Garret and Jennifer Jones

Garret and Jennifer Jones
Garrett and Jennifer Jones

Monday, June 27, 2011

And She Will Live Happily Ever After

After a physically (and mentally) exhausting day, I'm back home. I eat a bite, and decide to check FB. (Interruption: I won't be posting M-W cause I wont get home till 11:00 or later, and I will hit the sack immediately) And there's this personal message to me from an individual that, as a result of our journey has, thru God, for the last three weeks, successfully kicked a cocaine habit and turned their life over to Christ. I could add nothing to this post that would be any more thoughtful or insightful than re-posting her story, with names changed. I want ya'll to see that your prayers for us are not going unheard. For stories like this just lighten our load so much, and give meaning to Jenn's and Garretts passing.

Please pray for Christine: here's her story

■Hey, Frank! I've decided to tell you my story now, which though it may not be interesting, it comes completely from my heart. I'm fifty years old and started using drugs thirty five years ago. Twenty three years ago, I thought maybe shooting up cocaine would be a grand idea. Well, from the day I started I became hooked. I went to see our preacher, Brother Duke (some called him Brother Buck) at Fairfield Highlands Baptist to seek help and advice for my addiction. That was about twenty years ago. He told me cocaine was my "lover" and had taken full control of me. He compared it to a spouse you put first in your life. He was correct in that I chose coke over sex, food and even people.

I prayed for so long, so many times. Crying out and asking God to please help me before my kids watched me have a heart attack one night after getting high. I didn't mention I'm three hundred and fifty pounds which doesn't help when you're doing coke. I live with my parents (in their 80's) in (city deleted) along with both my daughters. Kelly's twenty and Karen is twenty five. Kelly's the one who went to school with Garrett since first grade. She and I share a bedroom and are very close.

With no end in sight with my addiction, I began to wonder if God had truly deserted me. I am, in fact, just an ant in the scheme of things. I believe and KNOW there is a God, just couldn't figure out why he wouldn't help me not have cravings for coke. Then, April twenty seventh came along. When ever Kelly would come home from school, she would get me some coke and bring it home. So, whatever she said from the time she walked in the door until I quit getting high, really went in one ear and out the other. She told me about Garrett, his story and asked me to pray for him and his family. I did pray, I just did it because she asked me to. So, it kind of got to be a daily ritual. She came home and watched me get high while keeping me up to date with Garrett the whole time. One day, I thought to myself "why does she keep bringing him up all the time"? I got my answer in June sixth. To back up, on the fifth (Garrett's home going) I was on FB and saw your picture under friend suggestions. I knew who you were immediately because you honestly look just like you did thirty seven years ago. (you're welcome! lol) I was so excited to see you and had hoped you'd add me so I could write you this happy message saying "hello".

You did add me around ten a.m. on the sixth. I was on FB, saw the notification and went to your page and was actually smiling and anticipating pushing the message button to write you. When I got on, I glanced down and saw a lot of people posting on your wall. I stopped and looked at it. Well, it took me about thirty seconds until I realized I was reading a nightmare and a parents worst fear.All this time Kelly was talking about Garrett and I never knew he was your son. My heart sunk, and I remember I was crying so hard I couldn't even breathe right. Frank, I felt God's presence like I never remember feeling it in my life. I can't explain it, but he was making me read all of this and he guided me to a few days before the tornado to give me some perspective of you and what was going on in your life.

It took me over an hour to read because I was reading everything word you wrote slowly to soak it all in. The closer I got to the fifth, the harder I cried. I started hurting in my body and began getting sick. God was healing me and I was throwing up all the poison in my body. (That's what I believe anyway) By the time I read your last blog, my life had changed and this is what I believe. If you and your wife can go through losing not one, but two of your children and didn't turn to drugs, then why in the world was I using it? I had no excuse whatsoever. I've read everything on Garrett's page to get a sense of who he is what he likes, dislikes and in general who he really is. (not gonna talk about him in the past tense.) After all, this was the man who helped save my life. Though it may sound melodramatic, I know without a shadow of a doubt that if he hadn't have gone to be with God, I never would have even been phased and I never would have stopped using. Thankfully, for whatever reason I may never know, God has given me another chance to be a "real mom". I have an incredibly long journey ahead of me and not even sure how much time I have left in this world. I know that I have picked my bible up, dusted it off and now read with enthusiasm that I never even knew I had. I stopped the coke that fateful day I read your blogs and I now pray so many times a day that I couldn't even count.

Garrette means so much to me and I've told him "thank you" and even talk to him everyday. I wish I could have given him one hug...just one. What you're going through is something I cannot begin to imagine. I pray for you and your family everyday and will continue to till the day I die. All I can say is thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and I will be eternally grateful. Sorry this was so long, didn't plan it that way.

I love you, my brother in Christ!
Frank here: I've edited out many complimentary things she wrote, but you get the jest of it. God has come into this Mom as the result of each prayer offered up for us. I thank you from the botom of my heart! I'lll be back Thursady, but I'll read when I can

Sunday, June 26, 2011


The day started out innocent enough. I had plans to try to clean the back yard up as best I could in a day, because next weekend brings friends and family in for the holiday weekend to eat and use our pool like it's meant to be used. Janell was going to tackle the inside and start trying to make a dent in 8 weeks of throwing stuff here and there, misplaced items and just plain ole elbow grease. Things ground to a sudden halt when she discovered, on the chest freezer in the laundry room, Garretts Easter basket that the Easter Bunny always fills and he has yet to come get. The same one we brought him home in 25 years ago on Easter Sunday weighing a whopping 4 lbs. We both lost it. Then, after trying to regain some sense of dignity, we briefly discuss some plans we're making for between now and Christmas. We've got t oremove and store the baby furniture when Logan (now 1) gets to where he can sleep in a big boy bed, cause Janell's antique bedroom suite is at her mom's and must come back home after 25 years away. It's then she remembers that because Kevin and Marlo will have no more kids, theres no use saving it the baby furniture for Jennifer's and Garretts, as was the plan. Here we go again. Then as we go to another room to make some headway, there are the baby clothes of Ethan & Logan we saved for our next one. And a huge stuffed duck that we planned to give J&G's first boy because of a silly picture we had made of Garrett wearing a litte baby outfit that he wore that had a duck bill on a hat. He hated it, but Kevin' has used the picture for blackmail. Here comes the rain again. But finally, one of the grandkids arrive early, as they're both going to spend the night tonight. And then a little humor (sarcasm) lightens the day. While I'm outside blowing off the concrete deck around the pool, I accidently drop my running gas blower in the pool, and have to jump in after it. Funny, but it's not running when I get my hands on it near the drain. Come on God, I could have used at least one miracle! What this day has done, has made me long for, pray for and beg for the Rapture to happen real soon. Like before Christmas. Because I don't think when we pull out our boxes of decorations that hold their childhood ornament creations with their names and/or pictures on them, that have lovingly adorned every tree for the last 27years, in about 5 months, that their will be enough Kleenex boxes to suffice. Maybe we just won't put away the beach towels.
I'll be back.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just a Peek

Well, Frank's Scribbling 101 time again. I've been thinking of what I should write about, and yet nothing "comes" to me. We will just see where this goes. My day starts at 6:00 when I wake up, brush my teeth, and go sit in my chair in the living room. Sometimes I read God's Word, but most times I just pray. I try to clear out (confess) anything that would keep Him from hearing me, and then try to hear from Him. But most days I just talk to Him. A lot of days, I still ask "Why Jennifer & Garrett?". I still ask, "Why my family". I really want to know the answer, which still has not been made known to me in clear unmistakeable terms. Some days, I can't get but just a few minutes in 'til I start crying. I have my moments during the day, too. A debtor (I work for a Christian Law firm that does collections) will make some remark about how tough life is and that I probably know nothing about that since I'm "working". I just have to swallow hard and ask God to help them, so I can be successful at my job, and fight every temptation to fire back words of self pity and anger. Sometimes, I want to God to just stop the world for one minute and answer my questions!. But then I think of those who not only lost loved ones, but must rebuild their lives, homes and futures around that loss. I don't have to "rebuild" anything. I just have to work really hard on understanding that Jenn and Garrett are together, just as they would want it. They don't have to worry about the world, the economy, the lack of morals and leadership in this country, the murder of the unborn, getting our men and women home from foreign soil. I have to be concerned with making sure Kevin knows I'm there for him; that he, Marlo, Ethan and Logan and Janell know they are the most important thing in this world to me. My answers will come when He is ready to let me know them. But man, does it still hurt! No deep philosophical eyeopeners here tonight, folks. I don't have the intense emotions driving my writings like I did in the hospital. Just a small peek at the internal neural workings of my feeble brain.
On the more humorous side, I'll be singing at Calera Baptist Church Sunday evening. Don't know yet the time or how many selections, but they've graciously invited me to join their ice cream party and singing already scheduled. Hope the music is before their ice cream. I wouldn't want to be responsible for anyone "losing their cool". LOL

I'll be back.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hide me Behind the Cross

Rather than writing anything original tonight, I wanted to share the lyrics to a song recorded by Gold City Quartet. They are powerful within themselves, but I've included the link for you to hear them sing it themselves. I've not been able to locate the author, even though I have the store bought solo track w/ the original sleeve and all, it's not printed anywhere on it. I hope it speaks to you as much as it does to me. It says one of the things I've tried to say for the past few weeks.

Verse 1

Lord as I seek to serve You,
May You find in me what's pleasing to Your heart.
I leave my will at Calvary,
Taking on a nature humbled by Your scars.
For I know it's only through Your love,
That who I am is hidden by Your grace.
Let my desires be overshadowed,
As I recall the purpose of that place.

Hide me behind the cross,
Where my gains become as loss.
And only Your glory is in view. Your power will be revealed
The more that I am concealed.
Hide me behind the cross
So the world sees only You.
Verse 2
If I rely on my strength
To be a source of hope for those in need,
The only profit I would gain
Would be the empty honor of my deeds.
But with all of self behind Your cross,
The splendor of Your love stands free to shine.
Illuminating with Your power,
Reaching souls so You alone are glorified.
Be Blessed! I'll be back.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When You Least Expect It

I'm beginning to feel like the lady that writes Harry Potter series. She knows everyone is waiting for her next saga or volume. I don't say that braggingly, just kindy scary. I don't even know what I'll scribble, much less have a title yet, so that will come when I finish.
Two days back at work, and it's going easier than I thought, thanks to the prayers of everyone. Yes, I had forgotten so many of the codes and "next steps" that I thought I knew, but it all got compessed into a small micro-chamber of my grey mass and I'll be dog-goned if I could pull it back out at will. Patience, Frank patience.
Blessings should be recognized, first and foremost to Him who sends them. But also to those who have been praying for them to come to those in need. I share this with you, just to show you how God provides. I've already cried over it so maybe now I can write it. The law firm that I sought out for help was so incredibly kind and considerate when we first contacted them for help in getting legal rights to make decisions, both medical and financial, for Garrett while he was incapacitated. They would not let me pay them for their services. Well, when things moved to a level that we had hoped they wouldn't, all the previous work was for naught and we had to start over. I this time insisted on covering "expenses", and they reluctantly agreed to let us. We were not sure what this would come to, but simply trusted God. And paid for it when it came time, through the generous gifts of so many of you. This afternoon an old aquaintance who Ive not heard from in some time, came to our house, unannounced, and met me in my driveway. He and his wife shared his concern and prayers for us, handed me a card and said his church just wanted to help us in some small way. I thanked them both, hugged his neck and went back inside to other "company" who was there. At supper, I opened the card, read a very sweet message from the church, and inside another envelope was a check that replaced what we had paid the attorneys, to the penny. So, thank you, our friends at Concord Baptist Church, 99.9% of whom I don't even know, but are brothers and sisters in Christ. You had no way of knowing, but God sent a powerful message through you tonight.
I'll be in revival service Sunday morning (and M-W nights) just 20 minutes south of Montgomery. If there is a church around there or between Montgomery and Birmingham, who would like a small message in music Sunday night, I'll be available and it won't cost you a penny (not that anybody should ever pay for a "shower singer"). Just get in touch with me through this media, or
I'll be back.


 Frank here: As I have stated before, these posts are strictly done on my own. I don't know that Kevin has read any of them, and Janell doesn't do FB so I doubt she has seen any. So these thoughts that I try to convey are just that, my thoughts. My wife and son deal with this nightmare in their own ways, but rest assured, they are both Christians. Sometimes they wish I'd just keep quiet because I tend to talk way too much. So this way I can "talk" and if they don't want to "hear" me, they don't have to. I'm sure all of you know people like me that can't shut up. But they are very appreciative of all the prayers and kind words, because I do convey to them everyone's best wishes. Love to everyone! 8-)


I knew when I was 12 years old that I wanted to be involved somehow with church music. My mom says when I was three years old, I would stand beside her on the pew and wave my arms when the music director was directing. She knew then that I would be in music. Since the age of 4 i have been in some kind of choir or audition group, as some of you that grew up with me know so well. So I have always felt "called" to be in church music. For 15 years I strictly did supply and interim  services (fill-ins for lay people) and stayed very busy doing that, because there was a great need for it. Then in 1989 I went to Sandusky FB to "fill-in" till they could find some one. I've been filling in for 21 years. But I was called to Sandusky by God and it was very clear to me it was His will. But SFB did not have a youth program, and my three sons were heavily involved at Cottage Hill Baptist, so we decided to be a split family on Sundays and Wed's. And though I've never regretted it, it was very hard on me mentally. But I knew I was where God wanted me.
Over the last 2 or 3 years though, I have been restless and have asked God many times to open a door for me to go and minister to another congregation if it was His will. Even allow me the honor of spreading His word in a solo ministry or with a Southern Gospel group. Our demographics have changed in the area, and our church is steadily declining. But I was also feeling ashamed that Brandon had seen such a response to his  3 1/2 yr ministry, and 38-40 years for me had never really shown anything, in my opinion. I really wanted to continue telling Brandon's story as he had done, but maybe adding some of my music library with it. But again, no doors have been opened for that either. I write all this to say that so many of you have commented that possible avenues of different ministry could be in my future. I'll just ask that every once in a while, when God puts this undeserving servant on your mind, just ask Him to make His plan clear to me, to open doors where He sees fit, and spell it out to this dumb ole geezer. Although I had asked for a ministry similar to Brandon's because I wanted to make a difference in the Kingdom, I never meant for Him to do it under these circumstances. I would have been very happy just spreading Brandon's amazing journey. I guess you better be careful what you ask for. I don't ask for suggestions, pats on the back or any acclaims. Just a prayer now and then that I stay in His will.

(Posted Sun. June 19 @11:19pm on Frank's FB page. Sorry, having computer probs.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

From One Father to Others and Friends

As I sit here and dwell on the fact that I will be facing a Father's Day this year just like I did in 2001 (for Brandon went home on June 10th), I have been forever touched by a message forwarded to me that a father out there in FB land, has accepted Christ as his Saviour, as a result of my ramblings and scriblings. And I realize that there may be some other Dads who have kept up with our journey through a wife or reading on their own, but yet may not know the assurance that I know that I will see my loved ones, especially my daughter -in law and 2 sons, again. And sooner than a lot of people may think.
I hope that it, the reality of seeing them again is a promise from God, was made plain and simple in the funeral service of Garrett. But if there are those dads or others reading, who do not have that assurance inside, may I share with you briefly how you may receive it.
Before the beginning of time, there was God the Father, God the son (- Jesus was his earthly name), and God the Holy Spirit. When God decided to create man, in His image, Adam was that man. And after him, God created Eve. But because of their disobedience to God, sin came into the world. Prior to that act, man walked had with God in the Garden of Eden. But no longer could that be. Man was eternally separated from God, because God cannot and will not co-exist with sin. As a result of this separation, physical and spiritual death had occurred and God's heart was heavy, because He loved us so much after having created us. The only way for us to ever join Him in Heaven, required that someone who had never, ever siinned,  pay for the sins of all mankind. And God the Son, was implanted in Mary's womb, supernaturally, and lived a perfect, sinless life for 33 1/2 years. Then, when the divinely appointed time came for Him to die for us, at our hands, he was crucified on a cross. But just as He had promised his followers, on the 3rd day after His death, He overcame death, hell and the grave by coming back to life and returning back to His Father in Heaven. The price for sin, which we all have been cursed with, is eternal separation from God in a real place called Hell. And yes it is real. People ask how can a loving God send people to Hell?. The answer is that He does not send man to Hell, He allows man to choose for himself, if he will serve Satan or God. Your choice determines where you will spend eternity. If you will, in a prayer, admit to Him that you are a sinner, (we all are!), that you believe Jesus did all this for you, and that you want Him to live in your heart and let Him guide you in the path that God wants you to walk in, the you too will enjoy the promise of eternal life.
Now, as you can see from my own testimony, You are not promised a rose laden path to Heaven. But God promises to never leave you or forsake you, and promises that He'll get you through lifes heartaches and pains. And one day, whether it is through the valley of death, or in the Rapture when Jesus returns to take us all home (which I personally believe is before this worlds great tribulation and Armagedon), you will spend eternity with Him and with all who make that decision before it's too late.
I hope this all makes sense to those who read it, but I would not be doing justice to Brandon's, Garrett's and Jennifer's memory and lives if I failed to present this to all who read or keep up with my writings.
I'll be back.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Back Home Again

Well, we're back home again, got to see both grandsons this afternoon and still have the 1 yr old to spend the night with us. Stayed very busy while we were gone. The intent was to get R&R, but it wound up being how much entertainment could we pack into 3 full days. Big Mistake!. It kinda kept our mind off of things, but in the interim, wore us out. Dumb idea Frank.
I have caught up with the prayer requests on Garrett's Prayer Page and it is amazing how this idea from Janis has mushroomed. I'm still having issues with this whole series of events and the good that is supposed to come from all this. I understood how 9/11 brought together a nation in prayer, but why did it cost thousands of lives to accomplish it? I understand how God has used my thouights and cries to bring Christians together for a common purpose, but why did it require the lives of my precious daughter-in-law and #3 Son ( I called him that sometimes and he always signed my Fathers Day cards that way.......)? I'm feeling very selfish lately, and a lot poorer. They say a man's fortune is his family. And I've lost half of my fortune. I'm very grateful for the old and new friends I've been blessed with, schoolmates and past aquaintances that I've heard from that I never really thought would remember me. And yet, I feel this loss so much harder than Brandon's. Over 4 years, we knew that his cancer had never had a survivor. But still, it was four years. This 5 1/2 weeks of small baby steps forward and big steps backward, The Garrett Coaster, has really taken a toll.
I tried to do "It Is Well", 10 years ago at Brandon's funeral. And I've tried to do it every year since on his homegoing anniversary. I'll be a week late this Sunday, but not time to break a tradition. I also start revival services at Steep Creek Baptist church, (about 20 miles south of Montgomery) on Sunday the 29th, morning service only, then M-W at 7:00. (Yes I leave work at 4:00 and drive down each night). This an annual engagement and if you're close to that neck of the woods, come see us. I'll be heading back to work this Monday. Hope you're all in church this Sunday, and please talk with your Dad, if possible.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

6 1/2 days in Heaven

Today started out with me saying goodbye tto my sister Stephanie and B-I-L Jack, from North Carolina. They've been staying with us since Tueasday, and a big help they've been. We then took the day and went to the river where Kevin's in-laws live, and spent the day on a pontoon boat with Kevin, Marlo and the grandsons, and some family friends. Then Kevin and I spent some time together pretending to be fishing, (i'm sure the fish were amused) but more importantly talking. He opened up and we talked about the past few weeks. It meant so much to me for him to share with me, because as I've told most of you, I've been talking through my computer. He has a lot of "Martin" in him (though he has my O+ blood), and that makes him a lot like Janell. Which means he will deal with this severe bruise of life mostly on his own. But he will overcome.
As the day went on, and we were cruising down the river, my heart did start aching to know that Jenn *& Garrett should have been there; to realize that Logan and Ethan will not know their Uncle Garrett and Aunt Jennifer; to realize that Garrett won't be taking advantage of our pool after 140 degree days on top of buildings working on AC units; That our "swapping neck massages won't continue (my neck is a 22" and his was about a 20" and Janell's hands couldn't do that for us any more due to joint problems); thinking ahead to the holidays when we will now hang 3 monogrammed stockings with nothing in them. But I do have two wonderful grandsons, a great daughter-in-law, a very special tough as rawhide son, and of course, my helpmate and best friend. I'm still blessed.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fri., June 10

Frank's Ink Well

(There was a question posed about continuing the Facebook Prayers for Garrett page, and the possibility of making it a list of prayer requests or what.)

Frank here:  I will bow to Janis on this subject. She is the one who set this up and maintains it. I'm just dangerous on the computer. This page worked for Garrett. No, he's not still with us. But the longer he's gone, the more convinced I am that he was hurting, though unconcious (?), for Jenn. I know the Garrett we knew before the storm would not have been the Garrett we would have taken home. No way. Jenn had consumed his personal life, as she should have. But this prayer page has worked because God blessed it to become more than anything Janis or I ever imagined. I owe a lot of folks, my prayers for them and with God's help, I think it will bring me healing as well.

Celebration Day

Frank sang at Garrett's funeral, just as he sang at Brandon's funeral 10 years ago, and at Jennifer's funeral, almost 4 weeks ago. It was beautiful, and I don't know how he did it.  He sang "The Shepherd's Point of View", the same one he did for Jennifer's family at her funeral.  Todd, Vic and Dr. Parker all spoke, making us chuckle sometimes, making us tear up sometimes, but always comforting us. At the graveside, both Jennifer's parents, and Garrett's parents released doves into the air, signifying the freedom of these two souls now in heaven. Garrett was buried next to his precious wife.

Here are Frank's words:

Eleven Hours since we closed  the casket. Eleven hours since I sang my final time for Tiny Man. The chapel was full, just about SRO. Garretts co-workers, Leonard family and Leonard family friends, Jones family and our friends, all there to support us and the Leonards, and to say goodbye to Tiny Man. But I told Kevin standing beside Garrett, "Son,  don't tell your brother good-bye. Just tell him 'See ya' soon". For ten years (this week), not a day goes by that I don't think about Brandon, with some days worse than others. Time has helped ease the pain, but you never get over it, you just get through it. And such will be the next ten, if the Lord taries His coming. But as I told Kevin, the rapture is coming soon.  All of these natural disasters are, I believe, the world groaning, just as it did when Christ was crucified. So Garrett may not be safe from hearing his old man singing for long!
The house has been full of family and friends since 1:00. It's 10:30 and the last ones to leave were Kevin, Marlo and the grandsons. (Ethan-3 yrs, and Logan - 1yr.) Boy, it was sure good to get to spend some time with them! PawPaw (the other grandad) has really chalked up some points over the last few weeks, as I've been pre-occupied, so I've got to regain some ground. Anyone got a pony for sale? Not sure that I'll go back to work next week, thinking I'll try to continue to rest as much as life allows, and try to rebuild stamina, both mentally and physically.
I don't know that anything I'll have to say from now on will even be worth typing, compared to the last few weeks when my best friend was the computer. It's back to living one day at a time, sprinkled with a few tears, hopefully some smiles, and a lot of prayers. Special thanks to Gwen Rushing ??????? for driving back from Knoxville today just to tell me she loves me and is remembering us. She did not find out until yesterday of our Garrett Coaster. (read entire journey at Goodnight Tiny Man. War Eagle.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Visitation Day

Wow! We were really thinking that we might get to leave a little early tonight, since we started visitation at 5:00. But oh my goodness!. I believe by 9:15, when we got to leave, there must have been 400-500 people come through. When they opened the doors at 5:00, the line was immediately from the front all the way thru the back of the chapel, and out through the foyer, and back 300 feet to the front door. Faces not seen in many years. And so many had aged, sure glad I haven't!Some guys could really use some Grecian Formula! I look the same to me in the mirror. Friends going back 50 years! And customers that Garrett had serviced not only sent flowers but came to pay their respect. I heard so many times how Garrett was the most liked service person of any company they deal with. And genuine tears of sorrow, hugs of compassion and genuine concern for our family. His co-workers all came though. My chiropractor has his work cut out to realign my right hand! For those who said they would be there in spirit, thank you too. My right hand thanks you. And un-biblically speaking, my right hand told my left hand what was going on. Thanks to you all seems so inept and plain, but its all I know to say.

11:00 AM Friday is coming too soon. And around 11:05, I'll sing for my son a final time. This will be a little different from the wailing he used to hear coming from the shower on Sunday mornings. And it will be no comparison to the songs and voices he's hearing coming from Heaven's choir loft. Hope God lets him listen in, along with Jennifer, Brandon, JayMomma & Pop. The Rapture can't come too soon for me! ( I heard I missed the rehearsel a couple of weeks ago!) Even so, Lord Jesus, Come.

54 Hours In Heaven

2:00 pm
 Frank here: I hope everyone understands that the journalism of the last 5 1/2 weeks does come from MY heart. I'm not repeating or pretending to speak for Janell and Kevin, they can do that very well themselves. I just tried to share a fathers journey through the deepest valley there could ever be. Thanks for all the kind words!
11:55PM   Added confession:
Sunday morning, after Garrett had taken his first breath in 3 weeks on his own, in Heaven, we left his room for the staff to clean him up and call us back in to spend time with him. When I returned to that room, the scene completely overwhelmed me and I lost all composure. I had to sit, because the pain was taking my breath away just as it had his. I realized that all the times I had walked into that room previously, the monitors, the ventilator, the Nitric Oxide infuser, the pumps delivering medicine right down to the hum of the pump inflating his special matress had actually been "delivering" life to Garrett. And had in turn, given me a false sense of security. Now suddenly the stark reality that he was without aide and was no longer in that body, just flooded my entire body. I say this to encourage everyone to not take life for granted, but also don't assume that false sense of security that "hey, I walked the aisle when I was 10 years old and was baptized, so I'm a Christian". The going to church, being in a choir, tithing, reading your Bible and all the other monitors and ventilators and pumps in your life can give you a false sense of security. Please examine your relationship with Christ. And when you get past all the "aides", is Christ really inside or is it just a ventilator keeping you going?
Not sure of when my next post will be. But I hope this had made sense. Love to all of you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mon. June 6

40 Hours in Heaven

Sorry about just now posting, but Our day started early, as we have tried to tend to finacial matters, legal matters, and funeral arrangements. About the latter, Garrett is being taken care of by Rideouts Southern Heritage Funeral Home, Hiway 119 and I-65, in Pelham. Visitation will be Wed. evwening 5-8PM and service will be in their chapel at 11:00 Thurs. morning.
I have no wanderings, words of wisdom ( from me?), or even dreams to convey this evwening. Just a fried mind, wore out - out of shape ole geezers body, and struggling with the question: What do you do with 2 deli trays, A huge pan of lasagna and another of tossed salad, 3 loaves of bread, 2 half cakes, 2 gallons of vegetable soup w/cornbread and 2 people in the house that can't have starches or sugar, and ONE refrigerator trying to go on the blink. And my repairman just left for Heaven. Theres got to be a way to make some greenbacks off of this. Maybe a deli-sandwich stand on the corner of Brooklane and Novel. Not to mention the leftover 97 packs of varied stuffed crackers, peanuts and trail mix we've lived off of for 5 weeks and brought home Sunday. Where's Richard Simmons when you need him? Goodnight everybody (or good morning as the case may be.~~ Frank

Sunday, June 5, 2011

15 Hours in Heaven

As I think back on the homegoing of Garrett, I still yearn to know the good that God promises "all things work together for". Maybe it was uniting folks of different backgrounds, communities, nationalities or beliefs. Maybe it was all for my own growth. Maybe it was to polish me for some higher calling to come on my life, even a new career. Maybe it was to put a renewed meaning and feeling to the Southern Gospel Songs I try my best to present in service or concert. Maybe it was simply to reinforce that I am no one special in the kingdom just because I'm a music director. All I know is that for some reason, my feelings, thoughts, doubts and fears, mixed up with my faith, my years of being taught God's Word and the knowledge I was not riding that coaster alone, may have helped one person come to Christ. Since Brandon's passing ten years ago June 10th, I have always felt so inferior in my forty years of music ministry compared to the 3 1/2 years he had. We quit counting souls he won for Christ at 400. I can only say I helped lead my 3 sons to Christ. So if you are one who has been led to trust Christ as your Saviour thru The Garrett Coaster, look me up after the rapture. Hopefully my mansion will be next door to Garretts and Brandons on War Eagle Avenue. More on funeral arrangements later. Will probably be at Rideouts Southern Heritage on Wed or Thurs morning, but nothing definite.~~ Frank

Sunday, June 5

5:30 am

Just spoke with the night nurse. Most of his stats remain unchanged, but the critical Blood Oxygen level has droppped again. He is now at 36. This is approaching that level that will most surely cause damage in all people unless protected by Gods hand. I am thankful that when I finish this update, there will be hundreds, possibly thousands who will join me in petitioning our Lord Jesus to intercede and bring his level back up. 40 is needed and a 50 would be exciting. Heavenly Father, Garrett is in your Mighty Hands. And as simply and as earnestly as I know how, I ask you raise his Oxygen level to a more healthy one and I ask it through the name above all other names, my Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Still Expecting a Miracle.

7:15 am

Stephanie here. Frank called. At 6:56am, God united Garrett and Jennifer again, this time forever.

Frank said to thank you all so much for your prayers and support.

This from me: please continue to pray for us. Thank you.

11:00 AM
We have healing, At 6:56 this morning, God united Garrett and Jennifer for the 2nd time in 9 months. This time, it's eternal. I never thought this day would come. Honestly, I did not believe it would happen. But as I sit here in the waiting room, waiting for them to clean him up, I'm reminded of the Southern Gospel song, I've Got More To Go To Heaven For Than I Had Yesterday". When you think about it, Brandon, Jennifer and Garrett all got to Heaven on the same day, eternally speaking. Because a day is as a thousand years.
We've made no arrangements yet, except that he and Jennifer will be side by side. All other arrangements will be posted later. To Darra, Janis, my sister Stephanie and Mark Weldon, my best friend next to Janell, thank you all for being there night or day. Words fail me right now, but thank you. For the thousands that have lifted us up, God bless you. For the staff of UAB TRAUMA ICU, we will never be able to thank you enough for giving so much of yourselves for our son during this journey.
And Lord, haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
For the trump shall resound, and my Lord will descend,

The roller coaster has stopped. War Eagle, Tiny Man. You won! Miracle Delivered.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sat. June 4

9:15 am Update
Another uneventful evening. Garretts blood oxygen is hovering around the 40% range, which is still dangerously low for organ damage, but not as bad as it has been. Carbon dioxide is creeping up (not good), and pH could use some improvement. Visint hours for Garrett are 9AM, 4PM and 8PM if you would like to go back to see him. Almost every day we are there from around 10Am till 10PM, but one of us (prob Janell) may leave for a birthday party today. Expecting a Miracle. More Later

3 PM update

Wow. At 2:45 Wednesday, I posted how the doctor told us it wouldbe hours, or a day or two at best. Uhh, excuse me Satan, kinda losing the battle right now aren't you! I think I am slowly beginning to see glimpses of what the Holy Spirit meant when I kept hearing "Behold the Mighty Hand of God", a few weeks ago. Oh, I'm well aware of the graveness of Tiny Mans condition, I still live in reality. But I also live in mercy and grace. Which interpreted means, Garretts still here. Sitting alone in the waiting room, I'm able to listen and watch other people just beginning their journeys and crisees, and can sometimes discerne where their hope lies. Fear is a strong and fiery dart, and the shootist is amply loaded. But maybe, just maybe, God has told him that he can't have Garrett's life just like Job's was hands off. We're post 72 hours and no real changes either way. Sure wish I knew the game plan. But I have read the back of The Book and we win. I guess we're in halftime. War Eagle, Tiny Man! Remember that comeback last November.

Everything is still stable at garrett Coaster Central. Expecting a Miracle.

9 PM update
I have about 5 min of battery left, so this will be quick. No change in his stats. Still expecting a miracle. And thanking everyone for praying for him and the staff and us, at 8:00 Central. I've been instructed by my pastor to be here in the morning, not at church, so I will obey. General visitation is at 9AM, 4PM and 8PM for one hour and we would love for anyone who wants to, to visit and pray by his bedside. WE will probably be here around 9-10 AM till very late. Sweet dreams Tiny Man, Daddy loves you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fri. June 3

9:15 am

Not much to report again from Garett Coaster Central. An un-eventful night is welcome. His oxygen level remains low but the carbon dioxide level is rising which is not good. But this comes with the territory of ARDS. I pray by his bedside everytime I go in that God would heal him and raise him up. Healing will come if he's called home, but I prefer heal and raise up.
His Prayers for Garrett Jones FB page has crossed the 4,000 mark and climbing. Where is Shaun Hannity when you need him? Shouldn't Fox News be reporting this? LOL, just kidding, Janis Hill and my sister Stephanie are doing a great job. There is also a Praying For Garrett if you want to read the history of this journey. I'm not sure I typed it correctly, but you'll probably be able to find it.
Expecting a Miracle, More later.......

6:15 PM
It is really good to be back in the mountains where its not so hot. Looking at the Little Pigeon River, and trying to decide if I go in and wade or .....wait a minute,.... sorry, I must have dozed off. Thankfully a quiet Saturday in room 9524. No real changes, positive or negative. Sure long for the positive. Actually sitting here watching my #2 grandson having fun in the waiting room. Good therapy for the mind. But still, Prayers continue amidst the beeps of the infusion machines, humming of the air bed, and chatter of the staff. all a reminder that the world continues to turn, when sometimes you wish you could actually reverse it's rotation and take us back 40 days because of what we know now that we didn't know then. I guess my mind is needing to to take a vacation, so my fingers are translating.
Thank you everyone for lifting us up. Please try to have a great weekend, and remember in your prayers, all the victims of tornadoes both here, and in Joplin, and California and Massachusetts.

10 PM Update
Janell and I sit here looking at each other, and trying to decide if either or both of us go home tonight, and do we both stay or one of us come back. Decisions, decisions. Our oldest grandsons 3rd b'day party is tomorrow in Pleasant Grove park at 2:00, so we have to decide if we both attend or not. But Garrett is doing his part. He has been steady for about 48 hours now, no major change either way. And my C-pap machine is at home, calling my name. So whatever way we decide, we hope all of you have a blessed night, and Tiny Man, we love you. Expecting a miracle!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wed., June 1


(It's been 5 weeks today since the Tornado struck and claimed Jennifer's life, and left Garrett in critical condition. There is now so much happening, I started a newer post so you wouldn't have to scroll all the way down "Week Five". If you've never read Garrett and Jennifer Jones' story, you can view the archives and click on the beginning. The words in italics are from Facebook entries, mostly from Garrett's dad, Frank.)
Hey everyone. The Dr. in chg talked to us this morning to tell us how critical Garretts situation is. They give him hours, a day or two at best. His condition has worsened such that the heart will soon be involved, if God does not And they have nothing else to offer if that happens. If he does flatline, we hav a DNR in place. But too many healings came on deathbeds in the Bible, so I'm still expecting a Miracle. Multitude of family & friends here. Love to all of you from the Jones Family. 

9:45 pm Wed.

Darra McCrorie just posted this a few minutes ago....I just talked to Frank and he will post in a few hrs. but he told me just to give a quick update on Garrett. His oxygen level is up from 37 to 42. Also his ph and carbon dioxide levels are moving in the right direction. Praise God!!!! God is listening. He is still very sick and we must not quit praying. Pray without ceasing.

10:45pm Wed.

Garretts condition continues to decline. His blood oxygen has decreased to  32 (fair level is 50, good = 60) which is not organ sustainable for any length of time. We are staying at the hospital tonight, just as we did last night. We realize that God can still step in and turn this whole thing around, but we also realize it may be His will that Garrett join Jennifer and his brother Brandon. I won't give up hope until He stops the heart. Our family cannot even begin to express or gratitude and love to all who have willingly joined us on this Garrett Coaster. We do know that Garrett is a Christian. I confirmed this with him when he could still communicate with us. I had to be 100% sure as his earthly father. Wherever this journey takes all of us, please know that you have been praying not only for our son and Kevins brother, but also for a brother in Christ. You are and have been sharing our burden, and we are at a loss for words to describe how you are touching us.
Still expecting a miracle.

Thurs. 6/2  9am update
Garrett's condition is still very critical. Oxygen stats have only shown micro improvement, and he's in a very dangerous range.  Blood pressure medicine is helping to keep his pressure up, and it's still a minute to minute, hour to hour situation.  We feel your prayers and are strengthened by them.

Thurs., 3pm
Aunt Stephanie here. I spoke with Frank about an hour ago; there have been no changes. The doctors are only checking arterial blood gases every 12 hours now, and we're not sure why, so oxygen updates are much less frequent than before. His blood pressure is holding okay with the meds he's on.

Frank and Janell have had a multitude of visitors today, so they are not alone up there, but Frank has not been able to get online to send out any updates--not that there is much to say right now, except to thank everyone for all their prayers and support. There are so many comments out there now, he is missing some of them, but wants you to know they are feeling the prayers lifting them up.

My personal opinion? We need to pray for each other, too, that we are given the wisdom to know what to ask for, and to stay strong ourselves in our resolve to "pray without ceasing", because You Know Who doesn't like prayer and will try to interfere any way he can. Please pray for the family and friends who drop everything to come be with Frank and Janell and Kevin and Marlo, who watch the kids or feed the dogs or bring snacks or bring an encouraging word or run errands.
And pray that the physicians and staff will stay strong and hopeful and vigilant in this fight, that they will find the resources they need to keep going.

Still praying for that miracle of Biblical proportions, Lord.

5pm update
Garrett went up just a little on his blood gas oxygen level, and we're so thankful for microsteps. But I believe the doctors are concerned about us putting too much emphasis on it so they aren't doing it as often. OK. If I need it I will make waves, and believe me this 2#@ lbs can make a wave! But we're being blessed with many visitors, many friends and family.

I understand a lot of folks don't know what ARDS is, so I'll try to briefly explain. The lungs are made up of air sacs, which gather oxygen and infuse it into the blood. Due to long exposure to the ventilator, and the irritation of the pneumonia and fluids in the lungs, these air sacs get calloused, for lack of a better word. They then become stiff and don't want to open and let oxygen in. And then this process just spreads across the surface of the lungs. This is now what we are fighting, and the doctors have done all they can do. We are also having trouble keeping his blood pressure up, so medication is being given for that. But it's just about maxed out as well.

Your prayers are what sustains us, and they are so needed and such a blessing to us. Thank you. Expecting a Miracle!

10:15pm Thurs.
Not much to report from North Pavillion 9th floor Trauma ICU. Garrett has had a couple events today where his blood pressure dropped a bit, but it was quickly restored, and the Garrett Coaster Continues. I'll take this short update to remind one and all of how much we have loved on and prayed for the staff up here. I've been told by staff people that our family has made a difference in how patients families are viewed, more so than any other family has. This is not blowing our horn, but showing to you the results of your prayers lifting US up. We are , unknowingly, ministering to them. So keep praying for them and Garrett, and us as you have been, and this will be added unto you