Friday, November 11, 2011

Leaving a Legacy

Hello Readers!  In the midst of wedding planning and studying during the semester, unfortunately the blog has dropped low on my priorities.  Sorry I haven’t had time to update along the way.  With all that’s been going on I’ve been running on auto pilot, going from one thing to the next on my checklist.  It’s not until something happens out of your control, that causes you to drop everything you are doing and go a different direction, that you realize the humor of the statement, “If you wanna make God laugh, tell Him your plans for the day.”
This week I received a call during clinical that grandma had gone into another fainting episode that she never came out of and only had a short time left to live.  The hardest part was watching the goodbye tears of the workers who had grown to love her so much during her stay in the Alzheimer’s home.  It made me think about the legacy that grandma has left behind in the hearts of so many people.
Ryan and I are currently taking marriage classes through church and recently discussed contentment and the things that are truly lasting in this world.  If we were honest with ourselves, its disheartening how many times our anger probably stems from the discontentment of our hearts when comparing what we have to others.  It’s not until the death of someone who impacted your life and who you loved, that you truly understand people are not going to remember the amount of your paycheck, type of job, education, home, or status you had.  For if that was all you held in importance, there will probably be many who will not even notice your absence once you’re gone.  What people will remember in this life is the love of Christ in your life.  I pray that I am remembered as a wife who brought my husband closer to the Lord by the respect, love, and godliness I displayed (1 Peter 3:1), that I taught my children to do everything in life for His glory and to fear the Lord (Prov 31:30), and that I was a friend who loved and listened (1 Cor 13).   
While grandma will be missed by many, I know that she is dancing with Jesus…not regretting anything she did not have in this short life.         

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Proposal

As a young girl hiking up the trail to Chasm Lake, I remember talking with a man on his way down from the summit of Longs and was fascinated by what he shared about it.  Much to my mother’s dismay, after talking with him, is when my captivation with the challenge truly began and I vowed that someday I would be back to climb it myself!  Years later I accomplished that goal and it soon became a dream to someday be back with the person I would someday spend my life with and hike it together.  
When Ryan and I went to Colorado this year I had a tiny suspicion the proposal might be coming then.  I was pretty excited over the idea, considering Colorado, hiking, camping, and being outdoors are all things that are very important and meaningful to me, and for us to do together.  However, after numerous “car cleanings" throughout the week, the ring was nowhere to be found.  Unknown to Ryan, I secretly was getting a little disappointed.  You hear stories of women who just knew when their husbands were about to propose because they acted so weird and nervous beforehand.  Well, Ryan was cool as a cucumber and never even flinched as I was cleaning.  He can’t have the ring with him I thought!
Well on Tuesday, August 9th, Ryan and I woke up at 2 am to begin our hike up Longs Peak, the event that we had been training for by running up and down the UW Oshkosh stadium bleachers for months now.  It was as strenuous as I remember; actually, the older I get the more strenuous it seems.  Not a good sign.  However, I like to blame it on the fact that we weren’t acclimated to the elevation because Ryan insisted we do it towards the beginning of the vacation to get it over with.  Going from Wisconsin's 800 feet to 14,259 feet elevation is bound to have a bad effect on your endurance.  We gave each other a high-five as we took our last climbing step onto the summit.  Like normal, we ate lunch, relaxed, and started walking around the flat summit to look at the view.  Ryan said he wanted a picture of us taken, so he took my camera and walked over to a family that had recently made it up.  While I waited for him to come back for the picture, he secretly had asked them to take a video instead.  He walked back towards me and I was about to put my arm around him when he took my hand, and dropped to one knee.  The crowd that was once talking and laughing became silent as all eyes turned.  The proposal in reality was probably under a minute, but seemed like forever as I forced myself to concentrate and try to remember exactly what he was saying in the midst of my nervousness and excitement.  “Will you meet me at the altar and make me a happy man?” I picked that phrase out and knew it was my cue.  “Yes, of course I will.” I said, and the crowd cheered and clapped when we hugged.  It was a moment just like I had always dreamed it would be.
What’s funny, is that the family that ended up taking the video was a Pastor from Eau Claire, WI and he jokingly offered to do the ceremony right there on the summit and save us some time and money.  We laughed, although it did sound like a tempting offer.  J 
We are extremely excited about Jan 7, 2012 and are so thankful for all the wonderful family and friends that have wished us blessings and congratulations.  God is good and continuously proves Himself faithful in our life- and I am thankful for a man who follows after Him. 
Thanks for reading our story.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kayak the Winnebago Video

Here is a video my wonderful boyfriend made from our kayak the winnebago adventure.  Hope you enjoy watching us being silly together.   Its great when you meet someone you can have fun with just being goofy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rhythm & Boom

Ryan and I went to Madison for 4th of July this year and saw the best fireworks I've ever seen.  We had such a great time hanging out around State Street, drinking carnival smoothies, and people watching at Warner Park.  Maybe it'll become an annual event for the 4th of July?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Take A Hike: North Shore Lake Superior

Tyler Forks Canyon
Just got back from a weekend in the exciting North Shore of Lake Superior.  With many resorts, campgrounds, and things to see and do it is sure to be a trip the whole family would love.  We started our trip by stopping at Copper Falls State Park just south east of Superior, WI off of Hwy 13.  There are numerous trails, but we took the 1.5 mile loop from picnic parking lot to see parts of the Bad River and Tyler Forks where they merge together to form Brownstone Falls plunging into a canyon.  


From there our next stop was Duluth, MN, home of the Grandma's Marathon.  I discovered if you are planning on staying in Duluth you should plan on making reservations somewhere because there is always something going on in this exciting tourist city it seems.  The main downtown has lots of shops, then cross over the interstate towards the lake and walk around Canal Park to see boats in the harbor, tons of restaurants and shops, and a beautiful Lakewalk trail covering 4.2 miles of lakeshore.  The Lakewalk begins at Canal Park and ends at 26th Avenue.  There are places to rent bikes and kayaks in the area in case you didn't bring your own.  You can also get around by horse carriage rides if you choose.  Duluth also has a beautiful rose garden at Leif Erickson Park which is a great place to walk around or have a picnic.  We had a great Italian dinner at Bellisios located in the Canal Park area near the lake.  You can also head South on I-35 to Spirit Mountain and take the Alpine Slide, or go to Lake Superior Zoo.  
Canal Park Duluth

After touring Duluth we headed north on Hwy 61 and took the scenic lakeshore drive.  First stop was Gooseberry Falls State Park.  A short walk from the parking lot brings you to the beautiful Upper and Lower Falls.  This is a great place for doing some rock skipping and swimming in the falls.
Gooseberry Falls

Keep heading North on Hwy 61 you will next see Split Rock Lighthouse.  A beautiful short walk along the rocky shoreline which gives you a beautiful view of this lighthouse sitting atop a steep rocky ledge. 

Before reaching Tettegouche State Park you will see a small sign saying Palisade Head which is a popular stop prior to the main park entrance.  Once reaching the park walk to the lake to get a view of Shovel Point, or cross the Hwy and take the trails away from the lake to High Falls. 

Temperance River State Park has some good swimming within short walking distance from the Highway. There were lots of people have fun jumping into the canyon and sliding down the small rapids. 

The city of Grand Marais is the final stop on the North Shore tour.  This is one of my favorite cities along the lakeshore.  It reminds me of what a small town in Maine might look like with boats in the harbor, lighthouse, tourist shops and restaurants, fishing and kayaking all available.  We stopped for a fire stone grilled pizza at Sydney's and enjoyed the 360 degree panoramic views from their rooftop seating.  They are most famous for their frozen custard which was one of the best I've ever had!
Split Rock Lighthouse

So if you are looking for a place to go one of these weekends, visit Duluth and the North Shore of Lake Superior!

Sydney's Rooftop Restaurant

Temperance River State Park

Grand Marais, MN

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Windy City

The windy city of Chicago is always a reminder to me of great friendships and good times.  Rarely can someone find a friendship that lasts a lifetime.  So often people, life circumstances, and feelings change causing broken or lost friendships.  Many friendships don't last because people are unwilling to handle another persons quirks, oddities, and imperfections over time.  In true friendships you are stretched to appreciate each others differences.  But even though it is inevitable you may not always see eye to eye, a greater benefit comes from knowing you are loved despite imperfections and differences.
I just got back from my annual girls Chicago weekend and am reminded of how blessed I am to have such lifelong friendships.  The four of us have been friends since the 4th and 7th grade.  We have experienced and shared the fun of middle school, drama of high school, the emotions of dating and breaking up, the joy of finding true love and getting married, sadness of moving away, and the excitement of getting pregnant.  With each step of our lives moving forward, our friendships and time together have changed, yet we still make time for each other. Each one of us different in many ways, yet bonded together and most importantly sharing in our love for Christ.  Thank you girls for your lifelong friendship and for loving me for who I am!   

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Wedding Story: Tiffany & Steve

My love for making wedding videos began when offering to make them for family and the many friends that have gotten married over the years.  I have no fancy equipment or computer programs, but look forward to the day when I can get them.  My sister Danae and I dream of going into business together someday...and who knows, maybe someday we will.  Danae shot pictures for Tiffany & Steve last weekend and I tagged along to's the video from their wedding I put together.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Defeat for the Alley Oops

“It could have gone either way,” John stated, the Alley Oops biggest fan who never missed a game, regarding the consensus of their play in the Neenah Streetball Tournament.  It could have been anyones game until the very end last weekend.  It was a cold and windy start on Saturday, June 11th as the team gathered together an hour prior to the first game at 9 a.m.  The first game was a tough loss by two points making the final score 14-16.  “By the second game we were finally starting to gel as a team,” Alley Oops teammates stated, many not having touched a basketball in years.  By their next game at 4 p.m. they were ready to face the goliaths and played an aggressive battle with a show stopping finish to win the game 12-16.  No one could stop Leah and Hannah’s drive down the lane, or get past the aggressive defense of Rachel and Rachelle.  Rachelle even spent most of the time on the ground which reminded her of high school, trying to grab the ball away from others twice her size. 
By the third game at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday the team was wearing down, but ready to put up a fight.  They fought hard against a team full of height, and the opponent used it to their advantage.  The Alley Oops were ahead most of the game, until the other team pulled ahead towards the end and won 12-16.  It really could have gone either way for the Alley Oops last weekend.  Until next time..…

Nice form hannah!

The Alley Oops

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Big Kid Now

I CAN'T believe little sister graduated this week!  I still remember when I was in second grade and would ask the teacher to pray everyday that my mom would deliver a healthy, happy baby sister for me.  My dad came home late in the night after my mom delivered and woke me up, saying, "Rachelle, you have a baby sister."  I was so excited!  I jumped up in bed and quickly got dressed to go and see her.  Once we brought her home I immediately became her little mother and would carry her around like playdoll on one hip.  Like I said, I cannot believe that she is now a graduate, and am excited to see where life will take her.  I am so proud of you dede!  love you!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Paddle of a Lifetime

We even had t-shirts.  Obi & the yaks.

For months Ryan and I have been preparing to kayak across Lake Winnebago from Oshkosh to High Cliff over Memorial weekend.  We did our best to calculate how long it would take us to yak the 10 ½ miles, but knew it would largely depend on the weather we would be battling against.  Knowing that the Winnebago is notorious for sudden, unexpected changes in weather which can turn hazardous even for boats, I was a little leery of the idea and knew we would need a perfect day for this adventure. 

Waking up- ready to take on
the Winnebago!

Keeping a close eye on the continuously changing weather reports we chose Memorial Day for the event, being the most likely for sun and warm weather.  The night before we carb loaded and ate a spaghetti dinner, hoping it would give us that extra boost the next day.  We woke up as the sun rose the next morning and started paddling at 6:45 a.m.  As we made our way out of the channel and looked across the lake, fog covered the shoreline, making it impossible to see the route we would be taking.  The gps helped guide our direction and give us an idea on how far we had gone throughout the paddle.  We could not have asked for a more perfect day.  Remarkably, the water continued to get calmer as the morning went on.  I was also worried about boats not being able to see us, but we only got close to a few fishermen and had no trouble at all.  The only trouble we did encountered was try to figure out how to go to the bathroom while sitting on a kayak and not wanting to get in the water.  Haha.  That was an adventure in itself. 
We arrived to High Cliff at exactly noon, taking just over 5 hours to finish.  We were paddling about 2 miles per hour at this rate under perfect conditions.  My arms were getting pretty tired the last couple miles, so I am sure if the conditions had been windier it would have taken a bit longer. 

While paddling in the early morning fog, we discussed the many life lessons that could be drawn through analogies of this adventure.  While the route to our destination was foggy and unseen to us, we continued to persevere and had our guide, the GPS, to help us find the way.  Even when we were tired and could have decided it would be easier to turn around, we persevered; knowing that this test of our endurance would only make us better.  Just as Christ is our guiding light and leads us through the foggy times in our life, He tells us in James to keep persevering so that He may continue His work in us.  Count it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, for you know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance. And let perseverance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.”

Made it to High Cliff!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Take A Hike: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Miners Castle from
Lake Superior

Looking for a great place to take the family for an extended weekend?  Or are you looking for outdoor adventure with beautiful scenery close to home?  Take the 4 hour drive to Munising, Upper Michigan and spend some time exploring Pictured Rocks National Shoreline.  This 35 mile shoreline has sandstone cliffs and caves, clean beaches, sanddunes, and beautiful waterfalls. 

Where To Stay:
view from campsite
Kingston Lake

Hotels/Motels are located in either Munising (West end) or Grand Marais (East end) of the shoreline trail.  The nicest chain hotel is located in Munising, the AmericInn.  Otherwise there are numerous campgrounds throughout the park.  I had a great experience when camping at Kingston Lake campground off of H-58.  We had a beautiful lake-site during the fall. 
There are some campsites only accessible to backpackers.  Permits are required and reservations for campsites are encouraged.  A shuttle bus service is available for those backpacking who don't want to make the 35 mile return to their vehicle.  Altran public transit can be contacted to make reservations for your trip. 

Where To Eat:
We always stop at the Falling Rock Cafe for tea and coffee during the trip and to check out their large assortment of books for sale.  
Dogpatch Restaurant on E Superior Street downtown has a good selection of food. 


Munising Falls in Winter

Munising Falls
1. Munising Falls-  Located on the east end of the city where Washington Street becomes Sand Point Road, near Munising Memorial Hospital.  This .25 mile trail leads to a platform viewing a 50 foot waterfall.  This waterfall is beautiful and accessible in both summer and winter! 

Miners Castle

Miners Falls

2.  Miners Castle-  Located 6.5 miles east of Munising on H-58, then five miles north on Miners Castle Road.   This short walk from the parking lot leads to the most famous rock formation at Pictured Rocks.  If you look to the right of the castle you may get a glimpse or can take a short hike to Bridalveil Falls which flows over the cliff  ledge into Lake Superior. 

3. Miners Falls-Just prior to reaching Miners Castle, you will see a sign for Miners Falls of Miners Castle Road.  The hike from the parking lot is 1.2 miles round-trip. 

4. Chapel Rock/Beach-Located 15 east on H-58 and then 5 miles north to the end of Chapel Road Drive, this 2.5 mile hike to Chapel Rock shows beautiful views of lake superior and its rocky shoreline.  You can also see Chapel Falls along the way.

5. Spray Falls- Well worth the 1.75 miles further on from Chapel Beach, is the remote Spray Falls plunging 70 feet over the cliffs into Lake Superior.  the 1856 shipwreck liesat the base of the falls in 20 feet of water.

Chapel Falls

Chapel Rock

6.  Log Slide/Grand Sable Dunes-  The kids and grown ups will have fun running down the 300 foot high log slide located at the far east end of the park near 7 miles west of Grand Marais. 

Log Slide

Other Activities:
Don't wanna hike the entire shoreline or don't have the time?  It can be viewed by boat tours!

The Au Sable LightHouse can be seen and toured just west of Grand Marais on H-58.

Valley Spur Ski

Lakeshore trails are available for cross country skiing during the winter.  Also, Valley Spur Ski Trails located 6 miles south of Munising off of M-94 has well groomed trails through the Michigan hills.  Cost is $8 per person.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park- An easy drive east from Grand Marais to Paradise Upper Michigan, Tahquamenon Upper and Lower Falls is worth the extra drive.  The Upper Falls is a easy .4 mile paved pathway, accessible in both summer and winter.  The Lower Falls is a 4 mile round trip hike along the river. 

Tahquamenon Falls
in Winter

Warning:  If traveling during winter months not all roads in Upper Michigan are accesible by car since they don't plow the snow. Many times H-58 is closed past Munising Falls and Tahquamenon Falls is open only by taking M-28.  The rest can be accessed only by foot/snowshoe.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Checking In

No, I haven't forgot about the blog.  I just took my last final of the semester today and have been spending most of my time studying this past week.  Such a good feeling to know schools out for the summer! Now I have clinicals full time through mid July, and some weekend adventures to look forward too.  Weather permitting, my first adventure planned is a "paddle of a lifetime" when Ryan and I kayak across Lake Winnebago.  I'm also looking forward to starting my half marathon training and hopefully having more time to write my blogs.  :)  I'll check back in soon with some more great hikes/trip locations!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Buds for Life

Aren't they cute?  These innocent three have been my roomates this past week while I dogsit for a co-worker.  I think after these 10 days, the 4 of us will be buds for life. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tribute to Mom

She is a woman of kind and noble character, worth far more than any worldly possession to our family.  You can always count on her to be there when you need her.  She spends countless hours in the office and continues to work hard at home.  She stays up while it is still dark to provide for the family and make sure we are all home safe. Willing to put her needs aside, she gives away what little she has to help her children when in need.  She blesses our lives far more than we could ever return.  Her praises not heard as often she deserves- that is my mother.  Thank you mom for all you do.  Hope all moms had a Happy Mother's Day!

Proverbs 31

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Take A Hike: Devil's Lake State Park

Devils Doorway- Summer

For the feeling of being out west close to home, head down to Baraboo, WI and visit Devil's Lake State Park.   You can either visit for the day and hike around the entire lake in about 3-5 hours, or spend a weekend and reserve a campsite.  Each season has its own unique beauty, however, the view is spectacular in the fall usually around the third weekend in October to see the leaf color changes at its peak. 
If visiting for the day you can park either on the north or south side visitor center.  You will need to pay a daily parking fee or purchase an annual sticker at the South Side visitor center though.  The South side also has the biggest picnic and beach area where boats and canoes can be rented.  

If you are wanting more of a leisurely walk around the lake you can take the lower trail, called Tumbled Rocks, and then walk along the train tracks on the East side of the lake.  For those up for a steep climb and wanting to see Devil’s Doorway, take the upper trail called West and East Bluff Trail.   The trails are very well marked.  

Other activities at the park include 8 miles of off-road biking trails, fishing, cross-country skiing in winter, and you will often see rock climbers going up the bluffs.  If you are interested in climbing, there are numerous climbing instructors located within Baraboo that bring classes to the park.   

After a long hard day of hiking, don’t forget to head into historic Baraboo and make a visit to my favorite coffee shop, 
Coffee Bean Connection located on
4th street


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fridays at Jansens

Flip flopping over where to go for Friday night fish? If you are ever in the Oshkosh area, one of my favorite stops is Jansens Bar and Restaurant at 344 Bowen St.  I've been there a couple times and have not been disapointed!  Last night we walked into a full house.  A friendly old couple sitting at the bar began talking to us as we waited for a table, and told us all about their grandchildren.  The waitress then led them over to their "usual" table in the back corner.  The small, hometown, everyone is family type of atmosphere is what you will get when going to Jansen's.  So next Friday, don't contemplate on where you are going...take a drive to Jansens!  Check out there menu online. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Take A Hike: Calumet County Park

Calumet County Park is a great place to watch the sunset or take a stroll through the woods.  Located northwest of Stockbridge, and only a few miles from High Cliff State Park, take Hwy 114 from Appleton into Sherwood, turn onto Hwy 55 and take a right onto Cty Rd EE. This 200-acre park offers hiking and biking trails, rock cliffs, and beautiful campsites along Lake Winnebago.  During the winter, activities include cross country skiing and sledding with a lift to bring you back up the hill.  Tube rental and tow tickets can be purchased at the park. 
Here is a map of the trails and campsites.  Happy hiking!

rock cliffs along hike

top of sledding hill
overlooking lake winnebago

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Love Is...

It was complete darkness as we got in the car and drove to the trailhead.  At 3 am it was still cold enough to see your breath when we took our first climbing steps.  For a few long hours, we hiked with only the light of our headlamps guiding us up the continuous stairs of rock.  The air was getting thin as we made it to higher elevation.  Step and breathe, step and breathe.  Strength and every ounce of energy required to keep going.

The morning we left for Colorado my boyfriend started feeling a sore throat.  It continued to get worse throughout the trip until it was difficult to eat or drink; however, knowing that I had been looking forward to experiencing a summit with someone I cared about, we started the ascent that morning anyway.  After hiking 6 miles the sun finally started to rise as we reached over 12,000 feet.  It was then, during that hike, that I saw an example of what love is.  Willing to put everything he may have wanted for himself aside to make my dreams come true, I will never forget our time together and conversations on the mountain that day.
It can be so easy to overlook those acts of love and take them forgranted, or forget the reasons why you love someone.  Next time you notice that unselfish act, or are sitting with someone you love, play the simple game of remembering the things that they do for you that shows what love is.  Having the attitude of recognizing the love acts over the negative can make a world of difference.   

This Easter, start by remembering and having the conversation with God, about what He did for you that shows what love truly is.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13
The Message

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mishaps In Ireland: 4 Travel Tips Continued...

Tip #3: Use the cars emergency break. 
Mid-way through the trip we had another mishap.  It started with my needing to find a restroom after driving all day.  We stopped at a grocery store and there were none to be found.  Come to find out, the only bathrooms in Ireland are located in pubs.  When we got out of the grocery store our car was no were to be found.  We looked around the parking lot dumbfounded as to where it would have gone.  As I turned my head I noticed a vehicle crashed against another car in the parking lot.  I look over at J and said, “Hey, I think that is our car.”  “No, that can’t be ours,” he says.  I walked over and look inside to see our luggage.  Yep, it’s ours!  Just so happens the breaks weren't fully in park and it rolled down the hill and almost into the grocery store.  The collision was intercepted by instead running into an Audi!   A rich Irish man came out of the grocery store wearing an alligator skin belt.  “What did you do to my car!” he yelled.  Luckily, it did no damage to the rental vehicle.  There was a scratch on his vehicle, but I think he felt sorry for us because he never submitted any claim.  So thank you rich Irish man if you are out there!!!!!

Bed and Breakfast we stayed at
and our cute little car
Tip #4:  Keep track of your belongings.
I bought some really nice souvenirs the day before leaving and was planning on wearing my new Ireland sweatshirt home.  We had a long flight back and I am always cold, so I knew it would come in handy.   I ended up getting onto our flight leaving from Dublin to Germany, and left my new sweatshirt behind on the chair in the terminal.  Gone and never to be seen again, I spent a long 8 hour layover in the middle of the night sleeping on the benches in the Germany airport freezing to death.  Probably one of the most miserable nights ever!   Never again will I get on another flight without triple checking if I have everything with me!

Hope you enjoyed the top 4 tips I learned from my Ireland vacation.  Although we went through a lot along the way, it was an amazing trip I will never forget!