Our Sweet Nina

Jun 23, 2021 | Uncategorized

This post is the most difficult I have had to write and the most personal.

Our dear, sweet and beloved granddaughter, Julianna “Nina” was recently diagnosed with aggressive, non-operable brain cancer.

There aren’t words to describe how quickly our lives became a whirlwind of consultations, tests, disbelief and devastation. How could this be happening? Suddenly we are faced with the prospect of saying goodbye to one of the greatest joys and lights of our life.

I wasn’t sure I was going to share this so publicly but the more I thought about it I knew I had to. I couldn’t let her just simply disappear from the blog – I need to talk about her and share this story with those of you that have been watching her grow up.

Nina is going to be very familiar with many of you. She has been the “face” of many of my designs. She has always loved modeling my projects and always knew there was a really good chance she was going to receive the item she was modeling. She knows me so well 😉.

This past fall/winter Nina suddenly developed what was thought to be a “lazy eye”. She had an appointment with the eye doctor who prescribed glasses to help and then scheduled a follow up for a few months later to check her progress. At her follow up the eye doctor suggested a pediatric eye specialist for possible corrective surgery since her eye wasn’t improving.

The eye specialist was concerned that she couldn’t bring her eye out of the corner and scheduled an MRI of her brain to rule out a tumor. Her MRI was just a few weeks ago. We received the world-crashing news of her diagnosis that same day.

Then came the consults with oncology, radiation oncology & neurosurgery. Her cancer is very advanced, inoperable and aggressive. Her parents, after much prayer and consultation with specialists, have decided to give her as normal as a life as possible without treatment for the time she has remaining. She has been given just a few weeks to a couple of months to live. Her cancer is extremely rare – only a few hundred people are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year.

Julianna would have begun first grade in the Fall and will turn 7 at the end of August. I don’t have the words to describe the pain our family is currently experiencing. She is the light of our lives. So sweet, gentle and loving. So full of hugs & little girl giggles 💕

Some days the pain is crushing but we are making every effort to forget ourselves for her sake as well as her 5 siblings. Being part of giving them this news was the hardest day of my life.

At this point Nina seems so normal – her eye is the only indication that she has something more going on. She acts just like a little girl would act – playing, swimming, drawing, running & roller skating. We pray that continues for as long as possible.

We are spending as much time as possible with her – enjoying every moment and holding fast to each smile and hug in our hearts. I have been a little more absent from work than normal and I expect that to continue for the next few months.

We haven’t given up hope that a miracle can still happen and our baby can be cured. So many people all over the world are praying for her return to good health if that be God’s will. If you would like to pray with us I will provide our prayer below.

If it is God’s Will we are meant to let her go, we are praying for the strength to carry and endure this cross we have been given.

What does this mean for Nana’s Crafty Home? I will continue to design but the frequency of my design releases will certainly be less than you are accustomed to. I have hired my niece part-time this summer to help with some of the day-to-day operations that don’t necessarily need my personal touch.

This might also mean that I may not respond as quickly as you are accustomed to. I will respond eventually, it may just take a little bit longer for me to get to emails or messages on social media.

This also means that I will not be obligating myself beyond that which I have already done so. I will forgo designing and releasing a crochet a long pattern this year as well. I haven’t decided about hosting the Holly Jolly Blog Hop at Christmas time – I will have to make that decision later.

You are so wonderful – I really appreciate your support and I just ask for your grace and patience during this time. We are heartbroken but are consoled by all of the love and support we are receiving.

I will keep you updated as I can. I am keeping a journal of her words – she has been teaching us how to let go as she starts to think about her life in Heaven. Yesterday she told me, “Don’t be sad Nana – you can talk to me any time you want to. I will always be there to listen.”

I am thankful for every moment and breath we have left with her – I am praying for so many more.

For those of you that that feel led to do so and would like to help her family financially there is a Go Fund Me account set up to help with expenses.

Thank you all so much for your support 💕🌸

Stained Glass Dragon Scales free crochet pattern



About Me

Hi! Thank you so much for being here! I am Tonya the designer behind Nana's Crafty Home. As a wife, mother, Nana of 9 & with 2 fur babies, my days are filled with love, laughter, hugs and yarn! Here you will find colorful and creative crochet designs for yourself or loved ones. My hope is that you will be inspired to learn and create along with me!


  1. Dana

    My heart goes out to you. I know what it is to let a grand baby go, mine was one month old. Take many videos. Prayers for you and the family for comfort and may the memories and family help you through the coming time.

    • Tonya Bush

      Thank you so much Dana for your kind words and prayers – they are so appreciated ❤️ So sorry to hear about your grand baby – it is so hard to watch them leave first 🌸

    • redshope0929

      I can’t imagine how difficult this must be..I will pray for Julianna..I am so sorry that
      she has to go through this..I hope that u all enjoy every day will that beautiful child…

      • Tonya Bush

        Thank you so much for your prayers ❤️

  2. Linda Johnson

    As my heart breaks for you and your family. I pray for.comfort and peace and strength for each of you from our Heavenly Father.

    • Tonya Bush

      Thank you so much Linda for your kind words and prayers – they are so appreciated ❤️

    • Kristina

      I’m so sorry to hear that, she is such a rae of sunshine.

      You are all in my prayers.
      I know it’s hard and yet I am happy you are able to have this time together with her.

      We lost our ‘bonus’ grandson in May this year. He went to sleep and never woke up, 17 yrs old.
      Nobody knew he had a heart condition.

      All I know is that God is good. And, as David says, even if I walk trough the valley of death I fear no evil. Psalms 23 has comforted me many times in life.

      I pray for a miracle, even if it may not be what we want, God is in control.

      Hugs from Sweden

      • Tonya Bush

        Thank you so much Kristina for your kind words and prayers ❤️. My condolences to your and your family for your loss – my heart goes out to you 💕🌸

  3. Beth McConnell

    These are words that no one should ever have to write. My heart is heavy for you and I will hold a place of love and light for your family on this journey.

    • Tonya Bush

      Thank you so much for your kind words and support Beth ❤️

  4. Judi Burkhalter

    I have no words, but I have prayer! I will continue to pray for your granddaughter, and your family! Know that you are all loved!

    • Tonya Bush

      Thank you so much Judi – your prayers are so appreciated ❤️

  5. Elizabeth J Banet

    I am heartbroken as I read this today. Your “Nina” has been a part of our lives as well, in all the modeling she has done for you. I will put you, Nina, her family, and friends on our prayer list. Miracles happen, prayer works, not always the way we chose, but there is a plan and we are not privy to it. I know this will be a long post. But know that I am only saying things I wish had been said to me before some of the ones I lost were gone.
    Spend all the time you can together. Do everything she has ever wanted to do, go everywhere she has said she wanted to go, see everyone she wasn’t able to see in the past year. Take lots of photos, videos. Record her telling you all stories or reading stories as if she were reading or telling those stories to a sibling, another child, a friend, cousins, or even she talks to adults. When she plays with dolls and/or stuffed animals she loves.
    It’s hard to lose anyone, we just lost my step-dad on Mother’s day, after being diagnosed Easter week. After knowing just a month, he was gone.
    We have lost in so many ways, quick, by an auto accident, my sister(2-23-14), quick by an aneurism overnight while he slept, step-bro(9-3-14), older family members after living many years. Then you take cancer, which has no pattern, it can be quick or slow. It can be sudden, with no symptoms no reason to think anything is wrong. Sometimes there may be a reason to check something out and low and behold they find something, sometimes early, sometimes too late. There is not a good way to lose someone, no matter who they are.
    My mother is beside herself. His kids, steps, grandkids, step-grandkids, and great-grandkids are all in different stages of sorrow and grief. My mother is under the impression she shouldn’t be crying every time she turns around like she is. I told her to give her way, don’t let anyone dictate how you feel or how you deal with this horrific blow to her life.
    I am going to add something, that has helped me since my sister and step-brother both died, in 2014, 7 mos. apart, with one of my aunts in between. I hope it helps you and your family and all of Nina’s friends. It will be in another post, because this one is so long.

    I am sending you all my thoughts, prayers, and love.

    • Tonya Bush

      Thank you so much Elizabeth for your kind words and advice 💕. I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your step-dad. It is never easy to lose someone and I am sure your mother is devastated. I will keep her and your family in my prayers 🌸

  6. Kim Latshaw

    What a difficult thing to have to go through – I am so sorry to hear this and will keep you, Nina and your family in our prayers.

    • Tonya Bush

      Thank you so much Kim ❤️

  7. Catherine

    I am so very sorry for all of you. May you always remember the sunshine this small beauty has brought into your lives. Prayers that God grant a miracle.

    • Tonya Bush

      Thank you so much Catherine. Praying for a miracle but keeping every moment in our hearts. ❤️

  8. Di Collins

    There are no words I have to help so just hugs from Down Under Di xx

    • Tonya Bush

      Thank you so much Di – your hugs are felt ❤️

    • Rebecca Schaffer

      I am so very sorry to hear this news!! Please don’t be concerned with all of us. We are all here for you and your family! ❤ ❤ HUGS AND PRAYERS for all of you!!

  9. Liette

    OMG! This is oh so very sad. As I am writing this, I can’t help but cry. Spend as much time as you can with her. And I sure hope a miracle will happen. She is such a beautiful child and a super model for your creations. Gosh! I have to stop because I barely see what I am writing. I am with you and your family with all my heart. A ton of hugs to Julianna and you all.

  10. Deena

    So sorry! Praying for a miracle🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 Don’t worry about us. We will be here for you.

  11. Tami

    Thank you for sharing, especially her words. What an amazing example of childlike faith. O honestly cannot begin to comprehend receiving this news, but God promises to never give us what he will not carry us through
    I lift up you, your family and your precious Nina into his arms and ask for his love, mercy and grace to be poured out on all of you.

  12. Beth

    I don’t even have words to express how I feel. I feel like I know you and your granddaughter yet we have never met. Enjoy every moment you have with your family. They need you. We will be waiting for you, praying for your family and sending virtual hugs .

  13. Bonnie

    Prayers for your sweet grand baby, Juliana. I will pray a rosary for her and your family.

  14. Robbie

    Heartbreaking, Know I am thinking about all of you and the pain with which your aduring. Hugs to you and everyone

  15. Cynthia Senger

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Your sweet granddaughter obviously was raised to know God, and have Him in her young life. What an amazing child, to trust, and let you know that she will always be listening. May you have many more days with her! I pray she gets a miracle. I will be praying for you and your family.

  16. Susan Hall-Amado

    Oh, Tonya, there just aren’t enough words for this heartbreaking news. I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you and her family. I will hold Julianna up in prayer for a miracle.
    I hope and pray for the strength you will all need during this time and that you can all enjoy every day with this beautiful little girl.

  17. Tracy King

    I feel devastated for your granddaughter and all of you who love her. Please know prayer will be Sid by my me for her and all of you. I don’t know you but I would absolutely give you a hug if I did and help in any other way possible. All my love.

  18. Kathy

    Your Granddaughter is a Beautiful Blessing, the news you have shared is heart breaking and I will keep her and you in my Prayers constantly 🙏. May God grant this Beautiful Blessing a Mercy and a miracle.
    God’s Blessing

  19. Barbara

    I am so sorry for what your family is experiencing. Nina’s parents have made an extremely brave decision. You are all in my prayers.

  20. Wendy M.

    As I read this, all I can think is how heartbreaking and unfair this is. I hope you get to soak up all the days you can with your little ray of sunshine. I’m so sorry your family has to endure this. I have a seven year old and I just can not even imagine how difficult it must have been for her and your family to get and process this news. She sounds very wise for her years. Wishing a miraculous recovery for your sweet granddaughter.

  21. Silvia Rogel

    Im praying for you and your family that’s all I can say….. this is a heart braking news….


    Tonya, I am so sorry to hear this devastating news. Does your granddaughter have dipg? Look to see if there are any trials near you that may make her more comfortable and give you a little more time. Look after yourself and enjoy what time you have with your little lady. Hugs to you and your family. Marion

  23. Conni

    I cannot fathom the heartbreak you all are going through. I will keep you all in my prayers to help comfort and be comforted, for strength to get through this. Isn’t it amazing that someone so young as Nina, is given the gift of sight for what is to come? For her to comfort you by saying you can talk to her anytime and with such joy, someone is with her to help her through.

    Take your time to be with her. And take your time getting back to us. We can wait and wouldn’t want you to miss a moment with her.


  24. Robin

    Just had this come through on my email and my heart just aches for you and you entire family. God is a God of miracles, but He is also the Father of lovely sweet Nina. She is His child and He loves her. My prayer is for a miracle, but also for strength, hope, comfort and love as your family goes through the next months.

  25. Arina Boonstra

    Dear Tonya, What a sad and unbelievable story! I really hope that Nina will be a survivor. I keep her in my prayers and wish her and your familiy all the strenght you need. A big hug and lots of hope from The Netherlands.xxx Arina

  26. Cathrine

    Very sad reading about your granddaughter. Sending healing rays to Julienne, you and family. Send healing hugs to all.😍🤗

  27. Janet

    We are remembering Nina and your family in our thoughts and prayers. We Know God is in control. Our love to all.

  28. sally mason

    I am so sorry you and your family are going through this crisis in your lives.
    My heartfelt thoughts go out to you all
    Sally, UK

  29. Karen M. Roth

    My heart is so broken for you and your family at this hard time. It is always tougher when it is a child. Lean on Philippians 4:13 and note that you do it in HIS strength and not your own. I have lost many of my friends to various forms of cancers the youngest was 6 years old. I know how I wavered between anger towards God, hatred towards satan for taking my only friend away from me. While God does not cause things like this to happen we humans are so scared, so hurt, and yet it often comes out in the form of anger. One thing to remember is that each one of us grieves differently. — Is it okay to add her and your family to the Prayer List in my Very Private Christian Women’s Facebook group? And to Bible Study and Church Prayer List, too. Some days ahead it might only be the name of Jesus you all can utter but know in your hearts that is enough and that all of Heaven is weeping with you and praying for you as well {{{hugz}}}.

    • Tonya Bush

      Thank you so much for your kind words Karen ❤️ Absolutely, please add her to your prayer lists – we really appreciate it 💕

  30. Marianne

    Dear Tonya, I wish for you and your family consolation.
    I think that a dear little girl’s death is the most bad thing in a family life.
    I don’t believe that time is a good cure for that – believe the memories of your dear little Nina will be remain with you for ever.
    I’m with you in thought.

  31. Jerusha Moss

    This is heartbreaking news. God is still able to heal her, but if he has other plans for her, he will grant peace and comfort to all of you. I will request prayer for her at my churchqqqqqqq

    • Tonya Bush

      Thank you so much Jerusha – we really appreciate the prayers ❤️

  32. Marion Rose Rice

    Tears are flowing for this Sweet Little Girl. God Is Good. Praying for healing and Love. Praying for the whole family. 💕❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  33. Gramz

    Such sad news to read. My heart hurts for you and family. Nina is such a lovely little Sweetheart. Loved seeing her on your site so many times. Her lovely face and special smile will be sorely missed.

    My prayers for you, Nina and family are heart sent.

    She was added to Church Prayer list.

    lots of big hugs to you and all.

    Gramz (Carol)

  34. Patricia A Bruins

    Prayers sent. God bless that sweet soul.

  35. Jane Taylor

    My heart is so heavy reading about Nina. Praying for you and your family that the comfort of Almighty God will sustain you in the days ahead. Spend as much time with her as you can and make lasting memories that you can hold onto. As unbelievable as this is know that God never makes a mistake.

  36. Cecilia Anderson

    My prayers are going out to you and your whole family. Waiting and watching someone you love pass is the hardest thing you can do in the world. My previous husband was told he had 6 months to live withing weeks of getting married. I have a medical background and have worked in MD offices & hospitals so when hospice people came around, we made the choice to keep him at home & I would take care of him. It was very hard but at the same time, I learned a lot about myself and my ability to handle anything. I did everything for him to keep him comfortable and 5 months later he passed away in his own home. I hope I never have to go through something like this again but if it happens, I can handle it. I think God watched over me and like they say, God will not give you more than you can handle. I guess I can handle alot. All I can offer besides prayers is the advice you are already taking : spend as much time as you can together, give her all your love, and give her a peaceful path to the next world where cancer doesn’t exists. She is right about one thing, you will always be able to talk to her. Loving thoughts coming her way.

  37. Christine Doole

    So sorry to hear about Nina, as a mother my heart goes out to you. May the Lord God grant you and your family the strength and serenity to see this through. He may be calling her home but always remember the joy and blessings she brought to your life. We recently lost my partner’s mum after battling COPD for years but as the poem Footprints says it is at these times He carries us. He will never leave us just trust in Him and He will shelter us and keep us safe from harm

  38. Leigh

    So sorry to hear this sad news, sendings prayers and love to you and your family.

  39. Lori Johnson

    How heart breaking. My husband and I are faced with a similar situation. His cancer is rare and we seek God’s wisdom as to what to do, treatment or no treatment. My rest and strength come from Jesus. He promised to be with us in the storms of life and to never leave us. This present suffering is working a far more and eternal weight of glory. It doesn’t make anything easier I know, but there is peace in the suffering. Praying for you and Nina and everyone to take each day one step at a time in Jesus!
    Much love and PRAYERS.
    Lori K. Johnson

    • Tonya Bush

      Oh Lori – I am so sorry to hear about your husband! My prayers for you both for strength and discernment. I know how hard it is to make decisions when you are reeling from the initial shock of diagnosis. God Bless you both 💕🌸

  40. Lucille Rosser

    Being a grandparent I feel your pain. Your letter had me in tears. From your comments I have faith that you will lean on Jesus to help you though this difficult time. I will definitely keep you in my daily prayers. You’ve taken beautiful care of Nina now it’s Jesus turn to care for her. My the lord be with you all

  41. Claudia Fiest

    Prayers for you and yours.

  42. Dorothy

    I have 7 grandchildren & can only imagine how devastating this is for you & your family! Of course spend as much time as you can with Nina! I think of how Jesus loved to talk to little children who often say the most profound things. Prayers & hugs! May the Lord Jesus give You & your family His comfort, mercy & peace!!!

  43. Lynn Leurquin

    My prayers and thoughts are with you. My grandkids call me Nana and I’ve crocheted many things for them. Including some of your patterns. That’s why I started following you cause of your web site name. May God surround you with His love and strength. I’ll pray for you and your family everyday and I hope you find comfort and peace.
    Lynn (aka Nana)

  44. Velynda Wilson

    Please accept my heartfelt prayers. I do appreciate your willingness to share your heart.

  45. Janet Crawford

    The Lord’s peace be with you and your family.