2018 was quite the year for the Eberspachers. We saw so many exciting changes at the farmhouse, at From Blacktop to Dirt Road, and in each of our hearts as we each grew another year older. I wanted to highlight some of the best moments of this year, and be able to tell each of you just how truly grateful I am that you are walking down my Dirt Road with me. It’s an honor for us to share our lives with you and to be entrusted to bring you Biblical truth each and every day. And while 2018 was big, we are certain that 2019 is going to be even better.
One of our favorite things to do at the end of each year is to look back and recognize where God was working. And where he brought joy and laughter. Where he stretched us and grew us. These are some of those precious moments for our family.
January 2018 – We kicked off the new year at From Blacktop to Dirt Road with the focus word being “Desperate” for 2018. And wow, desperate we all were together! We started Coffee at the Farmhouse a year ago this January, and it has by far been what I look forward to the most and what I have been the most proud of on the blog. Going through scripture with you and finding out how God’s Word applies to us everyday has been such a gift, and I hope you have grown as much from it as I have.
I was so grateful to be able to breastfeed Deacon for almost the entire first year of his life. I wasn’t quite sure we would make it that long with the three different rounds of mastitis that I had and with my PPD. But God was really faithful and used breastfeeding as a way for me to be close to Deacon and really be able to fall in love with him. It also let me eat what I wanted for almost a whole year 🙂
February 2018 – Deacon turned one! We had such a fun time celebrating our big-little guy. We ended up having a family farm party, and enjoyed fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and chocolate sheet cake. It was such a sweet party for a sweet boy.
The last year has probably been the most challenging with him as far as parenting goes. We feel so grateful that while my PPD was the worst, he was the BEST baby ever. Once he turned one, it was like he flipped a switch and turned into a little crazy boy. It has been hard knowing how to parent him well and understand what he needs, but God has been so faithful in allowing grace when we have needed it the most.
In February, we got to see Toby Mac in concert at the Sprint Center. His show is phenomenal, and it’s so evident that his heart is sold out for Christ. It was fun to be able to go and do something just with my parents, as we usually have the kids with us when we are in Kansas City.
April 2018 – This was the kick-off of my speaking engagements this year. I had eight events this year, and each one it was incredible to watch God show up and move in the lives of the men and women who came. While I normally speak to women’s/mom’s groups, I had the opportunity to speak at a couples night back in November. It was absolutely one of my favorite events that I’ve done, and it meant even more that I was able to do it at the home church of one of my best friends, Leslie.
May 2018 – After being nominated for an Iris Award at the Mom 2.0 Summit, Eric and I had the honor and JOY of going to Los Angeles over my birthday to attend the conference and awards. I felt like I grew and learned so much at the Summit and we had a blast at the Awards. I didn’t win, but I can just tell you that it was more than an honor to even be nominated. I continue to be amazed that God allows me to have the platform that I do to speak His name and meet so many other incredible authors and women entrepreneurs.
After a really hard life full of health complications, my sweet Grandma Mary went to be with Jesus in May. We had many scares with her in years past, but this time there was no way her body could recover. While we were heart broken, we are so grateful that she is no longer suffering and is with the Lord. I had the honor of speaking at her funeral, my dad did the service, and my parents sang. It was such a beautiful service and I will always be so thankful for the years I had with my Grandma.
The Farmhouse also got some major work done in May. After Eric was done planting, we began the preparations to host Homestock, a writer’s retreat for the authors at Her View From Home. Eric planted all new grass, had a retaining wall put in, finished the fire pit, installed netting on one of the back decks, excavated the pond for a beach, and filled it with sand. Eric put so much work into the exterior of the house, it will be so nice this year to simply be able to enjoy it!
June 2018 – In June we kicked off our “It Is Well” Summer campaign with a focus on ushering the peace of Christ into our families. It was a great time of growth together and it was so incredible to hear from so many of you who felt like God stepped in and took over so many of the places in your heart that you were struggling with. To see and hear of God moving like he did with so many of you, including me, was such a beautiful fruit to witness.
June 2018 – Nora Sue had her first dance recital as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and hands down, it was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! It was so much fun to watch her learn her dance routines and have FUN while dancing! She overcame so many feelings of nervousness, but you never would have known it watching her on that stage. She continues to love dance and is already looking forward to her next recital in June.
On the weekend of her recital, I also did something that I’ve been wanting to do for almost 15 years and I got my nose pierced! My best friend and I went in on the same day and got it done and I am so happy with it!
On June 12th, it wasn’t only our 9th wedding anniversary, but I was finally able to announce that I had signed with FaithWords Publishing for my first book, Midnight Lullabies, Moments of Peace for Moms! My devotional comes out April 9th, 2019 and I can hardly wait for you all to get your hands on it! God’s hand has been all over this book from the very beginning, and it has been apparent that this has been his will every step of the way.
One gorgeous weekend in June, we hosted Homestock; the first writer’s retreat for the authors of Her View From Home. We had 50 women to the farmhouse for a weekend of friendship, camaraderie, and SHEER JOY! It was one of the greatest weekends of my life, literally – I met women who I’ve known online for years, made friendships that have changed my life, and had the beautiful gift of serving these women with my husband for a whole weekend. It was so humbling to have all of these glorious souls in our home. The farmhouse will surely never be the same!
This was certainly a highlight of the year for Eric and I. We felt as though this weekend was a significant shift for us and our ministry and it was the foundation for some really exciting new ideas and goals that we have as a couple.
July 2018 – Eric and I had the chance to go to not one, but two Royals games and a Husker basketball game this year! We are diehard Royals fans and it was so fun to watch our team two more times before many of our favorites were traded. Sports has always been something that Eric and I have loved to watch/do together, and I’m so thankful that we got to go to a few games this year.
We had another great season of sweet corn this year! Our crop was ready about a week early this July, but we had wonderful help and got it all taken down and put away in one day!
We had a BLAST at the lake with our Bible study again this year. This group is literally the best thing that has happened to us and we love living life together and getting together at one another’s houses on Thursday night. For years, we prayed that God would give us a group of people who would be ours. These are our people. And we love them so much!
August 2018 – My parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary this summer and we treated them to a staycation in KC to celebrate! We went to Great Wolf Lodge, out to eat at their favorite restaurants, and finally to The Cheesecake Factory for a surprise dinner with their best friends to finish out the week.
Our family enjoyed Milford Family Fun Days again this year. It’s our tradition to ride in the tractor section of the parade, and this year Eric pulled us in his dad’s manure spreader. The kids did great and had so much fun throwing out candy!
I can’t even believe it, but Nora Sue started Kindergarten this year. She has grown so much since August, and we are so proud of the young lady she is becoming. She has loved learning how to read and work on computers. She enjoys her time with her friends and is always ready to go to school in the mornings. Her teacher, Mrs. Richards, has been nothing short of a God send for us. When Nora has been nervous or struggled with being away from me while I’ve been traveling for work, she has always been so calm and comforting to our sweet girl. Nora has also loved starting AWANA this year. It’s a joy to hear her learning how to hide God’s Word in her heart and meeting new friends!
Andi Joy also had a huge milestone this year when she started Montessori Preschool. This girl LOVES school and is a natural in her little classroom. She enjoys coloring, learning how to write her letters, math, and patterns. We have seen so much growth in Andi this last year. Her personality is so different than Nora’s and it’s been incredible to watch her learn and change differently than her sister. I love how different God made each of our girls!
Nora took up soccer this Fall as well. While she wasn’t too sure about it, she really loved playing (except when it was super cold out, ha!). She scored a few goals this season and really got the hang of dribbling the ball and following it down the field. It was seriously so fun to watch her play!
October 2018 – If this isn’t the greatest picture, I don’t know what is! For Halloween this year, Nora was a rockstar ballerina, Andi was Johnny from Sing, and Deacon was Blippi. I almost cried when I put his costume on, it was so perfect! My parents came into town that week so we got to trick-or-treat with them. We started out going to see Eric in the field and then went into town to get some candy. The kids had so much fun and the weather was perfect!
The other BIG thing that happened in October was that the Today Show came to the Farmhouse! We had the wonderful opportunity to show the world modern-day farming and what it looks like from our view. They were at our home and in our fields for four days; cameras, microphones, drones, and lights. It was quite the production! We are so grateful to NBC Universal for this incredible opportunity and have loved hearing all of the positive feedback. I think that the best comments have come from other farm families – “It was so cool to see my family on TV; to know that a national TV station would want to show our farm life means so much to me and that they gave such a realistic view of our lifestyle. I feel so validated.” WOW! What great feedback!
From September until the middle of November, Eric was harvesting. We had a good season, even though it was so long due to rain and snow. Eric, as always, worked so hard this harvest. He pulled many 18 hour days, being in the field until the early morning hours. I continue to be blown away by my husband and the work ethic he has. When he isn’t farming, he is also running his arboring business full time in the off seasons. We are excited to see what 2019 has for Eberspacher Farms and Triple E Tree Care.
November 2018 –
After an incredible week of speaking at three different events in Kearney, I came home to have severe stomach pain. What I thought was just a culmination of exhaustion and nerves ended up being a horrible case of appendicitis. The doctor said that it was one of the largest unruptured appendixes he had removed and was so thankful that I came in when I did. My recovery went so smoothly, and I came through the whole thing well.
It was during my recovery, however, that the inevitable was recognized for both me and Eric. Over the last couple of months, my depression had returned, and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. It was a really hard few weeks after that; coming to terms that this was happening again, trying to talk through my emotions while still having two more speaking engagements, and just trying to figure out what my next steps were. God has been so gracious to me this time around; I was able to catch this early as well as start back up on my medication again with very few side effects. From the outside looking in, things seem to be going very well, but Eric and I have had a hard time coming to grips with all of this and adjusting things for our family.
Can I be honest? This is hard. Like, so hard. But we firmly believe that this is the work of the enemy. He is terrified of how God is going to move in our ministry and our family in 2019, and he wants us to be discouraged. He wants us to feel trapped in the trenches. But we are declaring victory in Jesus over my mind and our family! We are trusting in God’s plan in this season of our life and we are believing that he has something great in store in the midst of our pain. He has been faithful before, and he is going to be faithful again!
December 2018 – We had such a fun time at our Bible study Christmas party doing a progressive dinner to each of our parent’s houses. We got all dressed up, went and at our favorite foods, and came back to the farmhouse and played games until the early morning hours. Again, we love these people and the fun we have with them!
The girls each had their own Christmas programs at school and then had one together at church. It was an absolute JOY to watch them on stage, singing and saying their lines, and watching them just have so much fun. We could not be more proud of them!
What’s coming in 2019…
This next year is going to be one of great expectation. I am looking forward to starting our weekly Coffee at the Farmhouse Chats again next week, sharing the focus word for the blog this year, coming to many of your women’s groups and churches, nightly prayers for mamas, and of course, the release of Midnight Lullabies. There are so many incredible things that we have in store for 2019, and we so covet your prayers as we continue to walk down our Dirt Road together. May we continue to seek all that God has for us as we begin this new year, trusting that he will continue to guide us every step of the way.