Dear Family and Friends,
It's once again our favorite time of year, when we celebrate the birth of our Lord, break out the Christmas music and the peppermint hot chocolate (or mocha for Dave), go crazy decorating, and enjoy thinking about ways we can bless family, friends, and those in need. Our tree is up, and we are enjoying the yummy smell it gives our home. We are looking forward to the kids' Christmas play at church this weekend and all the time with family this month! We are also enjoying one last year with everything set up the way we've always had it, as next year we will probably have a crawler to think about as we decorate!
2009 has been a very busy, fulfilling year for Dave and me. I cut back to working just a couple afternoons a week for another real estate agent at Windermere in January. This relieved a lot of stress for both Dave and me, as we are not both "on call" 24 hours a day now. It also allowed me to get more involved with women's Bible study at our church and continue helping with youth group. Our first nephew was born in May, so we are having fun being Uncle Dave and Aunt "Mamy" to both Sophie (2) and A.J. (7 months)! We enjoyed a wonderful family vacation with the Bertolinis in Disneyworld this last Spring and a relaxing week in Eagle Crest with the Davis side in August. In between vacations, we also had a week of VBS (where Dave transformed into the "crocodile hunter"--complete with blonde wig and a clean shaven face that I had never seen before!), a high school mission trip to Tumalo, Oregon, and a nice visit from Dave's grandparents and uncle.
Dave once again had the opportunity to speak at Hartland Christian Camp in California. This year, he did their winter camp in February. He has stayed busy with youth group and men's ministry and also filled the pulpit several times this summer and fall while our senior pastor took a short sabbatical and went on a missions trip to Peru. In September, Dave began taking classes at Western Seminary in Portland to work towards his Masters of Divinity. He hopes to be able to complete this 3 year program in 5 years while continuing to work full time. (we'll see what God has in store!) He has really enjoyed the classes so far, though the homework load far surpasses what we remember from our undergraduate classes! We have been very blessed by the recent hire of a part-time j-high pastor, who has taken over j-high youth groups and rotates Sunday morning teaching with Dave. He and his wife have been such a blessing to us personally and to our church! Without the j-high responsibilities, we kicked off a college/young adults group at our home on Sunday nights this fall. We've been studying the book of James. It's been nice to continue the relationships with our recent graduates and get to know some we never had in youth group. Dave is also in charge of our new "connection program" at church to make sure anyone who walks in our doors gets connected in some way to the church body for encouragement and accountability.
When we are not busy with church activities and planning, we have been working on getting our spare room ready for our baby girl who is due to arrive the first of April! We are so thankful for your prayers for her healthy development and for us as we prepare to be parents. It's been exciting this last month to feel her move and begin decorating her room with little girl things!
Like so many this year, our family is going through some tough times right now. We praise the Lord for His faithfulness and ultimate plan even when we can't see it, and we are so glad to know that in our weakness, our Lord is our strength! We thank God for each one of you and pray He fills you with peace this Christmas!
Dave, Amy, and Baby Bertolini
Texas, Day 2
8 hours ago