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Writing to inspire: Minnesota love story included in new book

Andrea and Chad Hanson of Goodhue, Minn., have been married for nearly 10 years. She was his care assistant following a crash that left him paralyzed. Andrea’s recounting of their love story is featured in “Oola for Women: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World.” Photo courtesy of Andrea Hanson

A new self-help book for women to find balance and reduce stress in their lives features a love story from a small town in southeastern Minnesota.

The story of Andrea and Chad Hanson started in 1998 with a tragedy: Chad, a Minnesota Department of Transportation engineer who at that time was still a student at the University of Minnesota, fell asleep while driving and crashed, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

Several years later, Andrea, looking to make some extra money while working as a part-time math teacher, took a job as Chad's personal care assistant. Their relationship blossomed and now, almost 10 years later, the Goodhue couple is happily married with a daughter.

Andrea wrote about their experience and submitted it for "Oola for Women: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World" by Troy Amdahl and Dave Braun.

"I hope readers will see that love can come in all forms, and that no matter what, you have to choose love; it doesn't just happen every single day when you wake up," Hanson said of her contribution to the book.

"There's no easy marriage, it doesn't exist," she added. "So every day you have to choose to love that person."

The book, released May 2, is a collection of stories from 54 women. It is the latest in a series of books on Oola, a lifestyle focusing on balance and growth in the "7 F's": fitness, finance, family, field (career), faith, friends and fun.

"There are some very real, vulnerable stories shared that opened my eyes to see life in a new, fresh way," Hanson said. "I feel like it's going to be a great book for women at any stage in their life wanting to take it to the next level."

She said her story falls under the "Oola accelerators" category, which includes love, gratitude, wisdom and humility. The accelerators are antithetical to "Oola blockers" such as fear, guilt and anger.

The series was started by Dave Braun, of North Dakota, and Troy Amdahl, originally from Rochester, according to the Oola website, www.oolalife.com. Hanson said she learned about the books from longtime friend Jessica Amdahl, Troy's niece.

Though she started journaling recently as a fitness coach, Hanson said writing was not one of her strong suits growing up. "I started doing posts on Facebook and doing some blogging, and really just found a lot of joy in getting my thoughts out in word form."

She said it feels strange knowing that the story of her marriage is sitting in bookstores.

"But it's an incredible opportunity to hopefully spread some hope and joy into other people's lives."

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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