Thursday, April 12, 2012

Always be thankful...

Well friends I thought this day would never take place.  Back in the day when Steph started this Blog she told me (the hubs) that I could post if I ever wanted to and tonight it sounded like something I would consider.  So here is my profound thought of the day....

Friends as you begin to settle in for the night take a few minutes to think of all the blessings God has blessed you with, here is the small list of things I am thankful for tonight.

1. A heavenly Father who will never abandon us
2. Forgiveness from all the earthly sins I have committed
3. The most amazing and beautiful wife
4. A silly puppy that always keeps us on our toes
5. A great internship where I have the blessing to step into one of the most intimate parts of a persons life.
6. A job that helps pay the bills and provides for our many needs
7. The ability to pursue a masters degree
8. A house that keeps me warm and dry
9. TV shows to watch on-line when the desire to complete homework has vanished
10. A warm and comfy bed to rest in after a long day

I don't know about you but I take many things for granted, hopefully this note helps you stop for just a minute and think of the many things you have but do not deserve.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

alive. alive!

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.  The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:1-10)

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)

Christ is risen from dead, trampling over death by death. 
Come awake! Come awake! Come and rise up from the grave! 
Christ is risen from the dead. We are one with him again!

Friday, April 6, 2012

it's coming.

Sunday is coming. Can you hear it? It sounds like crowds jesting and soldiers sneering. It sounds like a hammer pounding and wood splitting. It sounds like a loud cry and a last breath. Silence.

[Matthew 27] As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. 

Can you hear it? It sounds like thunder rolling and rocks shaking and curtains tearing in two. It sounds like people gasping, realizing, knowing. Truth. 

Can you hear it? Sunday is coming...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

homework night.

It's been awhile. Life has been busy with tons of homework (taking two classes right now), work, school, internship and all sorts of other things. And let's not forget about spending a week in Florida. I'll make sure to recap that soon, too!

Tonight is homework night. Rob is at a MOSES Board meeting and I'm trying to stay on top of what feels like one million assignments. But, there is something that eases the homework pain a little bit.

Nothing like a cute, sleeping puppy at your feet to put a smile on your face.

Now, back to Introduction to Classroom Dynamics and Developmental Psychology.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

keys and paint.

Our latest project was a long time and coming. When we first moved into our house, we had the uncanny ability to lay our keys down and forget where we put them. We don't have much counter space in the kitchen - and none that is close to the door - so we didn't have a prime location to consistently put our keys.

In our apartment, we had hung little hooks right inside the doorway to hang our keys on and it seemed to work out well for us. We hardly ever lost our keys or had to hunt them down when we were trying to leave for work or school. So, when we moved into our house, we did the simplest thing possible. We put two nails in the wall in our stairway which is just inside our main entry door in an attempt to recreate the hook situation we had in the apartment.

This worked for awhile...until the nails started falling out of our silly cement-board walls. Our keys would fall down the stairs, the nails would fall down the stairs, the dog would find the nails, we couldn't find our keys - you get the picture. So, to solve the problem, Rob asked if I would make my next craft project a key hanger. I had all sorts of creative ideas but couldn't find the right supplies to make the ideas work out. Then it happened.

I found these letters for 99 cents each at Hobby Lobby and had the perfect idea to add a little bit of color (and some much needed key hanging space) to our stairwell.

I decided to attempt the project while Rob was at work one day (I don't work on Thursdays) in order to surprise him when he got home. I don't typically use power tools by myself. Bet you'd never guess that! Right?

I had a leftover dowel laying around from when I made my mom's birthday present and I found an old piece of trim in our scrap wood box in the basement. I cut three pieces from the dowel to use as hooks. The best part was that I remembered what my handy boyfriend always tells me about pre-drilling with a smaller size bit so I don't crack the wood when using the larger bit. It's ok, you can be impressed. I don't mind.

In fact, I was so impressed with myself I had to take a picture. I've taken better pictures. Oh well, you get the idea.

After I had drilled the three holes, I used a hammer to pound the dowels into the trim. I was left with this:

The whole process took a little longer than expected but I at least had the general concept together before Rob got home from work. He was very impressed with my [lack of] power tool skills. In a spur of the moment decision, we decided to spend the evening painting the stairwell in preparation for hanging the new key hooks when they were finished. I set-up shop at the dining room table to paint the letters while Rob tackled the paint in the stairwell.

Before Rob started painting, we were convinced the stairwell ceiling was white. HA! Guess again.

I don't know what color it was before, but it definitely wasn't white. We have really poor lighting in the stairwell so the picture doesn't do the colors justice, but you get the general idea. The ceiling got a nice new coat of white paint and the walls were spruced up with a light gray - the same color we will eventually get around to painting the basement with.

Last night I put the finishing coats of paint on the letters and the hooks so that we could hang them today! I chose pretty bright colors - the blue is the same blue we are in process of painting our exterior doors, the orange is the same colored I used to paint the snowman's nose for my mom's birthday present and the green is "Grass Green" that I picked up from Hobby Lobby...on sale for 34 cents. Perfect!

This morning, Rob hung everything up for us. I decided it might be better to hand the power tools back over to him at this point. He pre-drilled holes so that we could use toggle bolts to hold the hook with. We didn't want to deal with any of that nails-slipping-out-of-the-wall-every-time-we-hang-our-keys-up business again.

Mr. Beacon often likes to watch Rob work. He's like a little kid. Rob will work on a project and Beacon will sit quietly next to him and watch every thing he's doing. We'll probably let Mr. B use the drill next time.

After Beacon gave his final approval on the placement for the letters, I hung them up and [drum roll please]...

A brand new, colorful, useful key and leash hanging space! We knew we wanted three hooks because we each have a set of keys and Mr. B's leash and harness are always just laying on the first step because we don't know what else to do with them. It conveniently works out that the letters spell our initials AND give Beacon a hook too! (I didn't even plan that!)

And so, I think we officially like it. The keys and leash have been hanging on it for about an hour now and I haven't heard anything come crashing to the ground so I think we're in business. Not to shabby for a $3.31 project, if I do say so myself.

What projects have you worked on lately?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

lucky day.

Looks like a certain [spoiled?] dog in the Bergman house hit the jackpot this week!

A 10 lb. box of Milk-bones and an almost empty peanut butter jar all in one day!

Hmm...I wish someone would bring me a 10 lb. box of M&Ms and an almost empty [er...full?] jar of ice cream. Beacon! Bring me M&Ms! You can't eat them anyways!

If you could have someone bring you a 10 lb. box of anything, what would it be?

Saturday, February 11, 2012


It's Saturday. If you visited our house today, here's what you would find:

My good-looking husband painting our entry way.
Here's to an entry way that is all one color instead of the five colors it's been for the past year!
(Yes, I realize it's a really small space. And yes, there were five colors in that space.)

Me working on a five-page study guide for Legal Issues and Ethics in Counseling.
(What is transference and counter-transference? A gold star will be awarded if you know.)

And a puppy. Tuckered out from running around outside in the snow all morning.
(He sure does love the snow.)

Happy Weekend, from the Bergmans.
Whether you're home-improving, studying, or napping - we hope you're enjoying your Saturday as much as we are enjoying ours.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


hap-py [hap-ee]

1. delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing;
2. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy.

On Friday morning, I posed a question as my Facebook status: "What makes you happy today?" 
This question rose out of "one of those mornings." We all know what those are, right? For some of us it means we spilled our coffee down the front of our work clothes which means we have to change into a new outfit only to rush out of the house and realize we need to brush snow and ice off of our car. For others, it's that morning when the kids are bickering and they miss the bus so you need to drop them off at school and right when you're pulling into the parking lot one of them says: "I left my backpack at home." For me, it was simply that morning when my hair wouldn't seem to cooperate and every piece of clothing I put on seemed to say: "Nope, that looks terrible on you, too." The only thing that got me was a huge pile of clothes on the bedroom floor waiting to be picked up that night, no time to pack a lunch (thanks, husband, for packing it for me and hiding a little love note under my clementine), running late for work (thanks, Mom, for being my boss), and the anticipation of a two-block walk to work in the -8 degree windchill across ice laden sidewalks. Awesome.

After I finally made it into my car and onto the road to work, all I was feeling was frustration at the fact that I had to redo my makeup because I cried and it ran and thinking: "If anyone speaks to me within the first 5 minutes I'm at work or before I get a cup of coffee, I will probably ring their neck." Then, as I rounded through the S-Curve on 131 downtown Grand Rapids, I looked up into the sky and saw the most beautiful sunrise and right in the middle of my windshield, backed by the pink/purple/yellow/orange/red sky, was the outline of a steeple sitting high atop one of the downtown churches. (Cue the gentle smack across the face, thanks God.)

By the time I pulled my car into the parking lot, God had lovingly changed my attitude and outlook towards myself and my day and left me thankful for his grace that is new every morning despite my sinful nature that also seems to rear its ugly head every morning. Instead of tears and bitterness and inward struggles with my outward appearance, I seemed to hold my head a bit higher as I walked from the parking lot to work. I remember being thankful that I didn't see anyone else during my walk in, because I was singing (yes, out loud) the words to a song from The Story (the story of the Gospel in music) that is meant to portray Jesus singing to his people. The words go something like this
I see your story,
I see my name written on every beautiful page
You see the struggle,
You see the shame
I see the reason I came.
I came for your story,
I came for your wounds,
to show you what Love sees
when Love sees you.
I was reminded that even when the morning starts out feelings like I have nothing to be happy about, no reason to be thankful, nothing to find joy in...there is always something - the fact that Jesus loves me - and that love and knowing that I'm beautiful because I'm in Christ is worth far more than any good hair day or perfect outfit.

But back to the question at hand: "What makes you happy today?" After I made it into work and got my cup of coffee (without ringing any necks), I thought: "If I have mornings like this, other people must have them, too. We should all recognize the things that make us happy and bring us joy today, even if it's the littlest of things." So, I asked. And the answers came pouring in. Some of them were big things, some were small. But it struck me that it was almost as if people are just waiting to recognize the good things in life...but something we get so caught up in the yucky stuff that we need someone to simply say: "Hey, what's good today?" Because when asked, we can all see that God's grace is redeeming us all and we all have things to be thankful for - day in and day out. Here's what people told me made them happy on Friday morning:

A morning bagel and a weekend full of music
An iPhone app that allows a wife to keep track of her firefighter husband on the icky days
4 day weekends (every weekend, all semester) and making desserts to celebrate
A day off work, kids at school, listening to good music and cooking good food
Not studying
Going to JoAnn's Fabric
Reading by the fire
A good group planning meeting for an upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic
All the snow that is falling
A warm couch and episodes of Friday Night Lights
Talking to a good friend and partner in ministry
An extra sugar cookie from a good friend
Date night

Now we could go into all sorts of discussions and debates about happiness vs. joyfulness and which one means more and what the differences are and all sorts of other things. Sure, often times we relate happiness to an in-the-moment feeling and joyfulness to finding peace and contentment no matter the situation. But, when it all comes down to it, these are simply those little things that God, in his grace, puts into our lives to say: "Hey, you're worth it. Even when you don't feel like you're worth it, you are. Remember me and remember my grace when you think about all these little good things."

For me that little thing was a beautiful sunrise that caused a gentle smack in the face to remind me that God does care about me and love me and when he looks at me he sees his beautiful child. That's what made me happy on Friday morning...and every morning. 

Music and lyrics to "When Love Sees You"
(Take the 5 minutes to listen to it. It's worth it, I promise)

Want to join the conversation? What makes YOU happy/thankful/joyful? Leave your answer in the comments!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

puppy surgery.

Well, it's official. Beacon is the last in his family line. Maybe he will end up with nieces and nephews someday; but offspring of his own? Sorry, buddy. He had surgery on Thursday and now he has to spend a week wearing the cone of shame, poor guy.

I dropped him off on Thursday morning and picked him up again Thursday afternoon. I think the vet thought I was a bit crazy when I went to pick him up because of the pathetic whimpering noise I made when I saw him laying in the cage. He just looked so sad. It took me a good while to get him out to the car because his medication still hadn't worn off and he was so out of it! He just stood and stared off into space and wouldn't look at me when I said his name or anything. It was cute in a sad and pathetic sort of way.

And so he spent the rest of the night sleeping and being super cuddly. I liked that part. But boy, did we feel so bad when he threw up three times because of the anesthetic and when we had to make him wear the cone to go to bed and now that we have to give him sedatives to keep him calm during the day so he doesn't run or jump or tear his incision. Thursday he gets his stitches out and that day can not come soon enough.

We did get a nice picture out of the deal though. Normally Mr. B doesn't sit still enough to stay in a picture with us, so we took advantage of him and his groggy state. 

We're a little bit bummed that we got our first major snowfall on the day after his surgery, 1.) because he can't get wet when he's outside and that is not an easy task to make happen when the backyard is covered in snow and 2.) because he loves to play in the snow...and he can't. And even though it's cold and messy to drive in, we can't wait until next weekend when we can take the pup out to play. And you can't tell me that this view of the park down the street isn't beautiful...

But, since we're cooped up inside for the week, Beacon and I have been spending our spare time trying out new cookies recipes and working on some craft projects. (Well, I do the work, he lays around and sleeps.) Just for the record, these chocolate chip cookies are awesome and you should definitely try them. And do like she says: use coarse sea salt. The cookies end up with this crispy edge and every couple of bites there will be a distinct crunchy salty taste. So good. In between eating cookies, I've been going to town with twine and a $0.34 Goodwill wreath. I think I've eaten more cookies than I have worked on the wreath though. 

In other news, we have a new follower on our blog! We'd love it if you would follow us too. All you have to do is click "Join this site" in the top right corner, just under our picture. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

can we be friends?

Today - in between eating, going on a walk, taking a bath, and playing outside - Beacon did some serious thinking:

We just wanted to share our excitement with Jared and Mary, our friends over at Ugly Muffin Library, in the new puppy addition to their family! (I know they are excited because I saw a zillion pictures and videos over break and they have two blog posts up already...all while dealing with the first puppy days and being sick!) 

Anyways, Rob and I love Jared and Mary dearly and are blessed to be able to call them friends. But, I think Mr. B might be jealous because now he keeps asking if he can be friends with Kobuk. Hopefully they can meet some day soon! Road trip, anyone?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

what we love the most.

Rob and I started out the new year on just the right note - in my opinion at least. We I slept in, we were blessed to worship together with our church family, we enjoyed some awesome rolls with lunch, we visited my cousin, her fiance and their beautiful baby girl who are visiting from New Mexico, we made it home before the weather turned too snowy, I watched Criminal Minds, Rob finished a book, and Mr. B ate snow balls.

The best part of the night, though, was reading our "I love you" gifts that we wrote throughout December. In an effort to be intentional about recognizing the things we are most thankful for in one another, we decided to try out a little extra "gift" to celebrate Christmas this year. We were a bit late in opening it, but what's a day or two...or seven?

It's really as simple as this: 
          1. Cut some pieces of paper into strips (we chose red and green in the Christmas spirit);
          2. Label the paper with the dates of the month (we decided on December 1-25 with plans to read them on Christmas morning);
          3. Find a box or jar to hold the papers once you've written on them (see ours pictured above);
          4. Write down one thing you love about your spouse each day (sometimes we fell behind...);
          5. Enjoy reading them together and re-discovering what it is you love most about each other!
          6. After we read them, we sealed them up in an envelope to keep (along with future December notes) so that we can read them again years from now.

After we read each of the 25 "I love..." notes, we both realized that we weren't entirely surprised by what the other wrote down, but there were also some things that we didn't know were loved so much. We also seemed to notice a few themes running throughout the notes (i.e. commonly repeated topics).

What Rob (repeatedly) loves about Stephanie:                   What Stephanie (repeatedly) loves about Rob:
          1. Her creativity                                                                                            1. He loves to give hugs
          2. She loves to give hugs                                                                            2. His patient, listening ear
          3. She makes my lunch in the morning                                                    3. He passionate, servant-heart for everyone he is around (family, clients, etc.)

As we move into a new year, one of our goals is being intentional about letting the people we love and care about know that we love and care about them...and that goes for letting each other know too. These daily notes are one simple way to do just that and it was definitely fun to sit and read them together tonight. It gave us something to look forward to at the end of the month, and was a Christmas present that was genuinely from the heart.

As you move into a new year, what are your goals for showing love to the people you care about?