Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Kari Kalous. I am 49, almost 50 – but will always be a “spring chicken” because my birthday is March 20th (often the first day of spring). I was born and raised on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State, but my family and I have called Helena, Montana home for the last 15 years. My husband Michael and I have been married for 26 years and have raised 4 kids: Zachary and Adam (Mike’s two boys from his first marriage), Bethany and Jacob. After spending the last 20 years as a mom, homeschool teacher, grandma, and childcare provider, this fall I closed my childcare business and started work as a para-professional at Clancy School. My two youngest children are still at home, but Michael and I are starting to get excited about the reality of being “empty-nesters” as they prepare to launch into the world on their own adventures.
Who from your past has most influenced who you are today and how?
I will unashamedly admit that I was a Daddy’s girl. My dad was the kindest, most fun, funny, hard-working, loving, Godly person I have ever known. He was my encourager, and I knew he would always have my back. His example of sacrificing for my mom and our family have been the model for how I want to love others. He never let on that anything he did was even a sacrifice – he lived as though serving others was just his favorite thing to do. Amazing, challenging, and probably one of the biggest blessings of my life, to be loved by that man. This brings me to my favorite quote. When my husband sat down to ask dad for my hand in marriage, my dad said yes, then called me into the room and sat us both down to say this… “When it comes to marriage, I don’t want to hear any of that 50/50 crap. You (pointing to Mike) give her 100% all the time, and you (pointing at me) give HIM 100% of yourself. That is my only secret to a successful marriage. Oh, and No deposit-No Returns.” His unexpected passing in 2007 was the most devastating experience in my life so far. Time does heal, and one of my favorite things in the world is to look at my 17 year old son’s hands, and see my dad’s hands, or to hear dad’s sense of humor come out of my daughter’s mouth. Our loved ones never really “leave” do they?!
What is one of your favorite books and why?
Choosing a Favorite Book is just too hard. I LOVE books! I will say my favorite Genre is Historical fiction. GOOD Historical fiction. I love books that have a connection to places I‘ve been, or places I love. My most current bedtime reading has been Ivan Doig’s Dancing at the Rascal Fair and English Creek. My husband’s Scottish/Irish ancestors settled on the Rocky Mountain Front in the late 1880’s, so those stories are just a little taste of what life might have been like for them.
What does your perfect day look like?
If you ask about my perfect day, I imagine waking up with the birds around sunrise, somewhere near a mountain lake. Campfire coffee, a simple breakfast, then packing up the kayaks with lunch and the camera for a paddle/hike. Early afternoon return to camp for a nap/read in the hammock. Steaks on the Grill and a salad for dinner (and a beer or two – I am German after all). Watching the stars as the fire burns down to embers, and drifting off to sleep in my camper where I don’t have to worry about a bear eating me for HIS dinner.
How would your friends describe you?
Dependable and patient, I hope. I know I can also be easily distracted, stubborn and independent.
What do you value most in a friendship?
I think the kind of friend I value most is someone who sees the best in people – one who thinks positively and assumes the best of me in every situation, but also isn’t afraid to call me on my junk when I’m being stupid or stubborn.
Describe one of your happiest memories.
My happiest memories revolve around numerous family camping trips as a child: Hikes to waterfalls, picnic lunches, family jokes, problem solving garbage bag raincoats in a downpour, learning about the woods and wildlife, falling asleep with my brothers and the cousins in the tent while all the “grown-ups” were playing cards by lamplight at the picnic table. A perfect blend of safety and adventure.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give your twenty-year-old self?
My only advice to my 20 year old self would be “Stop Worrying – it’s going to be OK.” My 50 year old self still needs that advice.
When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?
30 minutes of free time…hmmm…I would probably spend it dreaming up my next craft project, or just how I’m going to decorate for the next season or holiday. I love “feathering my nest” with beautiful things – especially ones that are repurposed, re-used, are creative uses for family heirlooms or items we have collected over the years. I probably have WAY too many “pretty rocks” and “interesting sticks”!
Coffee or tea?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Introvert or extrovert?
Rural or urban?
Dress up or dress down?
Cats or dogs?
Cats AND dogs.
Sunrise or sunset?
Sunrise AND sunset.
Detailed or abstract?
Classic or modern?
Call or text?
Fiction or non-fiction?
Salty or Sweet?
What do you love most about Montana?
I love the blend of Rural and Urban(ish) I can shop, and find everything I need fairly easily in the morning, then drive for 20 or 30 minutes and spend the afternoon feeling like I’m a hundred miles from civilization. Perfect!
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Hardest thing I’ve ever done? Probably going through the grieving process after my dad passed away. Letting go of all the things I WISHED we had been given time to do, and going on with life, living in a way that would continue to make him proud. Loss is HARD!!!
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I’ve been thinking about this question a LOT for the last few weeks. When I was 8, several Christian men in our community got together, and decided that our county needed a non-denominational Christian School. I was blessed to attend Bremerton Christian School from 4th grade until I graduated in 1984. There were around 120 kids in High School in any given year – we all knew each other well, and cared for each other. It was a safe, wonderful way to grow up. Fast-forward 35 years. We are all adults with kids, lives, heartbreaks and triumphs of our own – but many of us are still connected (Facebook really is a miracle of sorts). We have become an army of prayer warriors for each other – no one is alone. God has knit us into a community of hope and encouragement. It’s not anything those men could have imagined in 1974, but it is the best thing that ever happened to me.