His Birthday

On the 23rd of April we celebrated Steve's 39th birthday.

It was such a beautiful day and a beautiful celebration. So many people who loved and adored him were able to be together to celebrate the life of such a great man. 

Brandon & Hillary came up from St. George. Steve's sister came in from Salt Lake and his big brother flew in from Texas. It meant so much to have everyone there who could be. 

Part of the day's celebration included a Steve Trivia game that his sons put together. We also went to dinner at restaurant he always liked. The trivia game was ... epic. :)

The most important part of the celebration to me was sending off to "Heaven" with notes to Steven. 


It was such a perfect day to celebrate the birthday of such a loved man. 

Photos by the talented Claire Utley

While we let the balloons off a the temple, I would strongly advice against it for anyone in the future. There may be more to the story that I will share in a different post. ;)

Lastly, to anyone concerned about the disintegration of the balloons, a study done by Harvard has shown that balloons disintegrate at the same rate as a Maple leaf. 



I recently received a Facebook message from a stranger.
In the message, this individual expressed feelings of their discomfort over something I had been doing.
They expressed their feelings of discomfort over MY GRIEF.
It was interesting, to say the least, why a complete stranger felt compelled to share this with me. After all, for this person to access expression of my grief, they had to follow me either on Instagram or this blog, or better yet, log into someone else's Facebook account {as mine is private}.
It was clear the entire purpose of their message was to hurt. Which, if I am to be honest, it did, initially. It stung. Not only did they judge my grief, by they judged my relationship with my deceased loved one, whom they also don't know.
But quickly, the hurt dissipated. It dissipated because this stranger's opinions held absolutely no weight on who I am, or how I choose to express my grief.
It dissipated because I suddenly was overwhelmed with great sadness for them.
Sadness for their explicit lack of compassion.
Sadness for the relationships they have with their in-laws, that clearly would not invoke such grief if they were to leave this world for another, for when there is great love, there is also great grief.
Sadness for their inability to understand mourning for a blood sibling's loss of their heart and soul and the loss of their very own nieces'/nephews' parent.
I have never once asked anyone to understand the relationships between my family members and myself. I doubt I ever will, because until you have walked in our footsteps and faced all that we 10 have faced together, I don't think anyone could possibly understand.
Upon reading this cruel, heartless and selfish message, I thought, "I am sorry you don't understand my grief ..."
But I immediately stopped, because I am not sorry.
Because the thing is ... THE GRIEF IS MINE.  And I pray that the sender of that message never knows the grief that greeted me and my family on that rainy September morn. And I pray that if they do, that their sacred sorrow is never judged as they judged mine.
And let me make this clear, I do find grief of this magnitude sacred.
From my very first post, I mentioned I was hesitant to write about my grief. And I will repeat what I said then ... I have shared what I have via all platforms of social media regarding my story, my grief, my loss because the man this world lost lived a life too glorious not to share. And, I want anyone else who knows a similar loss to know, that they are not alone.
So, I will share my story as I please. When I write the story of my life, I will hold the pen. I certainly will not let the intending cutting words of another determine what I share, what I write, and most definitely I will NOT let them choose how I grieve. Because ... that grief is mine.


As a Mormon woman ...

Sometimes, I get tired of controversy. 

Because too often times it comes with drama. 

And I hate loathe drama. 

So, I stay out of it.

And stay out of it I have ... for months, if not years ... at least a specific drama that is been floating its dark mist in my community, culture and faith.

And I am tired of it. 

So, brace yourself. You are in for quite a ride today. ;)

My name is Mindy. And I am a Mormon.

Working as a Building Counselor for the EFY, a program ran by the Church Educational System. 
That is, I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I am proud of it. Not to just be a member, but to be a woman in this remarkable faith that teaches, preaches and rejoices in Christ.

As a Mormon woman, I have had the privilege and sacred responsibility to be called and serve and lead over 150 women in my Church congregation three different times.

As a Mormon woman, I have had the privilege and sacred responsibility to be called to serve and lead over 1,500 women of eight different congregations.

As  a Mormon woman, I have taught and preached in worship services of hundreds and even thousands of men and women of our faith.

As a Mormon woman, I have taught and preached in Sunday School classes both to men and women, to young adults and to old, the gospel principles and doctrines from scripture. 

As a Mormon woman, I was hired to teach hundreds of the Church's youth. To stand in front of them day in and day out for almost two years, as my full-time profession, to teach gospel principles and doctrines from scripture.

As a Mormon woman, I was also hired to lead, direct and orchestrate the Church's biggest youth program that could rival any youth program in the world. I stood in front of tens of thousands of youth to guide them and provide an example to them. 

As a Mormon  woman, I have stood face-to-face with my male leaders and told them every opinion I have had on matters that conflicted with them and the ones that did not.

As a Mormon woman, my voice has been heard each and every time I have spoken to my male leaders. It has led to different paths being taken than if I had not spoken and to what has been seen as better outcomes. 

As a Mormon woman, I have had those male leaders take the initiative to seek me out to ask for my opinion, for my advice, on how to lead and direct in their called positions. 

That is to say, as a Mormon woman, I teach, lead and pray in worship services. That is to say, I am entirely unaware of any organization in the world has as much leadership provided by woman as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does. And this is how we, woman of the Church, have been keeping it real since 1830 {a time when women couldn't own property, vote, where any money they earned belonged to their husbands}.

So, if anyone ever questions where women stand in this Church ... now you know.

That's all.

Actually, that's not all. If you would like to know more about what we believe as Mormons, please go here or here.


This post was written probably well over a year ago and has sat as a draft for, like, ever. I decided I should post it. So, that's all.


Is it ...

Because if it isn't, you probably shouldn't be saying it.

And if someone says it to you, you should definitely not repeat it. Dare I say, even tell them that it was unkind, unnecessary or untrue? Because you should.

You never know the damage you can do, the lives and relationships you can destroy by saying things that are unkind, unnecessary and untrue. 

And generally, what you say about others says far more about YOU than it does about them.  Trying to taint the good name of others, whether you happen to like them or not, never will bring the satisfaction or adequacy you are seeking in your own life.  

Just a thought. 


An Open Letter to Stew Morrill

Dear Stew,

My name is Mindy Thornley. I am a proud Aggie alumni, former athlete and avid fan who has sat in section W, row 10, seat two for approximately the past 15+ years. {I may or may not have been the person who asked you the question about David's Collette's mustache at your last Big Blue Luncheon.} While you don't know me, I jokingly tell people we went sledding together, as we once were sledding at the same location at the same time at park on Cliffside probably over a decade ago.

But I digress.

Upon hearing your announcement of your retirement, I wanted to write you a letter to express my gratitude for the 17 years you have given Aggie Nation. To understand that gratitude, there are a couple things I need to share with you and one of those things ... I want to tell you about my older brother.

My older brother was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy when he was 18-months-old, a disease that deteriorates his muscles and has confined him to a wheelchair for essentially his entire life. While this disease did not dictate our family's entire life, it did put some limitations on what we as an entire family could do. There were places we didn't all have access to, vacations that couldn't be taken and sports that couldn't be played. But watching those sports all together was something different, it was something we could do.

Hours upon hours we all sat in the Spectrum, each taking turns on who would sit next to him in the wheelchair section. But not only did we get those hours together, we got all those hours traveling together to watch our Aggies play basketball. We would spend days in Disneyland together and nights in the Anaheim Convention Center watching our Aggies tear it up in the Big West. Memories from heading to the Big Dance because of overcoming a 16 point deficit to UC Irvine to Jason Williams missing a last-second shot against UC Northridge and being eliminated only in the semis are all memories we have because of your coaching and your team.

We followed you to Reno and to Vegas {don't ask us about Las Cruces}. We were there when we beat Nevada on their home court and the time that Darrell Peterson had to play point guard for the first time so that Chris Huber could be home with his newborn baby twins.

But it doesn't end there ... My other brother, married into our family just months before you began coaching at Utah State, 17 years ago. There were a million reasons my new brother became one of my best friends, but one of them was definitely his love for Aggie basketball.:) There was nothing I loved more than sitting next to him at games, talking to him all-things Aggie, sending texts and emails throughout the day when anything and everything Aggie basketball occurred.

And just as my brother-in-law came into our lives right around the same time you came to our Aggies, he left just months before you left our Aggies. He left for Heaven, after a valiant battle to pancreatitis. Those 17 years with him are the most cherished years of my life because of what he brought to them. And some of my most fond memories with him have been sitting in those autumn-colored seats in the Spectrum in Section W, row 10, seats two and three.

When memories are all you have left of someone, those memories are treasured beyond measure. You may have thought you were just coaching young men how to play a game. But for the Thornley/Murphy family, you were giving us something so much more. You gave us time with each other and memories that we will hold close to our hearts forever that bring us joy, light and laughter to our darkest days.

So, Coach Morrill, from the bottom of my broken heart, thank you!


Mindy M. Thornley

P.S. I couldn't help but notice that David didn't have that mustache the announcement of Coach Duryea's promotion. ;)



Two weeks from today we will celebrate our Shtev's 39th birthday. 

I've given a lot of thought of what gift I could possibly give him and I knew that nothing would be more fitting than following in his footsteps by serving others. 

Between now and his birthday, I will find 39 acts of service I can perform in his name. 

But that isn't all ... I wanted to invite ANY and ALL to join me in celebrating his special day by performing one act of service for someone between now and his birthday, April 23rd.

I would love NOTHING more than to fill this world with more love and service as if our Steve was still here. So, please, friends! Serve away!

And then spread the word! Feel free to use one of the graphics below to spread the word and use the hashtag #Serving4Shtev .

Additionally, I will repost any photos, statuses, tweets, etc. with that hashtag!

Please, please celebrate his birthday with us by serving others and keep me posted! My gratitude will know no bounds!


For those of you who aren't aware of Steve's story, please go here


Six Months

"For the rest of my life I will search for moments full of you" - Anonymous

This week we hit the six month mark.

We have somehow lived half a year without him.

There is so much sadness and disbelief in that sentence. 

I hate typing it, as if merely typing it is what makes it true. It's like my entire body, heart, mind and soul want to debate it as a truism, so why would I be typing such an ugly, horrific lie?

If I am to be honest, it still doesn't feel real. 

My mind races to find a logical to solution of his absence. 

My mind fills itself of visions of him every where. It fills itself with ideas of him walking into the house, driving down the street and all the other familiar places I always would see him. It aches and seeks to place him somewhere on this earth and returning to us. 

It hasn't gotten any easier. But I didn't suspect it would. I've been told by many who have sojourned down similar dark roads that it doesn't get easier, it just becomes the new normal.

There is still that moment in every single day where my mind stops dead in its tracks and thinks, "Oh, my word. He is gone." If I am being honest, it's many moments in every day.  And each one of those moments ache as if a single day hasn't passed since that heartbreaking September morning.

And our only option is to keep on keeping on and look forward to that day, with anticipation of joy, that we will be reunited with our beloved Shtev.


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