It made a difference

I’ve been contemplating a decision for a while now, a decision that has filled my thoughts on a daily basis. A decision that was greater than me.

That decision stumbled upon my thoughts after our new neighbors moved in a few months ago. Those neighbors brought a beautiful white dog with them.

The first day they moved in, Lucy and I were outside. I asked what appeared to be its owners if my puppy could say hello, sniff noses. She said she did not know if her dog was good with little dogs. So, Lucy and I went on our way to the backyard.

I’m a huge animal lover, which I’m certain developed while I was growing up. My sisters, brothers and I were surrounded by dogs, cats, horses and even a duck when we were little living on a farm. Those animals were always well taken care of, often times spoiled. There was absolutely no question they were loved and given the best home possible.

So, you see as the days, weeks and even months passed by, my concern only grew, as my heart continued to break.

The dog, yes the beautiful white dog, remained outside as the owners sought the comfort of their new home. This lonely creature was tied up to a tree without proper shelter.

The barking . . . oh the barking, which truly sounded like crying filled the sky at all hours of the night and day. The excruciating howling ignited a chain reaction with the other dogs in the neighborhood, often times getting the attention of Lucy as well.

I gave the owners the benefit of the doubt the first week as the dogs crying continued. On more than one occasion I had to turn the music on to drown the sound out. It was breaking my heart.

More time went by and still the dog was left chained to a tree, sleeping and going to the bathroom in a restricted area. In an area as far as its chain would take it.

I never saw the owners give the dog any kind of attention. I never saw the owners feed it.

What began as the dog getting excited when Lucy and I came into view slowly diminished. It appeared that it was too exhausted from lack of nutrition, or freezing because of the temperatures.

I believe the dog was losing weight. I could see it down its back and into its hind legs.

When the temperatures dropped into the 20s and we had frost, the dog was still outside tied to a tree.

Through nonstop rain, the dog was still tied to a tree.

Although Jason and I had talked about intervening on more than one occasion, it was always left untouched.

Last night, I finally broke down.

It had been raining all day and it was a wet cold.

After the sun went down, Lucy and I went outside, with a flashlight in my hand, as she made her way around the yard to go to the bathroom. When we came up to the side of the property, I shined the light where the dog is usually laying under the tree. Although I could see it, it did not move its head. It just laid there curled in a ball. After I said “hi puppy” it slowly lifted its head.

The poor thing had to be freezing.

I walked into the house and looked at Jason and said I have to do something.

I just couldn’t watch this poor dog suffer anymore. I could no longer sit back and watch. I could no longer listen to it howl, obviously saying it was uncomfortable.

I owed it to this poor dog to do something. Maybe enhance the life the owners were giving it.

Jason helped me track down the animal warden’s number for our area.

When I called I instantly felt a sigh of relief.

I did something.

I was however not full of complete confidence something was going to happen. They didn’t ask many questions and I didn’t share a ton of information. They did however have the address of where the dog was located and the woman told me she would have someone look into it.

Around 10 a.m. I started to hear voices out my office window. Voices coming from the property next door.

The animal warden was on the property talking to someone.

That moment, I thought “it made a difference.” That phone call made a difference. Someone listened and was looking into the well-being of that beautiful dog.

Shortly after he left, Lucy and I went outside so she could go to the bathroom. What I saw instantly sparked a smile. Instantly gave me confirmation that I did the right thing. That I made a difference.

The dog was eating. It was the first time I had ever seen it eat. It did not care that Lucy and I were within view. It chowed down on a bowl full of food.

Later I heard more voices and what sounded like hammering. This beautiful white dog was getting shelter. Not ideal shelter in my opinion, but shelter.

The dog now has space under stairs, room that was boarded off, as well as what looked to be some kind of bed. The dog will now be out of the elements, the rain, the snow, the frost, the sleet.

It is still chained up and does not have much room to roam, but it has shelter. Something I desperately wanted for this poor animal.

I feel so much better knowing that I made the living situation better for this animal.

My heart is warmed. I did a good deed. I helped a poor animal in need.

Now, only if they would give it the exercise it deserves and continue to feed it on a daily basis.


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.

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.

He just knows

Today was an up and down kind of day for me.

The first positive:

I was able to hit all my writing  deadlines early, so I took today off of work and had a lazy day with Jason. The weather was overcast, one of the reasons why we didn’t go anywhere.

Sometimes it’s nice to have a lazy day.

The second positive:

As I was in and out of sleep laying on the couch, Jason already fast asleep next to me, the phone rang with the familiar name “Monica.” I was suddenly not tired anymore as I sprung up from the couch, carefull of course, so I wouldn’t disturb Jason, as I grabbed the phone.

You see, this familiar name was my mom calling. A surprise call, one that I always love to get. They are so much better than text messages.

We haven’t talked in a while, of course our busy schedules getting the best of us. So after about an hour of catching up and sharing laughter we finally said our goodbyes.

The first down:

I was in good spirits of course because we finally talked, but I was also struck with homesickness, which kind of blindsided me. It caught me off guard when I put the phone back in its charger.

The thing about this is I’m not homesick because I miss Fort Myers, the feeling grabs a hold of me because I miss family and friends. When I think of home it’s here in Kingsport. When I think of home, it’s where Jason and I are together.

I’m usually on a pretty intense high after mom and my conversations because, well, my mom’s my best friend and I miss her dearly.

This time of year mom and I were inseparable on the weekends, especially with dad playing baseball and Jason always working. We always found something to do even if it was just hanging out at the house.

So needless to say those thoughts consumed me when we hung up. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Jason and I made a move to Tennessee from Fort Myers to start a new life, if you will, for ourselves. But, I miss having our mother, daughter days.

With all this said my third positive of the day happened.

After Jason and I were done with dinner, I went upstairs for a little while. Once I returned Jason was laying on the couch. With the couch being the only furniture in our living room right now, my first thought was hmm, where am I going to sit. Then I looked at Jason and he made that motion with his hands of “come here” with that look I absolutely love … that caring and loving look.  

He just knows. He is so intuned, most of the time I don’t even tell him what’s running through my head, he just  knows. He reads my moods, sometimes catches the change before I do.

As he wrapped his arms around me, the homesickness feeling began to loosen its grip. Tears began to fill my eyes, but never fell, as I thought, “wow I have such a good man.”

Jason, I don’t know what I would do without you. I have never experienced a love of this magnitude before. It’s an incredible feeling, one that fills my heart with so much joy.

Deep in thought

Tonight I decided to give myself some time off from work after I turned in another article, which has left me deep in thought about life in general.

This afternoon when I went to the gym I had a good conversation with Julian about yesterday’s blog. He made me smile because he reminded me just how fortunate I am as an independent, freelance writer, to have as much work as I do. This of course led to the “double-edged sword” conversation. I am beyond happy that I have as much work as I do, enough work to help pay our bills, but often times it leaves me with little “me time.” 

But this is my career, my livelihood, so I’m always taking on as much work as possible, to further my career. I fall in love with what I do a little more everyday. I absolutely love the world of journalism. I love when more article ideas are pitched my way, for the simple fact that it’s another story for me to tell.

So this is where the conflict falls, how do I have that happy medium . . .

I know that happy medium comes when I have some downtime, which I have granted myself these last three days at the gym. I really don’t know how to put into words how this time at the gym makes me feel. As soon I walk through the door and put my headphones in I stop thinking about the work that lies before me and start thinking about what goals I hope to beat that day.Today that success was on the bike, when the end of workout results appeared before me. Today I pedaled the most miles yet in a 30-minute period. That made me feel great!

Life is about pushing yourself, so you can constantly discover what you are capable of doing, which also reveals many new passions of what you may enjoy doing.

I proved to myself that I could work three jobs, something I always said I could not do beforehand. Jason and I had plenty of conversations before we moved about me getting a second job . . . my reply was always no, I don’t have enough time. How did I go from working only one to three? Faith, faith that I can do it, while having a great support system standing beside me.

This hike definitely showed me what I was capable of doing . . . which revealed an incredible view.

Over the summer Jason and went hiking at least once a week. Some of those hikes were rather difficult, this one especially. Jason helped me overcome my fears . . . which revealed this incredible view.

As all this floods my thoughts, I started scrolling through photographs, which always trigger such precious memories and moments. Those photographs stored in my phone gave me a visual of the life Jason and I shared in Fort Myers, as well as our journey here in Tennessee. I won’t lie these are great memories to have.

I have such a beautiful life, a life that I love!

Before Jason entered my life more than four years ago, my life really didn’t have too much adventure, true adventures that helped me grow as a person. As I sit here thinking of some of the obstacles I have overcome, some personal battles that weighed me down for quite some time, I am grateful for those adventures. Those moments at times pulled me out of my comfort zone, which ended up showing me just what I was capable of doing.

It’s funny when those moments hit you, when that reflection happens. Sometimes it is so out of the blue that it makes you smile.

To think I have been fortunate enough to know this man for 17 years is pretty incredible. My first true love, my high school sweetheart has repeatedly shown me why I fell for him all those years ago. Even through the years that we did not talk, he still entered my thoughts from time to time.

Before Jason clocked in for work tonight he accidentally dialed my cell, which was a good surprise, even if he left only 45-minutes before that call. Sometimes I don’t know how much I need to hear his voice until I get that surprise phone call.

Although life can become stressful some times more often than not, it’s up to me to keep that ball rolling and find ways to make it through while still smiling. This week definitely tried my strength . . . but I made it through with that “me time” and some help from Jason!

Here’s to a stress free, productive week of writing!

A million little things

It’s crazy to think the man who now has my heart, stole a piece of it about 15 years ago.

The wonderful thing about this man is the many little things he does throughout the day. Those little things, which are done from near and from afar, mean more than I can ever put into words.

Yesterday the simple phone call before I  started my day was just what I needed … the little things. That meant a lot to me because he made some time while working to make that call.

I think the best foundation for a relationship builds upon a friendship, a strong friendship that blossoms into much more.

I remember the first time we met up after more than a decade of going our separate ways. We almost instantly eased into a conversation that became familiar, a comfortable banter that I didn’t realize I missed. A late lunch turned into endless hours of communication that went into the wee hours of the morning.

wpid-09f5590574aa2c440b0f9e707bec99e6.jpgA best friend I made many years ago was sitting before me once again. From that day forward it was rare that we didn’t find time to spend together.

Now almost four years later I couldn’t imagine my life without this incredible man who constantly looks out for me and always wants the best for me.

Jason continues to bless me with those tiny little moments that make me fall in love with him a little more every time.

It’s an incredible feeling to be loved. It’s a wonderful feeling to have someone know you so well that they pick up on certain gestures, facial expressions and your overall body language. Jason has spent so much time getting to know me that sometimes the conversations are not needed because he already understands my feelings.

I love the tiny moments for the simple fact that they move more mountains than the grand gestures that may not have had that much thought behind them.

I am so fortunate to have found this man once again. I am looking forward to what our future holds, especially as we plant our roots in a new location, Kingsport, TN.