Saturday, December 31, 2022


Obviously with all that's been going on in December, fundraising has not even been on the radar. Usually we would be regularly & proactively sharing updates about funds raised, remaining amount to hit our goal, and opportunities to donate to & invest in GTD. But the past month has been full of higher priorities. Fundraising was not just put on the back burner, it wasn't even an afterthought. And that's the cool part... God has been moving the hearts of our amazing supporters to continue to support the cause even while we had to shift our focus! We have THE BEST DONORS!! Over the past 4 weeks $28,000 has been donated or pledged while we were concentrating on my parents! I can't tell you how reassuring it is to know that God doesn't need my help to raise funds for His ministry. 
I want to thank our OUTSTANDING DONORS & MINISTRY PARTNERS for their incredible generosity, especially during weird economic times. And I want to publicly give all honor & glory to our ALMIGHTY GOD! Thank You Heavenly Father!!
While God doesn't need my help to raise funds I'm called to play a very small role of simply sharing about what God is already doing as well as share about the opportunity to partner in ministry with GTD. It's like sharing the Gospel... my only role is to share the Good News and tell about the opportunity - the rest is up to God. That completes my role LOL!
Goal: Raise $100k by Jan 31st
Already Raised: $93k as of Dec 30th

Total Goal: $100,000 by Jan 31
One-Time Donation Goal: $50,000
   (Already Donated: $48,908)
Monthly Pledges Goal: $50,000
   (Already Pledged: $44,118)
If you would like to make an end-of-the-year one time donation or sign-up to be a monthly donor for the next 12 months click on the following link for more details:

Thursday, December 29, 2022


Due to preparations for Mom's Celebration of Life Service we are pushing Swamp Thing back 1 month. The NEW DATE for Swamp Thing is Feb 4-5. That gives you an extra month to prepare haha. Click on the links below for more insights and details =) 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Join us on January 15th ...It's more than a remembrance; it's a TRIBUTE! ...It's not mourning a death; it's CELEBRATING A LIFE!

 It's more than a remembrance; it's a TRIBUTE!
...It's not mourning a death; it's CELEBRATING A LIFE!
....Join us on January 15th
Join us on January 15th (on a Sunday) at 2pm at Indian Rocks Baptist Church in Largo, Florida as we CELEBRATE Margaret Ann Garner (also known as: Ann, Annie, Auntie, Gauntie, Birddog, Babes, VegetariANN, Mrs Ambassador, Mamacita, & Mom... and how did we miss out on calling her "SavANNah"?!?!). Wear something green because Mom was born on St Patrick's Day (or St "Annie's" Day as I like to say). Mom went to Heaven on December 15th after living a fun, beautiful, & full 91.75 years of life. We miss her greatly, and at the same time we rejoice over her new Heavenly ZIP code. Her tribute is developing day by day, but will include butter pecan ice cream (her favorite), bag pipes, a few of her favorite worship songs, funny stories, edibles, pictures thru the decades, video highlights, display of her hANNdmade quilts, and more. Mom loved to laugh and have fun so we are going to put the F-U-N in FUNeral ;) ... ALL ARE WELCOME! The more the merrier! Please come if you can :) :) :) 
The last 2 weeks have been very full - especially with Christmas & Dad's birthday. I still haven't had a chance to read any of the loving comments, condolences, and well wishes left on my last few posts. I look forward to reading them and thank you in advance for your love and outreach to our family. We have been very blessed by each card, note, phone call, text message, meal, and acts of love by family & friends. Each one helps comfort us in our huge loss of the most significant person in our lives.
Below is the obituary that my Sister wrote for Mom. It's phenomenal!! Traci did such a great job at a very difficult task. My only contribution to it was asking her to add a reference to me as Mom's mini-me & Traci as Mom's best friend.
Margaret Ann Ward Garner, 91 of Seminole, Florida, passed peacefully on December 15, 2022 surrounded by her loving family at Season’s Memory Care Facility in Belleair and is now with her Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.  She was born March 17, 1931 in Waycross, Georgia to Samuel Joseph Ward & Frankie Lee Inez Ward but called Savannah her home. She attended Savannah High School & worked at Southern Bell as an operator.  She also worked at the US Army Corps of Engineers in Cocoa Beach, Florida & worked as a Receptionist for mortgage companies in Pinellas County where she got the nickname “Birddog”.  She was a strong woman of faith, and a member of Indian Rocks Baptist Church in Largo, for more than 30+ years. She was involved with MOPS, Super 60’s, Esther Sunday school class and the quilting group with her friends.  She enjoyed going to the Tampa Bay Rays baseball games, quilting, music, family trips, watching her grandson play sports, roses, butter pecan ice cream and joking around and laughing. She also enjoyed helping others, especially her son, Doug and his ministry, GTD.  She is survived by her loving husband of 57 years, retired Air Force TSGT Jearld “Jerry” D. Garner, and her devoted, loving children; son, Douglas Garner; her “mini-me” and daughter & best friend Traci Vescovi.  Her son-in-law David Vescovi and her # 1 grandson, Carson Vescovi. She also had many loving nieces, nephews, and friends.  
A Celebration of her Life is scheduled for Sunday, January 15th at 2:00pm at Indian Rocks Baptist Church, 12685 Ulmerton Road, Largo, 33774 and all are welcome to attend.  Her final resting place will be at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida a few days later for her immediate family.  
In lieu of flowers, Ann would want donations made to Going the Distance Adventure Ministry (P.O. Box 7523, Seminole, FL. 33775).  
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at and on Facebook; taylorfuneralhomepinellaspark.


Thursday, December 15, 2022

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." - Psalm 116:15

Mom went to Heaven about 12:30am this morning, and as strange as this may sound the last 24 hours has been one of the most beautiful days of life we've ever experienced. 
The whole immediate family made it to Mom's bedside in time. We spent 12 hours loving on her, massaging her, hugging her, holding her, telling her how much we love her... how much she means to us... thanking her for all the love & self-sacrifice she poured into us. We relived special moments that made her grin and special moments that caused a few tears to flow. We listened to worship music, read scripture verses, prayed with her and over her. We kissed her. We held her hand. We rubbed her legs & arms. We poured out copious amounts of love. Although her body was shutting down and she couldn't speak, she was listening to us and tracking with her eyes. We were very intentional. Hospice was amazing. Seasons was amazing. Friends & family were amazing. We cried a thousand beautiful tears & laughed a lot. There were so many "God moments". We could all tell that SOMEONE was orchestrating this entire day. If Dad's surgery wasn't cancelled he wouldn't have been there to say goodbye. If a Hospice Social Worker didn't notice something off about Mom and take the initiative to say something to the nurse... if the nurse didn't have the experience she had to notice end-of-life symptoms and contact us immediately and tell us to "come now"... if we didn't drop everything and rush to Mom's bedside... we would have missed every beautiful minute that happened yesterday and woke up today to crushing news that Mom passed away during the night all alone. But just the opposite happened. We celebrated Mom's life with her almost like a going away present. As it got late Dad needed to go home. Not knowing if Mom would make it through the night everyone was compelled to say their final goodbyes. This was possibly the most special moment. Everyone lined up to say one last heartfelt goodbye. Carson made us all weep. Dad forced himself out of his wheelchair to hobble over and embrace his wife of 57 years for one last kiss and outflow of loving words mixed with sobs. Traci, Laurie, & myself all did the same. If Dad didn't have to leave it would have never forced the saying of the final goodbyes because we would have continued to just be with her until her final breath without knowing when that would happen. I planned to stay all night with Mom, and everyone was going to return in the morning. I recieved a call from Mom's niece (our cousin) Ellie. It was the only time I looked at my phone while I was with Mom. As Ellie & I talked I continued to rub Mom's arms & legs and count her breathing rate. All day long her breathing became shallower and faster. Ellie & I talked about Mom and at one point started talking about the great family reunion she will be having in Heaven. At this time a Christian caregiver I never met before came into Mom's room like an angel to pray for her. Mom must have been excited about the heavenly family reunion because this was when she peacefully and painlessly took her last breath. No pain. No suffering. Just a peaceful transition into the presence of Jesus. As I checked for Mom's pulse while saying one final goodbye. I let Ellie know what was going on and called my Sister to inform her. At this moment the caregiver stood up, grabbed my hand lifted up her arm in adoration to God and began singing "Hallelujah". I joined in. So did Traci over the phone. It was such a special moment. We simply worshipped God as Mom left behind all suffering, pain, and disease and crossed over into the eternal presence of the God she loves. The entire day (along with so many other acts of love) was the most beautiful thing I've ever experienced. We all said our goodbyes and an hour later Mom said hers. Laurie put it best, "The whole day was like a great movie with a perfect ending." Mom, next to Jesus, you are the BEST THING that ever happened to my life! I will miss you greatly Birddog! I LOVE YOU!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Mom may only have a few hours left =(

Traci just got the call from Hospice that Mom may only have a few hours left... we are totally shocked... very unexpected this quickly... just loaded Dad in Traci's vehicle and we are rushing to Mom's bedside.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Dad's knee replacement surgery was cancelled

Update on Dad: Unfortunately Dad's knee replacement surgery was cancelled. His bloodwork came back with certain levels outside the perimeters that the doctor was comfortable with. This was very disheartening news for Dad. He wasn't able to walk for 5 or 6 weeks then made some progress for about 3 weeks with a walker & physical therapy, but has now been unable to walk again for nearly 2 weeks. He has been counting on this surgery to help restore his ability to walk. He is also in a lot of knee pain and now back pain. Dad served in the military for 20 years including the Vietnam War and 18 months in Iran in the 1970's. HUGE THANKS to Dad's friend - former Pinellas Park Mayor Bill Mischler - for tracking down a donated medical bed for Dad, and a HUGE BRAVO to Wings 4 Recovery for not only supplying this bed, but for also delivering it and setting it up!! God bless you guys!! Dad has had 4 great nights of sleep in a row! This bed is a game changer!! We are extremely grateful. Thank you for lifting our parents and us up in prayer. This is a major setback for Dad, and really all of us, but we are thankful that his doctor is keeping Dad's overall wellbeing front & center. Dad was walking (barely) and living independently 3 months ago, but is currently 100 dependent on help for every ADL (activity of daily living). The knee replacement surgery was through BayCare. He is now pursuing options through the VA. Lots & lots of new Dr's appointments related to both tracks (BayCare & VA). We will continue to press on and will keep you posted :) .

Wednesday, December 7, 2022


We had to push pause for a week, but I'm back on the Thank You crusade. We are still savoring our Annual Banquet from last week, and I want to thank all of our Volunteers, GTD Staff, Guest Speakers, Table Sponsors, Donors, Attendees, Carrabba's, & the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center for making this year's banquet so special! We had too much to do in too little time, but the night was a great success! Our deepest thanks and appreciation to everyone involved, especially our Guest Speakers - The Zeitler family, Riley, Sophia, Faith & AJ!!
And our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for all those who donated to the cause. You are launching us into our 27th year of ministry! PTL!!
Here are some of the pics from our Annual Banquet =) 


Monday, December 5, 2022


Last year my Mom was taken to the ER and hospitalized the day after our Annual Banquet. This year my Dad has been unable to stand or walk and is in excruciating pain since the day after our Annual Banquet. For the past 6 days his legs have been swollen and he has been at a level 10 pain in his knees and now his back. He has been 100% dependent on help for any mobility more then 12 inches. For the past 3 weeks he has been making slow & steady progress with physical therapy and was able to walk with a walker for 200 yards. Now it's like he has taken several steps backwards (pun). He has a high risk (according to his doctors) knee replacement surgery in 1 week due to other major organ challenges. He is concerned that they may postpone or cancel his surgery. He is trying to be optimistic, but he is worn out, discouraged, and at times crushed in spirit. We have several pre-surgery Dr's appointments this week. Please keep him in your prayers. Thank you so much!

Thursday, December 1, 2022


I may be a little bias, but we have the most amazing and generous supporters, volunteers, staff, and participants!!!!! Our Annual Banquet on Tuesday night was fantastic! Incredible testimonies, delicious food, impactful videos, wonderful venue, fabulous people, and magnanimous donors... it was an outstanding & blessed night. Glory to God! I'm thrilled beyond measure to share with you that our Annual Banquet fundraising campaign has raised $65,000 so far!! That's astounding!!! Aaaaaaaaand, if that wasn't enough, we have a wonderful family that wants to remain anonymous that has issued a $5000 Donor Match Challenge in our annual quest to raise $100k by Jan 31st!! They will match all donations dollar-for-dollar up to $5000 cumulatively. Yayyy x 5000!!!!! Thank you so much generous family that we love! I'm also elated to announce that our $10,000 & $500/month Donor Match Challenges were successfully accomplished on Tuesdsy night!!! Thank you to our phenomenal donors who issued the generous challenges and thank you to all the donors who met the challenge!! We have so much more to share, but for today we want to thank everyone involved in our special night of celebration... it was a total team effort... we are thrilled with the results, overjoyed by all the testimonies, and deeply touched by all the support! We simply praise God for every bit of it :)

Much more to share including pics from our special night :)