Confessional Monday…I slept on the couch.

We were barely married, in the day and age before mobile phones, when my husband decided to go and kayak the Upper Salt with his brother and a friend.

I trusted my husband and his skills in kayaking.  After all, he had thousands of miles on the Arkansas River in Colorado.  But tragic accidents still happen even to skilled rafters and kayakers.  He had lost a friend just the summer before to one such horrible, tragic accident.

Therefore, as much as I trusted, I still tucked away a little bit of fear.  So, when he traveled hours north to go and kayak, despite the fact that the river he was about to embark on was far calmer, still bearing some whitewater but not the same amount or same level, I had trust in him and I had fear in him.  Both emotions swirled into one.

Yet, being the good wife, I sent him on his way with merry wishes and kisses for a great day.

And all day I prayed.  I knew when they should arrive at the river.  I knew how long the river should take.  And I knew approximately when they should arrive home.

Unfortunately, that time when he should arrive came and went.

He was not home.  Worse yet, there was no phone booth phone call to say that they were fine.

Okay.  Sometimes rivers take longer than they should.  Sometimes drives take longer than they should.  Sometimes…

My mind was racing.  To calm my anxiety, I decided that I would get out of our adorable little apartment, our first abode together, and go grocery shopping.

Food and shopping.  Two categories commonly used in many lives to avoid truths, eh?!

I took my time grocery shopping but made sure that I was finished by 9pm so that I could be home to watch the evening news.  I was not hoping my husband was on the news-instead I watched hoping my husband was not a story on the news.  Does that make sense?

Thirty minutes of news and no “Breaking News” of a kayaking accident or incident or ???  Needless to say, I was grateful.  Grateful that he did not make the news but still just as concerned that he also had not yet made it home.

More time passed and I really had to think.  At what point do you call the authorities to let them know that they may need to assemble a search and rescue team?  Truthfully, I wasn’t sure.  What would I say, “Hi, I’m a new wife.  My husband went kayaking.  He’s not home yet.  I don’t know if you need to go and search the river or just “stand by” the phone…I’ll let ya know.”

Eventually I decided that I would give him more time.  After all, flat tires also happen.

Groggily, hours later, I was awakened by my husband.  I looked at the clock.  I looked at him.  He was saying something about his day…

At this point I feel complete relief.  Then, bubbling up inside I felt my second raw emotion—the one that took over.  Anger.

He didn’t even think to call me on his way home to tell me they were okay?  He didn’t think to call me when they stopped to eat that they would still be a couple hours out?  He didn’t call me to tell me he had a great day?  Point.  He didn’t call.

I was left until the wee hours of the night wondering if he was okay, and he didn’t call.

So, as he was talking about his great day, I picked up my pillow and marched into the living room.  And I slept on the couch.

As I drifted to sleep, I thought, “Are you kidding me, Brooke, Richard doesn’t call and you are the one that is sleeping on the couch?  There is something wrong with this picture.”

The very next morning, I walk into our bedroom, and, still sleeping like a baby, my husband.  Snoring.  Soundly.  Not a care in the world.

Why is it, folks, that we often lose sleep when the other party seems to get plenty?  I have no idea.

Last night, present day last night, my husband and I also had an argument about all things related to being newborn parents.  Lack of continuous sleep does not always bode well for civil conversations.  Therefore, we had a “lively” discussion about many topics.

Warning—when you have not slept well—avoid all topics.

But we didn’t.  And we argued.  And I ended up on the couch again—my choosing.  Baby in a rocking cradle next to me.

Now, the morning after, awake for hours, I have got to ask myself, “Brooke, at what point in your life will this madness end?”  Needless to say, silly Brooke, I have no idea.

I’m too passionate to give an answer.  But my husband has already made me coffee this morning.

Marriages and couches, my friends, two things that will keep you humble.

Happy Presidential Monday to all!  Hope you got a few winks of sleep for me 😉


At least little Josephine looks well rested, eh?!

Zoom Flume…I knew I’d find you!

Yesterday’s blog was about meeting your spouse in the middle.  Basically it was an encouragement for you to find ways to help keep your spouse’s spirit of adventure alive. 

Well, speaking of yesterday, I found it!  I was cleaning through a huge stack of papers today—let me vent for a moment—there are about 5 sheets of paper sent home with my daughter per day.  What a waste!  Anyhoo—in those papers, I found a photo that used to hang on our fridge. 

It’s the Zoom Flume! 


You’ll remember that my husband was a guide down the Arkansas River in Colorado (Buena Vista) before we married.  Well, this is one of my all-time favorite shots.  You should know that he had the day off but was able to join the caravan of rafting guides that day and take us—his future father-in-law, mother-in-law, and me (future bride) down the river.  He worked for Noah’s Ark.   Here’s their link:

The funny thing about this is that when most of the other guides had family members come to visit and took them down the river, it just happened to be the day that they would dump their boat.  So Richard was chided long before we all got on that raft that he was going to have to go fishing that day…Fishing after his future father-in-law, mother-in-law, and future bride.  You know, to get us out of the river?!  Let’s just say he was nervous.

But he actually didn’t go fishing that day at all (at least for us, remember we did help clean up lots of floaters that day from other rafts).  Well done, Rich!

And maybe you’ll notice, the majority of the boat is having a lot of fun.  That means…my dad and I.  You see, Richard has to concentrate because the Zoom Flume is a Level III or Level IV rapid depending on the water level of the river (and it was a-flowing for our tour)…And he had to make sure he missed the right rocks and steered the right path to get us through the rapid.

He did a grand job.

My dad had confidence.  I had confidence.  My mom…she’s another story.

Can you see her face?  It’s the best!  She’s holding on for dear life while probably writing her Last Will and Testament out in her head at the same time.

Oh, and I should add, she really can’t swim all that well.  Rich told us at the end of rafting that day that had my mom actually gone overboard, my dad and I would be left to fend for ourselves.  He was going after my momma.

Now who wouldn’t love a man that would go after his future bride’s momma? 

Sigh!  Lovely.

Anyhow—This is the year before we married. 

Perhaps now you can see why, for me, it is important to help him keep this same spirit alive today. 

Yes…times change.  Circumstances change.  Lives change.  But, in the end, the itch is always there for guys like this…The itch for adventure.

I always tell Rich that I’m enough of an adventure.  But I know that we do truly only live once…and I definitely want to help him live his life to the fullest!

And while that might not mean guiding folks down a river (yes, he had to grow up and get a real job that actually paid for more than meals.  lol!), he’s still the guide in that boat, maneuvering through the rapids, with a smile in his eyes. 

And that is, after all, the man I fell in love with…and want him to be!

Hope you had a great Hump Day, folks!

Oh, and here’s the link in case you missed the original story to start:

Hope you’ll come back tomorrow and hear about an adventure in Poland when an old granny tried to con us out of our money.  Now that’s a funny story.  See ya then!


Meeting Your Spouse in the Middle…of Adventure!


(c. photo R. Nungesser, Dolomites, Italy)

When I thought about dating my husband, I kept two very important things in mind.  And these two things were no small matters:

1.  Richard was available to go anywhere in the world to serve God…ANYWHERE.

2.  Richard was very, very adventurous!

My father always told me that part of a good marriage was having fun and going on adventures.

So I had to think.  Hard.

How much adventure did I really want in my life?

How far did I really want to go to live—even if it was for God?

For some of you, these questions are no brainers.

You may say, “Anything for love!”

Or “Off, off, and away!”

Or “Never in a million years!  My way or the highway!”

Well, I had a very content life.  I was extremely into service in my community.  And I loved my job.  And my family all lived within 20 minutes of each other.

My life was rather comfortable.  Grand.  Lovely.

And here I was considering dating a man that would take this glorious life and FLIP it literally upside down.

But then I thought about it…Would I rather a comfortable life without Rich or an unexpected life with Rich?

And, well, you know how the story goes…

I went with the unexpected.  I married Rich.


(c. photo Bill Holmes at wedding of Rich/Brooke)

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I am full of adventure too.

I have been jumping off mountains LONG before I ever met my husband (para punting).

I am the one that dragged my husband bungee jumping.

I have been parasailing and snorkeling since I was in my teenage years.  And riding dirt bikes since the age of 5.  And camping-I’m a pro.

I’ve even been on helicopter ride (front seat) in New Zealand.  We landed and walked around on a glacier.  Yeah, baby!

You see, it’s not that I am a complete bore.

BUT—I do enjoy coffee, fires, books, movies.  I enjoy cuddling up at home.  I love to write.  And I love to eat!  Good food and lots of conversation.  Those are my leisure pursuits!

Then you have my husband:  white water guide down the Arkansas River in Colorado for 3 years and thousands of miles; sky diving; snowboard instructor; rock climbing guide; mountaineering man; pilot of a small plane.

Yep.  It’s obvious to see that he has out-adventured me.

And, yes, he’s taken me rock climbing (My least favorite adventure—let me tell you about the 90-foot-rappel.  NOT MY FAVORITE).

He’s taken me flying (and he wanted me to grab the gears while he TIED his shoes.  CRAZY MAN).

He’s taken me down the river—and he didn’t even dump us!  Impressive.  Because we watched three boats dump after we made it through the rapids and ended up helping rescue many floaters after that.

And he has taught me how to snowboard (I was a skier).  Ummm…I am not sure that my bum ever appreciated those lessons.  OUCH!

So, it’s not even that I am really a dud.  I have gone on some of his adventures with him…

In fact, 5-months pregnant, we went swimming with Manta Rays and snorkeling where I was STUNG by a jelly fish (yes, it HURTS…bad!).

But it comes down to this.

He can LIVE off of adventure.

I can only live to experience adventure.

And when we moved to Poland—a very flat part of Poland—I actually felt something for my husband.  Empathy.

Here he was in the peak of his health and physical fitness.  Here he was still young enough to experience physical adventures and we were in the land of flat.  Yes, many lakes, but very little places for high-risk adventure.

And, like I said, I was all chill with that.  But he-he was a bit sad.

That’s when I decided that I needed to step it up in the wife department and create adventure for my husband—Meet Him in the Middle.

While adventure was not near, I had to help create adventure from afar.

Here are some ways that I was able to help my husband achieve continued adventure:

He went to work in Uganda for 6 weeks (he had previously worked in Kenya for 3 months before we were married).  Before his work began, he was able to meet up with his brother and a friend in Tanzania and they all climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.  In April.  In the middle of a massive snowstorm.  And, of course, my husband was in heaven.

In Poland, I got him Scuba Diving Lessons/Certificate for Father’s Day one year.  He can now go for his Level II.  (I’ll have to make that happen one day, eh?)

He was able to go to the Dolomites in Italy with a friend, Artur, and climb all of the routes that required helmets and ropes.  Again, heaven.

And, one of my proudest, Mt. Elbrus on the Russia/Georgia border.  Unfortunately I sent him there during the Russia/Georgia conflict.  Let’s just say that it was a good thing there was a snow-covered mountain between them and the conflict.  (In fact, I think that he’s going to write about this adventure in his next blog posting for us)  But they made it successfully.  Phew!


(Richard on Mt. Elbrus, Russia)

What did I do while he went on his adventures?

Well, I worked.  I took care of Adelyne.  I “stoked” the coal and took care of all of the home-front fires.  But that’s all okay.   Because I was very glad to do it.

And I am still glad to do it.

One of my greatest joys in life is not only to see people come to know how awesome Jesus is—but it’s to take care of my family.

If that means sending them off to the wiles of the jungle-then so be it.  As long as they are happy to go AND remember to come home safely.

I know one day Adelyne and Maxwell and Belly Josephine will also want to go on adventures.

And I’ll have to take a look at their dad and say, “It’s your time.  Go forth and shine!”

And it’ll be a time for new adventure in his life-Teaching his children how to go and experience the world.

I’ll sit at home, with my coffee and a big dose of prayer on my lips.  But I know that it will be worth it.   Because seeing joy in the eyes of my family is enough of an adventure for me!

And that is how I meet my spouse in the middle.  How about you?

I’m all for naked babies—but naked rollerbladers?! Woe.To.Me!

Look!  We all love a naked baby photo shoot. To prove it, I’ll share a couple of my favorites.

Here is Maxwell.  Fat.  Naked.  Happy.  Glorious!  I am a proud momma.


And here, on the beach of Spain, is our other glorious child, Maxwell’s sister, Adelyne.  Sandy.  Free.  Naked.  Perfect!  I am a proud momma.


But I am not a fan of naked adults that decide the Great Outdoors is where they, too, should exercise.  Naked.  Well—a small strip of clothing did accompany this person…I’ll get there in a moment.

I know.  I know.   Get to the naked rollerblader, eh?!  I can’t.  Not yet.  You have to hear a little history first.

And it goes like this…

My husband and I are really big into camping.  Well, to be honest, it’s because it’s very economical-and, for the most part, we are rather…um…stable (note-that means not wealthy).  And, secondly, it’s because my husband is a former mountaineering/white-water-rafting guide (Colorado Rockies and Arkansas River).

Thus, when we traverse the glorious diversity of this fabulous continent called Europe, we mainly camp.  In tents.  With sleeping bags.  And eat rice.  Sometimes we add salt to the rice 😉 (Oh, heavens!  This reminds me of Stinky Feet Jake…He must return in a future blog!  It’s a promise I’ll bring Stinky Feet Jake back to life.)

And we love it.

In fact, one summer before we had children and we actually had about $300 to our name, we decided we needed a short vacation.  So we bought our train tickets, loaded our bikes, and headed off to Austria.  First stop on our journey (that’s after traveling through Poland and Czech on very old and noisy and SLOW trains)-Salzburg.  The Hills Were Alive with the Sound of Mozart!   

After our short Salzburg adventure, we took the train to Linz.  And from Linz is where the real adventure began.

The Plan:  Bike from Linz to Vienna, along the Danube, through the Austrian Alps.

Sleep where we could lay our heads.

Eat our rice.

Enjoy the wind blowing through our hair—er—bike helmets.

The End.

And absolutely everything we needed was in our bike packs.  Oooh boy, those bikes were heavy.

Note to all of those that don’t like to exercise: Biking through the Austrian Alps with packs full of camping gear…Yeah.  Better not go there.  Tough stuff.  Nuff said.

We were young.  We had energy.  We had bikes.  We loved exercise (I am obviously not the same present-day-person as this adventurous gal)!  And we were off!

The scenery was as breathtaking as you can imagine.  And we slept in AWESOME spots.

One night, we were so tired as we biked slowly into a little village that we found the first available spot—a field of sunflowers.  Sunflowers that reached the sky.  And we were surrounded by them.  And we threw our sleeping bags on the ground in this field.  And we threw our weary bodies, without dinner, into our bags, and we dreamed beautiful dreams.  After all, we were sleeping in a field of sunflowers.

Actually—that’s not true.  We were in a glorious field of sunflowers, but it started to rain on us.  And so we pulled out the tarp—but we refused to make the tent.  So we threw the tarp over our sleeping bags and tucked our heads in and BAM.  Lights out for us!  Rain did not impede our slumber.

The next morning we woke up to misty sleeping bags and smiling sunflowers.  A post card to be sure.

And we were off again.  No time to lose.  No money to lose time.

And that’s when it happened.  The Naked Rollerblader.



So, Rich and I are biking along a path of the river that is rather calm.  And there are many sunbathers—both next to the river and on the other side of the path.

I spotted them ALL immediately.  Naked.  Naked.  Naked as the day they were born. Naked.

And, not being Pamela Andersen, I sternly cautioned my husband…

“Don’t look to the left!


“Don’t look to the right!”

And, being the gentleman that he is (or scared of his wife’s wrath—wise man), he said, “Okay.”

But—I couldn’t prepare anyone for what was going to happen next.

As we’re finally getting out of the naked war zone, someone zooms past us on rollerblades.

And this someone was a young lady…without clothes…wearing only a string of underwear.  Yep.  Right in front of us.

What could I do?  Yell, “Don’t look straight!”

She was obviously trapped a couple Millennial back, preparing for the Olympics of Ancient Greece.  Naked.

And just like there are winners and losers at the Olympics, I seceded present-day victory.

I had LOST the European battle—Naked won.

And we biked on.

Eventually we made it to Vienna.  Thankfully, people in the city are a bit more partial to clothes.

We camped.  We went Bungee Jumping.  We had a great time.

Fully clothed.

How about you?  Any hilarious stories while traveling abroad?