In keeping with tradition, this is our annual Christmas letter to our friends & family. To be perfectly honest, we almost didn’t have a letter this year, things have been so hectic this quarter that our Christmas cards are even going to be late this year (hopefully you guys will see them before Christmas).
I will go ahead and get the big question out of the way since a lot of you have been asking (and praying) for Donna. She is doing okay. We are officially approved and on the kidney transplant list. She has about 17% kidney function, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her, she’s a trooper! She does get fatigued a lot and doesn’t have the energy that she used to have (and a few more issues), but you never hear her complain! Her faith is so strong that she’s an inspiration to those of us around her when we get concerned. So, for the transplant, we have been through all of the testing, paperwork, etc. on our end. Several of you even volunteered to be tested, we don’t know how to thank you for that –seriously. We are hoping to hear back from the transplant team soon with a match.
Just a testament to Donna’s endurance, she leads the registration for WOMAN conference each year at NLC (our church). This was their biggest year yet and I watched her work tirelessly around the clock making sure that women around the state that wanted to attend could find a ticket for the conference.
The year started off pretty fast for us this year as we (Grainster) brought in John Godwin as our guest for the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show. We had a great time and picked up a lot of momentum. Grainster is still picking up a lot of momentum, we have over 800 farmers signed up from around the world and get new registrations each day. One of the downsides of launching a startup is that you are required to be in a lot of different places to promote your product. This past year I traveled to San Francisco, Boca Raton, St. Louis, Memphis, and Oklahoma City to promote Grainster with our team. I love our team, and love what we are doing, I just don’t like not being able to tuck my little man into bed each night.
Probably the biggest news for me this past year was that I left Pleth to launch Rohrscheib Capital. This was something I had been praying about for a while and just felt like the timing was right. I love the crew at Pleth like family (we spent the last 10 years together), but it was time for me to pursue some other opportunities (and take some time off to spend with my family).
Another big story for this year for me would have to be that I’m ending the year almost 60lbs lighter than I started. I really wish I could take complete credit for the weight loss but I think my pancreas has to get some of the credit. Fortunately this time I took the doctors advice and got my diet right and have been doing great for several months now. As a result of my weight loss I’ve been able to get off blood pressure medicines and will eventually get off all of my diabetes medications as well. I still try to ride my bicycle when I have time, ended up riding with Governor Hutchinson one day down at the farm.
This year I was honored to be asked to speak at the inaugural TEDx event in Little Rock. It was an honor to share the stage with people like Charles Morgan, P. Allen Smith, etc. You can watch my session here.
In contrast to all of the good things that happened this year we also had some down times. We lost my grandmother this past summer. This really rocked our family because nobody knew life without her and everyone has had to adjust.
In other not so great news, Mom & Dad had a hot water heater burst and damage one end of their house at the farm. Mom was excited to get a new kitchen –but this isn’t the way she wanted to go about it. I think construction is still ongoing and it will be the early part of next year before it’s complete. As if a Hot Water Heater wasn’t even trouble for Mom & Dad to have to navigate, they also had a huge 120+ year old pecan tree fall on their vehicles. This was very bittersweet for me because I grew up playing under this tree and had a lot of memories there.
Onto better news… Donna’s sister, Bridgette, has moved back to Conway and is working at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock. Donna has loved having Bridgette in town and Spencer has enjoyed playing with his cousins after school.
I currently serve on a couple of non-profit boards here in Faulkner County; 20th Judicial District CASA Board and Deliver Hope (we just had our grand opening of our new resource center this past week.) This group works with kids that are in the juvenile system and provides a tremendous service to the community. Needless to say, this organization holds a special place in my heart given my background and recovery.
Spencer started school this past year at LLA and he loves it. This was a tough decision for us (actually more me than anyone else). He’s doing great developmentally, loves his teachers, has made a lot of friends, and is ready for his big-screen movie premiere to come out on January 22nd in theaters across the United States.
For those of you that might not be aware, Spencer pays baby Aaron Burlsworth in the movie ‘Greater’. Greater is a movie about Brandon Burlsworth, if you don’t know the story of Brandon –you just have to go see the movie. Seriously!
Lastly, I’ll close by letting you all know that we have some exciting things lined up for 2016. We are hoping to launch a few new projects in the first quarter of 2016 such as; startup.buzz and cotton.consulting so be sure to stay tuned to my blog posts on The Cotton Club and on Facebook.
Thanks again to all of you that have Donna in your thoughts and prayers this past year!