Flood of memories

Flood of memories

A flood of memories took hold this morning after Lucy and I went to Bays Mountain. The first adventure Jason, Lisa and I had after we arrived in Kingsport almost two years ago.

This morning I needed more than just a run. I needed to get lost in the woods for a little while. So around 11, we started getting ready to go for a hike.

As soon as we arrived I spotted a chipmunk, which I haven’t seen since one of the first times we went hiking at Bays Mountain. The best part was Lucy had no idea what I was looking at, so I was able to capture a shot. A picture with food in his mouth.

I knew it was going to be a great hike after that.

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We first headed to the spot where that adventure took place. That adventure almost two years ago. An adventure that led us to a waterfall.

waterfall 3As soon as I heard the noise I became emotional. As soon as I stepped out near the top of the waterfall memories came flooding back.

I felt Jason with me . . . wishing he was beside me instead of hundreds of miles away.

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waterfall 1All of my memories from that day in May 2013 consumed me as I found a rock to sit on and take in the scenery. We had so much fun that afternoon exploring the outdoors of our new home.

IMG_3141 editWe created so many of our own little adventures that day. So many adventures that made me begin to beat my fear of heights, all with the help of Jason by my side.

The laughter filled my veins as I looked around, really looked around, and remembered the fun we had that afternoon.

IMG_3144 editI sat there on that rock for as long as Lucy let me.

IMG_3145 editFor as long as she allowed me to listen to the rushing water while sorting through my thoughts.

IMG_3146 editOf course those thoughts began tugging at the tears I somehow managed to prevent from falling. Happy tears. Happy tears of how far Jason and I have come since that day. Since that first adventure.

IMG_3151 editLucy finally had enough, so with a heavy heart we kept on hiking.

There was a smile on my face from that moment on, especially when the flood of memories continued of everything Jason and I have seen since we moved to Kingsport in May 2013. The smile was because a relationship that was already strong when me made that move together, has only grown leaps and bounds since then. That smile was because I have the heart of a man who will do anything to make me happy. This time a part has proven that on so many levels.

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IMG_3171 editThe further we hiked the Lakeside Trail the deeper in thought I became. There is just something about the outdoors that fully allows your mind to wander. Although I was deep in thought, the noises of the outdoors still captured me, as well as the beauty that lined the trails.

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IMG_3176 editI’m so glad I had Lucy with me. She brought me back into the moment as she too enjoyed the outdoors.

As always, here’s our hike through Lucy’s eyes.

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One of my hopes before leaving the house this morning was spotting signs of spring. I was so excited when I saw a tree along the water that was showing life again. The only tree along the path we decided to hike.

My trip was complete. I’ve been excited about spring all winter. It is one of my favorite seasons. There’s something special about watching nature come back to life.

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spring 2It’s hard to believe that tomorrow marks two weeks since Jason packed his car and headed to Florida to get us ready for our move. A move that would bring us closer to family and friends.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss Jason. There is not a day that goes by that I wish he was here with me, or I was there with him.

This transition period, however has shown me what I am capable of . . . what kind of strength I have. I have become independent on a level that has made me proud. A level of independence that has shown me I am much stronger than I have ever thought or gave myself credit for.

Today was a great day. A day that made me think of all the beautiful moments Jason and I have shared since moving to NE Tennessee.

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

 

Our favorite adventure: Devil’s Bath Tub

Yesterday my day did not start on the right foot. As soon as I woke up, it seemed like it was one thing after another going completely wrong. I’m not a fan of these types of days . . .

After I returned home from Jonesborough and made a couple phone calls to finish my last two articles for the Herald & Tribune, my day began looking up.

This of course happened because Jason had the day off and he was eager to get out in the woods and go hiking.

So after my work for the day was complete, which was much earlier than expected, we packed our hiking bag, put Lucy’s hiking collar on and headed to Virginia for an afternoon of fun.

I always enjoy driving through Virginia, it is such a beautiful state.

We eventually made our way to High Knob Road, which took us to the trailhead. Thank goodness the road wasn’t wet and muddy, or we might have had trouble getting all the way back to the starting point.

After we parked we climbed about a dozen or so stairs to get to the trail, which was an almost instant decline down the hill. At this point Jason said what I was thinking . . . this wasn’t going to be fun on our way out.

The trail led us to Devil Fork Creek, which we had to cross to continue on with our journey. There were rocks for the most part that guided our steps to the other side. On our way in, we held Lucy as we made our way across because the water became deeper at the other end.

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On our way back I left it up to Lucy to make it to the other side. After whimpering for a minute or two, and with us encouraging her, she finally rocked back and jumped as far as she could make it, which, yep, ended up leaving her splashing right in the water. Lucy kicked and swam to the next rock, jumping from dry spot to dry spot before making it to the other side. As soon as she made it on dry land she shook a few times before trotting along behind Jason.

Once we made it to the other side of the creek we followed the markings on the tree, which guided us through the incredible woods of green vegetation.

IMG_2050After hiking a little ways down the path, there was a sign that navigated us in the right direction.

IMG_2158We headed left towards the Devil’s Bath Tub.

Jason loved everything about this trail. He was definitely enjoying his day off. On more than one occasion he said how beautiful the trail was.

I LOVE that we can share adventures like this with one another. I can never express how incredible it is to make these new memories with this man I love so much.

The trail weaved in and around the creek, which led us up and down a breathtaking trail. Yes up and down, my legs are feeling the workout we did yesterday today. (Running two miles probably didn’t help the matter today.)

We really had to watch the markings on the trees and rocks to ensure we were going the right direction.

IMG_2062If you look closely there is a marking on the tree on the right side of the photograph. Jason and Lucy are hiking through the rocky path.

IMG_2065There is always something incredible to look at while we are hiking along, if it’s not a trunk of a tree, it’s the huge green leaves or flowers that are slowly dying, or the cascading water over or between rocks.

IMG_2066I have so many photographs like this one. I get excited every time I see little waterfalls like this because they all produce their own unique sound that is incredibly calming.

IMG_2068This is what our path turned into, all rocks. It was absolutely adorable following Lucy’s path as she maneuvered between the large and small rocks. I couldn’t help but smile as she jumped and jumped and jumped.

IMG_2069We found places along the way that we stopped and had a snack, took a drink and well just stopped a minute to take a breather.

It wouldn’t be a true adventure unless we went off the trail and found unique, stunning views to appreciate.

IMG_2081We stopped here and walked along the trees that fell, kind of “X” marks the spot.

IMG_2074Lucy had fun walking on the tree too. Where ever Jason goes she follows . . .

IMG_2073I know I’ve said this before, but Lucy is truly a great hiking buddy. She is so well-behaved while we are hiking the trails, especially when we let her off the leash and let her explore on her own. Lucy’s always close by, never ventures too far away and listens when we call for her.

We finally reached the watering hole, which was breathtaking, even with about a dozen people swimming and splashing in the crystal clear water.

IMG_2156Since there was a ton of people swimming (this picture of course was taken after they all left) we followed the trail to the right in search of the Devil’s Bath Tub.

IMG_2140I am still in awe, the sight was simply breathtaking. It was stunning to see what years and years of water running through rocks had done to the rock formation.

IMG_2120The water cascaded down the rocks which pooled into the “bath tub,” which Jason thinks is at least 35 feet deep.

IMG_2130I still cannot get over how clear the water was. It was absolutely beautiful, especially with the way the light was reflecting off of the water.

IMG_2088I am so glad we climbed down and walked along the bath tub and beyond.

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IMG_2105The water flowed from the bath tub and continued along . . .

IMG_2113The water continued on from here and eventually flowed into the water hole.

IMG_2115Lucy enjoying the view.

IMG_2125We of course found higher grounds to gain another perspective. It was beautiful from up here. We sat up here for quite a while in complete silence taking it all in.

IMG_2146After leaving the Devil’s Bath Tub we wen back to the water hole where everyone was swimming before. Words cannot describe the beauty we saw.

IMG_2150If the water wasn’t super cold, and I wore a bathing suit, I might have gone for a little dip.

IMG_2153Out of all the hikes we have done in the past 14-months since moving to NE Tennessee, this is by far my favorite. That’s saying a lot with all the waterfalls we have seen. Jason and I will definitely return to this location, hopefully with friends and family to show them this pure beauty.

There is nothing better than getting lost on a trail for a day of fun.

My Friday turned out to be a fabulous day . . . a wonderful day with Lucy, our little, almost 7-month-old puppy, and my best friend.

Every time we spend time outdoors I grow a new appreciation for where we live. I’m so glad we decided to move to this area, especially with all of the wonderful experiences we have gained.

Memories for a lifetime and experiences I will hold near and dear for all eternity.

 

Blast from our past

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

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

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

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

So back to the phone call . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh how I love live music.

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

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

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

Meant to be

From 1999 to 2009 we went our separate ways, which at one point included a distance that stretched from Australia to Arizona  . . . Relationships with others came to a hault, which brought us both back to Fort Myers.

With only minutes separating us, a lunch finally reunited us. A lunch with my best friend, a man who I missed tremendously, but didn’t know the full extent until I saw his smiling face. His smile filled his truck and years of memories flooded my thoughts.

Sometimes our journeys don’t go as planned. But for me, my journey led me back to the one that has shown me more than I could have ever imagined.

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Sometimes these thoughts come at the most random moments.

This September we will celebrate five years of sharing our lives. There have been so many wonderful moments created in this time span. Some trying moments, that now looking back have only made us stronger as a couple.

Life has been a beautiful adventure since Jason entered my life again.

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.

Tugs your memories

The last few days our home has been filled with nonstop laughter.

This was a perfect way to end a rather hard, stressful week.

I absolutely love when Jason gets me laughing to the point where I can’t stop. He’s relentless at times, which I’m glad because it keeps my spirits high.

It’s true, when you have laughter, stress seems to fade away.

Although times have been a little hard lately financially, laughter and the time I get to share with Jason makes it all manageable.

I have found myself looking at Jason the last few days for no particular reason. I can’t help but smile when I do. His beautiful green eyes speak to me every time I get that glance.

I have found the best man for me. I believe that with every part of me because he shows me why every day.

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Memories, heart warming memories

Since the temperatures have been warmer the last few days, I brought my orchid and bamboo plant outside and put them on the back porch to let them soak up the warmth.

While Jason and I were standing outside we spotted a bud about to bloom on the orchid. At that moment, I was brought back to a time almost two-years ago this April.

That orchid was a present from Jason, a get well present.

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I had my gall bladder removed after a pretty intense attack one night.Jason stood by my side and took incredible care of me. Throughout my surgery and recovery, my love for this man grew full force.  I saw such a caring man, one who went out of his way to make sure I was okay at all times.

I love how something as simple as an orchid bloom tugs at your memories. Because of this man, a rather scary time, became okay.

I remember being incredibly calm after kissing Jason goodbye before falling asleep and being rolled back for surgery. That was huge!

The looks of worry will forever be stamped in my memory. I could go on for a good long while about what he did for me during that long recovery.

It’s good to reminisce every once in a while, especially when it brings back such good, sweet memories. This one memory just goes to show good, really good things can stem from a very trying and scary time.

This man has shown me countless times why I love him so much. Because of this, I know things will always workout, that things will always be okay.