Monday, December 14, 2009
Christmas Letter from Carole
2009 has been a year of transition and also a year of great blessings for Johnny and me. Even though we lost our home and almost everything we owned September 13, 2008, due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike, God has provided everything we needed and then some.
When we were packing to evacuate before Ike, I received a call from Euphanel Goad, a dear friend who owns Round Top Retreat. On the call she said two words, “Come here.” I called her back and said, “Euphie, we have a dog, two cats and a bird and I know you don’t allow pets at the Retreat center.” She said, “Bring them and come.”
We ended up staying at Round Top for five weeks after Hurricane Ike and felt like we were wrapped in a warm cocoon the entire time. Euphanel & Nick kept assuring us that we could stay as long as we wanted, and groups that were there loved on us and fed us the entire time. God provided a haven for us where our family could gather together and we could begin processing what had happened.
The middle of October we moved into Greg & Melissa Jones home at the bay. Greg and Melissa were our next door neighbors and they insisted that we live in their home so that we could meet with all the insurance adjusters and oversee the destruction and removal of the remainder of our home, plus all the other tasks involved in the aftermath of Ike. The Jones’ had moved back to Houston just three weeks before Ike so their home was vacant and available.
On December 15, we moved back to Houston to rent a fully-furnished townhome belonging to our friend, Linda Wadsworth. What a blessing to have everything you need at your fingertips and not own any of it. We are forever indebted to Linda for allowing us this great privilege.
We have been slow in making any major decisions, believing that God knows where we are and has a perfect plan for our lives. We don’t plan to rebuild at the bay, because we just can’t see ourselves undertaking this kind of project at this stage in our lives. We have eleven years of wonderful and lasting memories and we are sure God has new adventures planned for our lives.
Johnny and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on June 26. We took our daughter, Lisa and her husband Kent, and our son, John and his wife Lisa, to Hawaii for a cruise around four of the islands. We had a fabulous time being with them for a week and it worked out great. Johnny and I had been to Hawaii several times when I was there with First Place, so we enjoyed staying on the ship while the kids explored Hawaii.
I celebrated my 25th anniversary of working at Houston’s First Baptist Church this past summer, and our First Place 4 Health program became an independent 501c3 corporation on July 1, of this year. Our office remains at the church until June 2010, so if any of you know of a wonderful, cheap office space we could rent, please let me know.
I wrote a new book this year, Give God A Year, Change Your Life Forever, and it was released December 1. All I can say is, “I did and it did!” I am in the middle of writing another book, Hope 4 You, and the manuscript is due January 1. This one will release July, 2010.
Johnny is doing well. In August his PSA spiked to 36. The doctor gave him a hormone shot and it immediately began to drop. It is now 1.2. We are so full of praise to our God that after twelve years, Johnny is still not hormone resistant. The doctor wants him to take a round of chemo, so in January we will begin a five-month regimen of three treatments a month for a total of 15 treatments.
Our family is all well for which we are grateful. Lisa, Kent and their family are doing well. Lisa is now working at the FP4H office. Carl is 24 and took the photos I’m sharing when we were all together at Thanksgiving. Katherine is 23 and will graduate from Texas A&M in August.
Jeff and Katherine are great, considering they still have two girls in college. Cara is 27, married to Michael Parker and they have a little boy, Luke, who is 3, and a baby girl, Kate, born in October. Christen is 23 and will graduate from Texas A&M in May. Amanda is 21 and a Junior at UT Dallas.
John, Lisa and their family are doing well. Lisa also works with us in the FP4H office. Tal is a senior at UT in Austin and made a perfect score of 180 on his LSAT. Tal plans to take off a year before starting law school. Hunter is a junior in high school and Harper, their daughter, is in the 8th grade.
This has been a year full of blessings and even though we are unsure of what our future holds, we know Who holds it in His hands. Thank you for your friendship to us. We are blessed!
Carole & Johnny