Dear Friends and Family,
You can see that our annual Christmas letter has taken on a different form this year. With the busy-ness of the holiday season, we thought that it might be simpler to just send you our letter in electronic form for you to read at your convenience. And just think, its one less thing you have to toss into the garbage can or leave to collect dust on your desk!
We pray that this season finds each of you doing well and celebrating the Advent of Christ! Our family has been enjoying a new tradition this Advent season--the Jesse Tree. Through daily Scripture reading and the hanging of a symbolic ornament on our "Jesse Tree", we are walking through the genealogy of Christ. It gives a wonderful sense of anticipation as we approach the celebration of the day Jesus was born! Our hearts have been pointed to the true meaning of this season through our new tradition and we pray that you and your family are focusing on the truth of what this holiday, Christmas, is all about.
It seems like a whirlwind of a year! Wasn't it just yesterday that I sat down to compose our 2012 Christmas letter?!?
In the last year God has truly been faithful to our family. We are constantly in awe of his provision and faithfulness to us. For those who aren't aware, we moved (yes, again). We are currently living on the East End of Charleston just a few hundred yards from our state's Capital. We absolutely love living here as it is convenient to work (for Michael), church, and many amenities. Our close friends own the large historic home that is divided into two apartments. We live above them and having friends close has been a blast! This, however, is definitely not our last move. We are still in a waiting period as we pursue what God is calling our family to do.
In July we welcomed Gideon Matthew Ervin into our family! What a huge blessing he is to us! Having a boy in my (Rachel's) family is definitely something to adjust to since thus far we've only had girls! Gideon is a sweet, snuggly boy with a contagious gummy smile. His little face lights up at the sight of his sister and she loves to make him laugh! Its hard to believe he is almost half-a-year old!
Eliyah is an energetic 2 year old with an imagination ten times as big as she is! Her vocabulary and knowledge of her world astound us daily. She loves to play pretend. One of her favorite things to pretend is that she is a waitress. She asks, "What do you want to drink?" several times a day and I find her scribbling "orders" often. Its also the stage of princesses in our home. Cinderella was the first obsession and still remains a favorite, but Rapunzel has taken over. Eliyah pretends that she is Rapunzel (complete with long hair purchased at the dollar store) and Michael (Papa) is Eugene (Rapunzel's prince in the movie Tangled). She is already talking about getting married, only she thinks she will marry her Papa. Really, its precious! And for now, we'll let her believe that Papa is the one she will marry. She truly adores him! She is also taking "Mommy & Me" ballet lessons weekly. Its so cute to see her in her little pink leotard, tights, and skirt. Eliyah is a joy to have in our family and we are so thankful, even in the difficult times of parenting, that God has gifted us with her.
Rachel is enjoying her role as a mother and wife. She graduated from West Virginia State University last December with a degree in Education. The Spring semester she used her degree to substitute teach several days a month. Now, with two children at home, substituting has been pushed to the back-burner. Rachel has used her time in other ways, including working with Cross Roads Pregnancy Care Center for a short period of time, participating in a book study with other moms on a weekly basis and organizing/participating in play-dates. She also helps Michael organize service opportunities and fun activities for the youth at Randolph Street Baptist Church. She enjoys blogging (here at this site!), running, and sipping coffee in the little bit of "free time" that she is able to enjoy.
Michael is still working for CASCI. In the fall he was given a promotion and is now a Quality Analyst for CareFirst. He was also installed as an elder at Randolph Street Baptist Church in the fall, and is continuing his studies through the Appalachian Academy on Theology and the Church. His time is taken up mostly by work and responsibilities as an elder of the church. However, in his free time he loves spending time with our children and others who we welcome into our home, reading, and keeping up with his favorite sports teams.
The coming year promises many things for our family, as it does for yours as well! We are excited to see where God leads this year...where he leads us and you!
May you and your family have a blessed Christmas holiday!
Michael, Rachel, Eliyah, and Gideon
P.S.--We'd love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below, give us a call, or just stop by sometime to catch up!
You can follow this blog for little snippets of our life throughout the year!