Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year, New Promises

I posted this on Facebook a couple years ago, and really like it. I read it in a devotion a couple years back and really enjoyed it. I hope you do too!

What should I stop doing, and what should I start doing in order to being the year well and end it well?

"Stop looking back. Stop thinking you can't overcome a bad habit or addiction. Stop thinking God doesn't care. Stop blaming yourself or others. Stop doing what you know you should not do. Stop doing too much. Stop not doing enough. Start each day with God in prayer and Bible reading. Start showing more grace and forgiveness. Start a good habit. Start committing more random acts of kindness. Start obeying God's Word. Start repairing that hurt relationship. Start trusting God in your life every day. This is a good time to commit to stopping and starting and to remember that God is the one constant that will never change all year. He loves you and will always be at your side." read that paragraph again more slowly and think about how you can apply it to your life. I've read it multiple times and like it even more each time. What can you do that's on that list? I know I can apply all of them to myself right now. I'm sure I'll slip up with all of them and prove to never be perfect, but that's ok. So I guess the question I have is not only what can you do that's on the list, but what do you want to do and what will you do?

Here are the verses that went with it:
"Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you." 1 John 2:15

"I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of His power for us who believe Him." Ephesians 1:19

"May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace." Numbers 6:24-26

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Greetings!

Happy Holidays 2011
Dear friends and family,
Know that we would much rather sit down over a cup of coffee,
reminisce old times and catch up with life, but unfortunately this little letter will have to do…
A lot of you know this, but the past year has mostly been spent pursuing travel therapy with my job (Occupational Therapist). It gave us the opportunity to explore the US, learn a lot about ourselves, and meet some incredible people. It truly was an amazing adventure! Last holiday season we were en route from Sandpoint, Idaho to Dallas, Texas. We spent the winter in Texas which was a lot of fun. After 13 weeks of being there, we headed up to Moose Lake, Minnesota. We made a few trips to Duluth to take in all that city has to offer. While we were at Moose Lake, Andy started looking for a more permanent job. After many applications and interviews, he chose a job in Business Development for a Logistics company called King Solutions, which is in the Minneapolis area. Through a variety of services, King helps companies manage their supply-chain activities. As he started his transition there, I finished my assignment and applied for jobs in the cities. I was hired at the Courage Center. I float between four facilities and cover for maternity and medical leaves. It has been fun to get a wide range of clients, but also really challenging to learn all I need to know. I work with kids and adults with genetic disorders, brain injuries from strokes and accidents, spinal cord injuries, and lots more. It’s been a great learning experience so far, so I’m really happy with that. We moved to an apartment August 1st and have been here since!
The cities have been good for us, but we are often homesick for Bismarck. It is finally hitting us that these jobs aren’t travel jobs, and that we’ll be here for a while. We miss all of our friends and family back home, and wish we could see everyone more often. We do have a few friends and in the area and are now closer to Andy’s sister, so that’s been great being able to spend time with them. We’re slowly starting to make this our community and have enjoyed getting more plugged in. We’ve found a church that we really enjoy, and are now looking at opportunities to plug into other organizations. Our focus each day is to live life to its fullest, realizing that we are all created for a higher purpose. Although the past 6 months have been challenging at times, we feel blessed beyond measure to have each other, an incredible family, and a support system like none other.

We hope this New Year brings you true happiness full of great purpose. May this holiday season remind you of the true meaning of Christmas. If you ever pass through the Minneapolis area, please let us know as we always love re-connecting and catching up with friends and family.
         Blessings to you and yours,
                   Andy and Kara

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's been way too long, and we're back!

In Duluth this Spring

So we haven't posted in quite some here goes! 

Texas was great for us. We enjoyed being close to friends, had some great company and tried to enjoy ourselves as much as we could! I met a lot of great people through work and ended up having a lot of fun there. My work was super fast paced and I learned a ton. My co-workers had fun together and were great at making each other feel like they mattered. It's great working at facilities with a therapy team that has a variety of specialties. You can take a piece from every one of them, it's so helpful.

At Splitrock Lighthouse this Spring

Andy ended up leaving his job that he got in Idaho and started volunteering for World Relief. They offer a ton of services, but Andy helped with the immigration services they offer. They assist immigrants with moving from their countries to the US and connect you with families and you come alongside them as they transition. Andy was asked to pick up a family from the airport coming from Nepal: husband, wife, and cute baby daughter. They had been living in a refugee camp for years, and previously were both working as English teachers. Some of his family is already living in the US so they was able to move into an apartment with his parents, as that is very common in their culture. He also had siblings in nearby apartments, so it was great for Andy to see them all connected again. He spent quite a bit of time with them as they began to acclimate to life in the US and life in TX. I was able to see them twice, and we were sent off from Texas with an incredible night hosted by them. We've been able to keep in touch since we left and they have been doing well. We hope to be involved with World Relief in the future.

Splitrock Lighthouse north of Duluth

In Texas, we decided to try and find a job closer to home. A travel job opening in Northern MN came up, and that was our next step! We were there for about three months, and while we were there, Andy began looking for a new job. He applied in ND, SD, and MN. After quite the search, he found a job with a company in the cities. He started working for them as I finished up the travel assignment and looked for a job myself. I ended up finding one and started my job in August. So far things have been good for both of us. We're getting acclimated to MN/city life, as well as us both having full-time, permanent jobs. We'll fill you in later about more.....just wanted to first let you know that we didn't fall off the face of the earth!!! :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Run4Justice Weekend

Last Friday, Andy picked me up from work with supper to go, and we headed to Dallas for a Stars game. For those of you that don't know, the Dallas Stars are an NHL hockey team. They played the Chicago Blackhawks, which has a former Sioux player on the team (Jonathan Toews). It was a great game that went into overtime, and then a shootout after that. I have never been to a professional game of any kind, so it was a lot of fun!

Each hand print represents 1,000 children

On Saturday, Andy ran a 5K that was called Run4Justice, and was associated with the church we have been attending. They were raising money for a cause called  IJM (International Justice Mission) to help put a stop to human trafficking. It was an incredible turnout, with over 2000 participants. I'm sure everyone is wondering how many poor souls had to eat my dust that day as I sprinted past them, but I forgot my running shoes at home and unfortunately wasn't able to show off my mad cardio skills. (Hopefully you all know that I'm lying.) I hope to run some events in the future just to say I did it, but I am horrible. I would also prefer to have a partner in crime with the same mindset, so if anyone is up for that job position let me know! :) For now I'll stick to being a cheerleader for the participants. The day was sunny and a little chilly, but overall beautiful. Andy's knee has been bothering him lately, but he still did very well and placed 8th! Thanks to all that donated for the day, every little bit helps get these kiddos out of bad situations.

The other side of the wall....

The event focused on raising money for the trafficking going on currently in Cambodia. They work in various countries throughout the world, but the church has sent groups to Cambodia the past several years, giving them a heart to reach that area of the world. They had an 80 foot 'wall' set up with the background of Cambodia, and what is going on there with human trafficking, as well as what is being done after these children are rescued. It was extremely powerful and humbling, knowing that every day, 30,000 children in Cambodia are going through these awful scenarios. They had pictures of the brothels, and of the actual rooms these little girls are forced to stay in, while men pay to have sex with them throughout each day. Most of these girls are elementary and middle school aged. They could be your daughters, nieces, or granddaughters. IJM actually goes into these brothels, collect evidence, and team up with local law enforcement to bust the brothel owners and pimps, as well as the pedophiles, and save the little girls. One organization that they team up with for recovery is AIM (Agape International Missions), who do an incredible job trying to give these children back some of their childhood, by showing them the love of God, allowing them to have fun, counseling them, and safely integrating them back into the community when they are ready. Check out their websites by clicking on the blue links, it will be worth your time.

Over $133,000 were raised for the race! It was very cool to see how family's came together for the event, as well as how involved the youth were. It seemed that the whole church formed a giant team to help bring these children justice on the other side of the globe. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Catch up from January...

I forgot to fill you in about what we did once we got here with furniture and such. :) Let's pretend this is from the first week in January.

We got our van unpacked and our mounds of junk into the apartment the day after we stayed with Corey. It's a pretty nice place on the top floor which is good because we don't have anyone making noise above us, but bad because everything had to be hauled to the third floor. We came with totes full of stuff, and a giant air mattress we had delivered to Corey. Home sweet home, lol. Most things were unpacked and organized the first day: our clothes, computer, box of kitchen stuff, bathroom stuff, etc. It was looking pretty empty but we were determined to make it into some sort of home.

Unloading the van was followed by a trip to the nearest Wal-Mart and Family Dollar. There we got extra hangers (we are lucky to have a large closet and since we don't have a dresser like they had for us in Sandpoint, the hangers have been a much needed addition), a garbage can, FOOD, a couple camping chairs, toilet paper, a few plates and bowls, sheets, towels, etc. When we were in ID, our place was fully loaded as you might say. We had dishes, towels, sheets, extra blankets and new pillows, a television/surround sound, etc. We were extremely lucky. There we only brought our clothes and necessities as well as a few spices, coffee pot, our wok, and a few other things. So we expected to need these items when we got here.

The evening was spent looking for rummage sales and steals on Craigslist, as well as local thrift stores. We were looking for things like lighting, a TV, furniture, a desk, etc. After breakfast the next morning, we were off. The temperature was in the 60s so that was a much welcomed change from the subzero temps in ND we had just experienced. We went to a couple garage sales and multiple thrift stores in the Midcities area. That's the area between Dallas and Fort Worth, which we are a part of. At times we wanted to kill each other, as you can imagine, but we ended up ahead of where we started. Andy needed a bit convincing that some of the things I found were really great deals, and I also needed some restraining when I thought I found one. :-) Good thing we balance each other out. I am a supporter of thrift stores and especially loved the Salvation Army with the extremely friendly staff and the blaring Christian rock, but it may not always be the best place to find a TV or furniture. Many of the TVs said 'as is' and had a tube missing or broken. Where would I find the tube inside a TV and how do I even get that thing apart besides using a hammer??? And for the furniture, some were decent and giant, and some were torn and stained. I'm not saying that getting furniture from a thrift store is a bad thing. There are some great finds that you could clean well and then update with new fabric, patching, etc. But thinking of hauling these things up 3 flights of stairs with Andy and my out of shape self just wasn't making me very excited.

We ended up going to a few more stores to get more things like drinking glasses, rugs, and a shower curtain. Across the stripmall was an Aaron's Rental, and we decided to run in to see if they had any options that were affordable and a bit of an upgrade to our camping chairs, totes, and blow-up bed. They ended up having a few options that we could choose from to rent while we were here, and we were pleasantly surprised. We ended up choosing a package that included a couch, love seat, coffee table, two end tables, two lamps, and a rug for $100 dollars a month! They also had free delivery and pickup at any time and could get it to us the next day. It was a like a dream come true just imagining them haul it up those stairs instead of me. So obviously we were sold on the deal, and partially regretted all of the running around the entire day from suburb to suburb.

So that's pretty much it for us settling in. We are enjoying our place, and I can put up pictures later. Our photo uploader is MIA so we have been on the lookout for it for the past few weeks. And by the way, our air mattress is awesome. We had a little well deserved fun poked at us when we told people that we were doing it, but it's actually pretty nice. It's a queen, and it's one of those raised ones that looks like it's two mattresses on top of each other. You only have to put a little more air in every few weeks, and the pump is inside it. Anyway, it's way better than we thought it would be. We have been streaming TV shows from time to time on our computer which is in our room, so it has also been doubling as a couch.

So sorry about this post being way too long, but I'm on my second cup of coffee and words just kept coming out. :) Enjoy your Saturday!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


So this is officially our 4th week in Texas. It's been too long since we last blogged!


At Corey's for a Sioux Game

Here's what we've been up to:

In general~ We are getting acclimated to TX, although the crazily fluctuating weather makes us feel like we are in ND at times. It was 75 degrees last Saturday, and yesterday and today have been in the teens with below zero wind chills. Work has actually been canceled for me for the past two days because of the ice covering every road. The traffic has been a bit of an adjustment for us, but we make a pretty good team when manning them. Hopefully I'll be comfortable driving them on my own by the time we're done here! We're still trying to find a church to be involved with, and have been to a couple different ones so far. There are so many options it's overwhelming trying to narrow things down. The Superbowl will be here this weekend so the area is getting pretty hyped up. Unfortunately, we will not be sitting in front row seats. If we want to watch it from the parking lot on a big screen tickets are $500, but to park in that lot is $1000. Lol, maybe we'll save toward a vacation instead! :)

One of the churches in downtown Fort Worth

Me and some of my co-workers & friends downtown FW, ESPN headquarters
Kara ~ I am currently working at an LTAC which stands for Long Term Acute Care. I guess the best way to explain it is to say that it is for people that are too sick or weak to tolerate a rehab or skilled nursing facility. Our job is to get them prepared for tolerating more therapy and for nursing to help stabilize them medically. I have never been in a facility like this, and I really do enjoy it. Most people are very sick, so we give them only what they can tolerate. Some patients can tolerate only 15 minutes or so of sitting up, where many others are down at the gym with us working out for an hour or two at a time. The people that we see either go to rehab, where they will need to tolerate 3 hrs of therapy per day, go to a nursing home (many people come from a nursing home or assisted living facilities) to receive therapy and other assistance until they are ready for the next step, and we do have many patients that are rockstars and go home from working with us. My co-workers are great, everyone is super friendly and helpful. So far so good!! :) 

Long horns at the Fort Worth Stock Yards

Andy ~ He is continuing his work with MetaXpert, the company he worked for while we were in Sandpoint, as well as looking for what the Metroplex has to offer him while we're here. He loves running, biking, and most things athletic, and enjoys participating in races from time to time. Continuing this is something he would like to do, however he has decided that if he is going to do these things, he is not going to make it all about himself, but to do it for a purpose. He is registered for a 5K that is next weekend to help fight Human Trafficking, which is a very real situation going on all over the world today, especially with children. Many people (mostly women and children) are being sold into sexual slavery and labor every day. Here's a quick stat from a paper written by Mary C. Burke:
"Human Rights Watch (2003) and the State Department of the United States (2005) are among those who estimate that 800,000 to 900,000 women, men and children are trafficked across international borders each year for the purpose of economic exploitation with approximately 100,000 more trafficked within the borders of their own countries."
His fund-raising page can be found HERE (just click on the underlined word) or at:
This is also a link to a video about the actual event, called Run4Justice. If you feel pulled to donate, please do so. Every little bit helps!!!! Andy's also decided to take a weekly Spanish class offered by one of the colleges around here. This week we are trying to find some volunteer opportunities that we would be interested in doing during the next 9 weeks.

Mark came down for a weekend! Corey, Mark and Andy

Corey, Andy, and Mark
We've spent our weekends hanging out with friends, experiencing the Stock Yards in Fort Worth, downtown FW and Dallas, and spending as much time outside as possible when the weather is good. When it's not, we are usually catching up on the TV show Lost online, which we only have a couple episodes left!! Any good suggestions for another series we'd enjoy?

Hope you all enjoy your week, we'll try to keep up the blog more often from now! :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

No Place Like Home for the Holidays

We ended our time in Sandpoint, ID, December 10th and headed back home to ND to visit friends and family for the holidays. We jumped from Hazen to Lisbon, Thompson, Bismarck, St. Cloud, and Linton throughout our time there. It was great to see everyone and make up for lost time. We were able to see all of our immediate family, but unfortunately missed a lot of people from both sides of our extended family. Hopefully it'll work better next time.

We stayed at Nathan's in Bismarck in our duplex, and I have to admit that it was a little bittersweet to not be able to go upstairs to our part of the place and go 'home'. At the same time, it's reassuring that we have a great renter! It was great to be able to sit in for a night of youth group and to join Century Baptist one Sunday for church. We definitely felt at home. Christmas was celebrated in many places as we stopped from place to place. In St. Cloud we were able to see Andy's sisters and their growing families, as they each have adorable little girls. It's so fun to see how much they grow from visit to visit. We felt lucky to spend a lot of time with our parents, Andy's brother, and my sisters. A couple days were spent in Thompson at my brother and his wife Shannon's home. She is starting to have a cute little baby bump, and I am going crazy not knowing if it is a girl or boy and trying to spoil it at the same time. :-) We also were able to share time with our grandparents playing pinochle, enjoying home cooked meals, and getting spoiled.

We are now headed south to Texas for the next job. We stayed in Lincoln, Nebraska with Steve and Sarah Mongeon last night and are currently driving through Oklahoma. My grandma wanted me to tell her when the snow was gone and we noticed it around Omaha, NE. She's a bit sick of the snow, so when I called her last night she immediately said, "Ok, I'm on my way!!" Driving through Kansas and Oklahoma we're starting to see some green in some of the fields. The best way to describe it is fall late fall or spring in ND. Leaves are off the trees and everything on the ground is pretty much brown. Today we had our first experience with Tolls since we ventured off, and I'm sure most people know we're not from around here. We've already started experiencing Ya'lls in Nebraska and Kansas. Tonight we're staying with our friend Corey Sadowsky in Dallas, and tomorrow we'll be moving into our apartment in a suburb just a little west of Dallas. We're very excited to see what these next few months have in store for us and are also looking forward to getting back into a routine!

Andy made sure the apartment that we are renting is secure and close to my job, however, we chose to not pay over $1000 to furnish it. We thought we could try and do it for less than that. So this will be an interesting next couple of weeks. :-) I've been keeping a close eye on Craig's List, and we're planning on going to a few garage sales and clearances to help make it our temporary home. So far we have a bed, a coffee grinder, a van load of odds and ends, and will most likely use our many totes for random end tables. We'll keep you posted on how this all develops, but it should be interesting and a lot of fun at the same time.
Hope you were able to enjoy the holidays with friend and family, and we pray that you will be blessed in 2011.

Psalm 25:4-5:
 4 Show me your ways, LORD,
   teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
   for you are God my Savior,
   and my hope is in you all day long.

(Our last week in Idaho was spent staying with some of my extremely generous co-workers. Half was spent with Delilah and her husband Gordon and the other with Julie and her family.)

Us with Gordon & Delilah. We had a blast spending time with them and hated saying goodbye!!
Stuffing the fireplace - most people we knew had wood heat along with some electric heat.

Hauling in the firewood, we left that up to the boys. :-)