Thursday, May 31, 2007

Coming Home!

Samuel and the Jamaican team are headed home today. We did not talk with them yesterday, but Cathy called Amanda and told her that Samuel was ready to come home. We haven't gathered that from talking with him, but I know that his sister's are ready for him to come home; they have missed him. I can't wait for him to get home and hear him tell his side of the trip and I can't wait to see Jamaica through his eyes with his pictures.
I haven't share much about our past week, I wanted to focus on praying for Samuel and the team, but I wanted to share these few pictures with you. This past Saturday morning, I went to some yard sales with Aunt Cindy and Aunt Lois. We found some cute dresses for the girls and they couldn't wait to wear them Sunday morning.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Evening Update

We did not expect to talk to Samuel tonight, but we were surprised by a phone call from him, Big Daddy and Grammy tonight.

Samuel is doing well. They visited two schools today and delivered school supplies and visited the hospital and delivered supplies and gave out stuffed animals. He said he gave a little girl who had just came out of surgery a stuffed animal. I am so proud of him!!

Besides letting Samuel talk to us the main purpose of Tommy calling was to ask us and everyone we know to pray.

There is a man who visits each Mission Team and sells them Blue Mountain coffee beans. Tommy has been building a relationship with this man for 11 years now. He goes by "Fire", but his name is Franklin Daniel. He came by today and told Tommy he wanted to come by tomorrow and talk to him - no business - he wanted to talk to him about some things. Please pray tonight and tomorrow for the salvation of Franklin Daniel. Pray that God would open his eyes to His salvation. Pray for Tommy as he is used by God to share with Fire. Pray for the other team members that they would respect what God may be doing. Pray that Samuel would not interrupt, but maybe Samuel would see God's hand in Fire's life. Thank you for your prayers and we would ask that you share this request with those you know. We know that God is in control and is in control of this trip - we pray that the team continues to seek His will.
In His Grace - Travis and Alyssa

I Finally Talked to Him!!!

I am happy to inform you that I finally talked to my son yesterday. I was so relieved to hear his voice. I admit to you, I am missing him and not being able to talk to him was getting hard. He had talked to his Daddy a couple times, but we had not had the chance to talk, so I praise God that He allowed me to talk to him yesterday.

I had several people tell me, "Don't worry, he's fine". I was trusting God that he was fine and doing great, but what kind of Mommy would I be if I was not missing him or wanting to talk to him myself. So again, I thank God that He allowed me to do that yesterday. His Big Daddy said, he got a little homesick yesterday morning, so they let him call home last night. I'll admit something else to you too: I don't want him to be homesick because that is a terrible feeling, but I am glad to hear that he misses us...

I am happier to inform you about what the Lord is doing in Jamaica. The team began their evening services at Mt. Vernon and Tranquility on Sunday night and God saved two people at Tranquility!!! The ladies class began yesterday morning and God saved one lady in that class. Isn't God amazing to allow the team to see fruits of their labor and bring people into His kingdom?

I asked Samuel if he had made any new friends and he said yes, there was a little girl who came to where they are staying each day. Please pray for this little girl, (I don't know her name, but God does) that God would use Samuel to share His love and salvation.

We don't expect to hear from anyone until tomorrow, but thanks for you prayers. God is answering them!!!!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Jamacia Update

Good morning! We continue to thank you for the prayers the prayers for Samuel and the entire team. We talked to Samuel for just a moment yesterday afternoon. They were suppose to have the "fun" day on Saturday and go swimming and eat jerk chicken. Samuel told his Daddy that he tried Jerk Chicken, but they didn't get to go swim because it rained all day Saturday.

They had Family Day yesterday and we beginning evening services last night. They will begin the class for the ladies this morning and visit a school this morning and continue to evening services.

We don't expect to hear from them until later in the week, put please continue to pray.

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 25, 2007

And There're Off!

Thank you for praying for Samuel and the Jamaica team so far this morning. We had a safe trip to the airport and there were no problems with check-in, Praise the Lord! We talked to Samuel around 11am and they were on the plane getting ready to take off. William had made his flight to Atlanta and was in Memphis, last we heard. As of right now, he should be in Montego Bay and the rest of the team should be arriving very soon.
Thanks for praying for Travis and me, me especially, as Samuel left this morning. I did pretty good. A lot of times dreading something is much worse for me than the actual event. And today, that was the case. I dreaded today, all day yesterday. Samuel was just excited to get on the plane, so he did well. His sisters kept hugging and kissing him. Anyway, we hated to see him go, but we know that he is in God's hands and God will protect him and take care of him.
I'll update as soon as I can. Thanks again for praying!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Friday Family Funnies - Shrek

This Friday Family Funny is a little early, but we will be seeing the Mission Team off tomorrow.

Tonight we are going to see Shrek the Third. Over the past week we have watched Shrek and Shrek 2, but the girls call them, "Shrek the One" and "Shrek the Two"

OK, that may not be the funniest Friday Family Funny - but I think it is cute!

Have a great Memorial Day Week-end and thank you for praying for Samuel and the entire Jamaica Mission Team.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Last Days of School

Hannah Grace missed her last day of school due to being sick, the first time, but she and I made a visit to her school on Wednesday to visit with her teachers before summer. We were so blessed that she had two great teachers this past year. We were hoping that Faith would have the same teachers, but Miss Donnette is moving on to new adventures.

Hannah Grace and Miss Donnette

Hannah Grace and Miss Donna

Today is Samuel's last full day of 4th grade, I can't believe it. He is having field day today and awards tomorrow and then Wednesday and that's it...on to 5th grade; a new school, new friends, and new adventures. But not until his busy summer is over!

Daddy was gone again over the week-end, he was in Baltimore, MD and enjoyed a great night visit to Washington. His travel is season is not even half over and I am already tired of his travels, but we will manage. We didn't do much because of all the sickness, but it was such a beautiful day we played outside most of the day on Saturday; we had a Chick-fil-a picnic, too.

Jamaica Commisioning Service

Last night the Jamaica team was commissioned to go and share the gospel with the people of Jamaica.

2007 Team Members:

Kristen, Tommy, Cathy, Lou, Ashley, William, Samuel, Brad, Amanda, Richard and Dennis

I was not able to go, Hannah Grace was sick with her third round of what ever it is, all day yesterday, but Memama and Granddaddy were here to support and pray for Samuel.

After church the team packed their extra suitcases with the collected supplies. Travis said it all went well and the weight of each of the suitcases seems to be great.

I guess I need to explain about the extra suitcases. Each person is allowed two suitcases, weighing 50 pounds each, a carry on and a personal bag (purse, book bag). Each team member will use one of their suitcases to carry collected supplies and the other for their personal items.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Week of Prayer for Jamaica Missions

Next week, I was going to starr posting on the sidebar a prayer request for the Jamaica Team each day, but Travis' cousin just e-mailed and ask me to pray for her son Brad that he would receive his passport today so I decided to started posting requests today.

I will be posting specific request for the Jamaica Team as they prepare and are serving in Buff Bay, Jamaica. I will also post updates as we receive them.

Thank you for taking part in Samuel's trip by praying.

Friday Family Funnies - Where's Supper

To understand this funny, remember that Hannah Grace first got sick while we were on the way to take supper to a church member. I am working hard to teach my girls to enjoy serving others in this way; Faith seems to get it a little more than Hannah Grace. She seems to have gifts more like her Daddy.

Now, to the Friday Family Funny...

On Tuesday evening, we had taken a break from throwing up and the kids felt like eating something (Travis and I did not). I was talking to them asking what they thought they might like to eat. Hannah Grace answered quickly - "We're all sick, why isn't somebody bringing us mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans?"

I just laughed, I was too tired to try teach her any different.

We are feeling better, Hannah Grace had another round of sickness during the night Wednesday night (really Thursday morning). But as of day, we are all better. Praise the Lord!!!!!

Have a great week-end.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Number of the Day

I told you on Monday that my Mother's Day greeting was "Mom, I feel sick". Well if I had only known that was just the beginning. Monday afternoon, the kids I were on our way to take a church member, who had knee replacement surgery, supper; we were almost there and Hannah Grace said, "Mommy, could you hurry up, I'm going to throw up". I told here we were almost there, not thinking she really felt sick. Well, yep, she did feel sick. As we pulled into their drive, she threw up all over (and I mean, all over) herself and the van. I delivered the food and headed home. When I got home, I called Travis to tell him that Hannah Grace was sick. He said, "that explains it - I haven't felt good all day" The next time I called him, he was on his way home because he was sick.

If you are counting, that's two family members sick. (4:00pm)

Travis went straight to bed and Hannah Grace camped out in the living room. Samuel locked himself in his room and Faith was running around asking what was for supper.

At bedtime, I put Faith in the bed and Hannah Grace was still throwing up, so she and I were going to sleep in the living room.

Around 10:30pm, I was helping Hannah Grace and I heard a terrible sound - it was Faith getting sick.

We are up to three family members sick.

All through the night Hannah Grace and Faith would take turns getting sick. I guess I can take that as a blessing that they weren't sick at the same time. Travis is still sick in the bedroom.

At about 2am - I hit a breaking point, I didn't know if I was going to make it or not. I wasn't feeling too well myself, but every time I felt sick, I just prayed and asked the Lord to take it away.

Around 4am, everyone had stopped throwing up and was asleep, I finally laid down to catch a little bit of sleep, only to wake up at 6am as I was running to the bathroom.

Yes, four family members sick!

We were rescued by a neighbor who took Samuel to school. The other three had stopped throwing up, but were so exhausted they just stayed in the bed and on the couches. Mine finally passed yesterday afternoon.

If there is anything good about this virus or whatever it was, it only lasted about 12 hours.

Whew, that brings us up to today. We are all feeling better and have each eaten a little something; It seems to have passed through us all. Big Daddy also had it yesterday.

We pray that we haven't passed to anyone else. Have a great day!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day Week-end

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day week-end. We did several things, so let me get on to sharing them with you.
Friday afternoon began on a sad note, the man who took our wedding photos and that had been a friend of Travis' family for years, he and his wife were killed in their home early in the morning on Friday, you can read about it here and here. Travis' Dad is a chaplain with the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office - he spent all of the day with the family on Friday. Please keep this family and all those involved in your prayers. Please pray for Tommy as he minsters to this family during the coming days and weeks.

Friday night we all (Big Daddy included) went to Family Fun Night at Samuel's school. I only have this one picture, my batteries went out on my camera at the beginning of the night. Samuel and his sister's had a great time. Looking at this picture you wouldn't think Faith was having a great time. We think she was feeling sick, but didn't know how to tell us!

On Saturday morning, all five of us went to the Greenville Zoo with the church that I work for. At first we thought it was going to rain us out, but the morning turned out to be great. It wasn't too hot and the rain had stopped. In the last picture you see an mommy determined to reach a piece of bamboo that was outside the fence. I always leave the zoo more amazed at how God made each animal able to take care of their young.

On Saturday evening, we had planned on cooking out with Travis' sister and her family and Big Daddy and Grammy for Mother's Day, knowing that Sunday would be busy. We had bought the girls a blow up swimming pool to have in the back yard, but it came up a storm and was raining. Because of all that, we have come up with another "You might be a Redneck if..." let your kids go swimming in their blow-up swimming pool on your carport!!

Yep, that's what we did. We filled the pool up with water (which by the way, we didn't think about getting the water out of the pool on the carport), set up our sling chairs, pulled out Samuel's game table and had us a Redneck Mother's Day cook-out. The kids had a great and it was nice to spend some time with our family.I was awaken Sunday morning (at 6am) with a Mother's Day greeting of "Mom, I feel sick".

Samuel woke up yesterday morning throwing up and that is how he spent most of his morning. Travis and I both had to be at church, so he spent his morning at Grammy and Big Daddy's house. He did not feel well at all. So, after church we just came home and all went to bed. We all took a nice long nap and Samuel seemed to feel some better after his nap. We did not have service at church last night, but somehow we ended back to church (I guess we just can't stay away even when we don't have service) What really happened was, we went out to eat with Grammy and Big Daddy and then went back to the church playground and let the kids play.

We were disappointed we didn't get to see Memama and Granddaddy and Aunt Kendra yesterday, but it didn't work out and we will see them next week-end hopefully.

So there you go - that was our Mother's Day week-end. It was filled with ups and downs, but I am thankful for the Mom's God has put in my life and I am honored to be the Mommy of Samuel, Hannah Grace and Faith. It is nice to have a special day set aside to honor our Mom's and to be honored, but really I feeling loved each and everyday (well most each and every day - ha! ha!) by the children God has given me and I hope that I show my Mom's how much they are loved and respected everyday - not just Mother's Day.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday Family Funnies - Don't Call it Cheese

At supper the other night, we were having spaghetti. We had said our blessing and everyone was fixing their plate. I was asking each child, "Do you want cheese on your spaghetti?" I got to Hannah Grace and I asked her, "Do you want cheese on your spaghetti?" She answered, "Don't call it cheese, call it salt - I don't like cheese!" Alright - "Hannah Grace, do you want salt on your spaghetti?" "Yes, please."
Have a great week-end!
Happy Mother's Day to all the Mother's out there. I thank God for my mom's and all the women He has placed in my life!
Happy Mother's Day - We Love You!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Day with Daddy

Today Hannah Grace and her Daddy went to Hollywild Zoo with her class. They had a great time together; she has such a wonderful Daddy that would take the morning off of work to go to the zoo with her and 15 other 4 year olds!

Giraffe by Hannah Grace

Tonight, I have a meeting at church and while I am at the meeting Travis is taking the three kids out to Mother's Day shop. He really is a great Daddy!!

To celebrate Mother's Day, the five of us are going to The Greenville Zoo on Saturday - I can't wait to share those pictures with you next week.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Pizza and Watermelon

Samuel is in the middle of PACT testing so last night we went out for pizza and came back and had watermelon on the front porch as Daddy mowed the front yard. The girls loved their watermelon; Samuel didn't like it, but at least he tried it!

We haven't found a fruit that Faith doesn't love yet...she by far is the best eater out of all of us!

While Daddy was gone this past week-end, I introduced the girls to an old classic: The Wizard of Oz , so they were "following the yellow brick road".

Friday, May 04, 2007

Post Update

In a earlier post I told you about the fun week-end Travis and I had. There were a couple of comments I want to comment on.

First, Kristi asked we if found anything at Goodwill. We went to the Goodwill Clearance Center. When I told Travis that's were I wanted to go, he was a little scared. Not only was it Goodwill, it was a clearance center. We had so much fun. When you walk in you get a rolling bin (really, it's just a big rolling trash can) and you search these LARGE bins and when you are ready to pay, you roll your bin onto a scale and you pay by the pound!!! Can you believe that? It is 99 cents a pound! It was great. We didn't venture into the cloths, we just searched through the toys and books (which are 10 cents a pound). We found some Little People Toys and a Leap Pad, so that we could replace a broken pen on the one we have. It was so much fun.

Second, I forgot to mention that at supper at Red Robin we were graced by the presence of the Mark and Jenni. They stole a night away from their kids too. It was fun to see them. I'll take them moment to say how much I love Jenni. She is one of the most Godly women I know. I told Ashley when they left that I admire Jenni so much, she just oozes words of wisdom about God and Godly things; Mark is not too bad either. Ha! Ha!

Welcome to the Family

We would like to welcome Madison Renee Rae to the Sparks Family.

Travis' cousin Kelly and her husband Mike are the proud new parents a new baby girl born at 3:28pm, Wednesday, May 1, 2007, weighing 7 lbs 3 ozs, 20 inches long.

Grandparents, Aunt LouAnn and Uncle Chuck are doing great too. I hear that Grandpop is in LOVE!!!

Behold, Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is His reward.
Psalm 126:3

Friday Family Funnies - Ready for Disney

I wanted to share with you the video from Hannah Grace singing yesterday, while she was singing one of the trees they were using for decorations fell, but I can't get it to upload, so maybe next week.

So instead I want to share this picture with you.

The other day the girls were playing their most favorite thing to do, play dressup. Hannah Grace came calling me as she was coming down the hallway. She was saying, Mommy, I'm ready to go to Disney World, I'm ready to go to Disney World!!!

Have a great week-end!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mother's Day Brunch

This morning I had the honor of attending a Mother's Day Brunch with Hannah Grace at her school. It was such a special time. When I arrived at her classroom she met me at the door and showed me to our seat, she even pulled the chair out for me. Waiting for me was a Mother's Day Card, a handmade corsage, and a book titled "My Mommy is Special" that she had also made. Inside the book was a set of questions that her teacher had asked her, here are a few:

My Mom is 5 years old

My Mom cooks chicken the best.

My Mom is happy when I give her flowers.

My Mom is pretty when she puts make-up on.

Also in the book was a wonderful picture of me that she had drawn.

Before we headed to the Fellowship Hall, Miss Donnette read us I Love You Forever, which always makes me cry.

After we had admired our beautiful gifts, we went to enjoy our brunch. The tables were decorated with a placemat with Hannah Grace's handprints and a flowerpot that she had painted with her fingerprints. Hannah Grace was so sweet this morning, she was such a little lady, she waited on me hand and foot, she even took my plate and cup the trash can for me. She has been looking forward to this day for weeks now. With three kids, sometimes it seems that one child is being left out, so it was nice to have this time for just her and I.

Hannah Grace at Mother's Day Brunch

My Little Lady

Hannah Grace and fingerprint flowerpot

After bruch, we were treated to two songs from all the children. Hannah Grace was about to burst with excited to sing (I will share the video with you tomorrow for our Friday Family Funny).
I left there with tears in my eyes because of the wonderful time I had been treated to.