Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday Family Funny - Team Ford

When Travis told Upward of his families house fire, he was told to go get them some Upward gear, t-shirts, shorts, polo's etc. We had delivered those to them on Friday evening and that was the only cloths they had at that point.
Samuel had wanted to give them some of his birthday money (for which I am so proud of him!), so we met them at their house on Saturday morning. We arrived before them and were sitting in the van waiting for them when they did arrive. They all popped out of the car at the same time - Uncle Rick, Aunt Cindy, Ashley, and Aunt Lois - all in purple Upward t-shirts and shorts, which the players wear (as above). All they needed were two more players and they would be set to play.

I was a very funny moment, followed by a very somber moment when they caught their first glimpse of their home. We talked to Ashley, and she is still wearing her "uniform" to work in at the house.

Please continue to pray for them, but God has shown them such Grace and Mercy through His people. They have been given so much, really more than they can handle right now. They think the cause of the fire was a firework, so on this 4th of July week-end, please be careful!

I realize this may not sound funny to some, but most of my Friday Family Funny readers are from Upward and they will find this VERY funny!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Another note from the Ford Family...

Alyssa,Let everyone know that we are fine we are meeting with an insurance person in the morning to see if they can determine the cause of the fire. We are begining to get things together and will be working at the rental house after the am meeting. Keep us in your prayers as we make this transition.
Love yall Aunt Cindy

Here are a few pictures of their home:

Not much news from The Sparks Family, the girls and I have been going to Landrum First Baptist to help out with their VBS. We are having a great time. Samuel is spending the week with Grammy and Big Daddy and attending The First Tee Golf Program. He is having a great time, too. We will share photo's from that when it is over.
We hope that you are having a great week and we will see you again on Friday, for Friday Family Funnies.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Note from Ford's

Here is note that Aunt Cindy left for me to pass along:

Alyssa, Please let everyone know that we are ok and that we have a place to stay, we still need a few material things but we have what is important to us--- each other and God's Grace, I know that my Lord and Savior is the one that has taken care of us and will contuine. Please keep us in your prayers today has we go back to our home to see what can be saved, I know that when I see some of the things that were damaged that we will be upset, pray that we remember that they are just Things and keep us focused on doing what the Lord has in store for us. Love to all Aunt Cindy

PS I have had the email cut off at home if need us or want to email us please send to or to ashley's school email, .

Thanks again for your prayers Cindy

Aunt Cindy with my girls, they love their "My Aunt Cindy"

Friday, June 23, 2006

Amazing Family

I have married into the most amazing family. I have watched a family who has pulled together once more to help each other. Thanks for your prayers today for Travis' Aunt and Uncle. They are doing pretty well. The front outside structure of their house is standing, but everything else in the house is a total loss. What the fire, smoke, and water did not damage - the rain this afternoon did.

They are not sure what started the fire at their house around 2 am this morning, but it started on their outside deck and the dogs woke Aunt Cindy up and she got the girls, Ashley and Kerrie, and their dogs out of the house. Once the fire hit the back door it spread straight up to the attic. All the ceiling fell in, but two rooms. Fire destroyed the attic and water and the ceiling falling in destroyed everything else.

God has already provided for them in so many ways. God has provided a house for them to live in and money to buy the cloths and things they need.

While the fire was still raging a Fireman came and ask Aunt Cindy if there was anything inside that she wanted. She told him there was only two things she wanted - she wanted her wedding dress (she had it out because Kerrie is getting married one year from today and is going to wear her dress) and their Bibles. He asked again, "Is that all you want?" She responded, "Our Bibles are all we really need - that's all I need".


I cannot begin to explain this family - the legacy of Nannie and Pop's lives was displayed today as I watched them deal with another tragedy. They displayed such love, peace, and grace that only God can give. At different times today I saw each of them, Rick, Cindy, Ashley, and Kerrie, show concern for someone else. For example, Aunt Cindy had found some Brown Drip Pottery that I collect at a yard sale last week. As I was leaving this morning - she gave me that pottery. She was worried that it would get broke and wanted to make sure I got it. I pray that Travis and I can teach our children such grace and love for others because of their love for Christ.

Please continue to pray for them as they begin to clean and move things and deal with all the many other things that need to be taken care of.

Friday Family Funny

There will not be a Friday Family Funny today.

We receieved a called at 6:00 this morning from Travis' Aunt Cindy (his mom's brother's wife) and their house caught fire in the early morning. Uncle Rick, Aunt Cindy, Ashley, and Kerrie are all alright, but when I talked to her, she said the house was almost all gone. I do not have many more details at this point, Travis is there with them now. Please just pray for them. They (we) have lost so much in the past six months, they need our prayers.

I will let you know when I know more information.

In His Love, Alyssa

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happy First Day of Summer!

Thankfully for the first day of summer our A/C is fixed and the house finally cooled down. I think the A/C turned off sometime in the night last night. We all had fun at Grammy and Big Daddy's, but we were happy to be in our own beds. While we were waiting for it to be fixed the thermostat reached 88 degrees. We are still waiting on the insurance company before we can do anything with the back yard.

In other news...
Samuel had a great 9th Birthday on Saturday. We celebrated with a cake on Saturday and then with a party on Sunday. The party was suppose to be at our house, but before the pool explosion we had decided to move it to the church playground because we knew the pool wouldn't be ready to swim. We are thankful that we changed it. It ended up being great! The church playground was a great place to have a party.

In addition to Samuel's birthday, we celebrated Father's Day. I have been blessed with three great Father's in my life. My Daddy, my step-dad, Eddie and my father-in-law, Tommy. I thank God for all of them!

My Daddy, Popeye, with Samuel and Hannah Grace

Eddie, my sister, Kendra, and me

My father-in-law, Big Daddy and Hannah Grace

There is one more great Daddy in my life - that is my husband, Travis. I love to watch him with our kids. From the very beginning, he has jumped right in and helped me. My mom has always loved him, but when Samuel was born she watched Travis change his first diaper, he gained more respect from her that day.

My life would not be complete without him, my life would not be as fun without him, my kids lives would not be as God honoring if not for him. I thank God for giving me Travis as a husband and as a Daddy to our kids.

Enjoy these pictures of Travis, as Daddy.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Monday, June 19, 2006

Put Your Lifejackets On and Hold On!

Well, this is the post that many have been waiting for since Thursday afternoon. I'm not sure where to start, the end, middle or beginning.

Our Thursday morning started off pretty normal, besides the saddness around the house because Daddy had left to go to Columbus, Ohio for a business trip. On Wednesday afternoon, Travis had taken off of work early to work in the yard and take the pool cover off. My job while he was away was to fill the pool up with enough water to start the pump, And then let the pump run a day or so, and then we he got home he would put chemicals in it and maybe in a week or so it would be ready to swim in.

So, that's what I was doing. I began to fill the pool up with water, it really only need about
4 - 6 inches of water. A couple of months ago, we had noticed that there was a small crack in the side of the pool wall, but we weren't too concerned because it had held water all winter long and the liner didn't seem to have a leak. But, being the good Kentucky gal that I am, decided that I better put some duct tape on the crack to make sure. Our dog Cassie pulled the first layer of tape off and when I went to put more one, I noticed that it looked like the crack had gotten longer, so I just put a piece of tape the length of the crack and thought I would watch it. About an hour later, I went to check the pool and yes indeed the crack was getting longer. So, I called Travis to see what I should do now. He told me to turn off the water hose and and he would call his Dad and get him to come look and tell me what to do.

He didn't have time to call his dad.

Hannah Grace and Faith were suppose to be down talking a nap. And, as some days, they were not sleeping they were talking and playing. Hannah Grace had gotten herself stuck between the rails of her bed and I was in their room trying to get her out when I heard a terrible noise. It only took me a few seconds to realize what I had just heard. I left Hannah Grace stuck in her bed and ran to the window. Yep, the pool wall had split from top to bottom and all 17,000 gallons of water was now running down the back yard. I yelled for Samuel to go tell the man next door what had happened (you see, the house next door is being completely renovated and the water was running straight towards their new carpet). You might be thinking, why did I send Samuel? Because, Hannah Grace was still stuck in the rails of her bed. I got Hannah Grace unstuck and ran to get the phone. I called Tommy first, then I called Travis, then I called my Mama to get her to pray.

It took me about 10 minutes to realize all the damage that the pool water had done. I walked to the back door to survey the damage and water had come under the back door (not too much, but enough that I had to put towels down). I then walked outside to check on Cassie and noticed that the heat pump was running, but it was off it's foundation. The force of the water had picked it up and moved it! I ran inside to turn it off and then was going out the side door to go talk to the man next door and stepped into about an inch of water in the carport. The force of the water had pushed the door from the carport to the back yard out and water had ponded in the garage. Just a side note, the door from the carport to the back yard had been nailed shut for many years by Tommy and Travis when they couldn't get it to fit.

In the middle if trying to keep the girls off the carport and getting Cassie back into the back yard, my mom calls. She called to tell me that Eddie said that needed to dig a ditch to catch the water. Apparently I wasn't too clear when I called her the first time. I then explained to her that we were way past digging a ditch. She ask, "How much water is left in the pool" - "Only about an inch"; she said, "I guess you are past digging a ditch."

Tommy arrived and he and I started sweeping the water out of the garage. He talked to the man next door, called the heating and air company, called the insurance company and continued to sweep water.

As of today we still do not have A/C, they will be coming to fix that in the morning; we can not begin to clean up the yard until the insurance adjusted come (we don't know when that we be), but Travis is home now.

As we have talked and told the story, I am very thankful that one of the kids was not outside or I was not down on my hands and knees duct taping the crack when the pool burst. If we had been, the force was so great that we would have been thrown up against the wall and probably hurt very badly.

I thank those who have been praying for us during the past few days. We are very blessed and we have survived the latest adventure of The Sparks Family.

As Tommy and I were sweeping up the water from the carport, I was struck with a thankfulness that I was just sweeping up a small amount of water, there are those who are victim of flash floods, tornados, and hurricanes that are still sweeping up.

There are a few other funny parts to the story, but I think I will save them for a Friday Family Funny.

We had a great Father's Day yesterday and a wonderful birthday celebration for Samuel and I will share about those later in the week. I also have some pictures I will try to post too.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday Family Funnies - "Hurry Up, Bubba"

Today's Family Funny is in honor of Samuel's 9th Birthday tomorrow.

Grammy and Big Daddy were visiting the house one evening and Grammy had ask Samuel to go out to her car and get something for her. He was having trouble getting the car unlocked and Grammy and Hannah Grace were on the front porch trying to help. When Samuel got the car door open he was walking back down the sidewalk, but was walking slowly because he didn't have his shoes on. Hannah Grace then told Samuel, "Hurry up, Bubba, you're going to miss your Birthday"

Happy 9th Birthday to my wonderful son, Samuel!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Upward Family Fun

Samuel coming down slide

Samuel climbing the "Rock Wall"

I don't have much to tell, just wanted to share these pictures with your. They are from Upward Family Fun Night.

Hannah Grace playing and sliding

Faith going up the "Rock Wall"

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday Family Funnies - "Jesus Take the Wheel!!!!!"

Our Friday Family Funny is a story from Jamaica as told as Ashley remembers it:

Lou and Ashley were sitting together about midways back in the bus heading to Buff Bay. They were very nervous and scared about the driving there so far. They had been traveling for a couple of hours and neither one of them could figure out why the driver kept turning around and talking to Tommy. Lou would say "I sure wish that driver would keep his eyes on the road!" Ashley would chime right in with"Yeah, whatever he's saying can wait a little longer!" "After all we are passing people driving 100 MPH!" Then it finally put them over the edge when the person they thought was driving the bus got up and walked to back of the bus. Lou threw both hands up high in the air and said, "Who's driving?" Ashley responded with, "Jesus take the wheel!" After all this excitement and everyone on the bus laughing, they were both calmed to hear that in Jamaica the driver is on the opposite side of the car than the driver here in the US. The person that they thought was driving the bus was actually just a passenger that Pastor Vernon had sent along with the driver to help out with bags and things. They both are still laughing about this little mishap and hope you might find some laughter in it too!

Ashley is being gracious to share with us some of her journal entries on her blog, click here to read what God showed her during her time in Jamaica. Thanks Ashley for sharing with us!!!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Newspaper Article

Samuel had a great time yesterday, thanks for praying for him.
The newspaper article I wrote about yesterday was on the front page, with a picture of Samuel. He was so excited. Below is the entire article:
Shakera Mance asks the question without hesitation: "Who in your family died?"
Last October, the 8-year-old had to answer that question a lot after her father, Azon Hollis Wilburn, was shot to death. But the interest of her friends and classmates eventually waned.
"Most of the time they don't want to talk about it because they had other people in their family who died, too," she said.
On Tuesday, Shakera joined 21 other children, all of whom have lost parents or caretakers to violence, at Safe Passages, a day camp sponsored by the
Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.
They met at 8 a.m. to board a bus taking them to Charlotte, N.C., where they spent the day at Discovery Place and enjoyed a pizza lunch before the trip home.
Tuesday, the first day of the two-day camp, was a time for fun. Shakera's favorite part of the day was a liquid nitrogen demonstration, she said, because she loves science.
The trip also was a time for children from day-care centers all the way up to youths from high school to come together in an environment where, for once, they were just like everyone else.
Mechica Smith, 11, wore a silver necklace with a pendant bearing an engraved portrait of her father, Quintan Foster, his birth date and the day he died: Aug. 22, 2005.
Her father used to pick on her, teasing her when she had not fixed her hair. Or, he'd hit her with a pillow when it was time to wake up.
Mechica remembers the day he died. It was early morning when one of her aunts shook her from sleep, saying, "Get up."
"I was just shaking all night, and I
didn't know what happened. … They said, 'Put on some clothes.' And they said, 'Somebody died.' "
By the time Mechica arrived at the hospital, she knew it was her father. And she was angry.
She doesn't talk much about his death these days. She's afraid kids might say bad things about her dad.
Mechica spoke of her father Tuesday, but she spent most of the day warming up to the other children, relaxing and having a good time. She joined the other kids in cheering rats "playing basketball" at the hands-on science center.
Samuel Sparks, 8, helped keep score during the rat basketball game, marking down each time a rat grabbed a small ball and jumped with it through a hoop.
His bright face grows solemn when he speaks of his late grandparents, George and Billie Ford. The Fords were shot in December by Samuel's uncle, who authorities said also killed his aunt before shooting himself.
Sometimes, Samuel said, it's good to talk about what happened. He remembered sharing his story with a friend whose grandfather had died.
It made his friend feel better, Samuel said. "And he made me feel a little better, too."
Dealing with grief
Few people want to talk about their grief, counselor Heather Ravnan told the children Tuesday. But she reminded them it's healthy to express what they're feeling, and the day camp helps them realize they are not alone.
"Just seeing all these kids who they have something in common with is therapeutic," Ravnan said.
The camp began in 1999. It is the third year for 18-year-old Whitney Jeter.
Jeter, a nursing student at
Spartanburg Technical College who now helps chaperone, was 9 when her aunt, Deshiella Jeter, was murdered in 1996.
"You do have fun (at the camp), but at the same time, you also realize the real reason why you're here," she said.
It's a blessing that many of the kids -- especially the ones with no family left -- are able to come and have people to discuss their feelings with, she added.
"It's not all about that one day, what happened to your loved one," Jeter said. "It's to get out, do something with your life."
Debra Williams, victim advocate with the Sheriff's Office, is leading the children on a canoeing expedition today, the second day of the camp. They also will reflect on how to carry on and overcome challenges in their lives.
"It's just knowing that they're not alone and they have the support from other children the same age that have been through the same thing they have," Williams said. "And a lot of the time, they gain strength from each other."
Please come back tomorrow, we have a GREAT Friday Family Funny!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Safe Passages Camp

Yesterday and today, Samuel is attending Safe Passages Camp with the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office. Yesterday, they went to the Discovery Place in Charlotte and today they are going canoeing in Columbia. There is an article in today's newspaper about the camp and they interviewed Samuel.

The camp is for children who have lost loved ones. This afternoon when they return from canoeing, they will have a remembrance service at the Sheriff's Office.

Samuel had a great time yesterday and met some new friends and was so excited to get to go canoeing. I will report tomorrow how canoeing went.

I am so proud of Samuel. I am so proud of the young man that he is becoming and how God is using him to share with others, and how he is concerned about others. This is part of the article in the newspaper:

Sometimes, Samuel said, it's good to talk about what happened. He remembered sharing his story with a friend whose grandfather had died.
It made his friend feel better, Samuel said. "And he made me feel a little better, too."

Please pray for him today and he would have fun and be safe.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Welcome Home Jamaica Mission Team!

Thanks for praying for the Jamaica Mission Team. They returned safe tonight and all are very excited to share about what God did during their week in Buff Bay, Jamaica. They had a total of 35 salvations, Praise the Lord!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures, so far...

Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday Family Funnies - Blessing

The other night Hannah Grace was saying the blessing before supper, she was saying her normal blessing..."Thank you for my Mommy, my Daddy, Bubba, my Sister, Cassie..." she paused a minute and we could tell she was thinking, and then she said..."B-men".

Have a great week-end!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

McDonald's Playland

We had supper with Uncle Rick and Aunt Cindy at McDonald's. As we were leaving, Hannah Grace said it all - "It was fun, fun, fun!"