Africa, Anyone?

Kaitlyn Bergen
305 S 16th St
Aurora, NE 68818

Dear Friends and Family,

I have exciting news to share with you! The Lord has opened up a wonderful opportunity for me to go on a two-week missions trip to Zambia, Africa! This is such an answer to prayer, as I have been interested in missions since I was very young! We will be leaving on February 25 and will return March 12th.

I am going with a team from Heartland Evangelical-Free Church in Central City, Nebraska. There will be six people besides myself, and we will be staying on the campus of the International Bible College of Zambia. There will be many areas in which we will be able to serve, both at the Bible college and in the medical clinic that is located on campus. While Pastor Scott, from Heartland E-Free, is teaching the Zambian college students for two weeks, my team and I will be cleaning, plumbing, doing paperwork, painting classrooms, and sharing the gospel with the children of Africa (my favorite part! 🙂 ).

We will get to hike out to surrounding villages with the Outreach clinic team and help with an evangelistic program for the kids while the nurses give medical care.

We will be striving to encourage the Bible college students, staff, and medical workers by serving them the way Jesus Christ served those around him: with grace and unconditional love. We will probably be asked to do many more things besides those that I just mentioned—so I pray that God will give us the strength, energy, and joy to do His will!

I covet your prayers as I set out on this adventure! Please pray that God will give each person strength, both physically and spiritually, as we work together to glorify God and spread His word! Pray that we will remain healthy, as we will be in Zambia during the wet season—malaria season. Ask God to show us ways that we can go the extra mile! The cost for me to go on this trip is $2,700. If you wish to support me as I go to Zambia, please return the completed response slip to the address below. Please do not write my name on your check.

Heartland E-Free Church
1620 19th St.
Central City, NE 68826

If you would like to learn more about the International Bible College of Zambia, you can visit their website at




Awkward + Awesome


Walking down the sidewalk with a friend and talking about deodorant (“It’s so terrible…sometimes I look down and see white stripes on the front of my shirt, and I’m like, ‘What!’ And then I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s from when I put deodorant on this morning!!!”), and then realizing that a random guy was riding his bike on the road beside you…within hearing distance.

Leaning inside the trunk of the car to get groceries and having the trunk shut on your head. O.o

A plumber coming over to fix the squealing toilet, and me walking into the kitchen to hear mom saying (in the presence of the aforementioned plumber), “So, Katie, he fixed the toilet!! Have you tried it out yet?” Actually, no…I hadn’t…

Hearing siblings playing “Would You Rather” at lunch. “Would you rather have elbows the size of basketballs or knees the size of basketballs?” “Would you rather smell like sewer or skunk spray?” “Would you rather do jumping jacks for an hour or listen to Riley sing for an hour?” (I’d choose the jumping jacks.)

Attempting to carry metal shelving up a friend’s basement stairs…and the shelf bending in half before you’ve even carried it three feet away.

Falling down the basement stairs while carrying an armload of pens and papers, and landing with an unladylike thump at the bottom. And then laughing for a whole minute at how stupid you must have looked.

These pics…
IMG_0535 IMG_0651

Ending a call with someone on the phone and almost saying “In Jesus Name, Amen” instead of “Goodbye.” People, sometimes I make myself turn red at the things I almost do.

Standing in the lawn at church and having your thin heels sink into the grass.

Sending hilarious, dorky pictures of my brother to my friend…and finding out later that I typed in the wrong email address and sent them to a random person I don’t even know!!

Watching your older sister’s wedding video: Abby, “Wait a minute, why did you just rewind that?” Me, “Um…’cause I wanted to watch the kissing part over again…”

Emailing my writing coach the compilation of quotes she asked for and saying, “Behold, my quote collection!!!” And forgetting to add the quotes attachment. Behold, here they are! Oh, never mind, I decided not to send them after all…

My brother’s quote: “I ate so many Cheez-Its that I got cheese-zits!!!”

Playing “Bean-Boozled” with siblings, and almost throwing up on “Canned Dog Food.” (Those faces, though…)


Even my toothbrush tasted like

Even my toothbrush tasted like “Canned Dog Food” for a while.

Going up to a guy at a college visitation day after hearing that he was from Newton, Kansas, wanting to know if he knew any of my family/friends from that area. So I’m standing there saying, “Yeah, so I know some of the Busenitz’s, and their names are…their names are…oh, man, I forgot!! Their names are…oh, let me think…” And the guy is standing there the whole time trying to figure out whether to laugh or just walk away.

Trying not to say “Oww!” every time I wipe my nose (sinus infection here, folks!), because there’s a zit inside my left nostril.

Having to stop a fourth grader from chewing on her toenails during the Awana Bible lesson time.

A smoothie with inch-long splinters in it.


A smoothie without inch-long splinters in it. 🙂

Getting to go over to your best friend’s house and having a discussion with her family about the Trinity. 🙂

Having random conversations with old people in Dillard’s. 🙂

Having inside jokes with my two-year-old brother. Me: “Pabalee-bee, Henry?” Henry: “Pabalee! Pabalee!” (Don’t ask.)

Convincing the aforementioned little brother that my lips are broken whenever I whistle.

Writing back and forth with an amazing pen pal named Sandie.

My cousins and my friends. They’re all just so cool! I mean, how did I get blessed with friends like mine?


We’re just so…so…I don’t know what we are.

Having a Bible study with Danielle. We have those seriously awesome talks that could last for hours if we let them.

Going out for ice cream with my younger bro (who everyone thinks is my older bro, since he’s, like, five feet taller than me…okay, not really), and the lady at the counter thinking we’re boyfriend and girlfriend. It was hilarious. (She found out that we were siblings when Brady made me pay for my own ice cream).

Odyssey Adventure Club. ALL of their episodes for FREE, at any time. Well, as long as you have Wi-Fi.

Gray clouds and cold days.

Watching War Room with friends. That movie is amazing!

Getting to see Beyond the Mask!!!!!!!! Finally, one more item crossed off my list of awesome movies to see.

Racing down a dirt road on horseback with my wonderful cousin. 🙂

Getting to see the Blue Angels perform this summer. (Click on the picture and find the airplane)

Creating my own font…


And this little cutie right here:

Taking a family picture at the Bean in Chicago and having a girl walk right in front of us. Her friends were yelling at her to get out of the way of our camera (which was balanced precariously on our stroller in front of us, with the timer about to go off), and she didn’t notice till too late…
Lady, whoever you are, thank you. You totally made our night!! Seriously, is that not the most hilarious picture ever?!

Now I’ll leave you with this creepy picture of me to remember me by. You may now go about your daily lives once more. Do try not to get into as many awkward situations as I seem to.

All Because Dillard’s Didn’t Sell Ice Cream

Just sayin’, life is so much better when you have random conversations in random stores with random people you don’t even know!

Danielle and I were just entering a store in Grand Island when we heard a voice behind us: “Good grief, these doors don’t even have those push button things on them! How’s a guy supposed to open a door without a push button?”

I tried not to laugh at the old couple behind us, but I couldn’t help smiling a little. The old guy looked kinda spunky, and he reminded me of my Grandpa Bergen.

“Maaaaan, I’m in the mood for ice cream right now!” he continued, fully aware of the fact that we were listening. “Do you think they sell ice cream in here somewhere?”

“You know what,” I said, knowing that Dillard’s didn’t sell food of any sort, “if you find ice cream in this store, I’ll pay for it!”

He just laughed. “Say, did you drive here yourself?”

I knew what was coming. “Yes, I did!”

“I’m sorry, but you look like you’re only…”

“Twelve? That’s okay, that’s what everyone thinks.”

He grinned smugly. “I was going to say thirteen.” His wife rolled her eyes and smacked his arm.

“Oh, sure you did!” I teased. “No, I’m really seventeen. Almost eighteen.”

His eyebrows rose so high they almost disappeared in his hair (which is saying something, considering the fact that he hardly had any hair to speak of).

“Guess how old I am!” Danielle said.

The old man stopped right in the middle of the aisle and said, “Hmm…turn toward me so I can see you. Let’s see…um, fifteen or sixteen?”

Danielle was surprised. “Wow, most people think I’ve already graduated by now.” (Hah, serves her right for all the times people have thought I was her little sister!)

Suddenly I thought of a stupid hilarious idea. “Here, let me guess your age!” I said. (He was so shocked that his jaw nearly dropped to the ground, but he was a good sport, so he played along.) I put my hands on my hips. “Let’s see…turn toward me so I can see you. Hmm, okay. I would sayyyyyy…upper thirties?”

He guffawed. “Oh, get outta here! No, wait…now guess my wife’s age!”

It was shortly after this that we parted ways for good.

Although I must say…if Dillard’s would’ve had ice cream, I would have bought him some. He deserved it.

So, College?!

Hi guys. I’m back. Who knows for how long… *smile*

It is probably a good sign that I’m not on here all the time though…it means that I must have something better to do with my time. 🙂 Or maybe it just means that I’m bored of blogging.

gasp! never!

So lately I’ve been in that scary position of being a senior.

Should I go to college right away after I graduate? Which college? Should I stay home a year? If so, WHAT DO I DO to use that extra year profitably?

And WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT ALL THIS? What is HE telling me to do? What does HE want with my life?

Sometimes I feel like God is urging me forward–like there isn’t much time to lose.

Other times I feel like He’s telling me I need to wait a bit.

I mean, I can see the pros to going.

I can also see the pros to waiting.

My best friend and her mother and I went to look at a Bible school in Wyoming. I liked it. I really liked it.

The people were friendly and outgoing. The teachers were kind and knowledgeable. The food was good. The dorms were nice. The campus was well-kept. (They also had very nice green grass. But there were nasty burrs around, so I couldn’t walk barefoot. And I didn’t like that at all.)

Overall, my impression of the place was more than favorable. I could see myself feeling quite at home there, learning a lot and making good friends.

But I still don’t know.

It’s a big step to take. But God will help me. And so far I guess He hasn’t seen fit to show me what His plan is. Maybe He never will reveal it fully.

You know, sometimes I really do wish I could see into my future. Other times I’m glad I can’t. I’d probably be terrified. So I’ll just be thankful that God can see my future…and that eventually He’ll show me what to do about college.

So now I have one choice–one good choice, that is–left for my future. And that is this: I can love and trust and lean on God as my only support. And you know what? I don’t think God minds having me in that special place.


I love you, O LORD, my strength! The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:1-2

CYIA Update

Dear friends and family,

I have no clue where to start. I had already begun to formulate this letter before I ever even left, thinking I could say something like, “Friends and family, I had a wonderful time, I learned a lot, and I made dozens of amazing friends. P.S. I enjoyed teaching at the 5-day club.” 

Yes well, most of that is true. But there are hundreds of words I could say about each of those statements.

“I had a wonderful time…” I did. Although not wonderful in the conventional sense of the word. It wasn’t exactly “wonderful” the way I thought it would be. I hadn’t gone to CYIA with the purpose of having fun (thank goodness), but I did assume that…well, I’m not sure what I assumed. Last year, I heard at least one or two testimonies about kids who came to Christian Youth in Action for a fun-and-games type of a week. I thought I was ahead of the crowd by going prepared, knowing that I was there to train, not to have fun. And you know what I found out?

CYIA was not easy. CYIA was not always fun. And at first, I didn’t even think my time at CYIA would give me any confidence. My thought as I arrived was this: “Either this camp will make me or break me.” By the end of the first day, I was convinced it would be the latter. Brittany dropped me off around 9 AM on Tuesday, June 9th. By 10 o’clock that evening, I was discouraged and overwhelmed. More than anything, I wanted to sit down and have a good cry. But who could I cry to? I was so stressed that I hadn’t been able to eat lunch or supper — and along with the physical weakness that day came spiritual weakness. I began to doubt that I was really saved — after all, if I was a Christian, then why couldn’t I explain the gospel better? Did I even really grasp the meaning? And why was I so discouraged?

At chapel that evening, right before bed, our speaker (without even knowing what I was going through) talked about a time in his past when he’d had the same doubts about salvation that I was currently having. When the final prayer came at last, after everyone had closed their eyes, I left my seat as quietly as I could and fled from the room, tears spilling from my eyes. I had been having doubts about my salvation for a while, and I had never worked up the courage to tell anyone. So when I was at my weakest, Satan attacked me with fear and confusion. But you know the cool thing about weakness? Not only does Satan work best when I’m weak, but God does too! “…for My strength is made perfect in weakness,” He says. And I agree.

But I didn’t see that right away. The following morning, I couldn’t eat breakfast. I went into the women’s bathroom and threw up. And when I came out of the stall, I saw a sparkly blue paper taped to the wall (which hadn’t been in there the day before), and I read it. The handwriting wasn’t perfect. In fact, the reference “Isaiah” wasn’t even spelled right. But I didn’t care. It was the words slanting down across the page that caught my eye.

Isiah (Isaiah) 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; 
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I stared at it and thought, “Well God, You couldn’t have been clearer than that!” God sometimes speaks with a still small voice. Other times He speaks with handwriting on the wall. 😉 I went out and ate breakfast, my outlook completely changed. (Which isn’t to say I didn’t have tough days after that. I did. But the worst was behind me.) Every time I was discouraged after that, God would use someone to show me His love and sovereignty. All in all, CYIA was wonderful…but in a different way than I expected. After all, when you think of being stretched to the limit, being yanked out of your comfort zone, do you think of the word “wonderful”? And yet it was.

To go on with what I originally planned to write to you…

“…I learned a lot…” That was slightly under-exaggerated. A lot? More like a TON! Lessons, lectures, demos, and practicums packed my day full, until there was hardly a moment to spare. During the first week, I took recreation time only twice, because I was studying like mad during every break I could get. (Which actually wasn’t as smart of me as I thought it was.) Every day was filled to the brim with learning, stuffing our brains, and taking tests, none of those things being anywhere near the top of my “like-to-do” list. I was stressed and blessed at the same time.

“…and I made dozens of amazing friends.” Okay, so maybe not dozens. But there were some pretty awesome people there. One girl had known Brittany from when they were both there the year before, and Brit had decided that I would definitely like this girl, if I was ever to go to CYIA. And sure enough, I liked “this girl.” Her name was Amanda, by the way. So anyway, Amanda ended up being on my LOL team (my Labor of Love team, not my Laugh Out Loud team…although we ended up laughing out loud quite a few times…), my “chapel team” (I’m not sure what that team was actually called, but she sat with me and another girl in class and evaluated me on my tests), and on my club team (on the second week we taught at the same 5-day club). Pretty much the only thing we didn’t have the same was that we were in different cabins. Another friend and I were able to keep each other accountable on several different things we were both having trouble with, and we prayed for each other throughout the week, which was really special. And another girl was very encouraging to me whenever I needed it most, and I appreciated her a lot!

“P.S. I enjoyed teaching at the 5-day club.” I did! I really did! Before I attended CYIA, I thought that the second week would be more nerve-wracking than the first…but since the first week had been so stressful, there was no way the second could be more so, right? That isn’t to say that the second week was all fun and games…but in spite of the frustrations (because there were some) and the challenging times (because there were some of those too), it was a wonderful chance to put in action everything we’d learned so far. I found it surprisingly fun to teach the Bible story, and I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I’d thought I would be — which was all God’s doing, none of mine. I loved teaching the suspenseful missionary story as well. I got attached to my starry-eyed club kids, and now, even though I’m no longer teaching in Albion, Nebraska, I still see kids walking down the street that might look a little like my club kids, and I’ll think to myself, “Oh, that must be Kami! I should say hi!” or, “There’s Kadin…where is his little sister?” And then my balloon of hope will pop and flutter to the ground as I realize that I left all my club kids in Albion.

So, an abbreviated version of what happens at CYIA every year… The first week (from Tuesday to Saturday) is filled with training. Every second is used for something…no time goes to waste. Even the rec time we take is useful in that it helps everyone to get relaxed and freshened up for the next lesson. On Sunday, various teams (there were ten or eleven) went out to the church that their 5-day club’s host/hostess went to, so that they could talk with the people they’d be working with the next day. Monday was our first day of club. Every team except one had club in the morning, so after club time we came back to camp to have lunch. Then we’d have some rec time (after our Labor Of Love), have a few more sessions, sit in on a demonstration, etc., and then have a full club practice, where each team gets together and runs through the whole club for the next day. And on Friday, the last day of club, we had the commissioning service in the afternoon…and then we got to go home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Those exclamation marks can’t come close to telling you how excited I was to finally see my family again!!)

The records we kept at each 5-day club were added up at the end of the week…and we found that, through the eleven clubs that were hosted, 180 kids had been reached with the gospel in just five days. 10 of them made a profession of faith!!! And all because of our mighty God working through kids my age! Incredible!! So yeah, it was worth it.

Some interesting facts about my time at CYIA:

*I couldn’t eat breakfast till the last three days I was there, because I was so nervous in the morning that food didn’t settle right. Sometimes I couldn’t eat lunch or supper either.
*Because of fact number one, I lost enough weight that by the end of the eleven days, some of my skirts didn’t fit anymore…they kept almost falling off. Which wasn’t a good thing.
*Almost every single day I was there, I would get comments on my age. No one could believe that I was actually 17. They all thought I was about 12 years old. Some of them were smarter and thought that maybe I was 14.
*The ladies at the gas station in Albion knew who my team was by the end of the first day. I guess that’s what we get for filing in there two or three days in a row to buy donuts, coffee, granola bars, and frappuccinos. “Oh, so you’re the 5-day club girls, right????” Yep, that would be us!
*We found a dead cockroach in the girls’ cabin. Which means that there were some more live ones around, right? I never saw any more after that, but that didn’t seem to matter to some of my roommates. *grin*
*Some bratty guys who were making a lot of trouble had to get down on their hands and knees and scrub the kitchen floor. Bravo to whoever thought of their punishment. It was well deserved.
*Us girls played the awesome-est prank ever on the guys. Ask me about it sometime. 😉 P.S. It involved water balloons.
*Almost every night I heard the girls on the other side of my cabin screaming as they killed spiders or moths. Kinda funny. As long as the girls in my side of the cabin didn’t do the same thing. *smile*
*During a Bible lesson demonstration, one of the staff (it was a “she” by the way) asked the kids — “kids” being all the CYIA students she was demonstrating the Bible story to — what some of the things are that God created. One boy raised his hand and said, “Cockroaches.” Another boy said, “Mice!” And then “Snakes.” And “Fleas.” So yeah. I’m pretty sure some of those boys might have been the ones who later ended up scrubbing the kitchen floor.

It has taken me about five days to finish up this letter. I’m sorry it’s so long…but I guess that’s what you get for saying you wanted some info. Haha! I’ve now been at home for ten days now. Ten wonderful days. Ten relaxing days.

Two weeks ago our church put on a five-day club, and it went well — we ended up having quite a few kids show up! And last Saturday I went to Minnesota with some friends of mine to do two more 5-day clubs in the space of one week. So I think you for your prayers, not only when I was at CYIA, but also this last week while I was in Minnesota. You’ll never know how much your prayers mean to me!

If you have questions, feel free to ask! I’d love to answer any you might have. 🙂

Thank you again (and again) [and again] {and again},


CYIA 2015

Dear friends and family,

By the time you read this, I will likely be on my way to a camp in Genoa, Nebraska called Christian Youth In Action. CYIA. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. If you have, it’s likely because Brittany told you all about it after she attended it last year. If you haven’t heard of it, Christian Youth in Action helps teenagers to (in their own words) “learn new ministry skills, meet exciting challenges, make new friends, and find joy in serving Jesus Christ.”

I am excited to learn all of these things! But I’m also a little scared too. I will be challenged, convicted, changed — that I know. But how? I’ll admit it…the unknown scares me. Good grief, simply not knowing how many showers there will be on campus makes me feel unprepared!!!

What will the weather be like? What should I wear? What shall I say? How shall I act? What friends will I make?

What will I learn? What children will I reach? What ways will I be stretched out of my comfort zone? Will I respond in a godly way to the hurdles Satan will throw in my path?

Unknowns. So many of them! (The shower one is still at the top of the list.)

I will be taught how to minister to children — whether through telling a story, giving the Wordless Book demonstration, singing songs, or playing games. I will have to practice the things I learn over and over. I will have to keep a cool head even when the kiddos at 5-day Club aren’t cooperating. I will learn to work as a team with other kids my age as we come together for the same purpose:

To reach the next generation with the good news! That, my friends, is more worthy a cause than one can find anywhere else on Planet Earth. (Or any other planet for that matter.) Which is why I’m going to CYIA — to learn skills that will enable me to share the Gospel with children who have never accepted Christ, and to help those who have to draw closer to their Savior.

As I begin my training, I would ask that you lift me up in prayer! How exciting it is that God can use young people my age to reach those in need! If you would, ask Him to help me each day as I train, as I come face-to-face with difficulties and worries and weaknesses. Pray that in everything I do, His glory will be revealed. Ask God to show me how to use the abilities He’s given me to the fullest — that I would not hold back out of embarrassment or fear. Pray that I will be focused! Pray that God will use me as a tool to bless the lives of others around me. Pray that I will be joyful, and that I will inspire others to be so also. And pray that, most of all, God’s will be done. 

Thank you ever so much, not only for lifting me up in prayer, but for being an encouragement and inspiration to me in my walk with Christ. I am confident that God will use the CYIA teens and leaders in mighty ways in these next several weeks! I hope to tell you about some of them when I get home!


Spelling Problems

As most of you know, I am homeschooled. As some of you might not know, I am also a leader in Awana. About a year ago, one of the fourth-grade girls asked me what grade I was in. As I was telling her that I was a sophomore (otherwise known as a 10th grader, to those of you who get confused with the freshman/sophomore/junior/senior stuff like I do), another little girl interrupted me to “explain” my homeschool situation.

“Well, she WOULD be in 10th grade, if she was in school. But she’s homsechooled, so…”

“Excuse me,” I interjected. “Homeschoolers have grades just like public school kids do. If I went to Aurora High School, I would still be in 10th grade, just like I am now. Where I’m at doesn’t make a difference.”

She looked surprised.

Some homeschoolers are pretty touchy about their education, but I hope you’ll believe me when I say that I was not offended when the little girl told me I wasn’t ACTUALLY in 10th grade. To be honest, I found it quite funny. But really, when you think about it, that’s the impression that many people have of homeschoolers. (And to be honest — again — some of them have good reasons for why they think so.)

I mean, we’re the people who have horribl speling, makes a mess of sentence structure, or don’t know where to put our commas, and apostrophe’s. I mean; come on, some people think we don’t even know how to use semicolons. And, of course, we’re well known as the people who can’t put “there, they’re, and their” in the right places. Really, though, how hard can it be?

I want to go over their where there using they’re Wii.

See, it’s not that hard.

😛 🙂 😛 🙂

Thankfully I’m just joking.

I want to go over there where they’re using their Wii.

Or there’s always the problem of finding the right places for “it’s” and “its”, “were” and “where”, “capitol” and “capital”, “loose” and “lose”, “since” and “sense”, “your” and “you’re”, “affect” and “effect”,

Is “ain’t” a word?

Why isn’t it possible to spell “can’t” without an apostrophe?

Is the long hand on the clock the “minute hand” or “minuet hand”? Does it really matter?

Why does a homeschooler have to know how to spell, anyway?

Well, you know what?

Just for the record, I’ve seen plenty of public-school people (as well as adults!) who can’t spell. I’m not trying to point fingers or anything, but I’m sure you all know that most of us, homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers, need to work a little harder on our grammar.

I had a difficult time with “affect” and “effect” before I finally googled the difference between the two words. (And unfortunately, I still have trouble even after studying it. Every time I want to use one of those words, I have to go online to figure out which one is which.) Then there’s the capital/capitol thing. Grr, why can’t both meanings be spelled the same way? One of my worst problems is using “loose” and lose” correctly. I almost always get it wrong. I am capable of getting it right, but I just never stop to think about it…which is the thing. Most of us never stop to think about what we’re saying.

Believe me, I have a lot of work to do on my grammar, too.

Do you want to know something that [I think] is destroying teenagers’ ability to spell? (Since we’re already on the subject…)


One of my cousins wore a shirt that said something like, “i ♥ 2 txt.”

It took me forever to figure out what it meant.

And all of those abbreviations like BTW, TTYL, PTL, TMI, LOL…

Now don’t think that I’m against abbreviations. I use LOL, FB (for Facebook), TTYL, and BTW. Abbreviations can be a good thing. (Although I’m getting discouraged trying to write “abbreviations” over and over again. Why isn’t “abbreviations” abbreviated?)

I remember watching a girl’s flying fingers as she texted, marveling at how quickly she responded to each message she got. That is, until I found out that to write a sentence that originally might be ten words, you only have to insert numbers and a few letters here and there, and VIOLA! Your sentence is now a quarter of an inch long. (Now again, I’m not against texting! I do it myself. But I do think that is one reason why many kids can’t spell worth beens. I mean, beans.)

And do you know what else? (Hehe…) Kids aren’t the only ones that have horrible spelling or bad grammar…

Cap Canyon Bus Poster Jul21,2013 - Two Misspellings

↑ “Wrold Famuos” or “World Famous”? (Notice that it’s not just the “wrold” that’s spelled wrong…”famuos” is too. ↑

Funny Typo

↑ Comguadulatioms? Comgwads to you, too. 😀 ↑

↑ Click her to visit our website 🙂 ↑


Would you like a handy cape?

Inferior Fashion Decor

↑ Thanks, but even if I needed fashion decor, I wouldn’t want the inferior solution. ↑


↑ I’m not sure I’d want to send a child to whatever college they’re advertising. ↑

Watch out for using commas, too.

For instance, if I find inspiration in cooking my family and my dog, you can tell, for one thing, that I missed one or two commas in there, and, for another thing, that I must be sick, because I hate cooking.

And, just for good measure, I’ll give you a few pictures of translating gone bad.

Carefully Slip and Fall Down

Pork Bum by dirge.

Funny Typo

↑ Dear Customers! The restaurant administration is not responsible for the personal staff left unattended. ↑

↑ I love the Apple Wapple 😛 (I think it’s supposed to be “waffle”.) ↑

↑ I’m not sure about you, but an elevator in China doesn’t seem that convenient to me. ↑


All that to say…

Spelling is a virtue.

P.S. Spell-check thinks “ain’t” is a word.

A Post Dedicated to Henry

Guess what?

My little brother’s pretty cute! And funny. And silly. And strange. And ticklish. (*ahem* All Bergens are ticklish. If you ain’t ticklish, you ain’t a Bergen! It’s one of those family traits that gets passed down from generation to generation.)

Anyway, since I haven’t posted about Henry since…well, since who-knows-when, I figured maybe it’s about time. Especially since he’s so cute and funny and silly and strange. And ticklish.

Here is a rather strange conversation I overheard between Henry and Abby:

Abby: “Say ‘flower’.”

Henry: “Burp.”

Abby: “Um, say ‘eye’.”

Henry: “Burp.”

Abby: “No, say ‘eye’! Oh well, instead say ‘one’.”

Henry: “Burp.”

Abby: “No, one. How old are you?”

Henry: “Book.”

Abby: “How old are you?”

Henry: “Mun.” (This is how he says “one”.)

Abby: “Good job!” [burps] “Henry, what did I just do ?”

Henry: “Burp.”

Abby: “Soooo…what’s your name?”

Henry: “Where is it?”

And speaking of Henry’s name, in Henry’s own words, where is it?

Why, if his real name is Henry, do we call him things like Alice, Al Capone, Pristopher (like Christopher, only with a “P”), Hank/Hankub, Manny, Toosun, Honey Bunches, Lanitoba (like Manitoba, only with an “L”), Henna, Bubs, Tippers, Tapone, Kip/Tip, Doodles, Alphonso, Hyin, Bithitoe, Al-bithitoe-balooey-gigawagater (yes, some of us ACTUALLY call him that!), Popeye, York/Yorkie, Birdie, Puggles, Pudgibalooey and BAD-BOY!?

Henry’s favorite words are Birdie, Car, and No! Birdie sounds like “Bir-DEH.” We have a nest of two robins (and their babies) on our front porch, so he says bir-DEH quite frequently. We live right on the highway, so he also gets to say “car” just as often as bir-DEH. And *ahem* he likes to use “No” whenever possible too.

He’s also a fan of this sign:

Henry likes to laugh at himself. He probably got that talent from me. I laugh at myself a lot too. Only I do it because I think I’m so dumb, and he does it because he thinks he’s so smart. 😉 Big difference…the main difference being that he’s incredibly cute when he laughs at himself. No forehead-smacking or sick-seal-guffaws…more like a nose-wrinkle, a few giggles, and a hiding of his cute little face behind his two tiny hands. Sometimes he’ll rock back and forth and squeeze his eyes shut if he’s feeling especially silly. *ahem* Of course, the eyes don’t stay shut for long…soon they’re squinting open as he looks around the room to find out who all is admiring his little show.

This is my little bro:

Why is it that kids always wear the shoes of the people they love best? [Those shoes are mine…] 😀


Poor guy–can’t quite fit his little self in Fisher Price’s Little Mart! Close enough though, right?


Better watch your backs [and necks] around this little man!


“I don’t smile for cameras.”


First haircut. Yes, even big guys like you need trimming now and then!


I think he was supposed to be a shepherd [with no sheep]. Or maybe Joseph [with no Mary]. Or maybe he was just being Henry.


Cute, huh? Actually, that last one isn’t Henry. That’s Riley. Even I don’t believe how much they look alike — at least what Riley looks like in this picture and what Henry looks like now. Up there, Riley’s feet looked exactly like Henry’s do now, and their hands and eyes and mischievous grins are almost identical. Besides, just like Riley, Henry is the type of guy who would spill all the animal crackers out of the bag, stuff some in his mouth, and then get all cute and smiley when you find him… 😉 Haha!

Most of the kids in the Craig and Esther Bergen family have been early talkers and late walkers. Maybe Henry wasn’t an early walker compared to some other kids, but compared to ours…he was. And he’s a late talker. Colby was saying words like “Inconceivable” by the time he was one and a half — okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration — and Henry’s biggest word is probably something like “Burp.” But that’s okay, he’s still pretty cute anyway.

He calls me Tee-tee, for Katie, or sometimes Tate, for Kate. When Mom brings him to my room to wake me up in the mornings, Henry will say a long, drawn-out, “Teeeeeeee-teeeeeeee,” just like he hears Mom saying, “Kaaaaaaaa-tieeeeeeee.”

He calls Brady “Bruder,” for brother.

Riley is “Yee-yee.”

Colby is “Co-co.”

Abby is “Bab-buh.”

Brittany is “Bit,” for Brit.

And his own name is just, “Yen-yee.” Or something like that.

At church, when Mitchell (my brother-in-law, who is leading singing this month) directs the congregation with his hand, Henry starts waving his hand too. And once as the choir finished a beautiful, energetic number, he yelled, “Yaaaaaaaay!” and clapped his hands for us.

Yes, he’s slightly adorable.

When he’s not crying, that is.

And, er…speaking of crying… Perhaps I should get off the computer and go put dear little Hank to bed.

My Kind of Jamberry

‘Kay, so ya know how everyone’s been so crazy about Jamberry lately? I’ve used some of Jamberry’s stuff and I like it just fine…besides the fact that it costs money.

And because I don’t like spending money if I don’t have to, I made my own Jamberry.

Rather, I found my own…I didn’t make it.

Wanna see?

Scroll down and keep looking, then.

I’ve never done a tutorial. *ahem* But I can always try. (The word “try” leaves room for mistakes…so if this isn’t perfect, I’m sorry. I’ll do my best.)

(P.S. I did post some of these pictures on Facebook, so to my Facebook friends, this may be old hat. But to the rest of you…enjoy!)

-No-Heat Orange Jamberry Nails-
{the homemade version}

You will need:


Sharp scissors

Fingernail clippers

1. Peel stickers off oranges. (You will need approximately three stickers for each hand.)

2. For first finger, choose a thin sticker and fit it to finger. Cut it to size.

3. Smooth out any wrinkles.

4. Lay another sticker over next finger.

5. Cut around it and smooth wrinkles.

6. Repeat steps for next two fingers.

7. If desired, choose a different color for thumb to create unique look.


8. Step back and admire! 

Like it? Then share with your friends, folks! Don’t keep this awesome new Jamberry style a secret!




Haha, hope you all enjoyed! 😀 I sure did…even though the silly stickers came off after about five minutes… 😉

Yeah, I’ve kinda been away awhile… :)

‘Kay, so I guess it’s time to maybe update you a little on life. I actually do have valid reasons for why I haven’t been on here lately (or on Taking Up the Cross), so here goes.

I took an online two-month-long college course. On Theology.

I learned about all sorts of things like the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, gnosticism, docetism, concursus, general vs. special revelation, Christocentrism, cosmogony, the Logos, recapitulation, adoptionism, divinization, fideism, modalism, pneumatology, protoevangelium, and perichoresis, as well as five biblical covenants: Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and New.

I studied so many important historical people like Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Celsus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian of Carthage, Origen of Alexandria, Arius, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus.

We looked at the biblical canon and the writings: “The Shepherd of Hermas,” “Didache,” and the epistle of Barnabas, as well as the Nicaean Creed, both the 325 version and the 381.

We talked about the struggles the early church went through and why Christians were called the “haters of humanity.” We discussed some of the ideas some wandering Christians embraced and turned into a completely warped religion (such as gnosticism). We explored the true meanings of words like “heresy” and “total depravity.” We talked about the ways people have translated the Bible over time: Typology, literalism, and allegory.

On the discussion forum, students debated about the Trinity and why it is important to the life of a Christian. We wrote about general vs. special revelation and the relevance of each to our lives. We answered questions about inerrancy vs. infallibility and gave our reasons for seeing tradition and personal experience as possible dangers in being sources of our theology. We talked about ecclesiology and what types of churches we came from (congregational, Presbyterian, episcopal).

There were ten lessons, one annotated bibliography, and one exam, all to be completed in two months. One lesson consists of two chapters of assigned reading (hard, long reading), the video lecture (which can last anywhere from half an hour to an hour and ten minutes), note-taking and note-studying, a ten-question multiple choice quiz (that has to be completed in ten minutes), and posting an answer to the two or three questions on the discussion forum. But your discussion forum posts count towards your grade, so you want to do more than one post per lesson and “interact” with other students who have posted there before you.

From January 2nd to February 26th, I read approximately 160 pages, completed nine quizzes, watched ten video lectures, wrote approximately 25 posts on the discussion forum, finished the hour-long final exam, and turned in my annotated bibliography.

I was exhausted.

A total of two and a half hours were spent on quizzes and the exam, and over eight hours on lectures. I filled approximately 30 pages of my notebook with handwritten notes and typed over 4,600 words in lecture notes on my computer (as well as at least 1,200 more words as I prepared my bibliography).

If I calculated the minutes and hours of study time and reading that it took to prepare for the exam and the annotated bibliography, it would probably amount up to days, not hours.

If I measured the tears I cried, it would probably amount to gallons, not cups.

January and February of 2015 have probably been the most hated, yet the most loved months I have ever spent in studies. Theology was rewarding — I learned a lot, especially in the historical department. Names, dates, terminology all ran together and exploded from my packed, mashed, sardines-in-a-can brain…what names and dates and terminology that didn’t completely fly over my head in the first place. But I still learned, and, actually, the biggest learning time for me was when I went back and studied for the exam, because I had to really pound those things in my head and make sure they stayed there!

I cried more and prayed more these past two months than I have in a long, long time. It was a growing experience for me in more ways than one. I discovered on the discussion forum that I have opinions of my own and an ability to express them, through writing, to others. I now have some idea what college will be like. And in the end, it was all worth it!

Throughout this whole course, the hardest thing for me was the annotated bibliography (I never want to do another one of those in my LIFE!) and the scariest thing — the one that kept me awake at nights — was the thought of sitting down at my computer for a whole hour and taking an exam…one that I didn’t even know for sure how to study for, since I’d never taken an exam like that before.

I actually had nightmares about it.

I dreamed that I sat down and clicked the button that would take me to the exam. I pressed the “confirm” button when I was asked if I really wanted to take the exam… “Once started, this exam cannot be retaken. Are you sure you want to continue?” 

Yes. I’m sure.

In my dream, the exam page came up, and…and all of the sudden I had to go to the bathroom worse than I ever had in my life! So I quickly got up and ran down the hall to the bathroom. When I got back, the countdown on the screen was at 8. Eight minutes? Well, I suppose I’ll get as much done as possible in eight minutes. And then the 8 went to 7 and the 7 went to 6. And I realized that I had, not eight minutes, but eight seconds. Rather, three seconds by the time I realized my mistake. And then the numbers turned red as the countdown neared finish time…3 seconds, two seconds, one…and then…then I failed. I got zero questions right out of zero. Zero!

I woke up with my heart in my throat, my knees shaking.

Thankfully that wasn’t the way it happened during the real exam.

As soon as I finished the exam — which was at after 9 o’clock one night — I decided that the next day I would do nothing. Nothing. In celebration of the fact that I was done studying. Done reading and comprehending hard facts. Done annotated bibliographies. Done exams. Done quizzes. Done lectures. Done note-taking. Done with the discussion forums. Done worrying. Done crying.

Done everything.

And so the next day I did nothing. Well…next to nothing.

And I hated it. I walked around the house all day feeling cross and tired and wondering what on earth I was going to do with the rest of my life.

Seriously. What was left? Chores, yes…chores which had been badly neglected in the past several months. School, yes…school which had been badly neglected in the past several months. But school and chores…ick. There’s more to life, isn’t there? Now I’ll have time to sit down and read for pleasure. Now I’ll have time to visit friends. Now I’ll have time to just live life.

But what is the purpose of it all?

It took me a while to get back into normal life after such a busy studying schedule, and I’m afraid I’m still not quite there yet.

But it DOES feel nice to wake up in the morning and not have studies hanging over my head. It IS nice to fall asleep quickly at nights without having to worry about looming exams. It IS nice. It IS.


But then, what was the purpose of Theology? For me, it was to learn more about my God, my Creator, my Savior. And I did.

What’s the purpose of life? If anything, the Theology course told me that the purpose of life IS GOD HIMSELF. God made life. If we don’t have God, what do we have? Nothing! Nada – Nil – Zip. We don’t have anything!

So I’m going to keep learning about God, and this time it’s going to be through His word, the Bible. And through His Word (capital “w”), Jesus Christ. I’m going to keep learning about the huge sacrifice Jesus made by giving His own life for mine.

I’m going to keep learning and learning and learning, because when it comes to God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, one can never know all there is to know.

And that right there, my friends, gives my life meaning. Jesus Christ gives my life meaning.

I don’t have the right to ask for a purpose in my life, but He gave it anyway.

So goodbye folks. I’m gonna go live now.