The best man

As I lay in bed, my thoughts go wild, which instantly warms my heart.

Jason and his childhood best friend are out camping tonight, out in the wilderness bonding and creating lifelong memories, which I’m sure they will forever cherish.

I truly cannot put into words of how happy I am that he had this opportunity to be outdoors in this beautiful state that we now call home. After working his ass off, he has a night of peace in nature. I cannot wait to see how refreshed he will be when he gets home today. There’s a certain kind of calmness that takes a hold of him with just a few hours of hiking.

This is the first time Jason and I have been apart, other than work, since March 2013 when I went to Tampa to spend time with my brother and his family before moving to Tennessee.

So, as I try to fall asleep, my thoughts fill with wonderful memories that began again almost five years ago.

Yesterday we went hiking to Laurel Falls, one of Jason’s favorite waterfalls, to show John and Jen. It was a beautiful day and everyone seemed eager to be outdoors and experience those beauties that surround us.

The beginning of the hike was a little hard on me, due to car sickness I just couldn’t shake. On top of that, I questioned myself a lot yesterday, due to the two really hard falls I took the last two times we were out hiking.

Jason of course was understanding,  supportive and encouraging. We decided to hike up alongside the waterfall to check out some campsites where he and John could spend the night.

At one point, the anxiety struck,  my heart instantly sped up as I sat frozen unable to continue. Jason was right there. The embrace he gave me when it was all over meant a lot to me. The patience he shows me is incredible. Patience I lack in myself when those moments of fear grasp a hold of me, squeezing tight making it hard to breathe.  I hope one day those fears and anxiety will subside. I know what I’m capable of, I know there is nothing to fear when we are out hiking.

Today, August 16th is Jason’s birthday, a day that means a great deal to me. This day, this wonderful man who has completely captured my heart, entered this world. Every day since, he has impacted hundreds of lives along the way with his beautiful, giving heart. To say that unselfish heart loves me unconditionally makes my heart skip a beat.

I was and still am one lucky girl to have this man enter my world. To think after almost five years, he still makes me fall in love with him a little more every day, I believe speaks volumes of the relationship we have.

It’s the little moments when he makes my heart smile, those little moments when he has my best interest at heart.

To have a best friend as my boyfriend, my life’s companion, is by far the best thing.

I smiled this morning as Lucy woke me, knowing that as you opened your eyes you would be looking at a beautiful blue sky. That you would be kicking off your birthday with another adventurous hike with your best friend. I can’t wait to hug you and wish you a Happy Birthday when you get home.

Jason you are my whole world, the very best thing in my world. You have shown me and taught me so much over the years.

Happy Birthday baby. I love you more than you’ll ever know.

A look back, while looking forward

Every year on this day, I always find myself reflecting on what has unfolded.

My day started with messages on my phone from my family and a message on Facebook from a great friend who spent this day with me last year.

. . . today marks my 33rd birthday.

Although I was a little bummed that Jason had to attend an orientation for his second job (yeah) and work at his first job tonight, I made it into a great day. It started off rather lazy . . . I called my editor Christina and she instantly wished me a Happy Birthday, which was a great way to start the day. We talked about story ideas – some that were already in the mix – and many more that were added to my workload. I always enjoy talking to this wonderful friend of mine. We always find ways to make each other laugh and provide little updates of what is going on. I’m so glad we stayed in touch . . . one of the first people I worked with when I started my career in journalism.

While Jason was getting ready for work, I opened the card and presents Mom and Dad sent to me. The card definitely made me smile, as well as her thoughtful gifts.

Once Jason took off for his day of work, I got ready for the gym. My favorite place to go, yep the perfect birthday present for me. I kicked butt on my run – and almost added a mile onto my bike ride in the same amount of time I usually do. To say I had a great workout is an understatement. After talking with Julian about resolutions – well I set goals instead of resolutions – I have added a few more to my list that I hope to accomplish this year. One of those is of course increasing my running distance. It’s time to really work towards that distance – pushing myself to achieve that goal, so I can set yet another one.

Throughout the day I heard from friends, all wishing me a Happy Birthday, which made me smile with each wish. The highlight of the day, would have to be getting a text from my long time friend Anna! It was such a nice surprise to hear from her. She was such a huge part of my life growing up! Like always, even though we have gone in our separate directions, such as life, we have stayed in contact. Now that we live close to each other once again . . . hopefully we can make that trip to see her and her family soon.

That uplifting moment was a surprise phone call from Jason between his orientation and his work shift. That call absolutely made my day, brightened my day. He always knows exactly what I need to make me feel better. We talked about some of the plans for tomorrow and just shared how the day has gone so far. I love hearing from him, especially the “Happy Birthday babe,” “I love you.” I cannot wait until tomorrow, we have the entire day, just the two of us, to spend together and celebrate my birthday.

The icing on the top of the cake was that phone call from Mom. The last few years we have both took the day off of work to spend together on my birthday. This year, since we have more distance between us, we talked through messages, until we could talk to each other on the phone. I love this woman to pieces, she is the best part of me. Her gifts, as always were right on – she knows me so well. I cannot wait to put those presents to use!IMG_20131230_171106

So after I left the gym, I went to the grocery store to buy ingredients for dinner – one of my favorites –  tacos. As I was walking around the store, I thought why not buy myself a little desert to help celebrate my birthday.

It was delicious . . . and there is more than half of it left.

This past year has been absolutely wonderful, one of the best years of my life.

Foremost, Jason and I made a long plan into a reality and it’s been wonderful . . . moving to Tennessee. We have traveled to so many places – Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, Illinois and parts of Florida –  seen some beautiful sites and really experienced life in 2013. He  has taught me how to live in the moment and appreciate everything about life, everything. With that said, the hikes to the waterfalls we saw, are definitely memories I will hold onto for a lifetime. All of our experiences continue to make us closer. Every day my respect and admiration for this man I love becomes a little more intense. I am beyond thankful and grateful I have a man in my life that makes me feel special every single day. I honestly could not imagine my life without Jason . . . he enriches it in so many beautiful ways on a daily basis.

Another highlight of 2013 are the enhancements I have made for my career. I walked away from a dream job, being an editor of a daily newspaper on the little sleepy island of Pine Island to writing for publications in three different states.  (Wait, I have to stop right there, one of the best parts of that editor’s job was working alongside Charlene. She was the best coworker a girl could ask for. We laughed, vented and just shared our daily lives while sitting in the office between interviews and appointments. You definitely helped me keep my sanity on more than one occasion. The best part is our friendship has continued.) This blog, as well as my Twitter account, has allowed me to reach people from around the world and share this passion of mine – writing. I still have to pinch myself from time to time – my writing is in print in Arizona, Florida and Tennessee! The best part is I contribute to the Herald & Tribune on a weekly basis – anywhere from two to five articles a week. I am a part of another great community, a small community of about 5,000 people in Jonesborough. I work with, and for, some incredible people who constantly help me develop into a better writer.

This is the year, some ideas will be recorded for that book I hope –  no, I know – I will publish one day in the very near future. Jason just better be ready for pen and notebook, camera, and possibly a tape recorder in hand while we are out on our adventures. It’s time to jot those ideas down, get that thought process flowing.

To say there is more . . . . well I have to include a little blurb about my friend Dorene. This time last year she was taking incredible photographs of Jason and I, creating even more memories for me to hang on my walls. We planned a baby shower together for her adorable and precious baby girl Calie in January and about a month later welcomed her into this world. She has been such a dear friend of mine, has helped me in tremendous ways as Jason and I have made that transition from Fort Myers to our new home in Kingsport, Tennessee. There is not a week that goes by that we don’t touch base and catch up on each other’s life. Dorene, you are such a special friend, I’m so glad we met all those many years ago.

Judy, oh Judy, I cried when I had to say goodbye to you back in April. In such a short amount of time, you brought so much joy into my life. Your friendship means the absolute world to me. You are constantly in my thoughts. Thank you for all the long conversations, all of the helpful words during our moving process. I don’t know what I would have done without you.

The main woman in my life – my mom – oh boy where do I begin. I am beyond thankful I have such an incredible relationship, open relationship, with this woman, who sees me through my troubles, accomplishments and everything in between. What we have only adds to the beauty of what we call life. . . you are the best!

Wow, to put all this into words just goes to show how wonderful of a year I had in 2013. The best part is there is so much more, so many beautiful moments, memories that will carry with me as I embark on a new year. (I guess you just might have to look back at some older blogs to see and read about some of those beautiful moments.)

I am beyond blessed and grateful to live such a beautiful, colorful life filled with so many new experiences. I have grown leaps and bounds as a person as a 32-year-old. I cannot wait to see what happens this year . . . it is definitely exciting to think about.

Thank you to everyone who has personally impacted my life in so many beautiful ways . . . I truly treasure you.