Another chapter begins

Another chapter will soon begin for Jason and I in Kingsport. A new chapter that was unexpected, but very exciting nonetheless.

On Sept. 4, Jason and I headed to Bays Mountain for a morning hike outdoors on one of the many beautiful trails. On our drive back home Jason turned into a driveway, which I was not expecting at all. This cute little house had a “For Rent” sign in the front yard. Since we had Lucy with us, I stayed in the car, while Jason peeked through the windows and walked around back.

Ever since we moved to Kingsport last May, the houses on the way to Bays Mountain have always caught our attention. I think it’s the nicer part of town, for sure.

Before we left the house, I plugged the phone number that was written on the sign into my phone and we were on our way home. It never hurts to call, right? The lease on the place we are living in now is up in October, so timing was, well, perfect.

I decided to give the number a call and spoke with a nice older gentleman, Bobby, on the phone. My excitement grew as we were talking because it sounded doable. There were no restrictions regarding the number of animals we had, just a separate pet deposit for each one. A separate deposit that was cheaper than what we owed when we moved into the townhouse and we only had two animals at the time. The last time we were apartment hunting, it was hard to find a place that would accept cats. If they accepted cats they had to be de-clawed, which Jason and I don’t agree with at all.

When I told Bobby that we have two cats and a puppy, he didn’t skip a beat. He just asked how large the dog was.

The conversation continued on the positive side. The rent was not much more than we are spending now on a two bedroom townhouse. A two bedroom townhouse where we can hear our neighbors through the thin walls. Early in the morning when the world is still sleeping I can hear Jasper, our neighbors cat, digging around in the litter box on the other side of the wall while working in my office.

Privacy and having neighbors further away has been a part of our plans for quite some time now. We had a glimpse of that privacy when our good friends in Estero let us rent their house. We lived there for about six months before we moved back to Fort Myers.

Royal Poinciana Tree

Royal Poinciana Tree

The yard at that house was absolutely beautiful. Everywhere we looked there were gorgeous flowers and numerous royal poinciana trees.

So the following day, Jason, Lucy and I met Bobby at the house and had a look around. It’s a cute little two bedroom, one bathroom house with a decent kitchen and living room. The living room is larger than the one we have now, as well as the guest bedroom. There are also more windows in the house AND it’s one story.

Our last apartment before we left Fort Myers I miss from time to time because of all the windows. It was such a bright, sunny and happy apartment. I miss that natural sunlight. Our townhouse now often times feels like a dungeon because of the lack of natural light.

So, the house had all that going for it . . . but there is so much more.

We both instantly fell in love with the porches. There is a half porch out front, where I am already picturing rocking chairs, and a porch the length of the back of the house overlooking a gorgeous rather large yard. Yep, we were sold.

Ever since Lucy entered our lives, there has been a ton of discussion about having a backyard. I’ve always said I will not own a dog until I had a backyard. Well, with that said, Lucy was very unexpected. Although she is a very small dog, barely 9 pounds, she still deserves grass to play in and run around, space that she can call her own.

When we stood on the back porch and walked in the backyard, I was already picturing Lucy and I playing.

The porch, oh my gosh, the porch. When Jason and I left the house, the discussion had already begun of how much time we would be spending outdoors. There would be chairs, tables, a fire pit, you name it . . . Jason could also barbecue on the porch next to a table where we could eat. The best part is there are outlets on the banisters, so I can work outdoors!

10389088_850300231654723_2340627226820874762_nWe stood in the front yard and talked with Bobby for a while and let him know that we were really interested in the house and we would be in touch.

I was sold, Jason was sold, we had to make this happen.

So after crunching numbers, we decided we could afford the home. With the generosity of both of our parents, we got the ball rolling.

I have to be honest, it was a hard week while the planning, nonstop discussions, were had about moving into this home. We had some great conversations about staying where we are now compared to living in a home.

Jason, like always was my rock this past week. He knows how to calm my nerves.

He simply made it happen.

When he called me Thursday afternoon telling me we were meeting Bobby at the house, that we were going to give him a deposit, my heart sang. I think I asked him “really” a few times.

To make sure we could afford this new chapter in our lives, and to live a little more comfortably, Jason is taking on a second job waiting tables at The Texas Roadhouse. His orientation starts tomorrow. This is what I love about this man. He saw how much it meant to me, to be fair, it meant a lot to him as well, to move into a home that he is doing what he does best, providing for us.

A week later, Sept. 12, we met Bobby back at the house and put a deposit down after taking another walk through, meaning the “For Rent” sign came down, and this house is now ours to move into come Oct. 1.

I haven’t been this excited about moving into a new place in a rather long time.

The possibilities of how we can turn this house into a true “home” is what is making me excited. There are places in the backyard where I can start a garden. There is a tree in the backyard where I can hang a bird house. There are places where I can plant flowers.

Endless.

On Sept. 9, Jason and I celebrated five years of being together.

Photograph by Dorene Lowe Photography of Jason and I in 2013

Photograph by Dorene Lowe Photography of Jason and I in 2013

Although I can go on forever why those five years  have been among the best five years of my life, there is one thing that stands out the most.Jason will do anything and everything to make me smile. The best part, as a team, the sky is our limit. Whatever we put our minds to we find a way to make it happen.I am so excited to see what our future has in store for us.

I’m going to finish this post by pasting what I wrote on Facebook the day of our anniversary . . .

I never thought a friendship that started 18 years ago would turn into a relationship with a man who I would want to spend the rest of my life with. It’s hard to believe five years have already passed, five of the best years of my life. This photo is my all time favorite because it’s a symbol of our relationship. (a photograph of both our heads leaning back laughing uncontrollably) I love all the laughter we share, all the great memories we have created. I love you more than words can ever express. Here’s to another five years of wonderful memories . . .

 

Thankful

Some thoughts that struck me while exercising today . . .

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Do you ever wake up thinking you have a beautiful life? That the life you lead is because of the confidence you have in yourself to make it happen?

I’m not sure if these thoughts have bombarded me because I had a conversation with someone from my past, or if I’m just reflecting on how far I’ve come because I’m experiencing the daily change in new life right outside the window.

The life of nature, if you think about it, goes through some drastic changes before new life is born. That new life of spring, and the warm temperatures that also grace this season, has spoken to me.

I really cannot put into words the feelings that take over me when I spot that new flower presenting itself on a tree or on the ground for that matter. After seeing the trees bare for so many months, its eye-catching for sure.

Today, while I was out taking pictures, I heard lawn mowers running and the smell of new cut grass filled the air. This alone made me smile. Do you know how long it has been since hearing those sounds or smelling that fragrance?

Yeah, is all I have to say.

Reflection . . .

The best part of that conversation earlier this week, is it made me smile, instead of making me dwell on the life I decided to leave behind. It’s amazing how much your life can blossom when you have the right people in your life. Without support from my closest family and friends, those mountains that blocked my path seemed unbearable. With their constant encourgement, the mountains turned into little, tiny hills, bumps for that matter. It was easy to catch a glimpse of the other side of the hurdle and continue along this path of my life.

IMG_1434What I took as genuine happiness about how far I have come from this individual kind of left me speechless. I know it shouldn’t have because he was so encouraging when he was a big part of my life. Even as discussions were had about another person of my past, the feelings that used to consume me no longer did. The only feeling that grabbed a hold of me was sadness. The same conversation that was had almost five years ago, was the same tune I heard that day. It’s a shame when someone can’t or does not want to find the new light at the end of the tunnel to carry on and see the new beauty that presents itself.

Life is precious, you have to make the most out of everything. This of course can be hard on occassion. The daily stresses of life sometimes gets the best of me.

The statement below I found one day is very true.

“Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time? Three years? Five years?” If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.”

I have found myself getting better at this every day.

New beauty . . .

IMG_1429New beauty is constantly presenting itself, if not in nature, in the daily happenings of my own life.

So, why not leave the worry behind, the unneeded stress, when you are in charge of your own happiness?

That one day struck me, it was time to grab a hold of that happiness and be in charge once again.

A huge turning point for me was moving back home to Fort Myers to be close to family and friends. The unconditional love and support often times took my breath away. I will never forget those days. I will never forget how my dad was my strength, how he carried me through one of the hardest times of my life.

The second best thing was rekindling that relationship with my first love.

I will never forget that conversation that started on Facebook almost five years ago after more than a decade of time passing by.

Strength . . .

That word can mean so many different things. I often find my thoughts turning to this word as I’m out in nature admiring its beauty. The more time we spend outdoors, as well as my time I spend at the gym, constantly reminds me just how strong I have become.

IMG_1423I have discovered a strength I did not know existed almost five years ago. I owe that discovery to my family and Jason.

Jason constantly pushes me, which I am so incredibly grateful for. He pushes me in every aspect of life. Every aspect in life.

When we are out hiking and an obstacle presents itself along our path, he pushes me forward, often times giving me words of encouragement, as I battle with the “I can’t do that” kind of thinking.

I have also found a strength inside as we continue this adventure in our new home state. Things, I won’t lie, were really rocky when we first arrived. I was an emotional mess for a few months, until I found my own footing. Found the confidence I needed in the new life we created for ourselves.

This morning as I chatted back and forth with my really good friend back in Florida through text messages, I was flooded with the thoughts of accomplishments. She asked how many papers I now contribute for . . . eight in Arizona, four in Florida and one in Tennessee.

Who say’s you can’t accomplish something when you have faith in yourself?

After telling her this information, my mouth kind of dropped open. I knew I contributed to quite a few, but until I wrote them all down, I guess I forgot the extent.

Independence . . .

IMG_1421I was taught to take care of myself through the years I was growing up. My parents raised all of their children to be independent, which I will forever be grateful for.

Unfortunately, sometimes through the course of life, you lose site of that “independence.” You believe life can only be fulfilled with that one person next to you.

Although I cannot look into my future and not see Jason there by my side, it doesn’t take away my independence. We built this relationship on us both being independent, but sharing a life with each other.

Through the course of last year and into this year, I have found that independence. My contribution to all these publications provides me with the independence I need.

You see . . . some of these things leave such an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness. Often times it leaves me breathless, but in a good way, when I think about the beautiful life I have created and absolutely love living.

The outdoors . . .

Growing up, my brothers, sisters and I, spent a lot of time outdoors. It was just how we were raised. So, it really isn’t a mystery that I still love being outdoors as an adult.

I’m just thankful I have a new found love and appreciation for everything around me. When we moved to Tennessee, I had a feeling I would appreciate my surroundings a little more. Indeed, I have.

Jason and I have run into many people who have lived here their whole lives and not seen half of the places we have in the last year. Being with Jason has shed a light on exploring new places. I couldn’t imagine not exploring. I never want to take where we live for granted, especially when it provides so many great getaways only miles down the road.

So on that note, here are a few more pictures I took today while out and about. The pictures above are also pictures I took today of the simple beauties that surround me.

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One month down . . .

Last year I read a post on Facebook about an idea I wanted to try, which I’m proud to say is still going pretty strong. It has become a habit that’s for sure, second nature if you will.

Today starts month two and I finally went and bought a pretty jar, well vase, for my 2014 project, so I could see all the paper pile up as the days and months go on.

That Facebook post said to write about a surprise gift, accomplished goals, the beauty of nature, lol moments, memories worth saving and daily blessings on a small piece of paper.

JarWell I added my first hint of color, pink, for the month of February. I’m still on the fence of what color I should add for March and April for that matter. January was easy, I decided to write on white because of our first snowy winter in Tennessee.

It’s been a fun exercise. Some days that moment stands out and other days I have to think a little more. Those days really make me appreciate my blessings.

Today’s moment was a text from Jason, one that brought me to tears. I heard his voice, saw the concern in his eyes and felt his love, all through a couple of lines that appeared on my phone before he clocked in for his shift today. He’s such an incredible person, always finding ways to make me smile. The thing I love the most, more than four years later, he still finds ways into my heart that make me fall in love with him a little deeper.

A post I shared on Facebook towards the end of last month: “These last few days have reminded me why Jason and I are so good together. No matter what lies before us, we work together as a team. We balance each other and bring out the best qualities in one another. This man, my best friend, is my rock. I’m beyond grateful to have such a special relationship, one that makes me smile each and every day.”

Jason’s response: “It’s all too easy when you are open, honest, and expectations are based on actions and not delusions.”

 . . . I love this man to pieces . . .

As you could imagine his name appears on many small pieces of paper that are filling my vase.

I’m excited to read 365 pieces of paper at the end of the year to see what my special moments were. I’m also excited for Jason to read them.