2013 brought a lot of change, and in some cases, not enough change. Reflecting back on the year has inspired me with guiding words that will help me create a simple life, and be present.
Kirsten and I took a trip to WPPI in Las Vegas late February. It was an enormous amount of fun to take a girls trip and Kirsten was a great roomie. Some work, some play. Going to a big conference always seems to rejuvenate excitement and it led to a lot of ‘to do’s’ for the year. Of course, only some of them have made it to the ‘done’ column. (I apologize now as many of these recap photos were ‘in the moment’ photos and were taken using my phone so aren’t always of high quality.)
I had been toying with the idea of wanting to hire another photographer to start doing more primary photography work for The Memory Journalists. This decision stemmed from an ache in my shoulder that seemed to be nonstop since the prior fall. Turns out after finally getting an MRI (late in 2013) that I have 3 small tears in my shoulder that I’m hoping will heal without surgery. In March, I hired Isabel Ollinger and she’s been a God-send ever since.
In April, still during a bit of downtime, I played with a bit with baking. Those of you that know me know that I’m NOT a baker and prefer to not have the sweets in my house. The cupcakes I made were more for art than for eating.
In May, I planted a garden for the first time ever. I was limited to essentially no backyard, and learned how to grow vertically in crops in pots. It was a huge success and I loved every moment of watching each vegetable grow and using them in my cooking.
In June, we lost our Zoe. She gave us 11 years of love and joy. Cory has become an expert at giving fluids by IV but after a few weeks of seeing if there’d be a recovery, we made the decision to let her rest in peace. We are happy each day that we still have our 16 year old Clariese.
In late June/early July, Cory and I headed to Kauai for a summer vacation. Kauai was the last of the Hawaiian Islands we had left to visit. We thoroughly enjoyed the slow pace of this island. It was a highlight to the trip when an article I wrote and photos we took were published.
The summer was in full swing of wedding season when Cory and I decided in early August to start looking for property with land. Within a week, we found ‘the’ house, made an offer, it was accepted, and we had 30 days to pack. It was crazy.
In early September, Izzy and I did a photo shoot for my friend Heather as she entered into a new chapter in her life. We squeezed in the shoot the weekend before I was to move, but what Heather may not realize, her photo shoot was the most awarding photography experience I had all year.
In mid-September we moved into a new home on 5 acres with 22 chickens, deer that drank from a fountain outside our front door, wild turkey that came and went, and crickets that you could hear and stars that you could see each night. While the house was further from ‘civilization’, it was like coming home to a my own personal bed and breakfast each day. The house was a good fit for us. I LOVE our chickens and LOVE watching them each day. It’s nice to go outside and just sit and enjoy the sunset.
I only took a week off with the move, and it wasn’t enough. To add to the chaos, we readied our old house for sale, listed it, and waited for it to sell. Three weeks and it sold! We were blessed.
One would think that the year should be winding down, but the holidays were upon us. Thanksgiving came way too fast, and December brought company each weekend until after Christmas. By New Years, Cory was sick, and a few days later I was sick. My friends know I’m a huge germaphobe and I wholeheartedly blame Cory for getting me sick. And hence this post didn’t get written. Every time I thought about writing it, I decided I’d rather sleep.
I know each year as we age, time seems to fly by just a bit faster. We’re already a month into 2014. I had a conversation with my sister recently, and I asked her a question that I knew I had asked her in prior phone calls, but I just couldn’t remember the answer. She called me out on it, and asked ‘Don’t you listen?!’ It was a wake-up call. I try to remember as much as I can, with work, with clients, my to do list, but I wasn’t paying enough time and attention where it should be spent. So my guiding word for 2014 is ‘Be present’. This means I plan to simplify my life even further and make simple changes to lead a healthier and happier life. The move really allowed us to throw out a lot (did I mention we filled a 2 yard dumpster?) but more can be done and in many ways:
I need to create a slower pace, like the islanders of Kauai.
I need to re-read Happier at Home and remember what I learned.
I plan to build a greenhouse and garden beds and eat even more of my own crops.
I plan to give my shoulder a rest and heal.
I need to lead a healthier life.
I need to rest, even do nothing, when needed.
I plan to enjoy my family and friends.
I plan to rediscover myself.
In 2014, I plan to be inspired and take the time to notice more. Kelly is FEARLESS in living life, health, and traveling. Teresa inspires me to LOVE more. Her relationship with her husband and family is awe-inspiring. My sister reminds me to take the time to listen…just take the time to LIVE. Isabel is like a breath of sunshine. I love her SMILE and her LAUGH. Her creativity astounds me. There are so many others around me that inspire me…if I just take the time to notice. I just need to BE PRESENT.
I’ll end with a photo from our team MJ holiday party in December. I know I haven’t posted photos yet from our dinner, I plan to…someday soon.
I hope no one is offended, but this is a classic photo for those that know my husband.