Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend - Part 4 - Homecoming at Tice

After the wedding was over, we stayed to help clean up for a while and then returned the tuxedos back to the mall before heading out of town to Tice Church in Fort Myers. Mommy had been invited to preach at Homecoming Sunday there at her first church. We stayed at a hotel near the airport in Fort Myers on Saturday night and then drove into the church in the morning. We were met in the parking lot by a lot of familiar faces who were definitely anxious to see the boys! We barely made it into the sanctuary in time for the worship service to start because of all the greeting we were doing with people!!!

Worship was wonderful. We miss the music there so much. They do such an incredible blend of musical styles and use several different instruments with a group of singers. It just warmed our hearts to be back there and to experience all of that. And they were so gracious and welcoming, especially Pastor Cherie. Mommy preached on the idea of legacies and how Homecoming was a day to honor those who had come before and shaped the ministry of the church; but that it was also a day to look ahead and consider the kind of legacy people were leaving for the next generation to come up.

After worship, we headed over to the Fellowship Hall for a wonderful time of fellowship. We had a great potluck lunch and then the church historian Connie Carlsen shared some memories of things we accomplished together during our three years in Tice. They also had posterboards of pictures from our three years put up all around the hall. Then they opened up the microphone for people to share memories and it was very touching to hear the things that people had to say. Especially it was nice to hear from some of the parents of the teenagers we had in youth group, who thanked us for working with their children. One parent pointed out that our legacy could be seen in the youth; now young adults, many of them have moved away to go to school but they were all back for this day and all gravitated to sit with us in the back corner of the Fellowship Hall. Even after lunch and the program was over, we stayed around for a couple of hours visiting with the Brownings, the Blaneys, Miss Frances and Pastor Cherie. Later Pastor Cherie let us tour the parsonage and see the work that had been done there. Parker even got to see his old room, which is now a toy room for Cherie's grandchildren. By the time we left, Parker was so comfortable he was calling it "my old room in my old house." Cherie even gave him a little toy truck to keep. Later Miss Brittany took us on a tour of the changes happening downtown and out towards the Fort-Myers Shores area. It was nice to see the growth and changes and reminisce some more.

This is Hazel Murphy with Wesley. Hazel lives in a nursing home now but had friends bring her to church for Homecoming. She had been up in the Tampa area in the fall visiting her son and fell and broke her hip. She had her family call us because she knew that we'd come to visit her and we did. We ended up taking turns sitting with her during some tests and even managed to smuggle Parker back to see her. She and her late husband Fats (Frances) were always so good to us - treated us just like part of their family when we lived in Fort Myers.

Here we are with the youth. These "kids" now range in age from 13 to 22 and Brittany will graduate with her nursing degree in April.

Us with Miss Brittany.

Us with Miss Lindsay.

The Blaneys with Wesley. That's Richard with the baby. He was so anxious to hold and feed him after spending thirty minutes entertaining Parker outside.

Parker was fascinated by the outside stairs and kept going up and down and up and down.....

Miss Brittany with Miss Frances, the pig lady. Miss Frances collects pigs and often wears her big pink pig slippers to church!

Parker with his girlfriend!

Daddy and Wesley with Ernest. Ernest is the church's music director and chief cook. He and Daddy were super good friends while we were there and they had missed hanging out a lot.

Parker playing with the toys in what was once his bedroom at the parsonage.

The old house. All the landscaping we had done out front was still in place.

Mommy and her "little sister" Miss Brittany. Great minds think alike on those outfits!

This was was taken by Miss Pearl and send to us via email. She wanted us to get close and get all "lovey dovey!"

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