It’s amazing how much you think about life and memories when uncertainty hangs in the balance. Stephanie has always said to me in regards to things she does that annoy me: “Someday when I’m gone, you’re going to miss that about me.” Well, she doesn’t have to be gone for that to happen.

Before I get to things that annoyed me, I find myself eating this salad. (Looks good, don’t it?) Those who know her know that salad ranks somewhere just above black tar in terms of things she wants to eat. Me? I love a good salad. She always laughed at how I would eat a salad as a nighttime snack. I wish she could laugh at me now. As a side note, I have Caesar dressing, which would basically kill her because she’s horribly allergic to fish.

They’re also blasting some swanky big band jazz here in the cafe. I recently heard “In the Mood”. That was our first dance together. Boy, does that take me back. My advice to anyone is NOT to have that as your first dance. If you don’t know, it’s a terribly long and repetitive song. We had to laugh because we eventually just walked off the dance floor mid-song. Oops.

Things that (slightly) annoyed me that I miss right now include her mockery of me when trying to say certain words. Apparently, I say “rune” when I mean “ruin.” It seems I sound like I’m from a – shall we say – less cultured part of the country when I say it the way I do. For those keeping track, I have since amended my ways. Really, so little annoyed me, but then again, how could anything annoy me right now. I just miss all of her.

41 thoughts on “Salad”

  1. Brad,
    I was so shocked to hear of all of this. I hope, by now, that you have gotten the MRI results. I know too well how difficult it is to wait for these results.
    Remember that Stephanie is in God’s hands. We all are! I will ask my friends to remember Stephanie in their prayers. God bless you!
    Karen (Stephanie’s cousin)

  2. Your wife is being prayed for by many! May the medical professionals have the wisdom to provide the proper care.

  3. Brad;
    I’ve read all of what you’ve posted; Amy just told me this morning about Steph. I can only tell you that I know what you are going through, considering Aunt Margaret’s ruptured aneurysm a year and a half ago. I remember Amy driving me to the hospital, both of us lifting Aunt Margaret to the Lord; before we got to the hospital, the Lord spoke to me and assured me that she was in His hands; I had no Word of what was to happen, but I had the Word of Faith to know that whatever happened, God was holding us both in His hands; where else would we want to be? There were many moments of fear, uncertainty, crying for me also; please know that whatever the results are, the Lord is holding you and ALL your family in His hands; I will be praying for all of you and contacting all that I know to also pray for Steph, you, Brady and Halle. Please contact me if you need to talk; I’ve been there and am more than willing to talk and share with you.

    Uncle John

  4. Brad, just know Stephanie along with you and the kids are held up in prayer. Hang in there man, and if you need me for anything, to come hang out for a bit, whatever it is, let me know.

  5. Your words, your humor, your testimony of God’s perfect plan are an incredible encouragement to me. I’ve been wracking my brain at how I can encourge and love you during this time and you are instead encouraging me! I am glad for this avenue (i.e. blog) to share your thoughts. May it be a source of strength to unload your thoughts and fears and a place for you to be encouraged by us who read and respond to it. Know that hundreds are praying for you intensely at this time. So many here in Chicago who have never met you. Yes, we can have confidence in God’s perfect plan and ability to see in the future what we cannot, yet we are human and our suffering and pain often take over what we know Scripture to say. I am on my knees all day (sometimes literally and sometimes not) lifting you up to our Lord. We love you dear cousin. Donna & Josh

  6. Dear Brad… I want to offer wise and comforting words but am struggling to find those in such a devastating time as you and your kids are facing. Please know that I am praying without ceasing for Stephanie and for your family. Malone folks have been made aware of your situation and I know you are being surrounded in love and prayer… and hope.

    Much love,

  7. Anna informed us of your news on Monday. Know that many many people are praying for you and your family. As you know the power of prayer is so very strong. Be assured of our continued support.

  8. Brad – Jessica here from FFI ’03. Praying and praying that God would reveal his goodness to you in ways that will give you a hope and a peace and a joy in Him that is unexplainable!! His purpose is ALWAYS to make his name know, to reveal his glory to all people, and to spread the saving knowledge of the work of His Son Jesus Christ; and yet at the same time he loves us so deeply that in all things, He works for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose. We are praying for you, for Stephanie, for your two little ones, for your families…that you will see the Lord High and Lifted Up, Seated on the Throne, Exalted!!!

  9. Brad and Stephanie and your precious babies–We do not understand God’s plan when we are in crisis. Heck, half the time I don’t understand it when times are great! What I have learned is that NOW–when the situation is dark, —now is when we need our faith, to lean on our faith and to lean on our Heavenly Father. Our faith is meaningless if we give it lip service during the good times and chuck it out the window during the bad.

    You have prayer warriors around you. We will pray for a miracle and for God’s will to be done through this “___________ time” (I can not think of a descriptor that express all you are feeling) We will pray for doctors to be wise and use their skills to heal Stephanie. Know that the Lord wants only what is good for you, loves you beyond measure and feels your pain.

    We love you all
    kim and david bergen

  10. Brad,
    You and your family have been on my mind and in my prayers since this began. I know that I have never met her, but you and Kier have been friends for such a long time that I have heard many wonderful things over the years! You have a lovely family and it is obvious that you have all loved each other deeply and wonderfully over the years. I pray that your children are able to grow up in that loving light and that you can share in that joy.

  11. I’m a friend of Sarah’s and Scott’s in South Carolina. There are many folks lifting up Stephanie here–praying for healing! We pray for the Lord’s peace and comfort for you and your family during this time.

  12. Brad,

    I have many in South Jersey and many in State College on their knees for Stephanie and you all. I am Leslie Pickenheim’s sister. Praying, praying, praying.


  13. Hi, I got the link to your blog from my friend Dena. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I’ll pray for your wife and the rest of your family.


  14. Brad,
    I do not know you personally but took the time to read Stephanies story tonight. Im very sad to hear what you are going through and my prayers are with you, Stephanie and your two children. I would also like to thank you for writing this story for others to view as it really helps put life in perspective. God bless you, Stephanie, kids and your families. I will continue to follow and watch for good news!

  15. Brad, yes thank you for writing this so that everyone can keep up with what is going on with Stephanie. I know this has to be hard on all of you. You, Stephanie, the children as well as both parents you are in my prayers. I have a prayer group and I have sent this out to them as well. Prayer is a very special thing and I am so happy to see that people are doing just that, again we will continue to pray for you and your family and the Lord will carry you through the rest. God Bless!

  16. Jo from the bell choir shared with us your blog and stephanie’s updates. God bless you and your family and you are all in my prayers.

  17. We are praying for you all at this time. I hope with all my heart for good results. You have the love and prayers of so many. Sean even prayed for Stephanie and your family at school today (PHCA). God Bless and be with you.

    The Koehler Family

  18. I don’t know you both personally but Stephanie through FB and SN and have known her since the birth of both your kids! I’m praying here for your family! God is there for you- please trust in that.

    Julie Loos

  19. Cousin Brad, Uncle Tony, Aunt Denise, and the rest of the family. I am heartbroken over your tragedy. We prayed as a family yesterday and today for Stephanie and all of you. You’ve been on our church prayer list since we first found out. You know this hits close to me.

    Brad — I have no words — God is still God, but this is a terrible thing and a terrible waste and something that is beyond understanding. It isn’t fair, it isn’t nice, and and it is nothing that you should accept willingly in your humanness. Give yourself permission for a reasonable amount of hurt and anger. Feel free to write your heart out as you have. I got so sick of people telling me “you’re an inspiration” when I just wanted to say “Do you know what I feel? Do you know what I am thinking?” You ARE holding up — it’s a good thing to do for you and your children. But it is also okay to have your real moments and all of your feelings are valid — the bad along with the good.

    I’m so very sorry for the short time. I’m so very sorry for the suddenness and the randomness. I’m so terribly broken-hearted for you as a young Dad and your 2 young children.

    Even now until I hear otherwise, I pray for a complete miracle that resembles something from the early church — like Jairus’ daughter jumping up when none expected her to. Oh, how I pray for that. Brad, please feel the love going your direction.

    Dear Lord, grant Brad and the rest of the family faith, hope, and courage. Courage to hang on in spite of all obstacles. Courage to cling to you when we don’t understand your ways and when the most painful possible things occur in life. Lord, enfold Brad and their children supernaturally — Lord, this is the darkest of valleys and it is terrifying to us as humans — you know that, you’ve been human. Give mercy and grace in overflowing abundance. Thank you for Brad’s grace and strong, deep faith. Protect it, hold fast to it and to him. Lord, what the enemy means for evil turn for good. There is no good we see now and may never, but eternity is so much longer than now and it is so hard for us to grasp it. Give Brad a mere glimpse of heaven and eternity and a sense of how the darkest, most knotted threads on the back of the tapestry can still form a picture that YOU authored on the front. Oh, God, hear the cry of our hearts and heal Stephanie miraculously and supernaturally. Please, Lord, relent and restore her to this family. We cry out to you, Lord, on our knees and our faces for we have nowhere else to turn. Please hear and answer, Lord, as our hearts break.

    Brian, Jenn, Cory, Hezekiah, and Kiah

  20. Hi Brad,

    I “met Stephanie on Storknet several years ago. There are many, many of us thinking and praying for you guys right now.

  21. Brad,

    I too just found out. All of you are in my prayers. I am an SN and FB friend of Stephanie whose daughter also has epilepsy. I truly empathize with the horrors you are are feeling. God does miracles. He heals.


  22. Brad, I am another SN friend. I pray that you and your lovely, precious children fell the love so many are sending to you and that it gives you strength to pull you through this most difficult time. I pray that God returns Stephanie to you whole and healed and able to love you as you so obviously love her. Just reading your words, it is so clear that you adore your beautiful wife. I hope and pray that her doctors hands are guided by God and that she responds well to treatments and comes home to your family soon. God Bless You and your family, and may He hold Stephanie in His hands while she recovers.

    Tami C

  23. Hello Brad and family.
    I just found out what is going on! I am praying! Stephanie is just such a sweet and adorable person. I had the pleasure of being one of your daughter’s nursery teachers @ CVC and Stephanie made several adorable hairbows for our youngest daughter! You are all in my thoughts and prayers!!!


  24. Hello Luczywo Family. Saw the news on FB and have tried to spread the prayer request to those of us who knew you when you, Brad, were your children’s ages ;) It is hard to trust God in these circumstances sometimes but know that all of your friends and family are holding you up when you are all prayed out. Somehow God gives you the strength to get through those hard places. Stephanie sounds like a wonderful woman. You are blessed.
    Much love to all,
    Karen and Bob Robbins

  25. Hi.
    My friend Julie shared your blog with me. I live in Northern Ireland and just want you to know that people are praying for you at the other side of the world.

  26. We are friends of Sarah’s parents, Bruce and Verna Westbury. We are lifting Stephanie and all of you up in prayer morning and night. Our home group prayed for you last eve. Say hi to Sarah and Scott for us. God’s blessings. Steve and Bernie Perry, Portland, Oregon

  27. Hi Brad,

    I am a friend of Mark Levigne, a former co-worker, and saw the post about your wife.

    Please know you are never alone, He is with us always, just as He promised. I know this for a fact as my husband of 21+ years became ill in December and 2 days later he was gone. I’ve sat where you sit, heard the things you hear, cried the bitter tears and begged God not to take my best friend. God has other plans and Eric went home on December 19th of last year. I know I will miss him for the rest of my life, and yes, the things that annoyed me are some of the things I miss most.

    I did not tell you this to upset you but to let you know there are those of us who understand the position and struggle you are in right now. I am lifting up Stephanie praying for a full recovery without lingering side effects, for her medicine to get regulated so she has no more episodes like this one, for her to come through this stronger than before; I am lifting up your children asking they not be afraid, not be worried, to know Mommy is being taken care of by doctors taking directions from God; I am lifting up you Brad, praying you receive comfort and hope, thanking God for His mercies thus far, asking him to give you strength to get through from one day to the next and to smother the fear I know you are feeling. I am lifting up your extended family praying they are there for you and the children, for comfort and strength as they are hurting too.

    I lift you all to Him for He is the greatest God, all the time. He is always with you. Your sister in Christ and His humble servant – Dimple Suit

  28. My high school friend Kathy Ruta sent me your blog and asked me to pray. Even though I dont know you , please know that I am praying for your wife and your family. At times like these we lean on OUR FATHERS love and peace and that does give us comfort.
    Your sister in Christ is praying in Houston Texas.
    Marianne Maerz

  29. Brad – my friend Abby Bradbury, who’s sister is Leslie Pickenheim, passed along your situation and asked that we pray. Please know that we will be upholding Stephanie as well as you and your entire family in prayer. God brought these words to mind from a song as I read your blog….

    God is too wise to be mistaken
    God is too good to be unkind
    So when you don’t understand
    When you can’t see His plan
    When you can’t trace His hand

  30. I am a co-worker of Stephanie’s father. I have put her on my church’s prayer chain. We are also praying for your strength and peace. God bless!

  31. Brad – Another Storkie Sister adding my prayers for Stephanie and your family. I just can’t imagine what you are going through right now…

  32. Brad,
    Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. No family should have to go through what you and your family are. You are a great father and husband for being so strong in moments like these. God will give you the strength when you need it most.

  33. So I heard the news today. My mom has been there to visit twice and was well received by your family. First off I would like to say that Stephanie, I’m sure, was living the life she had always dreamed of: a great husband, a loving family, wonderful friends all of which supported her. I haven’t really talked to the family outside of Bill for years. What I do recall is that one of her favorite movies was the movie Titanic. Jack in that movie(Leo Dicaprio) told Kate Winslett’s character to live life to the fullest for the both of them. I know it’s just a movie but I fell that in her heart, that’s what she would want.I don’t want to venture into much more than this but I would like to say that she has touched many lives and there are many things she taught me about life. This was one of her favorite videos…. Be strong and have strength in your faith Brad. That’s what she would want.

  34. Just read the news. I only know Stephanie as my favorite bow lady from Ebay. We have never met but in ordering bows from her found out we have baby girls close in age. I will be lifting your family up in prayer. God bless you in this difficult time.

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