Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2009

" For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
 and the government will be on his shoulders. 

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, 
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." 
Isaiah 9:5-7

Merry CHRISTmas from our home to yours!


Friday, December 18, 2009

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, sho does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Phillipians 4:4-7

I'm thankful for friends who are helping me pull through.  I'm thankful for a tender and caring husband who is learning that just being there is enough.  I'm thankful for my mother and the words she speaks about God's goodness.  I'm thankful for doctors who are forging ahead, not dwelling on things that don't work and not wasting our money.  I'm thankful for all of my friends that are pregnant right now (which is a lot)...don't ever believe the lie that I am not happy for you...I am!  I'm thankful that my God is SOVEREIGN, GOOD, LOVING, and that His will is always PERFECT.

The reason I have been sharing our struggle with fertility is because of how blessed I have been by the wisdom, insight, and care from others.  It seems a little bit more normal then, not like the elephant in the room that no one is asking about.  Also I know people are interested...even if they do not admit it.  And finally, because when I hear, read, am invited in to share in others' struggles I am almost always blessed myself.  I could not go through this alone and if I did the pit would be beckoning me every step of the way.  You, friends, have pointed me to the  cross and for that I am so very thankful.

It's not an easy struggle...but the Lord gives life.  He alone creates children and I believe wholeheartedly in a God who incredibly Sovereign, even in things that do not seem to make sense.  Even if we are never able to have our own children.  Even if he takes Alex away. 

To give you a brief glimpse of where we are...clomid did not work.  Ovaries are still stubborn and unwilling to ovulate.  So we are moving on.  The greatest blessing this week was that we are not so far away from meeting our deductible so the next 4 cycles of treatment will be paid for 100%.  That is a huge blessing.  We're moving on to Gonadotraphins.  Here's to 2010:)  Cheers!

Happy Birthday to my Favorite Triplets!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to Luke, Kate and Jack!!

These lovely kiddos are turning 6 today!  And the best part about it, is that tomorrow we will see them in person.  I love these kiddos so much and so does Uncle Alex.

To Kate...the girl following right in my footsteps...I love your passion for art, for anything frilly, sparkly, or just plain outrageous, and your kindness:)  You are such a blessing!

To Jack...the boy who loves knowledge and learning, bashful and yet the life of the party, and the one who does a mean Michael Jackson make my heart skip a beat!

To Luke...the sweetest, most loving little boy...without you 'Black Eyed Peas' would just be a group, now it's a memory...the boy with mad ball make each day brighter!

I am so excited to see my brother and Jen's three amazing kids tomorrow...wishing you lots of laughter, love and joy today and the rest of your 6th year!

We love you!
Auntie Andie (dunner) and Uncle Alex

Latest Books Finished

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In the past couple of months I have finished some really good books.  Here they are:

The American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee

How People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp

Things Worth Remembering and Tender Grace by Jackina Stark

Food Matters by Mark Bittman

18 days ago...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

18 days ago I turned 29, one year closer to 30.  18 days ago I didn't really think anything of it.  And then as I sat watching 'Julie and Julia' tonight, I realized she was like me when she decided to do the Julie/Julia project...29.  I am NOT going to work my way through Julia Child's "How to Master the Art of French Cooking" but I might buy it:)

During the movie, Alex turned to me and said..."Honey, remember when you were so passionate about food?"  Apparently my lack of inspiration in the past few weeks has showed! 

Yup...I remember.  I remember rushing around at all hours of the day to complete my baking masterpiece while trying to cook my way through Dorie Greenspan's cookbook with fellow bloggers.  I remember pulling my first turkey from the oven, being ecstatic opening any kind of food gift, and making a huge mess of the kitchen and just shrugging it off.  I remember loving every minute of it. Simple fascination...similar I guess to when I realized Alex was the one.

But that woman I was has been lost a little along the way. That joy for's diminished a little.  And frankly, I don't like it one bit.  In 2005 I read Julie Powell's book...right when it was coming out...I was following her blog.  It was good, but the movie was so much better. 

Thank you Julie and Julia for reigniting a passion, a love for simple food that tastes absolutely delicious.  Maybe my 29th year won't be so bad after all.

A great post

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I headed over to True Woman today because the title of a blog post caught my interest:

Should she be a doctor?


 The article pertained to whether a young woman should pursue a degree as a doctor if she also wanted to be a wife and mother.  As a woman who was in the midst of finishing my Master's and then stopped, I was curious what other women would say.  I chose my direction after a lot of prayer and ultimately I know for me, I'm right where I should be.  I really liked what they had to say!

14 days until christmas...

and I can't wait!  Waiting is not my strong suit. EVER.  I was that kid who hunted down presents and shook them to no end, anticipating what was inside:)  This season of Christmas, though, offers the best kind of waiting...if there is such a thing.  Waiting expectantly and full of hope for Jesus.

But waiting...for a baby, for Jesus, for God to a charachter trait the Lord is building in me as we speak.  As I wait these next 14 days I hope my eyes are stayed on what is truly important this Christmas time...not the presents, cookies, quality time with family, Santa...but on the birth of a child who changed my life.  Without his birth, he couldn't have taken my wrath on calvary...and for the return of Jesus...for this I can wait.

Merry Christmas a few weeks early:)


Monday, November 23, 2009

here's a good article opposing obamacare...the health care reform bill sounds great in theory until it's put into place and things we stand for are thrown straight into the trash.

Abortion, Euthanasia, Eugenics, and Ethics Problems with Health Care Reform

God has a sense of humor

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First things first, I got myself out of the house for a great walk/run this morning.  It was during this great endorphin high that I realized how irony and humor come in to play when it comes to the Lord.

During this season of not knowing whether my body will ever be able to bring forth life, the Lord has been good to me, even causing a chuckle here or there.  I've been focusing on the goodness of the Lord and how being with him is better than life, any life.  So on my walk, I was checking my google reader and guess what, yet another person was pregnant.  Whether it's people I know personally or in the blogosphere, this is the time for bringing forth life.

During this season, I have a few choices...I can be embittered by this, acknowledge it and forge ahead, or I can embrace it and be joyful for those who are expecting.  I'm in between the latter two, because if I'm honest being embittered just does not fit my personality.  There are things better than chocolate for instance, or so I'm fighting to believe!

So back to google reader...after reading the post, I laughed out loud.  Good thing there wasn't anyone around, it was quite a chuckle I had with the Lord.  He's pretty funny!  Why was I laughing and thinking he has a sense of humor.  Because I believe that sometimes the Lord puts trials in our lives to produce in us godliness, endurance, and faith in his will, not ours.

  "we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces charachter, and characherter produces hope..." Romans 5:3-4

I had a little conversation with the Lord at that point here's a quick synopsis:

me:  Lord, you're pretty funny...seriously, another person, you have got to be kidding...(insert laughter)

lord:  kidding, i am not. 

me: i know, Lord.  you are better than life, better than a baby, better than anything.  it will be okay, even if you never bless us with children, because you are better than anything this life can offer.

lord:  know this..."In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world" John 16:33

me:  thanks for the overflowing of life...i can laugh now at the irony, because i'm growing in my understanding of who you are and why you put trials in our way...thank you for testing my faith.

Indianapolis in Pics

Monday, November 9, 2009

On the Train in our hotel

With Alex's Parents

Alex and Mark being silly

MN winners

MN winners and NARI members

Pete and Jane

Alex and I


Thursday, November 5, 2009

The all-sufficient one...El Shaddai...The Lord is enough

For Abraham in Genesis, the Lord was enough.  He was the "pourer forth," the one who pours himself out for his creation (noted from Lord I want to know You, Kay Arthur).  His Grace is sufficient, He is enough.  This is what the Lord has been teaching my heart these past few days.  No matter what comes our way, no matter the day and hour, He is all sufficient...enough.

When I am honest with myself, like I was yesterday, I know I am not acknowledging the Lord as enough.  There are things I want, things I don't understand, things that hurt.

As a child, I always wanted to be the mommy to my dolls, stuffed animals, to anything.  I'm a nanny.  I was a early childhood major in grad school.  It's obvious I love children.  Right now, the one thing I was ready for, wanting, thought might come a little easier, is not.  About a month ago, I was referred to an Infertility Specialist.  Disheartening, yes.  Encouraging, maybe.  A test of faith, absolutely.

Maybe we'll get pregnant, maybe not.  But at the end of the day, I hear my Savior asking, "Am I enough?"  Yes Lord, whether you open my womb or not You are ENOUGH!

As I stumble down this new road, new path for our lives, I'm grasping hold of the verse that always comforts my heart:

"You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off";
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."  ( Isaiah 41:9b-10)

God's righteous right hand refers to Jesus...I want to be upheld by Jesus, the perfecter of my faith.  God hasn't promised to open my womb, to bless us with children, to make life easy, but he has promised that He will be with us every step of the way...rejoicing with us and suffering with us and at the end of the day, that is more than ENOUGH!

Three years in...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

On September 2nd Alex and I celebrated our third year of marriage.  I can't believe how quickly it has gone by and how so in love I am:)  I couldn't be more blessed to have this amazing man by my side!

People always ask us if we do anything for our anniversary and well, the answer is no.  We have in the past gone out to eat, but early on in our engagement we committed to NO gift-giving.  Sounds harsh, but really we want our marriage, birthdays, etc. to be built on moments spent together, not on material things that fade away.  Maybe it was the wallet I gave Alex on our first Christmas while dating that changed things for us...a beautiful brown Coach wallet, that was met with..."a wallet is kind of a personal thing" you see I had bought the wrong style, who knew!  (btw he still carries it:))

Our tradition of not giving gifts has actually benefitted us because we save money...and with that money we can afford to travel or experience small things together, something we love to the time Alex planned out my birthday to all the places I love to go, skiing for his birthday, or dinner in Scotland celebrating our 3 years of marriage.  These experiences have no value, they're priceless.

As we start year 4, I'm praying that we would grow into our roles and live out our vows!

I, Andrea (Alex) take you to be my husband (wife).

I promise before God and these witnesses to love and respect you always (love and cherish).  I have seen your love for God and I am confident that you will be a loving spiritual leader (loving wife).  As God has called me, I will be the helper (spiritual leader) in our marriage.  I promise to keep Christ first in my life, and will rely on Him to teach and guide me, so that I may fully become the wife (husband) you deserve as we serve God together.

I promise to be faithful to you and never leave you.  I promise to respect and submit to your leadership (seek to know and understand you and be sensitive to your needs).  I desire what is best for us and I will trust your judgement inleading me as God leads you (lead you lovingly as God leads me).  I promise to provide you with an abundance of encouragement and to communicate openly and honestly with you.  I will listen when you speak and keep what I hear.  I will trust you and honor you (love you and honor you), I will follow you (I will value you).  I will be your helper (leader) and your most trusted friend.

I will always be there for you and I promise to make our home a place of rest and refuge for you (demonstrate my love for you in ways you understand).  I love you.

Honey, I still love you, even more than ever.

Fun and Cute Decor on the cheap:)

Friday, October 23, 2009

I was never one of those girls that loved decorating, placing things in the right spot, finding the perfect item to complete the look...that was until we staged our home for sale and completed the famed flip.  Then again I was never a neat freak either, that is until we did those things previously mentioned.

Now I am a self-proclaimed neat freak, tiding every corner of the house and a decorator at large.  I love almost every show on HGTV, love perusing blogs on decor and all things decorative, and have loved getting my hands on spray paint and look forward to many new creations in our future because of it.  I think it's a fun hobby...a way of making our house our home...and it is a great way to make our home our haven, a place to relax and retreat.

I take pride in being a "homemaker" as God has called me to be a woman who "looks well to the ways of her house" (proverbs 31:27).  As Martha Peace says "A Godly wife is organized and works hard to operate her home with the least possible chaos.  She also creates an optimistic, joyful atmosphere for her family." (The Excellent Wife, pg. 71)  Obviously our treasure should not be spotless homes straight out of House Beautiful, but a place that gives off the aroma of Christ, but I have to think there's some room for some flair!

So here's my attempt at fun and cute atumnal decor on the cheap to add some FLAIR:)

These are just mini pumpkins that I bought at Target for $4.99 for I think 6-8 mini pumpkins.  Spray with off white spray paint for cute and fun, simple and inexpensive pumpkins for perfect fall decor.  Why white?  Well it matches the soothing creams, tans and blues of our home of course:)

Total investment: $10  and an afternoon of fun:)

The big award!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I think I mentioned Alex won a design award for our OLD house on Prior Lake.  Today we received the electronic version of the magazine article!

Check it out!

We're back...and finally adjusted:)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We made it!  And what a welcome back we had!  My friend and her husband were staying in our apartment while waiting for their house to close while we were gone...I think we might need them to stay here again if we ever go away!  Coming home to a spotless house was an incredible feeling especially since it was 11:45pm.  Thanks Steph!

Our last days in St. Andrews were really nice.  Alex and I were able to hole away a bit in our great room at the b&b while the winds howled outside our window as well as get out and explore the beautiful countryside, once the winds subsided.  From Inverness we headed south to St. Andrews where we finished out trip.  A visit to St. Andrews, the home of golf, would not be complete without those last few rounds, so Alex was excited to hit the links.  This time he skipped St. Andrews (he played it last year and the Dunhill Links was going on) and headed to Muirfield and Royal Aberdeen.  Muirfield was the only course that would not let me walk with him, it's a gentleman's women allowed.  I guess that's okay since it is the oldest Golf CLUB in the world.  So I was dropped in a beautiful little, seaside town where I relaxed with a mug of tea and was able to take in the gorgeous view of the ocean. 

We also had the opportunity to head to the Dunhill Links Tournament.  It's a tournament where the pros team up with ametuers including some well known people; Hugh Grant, Huey Lewis, Kyle MacLachlan, and more.  The second day was cancelled due to 70 mile an hour winds, so we were able to catch the last two days.  Best part, the tournament was free!  After the first day we watched, we happened to notice some of the ametuers giving autographs at the end, we low and behold we got Hugh Grant's!  It was very exciting b/c he is definitely one of our favorite actors and I must say I was hoping he might do a little dance, like in Love Actually:), but he didn't!

Our flight home was fairly uneventful as we left for the airport at 6am Scotland time (12 am here) and headed to Amsterdam, then to Detroit and then home.  We arrived back at 11:30 pm which was to our bodies, 5:30 am.  We managed to stay awake and it only took a couple of days to get back into our sleep pattern, surprisingly enough!  We are happy to be back and the Lord was so very good to us while we were there, strengthening our marriage, giving wisdom and direction for work, and just gave us a great time with Him.  It's good to be home:)

On to Scotland!

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's been a very chilly and delightful last few days!  We've navigated the curving roads of Scotland and have seen the most gorgeous landscapes.  It really makes me want to sell everything and head on over to own a little working farm:)  It's my Laura Ingalls love that is coming out in this great land full of sheep and Highland Cows (hairy coos to the locals).  Though I am not sure I am cut out for sheep and cattle, a chicken or two and a huge garden might just do it!

To begin where I left off, Alex and I found our way to our hotel in Ayr, Scotland and because of this great website Alex and I were able to stay in an amazing hotel for nearly a third of the price while staying there.  The Western House Hotel was a real treat:)  From Ayr, Alex headed to Prestwick to play golf while I relaxed in the hotel and caught up on some life in the US!  Following Prestwick, Alex and I headed to Turnberry for a great day of golf.  Alex teamed up with a man from South Africa who was not only friendly but offered to plan the trip of our lives when we decide we would like to head to Johannesburg.  It was a chilly and windy day while we were there but the course was in great shape.  If you haven't noticed already, the golf portion of the trip has begun:)

After two days in Ayr, we began driving north, entering the highlands.  With a brief stop in Stirling, we headed to Edinburgh for a little sightseeing and golf at North Berwick.  Edinburgh was okay, highlights included St. Giles Cathedral, home of John Knox the great reformer and Pizza Hut.  Yes, you read that right, sometimes there's just nothing like a taste of home (though if we're honest, we don't eat it at home, but it was really yummy over here).  North Berwick was a nice little course where I sat and enjoyed my book adn some tea while Alex braved the weather to play in the wind and rain.  The weather over here for this part of our trip has definitely been cooler, averaging between 42 and 55 degrees.

From Edinburgh we headed to Stirling and then on to Aberfeldy for a distillery tour.  When entering this part of the country, it became evident what trades are popular.  There must be one distillery per person:)  One whisky tour and sample later we were ready to head towards the famous Loch Ness in hopes of sighting the monster.  No nessies today, but a delightful drive through the countryside made the day quite perfect!  Parking our car in Inverness, almost at the top of Scotland, we got ready for golf the next day at Royal Dornoch.  Right along the North Sea, we were very far north, and felt every bit of it when we woke up to a chilly 40.  Gorgeous coastline and view from the course.  That brings us to today, where I am taking a day off from photographer on the course to settle in to our Marriott hotel room and catch up on things back home:)

That's all for now.  With less than a week left, we are sad to leave but excited for what the next week will look like.  We're off to St. Andrews for some golf, some great food, and the final round of the Dunhill Links!

Top of the morning!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes." 

England.  Quirky.  Beautiful.  Refreshing. 

For the past week, Alex and I have been traipsing all over England.  From London to Sunningdale, Southport to Lake Country.  England has not disappointed.  From Paris Alex and I flew Easyjet to London, where we settled in for a few days.  Last year, our time in London was very short, only one full day.  This year we stretched it out and it was grand.  Upon arriving at our B&B near the British Library and Museum, we found our bearings and then began exploring. 

Highlights included the British Library and viewing the Magna Carta, the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Gutenburg bible, and the codex sinaiticus (one of two of the earliest Christian bibles dating back to the fourth century).  Other highlights included the British Museum, Hare and Tortoise (one of our new found favorite Asian restaurants), a 3-story Whole Foods, Kensington High Street, Imperial War Museum, National Army Museum, and Sunningdale Golf Course.

We really liked London but after four days were ready to hop in our rental and head north!  Thank goodness Alex is left-handed, it's much easier for him to navigate and operate our manual car:)  From London we drove up to Southport, England home of Royal Birkdale, the golf course we visited last year for the Open Championship.  It was even more fun being there after the event, remembering fun little tidbits from the tournament, and enjoying the gorgous landscape.  From Birkdale we traveled even furthur north, stopping for hot chocolate and a walk towards Derwentwater lake in Keswick, the heart of lake country.  Then we stopped for a walk on Hadrian's wall.  All the while we were driving up and down winding roads, with lush green landscapes and the company of many, many sheep:)

We are now in Ayr, Scotland home to many of the best golf courses in the world; Turnberry, Troon, and Prestwick to name a few.  We'll keep you posted on how they fare:)

By far, what we have seen up until this point, we are uttering the words of cummings as we go, we thank you Lord for your gorgeous landscape.

Paris, then and now

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Five years ago in July I found myself in France.  That is literally and figuratively.  I went to Toulouse, France with Campus Crusade in the summer of 2004, and it changed me, forever.  I was older than most, a year already out of college, but the people that were with me were God-ordained.  I needed them, I needed a chance to just be me, and they let me do just that.  Not only did my teammates welcome me with open arms, so did the French.  That time around, the Lord sheltered me from the emptiness that exists for French women.  Instead, he showed me their confidence and a city that needed Him.  That trip was about growing more intimate with the Lord and having my eyes opened to His will for my life. It was about seeing the lost with the eyes of Christ and depending only on Him.

Songs of Summer 2004:  Blessed be your Name, Days of Elijah
Verse:  Habbakuk 1:5 was one;
"Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded.

 For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told"

This fall Alex and I returned.  A very emotional meeting if I might say so myself.  I was a little excited, a little afraid, a little disheartened.  What would the Lord have for me this time?  Upon landing, emotions hit me from every angle.  Where were my groupies?  Where was the Settlers board?  I didn't remember the language!

God answered.  He awoke me the first night for to sleeplessness to remind me of this:

You're the God of this City
You're the King of these people
You're the Lord of this nation
You are

You're the Light in this darkness
You're the Hope to the hopeless
You're the Peace to the restless
You are

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

 (God of this City; Chris Tomlin)

and this:

-that He is still very much at work there
-that He is in control
-that it's not about growing me this time, it's opening my eyes to the darkness that exists

Satan was very much present in Paris.  It came upon me almost instantly; the presence of Satan was almost palpable.  It was not the city of love but of lust.  Not the city of style but of distaste.  It was a city full of people who need the Gospel.  It is a city built on sinful ambition to be the best, look the best, etc.  It is a city that is ultimately empty.  Go quickly Dave and Heidi...this city needs you. 

Open their eyes and let them see Jesus.

A Short Sabbatical

Monday, September 21, 2009

We're on a short sabbatical.  We've been sharing that it was a vacation, but after much thought and reflection, it's far more than a's a sabbatical of sorts! 

Sabbatical or a sabbatical (from Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos, from Hebrew shabbat, i.e., Sabbath, literally a "ceasing") is a rest from work, or a hiatus...In recent times, "sabbatical" has come to mean any extended absence in the career of an individual in order to achieve something.

There is a reason.  There is a purpose.  

2 years ago on our first anniversary, Alex and I dreamed big in our little cottage at Madden's Resort in Brainerd.  We took the weekend to ask big things from the Lord and well he answered.

          -we watched a lot of flip that house (we didn't have cable then, so on vacation we watched tv)
            and we dreamed big...what would that look like, wouldn't that be fun to flip a house?
          -we discussed our house and where we would live, when to sell and if we should sell
          -we cast vision for South Face and our desire to work as a team in growing the company

Well, if you know us, you know the Lord has answered, directed, established, and blessed our prayers.  In the past two years, despite many days and weeks of sweat, tears, labor and love we accomplished all of these. 

            -We bought and sold our first flip and learned to depend on the Lord in new ways
            -After a year and a half of fixing, remodeling, and relinquishing, our house on the lake sold
            -After two years, the Lord answered our prayers for clarity on where to direct South Face

The Lord has answered, directed, established and blessed us.  Now it's time to refocus, reenergize, and seek again His guidance for these next years.  May You direct our minds to see Your will for our lives.

Our trip to Great Britian is not quite a vacation.  It's really a sabbatical.  We're taking a rest from work to reevaluate, refocus, reenergize: so we can hit the ground running when we get back and most importantly reconnect as a couple.  These past two years have made us stronger, but there hasn't been a lot of time to relax and really enjoy each other.

After 10 years of owning his own company and all that entails, Alex has earned a break.  It's not easy.

Things we're dreaming of right now:  a family, a design firm that allows us to work as a couple in the best capacity possible, a chance to flip another house, to be a couple that does not waste their life but instead lives it with a single passion: to display Christ.

A Run to Remember

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Today was a big day.  I ran in and finished my first half marathon.  Thinking over that statement, I think I am still in awe of accomplishment.  Not only because I finished but because I raised almost $1200 in the process for Lorenzen Cancer Foundation, a leading non-profit that uses its money to fund Pancreatic Cancer Research.

I wrote about my stepfather Jim and my desire to run with a purpose back in May...see this post. Last fall while we were busy flipping houses, I decided to start running again to beat the stress...I mean, who are we kidding, at that point there was a lot:)  So then when it was too cold to run, I sort of just stopped exercising all together, unless you count a few random dates with Jillian Michael and her 30-day shred.  So when spring came around, I jumped at the chance to start running again.  So in May, I got serious.  I laced up my shoes, paired it with a race, and got for what ultimately would be my first half-marathon.  So anyone can do it...3 months to a half!!

So back to the race...

Last night I was so nervous and giddy all in one little package, ready for the race.  I laid out my things, wrote a reminder note, and set the alarm for 5:15.  After an okay nights sleep, I awoke ready to go.

(here's my stuff...pants/shirt/socks, HRM and watch, Ipod charged up, waistpack with water, and shot bloks for extra energy)
(this is my friend Shari and I before the race...she did awesome!!!)
So after grabbing coffee and a peanut butter english muffin, I hopped in the car with Alex.  He so generously and lovingly drove me to Woodbury, held my things while I found the nearest port-a-potty...just in case, and came to four different mile markers to cheer me on...i love him.  There were around 400 people running in the race.
 To give some background, I haven't been training very vigorously, just trying to log some miles and get that long run in.  In the past 3 months, I've ran about 7 long runs, and lots of 3 mile runs.  Last week when I ran 10.5 miles I was averaging 12 minute miles, on Thursday I ran 2.5 at 9 minutes a mile, so for this race I was shooting for 11 min. miles, even if I came in dead last.  I was just trying to finish:)
(here I am gearing up for the start)
(here I am freezing hoping it will start was around 50 degrees this morning)
(around mile 6, jamming out to Third Day, Bebo, and others...getting my Praise on)
(crossing the finish)
Biggest accomplishment after raising money for a fantastic organization...I ran at a pace of...10 minutes and 30 seconds, torching 1200 calories!!!  Far beyond what I ever thought and ready to race's fun:)

and the award goes to??

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My amazing husband won another award and this one is even better
We entered 2 projects into the Qualified Remodeler Design Awards.  Qualified Remodeler is a renowned trade magazine for remodelers.  Well, we found out...
We won the GOLD in a very competitive field, best whole house under $200,000.
So in October we are headed to the award ceremony in Indianapolis...
Job well done Alex:)

To Abide

Friday, August 21, 2009

Abide: transitive verb 1. To wait for : AWAIT 2. To endure without yielding : WITHSTAND, to bear patiently : TOLERATE 3. To accept without rejection intransitive verb 1. To remain stable or fixed in a state 2. To continue in a place : SOJOURN John 15:7

"If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you."
so basically..."if you (wait/endure/accept) in me and my words (remain/continue) in you"
How can we abide?

The Little Black Book

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Last week, while putting all of our books on the bookshelf, I happened upon Alex's little black book. No, not that kind of little black book! This little black book was his journal, the journal he had while we were dating. And I did what most would do, I opened it. I read it from front to back! I mean, we're married now, what harm is there in that:) I was intrigued by what he thought, encouraged by his love for me, and reminded of his deep, deep love for Jesus. Here are some quotes (I asked his permission) that I happened to love...brought to you from the mind of Alex, through his little black book! -(Dec. 3rd-after dating 6 months) Things I'd like to tell Andrea: "I hardly want to spend time with anyone but you (why would I, you're my best friend) -(9/29-the night of our first kiss) "I wasn't even positive that I wanted to kiss her because I wasn't even sure if I was physically attracted to her...Boy did that turn out differently than I thought...she's amazing!" Don't worry that one made me chuckle, I knew that one already but it was just funny to hear it in his words...later he wrote how beautiful I was...God does amazing things:) To my best friend as we near three years...I love you!

My Grandma Ruth

Monday, August 10, 2009

"The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart; because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (romans 10:8)
This is my grandma Ruth, the mother of my mother.
Believer in Jesus, wife, mother, sister, and daughter.
This was at Easter, just five short months ago.
She lived 91 years, over 60 of them married Now she's with Jesus and the angels. I'm going to miss you. Last time I visited with her, a mere month ago we reminisced: her childhood on the farm (just like Laura Ingalls), her stint as a one-room school house teacher, dating my Grandpa, their wedding, serving our country as Rosie Riveter in the factory, her children, her cookies (yum!)... we remember her youth, her womanhood, her. We love you.

Our Vacation in WI

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We started off our vacation with a very special trip to Kohler, WI for some golf and relaxation with my dad and step-mom. Our room was magnificent, the shower amazing...I mean it's the home of Kohler fixtures, it better be good...and some amazing golf at Whistling Straits.
Here are the Kohler sheep...they allow the sheep (straight from Scotland) to roam the course:)
Then later in the week we headed up to our cottage...what a view!
Here's Luke fishing off the dock
Jack watching to see if he can find the fish
Kate getting cozy with Alex
Me and Kate...can you see the resemblance? Oh yes, that's b/c she looks like Daddy just like Auntie does too!
Grandma, Jack and Luke heading out on the paddle boat
The donuts from Manderfield's...the one on the bottom left, yeah that's my favorite:)
Alex and I golfing...if you look close enough you can see Alex teeing off.
Here's the birthday nephew AJ, who just turned 3
Peek...there he is!
Kate playing some catch
AJ's newest baby brother, Jace, wearing his cute plaid outfit from Auntie
Kate's new sparkly shoes...oh la la
The Winter's: Jen, Chris, Jack, Kate and Luke
Baby Jace...I just can't get enough:)
Auntie and Jace
Getting ready to blow out the candles
AJ with mommy and daddy
Grandma and the birthday boy

10 Realizations after a vacation in WI

Friday, August 7, 2009

Alex and I just got back from a 10 day "stay-cation" of sorts in WI. For the first time in our almost three years of marriage, we went back to my childhood home for more than a few days. This time around I wanted to eat at certain places, see certain people, and really experience and appreciate my hometown. This was NOT easy to do:) After living in MN for more than 10 years, being back in WI was a little shocking, but maybe not in the ways one would expect. So throughout the 10 day trip I came up with my top ten realizations after being back in my hometown...and these being said, I love my hometown! 1. Exercise is NOT a way of life. I realized this while Alex and I were playing Reid golf course, the muni track in town where my dad grew up playing. What did we notice...we were the only people over the age of 15 that were walking the course. This is a SHORT course people. It's just not the way of life. Sad:( 2. Life is much SLOWER. People live at a slower pace. They don't speed on the highway, you do not need to be a defensive driver, they enjoy relaxing, and seem to move, well just slower. 3. Appleton is a SMALL town with big city conveinances. I used to think Appleton was more metropolitan than it really is, in fact over the week, it dawned on me that it has lots of metro things like Chipotle, Panera, Godiva, a Coach store, etc. but the people, well they are unabashadly small town, and I LOVE it!! 4. The food is AMAZING! This is one thing the big city cannot replicate. I literally started salivating the minute I walked into Manderfield's bakery for my favorite donut I've been waiting 3 years to introduce Alex to. He agreed...they're the best. El Azteca, Friday night fish, Tom's Drive In, Manderfields, Nakashima, Pizza Palace, etc. Good food. 5. People love their SPORTS...Brewers, Packers, Badgers...It's a fact...we in WI love sports... 6. APPLE has not had the overwhelming success that is has in the city. In fact, there is no apple store...and not everyone is raving over it's newest creation. 7. The PHONE is still the way of contacting people. Unless you are under the age of 21, a person still makes most contact with another human being through the use of the home phone, office phone, or cell phone. No texting or email. Interesting:) 8. Driving 30 MILES really takes 30 minutes and most people think that is a long drive. As I hit up the outlet mall I realized that the EAA traffic everyone was talking about really only meant I would have a 5 minute delay in my 30 minute drive. There is no traffic as compared to the city, and yet most Appleton-ites would say they are starting to get a rush-hour. 9. An IKEA would not make it here. People are traditional in their stylings and still appreciate the solid oak cabinetry most here in the city would see as totally 80's and rip out. Modern has not yet left it's mark, nor has being GREEN for that matter:) 10. GROCERY shopping...this goes back to the where else can I get squeeky cheese curds for under $3. Gotta love that. Along those lines include kaiser rolls, brat buns, mozzarella whips, and more. There is NO place like home. I love the smell, the sights, the tastes, the idiosyncrasies, the novelty, and the fact that almost all of my family is there. The memories, the schools, the people big or small, the noises, the parades, I love all of Appleton and I was so happy to see everyone I did, sad not to see those I missed, and thouroughly satisfied in my stay-cation....Looking forward to next year:)

Apartment Living at its' Best!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We have a new home and it's at Park City West Apartments in Eden Prairie!! After signing away our house to the new owners last week, we are finally finding our way back into apartment living. For so many the prospect of going to an apartment can seem like wasted money and a step backwards. But for the Brogle's, moving to an apartment means less yard work, less money, and a step forward in investing. After much thought and the dismal options in our price range for a house, we decided on an apartment and settled on a 2b/2b apartment with 150 MORE square feet than our house, not to mention an increase in the number of closets...hurrah!! We also now have a fireplace, an exercise room, pool, tennis courts, and raquetball...anyone want to play? By no means will this be a permanent solution but for now and the next year or so, it's going to be home...and we love it! So if you didn't get an email with our forwarding address, pop me a email or text and we'll get it right over to you...

Books worthy of your time?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm in a reading slump...yes you read that right!
It's not that I haven't been reading, it's just whenever I set foot in the library I am uninspired as to what to read. Lately, I've found my found myself in the magazines, grabbing Runner's World, Travel and Leisure, and Shop Smart. I'm magazined out.
SO...I would like to know favorites, what books you have really liked, so I can add them to my list at the library. I NEED some inspiration!! Who knows what I will be oogling over next magazines??

It's Bittersweet!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We are moving...and it's bittersweet.
Join us as we reminisce through our first place.
Six? years ago:
Alex purchases the decrepit house on the lake and after hours, weeks, and months of sweaty, manual labor with friends and family the first major renovation of his career is finished.
Almost four years ago:
Alex and I start dating...most of our dates are spent either at the golf course or at this house, down on the lake, cruising in the boat, pulling each other water skiing, and sharing our first kiss.
Three years ago (as of April 17th):
After a not so great night of poor communication, we sit on the landing enjoying the view with a glass of wine and move inside the house later where Alex confesses his deepest affections for me and was simple and yet so utterly meaningful.
Three years ago (on September 2):
Alex and I get married, spend our first night together in the house, and move in together and start the best years of our lives so this house.
Two years ago:
We finish the patio outside and the landing, clear out the crawlspace for more storage and dream of our future...flipping houses, kids underfoot, putting a second story on. We dreamed together.
One year ago:
We put the house on the market the first time, fulfilled one dream of house flipping and set our minds on fulfilling so many more of them. Alex wins an award for best design of a whole house under $200,000 for his house, now so much OUR house.
We say good-bye to OUR house. The house where we've learned to adapt to each other, love one another, fight with each other, dream together and live life loving Jesus together. It's our first house, a good house, OUR house. We'll miss you!

God is GOOD...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

and how difficult it is at times to trust in this when he gives and takes away. One of our close friends has lost their baby at 18 weeks . Oh how my heart is grieving with them in their loss. To lose a child you feel moving in your body, to lose a life at any age, it hurts....a lot. There is no reason except an ETERNALLY WISE reason. God is GOOD...ALL the time. He knows our EVERY move...He BREATHES life...He CREATES. Though we may never understand, we rest in HIM by faith, the one who is All wise, All knowing, All powerful, and All loving. This God is MY GOD and THEIR GOD. Praise Jesus. Praying for you, Johnsons. you have it?

Friday, June 26, 2009

As a nanny, I am daily confronted with children whose minds are an arsenal of creativity. They are not today's children, in fact they represent a small percentage of children whose parents still see the need for a young brain to flourish in creative and imaginative play. As a student of early childhood in college, play is essential to one's development and later function as an adult. I think that when I was a kid, play was lacking from my repetoire. I was reading this article from NPR and if play coincides with executive functions, aka ability to self-regulate, and non-play or structured play coincides with higher drop-out rate etc. then I definitely fall towards the latter, though I didn't drop out. Very interesting topic, very interesting article. In short, I was kind of a loner kid who loved my barbies, my little ponies, and sesame street. But I was definitely not the kid that decided to elaborate into grand, sweeping sagas of personal entertainment through creativity and private speech. I was the one who looked at the Barbie house, put the furniture in place, and then said "okay that's finished, now what?" These kids I watch, they make pretend/imaginative play seem like the norm...I like that, but not when they take my Lego creation and turn it into something far more spectacular...I need to get my play back!

We have a taker?

Friday, June 19, 2009

After a year of having our house on the market, we are reluctantly sharing that once again a purchase agreement has been signed:) After the last person bailed with flimsy excuses during the inspection (and it's okay to get cold feet!) we were a little discouraged and very ready to settle back in and were thinking of pulling it off the market. I mean, everyone needs a little bit of mess in their house right? Not that I am complaining, but not having to make sure everything is pristine, will be, well, refreshing! So if everything goes as planned, we will close on the house July 15th and will be moving to an apartment for the forseeable future in Eden Prairie. It's off 62 and 212 and we are really looking forward to it...I think all this cleaning, fixing, improving, inside and out has worn us out! So pray with us that there will be no hiccups!

Camping in Pictures

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

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