Well, it's that time of year again. Tis the season to be sick! I am coughing and sputtering with the last remnants of pneumonia as I type this, so I'm making myself feel better by focusing on the better things that have happened in 2016.
You may notice from the picture above that our brood has grown! Since my last Christmas letter, Chandler and Emily have added two more babies to their household. On August 26, this little guy became a Sparks:
Although Chandler and Emily brought him home from the hospital right after he was born, Micah Chesley was officially adopted on a rainy late summer day we will forever hold dear. Then just 3 days later, Emily gave birth to this guy:
Bennett Graham makes 4 grandkids - for those of you keeping count. Big brother Chayton and Big Sister Lola help keep Emily very busy while Chandler is in his third year of medical school.
Shelby (who is a very sweet 16) continues to love school, cheerleading, Special Olympics bowling and track and field, the Best Buddies program and serving as a door greeter at church. We are currently working with a sleep specialist to try to improve sleep for us all, and she continues to struggle some with seizure control. Since she only has one more year of high school after this one, we are planning for her future - which can be pretty emotionally draining. We would love your prayers for us all in these endeavors.
Allie has us in Christmas up to our eyebrows right now. She is currently appearing in 2 different holiday shows at a local theater and continues to amaze us with her natural stage presence. To us, she has always been a star, but she is showing it to others now as well. She is also singing in the school choir (having started middle school this year - can it all just slow down?) and volunteering with the special needs kids on campus. To round out her busy schedule, she has just started her club volleyball season with Integrity. We continue to be amazed at her many passions and are excited to see what God has in store for her as she develops her talents for His glory.
As for Chuck and I, there is not much to tell. When not working (he at Sam's and me at the REC of Grapevine and 24 Hour Fitness), we spend our time shuttling our kids from activity to activity and playing with the grands whenever possible. I am also relishing having both of my sisters live in close proximity to me for the first time since we were all under the same roof. We are also grateful to still have both sets of parents healthy, active, and involved with our kids. We are striving to love each other as Christ loved the church, and take care of all these who have been entrusted to us.
I pray that as you read this, you are well and enjoying the Christmas season. I heard a song lyric yesterday that draws a perfect picture of the immense love God has for us. "Heaven kissed the earth when You came." God loved us enough to send Jesus down to collide with humanity, and the world was forever changed. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14