Happy tears

Today has been an exceptional day, one that seems to improve as the day continues.

This move to Tennessee continues to show me on a daily basis that dreams come true. That our vision of what we wanted for ourselves is obtainable. All you have to do is set a plan, put it into action and continue to execute it until everything falls into place.

I told a high school friend tonight that it’s an incredible feeling to watch the plan unravel in front of your eyes, in a good way.

Each obstacle has been just that an obstacle . . . we keep pushing forward, so we can witness the dream we had before leaving Fort Myers unfold before us.

With that said . . .

I won’t lie, our move has been difficult, at times a little too stressful . . . . yep a few tears of frustration have fallen. The contributing factor of  course was and is money.

Through that stress I had and have a wonderful man by my side. We always seem to find a way to keep our eye on the light at the end of the tunnel, to keep chugging along until it became a little brighter.

The brightness is shinning a little more . . .

Jason and I were used to a certain pay scale living in Florida, one that left us somewhat comfortable. We knew things were going to be different in Tennessee because the cost of living was much lower than Fort Myers. Well, I was pretty stunned to hear what kind of pay cut Jason was receiving working in the restaurants as a chef.

Me on the other hand, as a freelance writer I get paid pretty well. Well, that is if I can manage my time . . . my pay per article is a good sum of money. The only battle with freelance work is waiting for your paycheck in the mail . . . that’s half of my frustration. After working for a newspaper for so many years, I was used to money in my account every other week.

Things are finally looking up! The stress lifts a little more every day . . . especially now with some promising work in Jason’s future.

He seems to have found a job that he is happy with . . . and just received word today that a second job may be in his very near future. I’m very excited for him, I cannot wait to see what kind of opportunities come out of these job opportunities.

And the good news continues . . .

I seem to have more work than I know what to do with at times. That statement alone brings a huge smile to my face.

What we have worked so hard for, our vision of creating a new life in another state, is blossoming, and it could not have happened at a better time.

Never ever give up . . . keep going until the satisfaction you are striving for becomes a realty. The best part is I would never ever change a thing. What has happened since we moved to Kingsport in May has only made us stronger. It has made me appreciate Jason even more.

Happiness . . . is a measurement of our success.

Now those happy tears . . .

First they came when text messages began flowing back and forth through my phone with a friend I have known since middle school. The words that were shared were words we both needed to hear, words that brough tears to both of our eyes.

“It made my heart smile.”

The second happy tears of the day came from a message I received from a friend I met in high school.

“I look forward to reading your blogs and posts; you have really been an inspiration and a force that has helped motivate me to pursue my dreams of moving to Washington. Thank you so much for that!!”

Wow, simply wow! Like I have always said, I hope I touch someone with my writing. Not a day goes by that I learn just how much it does. To be someone’s inspiration and motivation, what an incredible feeling.

Today was another fantastic day. Another day that showed me just how fortunate I am. I have a good life and I am sharing that with my best friend and love of my life.

More opportunities have surfaced

This morning I drug myself out of bed a little before 7 a.m., so I could get a workout in early, rather than going later this afternoon. It was a great way to jump-start my day, especially since there was only me and two other’s working out that early in the morning.

That’s the nice thing about a 24-hour gym, whenever you get that urge to workout, all you have to do is swipe your key and walk in the door of opportunities.
imageI was a little skeptical at first that a staff member would not be present during the hours the gym was opened, but I now love that feature. That was the downfall about working out at the last apartment complex we lived at, I could only workout during the hours of the clubhouse, which was limiting at times.

I spent about an hour at the gym doing my typical run, some miles on the elliptical and some weights. I’m starting to feel those leg exercises I did, especially walking up and down those darn stairs 🙂

Once I got back in my car, I thought to myself, today is going to be a fabulous day. How could it not when I did something for me first this morning – working out?

So after getting ready, I drove to Jonesborough to meet with my editor and the publisher of the Herald & Tribune. It turned out to be a fantastic meeting, one that only lead to more incredible opportunities for me.

Kristen and Lynn offered me more work, which I gladly accepted. I am now covering the town hall meetings for Jonesborough, the school district, as well as submitting feature articles. I am beyond thrilled! I will now be submitting weekly articles instead of a few a month! My portfolio will be growing once again.

I really enjoy working for this publication. The remarks I received from both Lynn and Kristen about my writing were wonderful to hear. It’s safe to say that I am cloud nine once again.

I absolutely love what I do, and yes, I know I have said that a time or two. But really, never in my wildest dreams did I think my career would go in the direction it has! I am supporting myself doing freelance work, this is incredible! I am so fortunate to have found a career I am so completely passionate about. I am excited to see what other opportunities are waiting for me.

It just goes to show that it is important to follow your dreams!

“You Can Do Anything”

“You Can Do Anything.”

This quote has been running through my head ever since this morning when I sat down and interviewed Sabrina for the Herald & Tribune.

There are many obstacles that unfortunately find their way into our lives producing pebbles, rocks, boulders or sometimes mountains to overcome. I have found through my own personal experience, it’s your attitude that shines through, it’s your ability to look at that situation and say “I Can Do Anything.”

No one is stopping your greatest achievements, but yourself.

This single mother of three children unfortunately went through some hardships in life, some difficulties that did not get her down, but rather showed her a new direction where she found some happiness. This outlet of happiness shines through her painting, a self-taught discipline she loves to do when she has spare time, when she needs to escape the stresses of life.

Her story was incredible to hear. It started off with joining the Navy in 1999. She was stationed in Guam and experienced some super typhoons and earthquakes. As a Florida girl, I know about hurricanes, but not natural disasters of this extent. One of the experiences she shared left with her without power and water for 30 days. She said it made her appreciate the ability she had in the United States to leave the area and find shelter. Tha was not an option on Guam because of its isolation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean..

After serving for four years, she pursued the next chapter in life and earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

All of the obstacles she has faced only made her stronger, only made her want to fight for what she wanted.

“Everyone needs to have goals and something to keep driving them,” she said. “Never give up.”

I was rejuvenated after I left this interview because we shared the same visions – live life and enjoy life. I have been rather happy these last few weeks, on a natural high so to speak because I fought for what I wanted and am slowly making my dreams come true.

backyard67It was a wonderful interview. We laughed many times throughout the 45-minute conversation about both of our personal lives, what we have achieved, what our desires are and the thought process of “we can accomplish anything.”

It’s always wonderful to feed off of someone’s positive energy, especially during an interview. That energy only benefits me when I sit down and write the article because her cheerfulness further enhances the words I use to tell her story.

My first interview as a freelance reporter for the Herald & Tribune could not have gone better. Sitting down face-to-face, rather than doing a phone interview, was wonderful to do again. Yes you can hear the excitement in one’s voice, but to see their expressions and body language is a whole different story.

What a good life

Although it has dawned on me before, this last week showed me more than once what a good life I have.

Sometimes you have to take chances, sometimes you have to move forward no matter how scary the idea can be. Trust, trusting in yourself and the ones you love, is all you need to put dreams into action.

My life has changed drastically since May 1, the day we moved to Kingsport, Tennessee from Fort Myers, Florida.

I have grown much closer to the man I love, Jason, during the many transitions we have faced since moving to NE Tennessee. I won’t lie, the stress got the best of me more than a few times, which caused a lot of anxiety. But time and time again, Jason was there for me, he helped guide me along a path that allowed me to get rid of that stress.

I took action and made all my worries disappear, which also included the stress and anxiety.

I’m living a life I had once dreamt about, one Jason told me I was capable of accomplishing.

Before leaving Florida I was able to talk my editor into keeping me onboard for a monthly publication I had been writing for, for more than a year. I was also named the reporter for three other publications that come out once a month. I was pretty excited, I had four writing gigs before moving.

A friend I have kept in contact with over the years has also continued my dream of writing for multiple publications.

I met Christina while working for my first weekly newspaper out of college. Although I was let go, due to the economy, and moved away from Arizona and back to Florida we stayed in contact. It’s been a great friendship because we both have a passion for journalism, so our emails are filled with our latest stories, the stresses of the job and an update about our personal life.

After we arrived in Tennessee I got a random phone call from her asking if I would be interested in freelancing for a few of the papers she is now the editor for in the East Valley of Arizona. I was beyond excited. With this gig I added a few more publications under my belt that I write for on a continious basis.

Just a few weeks ago she offered me a freelance section editors position, which I agreed to instantly. It’s awesome that I can do this job on my computer at home.

The best part is the great news doesn’t stop there …

Last Thursday I met the publisher of the Herald & Tribune, a weekly newspaper in Tennessee. I signed my paperwork and was given my first four writing assignments as their newest freelance writer.

I never imagined that I would be writing for so many different publications, all of which are in different states.

I will never forget the feeling I had when I saw my byline in print for the first time in my high school newspaper. Then in my college newspaper at Arizona State University. The best was seeing my byline in the paper of my first full-time paying job. That feeling never fades away, that excitement has only intensified over the years. Can you imagine what that level of excitement is now??

I am living my dream and the best part is that dream expands a little more everyday as I hope to accomplish more in this career that I absolutely love.

I have an amazing family, wonderful friends and a boyfriend that spoils me every day. Add a wonderful career and an absolutely beautiful state to live in too that line-up, wow I’m one extremely happy girl.

Jason and I began hiking when we lived in Florida, which turned into another passion for me. He wanted to show me the outdoors and what it had to offer and I was instantly mesmerized by its beauty. We saw many gorgeous places, but we wanted to see more.

The trails are endless here in Tennessee, as well as Virginia and North Carolina. At least once a week we go hiking to a different waterfall. Every hike has its own adventure, each hike leads us to another beautiful part of nature.

image

This waterfall, Jones Falls in Tennessee, might just be my new favorite.

The sound of the water cascading down the rocks is a sound I will never grow tired of!!

What a good life, when I’m not writing I’m exploring nature with the man of my dreams, what more can a girl ask for?

This move to Tennesse has proven to be a wonderful decision for Jason and I!

Follow your dreams, you never know what is on the other side, you never know how much more your life will blossom.

After a day like yesterday I was inspired to sit down and write a blog. I often tines reflect on how far I have come when Jason and I sit at the bottom of waterfalls lost in our own thoughts.

Dreams do come true

Today was simply amazing, there is no other word to describe the day as a whole.

After walking out of the Bristol Herald Courier I could not help but smile. As soon as I sat down in my car I instantly sent Jason and mom the same text because they are my biggest supporters.

Wow, I’m beyond excited to join another paper as a reporter.

I spent about an hour and a half at the paper for my orientation this morning. I was introduced to countless people who were incredibly nice. One woman said she has been with the paper for 44 years, which to me only speaks volumes of the company. Everyone offered a helping hand if and when I needed assistance. They all made me feel incredibly welcomed and all shared what seemed like a genuine excitement about me joining the team.

The best part was saying “see you tomorrow” when I was leaving.

I have to admit I was reluctant at first to the idea of moving to Tennessee away from everything and everyone I know. The more Jason and I talked, two years to be precise, the more I eventually jumped on board. Jason believed in us, he believed our dream of making a home would be fulfilled in Tennessee.

My emotions were sky high once I returned home, I was bursting at the seams of what I have accomplished. I had to share my excitement, which was sent through text since Jason was working a double. I shared how much I love him and how grateful I am that we took that leap of faith. Our dream of finding a new place to live, a place we can call home, is no longer a dream, it’s a reality. This area is us … all because the outdoor adventures are endless.

It brings tears to my eyes to think of the struggles we had once we arrived and how far we have come since. We believed in ourselves and each other. We fought for the reason we decided to move more than 800 miles away from family – making a life and home for ourselves in an area that is absolutely breathtaking – our own outdoor playground so to speak.

Since arriving in Tennessee I have found a way to write for five publications in Florida, four in Arizona and now one in Virginia. That’s pretty exciting to think about!

Now that we both found really good jobs we are beginning to talk about our next home, a house somewhere beautiful between where we both work. A home, not an apartment, a home!

I have grown leaps and bounds since arriving, which is empowering and exciting. I have a man who believes in me, pushes me and supports me, by my side … which makes anything possible.

My love for this man runs incredibly deep. I hope he knows just how much he means to me. He has taken the time to get to know me, really get to know me, which has made our transition easier here in Tennessee.

Dreams do come true …you just have to grab a hold of the vision and take the steps to make it happen no matter how scary it may seem.

Thank you for everything babe. I could not imagine taking this journey with anyone else.

Samson

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.  

Reminders

Every single day I am reminded of how truly fortunate I am to have such an incredible man in my life.

The last couple of weeks have been hard because my boyfriend has been working so much. Most days I see him for a few minutes in the morning and an hour or two when he gets home after his 15 hours of working.

You don’t realize how spoiled you are until the circumstances change.

I have the up most respect for him. Five doubles in a row and he still comes home with a smile on his face every night. Although I told him I was proud of him, he replied “I’m only doing what I said I would do.”

His countless hours at two jobs is paving the path for our move. This wonderful man is making our dream become a reality.

The little time we are granted every day makes me smile. Last night he instantly had me laughing when he got home, which was funny in itself because he woke me from a deep sleep on the couch.

It’s the little moments we share, the intimate moments that continue to make our relationship stronger. Although I miss having him home, I know he is working towards making our life better.

I love this man to pieces. He has enriched my life in so many beautiful ways.