Lamentations 3:22-23

A few weeks ago, I was loving life. As you saw in my last post, life is awesome, we are healthy, and La Crosse is just beautiful right now. I had a staffing week at the hospital, which meant I didn’t have to be at work until 9 every day. Twas perfect…
Then suddenly I found myself beginning my surgery rotation which meant waking up before the sun, putting in CRAZY long hours, and just generally involved a LOT more stress than I had anticipated.

It was a tough week. Has been a tough COUPLE of weeks since.

Which is where the title of this post comes in. Lamentations is a pretty bleak book of the Bible. In it, the people of Israel are “lamenting” the destruction of Jerusalem. Basically, they REALLY screwed up and were paying for it big time. They cry out to God, telling him all their sorrows and begging for restoration. It’s obviously not a direct parallel (I don’t believe God is punishing me right now…), but a particular piece of this book has really been resonating with me lately:

Lamentations 3:22-23
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Amidst the stress and exhaustion of the past couple of weeks…I have had some pretty incredible moments. Watching summer turn into fall is extraordinary, and La Crosse has found a way to perfect it! I have been stunned by the striking colors, in my little neighborhood and in the surrounding hills and bluffs, along the river, and beneath my feet (I can’t help but crunch through them on my walks home). I got to watch this happen:

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AND being up before the sun gave me the opportunity to see the blood moon a couple weeks ago (how incredible was that??) and I even saw a FALLING STAR during my walk to work the other day. God is using so many things to remind me how BIG he is. What an amazing creator and fascinating creation :)

We found an apple orchard to try in the area, made friends with their adorable pup, and discovered our new favorite variety of apples: SweeTango (it’s the new honeycrisp….).

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One day I walked into work and found THIS at my desk! It is now pinned onto my wall next to the photos of all my favorite people that smile at me every day while I work.

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Last weekend, my mom and grandparents came to visit us. I COOKED for the two best cooks I know (no pressure…). I tell ya what, there is something so surreal about your grandmother walking into your house and saying it smells good because of what you’re cooking! During our visit, we explored some crazy antique/fun shops here. I fell in love with an adorable reindeer decoration and am now kind of excited for the Christmas season. I also found two more medicine bottles to add to my collection–one of which is a completely authentic 100 year old glass bottle with an imprint from an ACTUAL pharmacy in La Crosse!

Today I came home from work after a crazy busy day to see THIS waiting for me :) complete with whipped cream. He is amazing.

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I know some of these things are really simple, but the point is: life is happening all around you. HIS mercies are new every morning. Just the fact that I woke up today means it was supposed to happen. Today has a reason…a purpose. HIS purpose. I may be stressed and tired, but he gave me today for a reason and with all of these reminders, how can I possibly lament? Because of His great love we are not consumed.

Great is his faithfulness.

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Healthy Body. Healthy Mind.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time. Let’s be honest, I’ve been meaning to write a LOT of posts for a long time! Life is awesome, full of surprises these last few months….there have been numerous times when I’ve thought “I should really blog about this!” when visiting an orchard, trying a new restaurant, or after a weekend at home. But life goes on and it’s way more fun to LIVE it than to write about it :)

But this one…it’s been stirring in the back of my brain for quite some time. Tonight, after a super hot date night with my hubs, I decided I need to get it out.

Where was our date at, you may ask?

the gym.

the GYM

and at 7 on a Saturday night, we had the place all to ourselves :)

I don’t say this to brag, but there is just something really exciting about being HEALTHY. It’s awesome to look over and watch my husband loading more weights onto the bar….it’s even more awesome to watch him lift them ;) It was VERY exciting tonight when I finally hit my goal of running 5 miles in under 30 minutes.

That may not sound terribly impressive to you, but for me it’s a HUGE milestone.

Let me give you a little perspective…

I did NOT grow up as an active child. Little known fact about me: I never learned how to ride a bike. I didn’t enjoy running and was petrified of people seeing me work out.
In high school, I started dating Trev and as young kids with zero money, our favorite dates were our walks around Gray’s Lake. We went on SO MANY walks in the five years before we got married. Then life happened: I started pharmacy school, working two jobs alongside studying, and he was working sometimes 80+ hours a week because he is amazing. With no time or energy, we ate the poorest diet and never worked out. Those walks faded away….to top it off, Trev had a bum knee. I would press to go on a walk on a few occasions when we had time, but it wasn’t easy for him.

Life changed when we moved to La Crosse. One day, out of the blue, Trev said he wanted to join a gym. I was shocked and excited! I knew it would be SO good for us, just had to get over that fear of people watching me workout.

It didn’t take long. We went to the gym almost every day, lifting weights, getting some cardio in on the elliptical or whatever….and we started to feel BETTER.

We started to eat BETTER. I can’t remember the last time we ate a frozen meal (our staple during the college years…). We are cooking together, using FRESH food. We aren’t those crazy overboard all natural, all organic people (because hey, I’m a resident–working resident HOURS and making resident PAY), but still we have come a long way.

I AM a doctor, but I have zero qualifications for giving anyone advice on anything health or fitness related (except medicine of course…), so I won’t pretend that I have some groundbreaking secret to making it work. It takes a lot of discipline for us to work out and it’s still not something we always LOVE. This week I worked the most hours I’ve worked during residency thus far and even had a near-meltdown Friday so it would have been MUCH more enjoyable to just lay on the couch catching up on the Mindy Project rather than going to the gym tonight . But here are some of the awesome things I’ve noticed since we started going to the gym.

1) Trev’s knee feels better. MOVING (and losing weight…I’m seriously so proud of this man) has made all the difference and I haven’t heard him complain about his knee in a couple of months.

2) People don’t go to the gym to watch YOU workout. And yes, I have seen people looking at me through the idiotic mirror they have along the wall (seriously, WHOSE IDEA WAS THAT???), but who cares? I go there for me–not them. And more often than not, I actually catch people check themselves out (while I’m looking at them…yeah isn’t that great logic?)

3) We encourage each other a lot more. Going together has brought us closer for sure. I’ve honestly really been struggling with the numbers. Trev has lost weight….since we started going, I’ve actually GAINED weight. But hearing him tell me I’m beautiful and noticing my new muscles has been huge for me.

4) I’m learning to IGNORE those numbers and pay more attention to what my body is telling me. Which is THANK YOU. I feel so much better physically on so many levels. The other day I picked up three renal bags (which are 5 liters each) with one hand and totally scared the IV tech but I HAD it. Anyway, it just feels good to be in this body, which I haven’t felt in a long time. And trust me, I haven’t SEEN dramatic differences (aside from a slight hint of a six pack which I can’t wait for and a nice bulge in my thighs that has made all of my pants tighter…)

5) My body feels better….and so does my MIND. Pharmacy school was hard. I struggled a lot emotionally through school, for a variety of reasons, but mostly just stress. Let me tell you, that stress did NOT go away after graduation…now I’m a resident working crazy hours, learning SO MUCH, working on four projects at once, and also trying to somehow TEACH students. Life is crazy, but somehow it’s better. I’m sure it’s a combination of all the things: better diet, more exercise, and quality time with the love of my life.

But the point is, I full believe that a healthier body=a healthier mind. Treating yourself right is a powerful thing.

Coffee Date with my love!

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Today it was 50 degrees in la crosse….fall is officially starting! To celebrate, Trev and I found a coffee shop and enjoyed a nice little date :) the coffee was delish and the atmosphere of this place was really sweet. It was cute and retro and a little funky…so basically the perfect coffee shop! If I had to rate Moka…with 1 being just ok and 82 being awesome….I’d give it 4 stars.

Perfect way to kick off fall weather!!

Our First Visitors

In honor of my three year anniversary with WordPress (YAY ME!) and my first weekend with nothing to do, I’m blogging!! It’s long overdue and I meant to dedicate a separate blog post to each of our honored guests this month….but now that I’m just getting around to it, I’m gonna smush them ALL into one post.

Brace yourself.

 

 

The first weekend my dad and his wife came to visit. Our goal: eat as much pizza as possible. We succeeded in trying three amazing but incredibly different pizza places. The first was Pizza Amore, where we had crazy concoctions that barely resembled pizza. If you’re from DSM, it’s a lot like Gusto–with funky combinations that I don’t think were ever meant to touch pizza crust but taste oh-so-amazing when they do. Genius. The second was Big Al’s….home of the weirdest decor known to man (seriously…a giant stuffed frog tied to a bicycle that is constantly running at 1 mph…I couldn’t look away!). They had amazing taco pizza. Again, DSM-ers, think Paesano’s. It was really delicious classic pizza. The next night we went with Topper’s–a chain, but one we don’t have in DSM. They have delicious pizza, and Topperstix–which we tried the taco ones. That’s probably my favorite thing from the whole weekend–they are like cheese sticks with taco meat and seasoning plus chipotle ranch dip (they have like 20 different types of dip to choose from). Drooling just thinking about it…
While they were here, we also introduced them to the Pearl for ice cream, walked along the river and around our neighborhood, went up to Grandad’s and almost attempted a hike that was NOT meant for hiking, went to see Guardians of the Galaxy (HILARIOUS and so much fun…we also took along a Drake student who was here on rotations and had fun with her at pizza afterwards!), and watched a few movies at home. We made them lunch on Sunday (nothing terribly fancy…just grilled burgers and brats, fruit salad, and regular salad), but it was so much fun making a meal for people and sitting around our dining room table for the first time!!

The next weekend our friends Matt and Shannon came to visit with their little boys. They stayed Friday night and left Saturday, so it was a short visit…but we managed to have lots of fun with them! Friday night I had to work, but Trev took them to Big Al’s and when I came home we sat around and laughed till it hurt…especially after Matt took some cough medicine and became completely delirious. Saturday we took them up to Grandad’s bluff and showed them the city. Their boys (ages ~4 and ~1.5) warmed up to us so quickly which made for some sweet moments. We went to Grizzly’s for lunch and were amazed at their smoked chicken…I think Matt and I (who both had smoked chicken in our meals) were the most pleased with our lunches. Then we headed home and enjoyed a few more hours of time together before they packed up and headed out.

Then my sister came with my one year old nephew!! I was so psyched to see them. It got off to a kinda rough start when a certain baby CRIED when I tried to hold him…I think we are officially past the reaching out stage. BUT he warmed up quickly too and before long there were smiles galore. He even did the super cute thing where he hands you a book and then backs up into your lap so you can read it (which is even more endearing when he does it to my hubby). We laughed over the way he says “cook-IE” and does the hand pound. He’s stinking adorable. We ordered pizza from Toppers for dinner…yes please!
Then on Saturday Sarah and I did some shopping at the fun antique/vintage shops around LAX. My favorite was the Painted Porch, not so much the other store (which had a distinct cigarette and cat odor…not surprising since there WAS a cat just chilling on the counter when we walked in). We didn’t spend tons of money but got some cool stuff both places. That evening we went to a concert down by the river that a bunch of the local churches had put on (after getting ice cream at the Pearl first of course). It was kind of fun, but would have been more fun if we actually belonged to one of the churches and had some friends…we kinda just hung back and enjoyed the music for a bit before retreating to someplace cooler. Sunday we headed to try Rudy’s drive in before they headed home. I attempted a state fair meal of a corn dog, cheese curds, and root beer. It was decent but not even CLOSE to the Iowa State Fair which I desperately missed this year. We weren’t terribly impressed with the food, but Rudy’s has a long history and is a pretty cute place so it was fun to try.

 

So there you have it….three weekends, three awesome visits, eight people we miss like CRAZY. It was a blast….a long exhausting blast :) The next weekend started with a trip to the Dells and a very sick Kim. But that’s another story for another day…

If these tales sound like fun to you….come be our next visitor!! There is still so much we haven’t tried yet here and we’d love to take you with us :)

A foodie in la crosse

This post is all about food. My favorite topic. My favorite hobby.

I had no idea what kind of foodie culture La Crosse would have!! It’s INCREDIBLE. I should have known when people kept making references to the tendency of Wisconsinites to be rather large while we were doing ACLS training. Of course the food must be good.

In just a few short weeks I have experienced SO MUCH FOODIE-NESS and I LOVE IT. But before I taunt with stories that will make you drool and want to come visit, you should probably see some of the sights that will also make you want to come visit us :)

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panoramic view from Granddad’s Bluff…my official new happy place. So beautiful up there! This picture doesn’t even do it justice…

 

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This amazing rainbow happened one of our first days here….landing right on our house! ;) ….it gave us a little boost of hope and peace after a stressful move!

 

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Some of the 4th of July fireworks we saw from atop Granddad’s Bluff 

 

 

Ok now comes the fun part….let’s see if I can remember all of my eats since June….

1) Pizza Amore–we had gyro pizza and a thai peanut chicken pizza. It was to die for. AND I got to bond with three of my co-residents.

2) Buzzard Billy’s–yes, there are TWO locations of BB’s in the whole country–one happens to be in DSM, the other in LAX….coincidence? I think not….this place has some of the most AMAZING creole/cajun types of food. I had jambalaya pasta and seriously the plate of pasta I got could have fed a family of 4…..for 2 days….it was HUGE and amazing and packed quite the punch.

3) Fayze’s–their sign says “you’ll love our buns!” so you know it’s a classy place. for the record, I DID love their buns….and also the cajun mac and cheese. And the soup. This place has like the most amazing assortment of all your favorite home cooked meals, just like mom used to make (or better….sorry mom, that soup was INCREDIBLE). Comfort food….AND again, could feed a family of four with just one meal. See my mac below :)20140718-152747-55667915.jpg

4. B.A. Burrito–While there IS a Qdoba here, I was really curious about this local place. Turns out, it’s nothing LIKE those other chains. First of all, it delivers (dangerous…) and second of all…these aren’t your typical burritos. They have bacon cheeseburger, ham and cheese, seafood, the cuban, cheese steak, ranch chipotle chicken……..and more. Most of them have mayo on them which is weird for a burrito, but it’s so freaking good. We have been there twice. And now I’m feeling like maybe it’s time for round three….

5. Polito’s Pizza–This place is known for having the largest pizza in Wisconsin…it’s 28 inches. Obesity people. We ended up here kind of by accident and weren’t too disappointed. The garlic knots were a dream come true and reminded me a lot of Paul Revere’s back in DSM. I wasn’t feeling terribly adventurous and sometimes you just need a good slice of CHEESE pizza…this was just ok….the garlic knots made up for it but I wasn’t impressed otherwise. They do have some yummy sounding funky pizzas that I’ll probably have to try, but this won’t be my go to when I need my cheese pizza!

6. The PEARL. BEST ICE CREAM EVER. also just found out they have this amazing coffee/espresso combination with my favorite ice cream (yes, I already have a favorite)…so I’ll have to try that. I have been here THREE times and I can tell it’s going to be a bad/good habit. I’ve had peanut butter chocolate, cappuccino Oreo (YES), and maple walnut. You can’t go wrong….they make their own ice cream and their own cones and oh heavens now I just want some ice cream to go with my burrito.

7. The Waterfront–We checked out this twelve star restaurant on our anniversary. Our server was amazing–he knows how to sell a menu. And also he knows how to make you feel like a three year old when he uses that little scoop thing to clean up after you in between courses. I’ve never had that done at a restaurant before….I guess because I’ve never been to a twelve star restaurant. We had amazing drinks, amazing dinner (my “baseball cut” steak and Trev’s seafood, pictured below), and free dessert which was the most decadent chocolate lava cake I’ve ever tasted. The place is expensive, but it’s pretty cool because it’s all fresh and real food, and as much of it is local as possible. We really didn’t want to leave (until we got the bill……..then we thought about running).

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8.  Four Sisters–last night Trev and I went out to eat with my co-residents and we had a blast at 4 sisters. We sat at couches which seemed like fun, but it makes it pretty difficult to eat TAPAS. We shared a bunch of stuff including ceviche, garlic fries, a BBQ chicken flatbread, bruschetta, and grilled cheese dippers. What a GENIUS idea. Grilled cheese is my best friend and this was the best EVER. So perfect….and you’re sitting in a wine bar eating it….I’ve never felt grown up eating grilled cheese before :)

What do you think? Am I living up to my reputation? :D

AND just in case you’re forgetting what we look like–here’s a picture of us on the 4th of July. Having fun, as usual :) Loving life in La Crosse!

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