Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Youth Sunday

This was the scene a few weeks ago on Sunday night as the youth group practiced for Youth Sunday in worship. 

Parker and his friend Tucker served as ushers and acolytes at the two traditional services and as greeters at the contemporary service. 

All of the youth, including the four kids who split the sermon time, did a fantastic job in leading the whole congregation in worship. It was a very special day to be part of the CUMC family!!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sparks Family Time

After the military honors for Uncle Wade, we headed back to our hotel in order to change clothes. But we got a few pictures of family dressed up because the kids were looking pretty spiffy. 

The rest of our Friday turned into a Sparks Family Reunion over at Uncle Wade and Aunt Kathleen's house. There was family in from all over the place and some people had not been in a room together for almost 20 years.

The kids loved the backyard with the banana tree near the pool. 

At one point, we all gathered together in the family room to watch one of the five DVD movies that Aunt Kathleen had made of all the Sparks family slides she had found. 

Aunt Kathleen with some of our guys. 

Aunt Kathleen with her son-in-law Brad and Aunt Bobbi's son Sean. 

One of Wayne's cousins, Laurel, lives out in California. She made a big impression on Davis and she taught him how to say her name - "her whole name!" She even wrote it out for him with her phone number when we left! 

Here they are snuggling in the chair! 

And Davis had lots of fun getting to spend time with Uncle Nam: doing the Asian squat, "hanging out" or keeping warm during breakfast. 

Aunt Kathleen gave the boys these patriotic bears and mini-flags to remember Uncle Wade's military service and she let everyone pick a hat from Uncle Wade's extensive hat collection. Those are great ways for the boys to keep alive their memories.

It was a whirlwind trip, but we are very thankful that we were able to take the time and go up to honor Uncle Wade and spend some time making new memories with family.

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Tribute to Uncle Wade

Daryl's great-uncle, Wade Sparks, died last Monday after a stroke the previous week. Uncle Wade was 85. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army and served in Korea and Vietnam flying fixed wing planes and helicopters. He became a music evangelist later on and traveled all around the world. He lost a leg about 7 years ago after battling near-fatal sepsis. His personality was always larger-than-life. We spent pretty much every Thanksgiving with him and Aunt Kathleen in the last twenty years. 

Four years ago, they surprised us in Ocala on a Sunday afternoon, driving over from Orlando where they were watching a granddaughter compete in a cheerleading competition. Daughter Lisa and son-in-law David came with them. The only other time we saw them after that was at Grannie's funeral two years ago.  

We were fortunate to be able to drive up late on Thursday night last week to Alabama so that we could attend his funeral on Friday morning at his home church, Eastern Shore Baptist Church. His pastor and son-in-law John shared the service. 

After the funeral there was a lunch for the family in the church gymnasium and then we headed to the Veterans Cemetery in Spanish Fort for the service of military honors. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Sea of Orange

The pumpkins have arrived - 9am on Monday morning this week at church. Thankfully Lake County schools had a teacher workday so we had lots of kids and youth to help unload. We typically get about 800 pumpkins and this year since we were the last load on the truck, we received 1,600 pumpkins!!!!


And after!!!!!

One of our church members took this great time-lapse video of all of us unloading pumpkins in the patch! 

Davis and his friend Eli had fun helping remove the rotten pumpkins to the dumpster, with a little help from Mr. Glenn. Later they helped unpack the small gourds. 

And some of the grownups turned pumpkin carrying into a little bit of a competition. We had a really great time getting the patch ready and open for business!!! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fun in Clermont

We made a trip down to Clermont over the weekend to one of our favorite restaurants - Culver's! Davis even got to hug the mascot ice cream cone! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Camping and Honors

Parker spent last weekend at a Boy Scout Camporee. The theme for the weekend was Backwards and so they even had to wear their uniforms backwards. His troop even won an award for one of the weekend competitions. 

And this guy? This kid right here? He was voted into the Order of the Arrow, the National Honor Society for Boy Scouts, by the other members of his Troop! We're so very proud of Parker and all that he is accomplishing in Scouting. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

More Fowl in Fruitland Park

I should have saved the picture of the turkey, because yesterday at church we had chickens! This is Melinda with her chicken Thelma-Louise! Melinda and her pickup truck were setup outside of church yesterday at all three services as one example of how to decorate your car for our upcoming Trunk Or Treat! 

Thelma-Louise walks around on a leash and Wesley wasn't too sure about the chicken at church!