Volume IV of The Book The Woodlands

We are excited to introduce the 6th Issue of The Book The Woodlands!

The new cover of The Book and new companion The Wish Guide were unveiled last night at the exclusive launch party. A heartfelt thank you to our presenting sponsor, Jasper’s for the amazing food and hospitality, and our event host, Market Street for the fantastic site! We are truly grateful to all of the Ad Partners and guests that joined us to celebrate this beautiful publication that provides funding for Interfaith’s many programs and services. Be on the lookout for your copy of The Book which will be arriving in mailboxes within the next week.

Interfaith Celebration of Excellence Gala Honors 20 Years of Heroes

The Woodlands Celebration of Excellence Gala, themed “Twenty Years of Heroes,” was held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center on Saturday, October 5th.

The 20th annual event, chaired by DeAnn Guidry, was dedicated to honoring the 2019 Hometown Heroes while also celebrating the nearly 130 heroes that have been nominated over the past twenty years. The highly anticipated annual event raises money for crisis assistance in South Montgomery County.

Upon arrival, more than 600 guests entered a beautifully decorated ballroom filled with intricate lighting and ornate floral arrangements. Pianist, George Ruehle, entertained the guests while they enjoyed the silent auction and cocktail reception.
Alex Sutton, Chairman of Interfaith’s Board of Directors, and Missy Herndon, President and CEO of Interfaith of The Woodlands welcomed guests and celebrated the Honorary Event Chair, Waste Connections, Inc. Interfaith’s service and mission were made evident by each individual who continued to take the podium.

Hometown Hero Attendees at 2019 Gala

Since 1999, when the original class of 25 Hometown Heroes were honored in celebration of The Woodlands’ 25th Anniversary, Interfaith has recognized outstanding individuals and organizations in the community by presenting them with the title of Hometown Hero. Touching videos played on the screens, reflecting the generosity of the 2019 Hometown Heroes. Each Hero was awarded a medallion, a Congressional Commendation presented by United States Congressman Kevin Brady, and a Senate Proclamation from Texas State Senator Brandon Creighton. The Hometown Heroes for 2019 are: Jerissa Belsha, MD, Mary-Lou E. Fitch, Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., Alex Sutton, Josh Urban, Market Street The Woodlands, and Leadership Montgomery County.

The event offered a fantastic live auction and fund-a-need opportunities that featured numerous luxurious experiences including a VIP trip to Disney, naming rights to the longest pedestrian bridge in The Woodlands Town Center, SEWELL for all Seasons, and various other unique items. Thomas Markle Jewelers provided a Tudor watch that one lucky winner was able to claim in the raffle.
Interfaith typically serves over 1,500 clients in crisis monthly, with those numbers expected to increase as the Holiday Season approaches. Gala guests were among the first to view a video testimony from a client who fell on hard times and utilized the many programs and services at Interfaith to help her and her children get back on their feet. The impact of this storytelling was felt throughout the room as attendees were asked to lend their support.

“We are so grateful to live in a community that shows up to celebrate and support each other,” says Herndon. “For 46 years Interfaith has walked alongside our neighbors in crisis. No matter the magnitude, we step in to help families rebuild. Being able to offer hope in the midst of devastation is only possible through the generous donations we are blessed to receive. We are forever grateful to our donors.”

Interfaith of The Woodlands is a nonprofit social service agency providing programs and services to meet the needs of The Woodlands and the surrounding area. Interfaith provides basic needs assistance and special programs to families experiencing a financial crisis, and supportive service through care and wellness programs to senior adults 62 and over, in addition to many community programs dedicated to improving the lives of individuals in need. For more information on Interfaith’s programs and services or to become a volunteer, please visit woodlandsinterfaith.org or call 281-367-1230.

 

 

Moving Forward – Overcoming Grief and Making a Positive Difference

Coping with the death of a loved one is undeniably traumatic, but when a woman loses her husband, the grief can be intensified by the fear of facing life alone. The Woodlands Modern Widows Club (MWC) has been formed to bring widows together to offer support and friendship during the most difficult time of their lives. The members’ shared experience of loss links them together as they lean on each other to try to come to terms with their grief and navigate their way through a new way of life.

The MWC is a national organization, founded in 2011, with chapters all over the US. The Woodlands chapter was founded in 2016 by Cindy Wilson, following the untimely death of her husband in October 2015. Through her own heartbreak, Cindy felt impelled to establish a group for widows in the Woodlands and surrounding areas.

“I help widows understand their new life and teach them how to survive,” explains Cindy, MWC Woodlands Area Chapter Leader. “We are not ‘grief support’ in so much as we are LIFE support; we focus on moving forward. The MWC lets widows know they are not alone in their grief and that we are here for them with friendship, connection, understanding and support.”

Cindy describes the MWC as a ‘tribe and a sisterhood’ and credits the group for helping her cope with the difficult days and months since her husband’s passing. “We aim to help every widow move forward and we know it takes a lot of energy to be able to do that, so our aim is to help make life a little easier.”

Ed Eason, Lead Guitarist for Carrie Underwood, together with a group of young widows including Ellie and National Leader and Founder Carolyn Moor at the Carrie Underwood concert in Houston.

The average age of widows in the United States is just 54 years old. The MWC welcomes widows of all ages whose lives are inextricably linked. One such inspiring connection was formed between two widows who were drawn together through the Woodlands MWC. Despite being generations apart, Nancy Beyer and Ellie Dawid had both suffered the catastrophic loss of their husbands and had reached out to the MWC to find their way through life again.

Ellie was mourning the loss of her husband Mike who died in an unthinkable tragedy in 2016, a workplace shooting. Their son Noah was just 2 years old when his father died. Ellie was left a widow at just 34 years old. Ellie explains what life was like for her after her sudden and heartbreaking loss. “I was in a fog just trying to survive,” she says. “I had no choice but to keep going.” After the first year, Ellie says the fog started to lift a little and she realized she needed to find people who could relate to what she was going through. “When I came across the MWC, I immediately liked that they were about empowering other widows and helping us lean into the new life we had no choice but to be living.”

A widow in her 60s, Nancy lost her husband 4 years ago and was also seeking support and friendship to be able to get to grips with her new reality. “After a year of grief counseling through my church, I needed to find a group that focused more on moving forward,” explains Nancy. “I wanted to live my life with the same zest and commitment that I had when I was part of a couple.” Nancy had an immediate connection with the women in the MWC and says Ellie, in particular, inspires her to keep pushing forward to live a full and meaningful life. “Ellie and I are decades apart in age, yet we have such a strong connection. She pushes me to be more resilient and that’s really beneficial to me.”

One of the many things the MWC has taught Nancy since finding herself widowed at 64, is the realization that her grief, although crushing, does not define her. “I have had to redefine myself and thanks to Ellie I have learned that I can still have the exuberance for life that she has.” Nancy and her late husband led a full and productive life together, owning a successful construction company. Nancy felt a fundamental desire to continue to contribute to society and that desire came to reality following a chat with Ellie about her studies at the University of Houston.

Both women have a strong affinity with the campus, with Ellie’s late husband Mike having graduated from the University. It’s a place that also means so much to Nancy’s family. “I was looking for ways to contribute and as soon as Ellie started talking about her studies at the University of Houston and her husband’s connection with the School, I knew immediately what I was going to do.”

Nancy found herself honoring the MWC’s Mission Statement to ‘empower widows to lean into life, build resilience and make a positive difference in society.’ Thanks to Nancy’s philanthropic gesture, Ellie now has full funding for her college degree, paying homage to her husband’s memory. “It’s so enriching to be able to help change someone’s life,” says Nancy. “Ellie deserves nothing but love and success and I am honored to be a part of her journey.”

Modern Widows Club members attending the Carrie Underwood concert

Ellie is currently studying full time for a BA in Psychology. She hopes to continue her studies for a Master’s in Psychology. “I’d like to specialize in grief counseling and my goal is to become a psychologist to help kids like our son who have lost a loved one,” says Ellie. “The MWC is such a wonderful group of women and Nancy and Cindy have been so incredibly encouraging.”

The Modern Widows Club Woodlands Chapter meets monthly at the Canopy Survivor Center in the Woodland’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. As well as offering friendship and support, the group hosts guest speakers who deliver talks on a range of relevant subjects including self-defense and legal issues such as dealing with wills. The group also meets regularly on a social basis.

For further information and contact details, visit:
www.modernwidowsclub.com/chapters/woodlands-area-chapter/

The Woodlands Christian Academy (TWCA) Dedicates New State-of-the-Art Micah Academic Center

The Woodlands Christian Academy (TWCA) held a dedication ceremony for their new high school building last Friday, September 27, 2019. Named The Micah Academic Center, the 63,000 square foot building is the 6th academic space on the school’s 40-acre campus. U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady and Dr. Dave Anderson, President of the Grace School of Theology and TWCA founding member, shared remarks after Head of School, Mrs. Julie Ambler, opened the brief ceremony with a prayer. A longtime supporter of the school, Congressman Brady said, “The Woodlands Christian Academy has a reputation for exceptional academics in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. I trust this new campus will enable you to continue that tradition and continue to serve as an excellent academic foundation for the youth of our community.”

Following the remarks, Gill Staley, CEO of The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership assisted J.J. Hollie, President & CEO of the Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce with an official ribbon-cutting.

In addition to the state-of-the-art science and STEM laboratories, MakerSpace, art studio and gallery, fully equipped auditorium and lecture hall, and 22 classrooms, The Micah Academic Center will be able to accommodate the school’s growing student population.

The Woodlands Christian Academy is a PreK – 12th grade college preparatory school that integrates learning with biblical faith and challenges students to reach their highest potential – spiritually, academically, physically and socially. For more information visit twca.net.

Hope Soars at Spirit of the Woods Gala

Nearly 500 guests gathered at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott for the Spirit of the Woods gala benefiting Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands recently. Guests were treated to highflying acts and daredevil drops all in support of the outreach and care Texas Children’s provides to underserved families in the community.

Michelle Riley-Brown addressing the nearly 500 gala guests to share the remarkable milestones from Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands since opening in 2017

Michelle Riley-Brown, president of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, provided updates on the hospital’s successes since opening in 2017, including the remarkable milestones of completing 351,000 patient visits, more than 86,100 emergency center visits, and 18,787 surgeries. She also commended the astounding generosity of The Woodlands community, which – through this gala – helped raise more than $800,000 to care for the area’s most vulnerable children.

The stunning event honored Missy and Wayne Herndon who are an integral part of the community and continue to make a lasting impact on Texas Children’s. The gala was made possible by Stacey and Steve Bourque, as well as the dedicated gala committee.

Eric and Denise Lipar

Inspiring artwork by Will Herndon auctioned live during the event

Janet Wong and Brooke Schmidt

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands leadership team: Ketrese White, Dr. Paul Sirbaugh, Ivett Shah, Michelle Riley-Brown and Dr. Jeffrey Shilt

teve and Stacey Bourque; Wayne, Missy, Magnus, Will, and Steele Herndon

Highflying act by Antigravity

Guests take in the festivities at the Spirit of the Woods gala benefiting vulnerable patients cared for by Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands

Content Provided: Chinh Phan

How Good Nutrition Slows Cognitive Decline

Your brain needs a variety of nutrients in order to develop and function properly. Almost everything you consume will directly or indirectly affect your brain. There is much evidence to suggest that what we do for the brain now can have a big impact on how it functions in the years, even decades, to come. A healthy diet has the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. Thereby delaying or protecting against age-related cognitive decline. Nutrition gives the brain the tools and building blocks it needs to perform vital actions like thinking, making memories, and repairing cell damage.

In order to be sure your brain has all the nutrients it needs to work properly, eat a wide variety of whole foods. This includes good sources of protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, and other sources of healthy fats. A healthy diet that is low in fat and high in essential nutrients reduces the risk of memory loss, helps prevent strokes and boosts alertness.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
The healthy fats, omega-3s and omega-6s, found in salmon, walnuts and kiwi fruit, provide many benefits. This includes improving learning and memory and helping to fight against such cognitive disorders such as dementia. Omega fatty acids are essential building blocks for the cell membrane of brain cells. They seem to reduce inflammation in the brain, as well as warding off the cognitive decline that often comes with age.


B VITAMINS
The B vitamins, particularly B12, B6, and Folate (B9), are critical for the cellular energy metabolism in the brain. B12 is important for a cell process called methylation, a basic chemical process that all cells, including brain cells, require to thrive. B12 also protects against age-related atrophy of brain cells and against damage to the brain’s white matter, which allows brain cells to communicate with each other. Without enough B12 in the brain, memory impairment sets in and gradually gets worse, leading to dementia. You can find Vitamin B6 in the highest quantities in potatoes, bananas, chickpeas, and oatmeal. You can find Folate in leafy greens, citrus fruits, peas, and beans.


PHYTOCHEMICALS/FLAVONOIDS
Phytochemicals are chemicals derived from plant sources that may help your memory. There are a number of types of phytochemicals. However, a key group that often acts as antioxidants is the flavonoids. You can find it in plant-derived foods like blueberries, apples, citrus fruits, and black and green tea. These compounds provide a multitude of health benefits to the body and brain. In addition, they play important roles in repairing damage in the brain by increasing levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce damage to cells in the brain.

ANTIOXIDANTS
The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative damage. Antioxidants and essential fatty acids help to protect your brain cells from everyday damage and age-related decline. Some studies have found that extracts from blueberries, strawberries, spinach, and blackberries have a strong antioxidant capacity. They may reverse the normal cognitive changes and memory problems that accompany the aging process.

CURCUMIN
Another type of flavonoid is a compound you may not have heard of, curcumin. You can find it in a common Indian spice and offers protection to the aging brain. Curcumin, nicknamed “The Spice of Mental Life”, is from the root of the tumeric plant. It benefits the brain by providing protection against neurological disorders. As an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-amyloidal agent, curcumin can improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.


VITAMIN D
In addition to supporting bone health, vitamin D serves important functions in brain health. It is thought to protect the brain against cognitive deficits that come with age. Vitamin D also influences certain proteins that help in neuron growth and development and is involved in many other important aspects of brain function like synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory.

The best way to preserve our mental health in the future is to nourish our brains in the present. How we eat now can dramatically affect our brains. More and more evidence shows that people who maintain good nutrition throughout life have less risk for cognitive decline and other brain diseases as they age. It’s never too late to reverse some of the effects of poor nutrition. Also, the choices you make today will influence your body and brain in years to come. This shows that changes in diet can enhance cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging.

At Avanti Senior Living, the Avanti Green Kitchen offers meals with no grease or oil and no fried food. Meals include the freshest ingredients, no pre-made foods, taking into account the requests of the community. Find out more on the Avanti blog at: https://www.avanti-sl.com/

Content provided by Avanti Senior Living

Yes to Youth Gala

Elaborate costumes and intricate décor blew guests away as they entered the Ignite Their Light Yes to Youth Gala, a themed event benefitting Yes to Youth. The ballroom was striking with ornate lighting and elegant floral centerpieces. The lights served as a reminder for the cause-inspiring and helping children who have experienced difficult hardships. The Yes to Youth Gala, presented by Tricia and Jack Futcher, was chaired by Katrina Savage and Michelle Maggert, and honored Tom Pisula as well as Waste Connections.

The evening benefited Yes to Youth Montgomery County Youth Services, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to helping youth and their families overcome challenges. Yes to Youth offers crisis counseling, shelter programs, and prevention services aimed to keep youth in school and prepare them to be productive citizens.

Haley Garcia and Travis Ellard

The evening was full of powerful, emotional moments. A special dance performance to “This is Us’ by Boni’s Dance and Performing Arts Studio kicked off the night. Katrina Savage and Michelle Maggert, the Gala Chairs, shared various testimonies explaining the profound impact that this organization has had on so many. A powerful music performance by Theresa Black, Hannah Johnson, and Special Guests left the audience moved and inspired to give back. The live auction and raffle concluded the evening. The attendees left the Yes to Youth Gala with a kindled spark to truly Ignite Their Light and make a difference in the lives of others.

Patti, Dr. Lucian Rivela, Dr. Ann, and Jerry Snyder

Linda Freede, Worthing Jackman, Keith Gordan, and Michelle Little

Live Auction

Bret and Angela Strong

Ushering in Fall and Embracing Seasonal Décor

As the fall season comes to fruition it seems only fitting that we transform our homes into a place of warm color schemes and comfortable textures. Combine these with some deep scents of baking and cooking, and you capture the magical formula of cozy. Because you must ask yourself, “what is it that we are truly trying to create in our homes?” It’s a place of comfort, a place that you feel safe and secure. A place where we can escape the mundane activities of the world outside the home. This space isn’t just created for your enjoyment, it is to welcome others into it and share. To give them access to a space of comfort and security while they are in your home.

Just as there is a changing of the seasons outside we too express the gearing up of the holidays indoors. It symbolizes the fact that we have made it through another summer, another start to a school year, and another transition of our lives. This is the season where families and friends are the focus.

Fall gives us a color pallet rich in variety, offering choices for each individual’s discerning taste. The length of the decorating season should run from September 1st until December 1st. It’s important to let autumn linger in your home. Do not rush into the next season of home decor, let your home radiate the true presence of the season we are in. There is a universal acceptance to rush Christmas décor in a home. The urgency that is placed on bringing the Christmas season into a home is a misconception. A reminder that Thanksgiving is a holiday of gathering and welcoming others should be granted permission to hold a significant presence in a home.

When it comes to outdoor decorating:
Garnish your doors with wreaths and your porches with real and faux pumpkins. Incorporate hay to create dimension and height. Scarecrows are always a fun choice as are metal signs. When buying be sure that your outdoor décor can withstand the elements. Polyurethane spray is always a good buy from your local hardware store. Applying this will help items with color avoid becoming sun-bleached by the end of the season.

Hosting opportunities:
With so many opportunities to host friends, use this season to reconnect with those that are important to you.

One idea is to host a Sunday football party. The time of day is perfect because it allows your guests the morning for church or other plans, and they will be able to leave at a decent hour to prepare for the start of their next week. Be sure to pre-set the table for snacks. Fill trays of appetizers and have several bowls of chips. Having everything done before guests arrive will mean that you can enjoy them while they are there.

Another idea could be to host a progressive dinner in your neighborhood. Each house is in charge of a different stage of the meal. Choose three other families or friends in the area and pitch the idea to them. Appetizer, Salad, Entrée, and Desserts. Draw out of a hat to assign the respective courses. Choose a genre of food and let the rest be the choice of each hosting home. Opening your homes in the fall season will help remind you of all that we are truly thankful for during this season.

Interior Decorating:
Set the stage of your social gatherings by having swags of magnolia leaves on your staircase or mantles. Swap out your family pictures, change them to pictures that are set outside. Use pictures from years gone by of Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations. Be sure to incorporate throw pillows and throw blankets. Layering your home creates depth. Have some pumpkins around inside your home too. Candles help to set the tone and the fragrance of your home, the season has amazing scents to choose from like apple strudel and pumpkin spice.

Color Trends of the season:
Navy, coral, spice and rich burgundies are all extremely popular. These colors are easy to find in wall art, lamps, pillows and accessories.

Quick Home Transformations:
There are several ways to completely transform your home without buying a lot. A set of lamps will dramatically change the space. You can update your home and replace lamps that might not be the look you’re currently trying to achieve. Another quick and easy way is to buy four throw pillows. You will be amazed by how much new pillows on your sofa or chair can change the look.

Remember your home is a reflection of who you are. You are the creator of the space, you share a part of your story each time someone is welcomed into your home. From the furniture you have to the color of your walls, it all leads back to you. This season of autumn invites you to open your home and let the love you have inside flow to others whom you welcome in. I wish for all of you to have a home filled with joy this season and to embrace the true meaning of the season as I also personally reflect with much gratitude for all that it is and always has been for me.

Happy Fall Y’all and Gobble ‘til you Wobble!

Author: Mallory Allison Dale is the owner of Laurie’s Home Furnishings in Tomball, Texas. Laurieshomefurnishings.com.

Denim and Diamonds Gala

There was much to celebrate at this year’s Inspiration Ranch Denim & Diamonds Gala! The 11th annual event which was sponsored by Anadarko and held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott honored Richard and Anna Pender. The Pender’s 40 plus acre White Bridge Farm just north of Tomball became the beautiful, expansive new home to Inspiration Ranch this year. The other honoree of the evening was Arena Energy who has been a long-time champion of Inspiration Ranch and has made significant contributions including providing an indoor riding “arena” that protects the special needs riders, volunteers, staff and animals from the elements. The highlight of the evening though was the powerful testimony by Amanda Shirley, the mother of one of the Inspiration Ranch clients describing the impact and benefits for her daughter Dayton.

John & Natalie Ford, Minnie Telaroli, Mark Beach

The silent and live auctions throughout the evening were filled with fantastic packages including an eight-day oceanfront, all-inclusive, luxury trip to Jamaica donated by Fox Travel, a private chef dinner donated by Amerigo’s and a legendary golf experience at the Insperity Invitational among others. The gallery wall, items in the general store and the always popular wine pull and giving boxes went quickly as well as guests clamored to contribute to the heartwarming cause. Inspiration Ranch is committed to never turning away a family for their equine-assisted therapeutic riding and mental health programs due to an inability to pay. The generous contributions from the Denim & Diamonds gala help them provide access to the therapeutic benefits for the 50 additional families still on the waiting list to join Inspiration Ranch.

Silent Auction

Inspiration Ranch is a 501 (c) (3) premier accredited center through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. Inspiration Ranch provides hope and opportunities for individuals with physical, emotional and social disabilities. To learn more, visit inspirationranch.org.

Amanda Shirley, Dayton Shirley, Kent Shirley

Keith & Taryn Gordon

Travis & Audra Palmer, Anthony Firmarture, Tracey Reyes, Elijah White

 

Michael & Susan Postus, Nathan & Kelly Dietrich, MG Tindall

Tim & Valerie Byers, Matthew & Stephanie Peloquin

Wine, Women, and Shoes

Stilettos, chardonnay sipping, and breast cancer survivors strutting in style were all the rage at the annual Wine, Women, and Shoes event. Supporters, survivors, and spectators all embraced the message of hope at the fashion show presented by EXIT Lone Star Realty on September 12th at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center.

Wine, Women, and Shoes both inspired and empowered attendees. The event was hosted by The Breast Cancer Charities of America and focused on helping women impacted by breast cancer both locally and nationally.

JJ Hollie, Justin Hogan, Paco Rivera, Keaton McDaniel, Kirk Johnson

The décor popped with pink. From the large pink balloon entry archway to the pink bows beautifully wrapped around each guest’s seat, the mission of eliminating breast cancer was clear. The auction and raffle items were every woman’s dream! Louboutin shoes, purses, and a closet makeover were near impossible not to bid on. To conclude the night, survivors modeled the latest fashions on the runway while spectators were able to enjoy fabulous wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Auction items

Thanks to Mercedes-Benz of The Woodlands, Beauty Lounge, Trulucks, and various other sponsors this event left everyone tickled pink!

Cresta Castillo, Colette Cole, Stephanie Powell, Jennifer McBurney

Nikki Wann, Erin White, Hannah Riley

Attendees enjoying the photo booth

Carla McDaniel and Erica Johnson (Founder of IGoPink and Breast Cancer Charities of America)

Adriana Wells, Stephanie Carpenter, Stefanie Hale, Angela Clegg

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