boys, for Scot and most importantly for Steph. She always loved that I blogged for my children and wanted to do the same...she was just busy fighting for hers. It is my honor to do this for Drew and Levi.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Funeral Information

We invite each and every one of you to join us as we celebrate the life of our sweet Stephanie.
Thursday July 15, 2010
10:00 am
Second Baptist
3111 E. Battlefield
Springfield, MO
Graveside services will immediately follow at
Rivermonte Memorial Gardens
4500 S. Lone Pine
Springfield, MO

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I'm gonna miss that smile
I'm gonna miss you my friend
Even though it hurts the way it ended up
I'd do it all again.

So play it sweet in Heaven
Cause that's right where you wanna be
I'm not cryin' cause I feel so sorry for you
I'm cryin' for me.
-Toby Keith



Stephanie Susanne Thurman-Phillips

March 8, 1974-July 10, 2010

We Love you Steph...to Pluto and back.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I Love America 2010

On Sunday Brian and I took the Phillips boys to the I Love America celebration that our church puts on each year. The kids loved the fireworks. Levi fell asleep right in the middle of the big show! I was blessed to spend 4th of July with these precious children. Here are a few pics from our evening together.







Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Guest Post from Steph's Forever Friend - Cheryl

I have been telling Chrissy for weeks now that I need to guest post on her blog for Steph. I have a story to share. A story that has God's name all over it. A story that some already know. It is the reason why........

Eighteen years ago in May, my husband Kenneth suffered a heart attack at the age of 40. This was the beginning of many health problems for him. At this time, our daughter Chrissy was in 6th grade and our son Jarad was in 3rd. This was the very same time that I met Stephanie Phillips. She was just graduating from Catholic High School. Chrissy's basketball coach and our good friend, Tom had brought in a few girls to work with his little team of 6th graders trying to improve their skills for the big move to Cherokee Junior High. He formed a friendship with her and kept her involved with the girls and in helping her make extra money. More and more Steph would seek me out to talk.

As we all know, Steph signed with the SMS Lady Bears. She moved into the dorms but would still call me. One day, before the season started, she called and sounded so different. Almost lost. I said, "are you okay"? Those three words changed our lives forever. She started crying. I was SHOCKED. Hard core Stephanie Phillips, I was positive, would NEVER cry! She asked to come over. This also was the beginning of our hour upon hour of marathon talks.

Our friendship began. We talked (and still do) daily. She became part of our family. She loved the busyness of our home. You might ask yourself why a girl would spend so much time with someone else's family when she already has a family, a great family. She loves her family. Well, simply put it's a God thing.

During the first year of our friendship, Steph and I were at my house doing what we always did.....talking and eating. I remember the moment. I became very serious and somewhat emotional. I told Steph that our friendship scared me. I told her that I felt like God put her in my life for a reason and that it was health related. I was so sad. She agreed with me; she felt it too. We talked more (because that's what we do) and I told her I felt like I was going to lose Kenneth and that she was supposed to be there for me. I was confused on how this 19 year old girl was going to help me. Hey, I was 34. I was the elder. So Kenneth continued to have health problems and Steph continued to be by my side through each one. We never talked about losing Kenneth again. She would just tell me things like "I will push you in your wheelchair", "I will wipe the drool from your face", "I will NEVER be able to do your hair". We laughed. She told me she would be my forever friend. She insisted that we label ourselves as such.

Fast forward to January 2010. Sitting together in the bathroom of our hotel room. Scot, Drew & Levi fast asleep in the beds. Steph knew that she was going to die. We cried. She wondered what her funeral was going to be like. She wondered if Levi would remember her. She was especially sad that she was going to be responsible for breaking her mom and dad's hearts....forever. She cried to me and apologized for what she had done to my life. How she has consumed so much of my time, how her children have consumed so much of my time. I stopped crying. I felt so peaceful. I looked at her and said, "Oh Steph, do you remember many many years ago, in my house, our conversation about our friendship and it being health related. It was never Kenneth, it was YOU."

I have such a peace about my life. I have tons of joy everyday. I want to share with everyone I know and with most I don't know that while we are waiting for our Father to take Steph home this house is full of love and joy. Love from my family and her family. She is surrounded daily by these people and special friends. We love on her. We read Scripture to her. We share special messages from cards that are sent to her. We play her favorite music. All the little ones kiss her and tell her they love her, she smiles, it's precious. The joy, oh the joy! There is nothing better than to watch Drew and Levi play with THEIR forever friends and be so content.

I now understand why even though this is one of the hardest things I have ever done, it is the easiest. I don't do this alone. Never have. Never will. Steph has an amazing husband in Scot, my husband Kenneth is equally amazing. We are making a great team in keeping Steph comfortable. I'm surrounded by Chrissy and Jarad, who hug and kiss me more than the little ones. One started the blog and the other the foundation. My son-in-law, Brian who drops by to check on ME, who wraps those big arms around me and tells me he loves me. My daughter-in-law, Ashley, who calls me her mother-in-love and who drops everything to take Drew & Levi to Bass Pro to pick something special for their Daddy for Father's Day. While Scot, Kenneth and I tend to Steph's needs, we never have to worry about the boys and if they are being cared for and loved on. Most importantly, I know I am not alone because my Father in Heaven is holding me every second of every day. I have always known the Lord. He has always been a huge part of my life. It's time like these that he NEVER leaves my side.

I wanted to share our story. People have just always known Steph as a part of our family, but many often ask me how EXACTLY we met. Most importantly, I wanted people to understand how God has put us together and carried us through this journey. It is truly amazing to all of us and we are eternally grateful for His faithfulness.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why I blog.

Tonight I will talk about my purpose for this blog. When I first started this blog, it was to keep family and friends posted on Steph's progress. Since then, it has evolved into something SO much bigger.

It turned into a place for me to share our WHOLE story. I have been able to let you all in, and have been received with open arms. So many faithful readers have shared in our struggles, but have also taken the time to read about our everyday lives together. You have smiled through slide shows of our happy time pictures. You have celebrated anniversaries and birthdays right along with us. You have cried as we said goodbye to family members. You have read along as I, sometimes selfishly, turned this blog into a place for really cheap therapy. YOU, even though many of us have never met IRL (in real life), have become family.

It has served as a place for us to be heard and request your sweet prayers that are so precious. It is a place where I have had the privilege of sharing the story of this amazing family. Most importantly, it is a place where I am able to share the gospel. I was talking with Jackie (Scot's cousin) today about this very thing. I am not very good at evangelism. I am great about talking about my faith with other believers, but unfortunately witnessing to non-believers is not my specialty. Maybe I'm afraid of an argument in which I would most likely fail miserably. Maybe I'm afraid of making people uncomfortable. That is why I love this blog. I feel like maybe it is preparing me for the task that I am instructed to take on. Writing comes easy to me...in comparison to talking face to face. This fact was made painfully obvious to me as I read my quotes in a recent article where I was clearly very comfortable in conversation mode with Michael Stacy from the Springfield News-Leader. What I do know, is God has opened up this little space on the web for me to share my faith...our faith, with the world. What a blessing. I pray that my words are exactly what HE would want them to be.

Today, this blog has taken on a new life. For now, the blog is to keep you posted as we watch something we hoped we would NEVER have to. I feel nervous every time I hit "publish post" for fear I may give away too much. So many of you know how private our dear friend has been throughout her life, but at this point it is important for us to share her message. You MUST listen to your body. You MUST be your own advocate. You MUST make people listen if you feel something isn't right. Reading my previous posts, I worry that it may seem we are giving up. I'm here to tell you, that is not the case. We will never give up. We may be fighting for different things, but we will never give up. We will not give up the fight to keep Steph's pain under control. We will not give up on keeping life as normal as possible for these sweet children. We will never stop sharing our story of how God has carried us through this.

My other purpose here today involves one of my personality traits that sometimes can be a major flaw. I'm a fixer. I want people to be happy. When the people I care about the most are sad, my world is not right. Heck, when complete strangers are sad, so am I! Well, I can't fix this. But I can try. I know that many of you have been so touched by this story because of the two precious boys involved. In order to help I want you all to understand, right now....these boys are okay. Their days are FILLED with loving Grandparents, aunts, uncles and a dad who is nothing short of AMAZING. They spend hours outside in a little paradise with their best friends in the world swimming, riding bikes and throwing back more Popsicles and homemade goodies than you could shake a stick at. We try to keep the house relatively quiet, but they know at ANY time ANY of them can sneak upstairs and love on our girl. It's sweet and you never know when the mood will strike them. And it does....often. When they get tired, they love to retreat to the basement. They throw on Nanny's t-shirts and cuddle up on the couches and usually fight over what movie they will watch on Netflix. They like to turn the lights off and have popcorn and pretend they are at the movies. There are nights like tonight when sweet friends come to take them to the REAL movie theater and they look forward to it all day. Tomorrow night Drew will have a sleepover with a very special friend who has some very AMAZING parents and we love them! Some days we get special surprises like we got today. Papa Ed flew over the house in the helicopter!! It was really exciting and definitely the highlight of the day! Here are a few pics of everyone waving at our special visitor!

It's the little things in life that bring us SO much joy! Thank you Papa Ed!!

So there you have it friends, if you really wanted to know....that's why I blog! Keep praying for relief from the pain. Steph had a rough afternoon and my mom was talking to the nurse about what we need to do next. Please pray for answers and above all...comfort. Thank you so very much!