Shanon's House Fall update

Seasons Greetings from Shanon's House of Compassion,

Once again Shanon's House is looking festive for the holiday season. The tree is up and thanks to some dear friends the house is decorated beautifully.

The months of September, October, November and December have brought us guests from Decatur,Toney, Auburn, Birmingham, Tuscumbia,Adamsville, Muscle Shoals, Killen, Scottsboro, Rogersville,Russellville and Tishomingo, MS.

We can have an empty house and in a matter of minutes it can change to a full house. This was the case one Monday morning. Johnny's cell phone rang, at the same time the house phone rang and a few minutes later my cell phone rang. In ten minutes we had a full house.

One of our guests was from Birmingham. All we knew before he arrived was his wife was in the hospital. When he arrived we asked him how his wife was doing. He paused for a few minutes and looked down. We could tell it was very painful to talk about. We assured him he didn't have to tell us if he didn't want to. He said "My wife and two daughters were in an accident. One of my daughters walked away and my baby girl passed away. My wife is in a coma and doesn't even know our baby girl died in the wreck." Our hearts went out to him. He was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. He spent all day and most of the night by his wife's side. He was encouraged one day because she had squeezed his hand. One night he came in and I saw he was carrying his Bible. I said "I see you've got the Good Book with you." He replied "yes Ma'am that's the only way I can make it through the day." We gave him the quilt from the Tree of Life Quilters. It was a beautiful pink and brown quilt. I told him that it was a "girl quilt" and it was to remind him that many prayers were covering his family. He took the quilt and with tears in his eyes held the quilt close to him and whispered "thank you." So many times at Shanon's House we are reminded how life can change in a moment.

One of our guests had twin boys in NICU. The babies had been born very early. They both weighed around one pound. Each day was a roller coaster for them. The babies would be doing good and then they would get a call to come to the hospital immediately. Being able to be so close to the hospital was a blessing to them. Both babies lived 2 weeks and then passed away. Our hearts ached for them. Their hearts were broken, but even in their grief they were thankful for Shanon's House. This is the note we received from them. "Thank you so much for allowing us to stay at Shanon's House. Shanon's House was an answered prayer for all of us. It was so nice to have the ability to come home there without having the burden of worrying where we are going to stay and how we can afford it. Being so close to our babies at night gave us so much peace. Thank you for the prayers for our sweet boys. What Shanon's House does for the people who stay there means more than you will ever know."

The ministry of Shanon's House reaches more than just the guests who stay here. One relative of our guests who we had never met sent this email. "There are not enough words to adequately express my appreciation for all Shanon's House has done for my niece and her husband. They have been touched by your compassion and hospitality. Shanon's House is an answered prayer for our family. Shanon's House has truly been a shelter in the storm. I praise God for Shanon's House and all those who make this incredible ministry possible. Shanon's House will be included in our prayers."

So many times when guests first arrive at Shanon's House the words they use are, "Wow! What a blessing." We've come to realize that some people have never experienced Christians giving a gift without expecting anything in return. When guests come to Shanon's House they are not expecting to see a beautiful and comfortable home. Often they will ask "How much does it cost to stay here?" We tell them there is no cost, that Shanon's House is a ministry of the Mayfair Church of Christ. So many times there are tears in their eyes and you can see the relief in their faces.

Here's an update on our guests from Tuscaloosa. She is now in Birmingham. She called and wanted to know of a church she could attend. Johnny called the Homewood Church. They contacted her and picked her up for services until she could get transportation. She calls and tells us how wonderful the Homewood church has been to her. She told us that Homewood was serving a meal to the homeless on Thanksgiving and her and her husband would be helping them serve. This warmed our hearts. If you remember, her and her husband lost their house in the the tornado. We are so thankful for the God's plan in establishing His Church. The Homewood church has picked up where Mayfair left off and is helping this sweet lady and her husband to continue to grow in the Lord.

It's hard to believe that in January 2012 we will begin our third year at Shanon's House. When we count our blessings we include our Mayfair family. We are thankful for the elders who support and encourage us in this ministry. We are thankful for the Shanon's House Board of directors who have encouraged us and come along side of us to provide everything we've needed. We are thankful for those of you who stop by and visit and pray for this work. We are thankful for those of you who are so faithful to contribute to this ministry. Most of all we are thankful to God for sending His Son to be our teacher and Savior. Jesus taught us the true meaning of compassion and showed us when we give of ourselves to others is when we will be truly happy. Shanon's House has been a blessing to so many this year and also to the Johnson family. With grateful hearts Johnny and I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and many blessings for the coming year.

In Him,
Johnny and Christy

Listed below are those who have contributed for the year of 2011-Thank you!

In Memory of
Bill Shade
Mr & Mrs. Terry Davis

Noble Holland
Scott Blankenship
Carl & Judy Cole
Alison Courtenay

Buford Smith
Mr & Mrs. Denton Kimbrough
Mr. & Mrs. Noel Tallon
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Kelly
Donna Pate

J.B. and Willie Jean
Ron Brown

Marie Lowe
Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Bentley
Mr. & Mrs. Denton Kimbrough

Anita Bradley Virgin
Mr. & Mrs. Gary Bradley

In Honor
Cleo Strickland's 90th Birthday
Larry Hall
John Black

Meagan Grobmyer's Graduation
Mr. & Mrs. Denton Kimbrough

Phillip & Betty Bentley's 50th wedding Anniversary
John & Betty Black

Jessica and Katie Russo
Hornsby, Watson,Hornsby

Mollie Holland
Shane Powell

Mr. & Mrs. Jason Milligan
Cassie Schade

Mr & Mrs Jason Hall
Cassie Schade

Mr. & Mrs. Larry Hall
Cassie Schade


Murray Warren
Mr.& Mrs. Lynn Smith
Robert Shearer
David Haddock
Mr. & Mrs. Phillip Bentley
William Pittman
Justin & Allison Legg
Patricia Hall
Dr. and Mrs. Mike Brown
Mrs. Ione McFolin
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Lockhart
Briggs Chiropratic Clinic
Radiant Day Spa
State Farm Insurace-Joe Demos
Greetings from Shanon's House of Compassion,

This summer we've had guests from Ohio, Mississippi,Tuscaloosa, Decatur, Albertville, Danville, Sheffield, Tuscumbia and Athens, AL.

The summer started out with a tragedy that brought grieving grandparents and an uncle to Shanon's House. This sweet family from Ohio had just had their world turned upside down. A plane crash had taken the lives of their daughter and four year old granddaughter. Their 7 year old grandson was in critical condition. It's very hard to know what to say in situations like this. Even saying "good morning" is not appropriate when it's the day they are going to the funeral home to make arrangements to send their loved ones back home.

The first morning here the grandfather told me he got up at 4:00 a.m. to say a prayer of thanksgiving for Shanon's House. We have learned when people are grieving it's the little things that mean so much to them. All we could do was to offer a listening ear, a cup of coffee and a hug as they left each day. One morning as we were having our coffee in the den the grandmother was on the computer. Someone had sent her the song "Held" and she was listening to it over the computer. If you haven't heard this beautiful song the words in the chorus are "This is what it means to be held. How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive. This is what it is to be loved and to know that when everything fell we'd be held." She was crying and it was hard for us hold back tears also. We tried to put ourselves in their place, and thought about losing our daughter and a grandchild and we couldn't help but weep with those who weep.

Situations like this one make you more thankful for ordinary days and you hold your family a little closer to your heart. Although our guests are really strangers to us we feel close to them especially when they are hurting like these grandparents. They told us almost everyday the only way they could get through this was with the Lord's help and strength. We received a call from a church down the street asking about this family. When Johnny told the secretary Shanon's House was a ministry of the Mayfair church her reply was "I wouldn't want to be in this world without the Mayfair church." The morning our guests from Ohio was going home he asked could he say a prayer. He prayed for us and for Shanon's House. This really touched us. This man was going home to bury his daughter and granddaughter yet he wanted to thank God for Shanon's House.

A statement we find ourselves saying many times is "we sure do meet a lot of nice people." This was the case with our guests from Mississippi. They had come to Huntsville to adopt a baby boy. I tell most of our guests that they are on my favorite guests list and this couple was on that list also. The father asked to go to church with us on Sunday. Johnny and I thank you so much for all of you who spoke to him and helped make him feel welcome. The mother paid us a compliment that we had not heard before she said "Shanon's House made this experience fun." This made me smile.

We had a guest from Tuscaloosa whose husband was brought here by ambulance. She came with just the clothes on her back. She also came to church with us every Sunday she was with us. She was very impressed with how friendly all of you were to her. We plan to keep in touch with her. Johnny has started calling our guests after they have been home for a few weeks just to let them know we are thinking about them. Many times they will ask us to pray for specific trials going on in their lives.

One of our favorite things to do is to visit the NICU and see our guests newborn babies. The new parents always enjoy showing off their precious babies to us. Often the door bell will ring and it will be one of our guests stopping by for a visit. This is a special treat for us. We tell our guests that after two days at Shanon's House that we no longer treat them as guests but as family. We laugh about how we have the best "children." They always come in by curfew, adhere to the guidelines without arguing and they come back to visit! Our family has grown to almost 150 now. Yes, we do get to meet the nicest people.

We don't have to listen to the news to realize how the economy has hurt so many. We have seen in the last few months through our guests just how it has effected so many. We've met guests who are dealing with a loved one in the hospital along with being unemployed or with the possiblity of not having a job when they get back home. The phrase-the light shines brightest in the darkness comes to mind when I think of Shanon's House. For just a few days our guests can have one less thing to worry about as they care for their loved one. Your geneosity in providing a place for them helps God's light to shine even brighter in their dark days.

The Lifesavers class helped fill the freezer with meals for our guests. The men's Bible study class helped provide funds for our guest from Tuscaloosa to get some needed items. Several sweet ladies stopped by to visit with our guests. We have formed a "laugh committee" for Shanon's House. This is friends who come over and just lighten the atmosphere at Shanon's House. Thank you to all who have helped and supported and prayed for this ministry. Johnny and I know without a doubt that we couldn't do this without God's help and the help of our brothers and sisters in Christ. There are so many blessings that we have received through Shanon's House and one of them is getting to meet so many of you at Mayfair. Your help in this ministry no matter how small encourages us on a daily basis. We are always mindful that Shanon's House is God's ministry and we give Him the glory and praise for the way He is using Shanon's House to let His light shine bright in this city.

In Him,
Johnny and Christy

Shanon's House Spring update

Spring time greetings from Shanon's House of Compassion,

Spring time at Shanon's House has been busy. We have had guests from Guntersville, Hartselle, Cullman, Section and Boaz, Alabama. The beautiful covered deck and swing have been used a lot this spring.

Most of our guests have been parents of newborns. I've mentioned before how they remind us of our children. We told our guests the night before that we would set out breakfast the next morning, but we were going on our weekly breakfast date. The next morning a note was left for us, it read "Don't worry about us "Kids" this morning. We will be fine. You two have fun." We do become attached to so many of the guests and this couple was no exception. The father told me his preacher asked him where they were staying. When he told him Shanon's House a ministry of the Mayfair Church of Christ, the preachers response was "Mayfair is known for helping people all over the area." When they got to take their baby home they came by to let us see her. They wanted a picture of the sign and they wanted pictures in the front of the house with us holding the baby. After the pictures were taken Johnny asked if they minded if he prayed with them before they left. The father said "I was going to suggest that." Johnny said "I'll start and you finish." When the father prayed he said "Thank you Lord for Shanon's House, and thank you for the Mayfair church. I know when You planted this church you had my family in mind." There were tears in all of our eyes. We knew God had answered our prayers, because we pray for God to send us guests who can be touched with God's love and compassion. God did this when He sent us this couple.

One of our favorite times to talk with our guests, is in the evening after the last visit at the hospital. I've discovered if there is a cake coming out of the oven about the time they are arriving, it is a relaxing setting for good conversation. We experienced this in March we when had a full house. We enjoyed seeing all the couples catching up with each other asking how their babies were doing. We stayed up later than most nights talking with the couples.

In April we had a couple whose baby was rushed to Huntsville NICU with complications at birth. The father told me how the doctor (who attends Mayfair) had prayed with them and how impressed he was with the doctor. When he found out the Shanon's House was associated with the same church that the doctor went to he knew Shanon's House was where he wanted to be. We enjoyed this couple so much. We are often able to encourage these young couples in their Christian walk. This sweet couple wrote in a note "I promise to pray for you and this ministry on a daily basis. I hope that one day God will open up a door to a ministry for us to help with as special as this one."

We had a different type of guest in April. A mother dove laid her eggs in the flower box on the deck. We joked that even mother doves want to be at Shanon's House. When the eggs hatched we named them Nick and Hugh (NICU.) They eventually flew away but maybe they will come back and visit like a few of our guests have done this month.

Last month I went back to a prayer journal from 2007. We were living in Montgomery. I was looking for a house that year. On October 7th I wrote., "Dear God please provide a house for us where we can serve you." I looked for a house for a year and couldn't find what I wanted. Then in 2008 we decided to take a bold step and move to Huntsville. My prayer request in my journal was "Lord, be preparing a house for us in Huntsville. Help it to be one we can use to serve you." I also wrote "please prepare a work for us when we get to Huntsville." While I was praying for a house in Huntsville, there were people praying for a way to make something beautiful out of a tragedy. There were others who had experienced the ICU waiting room and prayed for a way to help other hurting people. When I think of all those prayers and how God took them and used them to bring about a ministry called Shanon's House of Compassion, I'm amazed. I'm reminded of the children's song "My God is so big, my God is so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do." Yes, God always does everything bigger and better than we can even imagine. Johnny and I will always be grateful to the Mayfair church and it's elders for the vision to seek out a ministry to reach the community. We are so thankful to all of you who help with this ministry. When you help with supplies, food, donations, quilts and prayers you are all part of what makes this ministry have such an impact on the people who are guests here. Above all we are most grateful to our Lord and Savior, the perfect example of love and compassion.

In Him,
Johnny and Christy

Update for January and February

Greetings from Shanon's House of Compassion,

The months of January and February have been very busy. We had a full house for most of the month of January. We have had guests from Leighton, Tuscumbia, Muscle Shoals, Florence, Albertville, Alabama and also guests from Florida and Texas.

The last Day of December around 9:00 p.m. there was a knock at the back door. It was a former guest who had stayed with us a few times while his wife was in the hospital with treatments for cancer. He told us that his father-in-law had been in an accident and wanted to know if there was a room for his mother-in-law and her three daughters. They came over later that night. This was such a sweet family and their hearts were so heavy. They told us about what a good man their Dad was and how all the people he had help through the years were now coming to help them. Sometimes I find myself being like Martha in the Bible, always busy in the kitchen instead of a "Mary", but God always sends me gentle reminders of where I should be and this was the case the next morning. When we walked into the kitchen, one of the daughters was in the den with her Bible opened up. She had not been able to sleep so she got up and read her Bible most of the night. We let breakfast preparations wait. We talked about how God's word is so comforting and how it always fits whatever we are going through. Many times at Shanon's House Johnny and I just listen to those hurting. This daughter wanted to talk about her dad. When her Mother got up she stood at the sink with tears in her eyes and told me about her husband, and how they had been childhood sweethearts. They had been married for 49 years. She was very appreciative of Shanon's House. She told me "Just being able to sleep last night will help me face whatever comes to us today. It's just one less thing we have to worry about." Later that day on the 1st of January, the son-in-law came back to tell me his father-in-law had passed away. His father-in-law had been very healthy and just went out in his truck to ride around the farm. The son-in-law said "this is just a reminder to all of us, we should always be ready." Every time we have guests who lose a loved one it always makes us aware of how precious life is and how we should never take a day for granted.

We have had several mothers with newborns in NICU, One mother came with her husband and mother. When she arrived she was crying. This happens with most new mothers. This guest had just left the hospital without her baby and her husband was leaving to go back to work. It was a very emotional time. We told her she wasn't the first to feel like this and reassured her that her baby was getting the best care. We enjoyed her and her mother so much. They stayed with us about three weeks and when they were able to take their baby home she hugged us and she was crying and I was teary eyed. She said "I came here crying and I'm leaving crying." In a note she wrote." I can't thank you enough for allowing Shanon's House to be my home away from home while my baby was in the hospital. Shanon's House has been such a blessing to us."

We had a mother of quadruplets stay with us this month. All the babies were around 2lbs. When the mother and grandmother arrived they knew the other guests. It was like a family reunion, lots of hugs and catching up with each other. It's so interesting to me how our guests enjoy interacting with each other. Several times we would all gather in the den at the end of the day and catch up on how everyone was doing.

As I've said before we are constantly learning. One lesson I learned this month was the lesson of letting others help. Cleaning house is something I have always liked to do by myself. I tell the guests, "You take care of the sick ones and I'll take care of the house." The grandmother of the quadruplets wanted to help clean. I assured her that she didn't have to help. I changed my mind when she said "Mrs. Christy, this is how I say thank you to you and Mr. Johnny and your Church. You are giving my daughter something I could not give her and I am very appreciative of Shanon's House." So I smiled and handed her the mop and sat down and had another cup of coffee.

I have often said how so many of our guests become like family. We were reminded of this when we started out on Christmas day to go to be with our daughter in Tuscaloosa. The snow had started and we were afraid we wouldn't be able to make the trip. We remembered that one of our former guests was a State Trooper. Johnny called him and he told us what roads were open and we needed to leave immediately. When we arrived in Tuscaloosa Johnny sent him a text to tell him we had made it safely and to say thank you. He also said "It's so nice to have a State Trooper in the family." Our former guest replied "You are so welcome, brother."

This month we enjoyed the second grade class at Mayfair coming to Shanon's House. They had used their money to buy children's books for us to give to parents who have children at home. We appreciate so much teachers and parents who are teaching their children to give back to others.

One sweet compliment came from three sisters from Florida. They were referred to us by a member at Mayfair. They were here to be with their brother who was having surgery. When they came to tell us goodbye they said "We've never felt so special before." I thought about this after they left. What made them feel special? I realized it was so many of you. One sister in Christ brought over a casserole they ate one night. Another sister in Christ brought delicious muffins for breakfast one morning. They were so impressed with the beautiful house and everything they needed, someone had supplied. All of you who have helped in any way have been a part of making people feel special. Johnny and I could not do this work without the Lord's help and your help and support. We are grateful to all of you and feel blessed to work with all of you.

In Him,

Christy and Johnny