Dear Family and Friends,
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God,
keeping his covenant of love...
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you;
He is Christ the Lord...”
The “covenant of love” God established with his people, the Israelites, required their love and their obedience to commandments but included Jesus Christ and his redemption plan. We joyfully celebrate Jesus’ birth in this season and are deeply grateful that his plan extends to all peoples and nations.
“I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
John continues full-time employment as the Foundation Administrator for the H.E.Butt Foundation ministries – Foundations for Laity Renewal. February 1st he will complete his 28th year with this wonderful ministry and a few days later will have his 70th birthday.
No retirement decision just yet – maybe a 4 day week?
A major change for him came this spring with the diagnosis that he is in an early stage of Parkinson’s Disease. This neuro-muscular disease has no cure but is being actively studied which is providing improved treatments and medications. He has joined the PPMI (Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative) study group at the Baylor Medical Center in Houston. We travel to Houston for his appointments which provide this group with a human subject to examine through testing, questions and observations as they seek biomarkers to provide further help toward eradication of this disease. John is not yet on any medications as his symptoms: occasional hand, arm, leg tremors, voice softening, maybe increased tiredness and slower movements, do not impede his current activities. For John and all PD patients, the future is unknown – which symptoms will accompany the disease, how much and how rapidly those symptoms will deteriorate - therefore he is accepting this condition without complaint nor worry. He knows this is an imperfect world but his hope and trust are in a perfect Great Physician who will meet his needs no matter the outcome of this disease. We pray for healing and slow to nil progression of this condition.
Linda’s part-time employment continues with Laity Lodge which is the adult retreat center for Foundations For Laity Renewal. This ministry continues to be a blessed place for indiviual and family spiritual renewal. It’s a high privilege to provide some support to a place where God and Biblical values are the center of the vision.
Other roles that Linda has bring great joy also. Her favorite career choice has been homemaking – being wife, mother and grandmother. It was especially delightful to all be together in Richmond, VA a year ago for an extended Christmas visit. This family photo was snapped on Christmas Eve where we joined folks at Hope Church for a service. Son John is the owner/operator of a Chick-fil-a in Richmond, VA and he squeaked into the gathering in his work shirt and tie. Across the back are: Stephen,13, James, Sarah, John, Diane, Phillip, 14, middle row: Constantine, 2 1/2, Shara, Joanna, 11, Lydia, 9, with Linda and John seated in front. Ages are 2012 updates.
Being a grandmother has earned some special privileges this year. The annual Seminar for Chick-fil-a is held in February so there’s a trip there for Linda while John and Diane join the CFA family for business and pleasure. Lots of fun to be carpool driver, after school sports shuttler/watcher, homework overseer etc. etc. Everyone stayed well this year!
The next trip took Linda to Europe to be “tour Grandnanny” for Constantine as his parents were on tour as My Brightest Diamond. It took us all over France for 12 shows in 2 weeks. Then the parents went to Istanbul for a show while Constantine and Grandma Lee stayed in Nice, France for a week. She chronicled her month on her blog which you can go to should you be interested in photos and narrative about the tour.
Another opportunity for travel came in May while My Brightest Diamond went on tour in Australia. This time Linda stayed in the states but picked Cozzie up in Detroit, drove to Muskegan, MI and boarded the Lake Express for a 2 1/2hr trip across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee, WI and a visit with 2 sisters and their families along with the surprising visit of her sister from CA. A very fun adventure.
|Margelyn, Linda, Constantine, Kathleen, Barbara - overlooking WI valley farmland near our childhood home.|
In August there was a mission trip to Moldova to again lead a team which provided programming at a camp for children from an orphanage or were part of vulnerable families. This continues to be a very rewarding experience which we will continue to pursue as long as we and our church perceive this to be God’s will. Son John, his wife Diane plus Phillip and Joanna joined our team. Sarah stayed with Stephen and Lydia in Richmond. We continue working with CERI, Children’s Emergency Relief International for these trips into eastern Europe.
Richmond, VA remains the home of son John and his busy family. Diane has become a kindergarten teacher at the children’s school, Veritas Classical Christian School. All 4 children are thriving in their many activities at home, school and church. We are confident we have the most precocious
grandchildren in the world.
James, Shara and Constantine live in Detroit, MI. They travel much with Shara’s singing career. She is My Brightest Diamond and not only composes for herself but has a number of commissions to compose for other artists – which usually includes performing that work with them as well. It was lots of fun to have this family in TX this past October when Shara was part of a retreat for Artists at Laity Lodge. This family photo was taken there. Constantine keeps everyone who meets him charmed. He is a delightful child who is accustomed to the world of airports and stages. We think he’s amazing also.
Sarah is continuing to love children and guide 900 dependents of military families through her position as the Librarian at Fort Sam Houston Elementary in San Antonio, TX. It is a challenging position but she is a very conscientious professional who teaches and enriches the lives of faculty, students and their parents. It is fantastic to have her in TX.
There is much continued involvement at our church, Trinity Baptist, in Kerrville. John is lead usher, church clerk, a deacon and a Bible Class teacher. He is also the Board Chair of our local Pregnancy Resource Center. Linda is the Missions Director at Trinity.
We are grateful for many friends and family. We wish for you a cherished Christmas and New Year.
We can be found on Facebook and Linda has two blogs she sporadically updates.
With Joy and Gratitude in our Hearts.
John and Linda Worden
1208 Barbara Ann St.
Kerrville, TX 78028