Monday, March 29, 2010


This past week has been a hard week. I haven't posted because I am just struggling. My birthday was this past weekend and I went through the motions but in the end, I didn't want to celebrate it. It is just too soon. There are times when I am so sad that it physically hurts and I don't want to talk about it. My sadness has nothing to do with my faith. I am completely confident of Jesus, of Mike in heaven, and God is so near us. But I am sad.

Interesting enough, last Wednesday at church, Curtis led a discussion from John 11 where Lazarus died and he raised him. But what stuck out to me, was the sadness that surrounded Lazarus's death. In fact there is one sentence in there that keeps coming to me over and over... Jesus wept. I take so much comfort in that. Even the most Holy cried and He knew that he was about to raise Lazarus. He knew Lazarus was safe and He knew the plans for Him, but He loved him so much that he was sad and cried. So as I struggle to move forward and what that looks like, I continue to look to Jesus to wrap me, hold me, and help me. But I know the tears are shed are ok too.

I have gotten about 60% of the paperwork done at this point. Maybe more. I have a meeting with Social Security Administration tomorrow, so hopefully that will be done by the time that meeting is done. I think I am at the point, where all the paperwork is in and now I am waiting for the next step which could take anywhere from 3 days to 30 days, depending on the organization. I am still not sure if I will have to probate Mike's will or not. So that might be another step. Everything is just going to take time. I continue to be impressed with USAA. They have always been a great bank, but I tell you they have been the easiest to work with by far. I continue to be horribly disappointed with First Command Financial Planning. I will be moving everything away from them as soon as possible. I have sent paperwork to the VA and am waiting on a response there and I just got the paperwork off to the AF and waiting the response there.

Prayer needs:
Just pray over me and Elizabeth... this road is full of unexpected valleys and peaks. Pray that we keep walking
Pray for direction for me

My sweet daughter and her incredible gift yesterday. She wrote me a note from Mike and it sounded just like him. She also gave me a "Life Box" and filled it full of trinkets and notes like a cup to remind me that my cup overflows with Jesus.
Counseling at church
Cards, notes, emails, everything from Everybody. I hope to start pushing out Thank yous soon.
Meals from friends that are starting up this week. I turned them down last week, thinking it was time for me to kick things in gear. But the paperwork kept me from cooking and we had grilled cheese a lot last week.

Monday, March 22, 2010

All Business today with a side of Tears

Well, I have spent most of my day dealing with the "business" side of death for lack of a better term. I went to school and got all the notes together for the 9 days that Elizabeth has missed over the past two months at school. I went to church to tie up loose ends there and get counseling set up for Elizabeth and I. I went to the funeral home to check in there and pick up the death certificates (yes, I cried when I was proofing them... ). I went to school and had lunch with Elizabeth. I made phone calls and have appointments with Social Security Administration, Edward Jones, and First Command. I have filled out paperwork for the Causality Assistance Office and VA which led to questions that I need to get answered tomorrow. I have gotten signatures, copies of documents, and voided checks. I picked up carpool, ran back to get Elizabeth from Oboe, ran to Office Max for printer cartridges (twice) and tried to help with home work.

I have spent time crying today. I have spent time laughing today. Most importantly, I have spent time being hugged by Elizabeth. God is so good and I am exhausted.

Prayer needs:
Focus on priority tasks
Wisdom and protection as I file and fill out stuff
Parental skills

For Mike and his provision for us
SBP, insurance, and pre-filled out forms
USAA - I LOVE this bank. They have been incredible!

PS. I want everyone to know how grateful I am for everything. I have a ton of thank you notes to write, but I have to get the paperwork done first. So the notes will be late, but you have blessed Elizabeth and I (and Mike) beyond words

Saturday, March 20, 2010


We are home. It is great to be home and I am excited to sleep in my bed with my pillows. Yet, being home is hard. Mike is everywhere, as he should be, and it is so hard to keep emotions in check. I am also tired and know a good night sleep will do me a world of good. I did go through all the cards tonight that have arrived and they gave me a good cry, a good laugh, good memories, and absolute love. Thank you. Elizabeth and I needed it.

Wendy has done a fabulous job while I have been gone and it is so much easier to come home because she has everything under control. In fact she reminded Elizabeth of an orthodontist appointment on Wednesday that she rescheduled for Elizabeth after Mike passed away. She has organized the mail by to do piles and the only thing I need to do is to pick one pile and just start. I think the thing I dread the most is that we had finally gotten everything done and now I need to start all over. But not today. Today I need to sleep. AND not tomorrow. Tomorrow I need to spend time worshipping. It is two weeks to Easter... the cross. I think this Easter will be different and better. To really spend this next few weeks walking the walk Christ did for our salvation and eternal life in heaven will be a great gift in light of the last few weeks. To really study, to really meditate at the foot of the cross. I'm in!

Prayer needs:
Emotionally healing
Wisdom for decisions
Energy to plug away at the paperwork
Time for myself
Parenting skills
Elizabeth's emotional healing and strength

Dear friends and family
The cross
Emails, calls, texts, letters, everything from everybody that is helping me get up each morning
One more day

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Last Night in London

I am sad that our time is done here. We have had so much fun and the weather has been perfect. We have done everything on our must do list and then some including finding geocache's all around the city. I have shopped, eaten pasties, fish and chips, chocolate and had my fill of lemonade. It has been a great diversion. But with every minute that ticks by, my heart gets sad and my mind starts to float to going home. I want to go. BUT I don't want to go home. BUT I have to go home. Tomorrow is the day that I have to turn another page. I need to jump on paperwork, getting Elizabeth back to school, getting counseling together for both of us. Please pray for us as we travel back to the States and back to a life without Mike waiting for us at the airport.

This will also be the first time Elizabeth and I will return home without a secret animal message on Elizabeth's bed. Whenever Elizabeth would go on a trip, Mike would pull out all of her stuff animals (tons!) and create a secret message like a heart or "i luv u" . It always brought a smile.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Video of Mike's Celebration of Life

Some have gotten this link and some have requested it so I am posting in on the blog...

the password: elizabeth

We are still in London and having a great time. We went to Greenwich, Tower of London, Harrod's, Hamleys, and went to Wicked. Elizabeth is loving the freedom of public transportation and has gotten very good at navigating us around London. (We let her lead us). She has also been geocaching at every site we have been to. That is loads of fun for her and Doug. Last night, we had a wonderful dinner with the attache's from Finland and Australia. A wonderful 3 + hour dinner with incredible conversation.

Today, we are off to the British Museum finally. The weather has been so nice here, we have postponed it everyday to do outside things.

We will post pictures soom.

Monday, March 15, 2010


We are still here and the weather is beautiful for London. Lot's of sun and temps in the low 50's. Yesterday, we changed plans and went to Trafalgar's' Square. We then walked down by the Horses' Guard, Downing Street, by Big Ben and Parliament. We then walked over to the London Eye. Elizabeth, Austin, Doug and Dena took the World's Tallest Ferris Wheel. My fear of heights kept me on the ground with Sherry. It was a beautiful day.

Today we are headed to Greenwich and then Hamley's (famous toy store...Doug's idea not mine!) and then to WICKED tonight here in LONDON (my idea... I have wanted to see this show forever!)

Sunday, March 14, 2010


England is great and we have had a good time so far. We met Chaplain Viccellio (Hodge) in Cambridge at the Eagle Eye Pub - a WWII pub that has airplane memoriabila in a back room. We also hooked up with Kathleen and Erin Mulhbauer. In fact, Elizabeth found a 37th Bomb Squadron Patch (one of Mikes squadrons from Ellsworth). We went to an open market and then went geocaching. Fun was had by all until Elizabeth took a wrong turn and assumed that everyone was following her. After a "mom panic", Jeff and Doug and Kathleen ran back and found her by the Mathmatical bridge sitting on a bench. She was at least smart enough to sit and wait for us to find her. Lord help me...

We finally made it home, had a great dinner and went to bed. Today we are off to church and British Muesum... Have to go Sherry is tapping her foot at me!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Angels Abound

It has been a day or two since I have last posted and I wanted to let you know what is going on.... Elizabeth and I are in London! Weeks ago, Doug and Dena Howard offered to take Elizabeth to London to visit Jeff and Sherry Price for Spring Break. Jeff has been stationed here at the Embassy for almost two years, and we knew we wouldn't be able to bring her here before his next assignment. So we prayed about it and decided she should go. We even talked about it again the day before things went downhill for Mike. We both thought she deserved the break and the opportunity to get her first stamp in her passport. Well, when Mike went to be with Jesus, I decided to buy a last minute ticket to run away and escape for a bit. Jeff and Wendy Webber offered to stay behind at the house and collect the "packets" of stuff coming in the mail from every agency under the sun. In fact Wendy is staying for an additional 2 weeks after I get home to help me wade through the paperwork. I am so blessed... how many people have a friend that is willing to move in with you for over two months to help you through what we have been through?

So here we are. We arrived today and surprised Sherry. Oh yeah, we didn't tell her I was coming. We are hoping to have fun, visit friends, laugh, cry, see the sights, and escape.

I wanted to blog a little bit about God's hand all around me right now. The day of the funeral, I got a card in the mail from Myra Cakerice Huff. Some in the B-1 community will remember "two foods" and the day the B-1 went down in Wyoming. Myra sent a card with great words of wisdom about grief and loss that I will treasure forever. The card was perfecting timed.

The night of the funeral, I stayed at Scott and Kathy's very late. I didn't want to go home and I am sure everyone knows why. But I did and Elizabeth didn't even make it to bed. She passed out on the couch. She was so tired. I am so proud of her. But I couldn't sleep, so I emailed and then eventually went to check my phone and responded to texts. I returned a text to Bruce in Washington state and he responded back telling me to go to sleep. I texted back and said that I was trying but that is was hard and that I am letting Jesus rock me for awhile. He responded back with such a sweet text that said, "He is the expert". I thought about that for a minute or two and thought "He is right" just lay down. I did and I went to sleep. It was a simple text, but what I needed. Thank you Bruce.

I woke up that morning at around 6:30 am and I didn't want to get out of bed. Not the I am "too tired" version, the "how do I face the day" version. I wrestled and went back to sleep. Then I got a call from Steve. He was thanking me for allowing him to be apart of Mike's Celebration (go figure that one..He blessed us) and we talked a little bit about Tessa going to heaven and now Mike. Steve said (or I heard) something like you just have to get out of bed. We laughed about the Marine/Nacho Libre/Fighter Pilot words he said and he hung up because he was headed back to Robin. That call got me out of bed.

I spent the day trying to pull everything together to get on a plane to Omaha with Elizabeth. We flew to Omaha and spent the night. I managed to pack in 4 hours, and make the plane. Then Elizabeth and I spent the night at Doug and Dena's in Omaha. Yet again, I was able to go to sleep for at least a bit because of Doug's and Dena's care for us.

I then had to fly the first leg of the trip by myself and then Doug, Dena and Elizabeth would meet me 2 hours later in Chicago. I didn't want to be by myself. I didn't want time to think about everything. I didn't want to be alone. But I had no choice and got on the plane. It was a great seat - bulk head window. A guy sat down beside me and he put an interesting book in the magazine holder about Napoleon. It looked interesting. Most of the flight I kept to myself, but then I finally asked if I could glance through his book. He said sure. I was actually interesting (except the flanking attack stuff ) and I kept it a little longer than I thought. I then looked at him and noticed the short hair cut and I asked, "Military?" "yes" he replied. "Air Force?" "Yes." "Offutt?" "No - Rhode Island." Then I said congratulations on school. He then said something like Air Force too? And I said yes and it went from there. I only got his first name, but Christopher was yet another Air Force angel sent to me to guard and lift me. The conversation came around and by the end of the flight he knew about Mike and he was a believer. I was so close to tears at the beginning of the flight and by the end was ok yet again. So thank you Christopher.

So, then we boarded a very long flight to London, got through customs, took the Paddington Express, ate a "pasty", got to Jeff and Sherry's, took a nap, took a shower, and woke up for another day - even though I don't know what day it is technically. We also had the joy of walking the neighborhood, afternoon tea, and hopefully a pub tonight. Thank you Lord Jesus for friends, strangers and the angels that are all around us.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I am so Blessed!

It is so late and I am so tired, but I just can't go to bed until I say thank you. Today was amazing. Is that wrong to say? Everything was perfect and I literally hear Mike saying good job. I am so overwhelmed by the out pouring of everyone. I sat there talking to the wonderful men from Dyess AFB and I felt so protected. They had a stance in front of me that if anyone messes with me, they will send a B-1 over McKinney to take care of business. How did the world did I get so blessed. Most people just have family (which I have) that protect them, but I an Air Force of men willing to step in the whole that Mike left when he went to be with Jesus on Friday. I also saw Godly men today that are going to do the same. I will never forget today. I will never forget Swede handing us that Flag. I am so honored and overwhelmed. Words are failing me. Thank you.

Prayer request:
To learn how to walk forward
For paperwork
For healing for Elizabeth
For strength on this journey of grief

Jesus hasn't left us
A new day
Friends families ... everything that has unfolded over the past days... I will blog more later about the incredible grace and mercy

Monday, March 8, 2010

Deanna has asked us to post additional information concerning the funeral service for tomorrow as well as Elizabeth's education trust fund.

To view the celebration of Mike's life, please click on the link below. You may wish to give yourself a few extra moments prior to the start just in case there are any technical difficulties: . Click and then on the right sidebar click

Finally, if you feel lead to donate to Elizabeth's trust fund you may do so directly to Edward Jones. Your check should be made payable to: Edward Jones, FBO: Elizabeth Phillips and sent to the following address:

Edward Jones
FBO: Elizabeth Phillips
P.O. Box 851
Allen TX 75013

Saturday, March 6, 2010

More Details

We are slowly pulling all the details together, but here is the information about memorial gifts. This is Mike's wishes. Flowers tend to fade, but gifts to these organizations really speak to Mike's heart and will have an incredible impact for Jesus, who Mike served fervently. Scott will establish the Trust Fund for Elizabeth on Monday. We will post details about that.

Here are the other organizations:

JAARS ( Jungle Aviation and Radio Service). This organization provides technical support and services to Wycliffe Bible translators and SIL international, for Bible Translation around the world. You can donate online at or send to JAARS, Inc PO BOX 248 Waxhaw, NC 28173. This organization was very near and dear to Mike. It was his dream to retire from the Air Force and fly missionaries, supplies, and needs for Jesus.

Feed The Children. Again, you can donate online at Most people don't know, but Mike has a passion and love for children and making sure they are fed. He loved to donate to food banks around the US and especially to the Tennessee, West Virginia area, where his family roots are.

Please know that we are working hard on finalizing all details and making calls. Thank you to everyone that is helping us put Mike's Celebration together.

I am off to bed. Thank you, thank you, thank you...

Plans to Celebrate Mike's Life

This is a quick notification for everyone.

Visitation will be at Turrentine Jackson and Morrow in McKinney Monday Night from 5:00 - 7:00 pm

Services will be at First Baptist Church of McKinney Tuesday at 2:30 pm with graveside to follow at Pecan Grove Historic Cemetery. A reception will be held at Scott and Kathy's house following the burial.

A few quick notes:

Thank you....
Services are come as you are and whatever makes you comfortable
Finally, please no flowers or plants. We are establishing a fund for Elizabeth and then also asking for memorial donations to either JARS or Feed the Children. I will post more information about that. Right now, Elizabeth and I are off to spend time together. So many have already helped us in the journey and that was a life giving memorial to Mike and Elizabeth and I. Thank you.

Finally, I think we will be able to stream the services online through our church for our dear friends and family all over the world that want to be here, but can't.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mike's Healing has come....

Mike is with Jesus. Jesus came at 11:35 this morning. I love Mike and I am so proud of his fight. Jesus will cradle him and I know Mike has gotten a well done. Please continue to pray for Elizabeth and I as we walk this new road without Mike but forever In His Hands....


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spiritual vs. Physical Reality

Mike has had some steps back in the past 24 hours. His right lung continues to be an issue with fluid now and still pneumonia. His oxygen went down so much yesterday that we put him on on Bipap machine. It is basically like a sleep apnea machine. When he takes a breath in forces oxygen in. He did well for awhile, but has had periods of low oxygen that are concerning. I don't know how to blog what I see. Dr. Bo continues to come every day and adjust Mike in the hospital. Again, he has been one of those consist people in our journey that I don't blog about and one of the many things that we do outside of conventional medicine that makes a difference. Anyway, Dr. Bo always talks about the physical world and the spiritual truth. So that is the way I will try to explain things.... physical world it appears that Mike is truly struggling. Last night was another time when Mike almost went home to Jesus. But again he turned and fought. Spiritual truth is God is SO near and in control. God still has room to work here. God CAN still work here. That is the TRUTH and a fact. That is where we are.

I went to the doctor and she relented and put me on antibiotics. 24 hours later, I finally feel better. But this bump in the road for me had lead to another learning lesson and praise. I am going to praise all friends and family that have allowed me to be at home. So much coordination and people just loving on Mike. It is amazing. Then, we also discover a company that my Dad and Giact has graciously hired for Mike. We have two wonderful women that are Certified Nursing Assistants that are sitting around the clock with Mike - day and night. They are documenting everything, helping care for Mike, and just making sure everything within our humanly power is done to help Mike. It is comforting and reassuring. Mike is being loved on in so many ways. Prayer over by so many people. Cared for by so many people. What a treasure he is and he is such an incredible fighter and a witness to so many people.

Mike - everything...
Deanna - rest and strength and that God will physically carry me and give me wisdom for Mike's care and Elizabeth's heart
Elizabeth - strength and peace that can only come from God at this point. She is struggling
Wendy - we have been basically functioning as one person. She is staying up late at night with Mike and sleeping during the day. I am sleeping at night and now can come up here during the day. It is making this journey bearable for Elizabeth and allowing her to sleep with me and night and just be held and comforted all night. But I don't want to wear Wendy out so pray for her as well please.

Friends, family and Giact for all measures taken to wrap Mike is total care and see to every need
The ability to witness to nurses and tell our story and about Mike's Faith
Wendy befriending another patient here - I will blog his name later

Monday, March 1, 2010

Schedule together.. Thank you

Just a quick update, Mike continues to be the same. No big strides forward, but more importantly no big strides back.

Thank you to everyone for your support and I know that so many of you would be here if you could to help out. My family has gotten a schedule together for the next day or so. It is my understanding that they have it covered as they have always done. I think sometimes I tend to blog about people coming in and out to help because it is amazing that dear friends will take time, money, and effort for us. But my family has been constant during this entire walk. So I don't want to give the impression that they are not here, because they are. Sometimes I purposely send them back to their lives when I have friends that are here helping. I do that to protect them and give them rest. So to my family, I want to publicly blog thank you for everything. For the money, for the house, for the cleaning, for the laundry, for the food, for the research, for taking care of Elizabeth, for taking care of bell, for the hospital visits, for the coordination, for the rescue, for the calls, for the honey do's, for everything...

So to everyone who is constantly protecting us, building us up, strengthening us, praying for us, loving us even when we don't deserve it, thank you. This journey does not have the words to describe the pain, frustration, joy, life, love, grace and mercy. I can tell you truthfully that without my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I couldn't stand. He is my strength and my shield.

Please continue to pray for Mike, Elizabeth and I. My praise today is for family and friends that have come to my rescue in my hour of need.


Mike had his PICC line removed and had a mid line put in. Wendy said he had a relatively peaceful night. Pat is up with Mike right now while Wendy is sleeping.

I am asking if anyone locally can help out by taking a day shift to sit with Mike. I am out for at least another 24 hours. I went to the doctor and they are claiming virus. I am flushing my system with all kinds of stuff, but don't feel like I can go back up there until I am not running a fever. I miss him so much and hate this. Wendy has agreed to do all the night shifts from about 5:30 - 8:00 am or so. So if we can break up the day between people it would be a blessing. Someone needs to be there to speak for Mike, because he can't. And to make sure no one does anything that might make the situation worse.

Please shoot me an email or call if you can help out today and tomorrow... maybe even Wednesday....