Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Blessed Opportunity

Grief is never easy. I cannot bear to tell you the extent of my heartbreak. Heartbreak for my precious friends, the Houstons. Heartbreak for my precious friend, Jenn. Heartbreak for my sweet little champion, Asher Houston. So many different kinds of heartbreak.

But so much love.

I was thinking about the first day that I met Joe Houston. It was the day of our church Easter Festival. His mom, Glyndell and I struck up a conversation and I loved her immediately. Her gentle spirit and gorgeous smile resonated within my heart and I called her family from the first moment. I met Asher, Big John, and then, finally, my precious friend Joe...the one in the hat. :) I loved him that very first day. I could see in his eyes that the transition from San Diego to Corpus was a difficult one for him, but it was where the Lord had called him and so he went. We stood in the drizzle talking about life and love and God's plan and I was already looking forward to our next meeting.

I left that day with my heart opened wide for this man with so much promise. I saw in him a bright spark of hope that the Lord keeps his promises and offers us so much in return to the little we give. But Joe Houston wasn't a giver of little...he was a giver of much. He loved fully, encouraged gently, teased constantly, and laughed often.

That laugh is the laugh I dreamed of that first night we searched
for him. I prayed earnestly for a different outcome. I prayed passionately that we would be reunited with our joyful friend. I prayed, prayed, prayed.

But the Lord's ways are not my ways.

And so I grieve. I grieve OUR loss. For Joe is in the presence of the King. Oh how he must pity us, because we are living in the land of the dead...and he is living in the land of the King. While there are many disturbing after effects that we must deal with in this season of pain, I take great pleasure in knowing that my charming friend is rejoicing in the kingdom. I take great joy in knowing Joe has peace.

But still I grieve.
For these things are never easy.
And yet we must champion forth for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Thank you for your prayers, my sweet friends. They have lifted us to great heights. The Lord has never left us, and though we feel great pain, we continue to love and give praises.

Please continue to pray for Joe's family. The heartbreak is very great, but they continue to shine and teach me so much. Yes, they shine.

Knowing Lt. John Joseph truly was a blessed opportunity. And I praise you, Lord.


Thursday, November 12, 2009


Forgive me for not having the energy to share my heart. I am somewhat overwhelmed emotionally. I hate being so redundant, but I really could just use some lovin'. This is me being real.

P.S. if you can't see the video, click on this link to go to my blog and you can see it there.

"and I will walk on water
you will catch me if I fall
and I will get lost into your eyes
and everything will be alright
and everything will be alright
." --Jason Wade

Monday, November 09, 2009

My Soul Thirsts

Depressed. Anxious. Overjoyed. Confident. Uplifted. Sad. Encouraged. Destroyed. Delighted. Rejected. Elated. Miserable. Thankful. These are just a few of the emotions that have swirled within my very soul since Friday, October 30th, the night we first decided to look for our precious friend Joe.

I have been carefully documenting this search for our friend who's plane went down October 28th during a routine training flight not 30 minutes from home. I haven't the energy to relay you my painful details, my moments of exultation, or my moments of peace. But I will tell you this.

The Lord is moving. He brought together an incredibly diverse group of strangers all who love Joe. And what the Lord made was GOOD! Deep, new friendships were cultivated. Friendships that were desperately needed. And we are so blessed.

Matt, Nicole, Peter, Amy, Dave, James, and many many many more....they are new loves in my life.

And for the moment. I am thankful.

From Psalm 63:

1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.

7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

8 I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.

What's going on....

Hi everyone, do we even start.
First, I think a Huge, GIANT THANK YOU is an understatement! During one of the hardest things we've ever been through, the outpouring of love shown by you has made not only us humble beyond words, but it has shaken to the core of some very "unshakable" people. They have seen God using you and have done things that are against protocol and completely unexpected. For example, the commander of the entire Naval base out here has been so moved by all of our efforts and love that he had put off Joe's status changing until ten days rather than the typical four. God has moved the hearts of many through people like you!
Those of you who went and searched, I pray your feet and body are recovering and thank you for your time, energy, efforts, sweat, blood, tears, etc, etc, etc. It was not in vain at ALL! We needed those eyes, those feet, and those hands to cover ground for a peace that it had been completed. Those of you who donated money and supplies, what can I say but WOW! Our searchers were fed daily, our planning team didn't have to cook or do dishes so we could spend our time planning instead and did I mention how good the food has been? We were so thankful for the plethora of water! It wasn't a great joy to carry it in our backpacks up and down hills and dunes, but goodness it was fantastic when the load was lightened and our bodies hydrated. Your money....can you believe we've had almost $4, 000 donated to our search? PRAISE GOD!!!! We will be sending out a detailed list of exactly where the money went and how much. Just a rough list would include fixed wing airplane fuel, helicopter rental, gas for our fearless leaders' way home, boat gas, four wheeler gas (the gas companies I'm sure loved us), and we'll be making a donation to Texas Equusearch and other various areas. Then, our networkers and prayer warriors. We couldn't and wouldn't have had the endurance, hope, manpower, peace, and community closeness without you. I beg of you not to stop the prayers or the getting the word out.
The body of Christ has many parts and it was awe-inspiring to be witness to the body working as one. I will NEVER doubt the power of our almighty and how He has His body move. I feel so humbled that I was on this end seeing it all coming together. It was a taste of heaven and my eagerness to be there just multiplied tremendously!
As for where we are now. We have searched all that we were allowed (included the entire coastline of St. Joe's island (in 100 yards of the dunes), the south end of Matagorda island, the entire coast of Port Aransas down through Mustang island and the marshy areas on the bay side). Basically, there was very little land not searched thoroughly in the entire coastal area. As you may know, we have not found Joe. However, now we know that at least we've looked! We're not done either! We are praying about the Lord's direction for our next steps and have taken a sabbath to rest today. We plan on sending a plane out when this storm passes to all of the coastlines again. We are going to take a four by four (or two) all the way down south through the National Seashore with binoculars to search. Who knows, maybe a marshy area will unveiled by the tides going down.
This has been the hardest day of all! We are faced with the very real thought of not getting to see Joe and it is a pretty horrible feeling. We're hating that his family has no more answers than they did a week ago. We're so sad that instead of his fiance planning her wedding, she is probably going to be attending a Navy memorial service instead. His son, ...can't even go there right now.
I feel like the Lord keeps laying 2 Corinthians 4:6-9 on my heart: For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness", made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
This is a reminder to me of God's promise that Joe is in His hands. God's ways, though we may not understand them, are not ours. The lives that have been changed during this would only make Joe proud! Joe walked that verse and it would be futile for us not to acknowledge that!
We have not lost hope of not only finding Joe, but finding Joe alive. The Navy has changed his status to deceased as of yesterday and will hold a memorial service. There is nothing we can do about this. Joe's mom and Joe's fiance said it best, who leaves the courtroom before the trial is over? No one. There is no evidence either way of Joe. God gave us a spirit of expectation to witness something miraculous and we will wait to see that revealed. No mother, father, brother, beloved, child, family member, or friend should be left on such a plateau and we pray that God frees us of that!
A beautiful family has been born out of this and will grow stronger as the days and months pass.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! What all you've done is not in vain. Someone of you may be saying, "I didn't do anything", but the fact that I could write to you means that you have done something in my or my family's life that lets me know you have been near.

Here is the blog that we've created, please keep checking it as it will be updated often.

Here are a few websites that portrayed your efforts:

The sun always comes up in the morning and we rest in that promise!
Tawny and Nick
Nathan and Jade
Matt and Nicole
Dave and Amy
and many others

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Updated Info on the Search for JOE!!

The searchers were able to cover 8sq miles of San Jose Island with 25 volunteers today. The island is 23 miles long. They designated search areas with flags and coordinated search groups and all went smoothly.

We desperately need more people and boats. The ferry only drops people off at one place. Therefore, everytime the searchers are dropped off they are having to go over the same area that has already been searched. We need boats to be able to take people to different points on the island. We do have one 18ft shallow water boat owned by Jeff that will be here at 3PM. We need boat captains to operate commercial boats.

Tomorrow (11-05-09) we have kayakers that are going to cover marshy area. There are at least 2 so far. They are starting at 7:30AM. We have access to more kayaks. If you are an experienced kayaker and would like to help, please get in touch with us.

There will also be at least 5 people on mountain bikes. This enables them to go further and faster up the beach. We need more mountain bikers. If you are coming out and have one, please bring it. Street bikes can't make it over the terrain. It must be a mountain bike.

We had someone contact us with a search dog who is going to be out tomorrow.

There will also be 2 helicopters flying in from Houston. They will be leaving from Corpus Christi Internationl Airport to start their search. They are each taking 2-3 people with them to be lookouts. The pilots names and Brent and Dominic and we are so grateful for their services! One is doing this for free and the other one is negotiating a price with the helicopter's owner.

There is also a fixed wing aircraft flown by a volunteer marine luetenant that will be covering San Jose and Matagorda Island. Two volunteers are needed to fly with him and serve as look outs. They need to have good eye sight and observant.

Equusearch is also mobilizing their resources and volunteers tomorrow.

About 3/4 of the island is owned by Bass. We need them to give us permission to search the property. Please pray that we get in contact with someone from Bass asap. This is of utmost importance.

Car pooling or just giving rides is definitely appreciated. We have volunteers already that are getting here even without their own vehicles. In particular we are looking for someone to drive to the West Side of Corpus Christi by Sams Club to transport a volunteer to and from Fishermans Wharf for the 7:30am drop off.

If you're not able to come in person to search but would like to contribute, we are in need of money. There are resources to be paid for and the funds so far are low. You can contact me for the mailing address for checks and money orders to be sent to or you can send money via PayPal to

We have set up a blog so people can easily access all the updated info.

Again, please contact us if you want more info or to sign up for the search. Thanks for all your efforts!
Amy Warner 361-334-6703 Volunteer sign up and general information
Tawny Novosad 361-876-8969 Food and supply coordinator
Nicole Lamberti 973-477-8051 Search planning and resources (ie boats, aircraft, search dogs)

Top priority is access to Bass property, boats, and funds. Please pray for all these to be provided and if you can help, please contact us.