Australia, Korea and Indonesia are just three of the places Sacie Lambertson has called home. Lawrence is Lambertson's most recent addition to the list.
"Being here is like being in a foreign country to us," Lambertson said.
Lawrence became Lambertson's home when her husband, a career diplomat for the State Department, took a one-year sabbatical and settled down as a "diplomat in residence" at Kansas University, just 90 minutes away from the farm where he grew up.
A DIPLOMAT'S wife constantly entertains visiting senators and their wives, but the role is really not as difficult as one might think, Lambertson explained.
"It's kind of like a fairy tale in a way," she said. "But it's not real. When we're abroad, my husband and I work together."
Lambertson, 50, didn't waste any time sitting around after she and her husband arrived in Kansas. She immediately investigated the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and before she knew it she had been named volunteer general contractor for Habitat's fourth home in Lawrence.
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization devoted to providing housing for families who would not be eligible to qualify for a homeowner's loan. The Habitat homes, built almost entirely by volunteers, are owned by the designated family on a 15- to 20-year mortgage arrangement, but the loan is entirely interest-free.
Lambertson, who originally became interested in construction when an addition was built onto a Virginia log cabin she lived in for three years, has worked on various commercial and residential building ventures. The Habitat home, which she hopes will be under construction by the end of November, provides a new challenge for her.
"This is different because I'm supposed to know everything," Lambertson said. "I've always supervised professionals who knew what they're doing. People are coming out to help who haven't even handled a shovel before, but they're there because they want to be."
LAMBERTSON'S involvement with organizations such as Habitat did not stem from a overflow of free time, but she enjoys being busy. Lambertson said she came to the area knowing she would like to become involved in Habitat.
"When you move around all the time," she said. "You've got to have some kind of game plan."
The Habitat home will be built for the Gary and Freida Houk family. The Houks are required by Habitat to help construct the four-bedroom house, which will include 1,200 square feet. Once construction begins, the home is expected to take a little more than two months time to complete.
Lambertson feels especially proud when she sees the finished product.
"You can start with a hole in the ground," she said. "And very easily within a lifetime see it become something."