Posted by : November 6, 2013| On :
The Make A Wish Foundation of North Texas is sending 3-year-old Karter Whittenberg and his family to Disney World to meet the real Mickey Mouse and his friends. Karter was surprised when a huge crowd showed up on Sunday to see the look on his face when his wish was granted. His dad, Robert, mom Christin and brothers Kash, Khalon and Kharson (seen above) are all included in his wish, as are his grandparents Eustace fire chief Chris Anthony and wife Caren, the planner behind the big parade and reveal party. Eustace ISD students helped bring the magic by appearing in costume as Disney characters. An estimated 1,200 well-wishers joined in the celebration, hosted on the Eustace Town Square. See the Sunday issue of The Monitor for more pictures from the event.
Posted by : October 12, 2013| On :
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE-The recently opened Grace House of Cedar Creek Lake located in Tool held two fundraisers Oct. 5. The first was a 5K run, at the Mabank Park and the second, that evening, consisted of a gala dinner and auction at the Lone Star Ranch, just west of Athens. Both events, and a third coming up on Oct. 21 at the Cedar Creek Country Club, are meant to introduce the women’s transitional housing program and its need for monthly financial support to a wider audience.
Grace House is a faith-based ministry kicked off by the Christian Life Center Church. It focuses on assisting women-at-risk in rebuilding their lives, offering support, training and hope following incarceration. The six-month program offers 24/7 supervised living in a safe environment. Residents learn life skills, like budgeting, homemaking and saving money, as well as receive spiritual training critical to their ongoing recovery.
The evening gala featured women speakers who have overcome addiction and the destructive lifestyles that kept them mired in difficulties and failure. Their overriding message was that people they didn’t know who supported programs, such as the one offered at Grace House helped them.
“You’re changing lives one by one,” Lori Newton said. “It’s because of people like you that I’m here today,” Carie Goodrich said.
Each woman had a harrowing story to tell of her many bouts with drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. And when they had exhausted “every ounce of hope” their family had, they had to reach out to God and a community of strangers whose financial support made a transitional treatment program possible.
Goodrich told how she had borrowed the $50 entrance fee for a program in Houston, because there was nothing at Cedar Creek Lake. After a three-hour interview, she was accepted. She asked if she could just stay there, seeing she didn’t have anywhere else to go and no money. They said, yes. She told how her decision to leave everything familiar was confirmed to her by the appearance of a precious Bible verse; she had committed to memory. It cropped up three times in succession, while she was fighting the impulse to runaway from the scary unknown of rehabilitation. Those words were” For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope,” Jeremiah 29:11.
“It’s because of people like yourself that I‘m able to be here and know that I have a future and a hope,” Goodrich said.
It was obvious from the many tears and embraces from the women now living at Grace House that house director Penni Simms is much loved and a great source of encouragement to them. “I want to thank all of you for showing God’s Grace, through your prayers and contributions to Grace House,” Simms said.
Kathy Lamb sang what seemed the theme of the evening “I Am Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave. With words like: “Seems like all I could see was the struggle. Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past. Bound up in shackles of all my failures, wondering how long is this going to last? And you look at this prisoner and say to me son, “Stop fighting a fight that’s already been won.” I am redeemed. You set me free. So I’ll shake off these heavy chains and wipe away every stain. I’m not who I use to be. I am redeemed.
All my life I’ve been called unworthy, made by the voice of my shame and regret. But I hear you whisper, “Child, lift up your head.” Then I remember, you’re not done with me yet.
Musical artist Jon Rutherford also performed some of his own songs, which inspired and entertained the company of around 125 attending.
Tucker Electricity service providers Cynthia and Steve Tucker offered The Lone Star Ranch as a venue for the evening. Kenneth Odom acted as auctioneer for the evening and Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant provided the catered meal.
Executive director Jeff Reynolds is asking all those who have somehow been touched by alcohol and drug addiction to consider supporting the work at Grace House through a financial contribution. “Many are in the midst of the fight of addiction and you could be their connection to a new life,” he said. “Open the door of hope for someone today.”
Contributions may be made by mail to PO Box 43012 Seven Points TX 75143 or by calling (903) 432-0012. One-time gifts or an ongoing monthly donation is most appreciated, he said.
Posted by : October 2, 2013| On :
More photos from this event can be found in the Thursday, October 3, 2013 issue of The Monitor.