This mom.

This mama is my older sister. 

She is the mother of two boys, the wife of Shtev and just as cute as any human can come!

She is also as strong as any human can come.

She was right by Steve's side during the darkest day of our lives. My parents, my little sister, my nephews and I all found out about Steve's passing in the parking lot of the hospital.

Two nurses (I don't know how they knew who we were) found us in the parking lot and escorted us to the correct floor and location so we could be with Tiffany and Steve.

I think I saw Tiffany first. I ran to her and wrapped my arms around her as we cried and cried. "I'm so sorry" is all I could keep saying. And somehow, in the midst of losing her sweetheart she was comforting me, "It's okay. It's okay" she kept assuring me.

Moments later she was able to see her sons. I had wondered how this wonderful woman would approach her children in the most heart breaking moments of all of their lives. What would she say? What could she say?

I watched in awe, as her world had just been shattered, that she was still able to lead her sons to light and hope in those dark, tragic, gut wrenching, horrific moments. She wrapped them in her arms and said, "WE.WILL.SEE.HIM.AGAIN."

Over and over again, she told their sons that this was not the end.

And I had never been more impressed with her strength of character and her unwavering faith than I was in that moment (although it would not end there).

This mom? She has my deepest, utmost gratitude, awe and love. I am so blessed to call this mom my sister.


A harsh autumn ...

Autumn was always a favorite of mine.

It seemed to have a mischievous charm to it that alluded winter, spring and summer. 

Logan Cemetery, the ground my heart knows as most hallowed.

But that all changed 18 days ago. It feels that autumn, with all its magic and charisma betrayed me, as if it was autumn that took away our Steven. 

Yet, I still gaze in awe at this harsh autumn as the leaves are separated from the life they once knew and clung to so desperately, only to rustle in the wind, twirl in the air, falling to their eventual resting place on the ground and ... still recognize its beauty.

It is as if autumn is reflecting my soul to the entire world to see. The beauty of life being lost right through our fingertips, the brisk chill that fills my broken heart and soul, leaving so much barren and empty ... with darker, colder days looming known as winter.

And even with all that loss of life, still a beauty because of that life. And the knowledge that the life will return in springtime. If only our wait for seeing our Steven was as minuscule. So, with heavy hearts, we will wait because we will see that life again in the springtime of our lives.


Two Weeks

Two weeks ago today, we lost our Steven. My Shtev.

There are no words to describe what the past 14 days have been like. The only explanation that I can seem to muster up is, this is the most profound loss I have ever known.

I have contemplated for quite some time what I would write about Shtev, if anything at all. There is part of me that has wanted to keep every detail of the entire experience locked up in only my memory, as if sharing it was releasing it and losing it. But Steve and his life were too good to not share. The beauty he brought into this world was too glorious and even divine to be kept in the silent chambers of my own soul. And with that in mind ... I will share part of Steve's story with you.

Even if you knew our Steve, you probably didn't know he had suffered from pancreatitis for the past 11 years. You wouldn't know because he wouldn't complain and he was too busy serving everyone he knew and didn't know for anyone to hint towards the pain and suffering he experienced. 

On Monday, September 29, 2014, Steve and my sister, Tiffany, went to the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah (approximately 1.5 hours away from their home) for Steve to have part of his pancreas removed. There was high anticipation, due to a previous successful procedure only 10 days prior, that the surgery would be successful in finally alleviating the pain he has experienced for the past 11 years.

Although the surgery went 2.5 hours over the schedule three hours expected, it went remarkably well. They removed two thirds of his pancreas, his spleen (which was in poorer condition than expected) and had to do some work on his colon (all damaged from the pancreatitis). Not too long after returning from post-op, Steve was talking, laughing and thanking the medical staff attending to his needs. 

I went to bed that night, receiving a text from a friend a little after 10:00 PM asking how Steve was. I responded, "Well, the surgery went well."

Three hours later after 1:00 AM, I was awakened to my phone ringing. Terror immediately went through my entire body and continued as I saw the call was being made to me by my 12-year-old nephew, Steve's baby boy. He sounded strangely calm when he said, "Min, my dad stopped breathing. We are going down to the hospital now to see him." 

I immediately texted my sister for clarification. Maybe they had just put him on oxygen, after all, Steve is the most resilient man I have ever known. There always seemed to be a complication when surgeries or other medical procedures were done, but he always pulled through. My sister responded that it was not just oxygen and it was then I realized my Shtev had gone into full cardiac arrest.

I raced to my parents' house 10 minutes away from mine. With my parents, little sister, and Steve and Tiffany's boys, we all knelt as a family, pleading for Steven's life to be spared. After one of the most heartfelt prayers I have ever been part of, we separated into two vehicles to make the drive to Murray, Utah. My mini-me, Nephew Two, was in my car with me, with the rest of the family in the other vehicle. 

Every thought imaginable crossed my mind in those 90 minutes it took to get to the hospital from brain damage to death. But those quickly left because I knew how resilient our Steve was and I knew this was not the day my sister would become a widow.  I honestly thought we would arrive, he'd be intubated, and maybe by the day's end he would be awake for us to talk to him

When we pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, Steve's sister called Nephew Two. I could hear him saying, "I am in the car with my aunt ... here, I will put you on speaker." He did so and she said, "Mindy, are you there?"

When I confirmed she requested to be taken off speaker ... it was then I knew our lives would never be the same. She double checked with me to make sure she was off speaker and when I assured her she was she spoke, "He's gone."

I did everything in my power to hold it together my nephew sitting beside me. But he knew something was wrong. He pleaded with me, "What is it? Please tell me."

When I finally parked, I asked him to get out of the car and I said to his aunt on the phone, "Are.you.sure?" My mind refused to believe this world had lost one of the most beautiful souls I had ever known.

I got out of the car to meet the rest of my family members getting out of the other vehicle. I sent my two nephews towards the hospital. I then broke the news to my parents and sister. I will not go into the details of that experience, nor will I ever. Telling my two nephews they had lost their father was the worst experience of my life and one I will never wish to remember

When we were finally able to make it into the building and be reunited with Tiffany, we learned that around 1:20 AM, Tiffany recognized that Steve had stopped breathing. She alerted the nurses and after approximately 45 minutes of chest compressions and several blood transfusions, they took Steve back into the operating room where they found a blood vessel had come untied from surgery earlier on in the day. By the time they were able to stop the bleeding, they were unable to restart Steve's heart. Our beloved husband, father, son and brother was pronounced dead at 2:30 AM. 

14 days later and it still doesn't feel real. 14 days later and I still expect him to come walking in the door any minute. 14 days later and when I see a car like his on the street, for a moment I still think it could be him. 14 days later and I don't know how I am supposed to live 50 years more without him. But make no mistake about it, I know we will see him again, because families ARE forever. And our 17 years with him simply was not enough.


To read more about my Shtev, you can go here, here and here.


My Shtev

The greatest man I have ever known took his final breath on September 30, 2014.
Writing his obituary was one of the most honored things I have ever been asked to do.

Steven, 38, left his sweetheart and two sons on Sept. 30, 2014, due to a prolonged and valiant battle with pancreatitis. Steve was born April 23, 1976, in Roosevelt, Utah. He was the third of five children born to John Paul Murphy and Kathleen Gomez. 

Steve grew up in Hyde Park, Utah. He graduated from Sky View High School in 1994. Following graduation, he served an LDS mission to the Tacoma, Washington Mission. Upon his return, he met and married the love of his life, Tiffany, in the Logan LDS Temple on Dec. 13, 1997. They had two beautiful boys who were the center of Steve's world.

Steve graduated from Utah State University, where he was also employed for the last 14 years in the IT System Administration Department. Steve could often be found volunteering his time to help his family, friends and neighbors. Amongst all his service, his immediate and extended family were always his first priority. He provided them with endless Christlike service, love and care. Steve never let the need of a family member be overlooked. He taught us not only how to love more but to care for one another better.

Steve is survived by his wife and two sons; his parents, John Paul (Meda) and Kathleen (Darrell) , as well as Lyle and Kathryn Thornley; his siblings, Doug (Stephanie), Dianna (Jason),  Laura (Steven), Debra, Russell serving an LDS mission in Mexico City, as well as Brandon (Hillary) Thornley, Mindy Thornley, and Melissa Thornley; and many nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. 

A viewing will be from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Allen-Hall Mortuary, 34 E. Center St., Logan, Utah. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3, at the Nibley Stake Center, 3701 S. 450 West, with a viewing that morning from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Burial will be in the Logan City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Steven Murphy Memorial Fund through America First Credit Union. Condolences and memories may be shared online at www.allenmortuaries.net.


Disneyland Mythbusters

This is a post I wrote over a month ago to go with one that is being posted on another blog. I know Shtev would want me to begin posting my normal, happy things, but I am just not ready to yet. But, hopefully more will follow sometime down the road soon. I actually pre-dated this so it did not show up in between my thoughts on Steve. 

Hello, everyone! Today I am over at A Little Too Jolley, visiting Brooklyn and debunking or confirming some myths floating around the internet regarding Disneyland!! 

This post is a continuation of what you will find by visiting her today! Jump, skip and frolic on over to her neck of the woods to find out more mythbusters about the happiest place on earth {and the first part of this blog post}.

5. Mark Twain's Riverboat: You can ask a cast member to pilot the boat

Fact. If you ask a cast member very nicely, they will let you captain the ship! If someone has already asked to do it, you may have to wait until the next go-around. You even get a certificate saying you piloted the riverboat! 

6. Indiana Jones: There is entertainment set up for the wait in line

True. If there is a long line at Indiana Jones, no fear, they have provided a couple of fun little entertainers along the way!  First, find the curved bamboo post (it will be on your left and it will say "Do not touch the pole").

You will be able to move it in a circular motion. Do so really fast and see what happens!

Next, as you keep walking, you will come to this rope that commands you not to pull it ... DO!

In addition, throughout the ride you will find writings on the walls in "Mara". You can ask a cast member for a decoder so you can decode all the messages while waiting in line!

7.  Snow White's Scary Adventure : Secret Fun Here Too

True. See that golden apple? Rub it and see what happens!

8. Hidden Mickey's Throughout the Park

True. Throughout the entire park there are inserted subtly into the design of rides, attractions and other locations throughout the park.  I personally try to find it on every ride and they can sometimes be quite tricky! When I go with friends, we actually would make it a competition to see who could find the most on the rides.

Here are some more obvious ones just throughout the park.

Spoiler alert! Here is one of my favorites, from Thunder Mountain!

9. Disneyland has lots of cats!

There is a rumor that Disneyland (specifically California Adventure) was infested by mice! Eek! And to eliminate this problem, Disneyland brought in a lot cats to get rid of them. This is true! And also can easily be turned into a game, to see who can see a cat first or to see who can see the most cats! P.S. They usually come out at night, but (spoiler alert!) look carefully while on Grizzly Rapids in California Adventure to see what you can find!

Now head on over to visit Brooklyn to find out some more and let me know if I missed anything! :)


Facebook Finds Friday

It's Friday. Already.

Not that I am complaining. It's just with recent develops in my life, every day feels like Saturday. Except for Sundays. So my weeks look like this: Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Sunday.

And it is really hard to keep my days straight. 

Buuut, whatevs. 

Which is your favorite? The gas masks, the hug one, or maybe the Arizona flood one.

Which ones are YOUR favorite?

The location of the tub, though .... this is actually at a resort 45 minutes away from my home. 


If you would like to contribute to Facebook Finds Friday, please either post it on my personal page or the Best.Day.Ever. page on Facebook. You may also email it to runaholic at gmail dot com. If you would like a link to be provided to your blog, please include it! :)

To see the Facebook Finds Friday series to its entirety, click here.


Where were you?

It appears as if each generation has a "Where were you?" event. 

For my grandparents, it was Pearl Harbor.

For my parents, it was the assassination of JFK.

For me {and for us} it is 9/11. 

That fateful morning 13 years ago, I had gotten up to go on a morning run before the seven o'clock hour. I remember we ran a run we called Second Bridge. I remember  we were told to go an easy pace, eight-minute miles. I remember my coach joking how I was a human speedometer because he could tell me what pace he wanted us to run and like clockwork, I would be able to find it. 

As I got into the car to head home after that morning run, I heard on the radio an alert, unlike any I had heard before. I learned that a single airplane had crashed into a building in New York City called the World Trade Center. 

Before the seven minute car ride home was complete, information was being given about the tragedy being a terrorist attack. By the time I had reached home and turned on the TV, the second plane had already hit. 

It was a day I will never forget ... not just for the lives lost, but for the unity it brought to America. We.were.one.that.day.  United we did stand. 

Where were you when you heard? 

Feel free to leave a comment or leave your link and I will come visit your page.


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