Ann: When Words Don’t Suffice

There’s this super special best friend for life/basically-sister/mind-reader I have, and I want everyone else to know about this priceless person who is called Ann Duevel by many and Duev by a select few.

First of all, Duev treats me well when it would be difficult to do so…through the ‘stickier’ parts of who I am, she sticks with me (aw, how punny…!).

I met Duev sophomore year. We got to know each other via our swim team connection, though this wasn’t ever the glue that held our friendship together (especially when she decided that practice was no longer worth dealing with because of the presence of our coach…heheheh, oh Kevin!!)

She always buys me stuff for no reason, and it’s always the most thoughtful thing- and SO meaningful. She will listen to a story one *million* times, and try to understand my point of view *two* million times. She will take the time in my pitiful moments and encourage me when I feel like I am not enough. She gives new perspectives and thoughtful insight, and I listen carefully to Duev because I know how much she holds in her heart; I know how much she cares.

She will help me out of a bad situation, but she pushes me to test my limits to improve myself through experience, and inevitably, mistakes along the way. She let me borrow a fabulous bright red Nebraska sweatshirt for months and when it was finally time to give it back, she was happy to just let me have it because it would be a great reminder of an even greater person in my life who I won’t be seeing in person for 8 months.

Sometimes she’s the backbone of our friendship, and sometimes I’ll take up the role. She’s the one who deals with my need for friendship breaks, and taking back unecessarily-made friendship breaks. She’ll listen when I feel like there’s something to say, and it doesn’t always have to be pleasant. I guess this is how lifelong friendship goes- giving a lot and receiving a lot, never 50/50 all the time, but somehow, it evens out (As of this post I still owe you a lot of gas money though hahaha…there’s no even part about that….so that will be coming soon to a car near her!)

Ann, I think I’ve laughed the hardest in my life in your presence, I think I’ve made my biggest mistakes knowing you’d catch my fall, and ultimately, I’ve made some huge life changes (even without you necessarily understanding every bit about them) knowing you’ll stay by my side. This takes a miracle, but luckily, miracles do exist: you as my best friend!!

We’ve made some extreme trips happen together and it’s really true that travel is going to make or break a connection with someone (thank goodness we made it!!). Ann, I don’t say any of this stuff enough to you, or even worse, I’m not sure that I’ve ever expressed all this to you before. Well…I’m always giving you belated birthday gifts so let’s call this post an early birthday gift (don’t worry I’ll mail you something on your birthday too!!)

*Finally*, this girl is always making the most out of life and experiences offered (modeling was in the works somewhere in between bartending and the next new big thing I will not yet announce, and this will surprise no one!).

Here’s a little bit of what she’s been up to:


Always the piano player! Even when pencils get dropped into baby grand pianos…no worries! We’ll fish ’em out! No fingers broken!


Is it legal to be this amazing on your birthday? (THAT SMILE)


This group may look usual, but we are SILLY together. So much fun at hotels under construction!!! Hahaha. Future cruise buddies, it better happen!

Sometimes Ann feels calm and expresses this for a photo…


…but usually not…hehehee….

The best drink for Duev? Look no further…


Pisco Sour for second place and all its glory when mixed with Duev..!

The best meal she’s ever not paid for? You know it’s right here…(of course there’s a story behind this!)


She may have asked for extra grease on that, we’re not sure…

The best expression she’s ever given to a camera she didn’t know was on? Oh, it’s been documented:


The best friend she’ll ever have?

Not sure, but here’s a great photo of her in a poncho with some ridiculous kid who probably had to pay to get a photo with such an amazing person:


Duev, I’ll put one normal photo in. Enjoy:



Fascinating Weather & Poetry Found!

FIRST OF ALL, SPRING IS HERE! Photos to celebrate, yes:

I came across this poem; what do you think? What do you think the author refers to? I like its consideration of new beginnings at the end, which is fitting with Spring weather *finally* arriving in the Twin Cities! Without further ado:

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Looking Back: Grateful for Every Moment

.. I’m grateful for every moment, but the beautiful moments are the easiest to appreciate initially. Now that I’m not going through particular difficult moments, I’m just as grateful for the growth and needed change they allowed me.

Sometimes life can get you a little down, as though the moments now are harder than they’ve been in the past, or that you’re not moving forward with your life as quickly as you’d like, or that you want to feel more happiness, or that in certain moments, you feel a new happiness you’ve never imagined and want to bottle it up to keep with you forever.

Through each of these moments, the answer to these concerns is always in front of me. I know it, and I still won’t even always seek Him. I’m praying for everyone in this boat, because it can make for difficult moments, but I am remembering that God *always* has brought me the best.

The best in life comes after taking out what was ‘the best’ before- if my life story speaks to one thing, it screams this. The ‘middle time’ of transition doesn’t get easier knowing this, though. I have to believe more; I need more trust in Him!

Even in just today, He has so many beautiful surprises and little seconds filled with Joy for each of us. What will it be for me, and for you? Will we be too busy to notice or cherish them?

So maybe I’m sick with a bad sore throat today (and *if* I was complaining, I’d say that’s my least favorite kind of sick day), but it will still be a great day; He ensures this. Much love to all my readers, and enjoy these photos (I took every one of them except one!)

** Brace Yourselves- The following photos contain little details that hint at the people who I contain in my heart, experiences that have shaped I how see the world through my time in just 10 countries so far…think of how much we still have to discover, and yet, for me- I am so happy to remember these moments of great joy! So please, comment if you recognize a location or may have been present for one of these moments! I do apologize for some years’ photos not included, as I lost a lot of my photo archive when switching laptops just about a year ago. Still- enjoy! **)



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To the Root // Hasta La Raíz

I challenge you to read over these song lyrics with this thought: it was argued in my *AaaaaaMAZING* Kairos retreat that this song could only refer to God’s love, considering how strong the love is described. What are your thoughts, readers? The lyrics are below… (song by Natalie Lafourcade)

I go on crossing rivers
roaming forests
loving the sun
Every day I go on pulling thorns
from the far depths of my inner heart
And at night I go on burning up dreams
to launder clean with sacred smoke

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A Family Tradition: The Winter Trip Up North

Way up North in Minnesota, at the end of December? Yes, one may say this is a definition of insanity. Our family calls it tradition, and it never fails to be a great time. In this particular year, oddly there was no snow so we did not do our typical cross country skiing. Family friends (my amazing godmother, Mary, included) joined us for game nights, great meals, hiking, visiting the headwaters, and generally enjoying the beauty found if you can bear the harsh cold! (I’d say we managed!)

Note: Elizabeth was also present to represent our family (Alyssa and Ryan weren’t able to come unfortunately), but she wasn’t in the mood for photos over the trip. It is always so nice spending time around Liz, though- one of the highlights of this trip!

Marvelous Ms. Marie

Marie has always inspired me by her strength, courage, determination, hard work, compassion, and heart of GOLD. I am blessed to have had Marie as my first high school friend. I am blessed that we are still friends now, because as anyone moving on from high school knows, that’s when a high school friendship is a choice, and we always choose to be friends…besties, actually.

Marie, you mean the world to me. I cannot WAIT to walk right next to you on May 3rd. You are strong and I am so lucky for every moment we get together, and for the amazing future that God chooses for us- I think we’ll stay close through it all. We might not be quite so ridiculous as our high school years (oh wait, that was me always doing really silly things and you being the wise one), but I’m glad we’ve been growing up together, because I see how great God is through the strong example of your life. Marie, thank you (and your amazing family) for everything you’ve done for me and all the ways you’ve been there for me. You look out for what’s best for me, and I can only hope to attempt the same for you. (She has a blog from her time as a missionary in Nepal! Check it out here).

As we always do, we visited Minnehaha Falls for nature photos. This trip was a success, as were the many that came before this! The only season we have missed has been Spring, so I’m hoping we can get that planned out soon? Spring 2015 is on its way!

(As a side note, we’re overdue for a trip, and our families are much overdue for a dinner together!)

If anyone has a story/comment to add on about Marie, please do so. Much love, readers!

Arica, Chile

Quieres conocer mi compañera de viajando para un fin de semana reciente?



Quieres conocer nuestras amigas fabulosas que, con suerte (y sin un señal de celular), habíamos encontrado después de cinco minutos en Arica?


Eli y Clau, mis hermanas por corazón

Sabes que fue BUENASO sobre Arica? La playa…fotos debajo–

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