Imagine a house in the mountains surrounded by some acreage, with a fence and a gate, lots of well cared for dogs and cats, and a river or stream near by. Imagine, if you will, a sign on the gate. What might it read? I think it would simply read “Heaven on earth found here.” That’s where they’d love to be, and maybe one day they will. Jim loves the outdoors. No rewrite that. Jim LOVES the outdoors. He loves to fish, to hunt, to hike, to shoot, to skin, to gut, to sharpen, to set up, to tear down, to teach, to tire, and to respect. Respect for nature and wildlife is important to him — and Kathy. Kathy is a lover of all things furry and if she could she would rescue every single cat or dog in need. Kathy knows all too well what it means to be a ‘Hunting Widow’, but the beauty of Kathy is that she knows Jim needs to be out doing what he loves. She respects that — and him — and he her. They’ve been married 36 years and their answer to the question of “What is the key to a lasting marriage?“ couldn’t be more true for their marriage … “lots of give and take, time together, time apart, talking, a sense of humor and sharing responsibilities.” Well said. Here they are 36 years ago.
They’re both private people and would rather spend time with each other than most anybody else, but they love their friends too, and know how to throw a really great social event like a football, New Year’s Eve, BUNCO, or Harvest Party. They’re humble and would rather the attention be on anyone but themselves, but they liven up any gathering with their presence and Jim’s hearty laughter and Kathy’s giggles.
I learned something new doing this post. Anyone that knows these two have heard Jim call Kathy “Bear” — a nickname that came from their early married years (where she admits she wasn’t exactly a morning person back then). But what I didn’t know all these years is that Kathy calls Jim “Jimboat.” JimBOAT! What?! I always thought it was JimBO! See, my father was right — you do learn something new every day (it’s just too bad I keep forgetting what it is I learned). I love nicknames and think they really set a person apart. It’s endearing to not only each other but to others around that hear as well.
They met sitting next to one another in Science class at Borah High. She loved the size of his arms and muscles (he was a baseball player), his sweet spirit, patience, and sense of humor. She says he’s still that same kid at heart and she loves that he sings Christmas carols in July. Jim said he wanted to see her again because of her pretty face and kissable lips and he credits beautiful attributes to her like “unconditional love, compassion, and total devotion to him.” They met at school, but we met them at church. They started attending FBC in 1997 and it wasn’t long before Mike and Jim remembered each other from the Borah High baseball days. The two of them started reliving stories of that Field of Dreams, and it wasn’t long until we became fast friends. I remember when they first invited us to camp with “the group” — Linda and Guy, Kathy and Bob, Jim and Kathy, and Greg and Marsha came that trip as well. We were long time campers ourselves so we suggested Baumgartner and they all thought that was a great idea. We drove up there but couldn’t find anyone at the campground so turned back and found them alongside the road in a non-official camp spot. We just figured the camp spot was full, but I remember Kathy J. saying “NO, there was cement there!” That started our off-road camping. Some of the most memorable times with Jim and Kathy (besides camping of course) was when we took our trips in 2000-2003 to Victoria, BC, California and Oregon to watch our kids perform in a musical-drama for the church youth group. Seriously, the things Jim and Kathy and our group have done together since 1995 is a very, very long list. Those were, and still are, wonderful years full of memories with good friends, and trust me, I have six photo albums each holding 400 photos just of this group of friends to prove it!
Their daughter is getting married in April (her portraits here “Rain or Shine”) and their advice to the newlyweds of today is “Don’t sweat the small stuff (something Kathy says she’s still learning), laugh, enjoy each day the Lord gives you together, and make your decisions based on His Word.” If Matt and Lacey had a role model of more selfless, devoted and loving parents, I’m not sure who it would be. They are a together-kind-of-couple and where you find one, most likely you’ll find the other either working in the yard, throwing a burger on the barbie, walking Sage, watching one of a hundred movies they own, playing games of all kinds, supporting BSU football, camping, and Jim playing on two softball leagues while Kathy watches. Yes, Jim is still competitive in some things he does, and yes we all give him a hard time about it, but the truth is, he’s just that good at what he does! We love you guys … thanks for the memories and those yet to come! While the conditions were difficult for portraits in the dark (and blurred images as a result), this is Jim and Kathy — outside where they’re at home, admiring what God has given all of us … beauty surrounds.