Wordless Wednesday....pics from 2007

Our biggest "event" of 2007 was the birth of Abigail Grace on March 19th, but we had so many other wonderful memories of this year. Here is a review of the year in pictures.

Bless you all, and may 2008 be a treasure of hope, love, and joy, filled with Christ Jesus.

Hiking at Lake McBride........

Our little piece of "heaven"!

Big Sissies......... Whose mouth is bigger- Aly's or Abby's??????

Happy Easter!

Aaron loves yogi!!!!!!

Camping at yogi bear's campground......wasn't Abby supposed to slow us down this summer?

Happy birthday Aaron, 4 and Andrew, 11!!!!!!!!!!

Andrew at Pump It Up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At the Kernals' Game.....did they win??????????

Andrew at Scout camp, taking a walk with Dad.........

Happy birthday, Aly.........with cousin Christi.....

Aaron is such a "fish"........swimming

Our "experiment"- toys frozen in a block of ice.........

The Des Moines Zoo......

I'm a star!

Adventureland 2007- the Frogger!

Sweet Abigail.........

Our Chicago trip- summer 2007- Navy Pier

Happy 4th of July!!!!!

Everybody's a comedian!

digging out- again!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy 9th birthday, Ashley- December 21st

Daddy snuggling Abigail......

"Grabby Abby" getting Ashley.....and enjoying it!!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas!

May the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ bring you much comfort, joy and peace this holiday season as we celebrate His birth, life, and resurrection! During this beautiful season, we are reminded to put our trust and faith in the innocent baby born on that special night. We pray that Jesus will be the heart of your holiday, and that Christ will be the focus of your Christmas!

Well, this has been an exciting year! Our biggest news this year has been the birth of Abigail Grace on March 19th. As Ashley says, “Abigail is a little slice of heaven!” She has been such a blessing. The kids have loved playing with her and the girls have fast become expert diaper changers and bottle makers. It is hard to believe all the changes a baby goes through in a year. Abigail has two bottom teeth, is crawling around like crazy, says “da-da” and “ma-ma”, gives us “raspberries,” usually during the sermon on Sunday, snuggles and gives lots of hugs and kisses. She is very busy and we have nicknamed her “Grabby Abby!”

Andrew loves middle school, and is doing great. He enjoys his friends and is active with Scouts, confirmation, and vocal at school. Ashley loves 3rd grade. She loved singing at her school concert, is an avid reader, and loves to draw and write. The highlight of her year has been receiving her 3rd grade bible at church. Aly is having fun in 1st grade. She has developed quite a sense of humor. Andrew and Aaron are funny clowns, but Aly has a dry sense of humor. When Brian and I were kissing in the kitchen, Aly rolled her eyes, saying, “He-lloooo! Still in the room!” Both girls are also playing soccer. Aaron is a character. He is still a little entertainer, singing and dancing, showing us his muscles and his karate moves (don’t know where he “got” that- he has never taken karate!). His favorite movie was “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!”

Brian and I are doing well, too. We gave up tent camping this summer for an air-conditioned cabin with a bathroom. I told Brian he may never get me back in a tent! We enjoyed a great baseball season with our Cubbies and looking forward to next year! I began speaking again in October at women’s retreat in Naperville. I continue to write devotions on my blog. What a blessing it has been to meet many women over this past year, sharing the love of Jesus with

Merry Christmas and a blessed 2008! May He bless you richly in this New Year! And, may the “God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The Berta Family

Words of Wisdom from Andrew……..

The other day Andrew was pondering the words of Jesus as he was enjoying some soup on a cold winter afternoon. He has been listening to the New Testament on CD and must have been “chewing” on what he had heard.

“Mom, Jesus said that we shouldn’t store up our treasures here on earth. It’s like this soup. It is sooooooo yummy and good. I love it. It’s like my treasure. But, it will disappear. I’m going to eat it and it will be gone. Like, all of our treasures here on earth will disappear. We need to store up treasures in heaven. Like, faith, Mom. Faith won’t disappear. We need to store up faith.”

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” -Matthew 6:19-21

This Christmas season, remember Jesus’ words. Be careful about running around looking for treasure to store up here on earth (or presents that will be thrown away by next Christmas!) Instead, focus on the REAL treasure of Christmas- Jesus Christ our Lord, the Savior of the world, Immanuel, God with us.

Father God, help me to remember this Truth! Lord, you are my treasure. Help me this Christmas season to remember that you are my treasure and my source of strength. Father, remind me, in your gentle way that the things of this world will disappear and they are not eternal. Help me to keep my eyes on the eternal and my heart on what is truly important. In Christ Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Have a “Mary” Christmas!

As we begin to jump into the Christmas season, and all of the activities that surround it, I am again reminded to keep grounded on what Christmas is all about- the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the busyness, the things on all of our “to-do” lists, the shopping and entertaining…

As I catch my breath, and remind myself to slow down, God again uses “Mary and Martha” to teach me these lessons.One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of two sisters, Mary and Martha. Both sisters loved Jesus, and He would often come to visit them. Now Martha, the older sister, had a servant heart, but could get caught up in all of the details and become distracted by her many tasks. One day Jesus came to visit the women. Martha was preparing a meal for them while her sister, Mary, the Bible tells us, sat at the feet of Jesus. Well, as Martha was busy with all of the preparations, she allows her heart to go from serving joyfully and selflessly to getting angry that she is doing all the work alone.

As I read the story, I can picture Martha clanging the dishes, hoping to get Mary’s attention, banging the cupboard doors, and sighing loudly- you know, the “huhhhs”- expecting Mary to hear and get the hint! And, why do I think this? Probably because this is MY typical behavior when I am feeling sorry for myself in these situations!Well, Martha finally blows, and she storms in the room where Jesus and Mary are sitting, and whines, “Lord! Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Boy, do I hear my own whining voice in this story, especially at this time of year. “Lord! Don’t You care that I am doing all of the work by myself? You know? The cleaning, the shopping, the wrapping, the cooking, the decorating, the baking… Make Brian help me!”But, Jesus is not concerned with the fancy dinner, the decorations, the fluff. He tells Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. But, only one thing is needed and Mary has chosen what is better and it won’t be taken from her.” You see, sitting at the feet of the Savior, drawing near to Him, listening to Him, being still and knowing Him- that is what is important and it won’t be taken from you. It is the “one thing” our stressed, tired spirits need! It is the “one thing” that I NEED!This Christmas, we can get caught up in shopping for the gifts, stringing the lights, decorating the tree, singing the songs, attending the parties, the details and distractions.

But, my prayer for you is that this Christmas, you will experience THE gift- the Bright and Morning Star, the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, our Hope, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, your Burden Bearer, Our Strength, and Our Salvation, Immanuel- God With Us. My gift to all of you is the message that He loves you, you are His Beloved, and that He wants to fill you with all joy and peace, both now, at Christmas time and for the rest of your life!

“May the God of all endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with ONE heart and ONE mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Christmas, this New Year, and forever, “May He bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine down upon you. May he be gracious to you and give you peace.” Amen!