Declining Opportunities is Okay

Thanksgiving feast

Well, hi, December. Where did you come from?

November blurred by in an unusual way this year. Every day felt like I was riding a roller coaster and couldn’t figure out how to get off. There were highs and there were definite lows. And you might think that’s just how life always is. You’d be right, but this was different.

This was a month punctuated by wonderful weekends with friends, but overcast with stress and worry and dropping every normal priority. Writing went out the window (BYE NaNoWriMo, #fail), along with reading and all momentum with DBK Photography. Because while I had a beautiful birthday weekend, a beautiful last weekend of true warmth shooting mini sessions, a beautiful weekend in Denver, and, at last, a perfect Thanksgiving weekend, much of the month my thoughts were occupied by The Big News.

The Big News. The news that Ryan received a job offer in Iowa, to start quite nearly immediately. As in right after Thanksgiving. As in before Christmas. As in, life as I knew it was potentially about to completely change, and right around the holidays, at that. And I just didn’t know what to do with that.

We started planning. Ryan would take the job. It seemed like a good opportunity. I wanted to be supportive. We scoured Craigslist for apartments. We Googled the weather. We started gathering things we’d need. I bought plane tickets to fly him home for Christmas and fly me back and forth. I started to wonder how long we could live in two separate cities while he determined how he liked the job and I got ready to give notice to my employer. I didn’t want to leave my job, and for that reason I hoped we could maybe last a few months. Then I remembered the familiar ache of long distance and felt like cowering under the covers and forgetting everything altogether.

In the end, the day before Thanksgiving, we decided to decline the opportunity and stay. And I couldn’t explain to you the type of relief that went through me. I hadn’t realized until that moment how much I did not want to leave my home, my job, here. I had worried that we would feel a missed opportunity if we didn’t go. I had thought maybe this was a chance for adventure, for Ryan’s career to take off, for me to set real time aside for my writing and photography. But in that moment, I realized how great we have it here. I realized I have all I need right here.

And let me tell you, that realization was a sweet one for Thanksgiving. I made a list of all I had to be thankful for regarding Ryan, family, friends, jobs, and this place we live in, and it seemed to have no end. The long weekend spent here at home was that much sweeter when I thought about the idea that we could have been spending the time packing up the car and driving the 17 hours to Iowa. What else made it sweeter was hearing our friends and my parents tell us how glad they are we’re staying–just after they’d been voicing their wholehearted support for our decision, something I couldn’t have lived without when thinking of moving. What good people I have in my life.

That’s all. That’s the update. I can breathe freely again. And plan for another cozy holiday here in our little apartment, the two of us, right near family, just like I’d been hoping for before.

Any big news in your life lately? Any happy holiday plans?

love always, Delia

Hello, October // Currently (v.2)

Currently smelling

You guys, today is a very exciting day. It’s the first of October! I can hardly contain myself. October is by far one of my most favorite months of the year. There is so much to love. The chill that enters the air. The leaves starting to change. Hot air balloons gliding across the city. Halloween creeping right around the corner. My birthday looming two days after that. Pumpkin flavored everything. Corn mazes and haunted farms. Boot and sweater weather. The promise of the holiday season, so close.

Ah, I can just hardly contain it. This is what I’m up to, currently:

Smelling green chile roasting, pumpkin baked goods, and the cinnamon in my morning coffee. New Mexico fall smells, you guys, they can’t be beat.

Loving this photo from the wedding I shot a couple weeks ago:

Michelle & Jeremy Nature Pointe wedding

Planning oh so much for this, the greatest of months. I have a couple friends coming into town this month, along with my brother and his family, and Ryan’s dad. So there will be lots of social time with people we hardly get to see. I’m hoping to make it to our Balloon Fiesta lookout point one morning, to watch the balloons go by while sipping my homemade coffee (and not the overpriced stuff they sell at the Balloon Fiesta Park!) I’m also hoping to make it to White Sands next weekend and catch some photos of the full moon rising. Then of course there is Halloween and my birthday. I’ll be keeping busy in the best way :)

Baking pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, and apple muffins. In other words, my apartment smells like heaven.

Celebrating the fact that Gilmore Girls is now officially on Netflix, and, most importantly, that Taylor Swift’s new album drops in 26 days. Just in time for my birthday, as always, because obviously Taylor is secretly my best friend.

WHAT’S UP. Okay I’ll try to resume my breathing now. Best month ever.

What are you up to currently? Do you have as much to be excited about as I do?

Linking up with Dearest Love and Anne in Residence for their Currently series!

love always, Delia

Currently…

Currently (latte art)

Writing a fiction story I began working on at the Taos Summer Writers’ Workshop, which I hope to turn into a novel. We’ll see how that goes, though, because I tend to be distracted in my writing with too many ideas. I’ve also got about five other stories rolling around in my head, and have begun to dabble in starting a personal memoir. Not to mention blogging ;)

Such is the writer’s life!

Anticipating shooting an old friend’s wedding in just over two weeks! I am so excited for this awesome opportunity. I’ve always loved wedding photography, and a great wedding photographer was my top priority when planning my own wedding, so I am frankly honored that my friend Jeremy and his fiancé Michelle have entrusted me with this job. I have been spending the last few weeks preparing in all ways possible—researching, getting new gear, and finally taking the leap and starting up an official website!

Wearing shorts, while I still can! What’s funny is that I honestly had forgotten about my many pairs of cute lil short shorts in my bottom drawer until about a month ago. I guess I’d just gotten used to wearing all my work appropriate attire most of the week, so my shorts never really crossed my mind. It’s nice to get reacquainted :)

Craving a Seattle latte with beautiful foam art.

Also craving: being able to make such beautiful caffeinated art myself.

Missing being on vacation. Amiright?

Linking up with Dearest Love and Anne in Residence! What’s currently occurring in your life?

love always, Delia

Crossroads

holding the final pieces of the puzzle in our hands

It seems that time is winding closer and closer to the anniversary of one particularly important day in my life. And no, I don’t mean the anniversary of being hired as an official employee at the Press, though that is another mile marker I’ve recently passed.

My one year anniversary of being married to Ryan is just two short weeks away, and I find myself quite often musing about that life I was living in the time leading up to our wedding day. The monsoons have arrived in Albuquerque, and I am brought back to the memories of packing up my room and moving my things across town in the rain and into our apartment a week before the wedding. As the thunder booms and the giant rain droplets pound down for just a few minutes at a time, I’m reminded of when it did the exact same one year ago, as I stood in an empty apartment kitchen and unpacked the brand new dishes and appliances my mom bought for us. I think of my parents losing power for four days that weekend before the wedding, and each day praying for, at the very least, clear skies between 4 and 7 pm on August 2.

Now I have no such worries. The skies are free to rain any time and any day of the week, and I will welcome the drenching with open arms. I still have other worries for the future, as I always will, but I smile thinking of the monumental crossroads I stood at one year ago in comparison to the new, yet just as important, ones that I stand at today.

While at this time last year I was in the midst of starting a new job, finding an apartment, finalizing the last possible details of my wedding, and preparing for a life together with Ryan, these days I find myself in the midst of beginning yet another new chapter in my publishing career, anticipating Ryan’s official completion of his college career (as of this Thursday!), waiting to see where he’ll end up getting a job, making moves with my photography, and becoming newly inspired in my writing, thanks to the creative writing workshop I had the opportunity to attend this past weekend (but more on that in another post.)

It’s comforting to know that everything and still nothing has changed. Life was, is, and always will be busy, and it has turned out beautifully alright since last year’s crossroads; I’m soothed by the notion that the same will be true yet another year from now.

love always, Delia

Occupational Hazards of a Life Planner

picking peaches

I am a major planner. I planned my entire college course load at the beginning of freshman year in order to be able to finish early, and I did indeed graduate a semester ahead of the rest of my class. I planned internships in publishing for myself throughout college to give me the necessary experiences to more easily get a job after graduation, and I in fact attained a position at a university press within months of graduation. I have gone so far as to plan my life ten years ahead—all tentatively, of course. I know that life often gets in the way of our best laid plans, and God often has alternative plans for us. But it’s just something I can’t turn off in my head. I partially blame my mom—she’s made certain family vacations happen that sound like total fantasy when she concocts them, and she made my wedding happen with fairly little outside help. What can I say, I learned from the best.

But this need is hard to turn off, which makes it really stressful when life gets entirely unpredictable. And my life is about to enter the stage of entirely unpredictable.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like having a little spontaneity and variety. But I need stability, and the fact that I have a full time job with a consistent schedule, salary, and vacation time seems to bode pretty well for me. So, the notion that this lifestyle which has become so normal to me in the past year could very quickly completely change is kind of really throwing my planning brain for a loop.

I should explain. Ryan is a month away from finally completing his college career, and is attempting to foray into the real-life engineering world. We don’t know when his efforts will pay off and he’ll receive a job offer. We don’t know where the offer will come from. We could be looking at relocating to a different city, or we could be looking into buying a house here. But we don’t know.

That scares the crap out of me. How am I supposed to plan for the next steps in my career when I don’t know what city I may live in within the next few months? How am I supposed to decide whether we should renew our lease next month, or for how long? How am I supposed to know what kind of vacations I can plan for next year? How can I shop for patio furniture if I don’t even know whether the goal of earning a yard and patio within the next year will be feasible?

So many unknowns. It all turns my brain into overdrive when I begin thinking about it. That’s when I have to remind myself to find joy in the journey, and trust that soon enough, these unknowns will become known, and soon enough, I may find myself nostalgic for this time of great change and potential. If I can’t plan anything right now, why not enjoy this time as if it’s time off?

marcelpagnol

via

I love this quote because it is so true, and a good reminder of how to appreciate life for what it is, and find happiness with what you have. By the way, did anyone associate the photo of peaches above as metaphorical for looking up at something just out of reach? Just me? I tried.

 How does the unknown frustrate you? Are you as terrible dealing with it as I am?

love always, Delia

Snapshots of a Weekend at the Grand Canyon

So, I went to one of the Seven Wonders of the World a few of weeks ago. I camped out there with eight of my best friends, all joined together from three different states to celebrate one friend’s birthday. I know, I know. That’s pretty amazing, so why didn’t I share about it sooner? I’m super overdue.

viewing the grand canyon

Sometimes I feel like if I try and write about something too soon after it happens, it’ll ruin the memory. If something is too fresh, I don’t remember it all clearly enough, and if I write down the too fresh to be clear memory, that’s all I’ll remember it as. Or at least that’s how it feels.

Grand Canyon group, Bright Angel Trail

But then there are times when I just need to write everything down as soon as I can, in case time snatches the memory away from me. I spent a large part of my honeymoon writing down everything I could remember from the wedding and the days leading up to it.

group at the Grand Canyon

I’m not sure anymore where I was going with that. But that did happen. It’s the little moments like these that I worry would fade into the land of the forgotten if I wasn’t able to write them down:

  • Driving right past a sleeping elk buck on our way to our campsite, and being baffled as to why no one else around seemed to be as fascinated.
  • Arriving at the campsite to find that Amy already managed to make sangria and iced tea.
  • Watching all four boys try to set up one tent made for a truck bed.
  • Our campsite neighbor who snored like a bear. All night. All weekend long.
  • Waking up to the morning light at 6am and thinking that wasn’t totally abnormal—though the amount of light at such an hour seemed unsettling.
  • Needing sweaters in the early hours of the day and upon nightfall, but shedding the layers to survive the desert heat during the day.
  • Asking a volunteer forest ranger about his trail recommendations and coming to the understanding that he thought we would be dead within an hour by the looks of us.
  • That Asian tourist we didn’t know who we caught taking a photo of us posing for a photo.
  • The squirrels on the trail that quite nearly attacked us for our food.
  • The gigantic crows that really did eat our food.
  • The gloriousness of an eight minute shower following the dustiest, sweatiest hike ever.

dusty shoes at the Grand Canyon

  • The vodka-infused watermelon I didn’t bother to try.
  • Eating s’mores while having secret conversations.
  • Calling ourselves “forever friends.”
  • Spreading the knowledge of Nerts.
  • Playing the most hardcore game of Scattergories.
  • Calling myself one of the Kearneys in a friends setting.
  • Almost missing the sunset, but making it there just in time.

at the Grand Canyon

Bright Angel Trailhead

Even though camping is exhausting, I love getting to get away from everything with my best friends. It’s the best kind of quality time there is. There are no phones to distract you. There is no place else you feel you need to be.

What are your camping stories? Or any other stories of traveling with friends? They may be my favorite kind of stories.

love always, Delia

Celebrating the Solstice

Until this year, I don’t know that I often thought twice about the summer solstice. The 21st of June would come, and I’d think, huh, today’s the longest day of the year, and I guess now it’s officially summer, and that would be it. I don’t know if I thought of it differently this year because it fell on a Saturday, or because my lifestyle now as a married, employed, apartment-dwelling person is so different from my student lifestyle.

picking peaches

picking peaches

There are many aspects of life that change when you make the switch from full time student to full time employee. Your schedule moves from one in constant flux to one that is just constant. No longer can you binge on Netflix through early hours of the morning because functioning for eight hours at work the next day is an utter necessity. The precious hours following the long work days are filled with making dinner and taking care of errands and chores, and perhaps an episode of a show or two. A summer break is lost to the daily grind, and the hours of sunlight and quality of weather seem to have an increased effect on your quality of mood.

picking peaches on the solstice

portrait of laughter

Realizing this puts into perspective the things that truly bring you happiness. I did not realize how important warm weather, hours of sunshine, and time spent outside were to my happiness until they were less easy to come by than they were living the student life in Southern California. Now that I must wake up before seven every day, I remember how much easier it is when the sun is already up, and now that most of my days are spent inside an office, I realize how much energy I sustain when I feel that there is still time to be had out in the sunshine after I get off work.

happy smile

Danny portrait

I’ve come to recognize how important it is to consciously draw on these opportunities to increase my own happiness. Just because I now have a full time job to attend to during the summer months does not mean I must forgo all the things about summer I hold dear. I decided to seize this year’s solstice as an opportunity to celebrate summer for what it still means to me now, and to show myself that it is still that special time of year that somehow feels more relaxed and full of opportunity.

summer solstice lounging

beagle belly

power point

Matt’s signature “power point.”

I spent most of the day outside with friends and my camera. We went to a park, then to the patio and poolside at Ryan’s parents’ house, where I picked peaches and served up barbeque chicken and orzo with zucchini as the sun went down. Then, we built a fire and had apple pie a la mode. While I often get frustrated at not having a yard or patio of our own, I feel lucky that even though my in-laws have moved back to Seattle, we are still able to use their beautiful yard, patio, pool, and fire pit to settle my impatience. It was a blessed day, and I’m glad I have these photo reminders of what is really important to me and my happiness, and of the wonder that is still to be had in the summer months.

bbq chicken and orzo

begging beagle

You would think he was being starved.

There is just something I love about the summer photos I take in the backyard of Kearney Palace, as I’ve just decided I’ll call it. They radiate happiness to me.

What little things make you happy that maybe you didn’t think about before?

love always, Delia

Wait, it’s June already?!

Looking across the Grand Canyon

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve been around these parts. I could say that I feel bad that I haven’t even logged into my WordPress account in about two weeks, but frankly, that would be a lie. It’s pretty easy to swallow that twinge of guilt when I think about how happy I’ve been to just live the crazy life that’s been my reality the past several weeks, without concerning myself with writing it down. And hey, it’s my blog, and I can do what I want to. (Cue Lesley Gore.)

I realized this morning that it was the first time in about six weeks that Ryan and I were able to sleep in and enjoy a plan-less Saturday together. Slightly mind-boggling, and only further proof to myself that it’s okay to let certain things slip when the schedule gets a little hairy.

Grand Canyon at sunset.

It is already a month ago that I went to my high school reunion and my in-laws moved back to Seattle. It is already nearly two weeks since I got back from my jaunt to New York City. And it has only been a few days since we returned home from the Grand Canyon, but I’m finding it hard to believe we were even there. Time has been such a blur.

You know what makes time blur together even more? When the hours at work are spent scrambling to keep up with the influx of work to do and the pile-ups of paperwork that naturally occur when one is out of the office for five days within two weeks. But now I just sound like I’m making excuses for myself, so forget about all that.

The truth is, May has been a pretty intense month for me. “Has been”? What am I saying? I guess it’s already June 7th. I don’t know how that happened, but what I do know is that this morning, for the first time in weeks, I got to sleep in and eat breakfast at a wonderfully late hour of the morning, while finishing a movie with Ryan. (I couldn’t stay awake for it last night. Such is life for a 23 year old married woman who knows how to party on her Friday nights.) I also got to cleanse the apartment of all the mess that builds up when its two inhabitants have for several weeks been in and out of town and struggling with stomach flus and head colds, as we have.

Ah, home, sweet home. The clutter is in the closets, the carpet freshly vacuumed, and the hard drive christened with new folders containing evidence of my latest, well-photographed adventures. And I finally have a moment to sit here on my couch and process all that has recently been added to my memories. I almost typed that maybe I’ll take this opportunity to finally get back to writing, but look: I already have!

Grand Canyon at sunset.

Sometimes, you really do have to wait patiently for that spare moment before you can fathom all of the twists and turns you just went through. All you can do until then is enjoy the present for whatever is, and not worry about too much else.

I hope you enjoy some of these Grand Canyon photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. Don’t worry, I’ll post more on that soon.

love always, Delia

All the possible forks.

cornrow paths to the clouds

I definitely classify myself as a dreamer. I live most of my days lost in thought and wonderment. I wouldn’t say that my head is always up in the clouds, because it’s not exactly like that. I just think…probably too much.

I think of my own life and where it’s going. I think of all the possible forks in the road that are impossible to actually foresee. I think of a hypothetical life in two years, five years, ten years. I think a lot about where I’m going and where I want to be and what I really want to be doing. And I change my mind a lot.

I’ve gone through a lot of phases when it comes to thinking about “what I want to be when I grow up.” When I was really little, I wanted to become a veterinarian, probably like many young children who, like me, found an obsession with animals, particularly their own pets. But then, when I realized that having to put an animal down came with the territory of becoming a vet, I decided I couldn’t do that. I moved on to thinking I could become a researcher who would find the cure for cancer. It was the subject of an essay for a standardized test I took in elementary school. I thought I had a pretty good idea of how I could cure cancer. But, as it turns out, research is a rather tedious and difficult practice, and with more science courses, I realized that it wasn’t for me.

It wasn’t long before I discovered the biggest passion of mine that was underlying all of the others: writing. But while I have known for most of my life that writing is the one thing I would love most to do for the rest of my life, I have always been fascinated by the concept of what other people do in their jobs every day.

As I encounter one stranger to the next in my day-to-day life, I ponder what their day-to-day is like. I take my coffee from the barista at the Starbucks down the street from my office, and I wonder how many hours he has to work today, and whether he has dreams beyond mixing shots of espresso with steamed milk for hundreds of customers looking for their caffeine fix. I sign for the morning package delivery and wonder how many stops our UPS guy has to make in a day. I see the woman running along a bike path and wonder what else composites her day. I deposit some cash at the bank and wonder what it’s like to stand on the other side of that counter. I sit at a table at my favorite restaurant and thank my waiter for my meal, as I wonder who it was who made the beautiful plate, and how it was they got to work here.

I told you. I probably think too much. Maybe it’s the dreamer in me–always wondering what my life would be like if I did X, or Y, or maybe even Z. Maybe that curiosity is why writing fuels me in the way that it does. When I can create a character who has a profession that interests me, I can live vicariously through that character, without having to really change much about the trajectory of my own life.

I often ask people about what they do at their jobs. It’s not just small talk for me. I’m truly interested. Most people just share the basics. When someone asks me about my job, I tell them, “Oh, I work in publishing. I have an administrative position so I process a lot of payments, but I help out with the editorial side a bit, too.” Everyone has their good, two sentence summary, right? But what if the person asking the question really wants to know?

Really, when I started writing this post, the point was to go down the list of the jobs and professions that seem to fascinate me the most. But I should have known ahead of time to plan ahead for my tendency to ramble. So I’ll carry on with that thought next time. For now, I really do want to know, what do you do at work?

And am I the only one who thinks about this too much? There has to be another one of us out there.

love always, Delia

Grief Is When…

Grief Is When...

you can’t think of anything else.

you can’t imagine anyone else thinking of anything else, not knowing.

you wonder if anyone else can see the empty space left inside you, beside you.

you can’t sleep, but you don’t want to stay awake, either.

your taste buds go numb.

denial wraps you in its warm blanket.

you ponder when you might be able to truly laugh again.

you think maybe you don’t want to.

you regret.

you wonder.

you remember.

and that’s all you can do.

 

But it’s not forever.

 

Dedicated to all our lost loved ones.