Happy New Year from the Ervin Family!
We pray the Lord’s blessings on you all as we enter into 2019. As we were reminded by a recent sermon: each year we are given is a gift and it makes us consider how have we spent our past year and will we use this new year we have entered wisely and for His glory? Our blessings are so many and we surely take them for granted too often. We are here for a season and seek to daily live for eternity. The passing of time is highlighted very poignantly to us as we see how quickly our children are growing up and watch our family change from season to season.
It seems that every year we feel that there have been so many changes, but this year we are especially feeling the fast changes of seasons within our family. It seems like yesterday, two very young people sat on a bench in Texas dreaming about what their lives would be like as a married couple and we have blinked and well, let’s just say we are now two not so young people, with a houseful of children who are beginning to venture out into their own lives.
Joseph is 21 and recently moved out to rent his own place with a friend. This was very significant to us having our first child move away. While we know it is the right time and are excited for him, it is a surreal feeling to have such a marked change in seasons. When he comes home now it is very special as the little ones hug and love on him and realize how much they miss him. J continues his pursuit to get his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. He works full time at Granger and is a top employee. Granger has treated him so well and has such favor towards him, we even wonder if once he has his degree he might make it a career to move up within this company. His favorite pastime is to go biking in the mountains on his motorcycle, working out at the gym, or spending time with his girl.
William is 19 and while still at home is looking to buy his own place as soon as possible. In fact, he is in the process of getting approved by the bank right now and just waiting for the go-ahead to make an offer on a place. Will is in a very sweet spot right now of deciding where he is headed in the next few months career-wise. His previous job is asking for him back with a lot of wonderful perks, where he works currently is very stable, but he also now has an opportunity to go full time with a possible dream job. He would be running a local sheet metal shop where he would have the freedom to create and design to his heart’s content while overseeing the quality of workmanship with the other employees and all other aspects of running the shop. He also would have the potential to training in other valuable skills as well. So things are very exciting at this juncture for him. Not to mention a certain young lady that we can’t wait to welcome into the family in the future. Nothing official yet but, Will and Ariana are pretty inseparable and we joke about how they are already like an old married couple. It’s been wonderful to watch their relationship grow.
Rebekah is now 18. She is enjoying being a Senior this year and all the fun and excitement that goes with that. She only has half days of school which gives her a lot of freedom. She loves school and being super involved in volleyball and is a cheerleader again this year. She is excited and yet sad to be having this season draw to a close. But, she hopes to come back as an assistant volleyball coach for her school next year. She babysits a sibling group from the school several days a week and also is working for Jenny. Her plan after she graduates is to continue training under Jenny and preparing to have a home of her own someday. Yes, Ren and Beka are moving forward in their relationship and we already love him like a son. While they are not allowed to be engaged for a while yet, we don’t think it will be terribly long until there will be some more excitement around here. 🙂
Emily is 16 and in 10th grade. She stays very busy as well. She loves school. In fact, she has the opportunity to skip 11th grade and graduate next year. However, she is leaning towards staying on the track she is on and graduating in 2021 because she is enjoying this season of life so much. She also played volleyball and wowed everyone by her vast improvement this year. She has also found that she enjoys basketball so this is a very busy season for her. She was super happy to get to shift rooms around when Joseph moved out and has set up her little corner of the world in a very cozy way upstairs. When the basketball season is over she is hoping to begin working at Chik-Fil-a.
Daniel is 14 and is changing so rapidly you can almost see him grow daily. He’s just like the rest of the Ervin’s and will probably be just as tall or maybe taller than his brothers. Dbo also loves school and plays basketball. We were so happy for him when he scored the very first point of the entire season for his team. His grades make us so proud and he has become a very hard worker. Daniel is still our caring, compassionate young man who has a strong love for the Lord and things of the heart. He is praying about chiropractic or something along those lines for the future. We are excited to see what God has for him.
Hannah is about to turn 13. As you may know, that is a big birthday in our home. That is when mom takes them out to get a fancy dress, get their ears pierced and nails done and all ready for their date with daddy. Then they get to go out with their dad for a fine dining and special evening experience. So she is really looking forward to February 18th. Hannah is still our bouncy bubbly girl and you better watch out if you mess with any of her siblings at school, because they will have to deal with the protective sister. Hannah also played volleyball and now is playing basketball.
Matthew is 7 and quite the young man. It is fun watching the wheels turn in his head as he starts to reason out things and go beyond the surface. He loves his older siblings, but his little brother is his best friend and he cares for Jed in such a sweet way. Speaking of sweet, Matt is known to have a very compassionate, tender heart at school and will come and comfort his classmates if they are having a bad day. The transition into second grade was a big one for Matthew because of the heavier workload but he has really grown and carried it well and we are amazed at all he is learning.
Jed is 6! How is that even possible? In a houseful of adults and young people, this little guy gets pretty well loved. It’s been hard for mama to let him grow up and she still loves the opportunity to rock him to sleep. He was very apprehensive about going to Kindergarten this year. But, after a couple of days, he was convinced he loved it. In fact, if you suggest he skip school his response is, “But I love school.” His teacher, “Miss Jennifer” is his hero and I think he’s kinda captured her heart as well.
We love seeing the older children interacting with the younger ones. That is one of the best things about a large family is to see the adult ones loving on the little ones. Having one of our grown sons putting together a little wooden project with their little brothers just warms our hearts. Because of the wonderful little Christian school, it is such a blessing to see my nearly grown girls, holding their little brother’s hands walking in for the new day. They also check in on the younger ones as they are on break. Being such a small school they are very interactive throughout the day.
Jenny’s life has significantly changed over the past year. As a partial empty nester, her days look very different from the many years of a busy active house 24/7. The home business that both Steve and Jenny had thought held so much promise, and which Jenny had put so much effort into, because of mismanagement from the overseas corporate headquarters, completely imploded. Jenny was not at all interested in pursuing anything more regarding direct marketing companies and began praying for direction. Even though things seemed so discouraging from that last experience there were substantial skills that she had learned and thousands of dollars worth of training that she had been given. After a series of providences, the Lord opened the doors for her to begin her own freelance company. Concordia Virtual has now grown to such a thriving business that Jenny is training Rebekah and has brought her on board as a team member. This will, Lord willing, give Rebekah an income from home in the future as well. Concordia Virtual is a Virtual Assistant/Executive Assistant service. In a nutshell, they assist entrepreneurs and small businesses with all their online needs. For some, it is simple admin/secretarial services, but CV’s niche and real expertise is in online content marketing and everything that has to do with the online business presence of a company. This would include, advertisement and lead generation, landing pages and lead funnels, website, and blogs with social media management..doing the copy work, maintenance, scheduling, and marketing as well as graphic design for many of these things. You can check out the website at www.concordiavirtual.com. The internet has changed everything as far as what an assistant can do virtually these days and things have really taken off. We love the fact that Jenny can make such a good income while still here in the home. She can take time off for field trips or sick days, and arrange her hours around the needs of the children. She loves her office setup and is especially proud that she has been able to actually keep a pretty office plant alive for longer than a 2-month span.
Jenny is also still pursuing her passion in all things pregnancy, birth, and babies. She is a doula with Cradled in Love Birth Services and actually has a mama and baby due in Feb. She is gearing up for that so that means the whole family will probably start hearing talk of nothing else but babies and labor up to the delivery. Jenny has actually been binging on Call the Midwife lately also. 🙂
Steve is still at Caterpillar. We are so blessed by the steadiness of his job. It is such a provision for us and he loves what he does. There are many perks with his position, one being that he gets to work from home when he needs/wants to. He also goes to Griffin, Georgia 4 times a year and Jenny and Steve take that time as a little getaway to enjoy time together. This fall Caterpillar flew him up to the headquarters in Peoria and he loved seeing the roots of the company and getting to tour the big plant up there. This coming spring they will be flying him back and this time he wants to bring Jenny with him around the time they will be celebrating their 24th anniversary.
Steve is also still a deacon at Greenville Presbyterian Church and leads the psalm singing. He has also been overseeing a big project we have had going this fall/winter. We are currently producing a recording for the use of the church to commend the psalms. Our hope is that it will be used to the glory of God. There are 8 (Steve, Jenny, Beka, Emily and 4 others in the congregation) of us recording and it is a big project but will be wondering when it is completed.
Steve’s parents are still well and we enjoy seeing them several times a year. They come and visit us when they can, and it’s such a treat to still be able to go to the lake about twice a year. Jenny’s parents still live on the property also in their own cottage. Both Jenny’s dad and mom are still working. Jim while retired, still works in construction/maintenance work. Nancy works for Habitat for Humanity at one of their stores in the area. Our niece Lily-Ann moved over here from the UK a couple years ago and is soon to be married at the end of this month to a young man from our congregation. Most of our children are in the wedding. The wedding and a brief reception will be at our church, and then there will be a wedding party/family more intimate reception back here at our house. So much to prepare for.
You probably see now how we feel a bit overwhelmed by how quickly things are changing in our lives. Between the graduations, weddings, looking at buying houses, and all the other “adult changes” that are happening, we are certainly not those two young people sitting on that bench by the pond wondering what life will hold. Instead, we are 2 rapidly aging parents very grateful and thankful for our young people around us, and praying for wisdom as we help them navigate into the world themselves. It is so beautiful to see our children take on adult responsibilities and sometimes scary as well. It’s hard to stand by and let your children make their own mistakes, and it’s also rewarding when you see them make the wise choices as well. Our roles are rapidly changing to be advisors and supporters and yes, our children’s biggest prayer warriors.
Parenting adult children is hard, but has such amazing sweet moments within it. Not to mention we still have two little ones that need lots of loving, attention and playfulness. We still have little voices coming through the house, voices that we hope stay high pitched for just a bit longer.
Our prayer for you this coming year is that King Jesus will reveal Himself to you more and more in your homes and bless you abundantly with His peace. We love each and every one of you and our doors are always open for a visit. (Just maybe give us a 30-minute warning so we can clear the laundry off the couch.) 🙂
The Ervin Family