Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Letter 2010

Amsden Family Update – Christmas 2010
In the military, when an operational unit reports its status, it often uses the acronym NSTR, Nothing Significant To Report. One day we’d love to be able put that down on our Christmas Letter: “NSTR … Merry Christmas everyone”! However, with the addition of our fifth child, yet another move and Kevin on a deployment, we definitely have significant things to report. Oh well, maybe next year :)!
2010 began with the birth of our fifth child on January 28th. As we drove up the California Coast to the hospital, under a moon so bright that we could see the boats docked in the bay near Pismo Beach, we reminisced about the birth of a fourth child (Derek) on the night after a horrendous blizzard in Colorado where we weren’t even sure we’d make it to the hospital. Definitely one of the blessings of being in California! Audrey is a beautiful, happy, patient little girl, with a head full of hair (unlike our other babies) who is freely climbing up stairs and is on the verge of walking already – let the fun begin!
Amy has long had a theory that every time the Air Force sees us add another child to our insurance, the personnel office decides it’s time for us to move. True to form, we made our fourth move with a newborn baby this summer! Luckily, we moved back to Colorado Springs and are back in the same house – with 2 more kids! It was great to already know the area, our neighbors and members of our church. This move has felt as close to “coming home” as we’re probably going to experience in the Air Force. We’ll definitely count that as a blessing, especially considering our next item to report.
Shortly after Kevin started his job at AF Space Command, he was told he’s on the top of the list to deploy. His previous space jobs supported military operations around the world, but he was able to do it from home. However, his current job is a staff one and the Air Force has determined it was time for him to ship out. Thankfully, he was blessed with a unique opportunity to be in charge of a small unit in Okinawa, Japan. He arrived the week before Thanksgiving and is scheduled to be back in May. Technology has been a major blessing with him gone, as we’re able to Skype (video teleconference) daily. It has certainly been a challenge being apart, however, we have felt the Lord’s hand in the whole thing and trust we will all do well.
In the mean time, Amy is enjoying a new experience at church. As a lifelong piano player, she has always supported choirs from behind the ivory keys. However, since our church leaders in Colorado already knew Amy could play (she was the pianist when we lived here before), they asked her to branch out and become the choir director! She had never conducted before and apprehensively accepted the challenge. It has been an enormous blessing for the church and for her personally. With her smile and enthusiasm, she has changed the choir from a fledging little group and drawn out anyone with musical ability – sometimes by way of threats :). Choir practices routinely fill every seat on the stand and the performances are truly inspiring!
The rest of the kiddos continue to amaze us. They are all veracious readers and are doing great in school. Breanna is in sixth grade, is playing trumpet in band, playing piano in orchestra, is in the choir and just got a part in the school Christmas play! Ryan is in the third grade, is playing the piano, plays basketball at school, and is progressing in Cub Scouts. Courtney is also playing piano, is in the school choir and learning ballet. Derek started preschool and routinely “plays the piano” as well. The house is a three ring circus at times, especially on school days, but we wouldn’t have it any other way :)!
We are so grateful for all that God has done for us, and count our blessings every day! We hope each of you is well and that you get to enjoy Christ’s love during the Christmas season. Merry Christmas everyone!