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.

First day at Islander

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.

Bittersweet

Bittersweet

The last two days I have been stuck in doors because of the rain. So, this morning after a good night’s sleep, Lucy and I headed to the Greenbelt.

The weather was gorgeous with temperatures climbing into the 50’s. There was not a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect morning to go for a 3.21-mile run.

As Lucy and I ran our old route, emotions were definitely tugging at me as I took in the scenery for all it was worth. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to the pure beauty of Northeast Tennessee.

This place will forever stay in my heart.

This area has given me a sense of peace that I cannot fully explain.

It’s definitely bittersweet.

So, half way through our run, we stopped, so Lucy could go to the bathroom, and I could enjoy one of my favorite places on the Greenbelt . . . a waterfall that was flowing pretty good today.

20150315_113227 editThis is one of my favorite sounds. The rushing of the water, the cascading of water down the rocks. The sound, and sight, pulls you in, clearing your thoughts, giving you a sense of clarity, all while mesmerizing you making it hard to look away.

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Although I know I will find a new favorite spot to run in Fort Myers with Lucy, I’m truly going to miss my home-away-from-home.

It’s my go to place, my therapy, my path that cures all stress.

I’m so happy Jason and I decided to move to Kingsport almost two years ago. It was a move that brought us closer as a couple. A move that gave us a deeper appreciation for the outdoors.

Our run this morning was so good for my soul. It gave me the clarity I needed once again to get through this time Jason and I are spending a part. Time that neither of us want to spend a part . . .

As always, here’s a glimpse of the Greenbelt through Lucy’s eyes.

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Lucy

 

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 . . .

Broke my heart

Broke my heart

My heart broke a little this morning.

We have quite a few inches of snow on the ground, which is beautiful. There’s just something peaceful about the grass blanketed with snow. A layer of white covering everything in sight. A certain kind of quietness takes hold as you become mesmerized by the tiny to large snowflakes falling in front of you.

This beauty, however, has been hard . . .

I’ve never experienced having a dog during the winter where there’s snow.

Lucy walking in the snow for the first time Monday, Feb. 16.

Lucy walking in the snow for the first time Monday, Feb. 16.

At first Lucy, our 13-month old puppy, loved playing in the snow before it accumulated and made a few inch layer over the grass. I have video of her running in circles picking up small pieces and tossing it in the air before eating little pieces.

One of the challenges I have found is Lucy finding somewhere to go to the bathroom. There are certain areas of the backyard where she will go, which are all off to the side of the property.

The first day we had snow she walked me over to her typical spot. When she couldn’t find the grass and leaves, she became confused and took me to another corner of the property.

As we walked, her little paws sunk into the snow, which made her balance shake a little. On our way back to the house, she found my foot prints and started using those to walk on. That’s one smart pup. Although this helped, at one point she stopped and began climbing up my leg, so I picked her up and carried her back to the house. I knew by that point, she could not handle the cold anymore.

You hear all the time that animals are affected by the cold weather too. That they too should be taken out of the elements.

I know how cold the temperatures are to me. I could only imagine how cold it is for Lucy. My feet are covered, as well as my entire body with layer upon layer. A dog has it’s fur, which I’m sure isn’t nearly as thick and warm as it needs to be to protect them from the cold.

As of this morning I have a full understanding of just how cold the elements are for my puppy.

We went outside, so she could go to the bathroom. We walked down the sidewalk around the side of the house. There’s an open space under our house that has some vegetation that hasn’t been touched by the snow. This is the only area I have found where she will go to the bathroom.

My little pokey puppy, however, had to check out the snow and sniff along the fence that runs alongside our property for a while all while sinking further into the snow turning her belly white. There is a beautiful German Shepherd that lives next door that runs along that fence. Lucy was smelling her scent.

I finally was able to talk her into walking back under the house when she finally did her business. After telling her what a good girl she was we started walking through the snow to reach the sidewalk to the front door.

As soon as I opened the door, Lucy walked inside.

This is when the tears almost took hold . . .

When I closed the door Lucy collapsed after taking a few steps. As soon as her hind legs gave out, she started whimpering and looked up at me with the saddest eyes. The whimpering went right through me . . .

I quickly scooped her up and walked into my office where the little space heater was running. I wiped off her paws with a towel and sat in front of the heater with her in my lap until she stopped shaking.

Now I know just how cold and unpleasant it is for this poor little puppy to be outdoors.

When she was comfortable, I sat down and clicked on Facebook because it was showing I had a message. As I was scrolling through the feed I saw an article about keeping animals safe during this kind of weather.

The article said that dogs and cats have good heat exchange through their feet and pads, which means it doesn’t take much time for them to get cold. Dogs, according to the article, can get frost bite too.

I sure hope that’s not what Lucy just experienced.

My heart goes out to the dogs that are left outside during this kind of weather. Animals should have some kind of safe haven they can go to during extreme temperatures and weather conditions.

I know my puppy does. She is spoiled beyond belief . . . blankets, space heaters and even a little sweater to keep her warm.

I just hope that pet owners are smart and give their animals the correct care during snow storms and cold fronts that are expected to dip down into the negatives over the next few days.

 

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

Our little puppy turned a year old today.

Lucy and I woke lazily this morning long after the sun rose. My thoughts instantly became clouded as I came to with a million little things running through my mind. Those thoughts were the same that consumed me the night before.

Lucy helped put a smile on my face erasing them all for a few minutes.

As I began to stretch my legs, Lucy woke and slowly walked alongside my body showing her nose at the top of our sheets. This little black nose poked out before she fell into my body, curled close, ready for some affection. Lucy dug her nose into my neck, as I scratched her belly for a few moments.

We eventually dragged ourselves out of bed, so we could both go to the bathroom.

The sun was shinning and the temperatures were cool, promising a beautiful day. After Lucy finished doing her business, we came inside, so she could go back to sleep, and I could begin my work day.

As the day progressed, I started to knock a few things off my list . . . feeling a little better, feeling a little less overwhelmed.

After bringing Jason some Gatorade, I knew it was time to completely clear my thoughts and grab a hold of the day. I instantly thought what better way to achieve that then to bring Lucy with me to keep me smiling the entire distance.

I got ready, put Lucy’s running collar on, and we headed to the car. As we neared the Greenbelt, Lucy’s whimpering filled the space. She started walking circles in my lap after siting too long waiting for the light to change. The whimpering increased as we turned onto Lucy’s favorite road, the one that takes us to the Greenbelt.

The whimpering changed into full-blown crying as soon as we parked. I could not get my stuff together fast enough for this little girl.

Lucy was an absolute delight today as we ran mile after mile. She did not pull once. Lucy ran either a little ahead of me, or right alongside me in the grass as my feet hit the pavement.

I pushed her to her newest distance. She is such a little rock star. My little nine+pound, 1-year old puppy, ran 5.24 miles with me today!! What a little trooper. Her previous longest distance was 4.03 miles.

I think she needed the fresh air as much as I did. I know the hour we spent outside completely cleared my thoughts.

As soon as we were done with our cool down walk, we walked to Petsmart, so I could treat her on her birthday. She made friends with everyone she encountered, as they sang how cute she was.

Lucy loved her birthday bone. I’ve never seen her eat a treat so fast. She even warned the cats to keep their distance as she chewed every piece.

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Once again, Lucy helped improve my mood. Helped put a smile on my face as I watched her little legs running in front of me.

She changed my life on April 7, 2014, when she appeared at our doorstep.

Happy 1st Birthday my sweet puppy.

 

The life of two

The life of two

Ten-months ago my life forever changed when a little lost and scarred puppy captured my heart. I still remember that day like it was yesterday.

Lucy has been such a blessing, an incredible addition to our little family.

January 9, 2015

January 9, 2015

It’s true, the love and compassion from a dog is like no other. I have received so much comfort and pure happiness from this little nine-pound dog over the past several months.

Every day, Lucy does something that has both Jason and I laughing uncontrollably. The way she plays, sits and stares at you with those beautiful calming eyes, or her cute little quirks, always puts a smile on my face.

The time we spend together away from the house, or even in the backyard, are by far my favorite. Lucy has such an incredible amount of energy that unfolds as soon as you take her off her leash in the backyard. The explosion of speed is hilarious to watch.

January 10, 2015

January 10, 2015

This little puppy has helped in giving me the confidence to go running the Greenbelt path, both with her and now on my own. There’s a certain kind of comfort you feel knowing a dog is with you, no matter how small. She helped in carrying us to new distances while both of us enjoyed the fresh outdoor air. Now, when I know I want to run longer distances, I put on my running gear and head to the Greenbelt.

Lucy has also helped me appreciate the outdoors on yet another level. That appreciation becomes wrapped up in her excitement as soon as we reach a familiar place, the parking lot and then the path. Her curiosity always makes me smile.

When she was three-months old, Lucy also got the taste of going hiking for the first time. She was eager to lead us along the path and find new smells at the bottom of a waterfall that kept her entertained for quite some time.

This little puppy of mine . . .

We are inseparable during the day, yes the beauty of working from home. Lucy always has me within view. In other words, she is either cuddled behind my desk chair, or on my lap snuggled in a ball.

My recent trip to Fort Myers was the first time we were a part since we officially adopted her. The welcome home I received left me speechless with a big ol goofy smile on my face.

There was one point when I sat on the couch and she was instantly on my chest looking me straight in the eye. We both fell asleep on the couch after our reunion. Lucy laid across my neck daring me to leave as we both fell deep asleep.

I love the time we share together. I love how affectionate she is and how eager she is to be in my presence. My favorite part of the day is when we both relax at the end of the night with her cuddled on my lap.

Jason told me the other night that Lucy will never forget that I saved her, which is why she always has to be close by. That comment almost sparked a stream of tears. I think we saved each other. She filled a gap I didn’t know existed.

Although I do not know her history, according to the vet, she will turn a year old on Jan. 21.

I will leave you with this . . . an excerpt from the book I began writing late last year . . .


Jocelyn woke to Oliver’s worried voice asking for her help one brisk Monday morning.

After slowly yawning off the grogginess, she reluctantly climbed out of bed and put on a sweatshirt before heading downstairs to meet Oliver  on the  front porch.

She had no idea the life of two was going to change that day.