(Family Only Please)

.: Daniel Tilford - Georgetown, KY   (Thursday, September 10, 2009 07:38am)
.: stilford@juno.com
Today marks the Third Anniversary of Stephen's passing- September 10, 2006. In many ways it seems forever ago, yet only yesterday.
Lamartine says it so well, "Sometimes when one person is missing the whole world seems depopulated." Our grief is heavy but our faith and hope remain stronger than ever.

We are happy to announce that the Steinway Concert Grand Piano is in place on the stage of the Georgetown College Chapel. Stephen's dream for this piano at the college has been accomplished. A special thanks to all of you who were so kind to contribute to this cause.

THE STEPHEN TILFORD MEMORIAL CONCERT SERIES will be presented this Fall at Georgetown College. The concerts are as follows:
September 20- Chris Oelkers, Concert Organist
September 27-Naomi Oliphant/Dan Weeks (Piano/Vocal)
October 11- Four Pianists (friends/students of Stephen's) Caleb Ritchie, Ruth Reid Tompkins, Elizabeth Wolfe and Michael Potapov.
November 8-Miami Hayashida/Daniel Mason (Piano/Violin)
November 15- Glenna Armstrong Metcalfe, Organist

A special thanks to all who contributed to make this possible. With your continued support the college will be able to present this Series for years to come.

Check the college website for additional information.

.: Daniel Tilford (Dad) - Georgetown Kentucky (Home)   (Sunday, March 15, 2009 03:45pm)
.: stilford@juno.com
It has been so long since we placed an update on this website. A lot has happened in the last year.
Natalie was married this past December to Rick Kopp (Biology Professor). They are very happy and the boys are doing well.
The big news for us is that the Memorial Concert Grand (Steinway) was delivered to the campus last Friday. We went to NY to the Steinway Factory and selected it from five others. Although the money was not totally in place we chose to go ahead and purchase the piano without waiting any longer.
The college would like to endow a concert series on this fine instrument and also have the funds to maintain it as it is worthy of being maintained.
Contributions are still being accepted for this cause. You are invited back to campus to hear this wonderful instrument. Stephen chose this model D piano in 2004. This is just a completion of his project. Needless to say, it is a bitter/sweet time for us.
Check out the Georgetown College/ Music Department website to read all about it and see some photos of the big day. Let us hear from you. AGAIN thanking all those who contributed to this cause. God Bless.

.: Daniel and Shirley Tilford - Georgetown, Kentucky   (Wednesday, September 10, 2008 07:10am)
.: stilford@juno.com
On September 10, 2006, exactly two years ago today, Stephen entered the gates of heaven where he is spending eternity. What a comfort to know that he is in the arms of the Saviour and our God! On some days it seems like only yesterday; yet in many ways it seems like forever ago. Daily, we miss his fun-loving, sometimes loud exuberant personality among us.
We want all of you to know that is well with us. Stephen's boys are doing fine, busy with the activities that interest little boys (T-Ball, swimming, horseback riding, choir etc...) Natalie, Colin and Rhys traveled a lot this summer, but have now settled down to a routine which includes home-schooling.

In a day when "change" seems to be the theme, our lives continue to be filled with change as well. Jane Ellen and her family have relocated and Bradley's family is also at a distance. Shirley and I have retired as regular church musicians and the time off gives opportunity to see them as often as we can.
We continue to have good days along with a few bad days. However, as we remember Stephen, his life and his music, we are given great comfort. Presently, we are in the process of compiling all of his recordings from tapes to CD's. What a joyful project! We realize once again what an incredible musician and performer he was. The opening measures of any of these recordings bear the signature of Stephen-his style, his musicality, and his very soul.
Our faith has found a resting place and there we reside. God's grace continues to be sufficient.
We send love and thoughts to all of you who have been so faithful in your support and prayers.

.: Daniel Tilford - Georgetown   (Thursday, September 13, 2007 08:54am)
.: stilford@juno.com
A friend of ours sent this quote from journalist John Gunther's book, Death Be Not Proud, written after the loss of his 17 year old son, John Jr. We are encouraged and challenged by his words.
"Loving Johnny more..what does it mean now? To me it means loving life more, being more aware of life, one's fellow human beings, of the earth. It means obliterating, in a curious but real way, the ideas of evil, hate, and the enemy, and transmuting them, with the alchemy of suffering, into ideas of clarity and charity. It means caring more and more about other people, at home and abroad, all over the earth. It means caring more about God.
I hope we can love Johnny more and more till we too die, and leave behind us, as he did, the love of love, the love of life."

For your thought today. Thanks for caring for us.

.: Daniel Tilford - Georgetown KY   (Friday, September 7, 2007 09:56am)
.: stilford@juno.com
Thanks to those of you who have remembered us most recently (Theresa Ludden, Kennedy Hall, June Ann and others).
We never cease to be amazed at the number of people Stephen touched during his forty years. How grateful we are for his life here on earth.
Many of you have asked about the Memorial Piano Fund. We are about half-way there with the amount to purchase the instrument.
Thanks for your contributions to this endeavor.

.: Dad - Georgetown   (Friday, September 7, 2007 09:41am)
.: stilford@juno.com

As the first anniversary of Stephen's home-going approaches, we are reminded of all the support we have had from so many of you over the last twelve months. It would have been most difficult to travel this far had we not had your love, and prayers. We are grateful to God for the numerous ways we have connected this year with our family members, and with our many friends from days gone by.
DO WE MISS STEPHEN? We most definitely do.
We have chosen to celebrate his life daily. Hardly a day goes by when his name is not mentioned. He is remember for all the happy times we shared and for the unique ways that made him Stephen. His music resounds in our hearts and minds and always will. That is a gift which cannot be taken away from us.
Many of you may wonder how everyone is doing. Natalie and the boys are busy attending to all the things which are required of a family with two little boys. Jane Ellen and Bradley are missing Stephen and that void is manifested in various ways. Through all of this we have become even closer as a family.
As I have said many times, a mother's grief is so much more and in Shirley that is evident almose daily.
Nonetheless, we refuse to be daunted by what has happened and look to Jesus for our hope and joy. He never fails to provide that for us.
The dear Saints in glory await our arrival. Until then there is work to do.......................
Blessings and Peace to all...........

.: Dad - Georgetown Home   (Sunday, April 8, 2007 08:30am)
.: stilford@juno.com
"When I survery the wondrous cross, On which the Prince of Glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride"
Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all."

"Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me!"

"Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine"

"Give me Jesus, give me Jesus, You may take all the rest; Give me Jesus."

Christ Is Risen. .Thanks be to God....He lives, He live, He lives within my heart..................


.: Bradley - Atlanta   (Friday, April 6, 2007 07:14am)
.: brad@seagil.com
I went to bed the other night and just started thinking about Stephen. Mainly in my mind - walking through that last visit with him, watching him eat Lucky Charms, helping with his linens, watching him raising his arms in the air, us clinging to each other while Dad played the piano, his peaceful passing, his beautiful face after Chuck prepared his body, the huge crowd at the funeral and the long line at the gathering afterward, etc… As we all say time and time again, “I miss him”. I think of him literally every day – many times I am reminded of him by his website being my home page on my laptop – I run the internet browser dozens of times each day – every time seeing his face….his face…his face… Today is April 6th, Stephen’s birthday – we put several birthday pictures from last year on his website for your enjoyment. I remember last year as we all sang happy birthday to him, Stephen was joining in singing “Happy Birthday to me, …” (in that deep Luciano Pavarotti voice he does so well). I am anxious for Gatlinburg this year (our family has a reunion there every May) – something about that place will make me feel closest to him. We all need to hike Laurel Springs – like Stephen’s and my family did last year (Stephen, Natalie, Colin, Rhys, me, Susan, Benjamin & Charlie). No matter where we go in Gatlinburg, I have no doubt that Stephen will be there with us. Riding the sky lift, eating taffy, going to the Black Cat Shop, eating pancakes, walking the streets – everywhere, he will be. I can’t wait to feel that closeness once again. Gatlinburg is a unique place for all of us - memories of my grandparents, aunt/uncle…and most of all, wonderful and countless memories of our son, brother, teacher and friend, Stephen.

.: Jane Ellen - Home   (Friday, March 30, 2007 09:41pm)
.: watkinsjet@bellsouth.net
Hi....I have never actually added an update...so, I wanted to give it a try...

This is an exciting time for believers as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. This Easter for me is so much more meaningful because I know that because Christ died and rose again, Stephen is with Him in heaven. I am so thankful for Stephen's decision so long ago to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. I honestly don't know what I would be feeling if I had any doubt about where he is right now.

Even though all of our family will be celebrating Christ's resurrection, we will also be remembering what would have been Stephen's 41st birthday here on earth on April 6th. How interesting for me that his birthday falls on Good Friday......

Please continue to pray for our family as we learn to live here without Stephen. It is difficult at times. However, God continues to be with us and to teach us through the loss of our dear family member and friend.

Thank you so much for reading this update and for taking the time to lift up prayers to the Father.....God is good all the time and all the time God is good.......

Jane Ellen

.: Daniel Tilford - Georgetown, KY   (Wednesday, March 14, 2007 08:51am)
.: stilford@juno.com
Attended the funeral of Chris Johnson, age 52, on March 12th. He was the son of Carolyn and Wayne Johnson who many of you knew. A quote on the program was especially meaningful to me.

O God, come to us, we pray thee, with the resources of thy power, that we may be strong within. We ask not for easy lives, but for adequacy. We ask, not to be freed from storms, but to build our houses on rock that will not fall. We pray not for a smooth sea, but for a stout ship, a good compass, and a strong heart; in the name of him who faced enmity and death without flinching, thy son Jesus Christ our Savior.
--Harry Emerson Fosdick, 20th Century American Minister

.: Dad - Georgetown, KY   (Saturday, March 10, 2007 09:43am)
.: stilford@juno.com

Today, March 10, marks the six-month anniversary of Stephen's homegoing. We are comforted with the realization that Stephen is in the arms of Jesus. No more trials, no more nights, and no more pain. Yet, our pain in a sense continues. We miss him so much. However, even with the void his death has created, we continue with our lives and pray that we will glorify the Father in all we do. As an earthly father what have I learned over the last six months?

I have learned that no grief (even a Dad's grief) can quite equal the grief of a mother. I have learned the importance of sharing our sorrow with others who are experiencing great sorrow. We pray more for others who are going through difficult times; we visit those who are sick, we attend more funerals because we have been there, we make more phone calls and make a special effort to celebrate with the living.
Many ask about Natalie and the boys. They are doing well. We celebrated Colin's fifth birthday last weekend. That was fun! Rhys is getting to look more like Stephen as he grows up. Bradley and Jane Ellen are busy with their lives just as it should be.
Perhaps the greatest lesson to learn from all of this is "Life is a gift from God". Each day may be the last one and we must use it well. Take the time to hug your friends and family more. Tell them you love them and pray for them as they make life's decisions.


.: Dad - Georgetown   (Saturday, January 13, 2007 09:13am)
.: stilford@juno.com
Hello Everyone. We all are doing well. A routine is being established in all households.
There is one news item to share. The Tilford stone and the footstones are in place at the cemetery. Those of you who care to visit the site may enter the gates at the end of South Hamilton and take a left. Then immediately take a right. Stephen's grave is right down the way on the right (Right past Wayne Johnson' s grave. Let us comfort one another with the hope we share in Christ Jesus.

.: Dad - Georgetown   (Friday, January 5, 2007 09:41am)
.: stilford@juno.com
The Tilford family wishes to thank all of you who have posted memories and condolences over the last few months. Even now they continue to bring comfort to us as we read a few each time we check the web site.
We wish for everyone a Happy New Year.
This time last year Stephen was give a "free from cancer" report from his doctors. Of course you know the rest of the story. One never knows what a day or year may bring. I encourage you all to have regular checkups with your primary care physician. Stephen continues to be with us in spirit and in our memories. The way we live our lives from now on is the best honor we can give to Stephen's memory. We also strive to live a life that brings honor to our God. Until then......................

.: Dad - Home   (Monday, December 25, 2006 06:45am)
.: stilford@juno.com

Today is Christmas! What a day! We celebrate the birth of the One who has given to us eternal life. Our grief continues but we live with the Hope which is given to us in Christ Jesus. As you gather around your families today just give thanks for each one of them and embrace them with your love. Life is short and we live each day receiving it as a gift from God. Thanks be to God!
Just wanted all to know that we are doing well. As you read my location, you know that home refers to an earthly place. Stephen is really home.

.: Dad - Home   (Monday, December 11, 2006 09:22am)
.: stilford@juno.com

"When the heavens shall ring, and the angels sing, At Thy coming to victory, Let Thy voice
call me home, saying "Yet there is room, There is room at My side for thee."
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, "There is room in my heart for Thee. "
"My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus, When Thou comest and callest for me."

.....lifted from our closing carol at Church yesterday.

.: Dad - home   (Monday, December 11, 2006 09:15am)
.: stilford@juno.com

To be honest this season of year was dreaded by me. However, Jesus has given to me a sense of Joy and the assurance that Stephen is in a better place. We continue to do what we are all about- family, music, work, church and friends.
I have learned many thing from the passing of Stephen. One thing, it has been very hard on the sibblings(Bradley and Jane Ellen). Please pray for them along with your prayers for Natalie and the boys.
The most important thing learned is the reason for the Christ-Child and why He came to earth. The meaning of salvaton was brought into complete perspective for me." My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus, When Thou comest and callest for me."
As one reads certain quotes stand out.
Here is one by Mark Twain:"The mind has a dumb sense of vast loss--that is all. It will take mind and memory months and possibly years to gather the details and thus learn and know the whole extent of the loss."

"It is the nature of grace always to fill spaces that have been empty."....Goethe

"Regret is an appalling waste of energy. You can't build on it. It is only for wallowing in."

May the Joy of the Season be yours this time of year. May you celebrate with Stephen as he spends his first Christmas in heaven with the Father.

Forgive my ramblings..................................

.: Bradley - Atlanta   (Sunday, November 12, 2006 06:07am)
.: brad@seagil.com
Many of us (Stephen's family and friends) have already made a contribution to Stephen's Memorial Concert Grand Piano Fund. Out of curiosity, I contacted the college and learned that the fund already has over $24,000 - that is incredible! Several years ago, Stephen was in contact with the company/dealer in Louisville that would supply the piano. At that time in 2004, the cost of the piano (after all college discounts, etc.) was around $78,000. The cost today may be a little bit more, so we will find out exactly and let you know. For the college piano, Stephen was always hoping for the best. This piano is the Steinway Concert Grand - Model D. By definition, according to Stephen, Dad and many other pianists, it is the finest of finest. On Steinway's website they say that this piano is overwhelmingly the choice of concert artists and educational institutions throughout the world. Visit their site at http://www.steinway.com. If you have not heard this piano before, I can assure you that one day you will - in the chapel at Georgetown College. Once the piano is acquired through Stephen's Fund, the college will have a plaque listing all of us that have donated $100 and more. Remember the phrase "keep track of your pennies, and your dollars will take care of themselves"? Well, if each of us simply gave $25 a month for the next three to six months, the Fund would have enough to secure the piano. For the record, I personally do not like asking people about donating money. But for this cause, and in honor of my brother and one of his goals, I am inclined to be a little bold. I can assure you that we will raise the money for this piano, and that the time it takes to complete this project will be short. If any of us know anyone that needs to make a donation before the end of the year for tax purposes, let's make sure they know about Stephen's Fund. The college will forever be grateful for this Fund. And every note that is played on this new piano for decades and decades to come, will be because of the love we all have for such a wonderful person - my brother, Dr. Stephen Ray Tilford.

.: Dad - Georgetown   (Saturday, November 4, 2006 11:44am)
.: stilford@juno.com

We are still here and Stephen is certainly not forgotten;nor will he ever be. I just returned from Holland where we were planning and designing an organ for the college chapel.
Stephen remained in our thoughts daily and even more often.
I just read Don Piper's true story of death and life entitled "90 Minutes In Heaven" It is an interesting and very insightful book. Perhaps it may give you a concept of what heaven is like. I hope you can read it some time.

"For we know that when this earthly tent is taken down--when we die and leave these bodies--we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will not be spirits without bodies, but we will put on new heavenly bodies.

Our dying bodies make us groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and have no bodies at all. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life." 2 Corinthians 5:1--4)

It won't be long until we see Jesus- and Stephen. Thanks be to God!

.: Dad - Home   (Wednesday, October 25, 2006 09:06am)
.: stilford@juno.com

I encouarage you to check out memories and read what cousin Rhonda has to say about Stephen. God often places people in our lives to remind us of loved ones. In Rhonda's case it was a waiter in a restaurant. I see Stephen in so much of nature and feel him in music. With memories we are able in a sense to "commune" with a lost loved one. I believe in the last few days and hours Stephen knew how much his family loved him and how proud they are of his many accomplishments. How fortunate Shirley and I have been to have a son like Stephen. Thanks Rhonda for reminding us of how God puts situations and people in our paths in order that we can once again experience a "glimpse" of Stephen.

.: Dad - Georgetown   (Tuesday, October 24, 2006 01:43pm)
.: stilford@juno.com

Tough times can bring pain and sadness--and they don't seem to promise any good news at all. But Peter told us to "greatly rejoice" in them (1 Peter 1:67). He wanted us to look ahead to the forever joy that is promised--a joy that will help us understand the temporary tough times.--Dave Branon

"Be this the purpose of my soul,
My solemn, my determined choice;
To yield to God's supreme control,
And in my every trial rejoice.--Anon

.: Dad (Grandaddy) - Home in Georgetown   (Saturday, October 21, 2006 11:13am)
.: stilford@juno.com

Tomorrow (Sunday) will be six weeks since Stephen went to be with the Lord. His presence lingers with us in our goings and comings. Yet, we refuse to make of him an idol on which we focus constantly. We all are moving through and ahead. Everyone is very busy and that is good. Colin and Rhys have been in Georgia with their maternal grandparents. Natalie left yesterday to be there with them and to also attend an International Piano Pedagogy Conference which she and Stephen had planned to attend. Jane Ellen and her family are on vacation out of state. Bradley is working hard in Atlanta. Shirley and I are keeping the home fires burning. Life is good and so are our memories.
It is amazing how powerful the Word is during times like these. The scriptures seem to take on renewed meaning in every sense of the word.
Today, I leave you with a passage from Lamentations 3: 22-26:
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."
"Presently I am reading John R. Claypool's little book "Tracks Of A Fellow Struggler-Living and Growing through Grief". I hope to share some of his thoughts with you in the days ahead.
I still miss him.

.: Bradley - Atlanta   (Saturday, October 21, 2006 07:23am)
.: brad@seagil.com
This morning I just realized that for the past 20 mintues I had been glazing at Stephen's home page - looking at his picture - thinking all sorts of stuff. I am happy to say that I have no regrets with Stephen. As brothers and man to man, we were kind of quiet about our love for each other - that is until this past July at the hospital. As I wrapped up a brother to brother visit in his room, I remember packing up my laptop and telling him that I would see him in the morning. As I slowly shut the door almost to a close, something stopped me. Without fully closing the door, I re-opened it. As the door opened Stephen looked over at me. I said "I love you buddy." Without hesitation, he said "I love you too Bradley." Then I left. Stephen knew how I felt about him long before - but it is a great feeling to rest on knowing that I told him point blank how I felt.

Take just a minute and look at some of the photos of Stephen. This is the boy and man that we all love so dearly.

.: Bradley - Sarasota Airport (SRQ)   (Sunday, October 15, 2006 06:23pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
I just spent the past three days with my boys - Benjamin & Charlie. We talked about Stephen and how sad we are that we lost him to cancer. I realize now how fortunate I am to be able to spend time with my boys at ages 13 and almost 11. There are so many memories that I have of them since they were 2 and 4. Without saying the obvious, I am just grateful and will leave it at that. Charlie, my youngest, said that he wants to live a be very old - maybe 90 something. I sure hope he does. I realize more lately how fragile life really is. I am more aware of people around me - even strangers. Things that used to be a big deal don't seem to be anymore. And things that have not been that big of a deal before - suddenly are. Like that first sip of a fresh cup of coffee in the morning. Like sharing a good bike ride with your kids. Or telling your Mom that you love her. I guess you could say that "stopping to smell the roses" makes so much sense today. So when I wake up tomorrow, it will not be just another day. It will be a brand new day. My former boss Gilbert Gregg said something to me that I will never forget. He said that when we wake up in the morning, we have in front of us a new 24 hours. We should do something special with this time...something that makes a difference. If we don't, then it is just a wasted 24 hours - time that we can never get back or use again.

.: Dad - Home   (Saturday, October 14, 2006 09:47am)
.: stilford@juno.com

Tomorrow (Sunday) will mark five weeks since Stephen left us for his heavenly home. In some ways it seems forever ago, but in other ways only yesterday. All of us are going about what is necessary and important to do here on earth. The two remaining sibblings have in my eyes become closer, which is good. Family ties have become more important and sweeter. Stephen's laughter, joy of life, and dedication to hard work keep us going forward. As we glorify God in all of this we want to honor Stephen by how we live out our time on earth. All believers will see him someday. The last thing I said to Stephen the night before he passed was, "Stephen, I'll see you in the morning". Keep us all in your prayers especially Natalie and the boys.

.: Bradley - Atlanta, GA   (Tuesday, October 10, 2006 03:33pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
Well, it has been one month today since Stephen passed away. The 10th of the month will never be the same for me again. For that matter, since Sunday morning was the day of the week he left, it too will never be the same again. I will probably wake up every Sunday morning and think of Stephen (as I have so far)...and think of where he is now - heaven. I wonder if this was somehow Stephen's way, or God's way, of making sure that I remember the Sabath and keep it holy? Or since I think about Stephen every day, if it ends up being a daily reminder of our inevitable future - "life" after death. I really don't think that I need to even wonder on this one - rather just take it as a true sign - a blessing. Thank you Stephen. Thank you God.

.: Dad - Home   (Friday, October 6, 2006 11:30am)
.: stilford@juno.com

I miss Stephen terribly!. Often we would go a whole week or two not seeing each other. Now however, I miss him everyday and sometimes every hour. This is all part of the grief process.
We weep, we laugh, we ask Why?, we remember, and we celebrate. We conclude that Life is a gift of God's grace. We must seize each day, live it, and glorify God in the process. Stephen IS our treasure!
This update is to inform you that we are still here.

.: Grandaddy - Home   (Thursday, October 5, 2006 05:46pm)
.: stilford@juno.com

We are all doing well. Natalie and the boys are busy with church, kindermusik, playing and a little travel. They are developing a normal routine which is good for them.
Colin and I did take another bike ride yesterday--no mishaps. I did fine. After our ride, Rhys joined Grandmother, Colin and me for lunch at home. It was good being with them. There are good days and bad days which we are told is quite normal.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hid from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God"?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable.
He give power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint. Isaish 40:27-31

.: Dad (Grandaddy) - Home   (Thursday, September 28, 2006 07:16am)
.: stilford@juno.com
The bike ride was great! Colin is so very careful -so careful that he cut me off once and I fell for the first time as an adult on my bike.
What fun!!! If Colin can work me into his busy social schedule we will do it again.

This morning I am reminded of what Rose Kenndy replied to a question about her much sorrow. She said: "I just feel I must refuse ever to be daunted. I must refuse to be vanquished and have faith that everything will be all right because we are all in God's hands.

"My heart awakening cries, May Jesus Christ Be Praised."

.: Dad (Grandaddy) - Home   (Thursday, September 28, 2006 07:16am)
.: stilford@juno.com
The bike ride was great! Colin is so very careful -so careful that he cut me off once and I fell for the first time as an adult on my bike.
What fun!!! If Colin can work me into his busy social schedule we will do it again.

This morning I am reminded of what Rose Kenndy replied to a question about her much sorrow. She said: "I just feel I must refuse ever to be daunted. I must refuse to be vanquished and have faith that everything will be all right because we are all in God's hands.

"My heart awakening cries, May Jesus Christ Be Praised."

.: Dad - Home   (Wednesday, September 27, 2006 09:20am)
.: stilford@juno.com
The world rushes on! Babies are born! People are dying! The morning paper is filled with good news and bad news! Through all of this we choose to go about our daily routines, which is what we ought to do. Colin and I are going to ride our bikes today in the cemetary. We will stop and remember Daddy and then move on......We will honor Stephen by going forward and making our lives better because of him. Even with all the bad news there is good news in Jesus. There will be joy in the morning.

.: Dad - Home   (Tuesday, September 26, 2006 08:19am)
.: stilford@juno.com

This morning I met Fred, the custodian in the music building. I had gone to Stephen's office to look for something I had left there yesterday while teaching a private student. Fred came up and asked " Who are you" When I told him my name he said " You are Dr. Tilford's father." Then he began to beam as he spoke of Stephen and the joy and smile Stephen always had when he came to work.
He began to relate that Stephen always had some time for him, where others may speak the first day and then have little to say there after. For the testimonies of others who share Fred's opinion of Stephen I am most grateful. It somewhat lessens our grief but at the same time increases our loss of such a good man, who brought happiness to so many.
What an honor to be called by Fred "Dr. Tilford's father."

.: Bradley - Atlanta   (Saturday, September 23, 2006 06:26am)
.: brad@seagil.com
Stephen's website will continue to be available, and now has several new areas - "Memories" and "Condolences". I want to encourage you, his friends and family, to continue to think of and remember Stephen. I know there are so many things about him that we don't know. One of the best things you could do for all of us is share your memory of him. It doesn't have to be funny or spiritual - simply a neat memory you have. I have tons of memories that I will share with you over time. I know that my Mom, Dad, Jane-Ellen and I would really enjoy hearing from you. Please take just a few minutes when you can to share "Your Stephen" with us. Thank you so much.

.: Natalie - Home   (Sunday, September 17, 2006 10:46pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
It's been one week since Stephen died. I've taken a lengthy break from the computer. Yesterday was the first day for the three of us to be here at home by ourselves. We went to the cemetery for the first time together since the funeral. We miss Stephen very much and speak of him frequently, but we're enjoying many things about each day and looking ahead.

We went to church today, and I had a few tears as I missed him playing the organ. It was good to be back, though, and it's important to renew our routine. Colin & Rhys are enjoying time on bicycles and tricycles every day. They enjoy being together, and they are both being good helpers to me.

I choose to be thankful for the time that Stephen & I had together. The boys and I are blessed to have been loved by him. We know that he is with Jesus and no longer experiencing an obscured view of our heavenly Father. Thank you for continuing to uphold us in prayer.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

.: Bradley - Atlanta   (Thursday, September 14, 2006 05:06am)
.: brad@seagil.com
I have so many things that I want to say to all of you that have followed my brother's story. It will take many updates on this website to get to them all, so I hope all of you are prepared as we begin the next chapter in the book of Stephen's story.

This update needs to be devoted to a great man that lives in Georgetown - Mr. Chuck Johnson of Johnson's Funeral Home. I can't even begin to put in words how grateful the Tilford family is for having this man at such a tough time. He exceeded any expectation that we could have ever had. It is without question that God put this man in our life - beginning on Sunday morning through Tuesday night. He carried us all through the steps of how to handle the initial loss, preparation, planning, viewing, sharing and celebrating. Without Chuck, I feel that we would still be sitting in Stephen's music room wondering what to do next.

It would not be appropriate to just brag on Chuck without mentioning his wonderful daughter Elizabeth. She certainly has all of the great qualities of her Dad, and also adds a little spice of her own. She was the limo driver for us to the funeral service and grave site. I wish you all could have seen her take little Colin under her wing. He got to sit on her lap and steer the limo to his Daddy's burial. What a great memory for him.

Chuck and Elizabeth could never do what they do without the love and support of Frankie (wife and mother). Like both of them, Frankie was at our disposal with anything and everything we needed.

Chuck, thank you for everything. You and your family have made our loss full of great memories. And for those of us that were able to view Stephen's body on Monday night at the private family viewing - he looked so good. After seeing him at his worst on Sunday morning, it was so rewarding to be able to see him shortly after as the "Stephen" that we wanted to remember. I do have to say that my Dad was not planning on looking at Stephen, but because of how good you allowed Stephen to look, I noticed that my Dad could not take his eyes off of him.

God bless you Chuck Johnson. Our entire family will forever be grateful.

.: Natalie - Home   (Sunday, September 10, 2006 11:39pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
I feel Stephen's absence quite keenly. I miss being able to talk to him (I'd especially like to ask him where he put his tuxedo studs since he'll be buried in "uniform"). Stephen didn't receive the healing that I was praying and hoping for, but he is whole in Paradise with Jesus.

I was so honored to be able to show my love for Stephen to him again and again in these last few days as I helped to care for his needs. I was glad to be able to take the bed rail down early this morning and climb into the hospital bed with him and hear him say (with difficulty), "Hi, Natalie." I told him I loved him, and he said, "I love you, too." Those were the last intelligible words Stephen spoke. What a gift to treasure.

I have had the joy today of remembering Stephen before the cancer more clearly than I have in a long time. I've remembered the really good years we had. I've also been thankful that Stephen is no longer suffering in his earthly body and that the children and I are free from the constraints of the disease as well.

Colin & Rhys are returning tonight, and I must tell them about their daddy dying tonight or tomorrow morning. I've been doing some research about how best to handle this, and we'll work through our grief together. I'll also point out some positive changes for them. I'll no longer have to keep them so quiet in the house. I may tell them they can run around and make some noise for a while (until it drives me crazy!).

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family. Grief is hard work, and we have a lot of work to do in the coming months. I especially desire wisdom from God as I help my boys grieve.

I am so proud of Stephen. He was a fine man and a blessing from God to me. I grieve his loss for our family and for the college and community.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

.: Bradley - Stephen's Music Room   (Sunday, September 10, 2006 07:06pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday morning at 11:00am at the John L. Hill Chapel located on the Georgetown College campus. Immediately following will be a "private" burial for family only. Following from 1:30 to 4:00pm, we would like to ask everyone to come join us for a celebration at the Leadership & Conference Center, 100 Stadium Drive - again on the Georgetown College Campus (East campus).

Again, for more information you can visit www.johnsonsfuneralhome.com. From the home page, click the menu option 'Obituaries', then scoll to Stephen Tilford and click 'View Obituary'.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Stephen Tilford Memorial Concert Grand Piano Fund, % Georgetown College, 400 East College St., Georgetown, KY 40324.

.: Bradley - Mom & Dad's House   (Sunday, September 10, 2006 10:43am)
.: brad@seagil.com
Funeral arrangements are being coordinated by Johnson's Funeral Home located here in Georgetown, KY. All of the details can be found on their website at http://www.johnsonsfuneralhome.com. We will also continue to update you here on Stephen's website as details are confirmed.

.: Bradley - Stephen's Bedside   (Sunday, September 10, 2006 07:39am)
.: brad@seagil.com
Stephen's battle with cancer is over. He went to be with the Lord at 6:45am. It was a very peaceful home going...and the family rejoices with the victory won. As I sit here at the foot of his bed and look up at his body, it brings me such peace to know where his spirit is now. As Mom, Dad, Jane-Ellen and I sit here beside his bed, there are a few tears and a few smiles. We rejoice as a family knowing that Stephen is with the Lord and that we will see him again one day.

.: Bradley - Dad's House   (Sunday, September 10, 2006 06:57am)
.: brad@seagil.com
Jane-Ellen just called me and said that Stephen's blood pressure is down to 70 and he is taking very short quick breaths. We are heading over to his bedside now. I wanted to give you just a quick update before we left. Please pray for our family as Stephen apparently prepares to go Home. We love you all so much, and appreciate your thoughts, prayers and support during this most difficult time.

.: Bradley - Stephen's Bedside   (Saturday, September 9, 2006 06:01pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
Well, it has been nearly two weeks since I was here at Stephen's house. His body has changed so much. He is much weaker. He has lost more weight. His color is a little yellow. His hands are pasty white. He has some fluid in his throat that frequently wakes him up coughing. Having said that, he is comfortable. He is on morphine and oxygen which helps his level of comfort. A nurse comes by daily to check on him. We pulled her aside this afternoon before she left and ask her a few questions - the main question being 'what do you think?'. She said that he is showing signs of someone who has only a few days left. I have talked to Natalie about this and she stands behind the fact that with God, all things are possible...nothing is impossible. I too share the same belief. So the bottom line is - God can still heal Stephen and rid him of this awful cancer. It is hard seeing Stephen in this state of being. I know he does not have much pain, but it is still hard. It is also hard watching Mom and Dad see their son go through something like this. Time stands still by Stephen's bed. He is such a sweet boy/man. God only knows what will happen to Stephen. It is at times like this that I thank God that there is a God.

.: Natalie - Home   (Friday, September 8, 2006 10:28pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
We had a good night in the hospital last night. Our friend, Kim Martin, stayed all night with us and sat with Stephen all night while I got a little rest on a pull-out bed. Stephen & I got our first ride in an ambulence this morning when we came home from the hospital. Stephen's rehydrated this evening and more alert. Kim is staying with us this weekend to help with Stephen's care. We've got a more complex medication regimen now with the added blood thinners and IV fluids. We're learning how to help Stephen in and out of the bed safely and gently. It's a privilege to be able to help attend to his needs.

Thank you for continuing to pray fervently for Stephen's healing. Yesterday was tough, but God is sustaining us. Your prayers and encouragement help. Keeping the faith!

"Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." John 14:11-14

.: Natalie (via Betsy Cooper) - Georgetown hospital   (Friday, September 8, 2006 10:46am)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen had a restful night's sleep after getting the pain meds aligned. He is going to go back home today (via ambulance) where he can receive treatment at home. We are asking everyone to continue to fast for this 24 hour period. Those who have signed up for time slots in the prayer vigil, please continue to pray for Stephen's complete healing. Also, please meditate on John 14:11-14.

.: Natalie (via Betsy Cooper) - Georgetown hospital   (Thursday, September 7, 2006 07:23pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen has developed blood clots in his left leg and upper thigh. They will be treating this condition with blood thinners at the hospital for at least two days. We are aware of the grim situation and that we are facing impossible odds. It will take a miracle from God, but we know that He can help us to scale walls and feed armies. Stephen has requested a 24-hr. prayer and fasting vigil which should begin immediately. You may contact Betsy Cooper to sign up for 30-60 minute time increments. Her home phone is 502-863-4870; cell is 859-913-0534. She will be keeping track of available times.

Colin and Rhys are in Georgia with my parents for a week or so. Stephen's faith is strong that God can heal him and make him whole. Please pray for him and for the whole family. We need strength for this trying time. Thanks so much to everyone who has continued to pray for us every day.

.: Natalie - Home   (Wednesday, September 6, 2006 08:53pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen struggles with low appetite, though he is trying more food today than yesterday. He didn't go to work today. He has moved into a room downstairs so that he has fewer steps in a day and mainly rests in bed.

Please continue to pray for healing and for a good appetite.

Revive me, Lord, for the honor of your name; be my deliverer; release me from distress. Psalm 143:11

.: Natalie - Home   (Tuesday, September 5, 2006 10:37pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen had very little pain today. Last night he took a new drug that caused Stephen to behave rather irrationally until the wee hours of the morning, so he didn't go to work today. He seems better tonight. The events of the night and day have left us both a little weary.

Thank you for continuing to pray.

I am the Lord, and I alone am your deliverer. Isaiah 43:11

.: Natalie - Home   (Monday, September 4, 2006 11:14pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen had a lot of pain today before he realized that his pain patch had fallen off. He ate some soup and used the screwdriver to help me change the back on the shower chair he's using. He needed help getting up a couple of times today, and I can still hear a rattle in his chest when he breathes sometimes.

Despite all of this, we continue to praise God for Stephen's healing, and we thank you for encouraging and praying for us.

"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:23-24

.: Natalie - Home   (Sunday, September 3, 2006 11:04pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen feels like he did well today. He ate some soup and drank some peppermint tea. He even came downstairs to sit for a little while (though he said it had never been more difficult for him to climb back up again). He's been listening to some good praise music and speaking aloud some scriptures a few times a day. He sleeps a lot and mostly prefers to be in solitude.

Please continue to pray for Stephen's healing, thanking God for doing what we're asking Him to do. Please also continue to pray that both of us will remain focused on God and exercise our faith every minute of every day.

If you make the Most High your dwelling--even the Lord, who is my refuge--then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:9-10

.: Natalie - Home   (Saturday, September 2, 2006 10:24pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen has rested all day after a physically challenging day yesterday due to difficulties with medicine. Some fluid accumulated in his lungs because of the medication from yesterday, so we've been working today to get rid of a crackle in his chest. He hasn't felt like having anything but water today. God is good, and Stephen and I continue to thank Him for Stephen's healing.

As I read the Psalms, I realize that David did exactly what we've been doing. He laid out his circumstances before God. Then he thanked God and gave testimony of God's faithfulness and deliverance while he remained in his difficult situation knowing that God would deliver him. This is difficult to do, and many times I must refocus my attention on God instead of what I see around me. I am thankful for the prayer support and for the encouragement.

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22

.: Natalie - Home   (Friday, September 1, 2006 11:20pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Thanks be to God! The redness at the incision site is receding from the pen marks I made around it last night. This is an answer to prayer without help of antibiotics because Stephen did not receive them until late this evening.

Stephen slept most of the day because of a new drug which he won't take again. He simply couldn't stay awake and developed sleep apnea with this drug as well. Not helpful side effects! The benefits were minimal, too.

We've both been greatly encouraged in prayer today. We thank God for the many different gifts of His children which He uses to build us up.

I've been singing "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy" over and over today. The tune that I love for this text is called "St. Helena" in the Episcopal hymnal.

"There's a wideness in God's mercy like the wideness of the sea; there's a kindness in his justice, which is more than liberty. There is welcome for the sinner, and more graces for the good; there is mercy with the Savior; there is healing in his blood."

"There is no place where earth's sorrows are more felt than up in heaven; there is no place where earth's failings have such kindly judgment given. There is plentiful redemption in the blood that has been shed; there is joy for all the members in the sorrows of the Head."

"For the love of God is broader than the measure of the mind; and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind. If our love were but more faithful, we should take him at his word; and our life would be thanksgiving for the goodness of the Lord."

To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1

.: Natalie - Home   (Thursday, August 31, 2006 11:19pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen has some kind of infection at the incision site, and we go tomorrow for the surgeon to take a look. Please continue to pray for healing and wholeness for Stephen. Today was a low day for me, but God is good and is the lifter of my head. Please pray that we'll have the grace to keep looking up to God regardless of our circumstances.

O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, "God will not deliver him." But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. Psalm 3:1-3

.: Natalie - Home   (Wednesday, August 30, 2006 11:04pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen again met all of his students for the day. As you pray for healing and wholeness, please specifically remember the difficulty Stephen has in eating and the severe reflux that follows the intake of food or medicine.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

.: Natalie - Home   (Tuesday, August 29, 2006 10:15pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
After enduring a painful night, Stephen taught all of his classes again today. He hasn't experienced pain during his teaching time, but he's very, very exhausted when he comes home. This evening he's had difficulty with pain again - the pain meds haven't been able to knock it out very well. He's excited to be back with the students again, though, and looks forward to tomorrow. Thank you for continuing to pray for Stephen's healing - that he will sleep well and be able to eat what he needs for tomorrow.

The boys and I had another good day together. Tonight we went to play at the park where Colin enjoyed the climbing wall, and Rhys enjoyed the slides.

You, O Lord, keep my lamp buring; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. Psalm 18:28-32

.: Natalie - Home   (Monday, August 28, 2006 09:10pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen went to work today and stayed through all of his classes. He said it was very difficult to do; however, it was a step of faith for him. He thought about what he would be doing if healing were manifested in his body, and he knew he would be teaching. Although he came home utterly exhausted, he was also happy and mentally more energized than I have seen him in some time. Stephen loves his work, and was excited to be back with the students.

The boys and I had a great day with a lot of laughter and playing and even some dancing!

I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness know through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself. Psalm 89:1-2

.: Bradley - Bluegrass Airport   (Sunday, August 27, 2006 06:18pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
Well, another good few days with Stephen. His mind is so excited about starting school on Monday morning that I think he is about to bust. I hope that his body can keep up with his mind. He did say that he will probably go to school, then come home when finished and crash (rest). He is tossing around the idea of drinking some "boost" to get some energy going, however is still thinking about the nutrition diet - tough decision for him. His energy level with just the diet is pretty low. I went to see Stephen both Saturday and this morning - had some great talks. He was very tired this morning, so when I went upstairs to sit with him, I asked him if there was anything that I could do for him...anything at all. He quietly said "Well, you could stop talking!" Now THAT is the Stephen that I know. Dad and I got to take Colin and Rhys to the DQ (our favorite spot) this afternoon after lunch. I am not sure who had more fun...Colin or Dad. Let us all hope that this upcoming week for Stephen is the best ever. He truly does deserve it.

.: Bradley - Georgetown, KY   (Saturday, August 26, 2006 09:30am)
.: brad@seagil.com
Finally, since Stephen's surgery, I was able to visit with him. I flew in on Friday afternoon from Atlanta and drove to Mom's house. Jane-Ellen and her family were there, so after dinner she and I drove to see Stephen. He was not awake at first so we drove around and came back to see him at 8:00pm. Jane-Ellen and I went upstairs to his room and spent about 30 minutes - just the three of us siblings. I have to say that it was a very special time for us. Stephen was very talkative. I asked him many questions which he eagerly answered them all. He is excited about starting to teach on Monday. He said that he has classes and private students on Monday and Wednesday from 9 to 4, then on Tuesday and Thursday from 12 to 3 (approximately). I hope that his body strength can keep up with his mind strength. Today, I plan on going to see him again and hanging out with him in his room for a while. Colin said he wants me to throw frisbee with him, so that will be fun. Stay tuned for more updates on my weekend visit.

.: Natalie - Home   (Friday, August 25, 2006 10:18pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen has rested in bed for much of the day. He has asked for several different types of food (mainly fruit with high water content) and has eaten some. Though it's not on the diet he's been trying to follow, he requested (and ate) a good sized bowl of chicken noodle soup that a friend had made and had been in the freezer. He said he felt good having eaten. I was thankful that he was able to get some food in. We know that healing comes from God alone. Thank you for continuing to pray for Stephen's healing. We thank God for healing him - believing Stephen has what we're asking God to give (Mark 11:24).

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27

.: Natalie - Home   (Friday, August 25, 2006 12:15pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Please pray with us for Stephen's healing today. If the Lord leads you to fast and pray, please consider doing that as well. Stephen's spirit grows stronger as his body weakens. We continue to wait upon the Lord.

They that wait upon the Lord will mount up with wings as eagles, they will run and not be weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

.: Stephen - Natalie typing - Home   (Thursday, August 24, 2006 11:07pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Had a sleepless night and had difficulty eating all I was supposed to today. Didn't make it into school, but I plan on going tomorrow. Pray for a night of rest and a strong appetite tomorrow.

Let the weak say, "I am strong." Joel 3:10

.: Natalie - Home   (Thursday, August 24, 2006 12:11am)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen had a good day. He went to work for the first time since his sabbatical began in mid-December. He finished scheduling students for next week and plans to go back tomorrow to work on providing a syllabus for his classes. Please continue praying for God's blessing of good physical health for Stephen.

The Lord is good to those who look to him, to anyone who seeks him; it is good to wait in patience for deliverance by the Lord. Lamentations 3:25-26

.: Stephen & Natalie - Home   (Tuesday, August 22, 2006 10:19pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen ate a little food and drank a little juice again today. Had another sleepless night and experienced a lot of pain during the night. He is sitting in his chair covered in the prayer quilt from Faith Baptist Church. He walked once around the house this evening and enjoyed the coolness of the night and the beauty of the stars. Please pray for complete healing and restful sleep.

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

.: Stephen - Natalie typing - Home   (Monday, August 21, 2006 10:12pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Great news! I was able to eat and go to the bathroom today! I look forward to the return of my appetite. It was good to get some nutrition. Continue to pray that I am able to eat and drink my juice and digest properly. Thank you all for your prayers.

Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your iniquities, and heals all your diseases. Psalm 103:2-3

.: Stephen - Natalie typing - Home   (Sunday, August 20, 2006 10:17pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Had a good day. Head still swimming from yesterday (Notes for Stephen). Good to see so many friends. Didn't sleep much last night, but was able to nap during the day.

Give, and gifts will be given you. Good measure, pressed and shaken down and running over, will be poured into your lap; for whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt to you in turn. Luke 6:38

.: Natalie - Home   (Saturday, August 19, 2006 10:56pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Words cannot adequately express what we are thinking and feeling after Notes for Stephen tonight. Extra tables and chairs were set up, and still the room could not contain everyone. I'm so glad that Stephen could be there for part of it. It will take a long, long time for all of this to sink in. We will ponder the outpouring of love and grace and feed on it.

The Lord is my shepherd; I lack for nothing. He revives my spirit.... My cup brims over. Psalm 23:1,3,5

.: Natalie - Home   (Saturday, August 19, 2006 12:54pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen did not sleep well last night and continues to feel fullness and cannot eat at all or drink much. Please continue to pray for healing and for the ability to eat and drink, for proper digestive function, and that his pain will leave.

We look forward to Notes for Stephen this evening. Pray with me that God will be glorified tonight, that the Holy Spirit will fill everyone there, and that God would "stretch out his hand to heal and to perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of [His] holy servant Jesus." Acts 4:30

Tonight will be a great celebration!

The Lord is righteous in all his ways, faithful in all he does; the Lord is near to all who call to him, to all who call to him in sincerity. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help and saves them. Psalm 145:17-19

.: Natalie - Home   (Friday, August 18, 2006 11:05am)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Thank you for praying especially yesterday. I felt lifted up so soon after I posted the request. I kept thinking, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord." I went for a walk and thanked God for everything I could think of. That always helps to lift my spirit.

Stephen continues to be able to go to the bathroom. He walked around the house two times yesterday, and he slept last night for 4 and 1/2 hours straight - the longest ever since the hospital! We pray today for Stephen's appetite to be renewed and for the desire and will to eat and exercise.

You have turned my laments into dancing; you have stripped off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that I may sing psalms to you without ceasing. Lord my God, I shall praise you for ever. Psalm 30:11-12

.: Natalie - Home   (Thursday, August 17, 2006 08:57am)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Dear Ones, please lift us up today. I am so very weary, and Stephen is so very weak in body. Plead our case before the Lord. I'm trusting the Holy Spirit to pray for me because I'm too tired to pray correctly. Thank you.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

.: Natalie - Home   (Wednesday, August 16, 2006 09:17pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
We've had an eventful day. Stephen is sitting here with a bag of IV fluids dripping listening to his CD. He became so dehydrated that he had to have some help. He's not excited about the IV, but we hope it will make him feel better. Please pray that he will be able to go to the bathroom (we're trying some meds tonight) and begin to eat and drink normally again tomorrow. We've had a rough few days here, but God continues to sustain us.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 1 Peter 4:1-2

.: Stephen - Natalie typing - Home   (Tuesday, August 15, 2006 09:04pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Rough day. Had difficulty eating because I feel full from being constipated. But after prayer and taking communion with Natalie, I got a little relief. God is good. Praying for a restful, pain-free night.

Consider how the lillies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! Luke 12:27-28

.: Natalie - Home   (Monday, August 14, 2006 09:12pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
I had a good day. I have had very little pain, and I was able to sleep three hours straight last night (a post-hospital record!). I think the pain meds are causing some constipation, but that's my only complaint. I made black beans and rice soup tonight, sat outside while the boys played, helped Rhys put on his shoes, and scooped plates for dinner.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

.: Natalie - Home   (Sunday, August 13, 2006 11:07pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen was greatly encouraged today in prayer with a friend and prayer warrior, Lillie Arrowood. Please pray that Stephen will be free from fullness to be able to eat and drink what his body needs, also that his body will carry on the normal digestive process. Please pray that every cell in Stephen's body will work for his complete healing. Thank you for lifting him up to our Father.

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

.: Stephen - Natalie typing - Home   (Saturday, August 12, 2006 09:40pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Today's been hard. I feel that my pain patch is wearing off a day early, and it's difficult to keep my morale up. But I have been encouraged reading scriptures. Especially:

Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind so that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2

So I work to keep my faith strong, and I ask you to pray for my strength.

Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. Hebrews 10:35

.: Natalie - Home   (Friday, August 11, 2006 09:14pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen is very tired today. He's been rather quiet and groggy, napping often in the chair. He's my hero, though, because he went with me to do two errands in Lexington - sitting in a chair at the mall and in the car at Wild Oats - just to be with me. He didn't feel like talking much, but it was nice to be together. He's sleeping in the chair now with his CD playing in the background. He's very proud of it!

We're both looking forward to Notes for Stephen on August 19. Our friends have worked tirelessly to put the event together, and we know that it will be a special evening. Family members are traveling to be here, and many of our students and colleagues will be performing. Through all of you God continues to enfold us in his arms.

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:114

.: Natalie - Home   (Thursday, August 10, 2006 08:23pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen had a better day today. He saw the surgeon, who was pleased with the healing of his incision site. He prescribed a different pain medication which should provide Stephen with better pain control. Stephen has enjoyed listening to his CD and reading the Georgetown News-Graphic article about Notes for Stephen today. We thank you for your continued prayers.

Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. Isaiah 38:17

.: Natalie - Home   (Wednesday, August 9, 2006 10:14pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Thanks to a helpful neighbor who owns a computer repair business, we're back online! Stephen has had a difficult day with a lot of pain. He's had to take his pain meds throughout the day today; he usually reserves them for the night. He's also felt very tired today and has spent the day in his chair because he's felt less back pain there than elsewhere. This day is just a bump in the road. Our spirits are still high because our focus is still on our heavenly Father, Stephen's healer. Please pray for the pain to cease and for restful sleep.

As Peter prayed: "Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." Acts 4:30

.: Dad - Georgetown   (Tuesday, August 8, 2006 04:48pm)
.: stilford@juno.com

Stephen is back! Stephen seemed to be more like himself than he has been for some time.
He described his day as a "busy one" filled with phone calls and good conversation. He called several people from his church choir, and called the college Provost about his teaching assignment for Fall. He has the most positive attitude he has had for some time. His voice was cheerful and he seemed to want to enter into two way conversation. Shirley and I left feeling very good about the days ahead. Pray that this change will continue as he looks to the future. There is still some pain, but the medicine which is prescribed brings him comfort. As we left him about twenty minutes ago we left with lifted spirits. God is good!

.: Mom and Dad - Home   (Monday, August 7, 2006 08:02am)
.: stilford@juno.com

Some of you have inquired about the absence of any updates for two days. I found out yesterday that their computer is having problems. We visited him on Saturday and call every day. Stephen is gradually becoming stronger-walking and moving more. He is anticipating on being strong enough to begin teaching in three weeks. It is a slow process.
Pray that the Lord will give him a renewed sense of determination in this struggle. Each time we visit, I see progress. Keep the words of encouragement coming. We are grateful for every response. We have certainly leaned the true meaning of "pray without ceasing".

.: Natalie - Home   (Friday, August 4, 2006 09:41pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen walked two times around the outside of our house. However, he has experienced a great deal of pain. Please pray for the pain to cease, and ask God to fill him with joy and a light heart.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 15:13

.: Natalie - Home   (Thursday, August 3, 2006 05:39pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
We had a visit from Michelle Anderson today (the lady working with us from Florence), and she gave us a much needed prod from behind. Her visit helped us to refocus our attention to our task. We have much prayer work to do. Thank you for your continued intercession on our behalf. Today has been MUCH better for me and somewhat better for Stephen.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore. Psalm 125:1-2

.: Natalie - Home   (Wednesday, August 2, 2006 08:48pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Today has been hard for both of us. Stephen didn't sleep well last night, and I'm weary, too. Please keep lifting us to God.

Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. Psalm 94:17-19

.: Natalie - Home   (Tuesday, August 1, 2006 08:18pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen is little by little increasing the amount of food he's able to eat in a day. We had a misadventure in attempting to visit the surgeon for a follow-up visit. We waited for an hour in the office waiting room and asked how much longer we might expect to wait and were told at least another 45 minutes to an hour. Stephen decided to reschedule the appointment. This was the first outing he's had since he and Stephanie went to work on the CD in Lexington. We're both very tired and hoping to go to bed early tonight. Thank you for praying for God's grace to allow us to keep on keeping on and, of course, for healing.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

.: Natalie - Home   (Monday, July 31, 2006 06:32pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen practiced briefly twice today - the first time in several days. It was good to hear him playing again. He did not sleep last night, so he's been very tired again today. We've been quiet here since the boys visited our friends the Frosts and perhaps spent time "mutton busting" (a term for riding a sheep). We thank you for continuing to pray and believe with us for Stephen's healing.

I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. Isaiah 43:11

.: Stephen (Natalie typing) - Home   (Sunday, July 30, 2006 09:38pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
I had a pretty good day. My appetite was better than it has been since I have been home, and I am hopeful that it will continue to improve. We thank you for your continued prayers.

Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

.: Natalie - Home   (Saturday, July 29, 2006 03:58pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen is often napping in the chair since his sleep is interrupted at night. He is mostly quiet. We began reading the book of John together last night, and that was a special time for both of us. Thank you for continuing to pray for healing and strength.

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19

.: Natalie - Home   (Friday, July 28, 2006 05:47pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen gives the thumbs up on today. He says it was a really good day because his spirits were up all day. We thank you for your continued prayers.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

.: Natalie - Home   (Friday, July 28, 2006 10:29am)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Though circumstances are unchanged, our spirits are lifted! I posted the update last night around 9:45pm, and Stephen reported feeling lifted up around 10:00pm and having the sense once more that this is all just a bump in the road. God's power is great, and prayer is effective. Thank you.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11

.: Natalie - Home   (Thursday, July 27, 2006 09:48pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
We're discouraged in spirit today. Stephen continues to have pain in his back and in his abdomen and makes all too frequent trips to the bathroom. He's not sleeping well at night. As you pray for healing, please pray that we will have joyful hearts no matter what each day holds.

A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? Proverbs 18:14

.: Natalie - Home   (Wednesday, July 26, 2006 04:42pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen has been energized and elated to listen to the CD that he and Stephanie worked to produce for "Notes for Stephen". It's from one of his most proud nights of graduate school. It includes the Chopin Barcarolle, the Liszt Sonata, and the Blumenfeld Left Hand Etude (this is probably the most requested piece that Stephen plays - if you've seen and heard him perform it, you know why - it's impossible to believe he does it all with one hand). Stephen slept better last night (so did I), and we've all had a better day. Thank you for continuing to pray for us.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

.: Natalie - Home   (Tuesday, July 25, 2006 04:37pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen didn't sleep much last night, and he has felt very weary much of the day. We have up days and down days, and yesterday really took it out of him. Still, he ran his own veggies through the juicer and has been doing his job of eating every two hours during the day, though it's hard for him. The children are tired and on the cranky side. They, too, have had much to contend with for little boys. Thank you for your prayers for rest (sleep, especially) and strength and a spirit of gentleness and all the fruit of the Spirit for all of us. These are not easy days.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

.: Stephen (Natalie typing) - Home   (Monday, July 24, 2006 08:57pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Today I had the best day ever so far since surgery. I ate more, walked more, and now I am exhausted. I've spoken with my brother. The news about "Notes for Stephen" was just intended as another update about what local friends are doing to help me and my family through this difficult time. Whether or not you choose to participate, I ask you continue doing the best thing you can do. Continue to plead my case before God for complete healing. Peace to all.

.: Natalie - Home   (Sunday, July 23, 2006 06:12pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen is very quiet today. He's tired and suffering the side effects of too many antibiotics. He did get out and walk around the house once today and he continues with his diet. Thank you for continuing to pray.

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the affllicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:1-3

.: Natalie - Home   (Saturday, July 22, 2006 05:07pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Today Stephen went with our good friend, Stephanie Depa, to Lexington to work on editing a recital tape to prepare for CD production. They also took a detour to Wild Oats grocery store to pick up more carrots and celery, but Stephen left the shopping to Stephanie because he was tuckered out. The trip was tiring for Stephen, but it was humanizing to get out a bit. We notice that his color is beginning to improve. Thank you for continuing to pray for strength.

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31

.: Natalie & Stephen - Home   (Friday, July 21, 2006 07:01pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Today we had a visit from an apprentice of Solomon Wickey, Michelle Anderson of Florence, Kentucky. She greatly encouraged us that with dietary changes and lots of prayer that Stephen can be free from cancer without the bodily abuse of chemotherapy and radiation. She herself had a similar experience 13 years ago when she was given 30 days to live after 27 operations in 36 months and went to see Solomon Wickey. We're excited about this journey. Stephen started out with his carrot and celery juice cocktail this evening. We have unplugged the microwave for the next four months (at least). Continue to be thankful with us for healing. We appreciate your support.

Who himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:22

.: Natalie - Home   (Thursday, July 20, 2006 10:28pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen continues to rest, and we notice that his color is improving. He's looking forward to feeling better as his wound heals. His appetite is also beginning to improve as well. We thank God for Stephen's healing.

.: Natalie - Home   (Wednesday, July 19, 2006 04:26pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Today is our ninth anniversary. I'm glad that we can spend the day together at home. Stephen practiced this morning, napped in the chair, and is now finishing up his antibiotic infusion. He flushes his own line, mixes and hooks up and meds, and finishes with another blood thinner flush. He's quite independent with all of this. Thank you for praying.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

.: Natalie - Home   (Tuesday, July 18, 2006 03:27pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen is enjoying spending time at the piano each day working on his new Mozart sonata. We love listening to him practice. Stephen has decided not to use pain medication during the day today, and he seems to be doing well. He's sleeping less during the day today than yesterday, too. The Lord is good. His mercy endures forever. Thank you for continuing to pray.

.: Natalie - Home   (Monday, July 17, 2006 10:07pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen slept most of the day. He has to do so much more for himself here than in the hospital - sit up without help from a mechanical bed, do without a nurse call button, climb stairs. It's been an exhausting day, and he's able to sleep through a visit from his parents as well as playing children in the same room. I remember from last year how well he looked in the hospital and what a shock it was to have him home in the context of health. He appeared much weaker than he seemed in the hospital. This time around is no different. I know that he'll become accustomed to the demands of life at home and will feel stronger in a few days. We've had a good day with the family all together. Colin asked, "Is there anything I can get you, Daddy?" He wants to help, too. Thank you for continuing to pray for healing, wisdom and direction.

.: Natalie - Home!   (Sunday, July 16, 2006 11:11pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen is glad to be home. He's moving around a lot more here than he did in the hospital, so it's tiring for him. Also, his need for quiet is in conflict with our boys' need to be kids. Pray for us in the days to come that we will navigate this difficult situation with grace and good humor. Stephen will have home health nurses visiting tomorrow to run IV antibiotics and to dress his wound. Also pray for Stephen to have sensitive spiritual ears to hear the Holy Spirit as Counselor to ascertain what direction he's to go now in terms of treatment. The decision is upon him, and Stephen feels rushed and unready. He was very disappointed to be told today upon checking out of the hospital that he was scheduled to visit the oncologist tomorrow. Thank you for continuing to hold us up in prayer. I trust God to speak His perfect will to Stephen.

.: Dad - home   (Sunday, July 16, 2006 03:04pm)
.: stilford@juno.com

"This is the day the Lord has made....Rejoice and be glad"
He is so excited to be leaving the hospital. A home health nurse will dress the wound, and administer the proper medecine this coming week. We pray a prayer of Thanksgiving for the Lord has done great things in Sephen's life. Continue your prayers for his healing. In addition through all of this the Lord has changed all of us, including you faithfull writers.

.: Mom and Dad - St. Joseph   (Saturday, July 15, 2006 10:46am)
.: stilford@juno.com
Stephen asked that the PCA pump which administered pain medication be removed yesterday. Last evening he had a difficult night with pain. He was given medication through the porte to help him with that pain.
The specialist for the infection did not seem too alarmed with the persistent fever and thought it could be one of three possibilities which I will not go in to at this time. Stephen wants to go home and hopefullly he will be able to by Sunday. Keep praying for him. We continue to rejoice in the Lord and all His goodness. What do people do without Him?

.: Natalie - St. Joe's - Lexington, KY   (Friday, July 14, 2006 04:30pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen asked to the PCA pain pump removed today, so he's taking oral pain meds only now. He got rid of his NG tube a day and a half ago, so he's getting rid of some tubes. I washed his hair today, and he cleaned up a bit and feels better for it. He's listening to some Mozart and planning some new repertoire. The surgeon is bringing an infectious disease doctor on the case who will review all of the scans and blood cultures and offer his perspective on this pesky fever.

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.... Psalm 34:19

.: Dad - Hospital   (Friday, July 14, 2006 10:15am)
.: stilford@juno.com`
When I arrived at the hospital this morning I learned that Stephen's fever had gone up to 103.8 at 11:00pm, at which time blood cultures were done. Tylenol brought it down temporarily but by 4:00am it was back up to 102.8. We continue to be concerned about this. Dr Dvorak ordered a CT scan of the abdomen and will look at the scan later this morning. He suspects the fever is still an indication of the infection at the wound. Obviously, we are still praying that this infection will leave his body. Keep praying!
Natalie went home last evening for a much needed break. She will be back today. Shirley stayed with him last evening.

.: Dad - Home   (Friday, July 14, 2006 06:23am)
.: stilford@juno.com
Just a quick update this morning. The fever left Stephen's body at around 5:00pm yesterday. We thank you again for all of your prayers directed to Our Father. I came home last night and have not received any word on his condition this morning. I expect it to be good and will report that to you later in the morning.

.: Dad - Hospital   (Thursday, July 13, 2006 03:40pm)
.: stilford@juno.com
For those of you who check regularly pray at this moment for Stephen. It may not be urgent but his fever has gone back up to 103 plus. He is being given an injection for the high fever at this moment. Pray that the medecine will bring the fever down. We do not know the cause at this tiime but suspect it is a continuation of the infection at the wound. Check for further update on this situation.

.: Dad - Hospital   (Thursday, July 13, 2006 03:40pm)
.: stilford@juno.com
For those of you who check regularly pray at this moment for Stephen. It may not be urgent but his fever has gone back up to 103 plus. He is being given an injection for the high fever at this moment. Pray that the medecine will bring the fever down. We do not know the cause at this tiime but suspect it is a continuation of the infection at the wound. Check for further update on this situation.

.: Natalie - St. Joe's - Lexington, KY   (Thursday, July 13, 2006 10:15am)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen is feeling well this morning. He's eaten (some yogurt, Strawberry Boost, and OJ) and is sitting up in bed covered up in a nice Georgetown College afghan. His fever is gone. We are thankful. Colin and Rhys are coming for a visit this morning. They like seeing Daddy. He gives them a ride on the hospital bed, and they get soft hospital ice, juice, and cookies. What fun!

"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2

.: Natalie - St. Joe's - Lexington, KY   (Wednesday, July 12, 2006 07:21pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen has developed a fever - 101. This is high enough to be somewhat worrisome because it's come out of nowhere. Thank you for praying that the cause of the infection will be healed.

.: Natalie - St. Joe's - Lexington, KY   (Wednesday, July 12, 2006 06:27pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen had a wound vacume placed this evening. He's tired but seems to be doing well. His terrific nurse, Mary, from the previous two days had been placed with other patients today, but she asked to be placed with him again today. We are thankful for the kind attention Stephen has received.

After I posted the update this morning quoting Psalm 103, I clicked on the encouragements and found Barb Cornett's message at the top of the list also quoting Psalm 103. I've read it several times today. I accepted that "coincidence" as a nudge from God for me. Thank you for praying and for your encouraging words.

.: Natalie - St. Joe's - Lexington, KY   (Wednesday, July 12, 2006 07:52am)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
More signs of bowel function! Stephen will enjoy some clear liquids today and will progress to full liquids as the day goes on. If all goes well, he will receive a full diet tomorrow and will loose the NG tube. The sweetest word to a hospital patient's ear (or at least to my own ear) was mentioned today - HOME! Stephen may go home on Saturday or Sunday. The thing holding him up now is the wound care. He will wear a sort of medical Hoover to suction out the wound for the next couple of days to allow the area to heal. Thank you for continuing steadfastly in prayer. (Colossians 4:2)

"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases...." Psalm 103:1-3

.: Natalie - St. Joe's - Lexington, KY   (Tuesday, July 11, 2006 10:18pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen took a long walk this evening and even stepped outside for the first time in a week and a half. He has had an appetite all day today, though he's still not allowed to eat anything. Hopefully they'll feed him soon.

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." Psalm 34:8-10

.: Natalie - St. Joe's - Lexington, KY   (Tuesday, July 11, 2006 01:11pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Breakthrough! Stephen's colon seems to be working. We've not discussed this with the doctor, but we feel certain he'll be pleased. Pray that it continues to function normally. All

.: Dad - St. Joseph Hospital   (Tuesday, July 11, 2006 06:09am)
.: stilford@juno.com

Good Morning to all of you early risers. I know you have already prayed today for Stephen.
He had a very restful night and I both see and feel signs of improvement in every way.
What a glorious day it will be this Tuesday. The doctor (surgeon) will be in shortly and I should be able to give you an updaae after that. Grateful to all.

.: Dad - St. Joseph Hospital   (Tuesday, July 11, 2006 06:09am)
.: stilford@juno.com

Good Morning to all of you early risers. I know you have already prayed today for Stephen.
He had a very restful night and I both see and feel signs of improvement in every way.
What a glorious day it will be this Tuesday. The doctor (surgeon) will be in shortly and I should be able to give you an updaae after that. Grateful to all.

.: Mom and Dad - Hospital   (Monday, July 10, 2006 07:17pm)
.: stilford@juno.com
It is now 7:00 PM at the hospital. Stephen has promised us he will walk with us at 8:00PM. This will be the fourth walk today, closing in on his suggested five daily walks by his surgeon. His determination is manifested in the present challenge just as it is in most everything he does. I ( Dad) will relieve Natalie for another night and stay with Stephen. What a great time for me. Keep those encouragements coming. We are grateful for them. To God Be All Glory!!!!!!

.: Dad - St. Joseph   (Monday, July 10, 2006 05:22pm)
.: stilford@juno.com
Today (Monday) continues to be a good day for us. Stephen has walked already three times by 5:00 PM. I sense signs of his energy coming back. His mother read many of your words of encouraging to him. It is less tiring for him when she reads them to him. It was entertaining to see his face as he absorbed many of your messages-a smile, a frown, etc.....Stephen is Stephen no matter what is happening. How grateful Shirley and I are to have a son like him. God has been good to us through Stephen.

.: Dad - St. Joseph   (Monday, July 10, 2006 08:44am)
.: stilford@juno.com
Stephen had a restful night (if that is possible in the hospital). His fever is down, his infection at the place of incision is improving. The surgeon came this morning (6:40am) to remove two more staples (?) from the incision. He seemed pleased with what he saw. Stephen was given an injection to help stimulate the bowels so he may be able to take some solid food. This seems to be top priority at the moment. His spirits are up as he still jokes with the nurses. Today is a good day in so many ways. We rejoice as we take each step ever so slowly. Speaking of steps, Stephen must walk at least five time a day-an order from the surgeon. This is the day the Lord hath made for Stephen and for all of us.
Keep prayiing for Stephen and the family. AND keep your words of encouragement coming.

.: Natalie - St. Joe's - Lexington, KY   (Sunday, July 9, 2006 01:24pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen is one tired man! He had a sign put on his door today saying, "Absolutely No Visitors." He's even sending me home today, although I stayed long enough to see Dr. Papp. Stephen's incision wound is looking better today, and his fever is coming down. The output from his NG tube is decreasing, so we have hope that things will progress and allow him to have the tube removed in the next couple of days. Stephen showered today, so he's feeling relaxed and is sleeping peacefully. We pray that he will soon feel his strength returning. Thank you for your continued prayers on our behalf. God is good.

.: Natalie - St. Joe's - Lexington, KY   (Saturday, July 8, 2006 02:29pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen is fighting a wound infection in two places and has had fever as high as 102. Dr. Papp took out a few of the staples to let the wound drain. Thankfully this is easy to treat. He's receiving a couple of antibiotics to combat this as well. The infection also offers an explanation for his elevated heart rate which has stayed in the 120-140 beats per minute range.

The nurses hear bowel signs on both sides, so the bowel seems to be waking up. The walking is helping in this regard.

Please continue to pray for Stephen's healing and for wisdom in discerning God's will for Stephen's treatment.

Let the weak say, "I am strong in the strength of the Lord." Joel 3:10

.: Bradley - Hospital   (Friday, July 7, 2006 03:25pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
Stephen has been resting most of the day. In between rest periods, he is getting up and walking up and down the hall. The doctor told him to do this around five times today. Stephen has no problem getting out of bed, gathering all of his cords and tubes, walking around the halls, hooking everything back up, and getting back in bed. If you try and offer him help, he says "Don't touch that." He is very independent. I hope that his independence carries over to his efforts in fighting this terrible sickness.

.: Bradley - Hospital   (Friday, July 7, 2006 09:50am)
.: brad@seagil.com
I walked into Stephen's room at 9:00am this morning and found him sitting up in his bed talking with Natalie - he looked great! According to Natalie, he has his days and nights mixed up. He slept most of the day yesterday, and was awake most of the night last night. Knowing Stephen you can appreciate that he sometimes presses the nurse button instead of the medicine button. Then the nurse comes in and he tells them that he owes them a quarter - ha! The doctors came in this morning to discuss the next steps with Stephen. As soon as we have details, we will pass them on to you. But for now, let us all be thankful that Stephen seems like his old self again - since the surgery is over. Oh yeah, today he should begin eating something besides ice. Maybe some broth or something...(no anchovies yet, Stephen!)

.: Natalie - St. Joe's - Lexington, KY   (Thursday, July 6, 2006 01:47pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen just took his first walk - even requested it himself. He did a great job. He's my knight in see-through hospital gown!

.: Mom & Dad - Lexington, KY   (Thursday, July 6, 2006 12:33pm)
.: stilford@juno.com
We arrived at the hospital this morning around 10:30 and were so happy to see Stephen awake and alert. Mom had suggested that we bring over some of Stephen's favorite CDs, and Jane-Ellen brought over her cd player. Around 11:00 when the nurse walked in, Stephen was wide awake...so we asked him if he wanted to listen to some of his music. He said YES. Bradley walked over to his bed and started thumbing through the eight or so cds, then Stephen reached up and took all of them from his hands and started scrolling through them himself. He picked out one of his favorite cds of Nat Patch - his former teacher and mentor. We put the cd player on his tray table so he could adjust the volume. NOW THE ROOM FEELS LIKE STEPHEN'S ROOM!!! He looks so much better and seems to be doing well with post surgery - in spite of the tubes and machines. They plan on getting him up and sitting this afternoon...possibly even walking a little.

.: Natalie - St. Joseph's in Lexington, KY   (Thursday, July 6, 2006 07:32am)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
We made it through the first night and kept the nurse very busy. Unfortunately, there was a lapse in administering pain meds during his transfer from recovery to the floor, and Stephen had to endure for a short time the most severe physical pain I've ever witnessed. This caused his blood pressure to rise. Fortunately he was switched over to a PCA pump, and with the help of a couple of additional drugs is managing pain pretty well now and blood pressure has returned to normal. His heart rate is high, and he's having to take some insulin because the liquid nutrition he's receiving is causing his blood sugar to spike.

Stephen is in good spirits. He's got lots of tubes (some new ones this time), but they don't keep him down. He's still not allowed anything by mouth today, but he will be getting up out of the bed and encouraged to walk a little.

Thank you for praying in faith with us for Stephen's healing. We know that those who hope in the Lord will not be ashamed. "He sent forth His Word, and He healed them." Psalm 107:20

.: Bradley - Hospital   (Wednesday, July 5, 2006 07:18pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
Stephen is out of surgery and in recovery. He is awake. They were able to remove the blockage in his colon, and reconnect everything back together. The surgeon did see that his pelvis is encased in tumors - which has happened since he stopped his last chemo. The plan is to get his fluids stable over the next few days. His situation is day to day as far as his progress. He is not out of danger with the surgery that was done today, so they will watch him closely. The main goal right now is to get him hydrated. His body must get over the surgery before they proceed with any further treatment. They normally like to wait six weeks after surgery before they start chemo, however they may be able to start earlier. Now that his colon blockage is gone, hopefully he will be able to eat some normal food. We asked the surgeon what his prognosis was, and he was very clear in stating that with Stephen, it is one day at a time...and we will address the issues as they come. Thank you for your prayers throughout today.

.: Bradley - Hospital   (Wednesday, July 5, 2006 04:51pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
Stephen was just wheeled back to the operating room. We met the surgeon and he is a very nice man. Although we have asked the question a dozen times, we still have no idea how long the surgery will take. Our best guess is 2 to 3 hours. Please check back into Stephen's website later tonight. We will post an update as soon as he is in recovery.

.: Bradley - St. Joseph's Hospital - 3rd floor lobby   (Wednesday, July 5, 2006 01:41pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
Stephen was just taken down to the 2nd floor for surgery preparation. While waiting on the elevator, I walked over to him and he said "its time". The prep will take 30 minutes to an hour, then surgery. So, as Dad said earlier this morning...PRAY. Oh yeah, one more thing...Stephen told someone this morning that he is already thinking about what he is going to eat when his blockage is gone. Knowing Stephen, it will probably include anchovies - yuck! (Bradley)

.: Bradley - St. Joseph's Hospital - 3rd floor lobby   (Wednesday, July 5, 2006 01:00pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
Stephen has been resting all morning with his room light off. He did tell Natalie earlier that he was feeling a little nauseous. Well, it is almost 1:00 and there seems to be a little delay in his surgery beginning. The nurses have still not come yet to give Stephen the nutrition ("steak and eggs") that he needs in his system prior to surgery. Our best guess is that once he gets the nourishment, it must settle in his system for a little while, and then he will be ready for surgery. We will continue to add updates throughout the day as we have more details. (Bradley)

.: Dad and Mom - Georgetown   (Wednesday, July 5, 2006 09:08am)
.: stilford@juno.com


.: Natalie - Georgetown, KY   (Tuesday, July 4, 2006 08:28pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen enjoyed a short visit with Colin and Rhys today. Both boys brought cards they had painted for him and enjoyed taking a short ride up and down in the hospital bed. Daddy really enjoyed holding each one of them for a while.

Stephen went for a CT scan today to prepare for surgery tomorrow. His porta-cath site is still too red and puffy to use tonight for liquid nutrition to beef him up for tomorrow. Hopefully the swelling will go down by tomorrow morning. Stephen's not had any nutrition since last Thursday or Friday and then only very, very little.

He continues in good spirits, trusting God (with me) for his healing. Psalm 112:7-8 says "He [a righteous man] will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes." Thank you for continuing to stand firm with us in faith and in prayer.

.: Bradley - St. Joseph's Hospital - Room 354   (Tuesday, July 4, 2006 08:20pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
Today, Stephen had a bone scan that was normal - no signs of any cancer. He also had a CT scan today so the doctor can see more of what he will be faced with tomorrow during surgery. Stephen's surgery is currently scheduled for 1:00pm...or after lunch. I (Bradley) drove up today from Atlanta this morning and was able to visit with Stephen...along with Daniel, Shirley, Jane-Ellen and Natalie. Also, Stephen's boys, Colin & Rhys, came by for a quick visit and brought their Dad some pictures they had drawn for him. One of the neatest things is that we have a wireless connection to the internet directly from Stephen's room - high speed! It is priceless watching stephen in his bed scroll through the encouragements and reading them word for word. Please continue to send your encouragements - he is really enjoying them, and appreciates them more than you will ever know. His facial expressions change from word to word as he reads them. Oh yeah, the nurses are supposed to come by in the morning and give him a nutrition IV - one that they call "steak and eggs", so Stephen should really be enjoying that. There should be some new pictures under "photos" either later tonight or tomorrow - mainly of Stephen and his family in his hospital room. We hope and pray that by this time tomorrow night, Stephen will be out of surgery with a positive outlook. Stephen asked us to send a message to you..."I look forward to getting back on my feet and thanking all of you in person for your encouragement and prayers."

.: natalie - Lexington, KY   (Monday, July 3, 2006 10:25pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen is resting well tonight after having a new porta-cath placed today. He's tired, but in good spirits. God is enveloping us in His love, using so many different gifts present in the body of Christ to comfort and to uphold us.

.: Natalie - St. Joseph Hospital - Lexington   (Monday, July 3, 2006 11:29am)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Dear Ones,
We had prayer last night with some brothers and sisters in Christ asking and believing for Stephen's healing - a removal of the bowel obstruction, relief from back pain, and total healing from cancer. We were encouraged to read and to pray:

Psalm 118:17-18 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.

James 4:7-8a Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.

Psalm 107:18-20 He loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth His word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

Today the oncologist told Stephen that using chemotherapy to solve the problem of the obstructed bowel is not an option. In a month's time chemotherapy would shrink the tumor only 30% of the time. Therefore, extremely risky surgery is the only medical option available to us at this time. We have been told that there is a high likelihood of death resulting from this surgery.

These are the facts. One gentleman last night reminded us that though doctors are able to give us facts, Jesus is the truth. A few weeks ago, God gave me Psalm 119:36-37 to pray, and I pray it still on Stephen's behalf:

Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things. Preserve my life according to your word.

Stephen and I are absolutely committed to being obedient to God. We acknowledge that our bodies are God's temple. He is the King of all Creation, and with a word he can heal Stephen.

Thank you for continuing to pray with us and to believe that we have what we ask for (Matthew 21:22).

.: Bradley - Atlanta   (Monday, July 3, 2006 11:26am)
.: brad@seagi.com
Well, we have another dose of bad news. The doctors have told Stephen that there is only a 30% chance that the chemo will shrink the cancer in his colon. And on top of that, it will take 30 days to shrink the cancer...30 days that Stephen does not have. So, the only other option is surgery. The doctors have asked Stephen what he wants to do and, as I understand, he has opted for the surgery. Our understanding is that there is a very high mortality rate with this type of surgery. This morning, someone said that we need a miracle. Then someone close by said that the miracle happened 2000 years ago. We are all very thankful that we have eternal life. It is without question that Stephen has led a very faithful life and will be blessed with eternal life. Our hope and prayer today is that we will be blessed with him here on earth for a long while. As of now, the surgery is scheduled for Wednesday. Please continue to pray for Stephen and our family. Stephen is an incredible person, and continues to bless all of us that know and love him. We will keep all of you posted as we get more details.

.: Mom and Dad - Home   (Sunday, July 2, 2006 08:54pm)
.: stilford@juno.com
A quick update for Sunday evening. After church we spent the rest of the day at St. Joseph Hospital with Stephen. He is resting better and with IV he is getting some fluid. Tomorrow the doctors will install a port so that different medicines and fluids can be administered. The chemo will also be given in the porte if Stephen decides to take chemo. Pray that he will make the right decision for him. His longterm prognosis is not good but chemo will shrink the tumor that is blocking the small bowel and allow food to pass through. Today Stephen seemed like himself, joking and teasing the nurses. Our faith continues to become stronger and our hope is everlasting. God is our Rock.

.: Daniel & Shirley - Georgetown   (Sunday, July 2, 2006 07:10am)
.: stilford@juno.com
Stephen took a turn for the worse last evening. He was transferred from the Georgetown Hospital to St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington. Doctors determined that the cancer is blocking the small bowel, closing it off, making it impossible to eat and have normal bodily functions. They recommend chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and want to begin right away while he is still in the hospital. If it works, then he will be able to eat. Surgery continues to be too risky. We need a miracle from the God of Miracles. Pray along with his family and many friends.

.: Bradley - Atlanta   (Saturday, July 1, 2006 06:04pm)
.: brad@seagil.com
While at the emergency room, the doctors did an x-ray and think that Stephen may have a blockage in his bowel. It was also determined that he was very dehydrated - so much that they were unable to initially get a blood pressure reading. After getting some fluids in him, his blood pressure was found to be ok. He is currently being taken to a Lexington hospital (unknown location right now) to have a further evaluation. Unfortunately, there is a possibility that he may require surgery - should they determine that there is in fact a blockage that must be removed surgically. Hopefully, the blockage can be easily cleared out without surgery, and Stephen will be back on his feet soon. As soon as we know more, we will let you know. Thank you for all of the support you are giving to Stephen.

.: Daniel and Shirley - Georgetown   (Saturday, July 1, 2006 03:13pm)
.: stilford@juno.com

A slight update. This morning we took Stephen to the emergency room at the local hospital. He has had some difficulty taking fluids since there is so much bloating. He is still at the hospital. Natalie is there with him. We do not know what this latest incident is all about, but we know that God is in charge of all things. Pray right now for stephen and also pray that he will be strong enough to take the trip to Auburn Indiana and meet with Solomon Wickey on Monday.

.: Natalie Tilford - Georgetown, Ky   (Thursday, June 29, 2006 11:17pm)
.: sntilford@mindspring.com
Stephen was able to have a stint placed in his right ureter, so he left his drain tube for his right kidney at the hospital yesterday. This makes showering a much easier task. Although he's felt somewhat better today, he's still reclining most of the day and didn't sleep well last night. Please pray that the stomach and intestinal pain will be removed and that he will be able to sleep well and resume a more active daytime routine.

.: Natalie - Georgetown, KY   (Wednesday, June 28, 2006 08:46am)
.: sntilford@juno.com
Thank you for your prayer support. We have been very discouraged recently because Stephen has felt so bad. We got a call tonight from the man who went to see the Amish herbalist. God used him to encourage us greatly. This man recently saw Mr. Wickey for a follow-up visit, and he was told that he is now cured - only two months into his diet regimen. He also gave us the name of a woman in Florence, KY who does the same type of thing that Solomon Wickey does - Mr. Wickey recommends her. Stephen has called her and left a message. Tomorrow he goes for a nuclear scan of his kidneys and an attempt to internalize a drain tube for his right kidney.