Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hello, Sweet Friends!

I want to start by apologizing for not checking in before now. I've had good intentions... I've just not got it done.

As I'm sure you know, the holidays are incredibly hard for us. I know that for me personally, I've had a lot of "flashbacks" recently... remembering Brent's last days... UGH.... it's just so hard to allow myself to think about it.

It's weird how memories can rush over you all at once.. with no warning at all. As we started singing Christmas hymns Sunday at church I suddenly remembered the sound of Christmas carolers outside our hospital room. We knew it would be the last Christmas we'd have with Brent and EVERY moment was bittersweet. With that memory alone, I started sobbing. It's weird how songs/music can do that to you. Afterwards, I went back to being "okay" again.

Anyway.. we've been trying to keep busy and attempting to make every day the BEST it can be for Zach & Gabe. Don't get me wrong... we're not THAT bad off. GOD IS TRULY our STRENGTH and our ROCK. Things are "good" when we're with loved ones, or keeping busy. It's those quiet times that can stir up those terrible memories. Anyway.. I've just been trying to keep my head in the sand until after the holidays. Things always seem to get "better" again with them behind us.

I hate for this update to be one negative thought after another.. but it looks as though we'll be spending Christmas alone tomorrow. Our boys are passing around a VIRUS of ALL things. I know that "all things work for good, to those that know the LORD and are called according to HIS purpose"... I'm sure I messed that up a bit, but you know what I'm talking about.. right? Heheheh....


On a more positive note.... we're looking forward to tomorrow morning. The boys have been counting down the days (LITERALLY) and they'll probably not sleep a wink tonight. We USUALLY make "Daddy-Clause" some cookies and Coke before bed, but with Zach coming down with whatever this is, we just didn't get it done. (Oh, if you're wondering.. we set out "Coke" instead of milk because Link is NOT a milk person.. LOL)

Of COURSE we'll be reading the REAL Christmas story in the morning (the birth of our LORD and SAVIOR) and will then open gifts. I'd attempt to make pictures, but I usually get so caught up in watching the boys that I COMPLETELY FORGET! O:-)

Now, I'll TRY to be more consistent with posting in the upcoming days. However, we won't be past all of "dates" until we've made it through January 2. (That's the day Brent went HOME to be with JESUS)

Oh, almost forgot... I also wanted to say THANKS for wishing Gabe a happy birthday!!! He turned 8 on the 21st, and unfortunately it was on a Sunday... this past one to be exact. We had a mini party for him BEFORE church, then our Christmas party with our church group... so Gabe basically "partied all day". LOL!!

Alrighty, I'm gonna go for now. I'm camping out in the living room with Zach and it looks like it may be a LONG night. Before I go.. I want to THANK YOU ALL for your thoughts, prayers, and of course for checking in on us here. We LOVE YOU more than we can say!

Have a VERY BLESSED Christmas, my Friends!


Jennifer said...

I've missed you!! I'm sorry times have been so rough here lately for you all! I will keep you in my prayers. You take care and have a Merry Christmas! Love ya!! Jenn

Susan said...

Hey Tonya,

I just wrote you the LONGEST message and lost it? This is so crazy.

Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know how blessed I was when I came home tonight and saw your post.

~You've been greatly missed.~

I also told you how much I've been praying for you and remembering Brent. This time of the year will always hold so many emotions and memories for us too.

I'm so grateful for all many things I learned as I watched Brent get closer and closer to Jesus.

One day before we all know it, we'll be together again.

Meanwhile, I'll keep praying for you.

OH, I wanted to say thanks again for making our boys Christmas brighter. I know this was a sacrifice for you Tonya. You are such a true friend.

I'm going to be praying the boys are feeling MUCH BETTER in the morning.

Love you Tonya!!!!

PS I didn't realize Gabe's birthday was in December???? Oh my!

Susan Foster said...

Heartfelt good wishes coming your way, Kevin and I talk often about Brent and the powerful impact he has had on us. I hope the boys get better and have a great Christmas.

Greg P. said...


You and your family are always in my prayers.

Pam D said...

You KNOW you've been on my mind and in my heart. And I will pray you through this hard stretch in the road... this year, and next year, and the next.. and for as long as you NEED me to pray you though it. And if you're eleventy eleven (which would make me twelvety twelve, I'm sure!), then I'll STILL be praying. Cause isn't that why God made us a body, and Christ made us His church? So that we can work together, each of us, and we can lift each other up when we need to. So... have fun with Zach and Gabe, and know that there are people out there who "get" the fact that you WILL miss Brent every year from now til you see him again. And it's OK. God knows that, and He will make sure that you have friends around who will hold up your arms, no matter how weary you are.
With love and prayers for a holiday filled with the JOY of His Spirit.... and for a New Year every bit as beautiful as you!

Davisix said...

HI TONYA!! Oh, I am so glad to hear from you but at the same time I am so sorry this time of year is hard. I can't even imagine so won't pretend I can. But please know this....I've missed you and I look forward to spending more time after the first of the year catching up and reading your posts. I do pray this morning that the boys are feeling better and that your Christmas will be blessed. LOVE YOU! Ang

Amie@HeartSmiles said...


You have been on my mind constantly. I can only imagine how hard the holidays must be for you. Makes my heart break. We will all be praying you through it.

I will be thinking of you and praying for you, and sending you much love.

Hugs to you dear friend!


Beth E. said...

I've missed you so much! I know this time of year is very difficult for you and your family. I've been thinking of you and praying for you.

I'm sorry the "bug" has hit your family. Hope everyone is better soon and that you are enjoying today.

Merry Christmas!

Love you...

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I so know what you mean about flashback memories...they hit, the flood gates open, and it's wow...time to breath again and regain composure.

My gramma died on January 1, which is my mother's birthday. I remember her whaling at his funeral too. I was only 8. My brother and I were home making her a birthday cake at 10:00 am when we got the call. He died from cancer so it wasn't a surprise per say but I know it's always been hard on my mom to lose her dad on her birthday. I've always tried to make it special because of that. It took her a good ten years or so to really get into Cmas again without him.

I think I survived today but my hard day will be 12/31 as that is Chris' birthday and we always did it up nice with a fancy restaurant, carriage ride etc. I loved doing that to make him feel special. I guess (no I know) I just failed miserable on many other ocassions. I can see the error of my ways, the possible (most likely) reasons for my actions and the prevention upon any reconciliation.

I'm looking forward to being past January 2nd also.

Thinking of you, sweet one.

Melanie said...

Hi, Tonya! It's so good to hear from you. I was checking in and was going to leave a message for you regardless... but the update was so nice.

You've all been on my mind alot the last couple of weeks. I know the holidays will always be a time of remembering Brent, but I also know it must be especially difficult since he went home to Jesus so soon after Christmas.

Please know we are praying for you and thinking of you... for holidays full of peace and comfort and wonderful memories of your sweet Brent!

Love you!!

He And Me + 3 said...


I have missed you terrible & have been praying for you daily because I just new how hard it would be for you and the family. I hope that everyone is feeling better from being sick and that you all had a very Merry Christmas.

Ashley Griffin said...

merry christmas to you all. i have missed hearing from you!!!

Michelle said...

Oh Tonya,
I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult this time of year must be for you. I will pray that God continues to give you the strength to get through this, just as he has given you peace in knowing that you will one day see your dear son again.

Merry Christmas!


Reba said...

I have been thinking about you. I figured this was a tough time, but still worried when you hadn't posted. I hope by now everyone is feeling better. And I hope that you had a special day today. Sending lots of hugs and love...

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas! Saying extra prayers for your family today! And I've always had more problems in church than anywhere else with memories hitting...hit me last night during the children's Christmas Eve service...
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Prayer Bears
My email address

A Stone Gatherer said...

Tonya it is so understandable where you are at, never feel bad about it! I'll be thinking and praying for you through January 2nd.

Jill said...


May the Lord keep you and bless you in the coming days.

Praying all viruses are gone. That you were able to go through yesterday rejoicing in His goodness, hope and peace!

Grateful that the blog community has opened up the door for others to pray alongside of families and each other when we need our burdens to be carried just a little bit by others. Prayer is such a wonderful gift!

Love and blessings - May 2009 be a year filled with His sustaining and transforming grace!

crispy said...

I have missed you and I can only imagine how hard the holidays are. I hope you are able to find moments of joy as you celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

*Keli* said...

I'm so glad you are back! I've missed hearing from you! I'm sorry the holidays are hard. I will keep you in my prayers! Love ya! Keli

BTW - I FINALLY got out of my jammies! : )

Angela said...

So glad you dropped in...I checked a few times and saw that you have been MIA!

I know that the Holidays must be incredibly hard..but just as you have stated, you know who your rock is!

I will be continuing to lift you up in prayer!


valerie said...

Thinking of you today. I can't imagine the hurt of losing a child.
I know the holidays are hard. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Tonya!

Jennifer said...

Dear Tonya,

I came across your blog from April's and LOVED reading Brent's story on the sidebar. This is actually our third Christmas without our sweet boy...he was 13 when he died from a brain tumor in August 2006. He was also a Christian and we are confident he is in Heaven! What a blessed hope!

Isn't it funny about memories...they are so many fun, wonderful and beautiful memories and I try hard to focus on those - but it seems the difficult ones are the ones that blindside me often!

It seems I find myself (way too) often reading of other children - boys - in Heaven..waiting for Mom and Dad. It is a comfort to know Tyler has so boys his age with Him.

Glad to have met you - through the blog world - and I look forward to checking back....

Have a blessed week.

dena said...

Dear Tonya........I am thinking of you as the dawn of January 2nd is approaching. Be comforted by the love so many have for your son Brent and by his love for our Savior Jesus Christ. I know this is an awfully hard time for you know that there are many who will "pray you through the day" tommorrow. You care so much for so many of us here in blog land.......let us love you tommorrow. Remembering Brent:) Can you imagine the mischief a teenage Brent would be doing?? Love you, Dena P.S. hope you enjoyed the book.....I thought it was great.

Anonymous said...

Praying, praying, and praying some more for your family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Susan said...

Hey Sweet Tonya,

Now this is one day I wish more then ever I lived closer. I'd be over at your house this morning.

Today is Brent's HOMECOMING DAY. I'll never forget that phone call. I was not surprised though.

Brent had been so close to Jesus, I knew God was about to grant his sweet little heart's desire, to BE WITH JESUS.

God's awesome presence filled that hospital room for so long.

Like a little gentleman he was, I believed Brent waitedg for just the right time to leave, and go HOME.

Praying for you today, and I'm thanking God for Brent. His life touched so many, and God used this child to change and transform our lives.

He will forever be my hero, and someone I carry close in my heart and thoughts daily.

And one day very soon we will see him again!

LOVE YOU TONYA!!!!!!!!!!

Greg P. said...


You and your family are in my prayers this day. God bless you all and comfort you. You've got a lot of brothers and sisters lifting you up in prayer today.

Dawn~^i^Brandon^i^, Jordan, and Seth's mom said...

Praying for you all today.


Andrea @ Mommy said...

I said a prayer for you just now - for peace and comfort...and to know the power of Jesus now more than ever before!!!

Hugs :-)

Anonymous said...

Signing here over here, too...praying hard!
Psalms 31:5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
Prayer Bears
My email address

Johnson Party of seven! said...

been thinking about you. It seems like just yesterday but then again, it seems like forever ago. Love you.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Tonya,
I am praying you have been feeling the peace that comes only from Him these past few days, as I am sure some of the memories of Brent's last days are very bittersweet.
Know that you are loved, by us, of course, but most importantly, Jesus. He is always there, even when you feel so very alone.
We love you and you are in our prayers.
Love, Kristin (Amato) and the rest of the gang!

Pam D said...

Hey sweet Tonya,
I just wanted to stop back by to say that I've been thinking about Brent over the past few days. Thinking about how he LIVED his life so well and so faithfully. Thinking of how I NEED to be more like Brent, because if I were, then I would be more like Christ. And thinking that, while you had far too little time with him, the time that you did have was far more precious than gold. Thank you for sharing his life with us, and for sharing your life after him, too. You'll stay in my prayers, and Brent will stay in my heart...

Nel said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers. January is also a hard month for me. I lost my dad Jan 2, 1998, the day before his 80th birthday, then my mom Jan 19th year before last. I have alot of good memories, that helps, but there is still a hole there. I cannot imagine how you feel, it would be so hard! Just know you have a lot of people praying for you. and... "This too shall pass!"

Daphine said...

Happy New Year friend!

Beth E. said...

Hey, Tonya!
Just checking in on you, letting you know that I've been thinking of you guys and praying for you. Especially praying for you on January 2, remembering Brent and the awesome young man that he was! He'll always hold a special place in my heart. :o)

So how are Zach and Gabe? Is everyone over that virus now? I sure hope so!

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Love you much-ly!!!

Kyle said...

Was thinking about your family today. Just wanted to wish you a very happy new year! :)

Anonymous said...

These verses are so comforting. Know that I'm praying!
Revelation 21:1-4 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Prayer Bears
My email address

Anonymous said...

Wish you'd write in so we know you're okay...
Praying right now!
Psalms 4:6-8 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
Prayer Bears
My email address

Anonymous said...

We just received Cole's "welcome-to-the-world" present, and WOW! That was so thoughtful of you to think of us. I can't wait to use it to buy him some cute new clothes. =) You know how much we love to shop!
Thanks again.
Love ya, Kristin

Anonymous said...

Keep looking over here all the time, too...........
Doesn't matter where you pray...just pray in true faith! Praying so for your family right now!
Jonah 2:1-2 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
Prayer Bears
My email address

Reba said...

Worrying about you, girlfriend.