Thursday, November 29, 2012

Remembering Stephen ~ By Darla Reynolds

As we look back, over this past year
Stephen James Reynolds was always near
When I go out for a walk and I find a penny
I felt it was heaven sent, direct from Renny

It’s been called the year of “Firsts”
Times I hear it, I just want to burst
The “New Normal” it’s also been said
Those two words, I have grown to dread

Now, I am I called an “Angel Mom”
Wanting to hold his hand in my palm
As a little boy, my clothes he would tug
Oh, how I wish I could just have one more hug

“You don’t know if you don’t ask”, he’d always say
With his infectious smile, he’d usually get his way
When arguing, saying “whatevers”, he preferred
Every time I’d use it, his said it’s not a real word

We didn’t know that on Thanksgiving 2011
Our last Holiday, before he went to heaven
Gathering for turkey, potatoes, gravy and dressing
Realizing now, that time spent was such a blessing

As I get older, I hope my memory doesn’t turn hazy
I want to remember, all the things he did that drove me crazy
In our minds, we have a wonderful Stephen pictorial
Continuing work on the Stephen Reynolds Memorial

Am I selfish? Stephen’s life was just too brief
Never thought, I could feel such pain and grief
I am realistic, knowing that this was God plan
I pray and hope, that someday we will understand

As the world keeps turning and you go on living your lives
College, careers, children with your husbands and wives
One thing our family asks the Willmar Class of 2010
Remember Stephen Reynolds your classmate and friend
This is from Stephens journal that that he wrote in 9th grade.

If I were to die tomorrow, people would say that I was a good and honest guy that cared for other people. Some people would say those things and others would say bad things and mean things. The people that say good things about me are probably the people that I care for. The people that said bad things about me are probably people I do not care for. What I would want people to say about me is that I am cool, nice, and honest kid and that I care for other people. People would also say that I would never have wanted to die and that I would do anything to be alive.
Here's another journal entry that Stephen wrote in 9th grade.

In ten years I plan to be done with college. I plan on having a beautiful wife and a very nice house to live in. As for what I want to do for a living, I would like to be a teacher for Physical Education or Geography. I would also want to be an assistant Varsity Soccer Coach and a head Varsity Hockey Coach. I would want to be teacher
and coach in a nice town with cool and and respectful people. I want to teach and coach so they get smarter and better at learning and sports. I also plan to have kids in the future. I hope that my kids will play soccer and hockey and maybe I could coach them someday. The kind of town or city I would like to do my job in would hopefully be a town or city as big as Willmar or just a little smaller or a little bigger. I would also like to teach for one town not a whole bunch of towns, just one town. A town that has a great community and place where my children can meet good and nice friends. I would like to do all of this for twenty or more years, and work with other teachers in a great school that gives you a lot of respect. I would do this for whatever school district gives me the best offer and do my best at whatever the school district wants me to do. That is what I would like to do in ten years or more.
By Stephen Reynolds

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's been a year since you left the ones you love.
It's been a year that yo
u've been looking down on us from up above.
It's been a year of constant reminder that you're not here.
It's been a year of memories, sorrow and fear.
It's been a year since that horrible night.
It's been a year from when you walked into the light.
It's been a year where we've had to be strong everyday.
It's been a year of unspoken words we've needed to say.
It's been a year since we've had to say goodbye.
Where is the good in goodbye when all we do is cry?
It's been a year that has changed all our days.
It's been a year, and we've grown strong in so many ways.
It's been a year where we know you're in a better place.
It's been a year, and we still haven't forgotten your face.
It's been a year of just imagining what it's like up there.
It's been a year since he took you, it just seems so unfair.
It's been a year, but we know you're doing alright.
It's been a year of only seeing you in our dreams at night.
It's been a year, and we want you to know that we love you,
And no matter how much time separates us, our hearts remain true.

It's been a year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Renny's Way

Renny’s Way ~ Darla Reynolds

What does it mean, “Renny’s Way”
It’s just about how you live, everyday
Day by day, Stephen made choices
This spoke volumes more than voices

During homecoming, he didn’t roam
Stephen chose to always stay home
Though, pranks were done to him in fun
He did not want to, do that to anyone

Stephen was proud to be a Willmar Card
Showed by his dedication and working hard
Renny constantly gave one hundred percent
Willmar High School, he was honored to represent

Renny truly enjoyed his high school years
Never gave in to pressure from his peers
Not saying that Stephen was perfect
Teen temptations, he chose to reject

Quiet young man, who appeared to be shy
A contagious smile and sparkle in his eye
Helping others, he was just being a good guy
Many family and friends, knew they could rely

Determination and being strong willed
Part of his character, which was instilled
Once there’s a decision that he made
Changing his mind, one couldn’t persuade

Times raising a child is like throwing dice
Love them, nurture them and give them advice
There are many things, a parent must provide
Throughout their lives, we just try to guide

When they grow up and become part of a crowd
Hope they make positive choices, that we’d be proud
It’s not just good parenting, like many have said
“Renny’s Way” is just the life that Stephen led

Monday, July 23, 2012

The following is some of the story of Deacon Stephen from the bible. The references to the number 7 are amazing and although Stephen died a tragic death, he stayed true to his beliefs. This story reminds me in many ways how Stephen Reynolds lived his life.

In Bible History, Stephen was a man of "firsts." He was one of the first seven Christian deacons, and he is generally regarded as the first Christian martyr.
BibleThe seven deacons were chosen to assist The Twelve in the service of the new church in Jerusalem. The account is found in Acts 6:1-5:

"Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." And what they said pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch."
There was no doubt as to Stephen's exceptionally good character, and the miraculous power that he had been given by God. It's interesting to note that although Stephen was "just" a deacon, he certainly had gifts and powers from God that were at least equal to that of the apostles:

"And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people" (Acts 6:8 RSV)
As had happened with Jesus Christ Himself, Stephen soon found himself in difficulty with the local religious authorities, not because he was doing anything wrong, but because he was seen as a serious and growing threat to their misguided control over the people. They just couldn't "compete" with him:

"they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke." (Acts 6:10 RSV)
They then resorted to the "low as you can go" approach; they had him falsely accused of blasphemy - and in knowingly doing so, they themselves blasphemed the Holy Spirit, which was actually the source of Stephen's wisdom:

"Then they secretly instigated men, who said, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God ... and set up false witnesses who said, "This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth [see Nazarene] will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us." (Acts 6:11,13-14 RSV)
Stephen was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin where more false accusations were made. While the despicable lies were being spewed at him, Stephen remained calm:

"And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel." (Acts 6:15 RSV)
Stephen was then allowed to make his "defense." By then, he probably knew full well that he was not going to get out of there alive, so he held nothing back out of concern to not offend people that he would otherwise have been gently, tactfully and systematically leading to the Truth, point by point, day by day - had time permitted. The result was one of the most direct, unpolitical, and beautifully logical historical and theological discourses in The Holy Bible. It's found in its entirety in Acts chapter 7. Every word that he spoke was the Truth, which of course only made his accusers, who were self-righteous Hypocrites, hate him all the more. His words of Truth turned them from a pack of petty liars into a raving lynch mob (Acts 7:54).
Stephen was dragged out of the city, where they began stoning him. To keep their clothes from becoming splattered with Stephen's blood during the murder, they "laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul" (Acts 7:58 RSV) - to which Saul, later known as Paul, confessed, as written in the opening paragraph.
Stephen remained strong and true to the very end, his faith never waivering:

"And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep (see What Happens When You Die?)" (Acts 7:59-60 RSV)
Stephen's last words were to ask God that his murderers be forgiven, including among them, Saul the Pharisee, who, after his later conversion, became known as the apostle Paul, and went on to become one the greatest Christians that ever lived, a man who wrote a large part of the New Testament - until he too was martyred for preaching the very same Truth for which he had Stephen martyred.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Catching up!

Wow I cannot believe it has been almost 2 months since my last post so I apologize in advance but much has changed and it has been a busy time for the Reynolds family. As I mentioned we got through Mothers Day and headed for the end of the school year. It was very emotional for Darla and me as we gave out the first Stephen Reynolds Memorial Scholarships to two very deserving students at the Willmar High School. Cameron Swenson and Samantha Williams each received $500 to further their college education.
On June 9th we had the first Stephen Reynolds Memorial Disc Golf event at Robbins Island in Willmar and it was a great success. We had almost 70 people there between the disc golfers and gallery members. We want to thank all of you who participated, helped, or sponsored the event we do appreciate your kindness. We have already planned the event for next year for June 8, 2013 and we will be announcing even more fun events for everyone. It will be bigger and better!!!
We attended the Compassionate Friends Angel of Hope ceremony on June 30th where Stephen's name was read along with many others who passed way to soon. It was nice to be surrounded by many who have walked our journey.
There was a softball game between the fireman and policeman called "Guns and Hoses" in Spicer and the proceeds are going to the Stephen Reynolds Foundation. Again the compassion of people continues to amaze us, this event was held and Darla and I had to read about it in the paper. It is just another example of the kindness of others.
We have an upcoming event on the 21st of July sponsored by Sam and Nate Esboldt. It is a "small ball" basketball tournament. There will be a silent auction as well as a lot of activities for all. That event will be held at the Esboldt house. There is information on the Stephen Reynolds Foundation Facebook page.
Our life has been blessed with many friends and family as well as strangers who have lifted us up in prayer over these past 7 months and it has meant the world to us. We could not have done any of this without your love and support as well as prayers. I returned to work as the Director of Business Development for Source One Solutions and I feel so lucky to be able to work with such wonderful people right here in Willmar. We work in the telephone industry, not wireless but still many familiar faces for  me. I already feel right at home.
Our journey continues without Stephen and there is not a day that goes by that I am not reminded of him and cannot still think of what it is going to be like living the rest of my days without him. I continue to wonder what he would think of the Minnesota Wild signing Parise and Suter and how the St. Louis Blues stack up against the wild. I think of what Stephen would think of college football going to a playoff system in 2014. I feel cheated that I will not get to have those discussions with him, but we will meet again and eternity is a long time to get caught up.
Thanks for all your love and support and I promise to do a better job at blogging!
God bless,


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Six Months

 I wrote this in letter form to Stephen.

It has been 6 months to day since you left us Stephen. It does not seem like six months have past but the calendar does not lie. Many things have happened in these past six months. We celebrated Christmas and New Years. We have had birthday parties for Anthony and Alex, plus yours. We had a wonderful celebration for you Stephen on your 21st birthday. We spent much time at the cemetery over Memorial Day. Your mother and I gave out 2 $500 scholarships in your memory to Cam Swenson and Sam Williams. They were both very grateful and appreciative. We will continue this for years to come.
Your Disc Golf event is coming together quite well, we have almost 100 people planning on coming and we are putting all the details together. Many businesses have stepped up to help sponsor your event. You touched many lives Stephen and the are showing their love back to you. Play it Again Sports will be putting together an event for June to help raise money to support your Foundation. Hopefully we will raise awareness of this awful disease that took your life and find answers as why you were taken so away from us so quickly. I have been in contact with Dr. Cooper at the Mayo Clinic who is the leading expert on Myocarditis and I may even go out and speak  to help raise awareness.
We will never forget you Stephen and neither will many others. Not a day has gone by that you have not been in our thoughts. We miss you every day and are preparing for the day we are reunited. In the meantime Stephen we are keeping the candle of your memory  lit and it will never fade.
We know the next 6 months will be filled with ups and downs but our love for you will not fade.

Mom and Dad

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In honor of Mothers Day I wanted to post what Stephen wrote about his mother in his Senior Portfolio.

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there, it was a tough one at our house today but we celebrated the day with our mothers and spent some time at the cemetery with Stephen.

My Mom
 My Mom is Darla Reynolds and she was born in Willmar on August 2 to Norman and Carol Schueler. She is 5’ 3” with blonde hair. She has an older sister Cindy (Schueler) Cordes, who is 18 months older than her. She also has a younger brother Daniel Schueler who is seven years younger than her. If you ask her, she’ll say that she suffered from middle child syndrome.
My Mom grew up on east side of Willmar and she attended Lincoln elementary school. She’s always saying,” I was a Stinkin’ Lincoln Kid, before there were Thinkin’ Lincoln Kids!” She even started a group named that on Face Book. She graduated from Willmar High School in 1983. When she was in high school, she was on the Cardette dance line and was even President her senior year.
When we were younger, we were lucky enough to have our Mom at home.  For many years, she was a “stay-at-home-mom”.  She did that until my youngest brother went to school all day. She currently works at the Willmar Middle School as an In-School Suspension supervisor and has worked there for four years.  Even though she works with some pretty tough kids, she real likes her job.  The one part of her job she enjoys is when she can actually get through and help some of the kids that she works with.
My Mom really enjoys spending time with friends. She also likes traveling and being an amateur photographer. She also likes dancing, which probably comes from her years she was in Cardettes. During her spare time, you can usually find her at the YMCA working out.
                Sometimes my Dad and Mom like to get away on their own for vacations. They have been many more places that I have been to. They went to New Zealand and Australia to see my brother in 2005. They have also been to Mexico and New York twice.         
My mom and I will always be close. She is usually attends all my sporting events from soccer, football, hockey, baseball, and tennis. She hardly misses a game and I really appreciate all the support she has given me throughout the years. I know my mom has taken probably thousands of pictures of me and all of my activities that I have participated in. Each year she has made photo memory books for me for each sport.  Those will be wonderful keepsakes for me as I get older and help me remember all the fun times I had while playing sports.
I really think she is just a great mother because of all the things she does. She is a very organized and likes to likes to have everything perfect at home. This is hard to do with three sons. Throughout the years, she has chauffeured us boys to all of our activities. All of us have a certain dry marker color and she fills out three months in advance all of our activities. Everything around the house is great just because of her. I really just appreciate everything that she has done for me and love her very much.

Monday, May 7, 2012

This is from Stephens Senior Portfolio, I thought today would be a great day to share this with you.

The Day I was Born

In everyone’s life there are always very stressful times. Like a job change, moving, a death in the family and a child being born. When I was born these are the four things my parents were going through. My Dad lost his Father exactly one month before I was born. Before he passed away my parents were in the process of buying Grandparents’ house.  Then before I was born my Dad made a change in his employment. So, when I asked my Dad about the day I was born, he could not remember a lot about it, except that the weather was nice and it was a scheduled cesarean section.
When I asked my Mom, she knew a few more details. She also remembered that the weather was beautiful. She also said that she had bought all pink things for herself to wear at the hospital, because she was certain she was having a girl. She had a pink nightgown, robe and slippers. Her pregnancy she experienced with me was completely opposite from when she was pregnant with my older brother Anthony. My Mom had lots of heartburn with me and everyone kept telling her that it would be a girl with lots of hair. They were definitely wrong!
My due date was May 5th, but since my Mom had an earlier cesarean section, they said they would wait until after the due date and schedule the delivery for May 7th, 1991. My Mom said they prepped her in her room and then wheeled her down to the operating room. She said that she talked to all the other people who were waiting to have surgery that day. She didn’t know what kind of surgery they were having, however they were all excited to hear that my Mom was there to have a baby. My Dad joined my Mom in the operating room. Mom was looking forward to being awake for my birth; she was asleep when she had Anthony and was disappointed that my Dad already named him and all the relatives saw him before she did.
After the epidural kicked in they started the c-section. When I came out they said I was a boy, Mom said that she thought she heard wrong, because she thought for sure it was a girl. But, no it was an almost bald baby boy weighing 9 pounds and 1 ounce and I was 20 ½ inches long. My Mom and Dad were very happy to have another son. Mom said that it really didn’t matter if I was a boy or girl, as long as I was healthy.
When my parents were deciding on what to name me, they had a few names that they liked. However, they found out after talking to each other that when my Dad was born his name was either going to be Michael or Steven. Then when my Mom was born if she was going to be a boy, her name was also going to be Steven. So, that pretty much settled what they were going to name me. My Mom wanted the Biblical spelling. My middle name James is also my Dad’s and Grandfather’s middle name. That’s how I came to be Stephen James Reynolds.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What is Normal?

I got thinking today about what exactly is normal. Well Webster describes normal as: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern. 
That is true for most of us everyday and we get accustomed to routine and we are patterned to think that our behaviors and patterns will continue forever. We make our future plans based on what we perceive to normal.
But what happens when that is suddenly changed? My  mind drifted back to November 29, 2011 it was a Tuesday like any other Tuesday. There was nothing that would make me believe otherwise. We all went on our day as normal. I did a talk show on KWLM that morning before going to our Litchfield store getting ready for the first hockey broadcast of the year. Darla went to work as normal. Anthony went to work as normal, and Alex went to school as NORMAL. The only indication up to this point that things were going to change and that what we thought is normal was not was my  mother calling me a couple of times saying she could not get a hold of Stephen. I thought nothing of it thinking that like normal Stephen was sleeping in and maybe he was at work so he would get back to her. As I drove up in the driveway everything looked normal! That would soon change, as I walked towards Stephens closed bedroom door I did not know when I turned the handle our lives would change FOREVER.!!!
Not just our families, but hundreds of others lives are forever changed! We have come in contact with many others with stories just as ours and I think what were their last moments of normal. As we proceed in our journey to find what our "New Normal" will look like we constantly find ourselves struggling and yearning for the old normal. We know that just is not possible and we continue to forge ahead. We know our new normal does not include Stephen being with us physically but spiritually. We know he will guide us and be with us right up to the point that we meet again. Since none of us are aware of the day that we leave this earth our family will continue to hold on to his memory and relish the days that we spent with him on this earth. We will think of Stephen fondly and we will remember him through a Foundation that we are working on to keep his memory alive and to tell his story to others that may not have had the chance to meet him. This we know will contiunue until we leave this earth and are reunited. 
In the mean time we will be sad, happy, and any one of a hundred different emotions. Even if you see us and we look ok that does not mean that we are over it by any means, we will never be over it, it just means we are having a good day! We will continue to get out in public and we do like talking about Stephen and if we cry don't worry that is a good thing. We can cry at a drop of a hat so don't worry we will be ok. If we seem hard to make plans with keep trying one never knows when we might need a shoulder to lean on so be patient with us as we travel on the road to a new normal. 


Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 11, 2012

It is funny how you are more connected with people on this earth than you really know.Today Darla and I had brunch with our friends Scott and Amanda with their daughter Reagan at the Green Mill. I first met Amanda when I went to pharmaceutical training in New Jersey as we were in the same class. After that we ended up working in the same region while at Johnson and Johnson. Well I moved on and Amanda moved on but we always still stayed in contact. 
Unfortunately we now have another thing in common, you see Scott and Amanda lost a child almost a year ago, Reagan's twin sister passed away waiting for a lung transplant in Houston. Amanda was one of the first people I reached out to when Stephen passed away and she knows first hand the hurt of losing a child. The one thing that we know is that each loss is personal and different. Even though we experience a lot of the same emotions we also experience different ones too. We experience highs and lows and at different times, but we keep pushing forward. Our hearts pour out to Scott and Amanda as they are coming to the first anniversary of the loss of Eden. They  have gone through their "Year of Firsts" as we are just beginning ours. However the loss of a twin especially so young will be difficult as they are starting swimming lessons, pre school, Kindergarten, etc. They will need strength to face these milestones knowing that Eden should be experiencing these too. Please pray for them as their journey continues. This was a tough weekend as the I mentioned in my Year of Firsts post with the MSHSL Hockey Tournament finishing up and that being so important to Stephen as well as the brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament coming out tonight. I can close my eyes and picture Stephen down in his room already starting to put his bracket together and remembering how wrinkled the paper would be by the time we got to the final four. He would have been excited that South Dakota State made the field for the first time. It is weekends like this that I miss him so much. Tuesday starts NFL free agency and he would have been speculating where Peyton Manning is going and who the Vikings will be looking at for free agents before the upcoming draft. We would spend hours talking back and forth about our theory's. 
We will continue to miss him but we are constantly reminded that his spirit surrounds us each and every day..  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Year of Firsts!

Wow it has almost been a month since I have written in this blog. Had a pretty tough day today that started when I listened to the Taylor Swift song Hey Stephen which was followed by his renewal card for his drivers license showed up in the mail reminding me of Stephens upcoming 21st birthday,  I had a very emotional phone conversation with Jeff Melby who was Stephens boss at Play it Again Sports and to top it off is day 2 of the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament so I got thinking a little more about our families upcoming "Year of Firsts!
Stephen passed away 4 days after Thanksgiving, since then we have gotten through our first Christmas, our first New Years Day, our first birthday party for Anthony without Stephen, our first Valentines Day, our first birthday party for Alex without Stephen, the first high school hockey season has been completed, both of his adult league seasons have been completed, the first Minnesota High School Hockey Tournament will wrap up this weekend. We know that we have more birthdays coming up as well as the first summer at the lake without Stephen. We will meet each of these firsts with sadness and many memories. I miss watching and talking sports with Stephen. I know he would be watching every minute of the State Tournament like he did every year. He so enjoyed going to St. Paul with his friend Ben Leitch to watch it live. I will never be able to watch the NCAA Basketball Tournament the same anymore without checking with Stephen to see how he was doing on his bracket. Even though the teams will not be announced until later he would already be getting ready, then after that he would be getting ready for the NFL draft, the Stanley Cup, and so on! Almost every sporting event had some significance to Stephen, he loved them all.
On the other hand we have had good firsts too. We witnessed the first Alumni Hockey game in Stephens memory  held on December 29th, on Valentines Day I delivered for the first time the new Stephen Reynolds Cup to the Litchfield Dragons as Willmar and Litchfield start that rivalry again. We would like to thank Terry Tone and Matt Schrupp for making this happen. This spring we will have the first Stephen Reynolds memorial scholarship given to a Willmar High School Student. We are continuing to work on starting a foundation so hopefully I will have more to share on that in the future. We will be planning a summer event in Stephens memory so stay tuned for more information. This Fall the boys soccer team will be sporting a #5 patch on their undershirts, just another reminder of his spirit.
We have the monument ordered and we are hoping it will be in place by Stephens birthday but more realistically it will be in place by Memorial Day. We ordered a bench for Stephen with a hockey rink etched on top. I think he would really like it. 
We miss him every day, and we know somehow he touches our lives he will be forever in our hearts and memories.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Calling an Audible.

It has been a few days since I have written in my blog. Well many things happen in our lives that we may or may not ever be prepared for. As most of you reading this are well aware Stephen's loss is something that we were not prepared for. I was remembering the day Stephen was born and as with Anthony and Alex I was able to take the boys up to the nursery because they all were born by C section. I remember vividly bringing each boy upstairs, looking into their eyes wondering what they are thinking about this great big very bright world they are in. You begin at that time starting to think what will they grow up to be, what will be their likes and passions. Some times things don't go as planned and as a any quarterback has to do you have to call an audible. You need to change the play at the line of scrimmage, change on the fly. Well our family has had to this, all the plans we had that involved Stephen changed on November 29, 2011. We had to start making new plans that did not include our Stephen. He will never be forgotten and to that end one of the items you never think you have to do is plan your child's funeral. But you adapt and call an audible, you change your plan. Everything you had out on the horizon changes, and you come up with a new plan. We ordered Stephens grave marker last week and hopefully it will be there for his birthday on May 7th but most likely it will be in place by Memorial Day. We purchased him a bench, a bench where everyone can go out an sit with Stephen and talk sports or whatever you want to talk to him about.
We are continuing to find our new normal and what our plan is going to be as we move through live without Stephen. Even though we know his spirit will surround us but our family will continue to find it's way. We all know that we will most likely continue to call audibles for months and years to come because everything just continues to seem a bit out of whack.
To compound our being out of whack my position was eliminated on February 1st so I have had to call an audible and change up my  plans. But my faith is strong and I am confident in my abilities that this will only be a minor set back. So I continue to step up to the line of scrimmage and if I can execute the play I will. However, if I need to call an audible I am prepared to do that also.
I know God does not give you anything you cannot handle and we will continue to press forward.

God Bless,


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Time Passes!

Just a short little update as the last few days have been a little tough for our family.

As I sit here looking at the calendar flipping to a new page, what I always feared is coming to pass. Days since you left us have turned to weeks and now weeks have turned to months. It has been 2 months since Stephen has left us and we miss him so much every day. I thought of Stephen on Sunday not only because it was the 2 month anniversary of his passing but the NHL All Star Game was on as well as the NFL Pro Bowl. I know he would have been watching both of these events. For the past few days I cannot stop thinking of Stephen and Darla, Anthony, Alex and I miss him here at the house. We feel his presence surround us every day.
We took another big step as we ordered Stephens grave marker on Monday. Although it was a very emotional time we are very proud of what we ordered for Stephen..I know he would really like it as we ordered a bench for him. It will be a place that anyone can go to sit and reflect and have a chat with Stephen.
Time is passing and we are getting on with our daily lives but there is not a time that I to not think of Stephen and the mark he left on this world.
In the upcoming weeks I will share the chapters from his student portfolio with you. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The third of three journal entries. Stephen talks about his mortality.

If I were to die tomorrow,  people would say that I was a good and honest guy that cared  for other people. Some people would say those things and others would say bad things and mean things. The people that say good things about me are probably the people that I care for. The people that said bad things about me are probably people I do not care for. What I would want people to say about me is that I am cool, nice, and honest kid and that I care for other people. People would also say that I would never have wanted to die and that I would do anything to be alive.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stephens Cause of Death

As some of you may know we finally received Stephen's amended death certificate with his cause of death listed. Rand Middleton published the following article in his notebook in yesterday's West Central Tribune;

Stephen Reynolds’s death linked to virus
Here is news on the unexpected death on Nov. 29 of Stephen James Reynolds, 20, a three-sport athlete at Willmar High School who was attending Ridgewater College:
Mike Reynolds informed me that his son died of a viral heart infection. Dr. Robert Boyd II, at ACMC, “Determined that Stephen passed away from Viral Myocarditis.
“According to Dr. Boyd, he contracted a virus that the majority of us would just get over, but this one, for some reason, attacked his heart and disrupted the electrical function of the heart which causes sudden death” by cardiac arrest.
Knowing this does nothing to ease the profound hurt, Mike concedes, but at least there is closure to what caused the tragic loss and “We know he did not suffer or have pain. He died peacefully in his sleep.”

This explains it pretty well and like I stated it still does not bring Stephen back but it does give us some closure to the matter. Our family was troubled with the initial findings because they did not make sense. We visited with some medical professionals who also agreed that the original findings did not add up. However, the Medical Examiners did run one final test that did take 6 weeks to get the results back. We are grateful that they did as well as knowing Stephen did not suffer at all.
There is not a moment we don't think about him and his smile and we will continue to keep his memory alive.

Number 7 will live forever in our hearts!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2nd Journal Entry

This is the second of the 3 journals I am going to share with you. This one is actually the third but I am publishing it second. In this submission Stephen talks about what he wants to do in 10 years. 10 years from 9th grade so really only about 5 years from now. Again, I am copying it exactly the way he submitted it.
Thanks for reading!

Journal Entry #3 by Stephen Reynolds

In ten years I plan to be done with college. I plan on having a beautiful wife and a very nice house  to live in. As for what I want to do for a living, I would like to be a teacher for Physical Education or Geography. I would also want to be an assistant Varsity Soccer Coach and a head Varsity Hockey Coach. I would want to be teacher and coach in a nice town with cool and and respectful people. I want to teach and coach so they get smarter and better at learning and sports. I also plan to have kids in the future. I hope that my kids will play soccer and hockey and maybe I could coach them someday. The kind of town or city I would like to do my job in would hopefully be a town or city as big as Willmar or just a little smaller or a little bigger. I would also like to teach for one town not a whole bunch of towns, just one town.  A town that has a great community and place where my children can meet good and nice friends. I would like to do all of this for twenty or more years, and work with other teachers in a great school that gives you a lot  of respect. I would do this for whatever school district gives me the best offer and do my best at whatever the school district wants me to do. That is what I would like to do in ten years or more.

I have no doubt Stephen would have not only made a great teacher and coach but more importantly he would have been a fabulous dad. He loved playing with Alex and all of the neighbor kids. They would play whiffle ball and football all day. He was so patient and just liked getting out and play whatever sport just to be outside.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Past Journals

Darla found some of Stephens old journals that that he wrote in 9th grade. There will be 3 that I will share with all of you over the next few days. They will let you get to know him just a little better. I am publishing the exactly the way he wrote these.

This one is simply titled Journal 1.

I have a lot of friends, but if I had to choose one of my friends it would have to be Ben Lietch. He is my best friend because we have so much in common. He likes to do the same activities that I do. We both play hockey and so we practice together with each other. Whenever, I go to house or he comes to my house we never argue on what to do. He also likes to watch sports on T.V. So in the summertime we watch the Twins and in the winter we watch hockey. We also like to help each other do our homework. I f one of us does get something the we would help.
Whenever we are at one of our houses we just hang out or play video games, watch TV, go on the computer, talk about sports or other things, or invite some more people to hang out with.
That is why Ben Lietch is my best friend and that is the things we like to do.

That is the first of three.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I was in a meeting with my insurance agent this past week who also used to be my neighbor when Stephen was a little boy up until we moved when Stephen when was 6 years old. Of course we talked about the shock of his sudden death and how sorry he was for our loss since he is a father of 2 boys himself. As we were talking about this I made the comment, "you can never prepare yourself for something like this"! He agreed and reiterated just how sorry he was for our loss.
Well I got thinking about this conversation and my comment about not being able to prepare yourself for an incident like this and I started reflecting about my faith as well as Stephens faith. As Christians we believe that our time on earth is a precursor to an eternity in heaven, so aren't we always preparing to for that day? I thought about this awhile and realized Stephen was preparing himself to enter the kingdom of heaven by his actions and deeds here on earth. Although we never know when that day comes we are taught to always prepare ourselves and be ready for the time the our Father calls us home. The book of John tells us in chapter 14:

John 14:1-4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

I believe that there must have been a room for Stephen as he was called home, his work here must have been done and he is on to a greater cause. Darla and I still go through the range of emotions from angry to sad and every emotion in between. The funny thing about the grieving process is that you cannot treat it like a check list. You cannot look at it and say; ok I am done being angry and I am on to denial or acceptance. This just does not work, just when you think you have met a milestone something takes you back to square one, just as you can go from square one to somewhere close to acceptance. I don't think Darla and I will ever fully excuse god from taking our Stephen away from us, robbing us of college graduation, career, wedding, grandchildren, and etc. However, since he is the only one that knows the "Whole Picture" I am sure he is ok with that. You cannot help but feel cheated, Stephen was cheated out of 60 or so years of living on this earth but as he prepared for eternity 60 years is a short time.
We will always be left wondering what could have been especially as we see classmates meeting these milestones in their lives. That is where anger and disbelief pop their heads back into your life. 
I know that I need to prepare myself for the day that I get reunited with Stephen by emulating the goodness that he did in his short time. I believe that God is holding him in the palm of his hand and that he is waiting there for all of us to rejoin him. 
Still there will not be a day while Darla and I are on this earth that we will stop thinking of Stephen, and yes the sting may lessen but I cannot believe that a tear won't be shed daily as well as smile thinking of number 7!
Missing you every day!


Friday, January 6, 2012

The power of one!

As I was driving home from New Prague yesterday I was looking at the picture of Stephen that I have on the dashboard and it got me thinking of the Power of One! I know many things have been written about the Power of One, but I was thinking more along the lines of how this applied to Stephen in his short life on earth.
My thoughts were taken back to all the school years and the acquaintances that pass through your lives and how some stick and some don't. Elementary friends sometimes do not equate to high school friends since many pursue what interests them and go their separate ways. However, there is always still a link that connects you throughout your life. We were reminded of this when Darla received a Facebook message from one of Stephens childhood friends describing a dream she had about Stephen. In her dream she stated that it was so real and she was talking to Stephen in her dream and towards the end as she said Stephen was walking away she called him back and asked if God was great and she said he smiled at her and said yes he was. To me this shows that we are surrounded by Stephens spirit each and every day!
Sorry, I got a bit off the subject of the Power of One. Not looking at Stephen as just one person but I look at how he touched others lives and how his relationship with others just kept multiplying. I think back to all the people we have met because of the activities Stephen was in. The sheer amount of people that have supported us and reached out to because of one young man is amazing.
Stephen truly epitomized the Power of One and how when treat others with respect and show that you care people will pay you back over and over again. So many are hurting over the loss of our son Stephen and we appreciate all the cards, letters, comments, and Facebook comments that everyone has shared with us, and even though we still shed tears of sadness we know that he is playing hockey in the Kingdom of Heaven and we will meet again.
I wonder what he would think of all of the things going on in the wide world of sports right now. His St. Louis Blues are playing well, the LSU Tigers are playing in the National Championship on Monday night so he would be excited. He would be speculating who the Minnesota Vikings should pick in the NFL draft. He may know things now that we don't.
Our family is committed to paying it forward in honor of Stephen, and we will always make sure his light shines brightly. Whether that is in the form of scholarships or other community projects that would reflect the true spirit that was Stephen Reynolds.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Getting you up to speed.

 This first blog is a little long but it takes you through the holiday's to last night. I will post on here often.

Well I finally got to writing a blog about our families journey without our precious son Stephen who passed away unexpectedly on November 29, 2011. We are devastated with his loss and left with many questions on why this happened. On a scientific note we still have not received and an official cause of death from the coroner which has caused some discomfort as we would like some closure to this. From a spiritual perspective we hold faith that God has called Stephen home because his work on earth is finished. As a family we struggle knowing that he had so much more here do on earth. Stephen was such a giving young man with a big heart and a kind soul. He had an infectious smile which was referred to many times throughout these past weeks. We miss seeing that smile at home because it always brightened our day.
These past weeks have opened our eyes to the goodness that surrounds us. Our friends, family, and community members have opened up their hearts to us. They have supported us with cards, kind words, and many visits just keeping an eye out for us. The hockey family has been so awesome to our family these past weeks and continue to amaze us with the outpouring of support. Our neighbors the Williams have been such special people. They have been over at our house with treats and support as well as beautiful shadowbox remembering Stephen. They designed the beautiful thank you cards for us and we know we can never repay them for all the love and kindness they have shown our family through this tough time. Their girls Sam, Sydney, and Reiley have also been great with Sam actually starting the Facebook Page "RIP Stephen Reynolds". It has been a nice place for people to put tributes and share memories.
We got through the holiday's, just ok. It wasn't great but it didn't suck either. On Christmas Eve we went to Darla's parents house like always and we did not deviate from that this year. The highlight was when Stephens little cousins opened the present that he bought them in September and had it in his closet. We wrapped it up and gave it to them. It was a floating disc that you pull behind a boat or watercraft. Stephen wanted to have another one at the lake so more kids could go at one time. There was not a dry eye in the house but it was a very special time for us all knowing that his spirit was with us. Christmas Day we had at our house as we normally do but there was a huge hole that will not ever be filled. At the gift opening it was not very festive but we got through it. I gave Darla a nice Emerald Pendent which represents Stephens birthstone for May. She wears it daily and it helps remind Darla of Stephen as she goes on with her day.
Everyone has been wonderful to us from bringing out food, visiting with us, helping with anything that we need and we are just so grateful. Thursday the 29th of December was a big night for our family. It was the 1 month anniversary of Stephens passing but it was also the night of the Stephen Reynolds Alumni Hockey Game at the Willmar Civic Center. Stephens game brought tears to our eyes. They figure the crowd to have been over 600 people. What a sight it was seeing the student section full also. There were many faces there that normally do not watch hockey games and what a night it was. I need to thank Tom and Travis Hanson for spearheading this, as well as Kevin Madsen for donating the ice time and having the staff on hand to take care the operational side, Jeff Melby owner of Play it Again Sports for providing the jersey's for the game. All which had the number 7 on the back honoring Stephen who wore number 7. 30 players who all played at one time with Stephen participated in the event and the 2 teams were coached by all of Stephens former coaches. Also, we would like to thank the Willmar Boys Hockey Coach Dan Tollefson for making this happen, plus all of his support from retiring his number this year to leaving his locker space empty. The Willmar Cardinals have been an awesome source of strength for us. Finally, we would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped make this a success. Last night we were presented a check for over $4000 that was raised that night.
Our plan is to start a foundation in Stephens name to provide scholarship opportunities and other support to the community for causes that Stephen would support. I will write more about this as we put this together.
We miss him every day and we will never forget him, and we are constantly reminded the we are surrounded by his presence. I will keep you all up to date on the progress of Stephens foundation which does not have an official name but look for exciting news coming up in the weeks and months to come.

God Bless,