Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Card & Newsletter 2014

Taking a break from the 'Joel. Michawn.' posts to post our Christmas card and Christmas newsletter from this year.  Here it is...our Christmas selfie.  :)  And I just love Cass' cute sign (she had a cute shirt that she wore at all the Christmas gatherings that says the same thing).  ;) 


The black spaces are magnets stuck onto the back of the card.

Hello friends and family,

We can definitely say that there have been many changes since last year’s newsletter.  Last year we were announcing that we were expecting a baby in August and were planning to return to Brazil before the birth.  Sadly, we found out at the end of my first trimester (at the end of January) that our sweet baby had gone on to heaven.  

Plans changed drastically after that.  And we faced a lot of facts after that too.  Most of you already know much of what our year entailed, but for those of you who don’t happen to be on the internet much, I’ll quickly bring you up to speed.  As we had written in an email newsletter in August 2013 and talked about in our Christmas letter last year, our marriage was suffering.  Just FYI for anyone wondering, there was no sexual sin or third parties involved.  If using just one phrase to describe our issues, it would be ‘a huge failure in prioritization and a huge loss of trust.’ The miscarriage didn’t make it worse because it really couldn’t get worse…but it did just make lots of things very clear.  

Long story short, Joel and I lived apart from mid-May until the beginning of September.  It was needed…and through it all, with the help of some friends who counseled us, the tide was turned, eyes were opened, repentance happened, and we started living together again.  The past 3 years have been so hard, to say the least. And it’s still hard…because a ton of damage was done and you have to wade through that.  But, it’s so much better than it was…and so much better now than it was even 2 weeks ago…and it’s getting better and we’re getting stronger again with each day.  We’re rebuilding.  And that will take some time.  But, we’ll just take it day by day.

I’m writing about it way more in-depth on my blog.  We are still passing through this time…still learning, still recovering, still healing.  I will continue to write about it…all the things we learn, how it changes us, etc.  If you are interested, you can read it here: 

But, we are grateful to be on the road to recovery and healing…and to be friends and a team again. We still feel a call to missions (and are still working in that area, see below), still feel a call to adoption, to all the things we felt before.  We’re just experiencing a little detour that we didn’t plan on.  We’ll keep you posted as to how it all works out and what that means for us in the future.  Right now our focus is only our family and rebuilding it…that is all.  Hopefully soon we will be whole again and can then reach out to others in the ways we did before.

The kids are all doing fine.  This has been a rough few years for Joel and me…and of course the kids haven’t been completely unscathed, but almost, thankfully.  We were honest with them, and walked through all our difficulties with them…and used it as a great learning opportunity for them.  They definitely know what detours in life are all about, and that life isn’t perfect.  But, that we can just hold on…and that we also can trust God always. They truly are amazing kids and despite everything, are thriving.

Grady is 10 now (will be 11 next month!).  He’s in the 5th grade.  He’s kind and patient and very self-disciplined.  He loves all things Legos, Minecraft, and engineering.  So, it was right up his alley when he joined a Robotics team that uses models made of Legos.  They went to a competition in November and even qualified to go to the state competition.  He plans to be an engineer when he grows up…we’ve suspected that bent from the time he was his little sharp, meticulous, precise toddler self.  :)  

Hadley is 9 (will be 10 in February).  She’s in 4th grade and is very creative.  Her new hobbies this year to add to her painting are sewing and knitting.  She also loves to write books and does so frequently.  She has said since she was about 4 that when she’s 18 she’s going to take a trip for God and then become an artist in Paris.  This year she added something…she wants to “help Mrs. Christine Caine” (in fact, she wants to be Christine Caine) when she grows up and wants her trip for God to include freeing trafficking victims. Again, right up her alley. She is very protective and compassionate…a truth-talker and a justice-seeker stick of dynamite, this one.  Our little lightening bolt.  ϟ

Eissa just turned 8 in October.  She is in 2nd grade and still loves horses and all animals.  She is our gentle, yet stoic one.  A perfect combination of fiery and sweet.  And sensitive.  She wants to be a spy girl when she grows up…she “knows it could be dangerous, but…” she’ll be careful she promises. She plans to be a full-time cowgirl when she retires.

Cass is 6 ½ (March birthday).  She is in 1st grade and is our little parrot.  We’ve always called her that…and she continues to amaze us at what she can pick up on.  She’s just very, very quick and clever…and tends to be wise beyond her years. She wants to be “a ‘dolphin girl’ and a teacher” when she grows up, teaching people all about dolphins and how to swim with them and such.  

All 3 girls are also in a tumble class, which they LOVE.  And there is a constant onslaught of round-offs and walk-overs and backbends and cartwheels in our house.

I continue to just work to get our lives back on track after this huge detour…with homeschooling and routine and life in general.  I’ve recently also taken up sewing again, inspired by Hadley…kind of fun.  I’ve also kept busy the past couple of months teaching a childbirth class…and will be a doula for that couple next month.  That couple happens to be my brother and his wife…so, it’s pretty special and I’m pretty excited.

Joel continues to work for Asas de Socorro…he serves as operations coordinator.  What does that entail you ask?  Almost a thousand flight hours!!  Yes, that is what Joel and his mission flight operation team has been up to this year.  Asas has safely flown a total of 1,806 passengers so far and about half a ton of supplies to 95 different locations in the Brazilian Amazon jungle.  All this…coordinated from right here in Saline, Louisiana of all places. 
:)  He says this about his role: “Coordinating ASAS flight operations is a full time job and involves such tasks as real time flight tracking, keeping track of the operational budget, updating metrics and statistics, overseeing the pilots, maintaining online airplane records, and responsibility for the flight operations website. Ahh yes, and plenty of meetings…never been on Skype so much. :) 

We are honored and privileged to be a part of this amazing team that is making such a difference to the remote and forgotten communities in Brazil…and you, our team of financial and prayer support, should feel that way too. All of us together are making a difference.

Joel also works as a pilot/mechanic in a few different places nearby (as ‘nearby’ as you can get here in the boonies, anyway…his work is about 45 minutes away).   We are very grateful for this opportunity for work in order to make ends meet while we are here in the United States.

While we are ‘laying low’ for a while to recover and rebuild our family, we do thank you for your prayers and emotional support.  As Joel still holds a full-time position for our mission organization, we also ask that you prayerfully consider financially supporting us.  Our desire is to return to work for them there in Brazil as soon as is possible, and that will require raising our monthly support again.  We are so thankful that Joel can fill this need in the mission and still be able to serve them in this role remotely while here in the states…and we pray that he can soon cut back on his pilot/mechanic hours at the nearby hangar in order to more efficiently do his job for our mission organization and meet their needs. 

Again, thank you for your continued support and prayers for our family.  We will keep you posted on Facebook and my blog.  We love you guys and hope you all have a very MERRY Christmas and a HAPPY New Year!!  

xoxo, the Ebersole family
Joel, Michawn, Grady, Hadley, Eissa, and Cass

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