Hi! I'm Joann Richards, and I am beyond excited to be here with y'all at NHBC! I am a

Houston Texas girl, born & raised. I love reading, journaling, & quiet morning time with Jesus

& a cup of Black Rifle Silencer Smooth coffee. I love music & have always been blessed to

enjoy it in our home with a musician husband. I love collecting things especially souvenir

rocks, pencils, postcards, & coffee cups. I love family time together, whether it's laughing

hysterically at funny puns, playing board or yard games, or just sitting outside gazing at that

beautiful TN mountain. I also love watching major league baseball... GO, ASTROS!

I was very blessed to be born into a loving, godly, Christian home, where my mom led me to

Jesus when I was 5 years old. I met my husband, Tom, in our church youth group. We "went

steady" for 4 years (that meant we sat together in church & talked on the phone every night)

until I graduated from high school and could finally get married. Three years later, the Lord

blessed us with our daughter, Shera. Then seven years later, we were blessed again with our

son, T.J.

I loved being a stay-at-home mom for the first 19 years of our married life together. We stayed

busy with raising the kiddos, serving at our home church, traveling Texas with a Southern

Gospel Quartet where Tom played multiple instruments, taking camping vacations together

with friends, etc.

In 1999, I was asked to fill in "for just 30 days" in the part-time Publications Secretary position

at our church until they found a permanent replacement. That 30 days turned into over 7 years

for me, and I loved it! As the Lord grew me, closing & opening doors in the following years, I

was honored to work & serve as Secretary in other churches in our area.

After the kids were grown, Tom & I began enjoying a yearly trip to the Smoky Mountains

every Fall. We fell in love with Tennessee and would dream together, "Oh, wouldn't be

wonderful to live up here?!" But, being blessed with such a closeness with our kids, we knew

we'd never move away from them. But, as Mark Batterson's grandma always said, "Ya can't

never always sometimes tell!"

Our daughter Shera, married our dear son-in-love Mikal, and we were later blessed with two

fun, funny, full of life grandboys, Tyson & Carson.

In the Summer of 2015, our son T.J., met & fell in love online with a sweet LaFollette girl,

Stevi. He flew to TN to "officially" meet her and her dear family. Then she flew to TX where

we instantly fell in love with her...and her East Tennessee twang. By the Fall of that year, T.J.

had moved from our Texas home to his new Tennessee home. He & Stevi married and blessed

us with our third grandson, Evan.

It wasn't long before the goodbyes with each visit back and forth between TX & TN became

terribly painful. Our family began to ask the Lord's will in moving all of us to Tennessee so we

could be together again. As we had many times before, we began to claim Proverbs 16:9 ... We

began making our plans & asking the Lord to guide our steps according to His will.

Shera & Mikal sold their home in Texas, Mikal found a job in Knoxville, and they moved here

in December 2017. It took a bit longer for us as we waited for Tom to reach the age of

retirement. We sold our home, Tom retired from the Houston power company after 40+ years,

and we moved to our new Tennessee home in November 2018.

During that in-between time, the Lord worked countless things on our behalf to encourage us

along the way. His Spirit is so tenderly sweet & He is forever faithful! He did seemingly

impossible things & worked through His people in our lives in so many ways. We found

ourselves daily on our knees together in tears of thanksgiving & awe of Him. Leading me here

to serve with my New Horizon family was just icing on the cake. I'm blessed, indeed.

In closing, I have a million "favorite" Bible verses that the Spirit has used so mightily at

different times in my life, but the two that always come to mind first that I'd like to leave here

with you today are these...

Galatians 6:9 "Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a

harvest if you do not give up."

Mark 6:31b "...Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."

Ok, one more...

Luke 1:45 "Blessed is she who has believed that the LORD will fulfill His promises to her!"