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

 

Never a dull moment

I know I have said this a million times, but Lucy has been the perfect addition to our crazy little family.

There is never a dull moment . . . she is always making me laugh at something silly.

Yesterday I think was the icing on the cake.

I was working at my desk lost in the article I was writing, not noticing that the house had grown really quite. Here lately, when everything gets quite, I know Lucy is up to something. She came running into my office with her new find . . . a fork we forgot to put away. A plastic fork we left on the coffee table from when we ordered in Chinese the night before.

I literally laughed out loud when I turned around and noticed the fork in her mouth. I instantly thought of my nephew Colton, my brother’s youngest son. He always has a fork in his hand no matter what he is doing. When ever a picture is shared I always look to see if I can find Colton’s fork, kind of like “Where’s Waldo.”

When my parents were in town in September, Jason and I drove them to Maryland, so they could visit with Tom and his family. My Mom bought us all plastic colored forks that we greeted him with once we arrived. He was so excited to see so many forks. Needless to say his one fork grew into a collection by the end of the night.

I love how my crazy puppy reminds me of my crazy family.

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Today we took her to the vet and she got a clean bill of health. She gained some weight, she now weighs 9 pounds. I love hearing that she is perfectly healthy. It means we are doing something right.

A smile that lights up the room

Today, she filled a void, a void that I knew was there, but obviously did not  comprehend the full extent.

A few days ago, I received a text from Judy, “see you in a few days.” I cannot even begin to share all the emotions that took hold of me at that very moment. Excitement only touches the surface of what I was feeling.

This wonderful woman entered my life almost three years ago unexpected. A bus ride to downtown Fort Myers ignited a beautiful friendship! She was instrumental in getting me through so much, much more than I think she realizes over the past few years.

When I said goodbye before Jason and I moved to Tennessee, it hit me like a brick. I cried as Jason pulled away, which continued down the road. I was going to miss this best friend of mine.

Judy always knew when to pop in the office unannounced, or just lend an ear when I didn’t know I needed someone to listen.

Friends are sometimes hard to find. Good friends are sometimes hard to come by. Judy and I had an instant connection, one that only grows.

Her smile, oh my gosh, Judy’s smile lights up the room. That is one thing I miss the most since moving to Tennessee. All I had to do was see her smile and my whole mood would change. If she started laughing, yep, say goodbye to the bad mood or stress.

Judy has been an incredible friend.

We have kept in touch and talked to each other on the phone, and yes, I could feel the smile coming through the phone . . . the laughter too . . . She definitely helped in getting me through some trying times when I was adjusting to the new life Jason and I made in Tennessee.

I missed this friend of mine.

So, as I got in my car to drive to Johnson City to meet Judy and Dave for dinner, my heart was happy. When I walked into Olive Garden and saw Judy smiling at me, my heart was singing.

It was so good to see her, so good to see her smile. If that wasn’t enough, just to be together once again, her compliment touched me beyond words. To hear, I look the best I ever have, made me smile.

Judy and I being together in the same room talking as we always have, was so overdue. It was nice to soak up that positive energy again.

Dinner was wonderful. I got to spend time with some of the board members of Wounded Warrior Anglers and learn about the continued success of this wonderful organization. An organization that I am honored to be a board member for.

After talking with Dave, I’m even more excited about being involved.

When I lived in Fort Myers I was constantly in the mix of everything that involved WWAnglers. Now living in Tennessee I hear about it over the phone. Tonight over dinner, I felt that connection once again. It felt so good to share ideas. It felt so good to see the expressions and emotions take hold as stories were shared.

I truly felt like I was apart of it all again.

Let the networking begin.

I absolutely loved having friends here. I have to be honest it made me miss Fort Myers.

As we said our goodbyes and I walked away, my eyes became watery. I had to sit for a moment before backing out of the parking spot.

I sure hope I can make it back to Fort Myers soon. I need to see family and friends.

I love you Judy and treasure our friendship.

Long over due

I find myself missing his laughter, his beautiful smile and his presence at home. Most of all I miss sitting on the couch with him and eating dinner together.

I love what he is doing for us . . . I am grateful he is taking care of us.

I miss him tremendously though . . .

Last night showed me just how much I miss spending time with him. It was definitely long over due . . .

The last couple of weeks Jason has been working nonstop doubles, starting his day early at one job, coming home sleeping for an hour at the most, before leaving for his second job. This week, he worked doubles Tuesday-Friday, which meant I barely saw him.

I treasure Jason for this simple fact, his work ethic, but boy do I miss him.

His last full day off was a week ago and we spent the day moving.

He came home in good spirits all week-long, considering how much time he spent on his feet and how little sleep he has had. With that said, I know it’s taking a toll on him. I know he is super sore, tired and ready for a day where he can be lazy and catch up on some much needed sleep.

So in an effort to tell him how thankful I am, I have been taking care of everything at the house. I have made sure everything we needed to get accomplished with our move has been done, as well as making sure he has clean clothes for work. To top that off, I make sure I have something for him to eat when he gets home, either dinner he can warm up, or making him something once he returns home. I want him to relax as much as possible when he is home. Plus, it’s kind of fun spoiling him.

The appreciation in his voice as he tells me thank you for everything, or the smile when he sees something is done, is all worth the effort.

The anticipation of last night was brewing all day long, especially after I got a text from Jason during the day asking me about an interview I had scheduled yesterday afternoon. I had to drive to Jonesborough to interview a 5th grader who is in the running of winning a contest – a $250 scholarship.

When I returned home from the interview, I was more than ready for our dinner date. Yep, a night out with my baby, there is nothing better than that!

As soon as we sat down at dinner, so many thoughts went rushing through my head as I looked at him from across the table. I love this man so much and I am beyond lucky to have him in my life. Sometimes that feeling consumes me in such a great way.

I feed off of Jason’s energy, I feed off of his good vibes. Sometimes just being around him, calms me and makes my whole body relax.

Laughter instantly started our night as Jason asked me “so how have you been?” and “Who are you?” Those comments set the momentum for the rest of the night.

It was then and there that the overwhelming feeling of how much I have missed him this week washed over me.

The conversation as we ate dinner was great, something I believe we both needed.

The stress of the week vanished at that moment. I was spending time with my best friend, the love of my life and loving every minute of it.

Jason always knows when I need time with him, just the two of us.

Last night was perfect, our service was excellent and the food was pretty good. The Bacardi and coke wasn’t too bad either 🙂

The whole way home, the car was full of nonstop laughter.

As the night dwindled down, we both laid on the couch, my head nestled on his shoulder, as we both started drifting off to sleep. As his breathing deepened and his body starting to relax, I got us up and to bed where we would both be more comfortable.

Before going to bed, I told him I loved him. The look in his eyes and the compassion in his voice made my heart skip a beat. Still after five years, hearing those words . . . .

Perfect couple of weeks

My to-do-list is finally reaching an end, relieving some of the stress that has been building these last few weeks.

A week ago today Jason and I moved into a quite little house that, so far, is a perfect fit for us and all of our animals. The picture below is one of my favorites. Lucy is so little that she could not see out of our front window in the living room, so I put something under it that she could climb on and view the world outside. Now every time I come home, I see her little face peering out the window.

Oct. 2, 2014

Oct. 2, 2014

The last few weeks have been nonstop . . . with that said, I wouldn’t change a thing. My parents flew into town on Sept. 23 and spent a few days with us before Jason and I drove them to Maryland, so they could end their vacation with my brother and his family.

I had begun a countdown as soon as my Mom told me she booked the flight to the Tri-Cities airport. I felt like a little girl as the excitement at times was uncontrollable.

I remember waking up that morning, Sept. 23, with a huge smile on my face and butterflies in my stomach. Although I was busy working all morning, the time still couldn’t go by fast enough. I was eager to leave the house and be on my way to the airport.

Jason called me as soon as I got off the interstate that afternoon and he too shared my excitement for the simple reason that I was going to see my parents in a matter of minutes. He told me he was excited for me to give them both hugs, which only made me smile more. When that time finally came I parked in the lot at the airport . . . I just couldn’t control it anymore. I was so giddy!!

The giddiness was because it had been quite some time since seeing my parents.  I won’t lie, from time to time it has been a struggle for me being so far away from my parents, especially when I was only a 10-minute drive from them for a long time in Fort Myers. The last time I saw my Dad was the day before we left for Tennessee last April. I was able to spend time with my Mom in Chicago last year when Jason and I drove to Illinois for my cousin’s wedding.

It was long past due to spend some time with my parents. I was beyond thrilled that after a year that time spent with them was at my new home. I had so much fun showing them around and taking them to some of the destinations that Jason and I have come to love since last May.IMG_2399

On Sept. 24, Jason, Lucy and I took Mom and Dad to Laurel Falls for a hike on the Appalachian Trail, something Mom had mentioned she wanted to do. The weather that morning was cool, making for a perfect day to be outdoors.

I loved every minute of that hike. Mom and Dad had the opportunity to experience what Jason and love to do on our days off, finding beautiful waterfalls. Although Mom has been following my blog and seeing where we have been through pictures, you fully do not experience the sight unless you are there taking in the sounds and scenery.

It was fun to experience the hike through their eyes. Everyone seems to take in the hike in a much different way. My parents were constantly trying to figure out the vegetation that surrounded the trail and the waterfall. Although I notice the trees, I spent more time looking at it all while hiking with them.

It appeared that they enjoyed themselves on the hike. They even had the opportunity to take in the fall scenery, which of course was a treat coming from Florida.

IMG_2416The following day while Jason had to work, I took Mom and Dad to Bays Mountain for a late morning hike. We followed the trail around the lake, which was a perfect path to show off some more of the beautiful fall colors. Mom even enjoyed picking up acorns for her grandkids . . . of course those included the biggest ones we could find.

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Bays Mountain was the first place Jason and I visited when we arrived in Kingsport last year, so you could only imagine how excited I was to show where our first adventure began. It seemed like Mom and Dad enjoyed another morning outdoors.

After we finished the hike, we went back to my place for a while before heading back out later that evening for a walk on the Kingsport Greenbelt. This was the only place on my list that I really wanted to show Mom because every time Lucy and I run the path she is constantly in my thoughts because of all the ducks we see. Since our walk took place around dusk, we saw a ton of deer that night, which is always cool to see.

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Friday morning, we hit the road early because we had a long drive ahead of us to Maryland. After being in the car for about 9 hours I think we were all ready to stand on our own two feet and stretch. I loved seeing Mom and Dad see their grandkids for the first time in almost a year. I have sweet pictures of my parents smiling, and my nephew Caleb while in the middle of a conversation. It’s those tender moments that I love to capture.

It was a lot of fun to spend Friday and Saturday with my parents and Tom and his family. I love seeing my nephews and spending time with them. The last time we saw them was in May and it’s amazing how much they grew up . . .

We ended up leaving earlier than expected on Saturday because of Lucy, our puppy. She’s usually a perfect little angel, but that day she was showing us a completely different side. A side that I was not too fond of. A side that had me stressed and rattled to the bone. She began barking at everyone that passed her or came in close proximity to her. This was rather strange because she seldom ever barks. So to keep her quite and calm I tried to take her away from everything, which did not give me the time I wanted to spend with my family.

It was bittersweet when I hugged everyone goodbye. I’m surprised I didn’t shed a few tears as our goodbyes were shared.

On our way back home we stopped at a friends house, a friend I have known for more than 20 years. A friend that Jason has known for almost just as long. The last time Anna and I saw each other was in 2003 or 2004 when I came home from college. It was so good to spend time with her and her family. So many good memories were brought up, even some yearbooks were opened, which provided a vision from our past as stories were shared.  I sure hope so much time does not pass before we see each other again.

When we arrived back home on Sunday, reality sunk in .  .  . moving day was right around the corner and we still had so much to do.

Tuesday was the big day . . . a day that started way too early and ended way too late. This of course is a trait that I love about Jason. When he has a vision we accomplish it, or surpass the goal. We ended up renting a UHaul, which helped tremendously. In two trips we were able to load all of our furniture and washer and dryer, as well as some boxes. We finished moving about 90 percent of our apartment in one day.

To say we were both tired and sore is an understatement.

The benefit of getting all that accomplished  . . . sleeping at the house a week ago for the first time.

I absolutely love living in this cute little two bedroom house with a beautiful backyard.

20141001_171845Except for a house we rented for no more than six months when we first started dating, Jason and I have gone from one apartment to another over the past five years. It feels great to have privacy once again. I cannot describe how good it is not to hear our neighbors through the thin walls, or to keep our voices down because we don’t want to disturb them. I can now play music in the living room while listening to it in my office without worrying about being too loud for our neighbors.

The list goes on and on of why I enjoy living at this house.

Sunday morning Jason and I headed back to the townhouse we were renting to clean and make sure we had all of our belongings. When we sat in the car a sense of relief washed over the both of us. We were beyond ready to say goodbye to that little place that we seemed to outgrow in a year.

Another chapter begins . . .  one that seems to be off on the right foot.

Mood changer

Last night was a perfect ending to a frustrating day . . .

The perfect ending was because of this man who has my best interest at heart all the time. It’s truly a beautiful feeling, an overwhelming feeling, to know and feel how much someone cares and loves you.

Every day Jason shows me that he is the right man for me. He’s my present and future, he’s my everything. I look into our future and I see us growing old together in a beautiful life that we create for one another.

Yesterday when Jason got home from work he sensed there was something wrong, which started a conversation that allowed me to let out my frustrations. As the conversation continued I started to feel a little better.

This man is my rock, my sounding board, my clear skies when I see gray, my strength when I struggle with my own . . .  well he’s just the very best part of me.

When he told me to go for a run and let go of those frustrations, it once again showed how well he knows me.

I was determined to change my attitude. So, as I walked into the gym — by this hour it was too hot outside and I didn’t want to overheat both Lucy, my puppy, and I — my determination set in. I got onto the treadmill and turned on Pandora . . . I was ready.

It’s this time, this me time, that I was able to clarify my thoughts and put them back in order once again. I get discouraged when my thoughts get out of whack, when the frustration builds, because it puts me in funk. As I refocused, I started feeling better.

It’s true running is the best therapy for me. There’s something about exercising and pushing myself that lifts my mood and makes the worries go away. The best part about this run yesterday was I beat my run from the day before by 14 seconds. That felt incredible.

It seems when my frustration is at its peak, my performance is as well.

When I left the gym I felt like a new person. I walked through the door with a smile on my face because all my worries were left at the treadmill. This of course put Jason in a good mood because we feed off of each other’s energy. When he knows I’m feeling good, his smile is beautiful.

The laughter and good times filled our house once again and continued throughout the night. Even Lucy joined in on our fun as she played with Jason and went crazy running around the living room.

Our crazy little home is all I need . . . especially with Jason by my side.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is let things go and let them be. I struggle with this from time to time.

It’s truly a blessing that I have the opportunity to work out of my home and make my own hours while contributing my work to numerous newspaper and magazine publications. With that said, it’s a struggle to find the equal balance of time in and out of my office. I often find out that I need a break from writing after I reached my breaking point.

This morning started off a little rough, but with the right attitude . . .

I put on my running gear, ready to take Lucy and I to the Greenbelt for a morning run, but those plans drastically changed. I hope by the end of the day I can go for my run, hopefully that run will be with Lucy.

Laughter

Today was really needed, past due if you will.

Jason has been working nonstop and I seem to always have something to write or edit. Our schedules have been busy with only a little bit of time to spend together. That time is usually at the end of the day when we are both exhausted.

So, today was Jason’s first day off since we drove to Maryland for my nephews birthday party. After doing an interview early this afternoon for work, Jason asked if I wanted to go out to lunch. It’s been a long time since we treated ourselves. A long time since it was just the two of us out and about enjoying each others company.

As soon as we sat down at our old favorite place, one we frequented often in Fort Myers for a drink, wings or a burger, the laughter instantly began. Our waitress was laughing with us. That’s the thing about Jason you never know what he’s going to say.  I won’t lie, sometimes my jaw drops before the laughter begins.

I love how Jason makes me laugh. How he keeps a smile on my face. The mood is always light, always stress free, which is something I need from time to time.

This is the first time we have visited this restaurant of ours in Kingsport. After our experience, I’m sure we will return.

Today reminded me why I have grown to love having nothing planned ahead of time. Yes, I have grown to love this quality about him. I’m a planner, so it was hard to get used to.

Yesterday while I was at the gym he called and asked if I wanted to go hiking. This of course was not in the plans, and, my first reaction was no thank you. He chose to make plans to go hiking the day I worked out my legs and did the elliptical, ran and rode the bike.

My decision of course changed.

The hike was quite honestly difficult once we started because of the intensity of my workout. Because of this it was the first hike I got cranky. My frustration got the best of me because the soreness was already starting. But it got us out of the house and out in the woods. Out in the cool, often times really cold temperatures with Lucy by our side.
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I’m glad we went. I’m glad we got to see one of our favorite waterfalls once again. Laurel Falls.
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Throughout our lunch today we were both laughing. Old memories were brought up and new memories were made. It’s moments like these I treasure the most. It’s the simplest of gestures.  The smile,  the touch, the kindness that speaks volumes to me. It’s Jason knowing when we need to go out to lunch and have some time together.

The best part is the laughter continued when we got home. I love having Jason home for this reason. Our home comes alive, it comes alive with laughter and good times.

I cherish what we have together. I don’t know what I would do without him. He truly is my life, such an important part of my life. The best thing that ever happened to me.

I’m so glad we got to spend quality time together. Days like today rejuvenate me for what the week has in store for me.

I truly found the best man for me. He’s a keeper for sure.