COLUMBIA — Drive north from Columbia's downtown, and you'll find rolling county roads, sprawling lawns and houses that have room to breathe.

One of those houses belongs to 20-year-old Trinity Rainey and her wife, Sierra. Last fall, as they were nesting into their new home, their pack of four dogs ran laps around a spacious backyard. The couple was planning painting projects and their walls were adorned with memorabilia from a marriage well-begun.

Home ownership and marriage are not Trinity and Sierra’s first stab at adult responsibility. Trinity grew up in Macon wearing many hats — she was an athlete, employee, student, friend and a caretaker to her mother and her three siblings.

Sierra supported her parents through several marriages and her siblings through several moves, until she ended up in Macon, working three jobs through her last high school years. When they began dating during their senior year, they knew they'd each found a worthy partner.

"We were both raised as working-hard people," Trinity said. "I think the main reason we work so well together is we both kind of have the same mindset. We have places that we want to go, and we’ll work hard to reach them, too."

Trinity joined the National Guard after her first year at MU and spent last summer in basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The highly regimented training tested both Trinity's endurance and the patience of Sierra, who wrote Trinity more letters than there were days in the program.

"It was crazy hard," Trinity said. "It was really challenging, but you learn a lot about yourself when you go through stuff like that."

The training helped Trinity feel a part of something larger than herself. When it was over, she came home to a small September wedding with their respective families in Macon.

Trinity, a self-professed "girlie girl," is planning a larger wedding this summer, complete with Mason-jar decorations and a home-cooked meal for guests. In the meantime, the pair are continuing to move toward the places they want to go.

Sierra wakes up at 6 a.m. every day to attend nursing school at Moberly Area Community College and works overnight shifts as a patient caretaker at Boone Hospital Center.

Last fall, Trinity split her time between her job as a cook at University Hospital and helping her grandfather, Daryl, maintain his farm. Trinity has been helping work the farm since she was a child and has long considered her grandfather one of her best friends.

"I'd like to be a lot like him when I get older," Trinity said. "He's smart, he can do anything. He does a lot of things people don’t do anymore — does a lot of stuff the old-fashioned way."

She still maintains a close relationship with her grandfather, and she returned to school in January to study hospitality management at MU.

Though Trinity and Sierra don't know exactly what the future holds, they are happy to continue working toward it and meeting their goals together.