An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.

- G.K. Chesterton


Although Karl and I were married in April of 2006, it was August before we were actually living in the same city (I still had a few months to serve in the Air Force before I could move out to Alabama, where he was living, so we continued our long-distance marathon for a while). So, although we officially celebrated our one year anniversary in April, this month marks one year of actually sharing a house together.

I have to admit, this has been an adjustment for me. I'd lived the last four years completely on my own, the sole decision maker when it came to where things go, what to buy, whether to make the bed or not, and how to order my life. In many ways, I still am - Karl doesn't seem to really notice clutter or mess unless it somehow disrupts his life ("Where are all the coffee mugs? Aren't there any clean coffee mugs?") - but it's gotten much more complicated now that there's this OTHER PERSON in my home messing things up and leaving clothes and papers everywhere. I've had to adjust some standards, and learn to give him space to let things pile - the reason our spare bedroom is commonly known as "Karl's Cave". One of his quirkier tendencies is to leave almost all the kitchen cabinets open after he's been in there. I'm not sure what the reasoning is for this, but I can always tell if he's been in there before me. It bothered me a little until I heard a great word of advice: whenever I see those open cabinets (or the socks on the bedroom floor, or papers laid out over every flat surface) I just use it to remind myself how glad I am to have this man in my world, and to be building a home with him. All those annoying things are really just signs marking his presence in my life, and reminding me to say a little prayer thanking God for my cabinet-opening man.

In the last year we've had six different mailing addresses between the two of us, made it through an extremely tough move without the help of any friendly government-contracted moving men (a first for me), started new jobs, began putting down tiny roots in our new state, helped each other with frustrations and disappointments and successes, and learned a lot about communication and cooperation. Now I can't imagine my life without him, and I'm so excited to see what the next years bring! Happy one year TOGETHER, Karl.

kindred spirits

It's always been tough for me to make friends - at least the really good kind, the kind you can call up in tears who will listen and encourage, the kind you can be completely silly with, the kind you can really talk to about hopes and dreams and life. I'm not sure if I have such a hard time because of how much I've moved over the years, if I'm too selective about the people I allow to get close, or if it's just something instinctual in me that maintains that reserve so much. Every once in a while, though, someone comes along and it seems like I've known them forever... something in me recognizes something in them, and we're immediately connected. These special people stay in my life no matter how far away I move, or how often we talk - they are each such a gift.

When I was ten, it was my friend Christina. She was also the oldest of a homeschooling family, and she, I and our brothers used to play very involved games of capture the flag or pioneers. We met on an historic tour where the costumed guide made a speech about her 18-inch waist (which she clearly didn't have), and Christina and I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to suck in our own little stomachs and check our measurements with my mom's measuring tape. She and I wrote plays and songs together, crafted dolls, rode horses, drew plans for our dream houses and wrote out lists of what we would name all our children. Christina always seemed so comfortable with who she was, so at ease in her own skin and with her life that I felt free to also be myself.

In high school it was Katie - we sat next to each other in gym class that first day of freshman year, and all day no one could remember who was Katie and who was Kristin. After that, we were inseparable. We invented private names for people around us, wrote notes in our own code, whispered secrets between classes and sang a duet in the talent show. Katie was creative, talented and smart, and made it okay for me to be my best, too.

I met Ronda at my first duty station with the Air Force as a young lieutenant. She was a pilot and had a lot more experience than me, and she became a mentor as I tried to navigate leadership as a young officer, military rules and regulations, and a whole lot of questions about guys, kids, and womanhood. She is amazingly creative and executes every project with the same precision she demonstrated as an officer - her frosted sugar cookies are a work of art, and when she made the cakes at my wedding they were the talk of the reception.

I get to see Ronda this weekend - a work trip is taking me to the city she and her husband are living in, and I'm staying over a few extra days. I can't wait to see her, to talk, to catch up, and to just enjoy being with one of these special ladies. Somehow having just one friend like her makes up for not having fistfuls of other girlfriends around me all the time.


Karl's gearing up for Girl OVERLOAD this weekend: my youngest sister Susan and her best friend Nicole (and hence my adopted sister) are stopping here for a few days on their Great Road Trip of 2007 journey - we hope. They're driving down from New Hampshire today in Nicole's old boat of a car, and are at a garage waiting on repairs at the moment in some town in Connecticut. Hopefully it'll be fixed soon, but knowing these two it's all part of the Adventure of it all.

Susan and Nicole are both very vivacious, outgoing, talkative girls on their own, but put them together and you get that peppy, frenetic, joyful conversation multiplied, with LOTS of exclamation marks. It can be overwhelming for the uninitiated, but I think it's great to have them around. Sue is the kind of girl who makes friends as easily as most people breathe in and out, and seems to effortlessly make everyone around her feel like they're involved in some great adventure. She was Homecoming Queen and on Student Council in high school, has about a million friends on Facebook and MySpace, and is absolutely beautiful. Nicole is her blonde twin, and together they're a riot. They spent three months together this spring in Uganda working in an orphanage, and I can't wait to hear the stories.

Karl's thrilled to see them too, although the big drawback about female guests for him is that he can't walk around in his boxer shorts for a few days. He also has to expend more energy convincing me that no, we don't need to clean all the grout with a toothbrush just because someone besides the two of us will be in the apartment (I get a little crazy about cleaning for company). We've got plans to go walk around the monuments and memorials, eat Ethiopian food in honor of Susan's birthday (twenty!) and take lots of pictures.

The one thing I miss more than any other living on the east coast is how far away from my family I am - I can't wait to see these two.