My morning paradise

My morning paradise

This morning I visited Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel to take photographs for one of my paper’s features called Faces.

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I arrived shortly after 8 a.m. with my camera in hand ready to capture wildlife. The clouds kept the sun away for the entire hour I stayed. With clouds built as far as I could see, I still walked away with more than 130 pictures.


Although the sun did not beat down on the beach, the wildlife still made its presence. I had so much fun watching the birds every move while capturing their hunt for food in the water and on the sand.

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Most of the birds did not pay any attention to me. I tried to give them their distance as I used my zoom to capture them.

The osprey, perched on the side of the lighthouse and in their nest were the most intriguing.

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The highlight of my trip to the beach was of course the dolphins. Spotting a dolphin will never grow old, never! There is truly something special about watching them play in the water. Today there were three or four of them swimming together.

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I swatted away many sand fleas while trying to keep the camera steady to take photographs of the dolphins.

I thought of my puppy Lucy when I spotted this little lizard. She would have gone nuts trying to chase it.

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The pictures below were taken on a sunset cruise Jason and I took last month of the Lighthouse Beach. It was a completely different perspective . . . a beautiful way to see the shoreline.





Next month will mark two months since I started on Sanibel as the editor of the Islander. The excitement has not gone away . . .

I work in a beautiful place, a place where I get to explore on a more intimate basis.




Another chapter starts

Another chapter starts

At 6 a.m. I slowly crawled out of bed as my alarm woke me Monday. Pure excitement washed over me as I got ready for my first day as the new editor of the Sanibel-Captiva Islander.

I was leaving to go to work. I was heading to an office where I would be working with others. My streak of working only out of my home doing freelance work came to an end that morning.

The hardest part of Monday was saying goodbye to my little puppy who I have spent pretty much every day with since we adopted her in April 2014. The look she gave me as I closed the garage door made me smile as memories flooded of the time we have spent together. My heart broke a little knowing that she will now spend a good portion of the day alone.

The goodbye with Jason carried me through the jitters of my first day. He always knows the right thing to say at the right moment. His excitement shined through his sleepy words and his sweet smile as he looked into my eyes. For the first time in two years, I was the one who kissed Jason goodbye, wishing him a good day as I left and went to work.  As I walked out of our bedroom, a smile swept across my face.

It’s true I have the support of a beautiful man. A man that has continued to share how proud he is of me through my career changes over the past almost six years.

That morning reminded me of a day in September 2009. I moved back to Fort Myers from Arizona a few months prior and began a job search. After a few months, I found a listing for the Cape Coral Daily Breeze and went in for an interview. I was at Jason’s place when I got the phone call . . . I was hired as a new reporter for the paper. The excitement he shared with me that day was beyond supportive. A memory that still makes me smile.

The sky was blue with typical Florida temperatures engulfing the car as my drive to work began before 7 a.m. earlier this week. It was the most relaxing 40-minute drive. As soon as I crossed the toll for Sanibel my shoulders relaxed and my back hugged the seat a little more as I took in the view of the water. Cars were already parked along the causeway as another beautiful day unfolded. I stopped where no other cars were parked next to the water, took a picture and breathed in the salt water before continuing my trip to the office.

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I did it. I was offered a full-time position, a position that will allow my passion of writing to continue.

The same smile I had after walking out of our bedroom surfaced again as I opened the door to the office. It remained as I introduced myself to Craig who I am replacing.

We shared information about ourselves before diving into the responsibilities I will be taking over come Monday morning.

I honestly felt like I was home again. As I sat in his office, soon to be mine, the passion of my craft consumed me. I am faced with another challenge . . . well opportunity . . . of making another newspaper into a great weekly sharing the news and stories of the island.

One of the true beauties of this career is the endless opportunities it provides in getting to know, fully diving deep into the character of a community. Although I grew up in Southwest Florida and have spent time on Sanibel, I really do not know the community well. Now, working on the island I have the opportunity to really get to know what makes this area a destination for so many.

My first day sped by relatively fast. It was absolutely perfect. That smile remained throughout the entire day. I was introduced to people, got some leads on stories and had the opportunity to see some of the beautiful island.

That night Jason, Lucy and I went to Fort Myers Beach to embark on one of my favorite past times. We stopped at Publix and I ordered us subs before we headed to our destination. We used to eat dinner on the beach while watching the sunset before we left for Tennessee.

Before we left the house it started raining, but since we live in Florida we ran to the car and hoped for the best. It rained on and off the entire drive to the beach. We ended up eating dinner in the car waiting for the showers to finish.

Fortunately the rain stopped and an incredible sunset covered the night sky.


That night was the first time Lucy truly got to experience the beach. Although she was extremely hesitant of the water, Jason and I eventually encouraged her to get her feet wet.

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It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

The next few days were just as successful as the first.

There is truly no better feeling than working in an office with others who have the same passion as mine. It’s nice to be surrounded by others, instead of being isolated in my home interviewing people over the phone.

Another perk of working on Sanibel came to fruition Thursday night on my way home. For the first time since Jason and I started dating we work in the same area. So, before I left the island I stopped by Jerry’s where he cooks and said hello.

With our hours, most of the time we only get to see each other at the end of the day, when I’m falling asleep on the couch waiting for him to come home.

Although it was a brief visit, it was great to see him.

With a smile on my face I began driving off the island when a rainbow caught my attention. The water began calling my name, so I decided to stop on the causeway and get out of the car. The weather was perfect at that moment as my hair started flying in every direction with the wind coming off the water. I stood there taking in the scenery, smelling the salt water and listening to the wave’s crash against the shore. I probably stood there for 15 to 20 minutes.





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As I climbed back into my car I was completely relaxed as I drove the rest of the way home. It was at that moment that I truly felt grateful for the life Jason and I have. At that moment I began thinking about my journalism career here in Southwest Florida.

Since September 2009, my editor Val has taken care of me. I have gained heaps of experience as my duties change as a new position opened.

When I shared I would be moving to NE Tennessee in 2013, she kept me on as a freelance reporter. A phone call sharing that Jason and I were moving back to Florida offered her word in keeping me busy with freelance work until something full-time popped up. Val kept to her word. My workload tripled for the Cape Coral Daily Breeze as a freelance reporter.

Last week my world changed when I received an email from Val asking me to call her. That phone call, which led to a meeting in her office, was another promise kept.

I love what the beginning of this new chapter has offered so far. I’m excited to fully dig in next week when I no longer have to shadow the editor who is here now.

I firmly believe that our move back to Southwest Florida was meant to be. I continue to feel myself relax while the stress diminishes.

This week, although has worn me out, has been one of the best week’s I have had in a long time. I’ve met some really nice people, have seen some beautiful places and have contributed articles to a newspaper that will soon be filled with my byline.


100_0535Last night I watched a few movies of Samson, the family golden retriever, who unfortunately passed a few years ago. This incredible dog touched each and every one of us in a very special way.

With the images and memories lingering in my thoughts long after the little movies ended, I dreamt beautiful dreams of Samson on and off throughout the night. I have not had that vivid of dreams since he died, which left my heart full of joy when I finally woke.

Although I think of Samson from time to time, especially when I pass a golden retriever, the intimate memories, the ones that stop you in your thoughts, have not occurred for quite some time. It’s amazing what dreams can do, how they can pull you back into time. It’s incredible how those memories surfaced again while I was asleep, all because of a movie or two that I watched.

I still remember the day my Mom and Dad opened the front door and this adorable puppy poked his head through. That was, and still is, the best Christmas present ever. I, as well as my siblings, instantly fell in love.

100_1747With 12 years of having this incredibly intelligent dog in our lives, the memories are endless.

Samson had a few favorites – riding in the car, going to swim in the ocean at the beach and playing in his backyard. Whenever we took him to the beach, we grew tired way before he was ever ready to leave. As long as you had a tennis ball he was happy retrieving it in the water. Of course Samson became aware of the smells of the beach and everything else that went with the salt water. He knew when one of us was going to the beach and became instantly excited following us around the house, which made us feel bad when we left him at home.

I remember taking Samson for car rides to the gas station, bank or any other short ride, which left him as happy as can be. He never sat on the seat, but rather the floor board of the passenger seat with his nose sticking out of the window taking it all in.

100_2003He was definitely an outside dog. It was not until he was older when he finally enjoyed being outside by himself. The lizards that darted from here to there kept him busy. He was always jumping into Mom’s plants and bushes trying to capture the lizard.

Oh Samson was such a water dog, the summer time was the worst – those were the days when the rain would fall on a consistent basis leaving puddles in the yard. I can still see the look Samson gave before running for the water leaving you only yelling his name even more. He received so many baths during the summer.

Although these are all wonderful memories, the ones that will stay with me forever are the ones when I came home from college to visit. The way Samson would greet me as I was getting out of the car and unloading the trunck of the car made me feel loved beyond belief. As soon as he figured out it was me, the crying and whimpering were nonstop.

And to think these are only a few of the memories . . .

100_0632Dogs are such wonderful companions, they know when you are happy and sad and comfort you in any way they can.

It was such a sad day when this member of our family passed. I will never forget the text message I got from Mom telling all of her kids that Samson died. She could not call because she was crying and I could not respond because the tears were flowing so freely I could not see the keys on my phone. Samson was such a special dog, such an incredibly smart dog who will forever be missed.

I am so glad my dreams were filled with so many wonderful memories of this beautiful dog last night.

Samson you will forever be thought of and missed.  



The slow and steady rhythm of waves making its way onshore induces a sense of relaxation. Those final moments, as the sun casts an array of colors over the water, forces you to take in your surroundings and appreciate the simple beauties mother nature presents.

As the sun disappears, the sky continues to transform into beautiful hues that further grabs your attention.

I will never grow tired of watching the sunset because no two are exactly the same.

The simple beauties that surround us every day should be taken in at the moment it presents itself because in a blink of an eye it all changes and soon disappears.