One month down . . .

Last year I read a post on Facebook about an idea I wanted to try, which I’m proud to say is still going pretty strong. It has become a habit that’s for sure, second nature if you will.

Today starts month two and I finally went and bought a pretty jar, well vase, for my 2014 project, so I could see all the paper pile up as the days and months go on.

That Facebook post said to write about a surprise gift, accomplished goals, the beauty of nature, lol moments, memories worth saving and daily blessings on a small piece of paper.

JarWell I added my first hint of color, pink, for the month of February. I’m still on the fence of what color I should add for March and April for that matter. January was easy, I decided to write on white because of our first snowy winter in Tennessee.

It’s been a fun exercise. Some days that moment stands out and other days I have to think a little more. Those days really make me appreciate my blessings.

Today’s moment was a text from Jason, one that brought me to tears. I heard his voice, saw the concern in his eyes and felt his love, all through a couple of lines that appeared on my phone before he clocked in for his shift today. He’s such an incredible person, always finding ways to make me smile. The thing I love the most, more than four years later, he still finds ways into my heart that make me fall in love with him a little deeper.

A post I shared on Facebook towards the end of last month: “These last few days have reminded me why Jason and I are so good together. No matter what lies before us, we work together as a team. We balance each other and bring out the best qualities in one another. This man, my best friend, is my rock. I’m beyond grateful to have such a special relationship, one that makes me smile each and every day.”

Jason’s response: “It’s all too easy when you are open, honest, and expectations are based on actions and not delusions.”

 . . . I love this man to pieces . . .

As you could imagine his name appears on many small pieces of paper that are filling my vase.

I’m excited to read 365 pieces of paper at the end of the year to see what my special moments were. I’m also excited for Jason to read them.

The embrace that speaks volumes

I have to share my entry for today’s jar exercise that I began seven days ago.

The best part of today is the embrace, that hug,  Jason gave me before he left home for his second shift at the restaurant. There is something about his embrace that grounds me again. His hugs speak volumes, it tells me everything I need to hear and shows me just how much he loves me while his arms are wrapped around me. No matter what my worries or stresses are at that moment, he takes it all away.hugs

His hugs have brought me to tears, yes the good kind, because that silent communication is so powerful. That special hug has also stopped my sad tears from flowing.

I remember the first time I received this powerful hug from Jason after we reunited in September 2009 like it was yesterday. Jason walked me out to my car to say goodbye at the wee hours of the morning after we spent hours and hours catching up. Something sparked inside me when he engulfed me with his arms. I felt hope, compassion, love and a sense of how much this man still cared. That feeling of a good friend entering my life after more than a decade consumed me when the hug finally ended.

That hug meant the world to me because it also brought me back to our high school years when we dated. A special bond, no matter how many years go by, lasts.

I guess this is why I am always stealing hugs when I have a chance. What better way to feel better than to receive a hug from someone you love?

A hug has so many silent voices . . .

Very fortunate

Last night as Jason and I laid in bed talking, many feelings completely overwhelmed me. I couldn’t help but smile as I snuggled a little closer.

I am incredibly fortunate to have this man in my life. I am reminded on a daily basis why he holds such a special place in my heart.

Yesterday was the first time in a few years that we spent a holiday away from my family. That’s when homesickness hits me the hardest, on the holidays, when I know everyone is gathering.

That’s when I pick up the phone and call mom, it gives me that sense of home and helps me carry on. I just hope she knows how much I truly treasure what we have. This woman is the best mother I could have ever hoped for, she is my best friend!

Jason understands, completely understands, how hard days like Thanksgiving can be for me. Because of him, we made it through that homesickness. We are starting our own traditions.

Our first Thanksgiving in Tennessee was good, the food was tasty and the company was good. Jason’s mom flew in from Wisconsin to spend the holiday with us.

As the day went on I learned a little more about Jason and his childhood. It began to show why I love this man so much, why I respect him, why he is my partner and best friend.

I truly have never loved anyone this much. That love only grows every single day. When I look at him I see my present and future, I see many, many years of happiness.

I am continuously touched by this man … touched in ways that leaves my heart happy.

The two of us laying under the covers talking before I finally fell asleep will be a memory that I will hold forever. It was my Thanksgiving moment. The depth of conversations, the raw emotions that we share with each other is something I am truly grateful for. It’s the foundation of this incredible relationship we started more than four years ago.

I love knowing we can talk about everything and everything. That the conversation will continue ….

I am grateful for having two incredible people in my life … Mom and Jason, my go to people!

Outstanding weekend

Jason and I traveled to Illinois this past weekend to help celebrate my cousins big day on Oct. 4.

After Jason worked an eight hour shift, he drove us to Des Plaines, an 11 hour trip. We hit the road about 10 p.m. Thursday night and drove straight through. Yes, this man drove the entire way, which was only on about 6-7 hours of sleep from the night before. Of course I took multiple naps along the way, it happens every time we travel long distances. Every time I woke up, Jason was in good spirits singing along to the endless music coming out of his MP3 player.

We arrived at my grandparents house around 8 a.m. Friday morning, just in time to eat breakfast. This was definitely a great way to kick off our mini vacation … sitting around the table, talking and eating some great food with my grandparents, mom and little sister.

I have to admit it was great seeing my mom and little sister. I have missed them over the past months … hopefully I can see everyone else soon.

We hung out for a while and had some great conversations, while going down memory lane.

I love looking at old photo albums, I learn a little more about our family each time.

An incredible memory for all of us was a trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn. in 1999. A trip where all of my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins gathered to celebrate my grandparents 50th anniversary. We had so much fun that trip, endless great times were had. It was great looking through those albums because our memories were triggered of what those days entailed.

Next year my grandparents will celebrate 65 years. They are truly an inspiration for all of us, they have so much love for each other and for each and everyone of us.

Before Jason and I headed to our hotel to get ready for the wedding, grandpa and I had a conversation about my grandmother. The amount of love this man has for his wife took a hold of me as he shared how she was doing. The great part of their story is my grandparents met when they were little kids, more than 80 years ago. I love seeing them together, they have something very special, truly special.

Friday afternoon kicked off the fun filled weekend. My cousin Pat got married at a beautiful church in Glenview to his stunning wife Karen. The service was beautiful and the reception was a lot of fun.

Whenever you get my crazy Italian family together many laughs will always be had.

I will always remember walking out of the reception into the hallway and spotting Pat. We instantly gave each other a hug as he expressed how happy he was that I came. Pat was glowing, his whole face lit up as he talked about his wife and how beautiful she is. It was great to see how happy he was, how in love he was.

Saturday was also a ton of fun. Aunt Lisa put together a beautiful party for everyone to get together again before we all left and others went back to work. The amount of food spread out on the U shaped tables was endless, snacks of every variety was laid out before us. This beautiful afternoon and evening was another great way to catch up and get to know a few of our new family members.

I love being a part of such a large, loving and fun family. I’m glad Jason was finally able to meet my mom’s side of the family.

I am beyond grateful to have Jason in my life. All the driving he did, so I could spend time with my family, was incredible.

Another weekend full of memories, another weekend I will always remember.

What a good life

Although it has dawned on me before, this last week showed me more than once what a good life I have.

Sometimes you have to take chances, sometimes you have to move forward no matter how scary the idea can be. Trust, trusting in yourself and the ones you love, is all you need to put dreams into action.

My life has changed drastically since May 1, the day we moved to Kingsport, Tennessee from Fort Myers, Florida.

I have grown much closer to the man I love, Jason, during the many transitions we have faced since moving to NE Tennessee. I won’t lie, the stress got the best of me more than a few times, which caused a lot of anxiety. But time and time again, Jason was there for me, he helped guide me along a path that allowed me to get rid of that stress.

I took action and made all my worries disappear, which also included the stress and anxiety.

I’m living a life I had once dreamt about, one Jason told me I was capable of accomplishing.

Before leaving Florida I was able to talk my editor into keeping me onboard for a monthly publication I had been writing for, for more than a year. I was also named the reporter for three other publications that come out once a month. I was pretty excited, I had four writing gigs before moving.

A friend I have kept in contact with over the years has also continued my dream of writing for multiple publications.

I met Christina while working for my first weekly newspaper out of college. Although I was let go, due to the economy, and moved away from Arizona and back to Florida we stayed in contact. It’s been a great friendship because we both have a passion for journalism, so our emails are filled with our latest stories, the stresses of the job and an update about our personal life.

After we arrived in Tennessee I got a random phone call from her asking if I would be interested in freelancing for a few of the papers she is now the editor for in the East Valley of Arizona. I was beyond excited. With this gig I added a few more publications under my belt that I write for on a continious basis.

Just a few weeks ago she offered me a freelance section editors position, which I agreed to instantly. It’s awesome that I can do this job on my computer at home.

The best part is the great news doesn’t stop there …

Last Thursday I met the publisher of the Herald & Tribune, a weekly newspaper in Tennessee. I signed my paperwork and was given my first four writing assignments as their newest freelance writer.

I never imagined that I would be writing for so many different publications, all of which are in different states.

I will never forget the feeling I had when I saw my byline in print for the first time in my high school newspaper. Then in my college newspaper at Arizona State University. The best was seeing my byline in the paper of my first full-time paying job. That feeling never fades away, that excitement has only intensified over the years. Can you imagine what that level of excitement is now??

I am living my dream and the best part is that dream expands a little more everyday as I hope to accomplish more in this career that I absolutely love.

I have an amazing family, wonderful friends and a boyfriend that spoils me every day. Add a wonderful career and an absolutely beautiful state to live in too that line-up, wow I’m one extremely happy girl.

Jason and I began hiking when we lived in Florida, which turned into another passion for me. He wanted to show me the outdoors and what it had to offer and I was instantly mesmerized by its beauty. We saw many gorgeous places, but we wanted to see more.

The trails are endless here in Tennessee, as well as Virginia and North Carolina. At least once a week we go hiking to a different waterfall. Every hike has its own adventure, each hike leads us to another beautiful part of nature.

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This waterfall, Jones Falls in Tennessee, might just be my new favorite.

The sound of the water cascading down the rocks is a sound I will never grow tired of!!

What a good life, when I’m not writing I’m exploring nature with the man of my dreams, what more can a girl ask for?

This move to Tennesse has proven to be a wonderful decision for Jason and I!

Follow your dreams, you never know what is on the other side, you never know how much more your life will blossom.

After a day like yesterday I was inspired to sit down and write a blog. I often tines reflect on how far I have come when Jason and I sit at the bottom of waterfalls lost in our own thoughts.

Best message

Sometimes all you need is a text message from a loved one to brighten your day.

I put my car into park and looked at my phone before walking into the office today, something I tend to do every day. The message that appeared on my phone brought me to tears.

Those words filled my heart with so much joy, so much love.

There is no better feeling … to hear what someone thinks about you, really thinks about you.

I’m talking about Jason of course.

His words, those words now saved on my phone, have played through my thoughts for the past few hours, taking away the stress I was feeling when I said goodbye to him this afternoon.

The embrace he gave me before leaving has also stayed with me.  

One of the flaws I have, I stress out way too easy when I know everything will be fine.

My heart is still smiling thinking about his words, almost five hours later.

I will never be able to put into words of just how much this man means to me, what an extraordinary role he has had and continues to have in my life.

It’s amazing how much emotion is still flooding through my body … the happy tears are being held back … only because I am sitting in the break room at work.

He is my rock for sure …

Unconditional love

Each day my love for Jason grows a little deeper if that is possible.

I found myself looking at Jason quite a bit yesterday while we were at the falls … a smile constantly spread across my face. As he was climbing the rocks around the falls he too was smiling…he was completely in his element. I am grateful that he continues to encourage me to try new things while we are on our hikes. Yesterday he wanted me to walk behind the waterfall, a question I almost immediately turned down. Before we left I made that walk to the other side with him as he held my hand in places I needed a little bit of help. The water was freezing and the view was amazing. It was an experience I will always remember.

Jason and I have reached a new level of happiness. Things were awesome in Florida, don’t get me wrong.  … I often times try to think of ways to explain this new found happiness, but its hard to pinpoint that exact word. 

As we were driving home from Kentucky last night the car was mostly full of silence, the kind of comfortable silence that allows you to relive the day. As we held hands, I was completely content. I remember thinking I’m with the man of my dreams.

Jason promised we would do tons of exploring once we arrived at our new home, a promise he has kept.

I saw a total of four deer yesterday, two of which were alongside the road. The last one I spotted on the side of the highway. I pointed to it and Jason held up his hand showing four and we both smiled. I love our little moments.

Last night as we were getting ready for bed, a very strong emotion took over me, one that I feel often. One that takes a hold of every piece of my body. The amount of love I have for this man, wow, what a feeling.

What a feeling, what an incredible feeling to love someone so much. The best part is I can feel how much he loves me too.

Relationships when built on the foundation of a friendship can soar in a beautiful direction and blossom into an everlasting thing.

Things happen for a reason. I thank my lucky stars everyday that I was brought back to Florida by my incredible parents and went out to lunch with my high school boyfriend. That lunch date, which turned into a very early morning goodbye changed my life in so many beautiful ways. The bonding that took place that night because of the incredibly deep conversation of what took place in our lives over the decade that we lost contact will stay with me forever. And to think that was almost four years ago …

Dreams do come true

Today was simply amazing, there is no other word to describe the day as a whole.

After walking out of the Bristol Herald Courier I could not help but smile. As soon as I sat down in my car I instantly sent Jason and mom the same text because they are my biggest supporters.

Wow, I’m beyond excited to join another paper as a reporter.

I spent about an hour and a half at the paper for my orientation this morning. I was introduced to countless people who were incredibly nice. One woman said she has been with the paper for 44 years, which to me only speaks volumes of the company. Everyone offered a helping hand if and when I needed assistance. They all made me feel incredibly welcomed and all shared what seemed like a genuine excitement about me joining the team.

The best part was saying “see you tomorrow” when I was leaving.

I have to admit I was reluctant at first to the idea of moving to Tennessee away from everything and everyone I know. The more Jason and I talked, two years to be precise, the more I eventually jumped on board. Jason believed in us, he believed our dream of making a home would be fulfilled in Tennessee.

My emotions were sky high once I returned home, I was bursting at the seams of what I have accomplished. I had to share my excitement, which was sent through text since Jason was working a double. I shared how much I love him and how grateful I am that we took that leap of faith. Our dream of finding a new place to live, a place we can call home, is no longer a dream, it’s a reality. This area is us … all because the outdoor adventures are endless.

It brings tears to my eyes to think of the struggles we had once we arrived and how far we have come since. We believed in ourselves and each other. We fought for the reason we decided to move more than 800 miles away from family – making a life and home for ourselves in an area that is absolutely breathtaking – our own outdoor playground so to speak.

Since arriving in Tennessee I have found a way to write for five publications in Florida, four in Arizona and now one in Virginia. That’s pretty exciting to think about!

Now that we both found really good jobs we are beginning to talk about our next home, a house somewhere beautiful between where we both work. A home, not an apartment, a home!

I have grown leaps and bounds since arriving, which is empowering and exciting. I have a man who believes in me, pushes me and supports me, by my side … which makes anything possible.

My love for this man runs incredibly deep. I hope he knows just how much he means to me. He has taken the time to get to know me, really get to know me, which has made our transition easier here in Tennessee.

Dreams do come true …you just have to grab a hold of the vision and take the steps to make it happen no matter how scary it may seem.

Thank you for everything babe. I could not imagine taking this journey with anyone else.

A deep appreciation

My father is filling my thoughts and heart with joy as I reflect on just how lucky I am to have this man in my life.

This man has taught me so much over the years, which has only helped me become the woman I am today. I am truly blessed to have such a caring, involved father in my life, one that truly wants the best for me.

Although my dad has always been there for me, there is one time that holds a special meaning in my heart. Four years ago he was my strength, my courage and my number one supporter, without him I would not have made it through that trying time. Our relationship grew from that experience … a deep appreciation was formed. It goes to show what kind of love my father has for his children, what he will do to make sure we are all okay.

Although my dad is a man of few words, the words that were shared on the airplane, while we were at our destination and the weeks after I returned back to my parents house, were all the words I needed. Our relationship grew from that experience we shared.

And to think that is just one instance of my dad being there for me . . . one incredible moment to say the least.

My father is a wonderful man, one I can always count on when I need him. I know over the years I have called him countless times … he would offer a piece of advice or help me with something that I had a hard time accomplishing on my own.

I admire my dad … after all these years he still does the one thing he loves, playing baseball. Why not fill your days with your passion? It’s inspiring to see my dad play ball, especially since he is now in the best shape of his life. It just goes to show that when you have a passion you will do whatever you can to make it happen.   

A father of six children and grandfather of four grandsons, his love is never ending. I love watching how much fun he has with my nephews, how they flock to him whenever he is around. It is a heartwarming feeling because I know that is what we had growing up.

Dad, know that I love you and cherish what we have. You are a great father, a father I truly cherish.

Since I now live a couple of states away, I wanted to give you a Father’s Day gift, a gift using my passion, the written word . . . Happy Father’s Day!

Mother’s

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There can be an incredible bond formed between a mother and daughter, one I am very fortunate to have.

A mother of six children, she is one of the most unselfish people I know. Always giving, always doing what she can for her family, always in a positive manner when possible.

Through the good times and bad times, my mother has always been there for me. When I needed encouragement, she was the first to provide those meaningful helpful words. When something exciting takes place she is among the first to know and first to cheer me on.

I really do not know what I would have done through some of the trying times without her by my side.

When I look back and reflect on my childhood, our house was always full of so much love.

The best part of this woman is how much she understands me, how much she understands all of her children.

One of my fondest memories was the encouragement I received from her as I was filling out my freshman schedule for high school. She continued to support me through college when I struggled, she kept pushing me along, fighting for my dream. Because of her attention to detail, I found a career that I become more passionate about every day … journalism.

A bond between a mother and daughter has flourished into a friendship that means the absolute world to me.

The love and admiration I have for this woman is unexplainable. Although yesterday was mothers day, I try and share how much this incredible woman means to me everyday.

A mother, a friend, an incredible person. I love you mom!