Incredible day

Two completely different schedules often times makes it difficult to see one another for more than a few hours every day. Hours that are usually had through sleepy conversations at the end of the day.

Oh, the life of a journalist and a cook. . .

I find myself missing him through the week even though we live in the same house. I find myself wishing he was right next to me on my days off, especially on those days when the family gathers and everyone is joined by their significant others.  Although those feelings surface I push them aside knowing that we are both working towards the same goal. Knowing that he wishes he was next to me instead of working countless hours.

As we near our anniversary of six years, I find myself thinking about us as a couple more than usual. Jason has made me believe there are soul mates. He has opened up my heart and showed me what true love is all about. When viewing and living the world through Jason’s eyes . . . magical, simplistic adventures are always a short distance away.

Every opportunity Jason has he finds ways to make our time together special. Not a moment goes by where he isn’t trying to make me smile, laugh, or just enjoying every moment for what it’s worth.

Last week we shared a candle lit dinner together before taking a walk with our puppy. The thoughtful and romantic gesture filled my heart with so much love.

Yesterday, oh yesterday, was one of the best days we have had in a really long time. After some convincing on Jason’s part, I took the day off from work and well . . .

Our day began early, but not as early as we both hoped. His incredibly generous parents let us borrow their kayaks for a much needed day of relaxation.

Jason got us a double kayak, which we are still in the process of purchasing parts for . . . which led us to borrowing his parents.

At the last minute we decided to take Lucy, our year and half old puppy, out on the water with us. She’s been on every outdoor adventure with us since we adopted her a year ago April, so why not bring her along for our Florida adventures?

I have to admit Lucy made me extremely nervous on more than one occasion as she became more curious and courageous in the kayak. We began our trip with Lucy in my lap or directly in front of me between my legs. The further we made it down the river, Lucy decided to walk around the kayak making her way to the kayak’s edge.

After a moment of dreading Lucy falling over board, led us to putting Lucy’s leash on, which resulted in her sitting on my lap for the rest of the trip. She’s not a fan of water, so I’m not sure how she would do swimming.

All in all, Lucy did fantastic and I can’t wait to take her out on more of our adventures.

On more than one occasion I looked at Jason throughout our kayaking trip. The amount of relaxation that radiated off of him was incredible. He needed a day out in wilderness so badly. At that moment I knew taking a day off of work was beyond worth it.

I forgot how relaxing it is floating on the water under the blue Florida skies. I forgot how exciting it is to see wildlife . . . turtles – fish – birds . . . right before your very own eyes.

Yesterday was the first time we paddled in separate boats. Yes, I was super spoiled back when . . . Jason did all the paddling as I enjoyed the scenery.

I had a new appreciation for the river yesterday as I took in my surroundings, especially since I was the one directing the boat. It was incredibly challenging to paddle with a dog on my lap, but somehow we made it work. Well, after going into a few branches . . .  But, let me tell you how incredibly sore I am today from that workout yesterday. Wow, I ache in places I didn’t know I used.

Our adventure yesterday ignited a new excitement inside. I cannot wait to take our kayak out on the water. The adventures we can have are endless. I’m already planning sunrise, sunset and everything in between kayak trips!

The day only improved once we got home and continued to enjoy each other’s company. It felt incredible to have this man by my side all day long . . . just him and I together.

I will never be able to put into words how lucky and fortunate I am to have him in my life. It’s crazy how much more I fall in love with Jason each and every day. Our bond, our relationship is like nothing I have ever experienced. He is my world, my everything.

Another chapter starts

Another chapter starts

At 6 a.m. I slowly crawled out of bed as my alarm woke me Monday. Pure excitement washed over me as I got ready for my first day as the new editor of the Sanibel-Captiva Islander.

I was leaving to go to work. I was heading to an office where I would be working with others. My streak of working only out of my home doing freelance work came to an end that morning.

The hardest part of Monday was saying goodbye to my little puppy who I have spent pretty much every day with since we adopted her in April 2014. The look she gave me as I closed the garage door made me smile as memories flooded of the time we have spent together. My heart broke a little knowing that she will now spend a good portion of the day alone.

The goodbye with Jason carried me through the jitters of my first day. He always knows the right thing to say at the right moment. His excitement shined through his sleepy words and his sweet smile as he looked into my eyes. For the first time in two years, I was the one who kissed Jason goodbye, wishing him a good day as I left and went to work.  As I walked out of our bedroom, a smile swept across my face.

It’s true I have the support of a beautiful man. A man that has continued to share how proud he is of me through my career changes over the past almost six years.

That morning reminded me of a day in September 2009. I moved back to Fort Myers from Arizona a few months prior and began a job search. After a few months, I found a listing for the Cape Coral Daily Breeze and went in for an interview. I was at Jason’s place when I got the phone call . . . I was hired as a new reporter for the paper. The excitement he shared with me that day was beyond supportive. A memory that still makes me smile.

The sky was blue with typical Florida temperatures engulfing the car as my drive to work began before 7 a.m. earlier this week. It was the most relaxing 40-minute drive. As soon as I crossed the toll for Sanibel my shoulders relaxed and my back hugged the seat a little more as I took in the view of the water. Cars were already parked along the causeway as another beautiful day unfolded. I stopped where no other cars were parked next to the water, took a picture and breathed in the salt water before continuing my trip to the office.

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I did it. I was offered a full-time position, a position that will allow my passion of writing to continue.

The same smile I had after walking out of our bedroom surfaced again as I opened the door to the office. It remained as I introduced myself to Craig who I am replacing.

We shared information about ourselves before diving into the responsibilities I will be taking over come Monday morning.

I honestly felt like I was home again. As I sat in his office, soon to be mine, the passion of my craft consumed me. I am faced with another challenge . . . well opportunity . . . of making another newspaper into a great weekly sharing the news and stories of the island.

One of the true beauties of this career is the endless opportunities it provides in getting to know, fully diving deep into the character of a community. Although I grew up in Southwest Florida and have spent time on Sanibel, I really do not know the community well. Now, working on the island I have the opportunity to really get to know what makes this area a destination for so many.

My first day sped by relatively fast. It was absolutely perfect. That smile remained throughout the entire day. I was introduced to people, got some leads on stories and had the opportunity to see some of the beautiful island.

That night Jason, Lucy and I went to Fort Myers Beach to embark on one of my favorite past times. We stopped at Publix and I ordered us subs before we headed to our destination. We used to eat dinner on the beach while watching the sunset before we left for Tennessee.

Before we left the house it started raining, but since we live in Florida we ran to the car and hoped for the best. It rained on and off the entire drive to the beach. We ended up eating dinner in the car waiting for the showers to finish.

Fortunately the rain stopped and an incredible sunset covered the night sky.

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That night was the first time Lucy truly got to experience the beach. Although she was extremely hesitant of the water, Jason and I eventually encouraged her to get her feet wet.

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It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

The next few days were just as successful as the first.

There is truly no better feeling than working in an office with others who have the same passion as mine. It’s nice to be surrounded by others, instead of being isolated in my home interviewing people over the phone.

Another perk of working on Sanibel came to fruition Thursday night on my way home. For the first time since Jason and I started dating we work in the same area. So, before I left the island I stopped by Jerry’s where he cooks and said hello.

With our hours, most of the time we only get to see each other at the end of the day, when I’m falling asleep on the couch waiting for him to come home.

Although it was a brief visit, it was great to see him.

With a smile on my face I began driving off the island when a rainbow caught my attention. The water began calling my name, so I decided to stop on the causeway and get out of the car. The weather was perfect at that moment as my hair started flying in every direction with the wind coming off the water. I stood there taking in the scenery, smelling the salt water and listening to the wave’s crash against the shore. I probably stood there for 15 to 20 minutes.

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As I climbed back into my car I was completely relaxed as I drove the rest of the way home. It was at that moment that I truly felt grateful for the life Jason and I have. At that moment I began thinking about my journalism career here in Southwest Florida.

Since September 2009, my editor Val has taken care of me. I have gained heaps of experience as my duties change as a new position opened.

When I shared I would be moving to NE Tennessee in 2013, she kept me on as a freelance reporter. A phone call sharing that Jason and I were moving back to Florida offered her word in keeping me busy with freelance work until something full-time popped up. Val kept to her word. My workload tripled for the Cape Coral Daily Breeze as a freelance reporter.

Last week my world changed when I received an email from Val asking me to call her. That phone call, which led to a meeting in her office, was another promise kept.

I love what the beginning of this new chapter has offered so far. I’m excited to fully dig in next week when I no longer have to shadow the editor who is here now.

I firmly believe that our move back to Southwest Florida was meant to be. I continue to feel myself relax while the stress diminishes.

This week, although has worn me out, has been one of the best week’s I have had in a long time. I’ve met some really nice people, have seen some beautiful places and have contributed articles to a newspaper that will soon be filled with my byline.

Forty-six

Forty-six

Friday, April 24, I woke up beyond excited. My countdown was nearing the end. My countdown of when I could leave to pick up Jason.

As the morning progressed, my mood enhanced. The excitement was hard to control.

Friday marked the 47th day since Jason left. I was finally able to greet this man I love face-to-face at the Asheville airport.

On March 9, Jason left for Florida to start working on Sanibel at two jobs he was offered.

I remember that morning like it was yesterday. I remember the emotions that took hold, well to be honest, consumed me. That morning, March 9, was one of the hardest things I was ever faced with. You ask why?

Jason was leaving me in Kingsport, more than 800-miles north of his final destination.

My best friend, my boyfriend, my rock was leaving until we could make ends meet. Our goal was to work countless hours and get enough money together, so he could come back to get me and all of our animals and head back to Fort Myers.

The 46-days we spent a part had many high and low points.

It’s truly inspiring to see what you are capable of doing when faced with a situation like that. A situation where I was living by myself in a state where I had no family or good friends to lean on when needed.

I found such an incredible amount of independence deep down that I had no idea was there. I stayed true to my plan . . . I continued to live without the best part of my life right next to me. I found time to go running with Lucy, my puppy, reaching distances that made me proud. I even found a new passion of cooking healthy meals that were absolutely delicious.

The best, truly gratifying part, was the amount of work I was able to accomplish doing freelance writing for the three papers that hired me. I wrote enough articles and did enough editing to pay all of our bills for the entire month of April. All of our bills were paid by the second week of the month. That spoke volumes. It only reaffirmed that I could take care of myself, truly take care of myself while keeping a roof over my head and food on the table. That accomplishment set the ball rolling in the right direction. All of the hours Jason was working could completely go towards our move back to Fort Myers.

With that milestone met, I was able to book a plane ticket for Jason on April 7, Day 30 of us being a part.

Even with all the positive thoughts I tried to keep in check, I still had a few breakdowns, a few more than I hoped while Jason was away.

It’s crazy how many emotions you go through. I found myself crying at such random times, and also smiling when I least expected. The daily phone calls from my mom on her way home from work were comforting. My older brother also called often checking in on me.

My favorite part of the day was when Jason would call. I could not fall asleep until I heard his voice, to hear how he was doing, to hear he was okay.

I remember one breakdown as clear as day. It started one Friday night while Jason was away. I completely broke down. Lucy, our puppy, helped tremendously that night. She instantly became concerned as the tears violently fell. Lucy began licking the tears away before cuddling in my lap, helping me to gain composure again. I remember walking to bed, but was unable to sleep well at all. The next day my anxiety reached its highest point leaving me paralyzed.

That day was awful. I felt helpless. Everything I tried didn’t help.

Through it all, I felt an incredible amount of closeness to Jason as I lived my life in Kingsport, and he lived his in Fort Myers. Although we were living our separate lives, I felt we were still sharing our life together. We became closer. He remained my rock. He gave me tough love when I needed it to break through when I got the sinking feeling.

Jason shared how much he loved me and missed me on a daily basis. I felt how hard it was for him, as well, through our conversations. I knew, without a doubt, that he was doing everything in his power to come back to me sooner. Although he sounded exhausted on more than one occasion he woke the next day and worked another 15+ hour day, all so he could keep that promise he made before leaving.

So, back to Friday, April 24.

I arrived at the airport at 12:27 and he was supposed to land at 12:32. It was absolutely perfect timing. I had enough time to make a quick bathroom break and then stand where I could see Jason come into view.

It never fails. Six minutes turned into the longest 45-minutes of my life. Jason’s plane was delayed leaving Punta Gorda.

As soon as I saw him, I felt my entire body relax. I felt complete again. My true love was now in my presence. He was now standing in front of me. I was able to hug him, kiss him, see his smile instead of hearing the smile form over the phone.

I was giddy as all hell.

The relaxation that flowed through Jason’s body told me our decision to be a part was more than worth it. It was worth it because everything was coming together for us. Almost like it was meant to happen the way it did. Jason has been able to find work and continues to find more work. The stress we felt about making ends meet in Kingsport, I could sense was vanishing. He almost looked stress free. I didn’t even have to ask if we did the right thing.

The rest of the day was absolutely perfect. It was spent one-on-one, as well as with some of the friends we had made in Tennessee. I must have told Jason a hundred times how nice it was to have him back home. Well home, for the next 24+ hours until we headed south to Fort Myers.

Leo and Lucy at one of the many gas stations we had to stop at to fill up the truck.

Leo and Lucy at one of the many gas stations we had to stop at to fill up the truck.

After the truck was packed and we said our goodbyes to Frazier, we slowed down and fell asleep for a while before we hit the road at 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Those early morning hours finally ended as we arrived in Fort Myers around 8 p.m.

It was an incredibly long drive, especially when traveling with three animals.

Our poor Leo had a difficult six or seven hours before he finally calmed down and found some comfort with our puppy Lucy. Kimber was frightened and let us know she wanted out of the truck hours ago.

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Leo finally relaxed as Lucy layed on him.

Leo finally relaxed as Lucy layed on him.

Even through the constant desire to be out of a moving vehicle, Jason and I had some amazing conversations, especially as we neared 17 hours on the road.

Our connection only intensified. Our connection only strengthened, as we had those deep conversations of our present circumstances, our future plans and goals.

A cloud came into view that resembled a heart as we neared Fort Myers.

A cloud came into view that resembled a heart as we neared Fort Myers.

Time a part definitely makes the heart grow fonder. I feel so much closer to a man I had already felt a deep connection with.

Now we are in the limbo stages staying with my parents until our new place is ready this weekend. I’m looking forward to making us a new home once again. I’m looking forward to getting us to the point where we can both relax with all of our belongings and animals all under one roof again.

Another chapter has been closed. Another chapter is already well on its way. Our lives are intertwined again in the same state, under the same roof.

We are living in Southwest Florida once again surrounded by family and friends.

Two years ago tomorrow, we traveled to Kingsport to start a new life. We arrived at our new home on May 1. Who would have thought we would be back in Fort Myers so soon?

Rollercoaster . . .

Rollercoaster . . .

I have definitely been on a rollercoaster of emotions this week, which I have to admit is very exhausting.

Yesterday, although my day did not start with a phone call from Jason, nor ended with a phone call from him . . . well, it went okay . . . until sleep completely escaped me.

The highlights of my day yesterday, day four of Jason being gone . . .

A phone call from my mom and my older brother Bill, as well as an overdue much-needed run with my best little buddy, my puppy Lucy.

I had a ton of copy editing I had to accomplish for one of the newspapers I work for in Arizona, which kept me extremely busy.

A phone call from my mom prompted an escape from my computer. She knows me well and knows what will help.

Exercise.

Almost every single day since Monday, my mom has made it a point to call and check up on me. I look forward to that friendly phone call, even if there is not anything new to share. There’s a huge comfort that comes with just hearing her voice.

So, after she told me to go for a run, I listened. I threw on my running clothes and put Lucy’s collar on and we headed to our old stomping grounds. Thankfully that portion of the Greenbelt that we enjoy using was open.

It was however a muddy mess with portions of the path still underwater. Yesterday I just didn’t care . . . I needed that run more than anything.

Although the music was streaming through my headphones, I couldn’t tell you what I was listening to during that 3 mile run. My thoughts were jetting in every possible direction. That was exactly the therapy I needed. Sometimes you don’t fully know everything you’re holding in until you are faced with open space and a route you want to complete.

As Lucy and I embraced the 70 degree temperatures and occasional rays of sunshine, our speed was not fast, but consistent until my body told me no more.

I felt good when we called it quits. I was proud of myself for making it to the Greenbelt to go for a run.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday . . .

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20150312_170143 editI was on a runner’s high after we returned home. It stayed with me for quite a few hours. I was excited that my meal, a recipe I found on Pinterest, tasted great. A mixture of hard-boiled eggs, avocado, onion, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and pepper on multi-grain bread topped with a tomato. It was delicious.

With a full belly, it was back to my desk to finish the copy editing I put on hold. This is when I received a surprise phone call from my older brother. I absolutely love hearing from him. No matter how many miles separate us, he’s always there for me, always looking out for me, always making sure I am okay. There’s truly nothing greater than a love from an older brother. His understanding voice, his open ears, lifted my spirits enabling me to finish my work for the night.

I watched a few television shows before heading to bed. I have to admit I was really looking forward to my phone ringing once more. The phone call never came.

I ended up falling asleep, waking to a text from Jason. A text message I never answered.

Last night I only managed to get a few hours of sleep. I thought for sure with exercising and, well, being exhausted from the week’s events would bring on the sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Unfortunately I was terribly let down . . .

I wish Jason was here besides me, or I was already there besides him. I sleep so much better when I know he is laying besides me or in the same house.

My strength is there, although not as strong as I need it to be at times. My smile comes and goes as the tears take its place, still at the most random times.

This experience, although is still in the beginning stages has proven to be difficult, but not unmanageable.

I am beyond grateful I have Lucy, my sweet, affectionate, cuddly, beautiful puppy. There is truly no better companion than that of a dog.

Lucy makes me laugh, keeping my spirits high.

She gives me the comfort I need throughout the day and even while we are sleeping.

Ever since Monday, Lucy snuggles even closer to me in bed. Her body is curled up against mine at all times, never straying away. This comforts me in a way I cannot explain.

Today she has not left my side. She’s been asleep in my lap while I work at my desk, occasionally looking at me with those puppy eyes. I can feel her telling me it’s okay.

Every day is a new challenge. Every day I am faced with new and old emotions. Every day I pray that our time a part is almost over.

I love being independent, but I love having Jason here with me. I love sharing my life with him in the same space without hundreds of miles separating us.

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I only hope that the strength I know I have stays consistant from here on out. I need more of my good days that are filled with high spirits. Those feelings, those emotions, will make the time a part easier to handle . . .

Embrace them

Embrace them

Today marks the third day since Jason left for Florida.

Emotions can be a tricky thing from time to time. Sometimes they are easy to keep in check, while other times they leave me feeling completely paralyzed.

Yesterday started off great . . . I talked to Jason on the phone shortly after we both woke, and I had plenty of work lined up to keep me busy.

Unfortunately as the afternoon progressed, my emotions rapidly raced out of control. Before I knew it, my chest began to hurt, the tears started streaming and I couldn’t budge. No matter what I tried, who I talked to, I was an emotional mess.

The work that I should have been doing quickly became an after thought as my mind became cloudier as the minutes passed.

Text messages from Jason slowly got me out of my mindset. A phone call before he went to bed helped even more.

So, last night after I finally forced some food into my stomach and watched one of my favorite shows, the tears stopped, the smile slowly surfaced.

Today I woke up exhausted from the emotions that took hold yesterday. The exhaustion was also because I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since Jason left.

It’s so hard being away from your best friend, your one true love. The hardest part of it all is not knowing exactly when he will return.

We are creatures of habit. Creatures of routines.

I’ve come to love receiving a goodbye kiss while hearing have a good day from Jason before leaving for work. I got used to him popping in throughout the day when he had a minute, which was always a highlight of my day. I have fallen in love with having him home at night, while we enjoy dinner together, watching our favorite shows.

Our routine changed drastically over the last few days. Although we hear from each other often, phone calls and text messages, it’s not the same as having that person right there in front of you.

But, our new routine quickly shook off some of the groggyness when I was greeted with my good morning text today. After our phone call, I was determined to keep my emotions in check and have a good day.

Tomorrow it’s going to be another challenge to overcome. Jason starts working at one of the jobs he was offered. Yes, I’m ecstatic because that means we are one step closer for him coming to get me. Unfortunately, this means he’s going to be super busy and our communication won’t be as frequent.

The events of today . . .

I started my work day and got a lot accomplished before taking a break for a trip to the grocery store.

My stomach growled. My stomach was actually telling me to eat. This alone was huge. So I listened.

I made a grocery list of a few new recipes I found on Pinterest and headed out the door. I treated myself to a burrito, which I actually finished. I was stuffed for the first time since before Jason left.

The positive momentum carried on throughout the day.

My good friend of more than 15 years called me today to check up on me, which completely made my day. It was so good to hear a familiar voice. It was so good to hear from a friend that I have known for years.

Shortly after we finished our conversation I received a surprise message from another friend who I have known forever.

It’s those types of out of the blue calls and messages from friends that kept my spirits lifted today.

Sometime after 6 p.m. a ray of sunlight came bursting through my office window. For the majority of the day I could not see Bays Mountain in the distance because of the cloud coverage and the rain.

I didn’t think twice. I saved everything I was working on, and headed into the living room to put on my shoes. I changed Lucy’s collar and we were out the door.

I needed a breath of fresh air. I needed to keep my thoughts clear. I needed to keep my great day going.

We headed to our normal spot on the Greenbelt, only to find a sign stating it was closed. The beauty of the Greenbelt is there are lots of different entry points throughout Kingsport.

We headed to the Boatyard portion of the Greenbelt. I’m so glad I decided to go for a walk with Lucy tonight. The temperatures were in the 60s, and although it was still somewhat cloudy, it was exactly what I needed.

We walked a little more than 2 miles. Well, Lucy ran as I speed walked behind her trying to keep up.

The sunset was absolutely stunning. I took more than 40 pictures tonight . . .

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Today was a beautiful day.

I proved to myself that I am strong enough to make this time a part work. I showed myself that I can keep my emotions in check, while getting important things accomplished. While enjoying this “me” time.

Emotions are a tricky thing. Emotions are a good thing.  I’m slowly learning how to embrace them, while still keeping them in check.

An extremely hard decision

An extremely hard decision

The life as we know it in Kingsport was shaken pretty hard on Wednesday, which resulted in a quick action plan. An action plan that left us both in tears as the discussions began.

After dropping Jason off at work on Wednesday, I came back home and began writing one of the many articles I had to turn in to meet deadlines.

As I was working, my cell phone rang a little after 11 a.m. as Jason’s face filled my screen. After saying hello, he said I have to call you right back. My phone rang again a few seconds later only to hear, I’m walking home, come pick me up.

I threw on my shoes, grabbed my purse and was out the door. I’ve had phone calls like this in the past.

Within minutes Jason came into view on the side of the road walking. I stopped in the middle of the road, knowing the cars behind me were far enough away. Jason got in the car. I asked him if everything was okay. He replied “No. I don’t want to talk about it.”

The ride home was pretty quiet, as my thoughts shot in every direction of what could have happened. When we got home, we both got out of the car. Jason came around to my side and said “I know you mean well, just give me some time.”

I respected his wishes, knowing he would share once he settled down.

Well, that all changed when he walked into my office and asked how much we still owe on his car. After I looked it up for him, I asked, what’s going on?

That’s when the events of the morning unfolded and I learned that Jason’s boss told him to leave for reasons I think are absurd.

My response of course was if he can unravel and get that nasty that quickly, I don’t want you working for him anymore. You’re done babe.

I worked for his boss for a little while creating labels for him for cheese and bread. The beginning of our working relationship was nice. Towards the end, I started to not care for him anymore. So, I finished all the work he had given me, provided him with the files and wiped my hands of the whole situation.

After Jason contacted a few people he knows in the area asking if they had work or if they know of anyone looking for help, we decided it was time for a major change.

That change, like I said, shook us pretty good.

That change . . . well, we knew deep down, was in the cards.

That change we both knew would allow us to breathe a little more. That decision would take an incredible amount of weight off our shoulders.

That change, like I said had the tears flowing quite frequently.

That change . . . another move.

It’s time to leave Kingsport and head back to an economy that is striving . . . Fort Myers where our family and friends are.

On May 1, it would have marked two years since we moved to Tennessee from Fort Myers. Almost two years of trying to make it work in an economy that does not offer any assistance to stay afloat with the little wages provided.

I am so proud of us for giving this new home of ours more than 100 percent. We gave this place a lot of blood, sweat and tears trying to stay afloat, trying to make a living.

Sometimes you just have to know when it’s time . . . when it’s time to cut your losses and start again somewhere new. When it’s time to come up for air and breathe a little easier.

We found a new kind of beauty. We found a new sense of peace. We found a passion we enjoy together . . . hiking and enjoying the outdoors for all it has to offer.

All of those findings happened here in Kingsport and surrounding areas. This move has made us stronger as individuals and as a couple. The amount of love I have for this man grew leaps and bounds since we made this move together to NE Tennessee.

This is only part of the reason I was a ball of emotions.

Yes, although financially we have struggled for way too long, I am going to miss the mountains, the pure beauty of this state. I am going to miss the seasons.

I am going to miss the beauty of this area.

So, our decision was made. We were saying goodbye to Tennessee, which meant a new plan was in place.

Jason was offered two jobs on Sanibel at two restaurants he worked at before we left Florida. Two jobs that are available to him just as soon as he could make his way back to Florida.

Yep, bring on another round of tears . . .

After long, hard discussions and weighing all of our options, the plan that’s in place has my emotions at an all time high. Has Jason’s at an all time high.

I’ll be completely honest. Every time I think of Monday morning the tears begin to form. Anxiety I have not felt since we first moved here is in full swing. With that said, today’s been the first day I have had an easier time breathing.

Monday morning Jason’s hitting the road to head to Florida and start working at the jobs he was offered. Monday morning I will be saying “see you soon” to the love of my life as I stay here in Kingsport and he travels hundreds of miles south.

This was such a hard decision. A decision we both were not too keen on making. A decision we still are not too keen on making. A decision, unfortunately we both know is in our best interest.

My wish is that the time frame we have predicted will be much shorter than we anticipate. A time frame that will bring Jason back to me quicker, so we can pack up our house and get on the road and make our home in Fort Myers once again.

I know Monday is going to be incredibly hard. But, I know our relationship is so strong that we will give each other the strength we need to make this all work. The strength we need to get through us being  a part.

I have so much respect for this man. So much love. He is my dream guy. He is the guy that will move mountains to make things work. He is such a hard working person, such a determined person. I know I will always be okay because I have him by my side.

I cannot wait to join him in Fort Myers and be surrounded by my family once again. I cannot wait to give Dorene a hug and have my best friend within 30 minutes from me.

I know this is the right thing for us to do.

I just hope what the immediate future has to hold will be easier than my brain is telling me.

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.

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

 

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 . . . .

Another chapter begins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Royal Poinciana Tree

Royal Poinciana Tree

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He simply made it happen.

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

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

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

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

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

Endless.

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

Photograph by Dorene Lowe Photography of Jason and I in 2013

Photograph by Dorene Lowe Photography of Jason and I in 2013

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

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

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