Karen Guilbert and her husband, Chuck, are co-owners of Garrison Gardens, a wedding venue in Texarkana, Arkansas. She admits that starting this business is her proudest professional accomplishment. Karen and Chuck have four grown children: Ashley Saunders, Heith Guilbert, Breanne Bradshaw and Brennan Guilbert. Ashley and her husband, Wes, have one son; Breanne and her husband, Colby, have three children; Heith and his wife, Jessica, have four children; and Brennan and his wife, Mary, have three children. Needless to say, Karen and Chuck enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.
Although her parents have influenced her greatly throughout the years, Karen Guilbert’s greatest influence is the Lord, Jesus Christ. She explains, “He has shown me, through His Word, through His saints, and through my family, what is important in life and that whatever comes my way, God will be my Constant Companion.”
When their busy schedules allow, Karen enjoys taking trips with Chuck. “I love browsing through antique shops, flea markets, and architectural salvage places on those trips. Canton, Texas, is one of my favorites,” she explains.
No matter the church that God has led them to, Karen has always been active in her church choir. She loves music and has always been Chuck’s most faithful choir member (he serves as the worship leader at Highland Park Baptist Church). She also sings with the praise team and learns the music for each Sunday’s service. Her proudest personal accomplishment is winning a local contest in the Houston area to sing “I’ve Just Seen Jesus” with Christian artist Larnelle Harris, who has won numerous Grammy, Dove and Stellar Awards.
If she were sharing advice with young women today, she would share with them the words of Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth. “We mothers must take care of the possible and trust God for the impossible. We are to love, affirm, encourage, teach, listen, and care for the physical needs of the family. We cannot convict of sin, create hunger and thirst after God, or convert. These are miracles, and miracles are not in our department.”
The way FREDDIE JOHNS sees her ...
What an incredible honor to nominate Karen Guilbert for this year’s Tribute to Women! I have known her for over 40 years (she was just a baby), and I think of her as my dear “sister-friend.” She and her husband, Chuck, have been in ministry since they were first married. He is an ordained minister and worship leader, and she is an awesome soloist and his biggest supporter. They have four children, all with amazing voices, and 11 beautiful grandchildren who call them “Lolly” and “Pop” (because they are suckers).
Karen has so many talents, even though she prefers to be in the back- ground. She not only sings and plays piano, but also is an artist with flowers and decorating and making something out of nothing.
Several years ago, Karen and Chuck lost their first grandson, Garrison, who was born prematurely. Not long after that, they opened a wonderful wedding venue and named it Garrison Gardens. Karen has used her talents to help Chuck make it a local showplace and has helped countless young brides plan and direct their special day.
Karen is also a prayer warrior and gifted writer. She has used that gift to encourage me and many others through the years. Her cards and letters include scripture or excerpts from a Christian author – always just what you need at just the right time. Karen is a beautiful lady (both inside and out) and truly a Godly role model for others to follow. I am blessed by knowing her!
What is the last gift you gave someone? “Gifts are given in many ways. All wrapped up in paper and bows, but also a gift of yourself when someone needs you. With four grown children, two sons-in-law, two daughters-in-law, and 11 grandchildren, I’m sure it was a gift for one of them.”
What is your favorite meal that you order regularly at a local establishment?
“Sirloin steak, baked sweet potato, and a Caesar salad.”
If there was a movie produced about your life, which actress would portray you?
“Sally Field. I have always admired her work and her genuineness.”
What is something unique about you that most people would not know?
“I am very shy. I have to work very hard at being outgoing.”
If you could trade places with any person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
“Joanna Gaines. She is an amazing woman to me.”
If you could travel to space, and it was free, would you go?
“No. I’m too much of a ‘what if’ person.”
What music do you listen to in your vehicle? “Christian music.”
What did you imagine yourself being when you were growing up?
“In junior high, I wanted to be an interior decorator; in high school, I wanted to be a high school choral teacher; and in college, I wanted to be a minister of music’s wife.”