Film Students

One of the exciting things to come out of Hey Nana’s stories has been my work with Cornerstone University film students this past year. A team of juniors and seniors chose to use Connor’s story as the basis for examining the legacy of addiction, abuse, and mental illness.

Now, even though the director, Joelene Arndt and production director, Lauren Bailey have graduated, they have chosen to continue to work on the project along with now senior camera man, Joshua Skinner. Their initial assignment was to prepare an 8-10-minute documentary about the topic, but once we began working together, we realized that we couldn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg with the story of how my family collided in the universe with another family, both families coming from addiction, abuse, and mental illness.

I am excited to say that we will be filming interviews with my daughter-in-law, Dani, and the mother of the boy who murdered Connor, Anita next weekend as we continue to examine our lives and pose the question, can we heal from this tragedy. I love the enthusiasm and integrity of the Cornerstone crew and am proud to be working with them toward the possibilities of promoting healing.

Until next time, I look lovingly upon the universe.

Toni Nunemaker


Someone asked me recently if I was nervous about publishing Hey Nana. What would I think if the reviews are poor and people don’t appreciate the message? I have no fear at all about it and surprised myself when I simply replied, those who need the healing message of the book will find it and hopefully be comforted by Connor’s stories of love, forgiveness, and compassion.

I suspect initially readers will be people who are my friends, family, and the people of Grand Rapids who were most touched by Connor’s murder by a young boy. They will want to know the intimate details of how Connor’s death touched our family and hopefully Hey Nana will help them heal from those wounds. But beyond that, the book will need to call to readers who are searching for healing, trying to forgive someone who has caused great pain, or to those like myself who are trying to figure out how to live a compassionate life. That call to readers I put in God’s hands. He has blessed me with miracles and love during these past months and it is His word that is infused in the book. He will make sure that the people who need the message will find the book. Amen.

Until next time, I lovingly smile at the universe and willingly serve for its highest good.

Toni Nunemaker


As I begin to shift my awareness from writing and editing Hey Nana toward publishing in February, it seems I am reawakening to the world around me. My thoughts and energy have been very focused on producing a book that would be meaningful to others for the past year and in some respects, it seems that I have not noticed the goings on around me. I didn’t get tangled in the political scene this past election year, barely noticing the issues candidates raised. I feel almost as if I am coming out of a cocoon that has shielded me from the goings on of life.

I guess I would have to admit that I have been bubbled for the past two and a half years since Connor’s murder. I have spent these months looking inside for clarity and personal growth while friends and family have supported me in their thoughts, prayers, and actions. I can’t remember a time when I have become wholly absorbed in myself for such a long period. It wasn’t selfishness but rather a matter of survival and ultimately personal and spiritual growth. I am coming back to life as more of who I am.

For this I am forever grateful that my lonely and painful journey is taking a new turn from the devastating pain to the joy of being alive and serving the universe again.

Until next time, I greet the universe with unconditional love and joy.

Toni Nunemaker