Garret and Jennifer Jones

Garret and Jennifer Jones
Garrett and Jennifer Jones

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mar. 18, 2014

This update is brought to you by XYZ Recliner corporation. That's how I'll spend my morning tomorrow, while getting my first dose of chemo. Hope it's one of those electric ones like in my living room where you can stop in any position, LOL. Seriously, just glad God's in control of all this. My speaking engagement Sunday night was awesome. I made 40 minutes speaking and singing one song. Invitatio...n time saw a full alter, and one young lady accepted Christ as her Savior! What an answer to prayer. If I never get another invite, God made this one so memorable! Alexis is our new sister in Christ, so be sure and pray for her. So you'll know, I am reinforcing my normal positive attitude with scriptures about how the tongue plays a role healing. Hopefully, if you see me and ask how I'm doing, I will respond "I am healing", or "I'm a survivor". I will try to post updates weekly or more often if I feel the need to. Please share with me any prayer request YOU have so I can spend some time praying for others. Thank you to everyone who has had a part in getting me to where God wants me. Until next time.

Mar. 15, 2014

Because some have expressed concern about it, I will share that I have sought a second opinion, and met with another oncologist yesterday (Friday). He uses St. Vincents should a hospital visit be required. I had a prayer partner with me when we met with the Dr. There was no doubt that God was in this because He was in the room with us. Two very specific concerns that Mark & I discussed over lunch 2 hours earlier, which he could not have known about, he addressed in a spiritual way. I actually looked at Mark and started crying. It was confirmation in a supernatural way. I am where God wants me to be.

March 14, 2014

Test Results are in and they aren't what we would have liked. I have an uphill battle. But my Father owns all the hills AND the valleys and He can guide me to the top. Port was put in yesterday. Treatments begin next week. I appreciate everyone's prayers.

March 9, 2014

I thank you all for your encouragement, kind words and mostly your prayers. I will have an update for you by Wed or Thurs. We are in a study of Phillipians at church and I thank God for His guiding our pastor to do it. If you haven't read it through, you should. There are jewels in there "Be anxious for nothing" (don't worry!), "for me to live is Christ, to die is gain", and my most favorite ".......I learned "that whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content". I am not sad, worried or "down". I am happy. How could I not be? I have family, friends, prayer warriors, a home, lost almost 50 lbs, soon to finally understand "bald is beautiful", I have a loving church, a Father that owns the riches of the world and so much more. I am rich, not by earths standards, but by the standards that count. And every extra day, week, or month I'm given, is that much more time to see if I can touch someone with God's love. And who knows. I may get to do that 2nd CD before the years out!

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Stephanie here. Spent some time updating the blog today, as obviously, I was way behind. Why today? There's more to this story. Here are Frank's words....

Feb. 4, 2014

Started on Victoza about 7-8 wks ago. My endocrinologist discovered my Cpeptide reading which should not be over 4.4 was 17.9. I am insulin intolerant which means my body won't absorb it properly so it builds fat cells to store it (from the looks of my waistline it was working overtime). But what we weren't expecting was the side effect not listed in the literature. My "insides" have been sore and hurting since the night I took my first injection. I feel like I am the punching bag for a George Foreman comeback. 24-7 soreness and pain. But I have lost weight. Won't say how much, but not quite half my goal. I decided early on to try to tough it out with ibuprofen and something stronger when it's gets really bad. The endo dr is aware. Tomorrow I see my regular GP to get bloodwork results from todays labs, plus my official weigh in. 2 months down, prob. 3 to go, then I may sub the Victoza for another brand. Prayers I have to buy new wardrobe by summer!
Feb. 6, 2014

Well, my doctors visit was good news/ bad news type. All my sugar related test were great and I have lost 25 lbs. (only a 1/4 of my goal) Woohoo! But my creatnine (?) level from my kidneys had crept up even higher, so he made me go downstairs for a kidney and bladder ultrasound. He told me no more ibuprofen, which has what has helped control my pain for 7 weeks. My only alternative is Lortab. So I'm starting out on a low dose, but with pain 24/7, I don't want to keep this up. 24 hours
of them and so far, no pain relief. And to top it all off, my GP is retiring at the end of Feb., so I have to find a new one. But hey, this is so minor compared to what so many of ya'll go through each day, that I'm not gonna complain. I just want to get my strength back to have choir again and be able to sing, which right now is a major undertaking. Thanks for all the encouragement, folks, and the prayers. His grace is sufficient!
Feb. 10, 2014

Really had a tough weekend. The pain from the Victoza continues, but Saturday pain in my left ankle and left knee set in. Slight swelling by Sun AM, serious swelling Sunday night. But where I work, company policy is you get a "write-up" for being 30 seconds late, or not showing up, no exceptions except death in immediate family. Yeah it stinks and its archaic, but that's life. So when I got up this morning and couldn't bear weight, well, write-up time. Went to ortho Dr. Arthritis and severe tendonitis in ankle, and arthritis in knee with practically all cartilage gone. That injection was no fun. Have to spend a week at home, leg elevated, then 3 weeks in a weight bearing boot. But look on the bright side. I'm getting a handicap parking decal, woohoo!!!! And who knows, He may have another job for me too. Never been happy in this one.
Feb. 15, 2014
First time out of bed since Monday. Appears what attacked me last weekend is gout. The Ankle specialist says it looked like arthritis on the xrays, but my med dr called me in gout medicine yesterday. Took my first dose last night and second dose today and can feel SLIGHT improvement. And I'm sure that's because I had been going downhill since Saturday a week ago. I'm still keeping foot elevated, and redness, pain and swelling is still there, but I have gotten some toe movement. Thank you all for remembering me. I'm probably down at least another 3 to 5 days minimum.
Feb. 20, 2014
Made it to church office and haircut appt today. Was totally winded when I got home. I have no strength to speak of, but pain in foot has subsided, now it's just sore, about 70% flexibility. Going to try to start 1/2 days back in the office next week.
Feb. 23, 2014
Well, back to office isn't going to happen, looks like. Made it to service this morning, led the hymns, did a special (heard a great message and came home totally spent. No strength. Can barely make it down hall and back, but I refuse a bedpan. Supposed to see ENT about esophageal blockage and eye dr for check-up. May have to use wheelchair. Got to go thru some trials sometimes to appreciate the good days, don't we. Praise His Holy Name.
Mar. 1, 2914
I've had some calls about my health, so I'll briefly update you. My Gout episode is coming to an end, thank you God. Another week or so and I may not have a limp. The 24/7 pain in my diaphragm and upper torso continues, but my new internal med. Dr is attacking it with a vengeance. We've ruled out gall stones, but in a test this past Friday, they are looking to see if it is even working. I will also have tests on my pancreas and liver, since the Victoza I was on can cause pancreatitis. Hope it's the gall bladder because that's easily fixable. The others not so. I will be off work another week, it appears. Thanks for your prayers
Mar. 6, 2014

Many of you may remember how I characterized our family's journey as a Job Experience for me. Job went through so much, yet never gave up on God. Even when it came to his own life being threatened. Well, I now get to realize that part of the experience.
This week, tests and more tests have confirmed I am a victim of esophageal cancer. The mass is located near the opening to my stomach. I will hav
e a PET scan tomorrow which will let us know if it has spread. There are some indicators that it might have. If that is true, the prognosis is, I'll get to see Brandon, Jennifer and Garrett a lot sooner than I thought. I have no lymph nodes affected yet, which is good news. I won't know the results of the scan till next week. But I already know this much. God is in control. I am not angry, just full of questions. Not exactly how I planned to lose weight.

I ask for your prayers. God's will is going to be done because He is in control. And I also knows He listens to the prayers of His children. Remember Janell and Kevin in those prayers too, because this has hit them pretty hard. I will update when I know more. Thank you all

December 23, 2013

Simply From The Heart

December 23, 2013 at 9:29pm
There is so much I could write tonight. I thought I'd go ahead and do it tonight, since we will be gathered with Janells family (truly mine as well). And ya'll will be busy and may not have time to read it tomorrow night.
I'm typing as it comes to me, so pardon if I ramble.
I want to start by wishin' all of my Facebook friends (and family members too), both on my page and on Prayers for Garrett Jones, a Very Blessed and Happy Christmas. Some of you, I have reconnected with in just the last year as my "home" church held a reunion. Some are new as you've somehow remembered me, of all people, and looked me up. Some of you have been brought into my life through the very difficult loss of my youngest son. And a very select few of you hold such an important place in my heart, either from childhood or from ministering to me in my grief, that I feel as though you are literally part of me. I truly hope that you experience this year, the joy that wells up inside a child of God, when you realize the magnitude of the real "PERFECT GIFT". If I could give each of you something for Christmas, it would be a song. I wake up every day, so thankful He's let me wake up. And most days, before I even make it down the hall, I'm singing something in my feeble just woke up voice. Mind you, not loud enough to elicit the wrath of Janell, who is not a morning person. But yes, a song.
For those who are experiencing your first Christmas "without" that one that passed away this year: Yes, the hole will heal, but there will always be a scar. If they were a child of God, do not wish them back here this year or any year. They watch us from Heaven, as we celebrate the arrival of our Saviour 2,000 years ago, while they spend hours ( hours in Heaven?, not really) actually worshiping at His feet. No comparison folks. I will see my sons in the Christmas ornaments they made in Sunday school or VBS or in the 3rd grade that have their picture and the year written in crayon. I will see them and my daughter-in-love in the momogrammed stockings hanging on our entertainment center that once were filled with Nerd Ropes, Skittles, a rubber band shooter, a penny racer or balsa wood airplanes or a spinning top. Yes, I still get my box of Chocolate covered Cherry cordials (two layers of 5) from Janell, even though I'm diabetic.
I have no idea what 2014 holds. I pray I get to share my songs and journey with many more this year. I hope I am a better witness for my Lord, than in 2013. I pray He uses me to lead some souls to Him. But most of all, I pray that this is THE year. Yes, the year He comes to get all His Children and take us home for Christmas. I'm ready to go . Are you?
Merry Christmas Ya'll!

October 31, 2013

Having A Bad Day?

October 31, 2013 at 11:52pm
Today, I was asked by a GPW if I ever have good days and horrible nights. And I thought, it's been a while since I put my thoughts in print, so now just might be a good time. And I will use my answer to them, to start this article.
I know this sounds untrue, but I don't have bad days. Even the day Garrett & Jenn's home was hit, wasn't a bad day. Now some aren't as good as others, granted, but I never have a bad day. As far back as I can remember, I don't ever recall thinking this day just stinks.  I guess I just have the peace that passes all understanding. I look at every day as a gift, because I never know when it will be my last. I've learned this the hard way. So I try to be positive, upbeat, thankful, and happy even to the point that it sometimes is read wrong, even by family. But I believe every day or night you live in fear, dismay, anger or whatever, is a day or night that Satan has won. And I just refuse to let him take anything from me. If a problem comes up, I give it to God and ask Him to let me know how to handle it, or have at it Himself, what ever way He will receive the most glory. I never worry, period. He has said it is a sin, and Lord knows I have enough of those that when I can eliminate one, I'm going for it. Worrying has never paid a bill, vanished a tumor, or healed a broken-up body. Worring is a tool the Devil uses to draw you closer to him.
And I don't write this to sound "holier than thou" or boastful or smug. Just the opposite. I know, on my own, I am nothing, and what ever I attempt in my power, will wind up being worth nothing. I believe as Scripture and the song says, " Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world". Yes there have been times that I was anguished to the point I did not know what to say or how to say it. And in those times, my groaning and crying are taken by the Holy Spirit, and turned into words of prayer to my Father. I remember doing that in Garretts hospital room, and I also did it several times when Brandon was battling cancer, and it was beating him down, and there was nothing I could do. I would go to my church, walk into a dark sanctuary illuminated by a cross in the baptistry, and I would kneel on the steps and just let her rip. But never has He failed me, and I have always come away from those times with peace that He had heard me, UNDERSTOOD me, and was in control.
And I am not sayin or implying that if you haven't done this or practice it, that you are not a Christian. What I AM saying is that you aren't trusting Him with your life the way He wants you to. You are still saying when I can't go any farther, I'll give it to you. Or I just can't trust You enough to work it out for me. I was that way until one day in an ICU unit, when Brandon told me to quit playing God and let God handle it. And for 14 years now, that's the way I have been able to walk the road He laid out for me.
So, if this has opened your eyes or heart to a new way of thinking or practicing what you believe, then it was worth the effort. If nothing else, count it as a testimony to the  grace and promises our God gives us, and we sometimes fail to grasp or claim them. Have a great day, I will!

July 1, 2013


July 1, 2013 at 9:50pm
Wow, 32 years ago tomorrow, (07/01) you made you grand entrance  six weeks earlier than you were scheduled to. But you mom and I had waited for 7 years for that day, and you definately made it memorable. You were taken to UAB hospital, while mom remained at Princeton Baptist. Undeveloped lungs forced a separation that was extremely hard on mom and me. But I was finally a dad. Remember the day we were in the car and you asked me if we could get you another brother? I explained with you and Kevin being preemies and sick a lot, that Mom and I didn't think we would need anymore kids. You bowed your head right there and prayed out loud, "Dear God, daddy says I can't have another brother. But he told me you listen to my prayers. So I am asking YOU for another baby brother. Amen".  Garrett was born 10 months later. That should have been a sign right there.
 I had dreams for you. You were going to be a great preacher. I didn't really want you to be a music director, because I don't feel that we really evcer get to see the fruits of our labor. Very few folks get down to the altar during a solo, or choir special or singing portion of a service. I would say 99 percent of the time, it's after a sermon. We (music directors) just won't ever know till we get there if there is a crown for some soul saved. But preachers have a pretty good advantage over getting folks in the altar, so that was my dream for you.
And I learned the hard way, be careful what you ask God for. A group called Fortress once had you come backstage with them to pray for the concert they were about to do. And I was told later on, that every one of those guys had tears in their eyes when you finished praying. They knew God was going to use this nine year old boy in a very special way. And did He ever. After cancer hit, we were leaving a service where you had spoken, and dozens of kids accepted Christ. I was blown away. I told you that I really wished God would give me the cancer, and let you preach. You very plainly and wisely, told me that what just happened in that service IS why you had cancer. Young people would listen to you. They wouldn't listen to me. And as your ministry grew, so did the comments from pastors that you were the closest thing to a modern day Paul they had ever heard. I was so proud. I had my preacher.
Thank you for teaching me about faith. How to live day to day trusting God for whatever. And for teaching me how a Christian faces their own death, and that of loved ones. I was better prepared the second time.
Happy birthday, Son #1. Gosh, I miss you! Mom and I went to Baumhauer's tonight and I had your usual! I wanted to go to Krispy Kreme and get a dozen Hot Now's and a pint of milk in your memory, too. But diabetics can't do that. Are there Krispy Kreme's in Heaven?
Love you!

June 10, 2013


June 10, 2013 at 7:41pm
 Hey #1 Son. I always called you that cause you were the first one God sent our way. When you got here, we prayed so hard for you because your lungs weren't developed and you were struggling to breath. But you, by God's grace,  pulled through. And at 3 1/2, you took the ball field by storm by playing 3rd base your first year. What a ball player you were. Remember striking out Jason Slye on A field to win the game that night?
You were a lot like your mom, the older you got. You were quick thinking on your feet. You would have madE an excellent lawyer, because you could take something she or I said, take it apart, put it back together differently and make us think we said something we didn't. There were times you would say things, that though they were spot on, they could hurt. And I had hoped you would be a preacher some day. Again like your mom, singing wasn't your forte. You could sing, but not with a passion or conviction (Except for "A Country Boy Can Survive"). Your mom's dad, POP, taught you everything you knew about deer hunting. You were city on the outside, but the country side of the Martin genes came out strong in you.
Then came cancer. I will never forget what you said when I came in your hsospital room to tell you they only gave you six months. "In 6 months i get a miracle or in 6 months I go home. I don't lose either way, do I daddy."  I knew then that the salvation you had embraced 3 months earlier had taken root, and was growing a redwood of a man. The next 6 months saw the cancer weaken slightly, then rage out of control. Sill those roots held. And in 9 months, your lungs were clear, where they had been completely involved. But the tumor continued to grow in your leg. Your faith became your sermon, and it preceeded you every where you went. But that sense of humor was still there. When your leg was amputated, your friends wanted a new nickname for you. Out of all the nominees, you chose "ILEAN". And yes I found out from a neighbor about some 1 legged daredevil climbing on the roof, crutching across it with 1/2 dozen other idiots, and jumping from the roof into the pool on the deep end when mom and I were at work. I know exactly what your response would have been: "What's it gonna do Dad, kill me?"
We quit counting around 400, the number of souls we knew had made decisions for Christ because of your testimony. We will never know the exact number, until the day He reveals it to us. But  we still hear stories today of lives changed. I have lived in shame because the example you left has been hard to follow. Dad's are supposed to lead by example, and teach their sons. Yet you taught me how to walk in faith, live life in Christ, and die in faith. Your story lives on as I try to share the journey your mom and I and your brother Kevin have walked. I have added your brother Garrett into the story now. The pain we felt when you left us that Sunday afternoon was relived when Garrett took flight that morning. I could never describe it. It can only be experienced.
What do you think of Jennifer his wife? He did marry above himself didn't he! I would give anything to have seen the smiles on your faces when you saw each other at the gates. I can assure you, it will not come close to the one on MY face when I see the three of ya'll. Happy 12th Anniversary in Heaven. LOVE AND MISS YOU #1. War Eagle to you all.

June 7, 2013


June 7, 2013 at 7:42pm
 Dear Jenn,
I don't think earthly birthdays are celebrated up there, but I could be totally wrong. I do know we did not get celebrate NEAR enough of them down here though. Before today, Garrett would have already given you your birthday present. I think he perfected that before he met you. And I'm sure ya'll and Bill & Jamie, and Kevin & Marlo would be going to Surin's. He would search out $3.00 lunches, but he never skimped on your presents. And being the only girl in your family, you had been spoiled, so he did his best to meet those standards avery once in a while.
I will never be able to thank you for loving my son, marrying my son, and bringing out the best in him. He saw the sun rise and set in you, and always wanted to be with you. I believe that love played heavily into him leaving us and joining you. He could never have done as good, much less better than you. So, just one question. When it got close to your birthday, did you whisper a secret wish in God's ear and Garretts? We miss you both so much. But, we are so glad that when our time comes to walk through the gates, you will both greet us. Can't wait to see those smiles. Happy Birthday Daughter

June 4, 2013

Dear Garrett:

June 4, 2013 at 10:45pm
 I'm not sure if God allows those in Heaven to see what is written, but I have a feeling He does. I wonder sometimes when I am singing, if anyone else besides God hears me in Heaven. I wonder if those you now live with, ever shed a tear for those left behind. It says He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Sometimes when I dream about ya'll, the dreams are so real I am shocked when I wake up. Now, I know mom was your favorite parent, cause she tried spoiling you as best she could, while I tried not to show too much softness, but pushed you to be all you could be. I'll never forget when you came to me and asked what you could do in life without 4 years of college. And then you actually picked something I suggested. You made me so proud as you gave your employer 110% every day. I'll never forget the 100 degree summer days I walked through the back gate, to see you laying on the pool steps, yes in your Hanes, trying to cool down from being on 150 degree roofs all day. By the way, Mark Weldon says he hasn't found an A/C tech he trusts as much as he did you. Thats easy to understand when so many of your "customers" came to your visitation and service.
I am going to ask you sometime in the first thousand years I'm there, why didn't you and Jenn go to the storm shelter at J-Mama's. If paddling is allowed your gonna have to bend over and take it like a man. I know you're smiling right now if your reading this as I'm typing, and gosh, how I miss that smile! The folks here on Facebook have seen it with the "duck" outfit on you as a baby, all the way to the pool picture from your honeymoon that graces your ministry page. I actually catch grief when I try to put another one in it's place. But the smile and the eyes show so much. You were a very happy person. Even when Auburn wasn't performing well on Saturdays, you took it in stride and managed a smile. And if I could ever have wished 2 things for you, it was that you would accept Christ as your Savior, which you did, and you would find peace, love and happiness in the soulmate God had made for you, and you did. What a blessing to our family she was. She had a great personality, a smile as good as yours, and she brought out the best in you. I know her birthday is June 7th, and she no doubt got what she asked God for. Jennifer, I would not expect any less from you, cause it shows how much you loved my son.
I don't know if God gave you a choice to be with Jenn & Brandon or stay with us. If I find out He did, bend over again! No, I wouldn't deny you the rewards of Heaven. In fact, every dad should wish that for his kids. But in going "home" you brought about some unexpected changes in my life. I have learned to cherish every minute of it so much more. I am able to set aside the petty things and concentrate on the eternal things. My prayer life has increased and grown so much because of this ministry named after you, and the blessing of seeing folks come to Christ both for salvation and for rededication, has been I never envisioned. I listen more to the still small voice inside of me. Some folks close to me don't understand, and you know who I mean, but I really just want to make whatever years or days I have left, count for eternity. I wish I could sing and testify to folks seven days a week, in hopes that God would use me to make a difference in the Kingdom. I have so little as far as crowns to lay at Jesus feet.
We continue to tell Ethan and Logan about you. It's hard for Ethan to understand why we have two sons in Heaven, because they weren't "old". I have the same problem. But He accepts it better than I do. He's got a soft heart that reminds us of you. I'm disappointed I've not been around him enough to teach him Jesus Loves Me, especially when he can sing "Bad Boys, Bad Boys, whatcha gonna do". But we are getting him interested in Jesus and the great stories of the Bible. He actually asks me to tell them to him quite often.
I love you so much, and miss you even more. At 6:55 in the morning, I will remember holding your "hand of clay", as Jesus took hold of your spitual hand. Yes, I believe HE came to get you, for He said "If I go to prepare a place for you I WILL COME AGAIN and receive you UNTO MYSELF, that where I am there ye may be also". He didn't say he'd send angels after you. In Heavens time you've only been there a few seconds, I guess. But it sure seems like a lifetime down here.