Today is my oldest sister’s birthday! We’re going to celebrate by eating at Domo, a Japanese steakhouse that Ruthie describes as “a fire restaurant.”

Karen is seven years older than me. My childhood memories of her are mostly centered around my viewing of her as the prettiest, most popular, smartest, most artistic person I knew.* Around the time that she was finishing college and I was starting high school, Karen and I began to become friends who enjoyed each others’ company as more than just sisters. These days, now that we are both adults, I count her as one of my best friends.

Karen is an incredibly talented photographer who is available for weddings and portraits in Indiana–I can’t recommend her enough. She has two children, Alex and Arya, who are the funniest kids I know, and who have clearly inherited their mothers’ artistic talent. She and her husband Rajeev, along with his family, operate the tastiest restaurant in Muncie, Sitara.

Karen is an incredibly creative person who looks at the world a little bit differently than the rest of us. She is more inclined to see beautiful things in places where the rest of us see the mundane, but her skill is that she can show us that beauty through her art. She is thoughtful and is raising her kids to ask questions about the world around them. She is part of a book club that is so awesome and exclusive that there is a waiting list to get in! Her friendships run deep and are nourished by years of attention. I’m grateful for all of the hours we used to spend on the phone when I lived in New Hampshire, and even more grateful that now those conversations get to happen in person.

Happy birthday, Karen!

*Those things are pretty much still true, as far as I know.