His patience, his love

Every road I traveled,

eventually led me back to you. 

In the ten years we spent apart, you crossed my mind from time to time. Your face filled my thoughts at the rarest moments, as I wondered where you ended up and how you were doing.

Unfortunately because how things ended when we were younger, a void I did not know needed filling, stayed that way for way too many years. That void was the friendship we built in high school, a foundation that I now know never could be broken even during the years we did not speak.

At the young age of 16, you left an everlasting imprint on my heart. You showed my heart the power of love, the impact a friendship could have on someone. You were my high school sweetheart, the first boy I let into my world.

Still to this day when I hear Metallica playing on the radio, it brings me back to you and the times we spent playing cards on the patio. And to think, that is just one beautiful memory that often times leaves me smiling.

Fast forward to 2009, as a man, you have changed my world completely. I have grown leaps and bounds because of you.

A breakup that I once thought was the end of the world turned into the biggest blessing. That breakup brought me back to you. That foundation we started a decade earlier, quickly resumed as we filled each other in on the time we spent apart.

The healing began. You let me lean on you through a very trying time. Because of you and your patience, the old me resurfaced again. The old me that went into hiding for almost a decade gained her confidence.

I will never forget the embrace you gave me when we finally parted ways the day we went out to lunch. That hug sent me on a journey back to my teen years in a matter of seconds. That hug reassured me that everything was going to be okay.

Jason you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You have shown me unconditional love. A love that has opened my eyes. A love that continues to guide me as we ride this journey of life together.

One of the many reasons why I love this man, his attention to detail.

Sometimes he can sense how I’m feeling before it hits me by knowing and understanding how I react to situations, the shift in my mood, the looks I give without realizing, my demeanor and the tone in my voice.

Because Jason know’s me so well, I always feel safe when I’m with him.

He knows how to calm me down. He knows just what to say to make whatever I’m feeling in that moment disappear. The patience he showcases in those situations is why the calmness takes hold of me. I can feel the love radiating from him when I hear his calming words, or his touch.

Last night was just another example of how in-tuned Jason is to my world, my experiences, my overall well-being.

Jason and I went to an acoustic Nonpoint concert at Capone’s in Johnson City. It was an amazing show for so many reasons.

When we started dating again in 2009, Jason introduced me to Nonpoint for the first time. A month after we began dating we went to a concert in Cape Coral after I got free tickets. We still talk about that night. Most of the time all we have to say is that Nonpoint concert and we both start shaking our heads and laughing.

Although Jason took me to my first concert while we were in high school, that Nonpoint concert was the first concert I really felt. The sounds of the drums and guitars really grabbed a hold of me, as the lyrics spoke to me.

Last night’s show was amazing. Usually Nonpoint puts on a high energy concert, but last night it was low key as they transformed their music into an acoustic version. I heard every lyric as I watched fingers strum the guitar creating a sound that triggered my feet to begin moving and my hips swaying to the beat.

There truly is no better feeling then listening to music live. I love watching a band translate the songs meaning during a live show.

After the concert ended, the band made a presence near the front door of Capone’s. A line quickly formed as the band posed with one fan after another for a picture. Yep, Jason took my picture with the band, which was awesome. I had the opportunity to tell them that I loved their music and it is great motivation while I run!

It was a great night with Jason. Another night we will talk about for years to come. Another memory I will hold close to my heart.

I will forever be grateful that I was blessed with such a caring, loving, funny man who fully enjoys life.

Boy seeks very special dog

Boy seeks very special dog

Published in Herald & Tribune Nov. 5, 2014 issue

A young boy who had his first seizure at 11 months old is in need of the community’s support to help his family raise money for a seizure response dog.

Misty Royston, said her son Justin, who is now 8 years old, had his first seizure at a graduation party a friend of theirs was having before he was a year old. She said she knew instantly what was happening because of a family member who has epilepsy.

After he was taken to the hospital, the doctors said they would keep a close eye on him and see what happens. He was diagnosed with epilepsy and has Tonic Clonic seizures, also known as grand-mal seizures.

Misty said Justin has always had extended seizures that last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, which always results in a visit to the emergency room.

When Justin was 3 years old he began taking speech pathology, which he still continues today because of the affects his epilepsy has had on his brain.

The young Sulphur Springs School 3rd grade student is now on medication to help with the seizures.

The family travels to Child Neurology Services in Knoxville twice a year for check-ups and testing because it is the closest pediatric neurologists. Once a year, Justin has an EEG test done to monitor his brain’s electrical activity.

In July, the test showed an increase in abnormal activity in Justin’s brain while he is sleeping, which has raised some concerns. The doctor had asked Misty if she had noticed any jerking or twitching while Justin was sleeping. Misty said she had not because she too was sleeping.

“They don’t make equipment to alert us if he has one in his sleep,” Misty said of his seizures.

After hearing of the results, Misty had a conversation with her friend who has a diabetic alert service dog for her son. She said her friend encouraged her to look into getting a service dog for Justin.

“I think I spent weeks on the computer looking at different organizations seeing the benefit,” Misty said.

Through the research, she stumbled upon Dan Warren of Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers. Having a service dog would keep Justin safe, as well as notify someone to get medicine if needed.

After signing a contract with the nonprofit organization, the family was placed on a six to eight month waiting list.

Misty said the organization tailors a Labrador puppy specifically to Justin’s needs. The specific tailoring is made possible by the family filling out a questionnaire regarding Justin’s activities, hobbies, how he deals with school and how receptive he is to everything going on around him.

The Royston’s have to raise $25,000 to obtain a service dog. The price tag includes the dog, training and travel expenses for the trainer to come to Jonesborough. Once the family receives a dog, they will receive a full week’s training.

“Once the dog is placed with us we receive two years of additional training,” Misty said.

The family began their fundraising efforts in September and has raised $5,000 for the service dog.

“We have received a lot of support,” she said from the community.

The support has come from local businesses, individuals, several anonymous donations and fundraisers.

The 3 Minute Ultimate Shine Car Wash, located in Johnson City and Greeneville, is donating 30 percent of each car wash when individuals use the promo code 899 until Nov. 20.

Lollipop Shop and Ruby Tuesdays is also donating a percentage of the sales when customers show a flyer until Nov. 20.

For more information about the flyers, send Misty an email at Royston137@gmail.com.

The next fundraising event will take place at Capone’s in Johnson City on Saturday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. The benefit concert will feature Bonnie Blue and Southern Rebellion. There is a $5 minimum cover charge.

To follow Justin’s story and fundraising efforts, like his Facebook page “Your Change Can Make a Change for Justin.”

“Justin is very excited,” Misty said. “I don’t think he fully understands everything 100 percent, but he knows he is getting a puppy that is all his and is supposed to help him and watch over him.”

Individuals can also make a donation at http://sdwr.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.personalCampaign&participantID=1641.

 

“Families are our foundation”

Hill prepares for re-election fight

Published in the Herald & Tribune June 25, 2014 issue

Matthew Hill, Jonesborough’s Republican State Representative, recently launched his campaign for re-election.

“I really, really enjoy my job, and I enjoy helping people. I enjoy the ability to represent my community and my home in Nashville and stand up and fight for our values every single day,” he said of why he is seeking re-election.

Hill will face local businessman Phil Carriger in the State Primary on Thursday, Aug. 7.

Hill, who grew up in Sullivan County, moved to Washington County 11 years ago. He lives in Jonesborough with his wife, whom he has been married to for 12 years, as well as his two children.

Hill sees his family as a blessing.

“Families are our foundation, and my faith is very important to me,” he said. “My faith is first and my family is second. It has always been that way.

“My faith motivates me to love and take care of the family the best I can. I love my family, my wife and my kids. They are everything to me, they really are.”

The importance of family is the platform of his campaign.

“When they vote for me, they know they have someone that is fighting for them and fighting for their family every single day,” Hill said.

Instead of seeking a new strategy for being re-elected, he said he is doing the same thing he has done in the past — knocking on a couple thousand doors.

“I love knocking on doors because I can meet people face-to-face, one-on-one, and listen to their concerns,” Hill said. “It’s a very time-consuming task, but it’s worth it. I enjoy meeting with people and talking with people and telling them what I am working on and asking for their vote and support.”

If re-elected, his number one goal is to continue to have an open door policy. He explained that being accessible to all of his contingents no matter where they live or who they are is important.

Hill said he will continue to fight and defend family values in balanced budgets and lower taxes, which will create jobs in the State of Tennessee.

“The economy is picking up, and businesses are hiring,” he said. “The legislature can create an environment where jobs can be created.”

Last week, Hill held a job fair at Carver Recreation Center in Johnson City, which he rated as a huge success. He said more than 250 people attended the job fair and applied for jobs, and more than 24 employers were in attendance.

“This is the third job fair I have done,” Hill said, adding that he will continue to hold the job fairs if they receive participation from the community.

His motto is to “roll your sleeves up and get involved in the community and do as much as we can.”

A blowout Community Day, which will be held from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, July 12, at Telford Diner, is another example of his community involvement. He said the free event will feature a barbeque, music and cotton candy.

On Tuesday, June 24, Hill and State Rep. Micah Van Huss of Johnson City will also hold a joint telephone town hall beginning at 7 p.m. Listeners will have the opportunity to ask questions, as well as share concerns they may have. The live tele-town is free and open to the public. Those interested can pick up the phone when it rings, which will automatically connect them, or they can call 1-877-229-8493 and dial the access code 16194#.

Hill said citizens should vote for him because he stands up for Washington County and Washington County families.

“As their state representative, I am fighting for them, fighting for their values and second amendment rights and that is why I would be honored and humbled to have their votes and support,” he said.

 

Blast from our past

My phone started ringing a little before 9 a.m. yesterday morning, which was a great, yet unexpected surprise.

Jason’s face filled my screen, as I slide the arrow accepting his phone call. He left for work around his usual time, 8:15 a.m., so I was a little confused when my phone started ringing. It’s unusual for Jason to call before he walks into work. I’m lucky if I hear from him at all some days because the kitchen gets so busy.

For the past couple of months, I have had the itch to go to a concert. For a while, it seemed like Jason and I had the opportunity to go see one of our many favorite bands on a pretty frequent basis. But, with the move to Tennessee, our spending was limited due to us saving all of our funds. Every time a band travels near to our new location of Kingsport, I tell Jason . . . . so needless to say he knows my desire.

Jason took me to my very first concert in Fort Myers while we were in high school. A country concert at the Civic Center. Jason is an absolute blast to go to a concert with. We have created some unbelievable memories at the many, many shows we have attended. He always finds a way to get us as close to the stage as possible. (Yes, there has been a few times we couldn’t hear anything for quite a few hours after leaving a concert.) I love the way the music moves him, how into the words and instruments he becomes. He definitely showed me a new way to appreciate concerts.

So back to the phone call . . .

Jason said he was listening to the radio and heard an interview with Fuel. The band was going to be playing at Capone’s in Johnson City. My smile instantly overtook my office.

Was he really going to suggest what I thought he was?

Jason said why don’t you go online and see how much tickets are. I’ll leave it up to you, if they aren’t too expensive go ahead and buy them.

This man is so good to me. I love his spontaneity.

So I go online, tickets are only $15. Yep, that was an easy decision. I went ahead and bought two tickets and clicked the button that we will pick them up at will call once we arrive.

So, I send Jason a text message telling him what time the show starts. His response “Nice.”

When Jason and I dated in high school he introduced me to a lot of music. Fuel happened to be one of those bands. So our first “date night” in I don’t know how long was a blast from our past.

Did I mention how good this man is to me? He’s always finding ways to surprise me and make my wishes come true.

Before we arrived at the venue, we stopped and got a bite to eat. We stopped at Chick-Fil-A. Once we opened the packages to our sandwiches I noticed that they forgot to put it on a multi-grain bun. Jason, on the other hand, received the right bun. So what did he do? He took the top off his sandwich and told me to give him the top off of mine. This cracked me up.

After having some good laughs, we were on our way to the concert venue.

Capone’s was not that bad of venue. It had a very intimate setting, so we were able to get pretty close to the stage. The only bad thing about the space the band played in, was it got really warm very fast. I could only imagine how much warmer it would have been if the room was jammed packed with people.

Once Fuel took stage my energy rose. I could feel Jason’s energy rising as well. The band played a great mix of old and new music. Some of the old songs took me back, took me back to 16 years ago.
image

I remember listening to those tunes with Jason, wow, 16 years ago.

My body started swaying and my feet started tapping, as the words flew out of my mouth when a familiar tune filled the air. The sounds of the guitar often times raised the hairs on my arms as a chord was struck or a certain beat of the drum overtook the room.

Oh how I love live music.

It was such a great night. I loved every minute of our night out. If felt good to go out, to get out of the house and spend some time with Jason.

Nights like last night remind me of the history Jason and I have created. It’s hard to believe we have known each other for 18 years. Where does the time go?

I love this man to pieces and am so fortunate to have such a caring man who, yes, will do anything to make me smile.