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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas 2014-Our Digital Christmas Card

December 2014
Dear Loved Ones,
  
  I recently read through some of our past Christmas cards and determined two things:
1.) We are very blessed. Seriously, we’ve had our trials, but God sustains and gives us strength, and the good He’s given us (family, friends, church, etc.) far outweighs the hardships!
2.) Life is a whole new ballgame after a second child! Wow, I apologize for all the peachy keen, glowing reports with our easy firstborn. We have since learned that Callie’s behavior during the first few years was a gift; it was not due to our exceptional parenting! Laughing in the face of everything we thought we had nailed, Maggie or both girls give us daily reminders that take us back to Sergeant Schultz’ famous line, “I know nothing!” However, I am so very thankful for our precious girls-for their sweet smiles, their contagious laughter and their heartwarming hugs but also, (in my good moments—when they’re in bed or playing nicely J) for those sleepless nights, the crazy disobedience and the constant cries of, “MAMA!!!!!” that drive me to prayer. And for those of you who pray for us—for our parenting and for our girls to grow to love the Lord with all their hearts, THANK YOU! It means the world to us!

   2014 was a very busy year! Maggie turned one in February. We celebrated with a family trip to Disneyland. This was a win-win-win in my book. We had a great family vacation with friends and visited our CA family; Maggie will think we are awesome when she looks back on pictures years from now (hopefully J); and I didn’t have to throw a one-year-old birthday party (totally sneaky). Maggie is the little firecracker that lights up our family. She has an amazing cheeseball smile that comes out as soon as she sees a camera phone! She loves to climb and thinks “childproofing” is a joke. She adores her sister; she loves snuggling, playing chase and stealing her sister’s stuff! She just figured out how to open Callie’s bedroom door-insert dramatic meltdown from 4-year-old! While her comprehension and athleticism has been excellent for quite some time, her verbal skills are just beginning to come out. Callie has proven to be an adept translator when Daddy and Mommy are clueless!

   Speaking of Callie, our little performer is happiest when she is on the go! She is once again loving preschool and has some sweet friends. She also began ballet this fall. I’m not sure there’s anything cuter than little girls in ballet! We are all excited to watch her in the Nutcracker next week! Callie also enjoyed her first official year of VBS this summer-including the stage performance at the end, and she will be in the children’s church Christmas play as a baby dancing cactus! She loves to put on concerts for us at home and goes by the stage name of “Lisa Margaret”! Our little Sweetheart is constantly playing imaginary games and challenges us on a daily basis, as the lectures we give her are so often ones we need to hear ourselves! “Talk less; listen more. Don’t throw a fit; just ask for help. It doesn’t matter what “she” did; you are responsible for how you react.” I find myself having to apologize for my reactions to my children far too often! Thank goodness for the forgiveness they freely give, just like our heavenly Father!

   Dave has spent the year continuing to figure out the role/schedule of lead pastor. We have all discovered that unwinding from the job is even more difficult in this position. However, he is doing a great job, and God is blessing our church. As a church, we are doing the Read the Bible for Life program-a chronological read through the Bible in a year. Dave’s sermons come from a passage we read each week. Earlier this fall, Dave and the other pastors got to go to the Catalyst conference in Atlanta. It was a great time of learning and bonding as friends and a ministry team. Another highlight of the fall was the Men’s Chili Cook-off, where Dave took first place with his “Smokin’ Porker” chili. He has also been further perfecting our favorite salsa recipe and continues to enjoy barbecuing whenever the weather allows. Another fun thing for Daddy is that both girls enjoy playing with his remote control helicopter and are now getting into Wii games.

   Dave and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary next week! I think most who are married would say that similar to parenting, marriage has its perfectly blissful moments and its perfectly infuriating moments, all part of growing us closer in our relationship with the Lord. This year, Dave has had the opportunity to perform several weddings, and therefore, we have done some premarital counseling sessions. It’s been so valuable for us to get back to the basics some days and continue to work on our own marriage, as well!  In addition to counseling, I am, once again, co-directing the children’s Christmas play, which is a lot of fun and volunteering on the women’s ministry team at church. But of course, I spend most of my time trying to keep the girls from driving each other crazy-or worse, ganging up on their parents! I love taking zillions of pictures of them and on especially brave days attempting art or baking projects together. (They look adorable in their little matching aprons Grammy made them). I continue to enjoy working a few hours at the real estate office each week. My mom has been able to visit a couple weeks this fall. It’s great to have the time with her, and we are so grateful that her health continues to improve. The girls and I are also thankful to be able to see Dad a couple times a month.
 
We hope this Christmas brings you special family time and a new awareness of Christ’s love for you.
“Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.”
Philippians 2:6-7

With love,
Dave, Amy, Callie (4 ½) and Maggie (22 months) 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas 2012

It's obviously been a really long time since I updated our blog-mostly because I really didn't know what to say over the past few months. We've certainly been going through a stretching trial in our lives, but we've also just been extremely busy with the stage of life. So, below is our "Christmas card," with highlights! 

As many of you know, 2012 has been a difficult year in our family. However, our God is faithful, and we’d like to focus on His blessings this year & look forward to His continued work in 2013! We so appreciate your prayers for our family!
· In January, we enjoyed a wonderful family vacation (with friends) to Disneyland and got to visit Dave’s grandparents.
· Callie turned 2, moved into a big girl bed and is now potty-trained! She also continues to amaze us with her vocabulary, and we love listening to her sing songs and Bible verses!
· A new niece, Nora Anne, joined our family in May.
· We found out Baby Girl Bertolini #2 is on the way (Feb. 2013)!
· Dave began his FINAL year of his Master’s at Western Seminary (set to graduate April 2013!) and will, Lord-willing, assume the role of Senior Pastor at our church in September of 2013. 
· Finally, despite the very painful circumstances, the Lord has used Dad to touch so many lives for Him and there is more than 1 new Believer for each month we have been apart! We choose to praise. 

With love, Dave, Amy, Callie and Baby B.

Monday, March 12, 2012

REALLY LATE DISNEYLAND TRIP

So, we took Callie to Disneyland in January, and I haven't posted about it...I'm taking the easy way out, so here is a video highlighting the trip!

Almost 2!

A very brief synopsis-mostly in pictures, of what we've been up to these last couple months! We decided to potty train. Cold turkey method-threw out all the diapers for both day and night and into the big girl panties. They are so cute in this size! Callie, for the most part, has done great! I get her up in the night to go when I have to, or when she cries out. We moved her to a big girl bed! Found one on Craig's list for a great deal that matched the rest of her furniture! She LOVES it-however, it takes her much longer to go to sleep because she likes to play in there. The posts have 4 removable "microphones" that she uses to sing. (especially perfect for ABC's and Jesus Loves Me). She sings ALL THE TIME!



First night in Big Girl Bed!
Still enjoys baths
Looking so much older!
Wrestling cousin A.J.
Ready for church with stickers from going potty in the toilet!
A rare sunny day!
The microphone :-)
We went outside and Callie said "Oh, sunshine!" I said, "Yes, God gave us sunshine today." She responded with a resounding, "THANK YOU, GOD!!"
My Cutie Pie!
Pretty in purple (side note, this dress was a hand-me-down from a church friend, but it happens to be the same dress the flower girls wore in our wedding :-) How fun is that?!)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Success-what's your definition?

This summer is my high school reunion. While my classmates are talking about how old we are, I'm the young one in most of my current friendships, so that's not what I've been thinking about. What's been on my mind as I think about seeing people from high school (many for the first time since we graduated) is what our perception of each other will be upon meeting again and learning the life directions of our peers. When we graduate from high school and go off "into the world" as they say, we all aim to be successful. For many small-town graduates, I think "success" conjures images of lucrative careers, travel, perhaps an attractive spouse and a fashionable home and car.
My senior year of high school, I was voted the "Female Most Likely to Succeed" for the yearbook. I think students had the understanding that this was just the politically correct way of saying "the one with the best grades." I have always enjoyed learning new things and God blessed me with "school brains" so most subjects came pretty naturally. I also worked hard. Combine those things with my type "A" perfectionist personality and for better or worse, I was labeled the smart kid, teacher's pet, nerd. With those titles, I didn't have a lot of bosom friends, though I was respected by my peers, thus the yearbook title. However, I would wager to say that the majority of the students who voted for me would not look at my life now and say I am the most successful. My teachers, who had expectations of me being a doctor, scientist, writer, or engineer would probably be disappointed and see a waste of talent. Would they be right? Sometimes, after a particularly rough day of potty training, arguing with my toddler over meals or bedtimes or the 5th load of laundry, I question what life would have been like had I chosen to pursue a different degree/career path (or professionally used the one I have). However, it doesn't take long before God reminds me that His definition of success is so much different than that of the world. Had I followed others' plans for my life, I would not have been faithful to the job God had in mind for me or my own desires. I didn't go into college aspiring to be a career woman or make a lot of money. My goal at the time was the same as it is now. I simply desired to be where God wanted me to be, growing in my relationship with Him and doing what He wanted me to do. If I am fulfilling those three things, than I believe I am being successful. There's a chance that someday I will go on to get my Master's degree or work more outside the home, but for right now, I am proud to be Pastor Dave's wife, Callie's almost full-time stay-at-home-mom, and most importantly lover of God available for His use.