Snow falling

This afternoon as I opened our door the cold breeze kissed my face and sent a chill to my toes. My purse was slung over my shoulder, my mini computer tucked under my arm and keys in hand ready to lock the door. As soon as I turned around and looked at our trees, which are now almost empty of leaves, I saw little white speckles float through the air cascading to the ground. I instantly got my phone out so I could take pictures, which didn’t seem to be enough, so I started recording this beautiful site. It was snowing!

Well my fingers started to become frozen, so I walked to the car a few steps away in a rather rushed motion, so I could get out of the cold. I opened the car door, set all my stuff on the passenger side and looked at my black jacket, and my dark hair, both full of little snow balls. I couldn’t help it a smile crept across my face.

I turned on the car and my dashboard starting flashing telling me the roads may be icy, again a little smile spread across my face. Well, like they say there is no better time than the present, so I put the car in reverse and went on my way to Greeneville to do my in-person interview with an artist.

You see, although I lived in Illinois once upon a time, we moved to Florida when I was only 8-years-old, many years before getting my driver’s license, many years before the thought of driving crossed my mind.

So, as I drove down our driveway I was thinking, “oh my gosh I am driving for the first time in snow!” I have to admit I was a little nervous about it, but as soon as I turned down the road that took me to the interstate the nerves started slowly going away. I actually became emotional. The emotions started deep down and slowly made its way up to my throat where I fought back a few tears. You ask why? I have no idea. Maybe it’s because this is Jason and my first winter together in a state that actually has a winter, maybe because I was driving in snow for the first time, who knows.

It snowed the entire ride to Greeneville (40+ miles) and the farther I drove from home the larger the flakes became. It was an experience like no other.

I’m used to driving in the rain. After living in Florida for most of my life, it became second nature to flip on your lights, turn on the wipers and drive until you reach your destination.

It was crazy driving, and having these, what looked like little cotton balls, hitting my windshield. It was incredible really. I felt like a little girl seeing snow for the first time. It was almost like there was a little wind tunnel right in front of my windshield grabbing a hold of all these little white circles that hit the windshield before flying off the side or onto the roof.

As soon as I arrived at Lawrence’s house, I apologized for being a little late. Yep, I was a little cautious driving in these new conditions, so my lead foot drove the speed limit and at times a little below.

We instantly hit it off . . . he lived in Fort Lauderdale for 30 years after growing up in Chicago as a child. I love interviewing artist, especially this gentleman because of his love for animals. His paintings were incredible, each set of animal’s eyes drew you into the painting.

I have to be honest when the interview was over and I said my goodbyes, I was a little disappointed that the snow stopped.  But with that said, I made it home a lot faster.

I remember driving the entire way home excited to tell Jason about my new adventure. His excitement matched mine . . . he said he stuck his head out of the door at work a couple of times to look at the snow, which in Johnson City he said were a good size.

So now that I drove in my first snow, the next battle to tackle, the ice!

It’s in the high 20’s right now and I plan on getting up early to exercise before my hectic day begins with writing. I wonder what kind of weather conditions I will face then.

Pure happiness

IMAG1909Yesterday marked a month since we arrived in Kingsport, TN, a month since our new adventure began.

“I’m not telling you it is going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

There is so much truth in this statement. Although there were times when stress overcame the both of us as we were trying to find work and make ends meet, we stuck together and made things happen. We encouraged each other to keep going.

Since day one I have told Jason that he is my rock . . . This man keeps me going, keeps the positive attitude flowing freely and is my strength when it’s hard for me to find some.

“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers

The believers and thinkers

But most of all surround yourself

With those who see greatness within you.” 

I continue to reach for the stars because Jason inspires me to become more. He knows what my dreams are; he knows what I am capable of doing.

I left Fort Myers with a freelance job for two publications, so I would have some type of income while trying to find work. Since arriving that work load has increased. I now write for seven publications – one being my old newspaper the Pine Island Eagle. Unfortunately the woman who replaced me has already resigned, leaving the position open once again. It has been a lot of fun writing articles for the Eagle these past couple of weeks. The best part is it has kept me extremely busy, well too busy at times.

Many of the sources I have used for the article are asking me to return, as well as sharing how much they miss me. These people continue to touch me even though I am now a couple of states away. One woman told me the best paper since I left was the one that my articles began appearing in once again.

I always knew it was important to network, but never knew how many opportunities can come out of keeping a relationship with someone. When I was let go from a paper in Arizona, due to the downturn in the economy, I kept in touch with one of my fellow reporters. It has been a great relationship throughout the years because Christina shares the same passion for journalism as I do. We share some of the stories we have worked on, the frustrations that come with the job and where our career has taken us.

A few weeks ago I was floored when she offered me a freelance position for four different publications in Arizona. I am grateful that she thought of me – that she offered me a job for publications that she now is the editor for.

As I fill my days with phone interviews, email interviews and writing to meet the many new deadlines, I have also been pursuing a job lead for a paper in Bristol, VA. Within days I should hear the final outcome of the continuous communication with the editor.

The opportunities are also blossoming for Jason as well. An application he filled out turned into a job interview the next day, which then turned into a job. A few days after he started working at this restaurant in Elizabethton the owner offered him a tremendous opportunity – his own breakfast restaurant in the same area.

I am beyond excited for Jason! Now the recipes for a breakfast menu are coming to fruition, as well as everything else that goes along with a restaurant. I love watching Jason’s expressions as he talks about this new journey, the tone in his voice that shows his excitement. I cannot wait to see this come together, I cannot wait to sit down in his restaurant and enjoy a meal at one of the many tables.

All of this just goes to show some times taking a risk is worth it . . . sometimes going out of your own comfort zone offers many rewards. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined these opportunities would surface for the both of us.

Now with our careers taking off, the vision of our future that we have talked about is one step closer to coming true.

I love that I made this move, I love that I made this move with my best friend and the love of my life.

First interview …

Today I went for my first reporter interview since arriving in NE Tennessee, which I think went pretty well.

Before hitting the road, I gathered the six letters of recomendation that I received from members of the Pine Island community, as well as the PIO from Lee Memorial Health System. These letters were accompanied by my resume and a cover piece of paper displaying all my contact information.  I placed them all in a portfolio, so I could  give it to the editor in which I had an interview with this afternoon.

An interview, which was scheduled last week, occurred because of my persistence with the editor of the paper.
My 30-minute drive to the paper calmed my nerves and allowed me to gather my thoughts, which made me reflect on my career as a journalist.

I left Tennessee and entered Bristol, Virginia in awe of the scenery I continued to pass along the way, which was a beautiful ride to take for an interview.

I spent an hour and a half talking to two editors and the reporter who currently has the position I applied for, the police beat.

As the night editor asked me questions about the stories I have covered I mentioned Pine Island and my job there. He told me he used to live on a mound in Pineland, wow what a small world. The conversation flowed freely as he asked me questions and I answered them. 

I spent quite a long time with the editor as she asked me questions and I explained past responsibilities I had. She told me she was interested in talking to me because of my experience, something she said stood out to her because the other applicants were fresh out of college.

Out of all of my experiences as a reporter, this position will be a completely different beat to cover. Although I have covered car accidents, fires and murders, working solely on those topics have never been my full responsibility.

During the interview the editor asked how I would feel about seeing a dead body … well that would be a new experience for sure. As she talked about what I would be responsible for, I got excited because it is all breaking news stories, topics people generally want to read. A new challenge, which is always good.

This will be a new learning experience for me if I am offered the job. Something new I can hopefully conquer. 
Now the waiting begins as she finishes another interview this week. I have to say I received good vibes from that interview … I left feeling positive.

Maybe a daily newspaper, with daily deadlines, will be my next adventure as a journalist.

It will be different to work a set schedule with the same two days off every week, as well as being the last reporter to leave the office every night.

With my last day at the Eagle taking place in April, the urge to write is becoming extremely strong … this of course only confirms that I found my career path.

Great, no, amazing day

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Again I find myself on the porch listening to the music that continuously fills the air from the birds while watching the sun go down.

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Although they are not excellent pictures, the blue jay I have been trying to capture finally flew into my vision on a tree right in front of me. Nature, so peaceful!

Today has been a great day, a day that only lifts my spirits even more.

An effort I made to get my name out there while still living in Fort Myers worked to my advantage yesterday and today. A job that was not being offered at the beginning of the phone call slowly made its way into the conversation after I jogged the editor’s memory of who I was.

I took it upon myself to track down the job she told me was available when I did not receive an email with a link for the position a few hours after we spoke.
Today when she sent the link and asked me to tell her when the online application was finished, I replied it was ready for her review and please let me know if there was anything else she needed.

That got the ball rolling, clips of my writing were exchanged and a interview was scheduled for next week.

Persistence completely pays off! I showed her I was interested and kept at if until I landed that interview.

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Now as I sit and reflect upon the day, the excitement of what I accomplished takes a hold of me again. I’m slowly making my way in an environment I have only grown to know eight days ago.

The conversation the editor and I shared on the phone gave me hope that this might be my new adventure, a daily newspaper in Bristol, VA.

If you believe in yourself anything is possible. If you have a positive attitude any obstacle can be overcome.

If this interview does not pan out to be the outcome I hope for, it still gives me the experience as well as exposure in a new area that I need.