More than a month ago

It’s hard to believe I returned to Southwest Florida more than a month ago. I have spent a great deal of time with family and friends since returning, something that was hard to live without for almost two years.

One of my new favorite routines happens every Saturday. I spend the week looking forward to my early start that morning.

In an effort to train for my third 5K race, which took place on Memorial Day, I ran with my mother and younger sister Maureen, who were also participating in the race with me. I was so excited to recruit two people to run with me, especially since it was Mom and Maureen’s first race. I’m happy to say I beat my best race time by more than three minutes that morning even in the awful heat. Mom and Maureen finished before me making their first race a memorable one. Although we did not cross the finish line at the same time, it was encouraging to know that they were running the same race with me. I kept my pace going and am happy to say I finally ran the entire 3.1 miles without stopping, making it truly an awesome achievement.

Every Saturday, we meet at Maureen’s house to run along McGregor. I still cannot put into words how much that first run meant to me. I have spent the majority of my time running by myself, or with my puppy Lucy. To run with other people, well it felt incredible, even if we all are not running at the same speed. Even though the race is over, we still meet every Saturday morning. Yes, it’s still a highlight of my week. This past Saturday as I pulled up to Maureen’s house, I saw Dad standing with Mom and Maureen, which made me smile. Our running group is expanding . . . I love spending that time with family first thing in the morning.

As I sit here and reflect on some of the highlights of my time back in Southwest Florida, a trying time, a time that kept me apart from Jason for 47 days already seems like a lifetime ago. I smile when I look back. I smile because of the strength we both had during the time he was in Fort Myers and I was in Kingsport. I smile because that is now a distant memory.

The best feeling in the world is being in the same state, the same city and living under the same roof again. Now we are back to our old routines, some that I love and will never grow tired of . . . a kiss before he leaves for work that is accompanied by have a great day.

I am now a firm believer that the heart grows fonder when you are away from your loved one. I have seen a new side of Jason that I cherish since returning. Our relationship is stronger than before. Jason’s affection and expression of how he feels comes more often making me feel even more loved.

For the first time in a longtime, I really feel like I am home. That feeling is not just because I am living in the area where I grew up surrounded by friends and family, but I am living my dream once again.

As a freelance writer, there is good and bad. I absolutely love the freedom of making my own schedule. I enjoy working from my home having the luxury of walking into my kitchen to grab a snack or cook lunch. I also love having the opportunity to be in the same vicinity as my one year old puppy.

What I was lacking did not show its presence until I moved back to the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area.

I am now spending more time out in the community, interviewing people face-to-face, making my passion for writing truly surface once again. There’s something special about living in the same community in which you work. I did not know how much I missed that interaction until the first assignment my editor gave me took me out into the community.

My passion is in full force again. My passion of writing has taken on another dimension.

Our move back to Southwest Florida was one of the best decisions we have made, especially because of the opportunities that we have found. Jason and I continue to grow as a couple, I’m writing more for editors I truly love working for, I’m spending my weekends with Mom once again and my best friend is only 30-minutes down the road.

Although our lives have been enriched with so much beauty here, I still find myself thinking of Tennessee. I miss the mountains. This past week it hit me pretty hard. Oh, how I miss the pure beauty of that state.

The hiking, getting lost in the woods, is what I miss the most. The clarity the hills and mountains gave me was truly special.

A beautiful life

A beautiful life

My heart is singing. I have the love of a man who would move mountains to make me smile. A man who would do absolutely anything to make my life even more beautiful.

That feeling has consumed me since I returned home from my trip to Fort Myers. A trip that left us apart for almost a week, the longest time spent a part in more than five years.

They say it’s good to spend time apart . . .

I knew that week was going to be hard, but did not know to what extent. There were a couple of things I truly missed while we were apart. Jason kissing me goodbye in the morning before leaving while telling me to have a great day. Surprise visits during the day. Most of all, us not sleeping in the same bed at night, was by far the hardest thing. I sleep so much better knowing he is peacefully laying beside me, or even knowing he is in the same house.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second of my trip because I was surrounded by family and friends. It was a trip I needed to take, a trip that was long overdue. A trip that was filled with nonstop laughter as every single one of my siblings gathered together with their loved ones and children.

My parents watching a sunset on Fort Myers Beach. The love these two share is inspirational.

My parents watching a sunset on Fort Myers Beach. The love these two share is inspirational.

The Monday after Christmas, my family had its family Christmas. Mom had 19 people under one roof. All of her kids together for the first time in five years for Christmas. Sometimes it was so hard to hear someone talk because of the booming of laughter that filled a room. New memories were definitely made that day.

Towards the end of the day, we all gathered outside, so my Mom could have pictures with her family. This was specially hard on me. Mom and Dad stood waiting for each one of their children and significant others to surround them, as I snapped a shot. I, of course, took that picture without Jason that day. Although he was not standing beside me, I could still feel the love we share with the hundreds of miles that separated us. I could hear him saying, “I’m glad you are spending time with your family.”

Throughout the week, Jason and I would talk through text messages. Yes, I still received my good morning. Often times we had the opportunity to catch up at night before we both went to bed. I loved those moments because I had the chance to hear his voice.

Our week apart was definitely confirmation that I have truly found my soul mate. I found the love of my life.

Jason was a part of many conversations and in my thoughts as every day unfolded.

The night I met a great friend at the beach to watch a sunset, he was with me. Charlene and I watched the sunset in almost the exact spot that Jason and I have shared many times while enjoying dinner on the beach. I sent him a picture of the sunset. His reply, “Very nice. I can feel it.”

Fort Myers Beach sunset

Fort Myers Beach sunset

Those seven days a part showed me yet again that I have true love from a man who loves me to pieces. Although I know he missed me, he was always sending me messages sharing how happy he was that I was with family and friends.

My favorite text was sent the night before I returned home. He had a countdown going of when I was going to be “stuck” with him again. 12 hours and counting . . . that warmed my heart in ways I cannot explain. Jason missed having me home.

When I came around the bend at the airport and saw him standing there, a smile swept across my face in a speed I could not control. I was home. I was in the presence of my man once again. I could tell he was just as equally as excited to see me.

I feel a new kind of closeness to Jason. A new kind of appreciation for one another. The laughter I felt at my parents house, is the same kind of laughter that has filled our home the last couple of nights.

It’s an unexplainable feeling to have that kind of love. A feeling that is sometimes overwhelming. A love that has opened my eyes to all kinds of beautiful moments that were once clouded before.

Jason continues to show me how to appreciate every moment for what it is worth.

This man has helped in creating a beautiful life for the both of us. A beautiful life that continues to excite me as new days unfold.

I am beyond grateful I met this man 19 years ago. It was a true blessing to be reunited with him again more than five years ago. Jason has helped me become a better person. The support he shares often times leaves me speechless.

It’s truly a powerful thing . . . how much someone can impact your life. A positive impact on every aspect of my well-being.

This year has started off with a bang, as I continue to share my life with a man I know I will grow old with.

Fort Myers Beach sunset

Fort Myers Beach sunset

 

Best surprise!

I received an amazing surprise from my mom Saturday afternoon. One that I am truly grateful for, one that completely shocked me, one that of course has me smiling still.

I’m going to be with my family for the holidays AND my birthday!!

My mom asked if I wanted to fly home (Fort Myers) for the holidays, her treat. My answer of course came without hesitation, other than let me talk to Jason first.

I cannot fully put into words how excited I became after hearing that offer. I will be in the same state with my family as we all come together to celebrate Christmas!! That right there is the best Christmas present I could receive.

Jason’s response when I told him Mom wanted to fly me home for Christmas left my heart singing. His response too was without hesitation. “Go, go spend Christmas with your family.” This will be the longest we have been a part since we started dating. One full week. That week will include my birthday, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, our first time of being a part on those specific days. I wish Jason could make the trip with me, but I am beyond thankful he is so understanding. He knows I need to spend time with my family.

This will also be the first time I will be a part from Lucy, our puppy. Mom told me I could bring her along, but after looking into a plane ticket for her, I had to rule out that decision. I have a hard time spending $100 one way on a ticket for an animal. I will miss her.

I left Fort Myers April 30, 2013 and haven’t returned since our move to Northeast Tennessee. Although I have seen the majority of my family in either Illinois, Maryland or here in Kingsport since then, I haven’t seen my little sister Maureen and older brother Bill since leaving.

This trip also means I get to see my friends who I miss terribly!

With my excitement fully overtaking me, I sent a text to my great friend Dorene telling her when I will be in town. Her response “Yay! Yay! Yay!” I cannot wait to see her.

I also sent a text to Charlene and Judy, who I also miss like crazy!

Then the texts continued to all of my brothers and sisters.

I loved what response I received from my little brother Tom when I told him I will see him in Fort Myers next month. Tom too moved away from Florida . . .  he lives in Maryland with his wife and two boys.

Within a few minutes my phone rang . . . it was my nephews on the other end. After catching up for a few minutes and sharing our excitement of seeing each other again, Caleb, my 3-year-old nephew got on the phone. What he said melted my heart. “I’ll see you soon.” I can never get enough of spending time with my nephews!

Although I talked with Erin about her recent trip to Florida’s east coast through text messages, we didn’t talk about me traveling to Fort Myers. I was laughing to hard at the description she gave me of the time her and Alex had! I’m excited to see her and her family, including my two nephews!

Later in the afternoon, my brother Bill called. With his hectic schedule we don’t have a chance to talk as much as I know we both would like. It felt great to tell him I will see him soon.

If a phone call with both of my brothers was not enough,  I also talked to my younger sister Maureen for more than an hour last night. That conversation was a perfect ending to my day.

Wait . . . I also talked with Emily, my younger sister through a few text messages before finally going to bed. I could hear and feel her excitment of the news as well.

I actually talked to all of my siblings in one day. I cannot tell you the last time that actually happened. Those conversations only made me miss them more. But, knowing that I get to see them in a little more than a month, priceless!

Thank you Mom. You always seem to know the perfect present to give! I cannot wait to spend time with you and our entire gang!

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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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.

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.

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.

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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.