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Friday, December 19, 2008

Blessed Beyond Measure

I've been thinking lately about what it really means to be thankful. And also what it looks like to live a life that is transparently grateful and humble. Why is it so easy for me to say that God's grace is sufficient for me, but so difficult for me to actually prove that to others by overcoming my "love" for the world? I feel like I rarely lift my heart in true thanks to Christ for what He has done for me and what He has given me here in this life.
Not kidding, people. I genuinely married the man of my dreams. Some of you know that for the past couple months I have kinda been on a roll. I'm generally a very healthy person, but lately I've spent a lot of time at the doctor's office or the ER. Most of my ailments have left me pretty useless as far as housework, doggy-duty, and supportive-wife stuff goes. That has left Dameon with a lot of burden on his shoulders. (He would never call it a burden, but I definitely would.) Somehow he has kept up with everything that I've dumped on him, taken care of me every step of the way, and not even rolled his eyes at me! Phew! That's a lot to take on. But besides his recent increase in responsibility, I love him for so many other reasons, too. (Some of which I'll clearly have to save for a Valentine's Day post or something.) I think I take for granted so many things about him. For one thing, he is an extremely hard worker. He is always trying to figure out ways to take care of his family more...I can't wait til he gets to be a dad!! He's also extremely sensitive, which is so rare. He never hesitates to talk about his feelings or ask me to share mine. He knows how to talk about problems and is quick to humble himself and apologize. (I hope I can learn to be more like him someday.) But more than anything, he loves the Lord more everyday. I can look back in just the short time I've known him and see many ways God is working in his life.
Without hesitation, I can say that I deserve NONE of this. Why has God blessed me, the greatest of sinners, with so much? How can I even begin to feel in my heart the gratitude that I owe? The truth is, as wonderful as he is, Dameon is not my joy. I cannot put my hope in him and he certainly can't put his hope in me. I can only delight myself in the Lord and wait on Him. I'm excited for how He will continue to work in our lives as individuals and in our marriage.
(Okay, so I feel like this is just a series of random thoughts, but I'm okay with that.) I think it's important during this "Season of Hope" to take time to consider where our hope really lies.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sometimes I miss preschool...

Having a new job this year is such a huge blessing! Don't get me wrong, I loved my two years at DR-M and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I still have friends teaching there, who I miss seeing and chatting with on a daily basis. But I am so thankful to be working here in town, and in the same district as my husband. Teaching Kindergarten is surprisingly a lot different than teaching preschool! The kids are so much more independent at the wise old age of 5 and 1/2. They can write their names, wipe their noses (kinda), and walk in a line. Phew!
But, I think the biggest thing I miss about teaching preschool (besides my top-notch associate) is all the funny stories I would come home with each day. For some reason kindergartners are just that much more grown-up and logical...or something. So I've decided I'm going to make a countdown of my all-time favorite teaching stories/moments for your reading pleasure. I'm hoping you find them humorous and not just had-to-be-there. While I don't have the time to type them all right now, I still want to share them. So I think I'll do one each day.

So it was my first year of teaching, and it was the beginning of the year. This meant I had to wade through a lot of assessment with the kids to get a baseline for where they were at and where we were headed. On this particular day, I needed to assess each individual child on letter identification. Basically I would hold up a card with a letter on it to see if he/she knew what the letter was. The kids were doing okay with it, and I was generally pleased with the number of letters they already knew. These were 3-year-olds, so it's not like I had huge expectations. As I'm assessing this one little guy, I notice his tone of voice and expression are quite annoyed and "over it". Almost like he thinks this is the most pointless thing he's ever done in his three years of living and he can't believe I'm wasting his time with such petty tasks. Now, this MIGHT make sense if he was whipping through the letters with ease, having already mastered all 26. But this wasn't the case. For every letter I presented, his response was the same: "18". And every time he said "18", he was more annoyed than the time before. It was basically getting to the point where he was hardly taking the time to even look at the letter before rolling his little eyes and saying, "18." To me, this was both hilarious and concerning. So we continue to work our way through the alphabet and it goes like this:
(I show S)
(I show M)
(I show E)
You get the point. The next letter I present is letter 'O'. I'm not expecting the child to even hesitate, and he doesn't. But instead of spitting out his usual "18", he instead says, "head."
It took me a second to realize what he meant, and then I got it. I had to look away so I could giggle a little. Isn't that SO cute?!? Classic.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My brother the rockstar!

Yes, it's true. My little brother, Brad, is on his way to stardom...and has already achieved it if you ask me. Not only is he amazing on the guitar, the kid can sing! And that's not all. He is also a genuinely great songwriter. Matt Wertz, watch out!
Most recently Brad wrote and performed a song at my aunt's funeral. I was blown away by the way he kept his composure and sang a song that had such a perfectly appropriate message for that day. Wowza!
He is in the process of recording a mini-album of his original work, which will soon be released by yours truly right on this very blog. :) Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The wedding was beautiful!

The dust has settled and the newlyweds are (I'm sure) enjoying their Hawaiian honeymoon. The wedding went off without a hitch! They had a beautiful day and tons of friends and family there to celebrate. I'll admit I was a little under the weather, but still managed to have a great time! Annie was, as predicted, the most radiant bride and Ryley didn't look too bad either.

As you can see, the sudden onset of illness prevented me from making it to my spray-tan appointment so...sorry if you're a little blinded by my whiteness. I did end up liking my hair, though. My Iowa City stylist suggested that I go with a "retro" style. When I first suggested this to wedding hair stylist she said, "Oh yeah, like Amy Winehouse." uh....the only thing that brings to mind is eyeliner and crazy frizz rat's nest. But she reassured me that it would be more like smooth in the front and then big volume in the back. I told the lady I'd already had my day of being a bride, so I wasn't too picky. It turned out pretty cool.

All in all, it was a great day. I had so much fun spending time with good friends and being there to witness such a monument in Annie's life. I look forward to hearing Annie's tales of newlywed-ism and maybe offering some words of advice here and there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Annie's gettin' hitched

This coming weekend is one that has been anticipated for many weeks, months, and even years. I remember when I got the phone call. I was standing in the Atlantic Wal-Mart on the morning of Christmas Eve 2007. The place was bustling with last-minute shoppers. I was thrilled to actually be getting cell phone service, since nearby Elk Horn, IA is most definitely a dead zone. I was shocked when Annie made her announcement, since just two short months prior I had asked her on the phone, "So...should we be anticipating a 2008 wedding?" To which she quickly scoffed and said, "No. No way."
I was so thrilled for her...and for myself. I could now live vicariously through her and thus fill the wedding-withdrawl-sized hole in my heart. (Not that marriage isn't great, but that day goes by way too quickly!) Okay, but seriously, I am so excited for Annie and Ryley to make this life-changing and life-long commitment to each other. Marriage is a blessing and a gift, not to be taken lightly. Not that I'm all that wise or anything, but I do know that the Lord uses marriage to teach you so many things about yourself and about Himself. How awesome is that?
I'm honored to be able to stand up with Annie this weekend as she takes her vows and officially becomes Mrs. Bjustrom and I'm so thankful for her enduring friendship.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

In a classroom full of kindergartners, there's always funny and quirky things coming out of their mouths but it seems like I've forgotten most of it by the end of the day...unless they are truly classic. Today was a particularly good day for classics.
This week is homecoming week, so each day is designated as a different dress-up day. Today was deemed "Crazy Day", and the kids were supposed to dress in wacky colors, inside out and backward clothes, different shoes, etc. About mid-way through the morning, one little guy announced, "I've got my shirt on backward, my pants on backward, and my underwear on backward." Wowza. That's dedication.
This was also the day that a group of high school cheerleaders, athletes, and drumliners (my personal favorite) came to our school to do a pep assembly. The kids were so thrilled to see all this excitement live and up close! As the pep assembly ended and we were heading out for recess, I overheard a conversation between two of my girls---
"I'm going to be a cheerleader when I grow up. Are you?"
"Yeah! I changed my mind about princess and doctor."

Friday, October 3, 2008

They say a puppy is a good precursor to parenthood...

This is our sweet puppy, Rufus. Rufus loves to go on walks, play fetch, snuggle, and lick. We feel that, generally speaking, we have trained him well. He most often goes to the back door when he needs to go out, he walks pretty well on his leash, he's quiet at nighttime, he rarely barks, he has a great personality and he knows "sit". But, as we've discovered time and time again, Rufus's first love in life is toilet paper. He loves to pounce around and shred it into as many tiny pieces as possible, spreading it throughout the house, leaving a very convicting trail behind him. Despite our best efforts to have a perfectly well-mannered pup, we can no longer leave our toilet paper on the actual toilet paper roll. We often forget to tell our guests this important information, and likely leave them in a panic until they either look behind them and find the roll on top of the toilet tank, or resort to the unfortunate art of the drip-dry. Rufus will even create a diversion if he sees an opporunity to get his mouth on a sweet morsel of tp. He'll run to the back door as if he urgently needs to go outside, but as soon as we catch up to him, he darts back to his little treasure and rip as fast as he can. Of course, it's difficult to be angry with him because he's so darn cute and is has mastered the pet-store-puppy-dog look that got us to buy him in the first place. We'd really like to get this problem under control, so if you have any tips, please let us know!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nothing Better

Now that we've crossed the threshold into our second year of marriage, I feel like some of my tidbits of wisdom on the topic are worth sharing. Here are a few things I've learned...

1. If you lay completely still, keeping your breathing as slow and steady as possible, your husband will be less likely to make YOU take the whining dog outside at 4:00 a.m.

2. Marrying someone who will eat most anything and do it with a really great "this is the best spaghetti I've ever tasted and I'll never get sick of it even if we eat it 4 times a week" face should definitely be in your Top 3 criteria when searching for a mate.

3. I'm not always right, I'm not always right, I'm not always right, I'm not always right...(but I am right most of the time)

4. Filling up 92% of your DVR space with Jon and Kate plus 8 episodes gets difficult to justify after awhile.

5. If you're going to put a five-pound rump roast down your garbage disposal....just don't.

*Being married is the best thing ever. Especially when your husband loves you despite items 1-5.

Jumping on the bandwagon...

It's not that I really have that much to say, but being a teacher pretty much guarantees great stories and "kid moments" on an almost-daily basis. I've been trying for two years now, to keep better records of the hilarious things that happen at school. I love rushing home to tell my husband the funny quote or story of the day, and I've realized my friends and family get a kick out of my stories, too. So, I'm going to give this blogging thing a try. I'm sure I won't be able to get to it every day but hopefully it will be a good record of moments and memories. And I'll sprinkle in a few tales of being a newlywed and first-time dog owner, too. Here we go...