new things

I am no longer striving for my own passions and fulfillment. I am searching for ways I can give and ways I can love. I have learned that true fulfillment flows from there.

Hello readers!

This has been my “Simply Kira” blog for years. It started as a place for art and photography and overtime shifted more into a place for my own written thoughts- still often coupled with my artwork.

I could carry on in the same fashion but here’s the thing: so much has changed.

I have a new name. A new husband. (the only one I’ve ever had, lest you be confused…) A new home state.

Perhaps the biggest difference if I’m no longer an “I.”

I really am a “we.”

The way I write, the way I take photos, the things I invest my time in, are all reflections of that. It’s not just that I got married, although that is part of it. Through constant refinement, my focus has shifted. My perspective has altered drastically on how to perceive my own life.

I am no longer striving for my own passions and fulfillment.

I am searching for ways I can give and ways I can love. I have learned that true fulfillment flows from there.

All of this was mostly to say: I felt I had outgrown my blog, and so I changed it.

Most of the old posts will remain. I am grateful for them. I’m grateful for who I was when I wrote them. The time I was able to spend on them. The joy and sadness and grief and imagination I was able to share through them. I’m grateful for all of it.

But the blog itself has shifted. The title is different. The format is different. And the content will be different. How could it not be? I have a whole new setting to write about!

So welcome to Where We Will Grow, a title I stole from my own post about leaving our hometown, and an idea prompted by my  dear friend Abby, who was eager to read updates about our lives in Minnesota. I’m excited to share stories, however small, about the road ahead.

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october twenty-ninth: a saturday

We indulged in large sums of nothingness today. 

Chase made me tea and then drove to Starbucks and bought us both coffee. All with an attitude that it was very normal to spend Saturday morning bringing various hot beverages to your wife. 

We sat on the couch and laughed as the dog tried to speak to us. 

It was rainy outside, and once our coffee was finished we hibernated in separate rooms. He played video games and I watched youtube videos. Somehow dinnertime arrived. I cooked slowly, with as many ingredients I could find that would harmonize. When it was ready, we ate without much conversation; our mouths were too full of fried rice. 

Afterwards he rubbed my shoulders and we joked back and forth, one sentence hopping on top of the other, about all our minds had absorbed that day as we sat cuddled up in blankets.

Then he walked away, and I stayed where I was, and the day faded out as peacefully as it had begun. 

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7 photos

for my husband

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1. (top left) Winter. Chase loves winter. He loves coats and scarves and gloves and snow. Mostly snow. This photo was taken over Christmas break. The students were gone so we had the streets and shops of downtown practically to ourselves. Most of our walks started like this, on our wrap around porch in the cold.

2. (top center)This is the chapel near the house I stayed at while volunteering at a prison over spring break. Chase is not in this photo. That’s part of why it’s perfect for this. He’s not in this photo because he stayed home working full-time while I went on an adventure. He’s always encouraging me to pursue my passions and calling even when that means sacrificing money or comfort or time together.

3. (top right) One of my favorite Seattle trips. This is us making out in a random parking garage downtown. Because we like to kiss anywhere anytime.

4. (center) Taken at a family wedding. We got the time mixed up and missed the ceremony. Then I got ridiculously ill that night when we got home. But the time in-between, exploring behind the barns and laughing by the fields, that part was excellent.

5. (bottom left) Our first home together! The leaves on the trees were lush and green. The sun was bright through the tall floor-to-ceiling windows. We were so so excited and so blissfully ignorant of how much trust and patience God would require of us in that tiny apartment.

6. (bottom center) A candid photo. July 4th, 2015. Our first holiday together. It was perhaps the most perfect holiday I’ve ever had. We wandered through the small trails behind the park then met up with a few close friends for fireworks. Life is rarely blissful, but that day truly was.

7. (bottom right) Driving home with our new puppy, Oliver. He is the strangest fluffiest cutest little dog. We stayed with Chase’s grandparents the night we picked him up in Boise, then he snuggled in my lap for the long ride home. It’s odd. Ollie symbolizes our future in a way. We got him as a sort of graduation present for Chase (the money he received from friends and relatives added up to exactly one labradoodle) and so he was the shift into our next step in the world. Now as we look at jobs for Chase and schools for me, he’s always playing at our feet reminding us he’ll be tagging along for every turn, marking the change of seasons with his ever-growing limbs and expanding fur.

Where We Will Grow

I smear red lipstick across my gray sweater. It is wine splashed across a stormy sky. At first I hoped it wouldn’t stain; now I hope it does. The car keeps rolling through the wind that warns of distant rain. The hills have warmed from brown to green. They are bright beneath the darkening sky.

As far as I can tell, I only have a few months left in the town of my childhood. My husband would like to move “anywhere but here” and I would like nothing more than to join him.

We are happy. It is strange to be so happy in a place yet want to leave it so badly.

We like our house. Our walls display photos from our wedding: Framed happiness. There is artwork: Hanging inspiration. There are bills on the fridge: Chilling procrastination.

We like visiting my parents’ home. Two dogs and a cat greet us. One pisses in excitement, one runs in circles and the other scurries away until he can return later to have us all to himself. My mom and dad are always glad to see us. They listen to our stories and give us food to eat. They remind us what joy and hopefulness look like whenever we struggle to remember for ourselves.

We like our friends. We laugh with them. We go to school and work with them. Sometimes we hide away together and sometimes we go exploring. We learn from them and they learn from us, although no one ever admits to being the student or the teacher.

We like the overcast sky and the mile walk to campus. We like the mud that sticks to our shoes. We like the buildings we’ve known since we were young and the shops and restaurants downtown. We like the sidewalks which have memorized our feet.

But we would like to leave.

Sometimes we outgrow people or places or things. I have found that outgrowing people is the very hardest of all. As I sit with my growing pains and my husband sits with his, I wonder where we will grow to next. And who we will grow to become.

I look down at the lipstick stain on my sweater. Perhaps it has smeared across my face. If my husband sees he will smile and think I am cuter than I was a moment ago. But instead he keeps his eyes on the road. I’ve known him to be one who is certain of where he should go and what he must do to get there.

Perhaps the thing I am most proud of in my life is that before I met him, I became the sort of person who would help him on the path he is already determined to take, rather than steer him towards a course that is easier.

“I want to show you something,” he says, and he drives past a house hidden in the fields where he once kissed a girl for the first time. I remember him telling me about his awkwardness in response to the aggression of her tongue.

I laugh. And laugh. And laugh. Then ask him to tell me more stories.

We love to share in the past, but we also like to be away from it, driving forward onto the next rolling hill.

 

 

Papakea

 

 

11427735_10152961737503034_5180485841754136828_nSometimes we say we are homesick for a place we only knew for a week. But to us, it is our first home.

On the morning after our wedding, my husband and I had to be on the road by 5 o’clock. From our hotel, we took a detour to Walmart where I clomped around in the formal black shoes and socks of my six-foot groom until I found a pair of $4 shoes to fit my five-foot-two self. I have always been the sort of girl to remember her lingerie but forget her shoes. June fifth was no exception.
img_8398For months, getting married and running away together was all either of us had wanted. Now, with new shoes purchased and coffee in our cupholders, we were finally making our grand escape.

In airport security lines, where others bore long faces and impatience, I smirked as my husband cracked jokes with the TSA agent who had pulled him aside for an extra screening. Everyone in uniform laughed with him and wished us well. We held hands up and down the terminals, feeling a bit overly-excited to call each other “hu’band and waaf.” I could hear a collective sigh of relief from our now distant hometown as her residents rested their eyes from the shining glare of our young love.  Well, maybe not. But our cuteness had been undeniably shiny for quite some time. Honeymooning only increased the condition. And so did Hawaii.

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On the island, there were the luxuries we’d seen in a million ads and photographs from tourists: Sandy beaches, ocean waves, scenic palm trees…. All of these were even more beautiful than we’d hoped, but there were also the adventures we made up. The ones that were all new to us.

There was crawling, running, jumping, climbing through crags and cliffs by the ocean. Not a speck of foliage could be found. All we saw was the sky above and gray cratered rocks all around. So we pretended we were on the moon. I had never been to the moon before.

Next was the giant red floppy hat that I had only seen in my mind’s eye. I described it to my husband at 10,000 feet. Days later he found it at sea level in a market by a banyan tree. He put it on my head and told me it was mine.

Then there was the cheap wine we bought as we walked barefoot to a local food mart. It tasted like those summers at the cabin I stayed at as a kid. My husband agreed. Hands waved and voices raised as we drank on the balcony, retelling every moment of our wedding. The sun set. As night faded into morning we ran inside to jump on the bed like children at a slumber party. We fell into a heap and after catching our breath retold stories from the months that held our engagement, laughing at the moments we loved, laughing harder at the moments we didn’t.

With each blink I see dozens of other stories to tell, but for now, I’ll keep the rest of my memories to myself. Some for the sake of length. Others for the sake of propriety. But I will share this:

We decided Papakea was our first home not because it’s the place we liked the best. Not because of the sunshine or the jungle hikes or tropical breezes. It is marked as our first home because it is where a marriage started. We were told from the time we were young that someday we would leave and cleave. This was the place we left to. It is where two people started to learn what it means to become one.

I am blessed to be rooted in the words “The greatest of these is love.” Love can be displayed in no truer way than by the cross where Christ gave himself for us. After Christ, no one will ever love my husband more than me, for I have given my life to him. And after Christ, no one will ever love me more than my husband, for he has taken to heart the Word; “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)

We are clueless about a lot in life. We are young. We are impulsive and emotional. We are often foolish. There is so much left to learn because we are only at the beginning. But everyone has to start somewhere. And we started at Papakea.

On Meeting my Future Husband

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On Sunday, October 26, I was mildly uncomfortable at the sight of the man who will soon be my husband. We were separated by a crowd of church-goers milling about in the Student Union Building. He had asked me out the week prior and our first date was in a couple of days. Although we had known of each other for years, I had only had a couple of brief conversations with him. From a ways off I could surmise a few things. He was hairy. So hairy. And tall. His face looked stern and his eyes were so large and dark it was, at least at that exact second, intimidating.

I insisted to myself that it was no big deal if he was interesting or boring, tall or short, hairy or bald. After all we were just grabbing coffee. I was confidant that I could spend an hour of my time with just about anyone on the planet. This boy would be no exception. But then I had the shocking realization that sometimes coffee dates lead to more coffee dates… which can lead to “dating” which can lead to having a boyfriend which can lead to having a husband?!

“Oh-no!…” I thought as I dared glance again at the sullen looking stranger.

A tightness grew in my chest that tends to grip me just before it becomes difficult to breath. I wanted to cry. What a dreadful realization to think you’ll have to marry someone who is nothing more to you than an acquaintance with very thick eyebrows!

Then I realized this was completely ridiculous. Obviously. So the feeling faded as quickly as it came.

“Perfect,” my mind nodded in response to its own voice of reason, “I will have a nice conversation with a nice boy and won’t even have to think about marrying anyone for a very long time. Just coffee…. I like that. Just coffee.”

Suddenly, I felt completely at ease.

I’m glad that who I was in that moment had no idea she would be engaged by February. I’m even more glad that who I am now knows that getting engaged to that big-eyed hairy man is the best earthly decision I’ve ever made.

However, if I had found out amid my pre-panic-attack that I would marry him, here’s what present me would have told October me:

20150318-115344.jpgFirst off, we both know those unreasonably large brown eyes are awesome. Don’t even pretend you don’t like them.

And yeah, he’s hairy, but you’ll learn to love that big mop on his head. Even after he finally cuts it off, you wouldn’t mind if he grew it back all over again.

It’s actually a good thing that he seems to be the size of a tree to you. That means you can climb him like a koala bear at any given moment. It’s pretty fun and he won’t even think you’re strange.

Don’t be tricked into thinking he’s all that serious. He’s actually a goof. He will laugh with you about anything from silly and sweet to blatantly crass. Which reminds me, he’s not a legalistic bore and thinks all the things you used to get scolded for are cute. You know… “naughty” words, tight skirts, passionate outbursts. They’re his favorite when it comes to you.

Don’t think he’s stern. He has the warmest heart of anyone you’ve ever met. When you are selfish and unreasonable, he will be patient and kind. When you are rigid towards him, he will be soft towards you. More often than not, he’ll be the one teaching you how to be more sensitive.

20150318-164316.jpgTurns out, you were right the first time you met him when you were sixteen. Remember? You thought he was cute. You noticed his kind heart. You liked that he was nerdy. You hoped, almost expected, that someday, a ways down the road, you’d marry him. Even when you dutifully brushed the thought aside, it didn’t frighten you. It felt like your own little secret, knowing that the two of you would be perfect together.

Right now, you’re too frightened by life to notice, but that’s okay. It’s his little secret now and he knows it better than you ever did. He’ll patiently adore you until you figure it out:

The two of you will be perfect together.