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

 

Best surprise!

I received an amazing surprise from my mom Saturday afternoon. One that I am truly grateful for, one that completely shocked me, one that of course has me smiling still.

I’m going to be with my family for the holidays AND my birthday!!

My mom asked if I wanted to fly home (Fort Myers) for the holidays, her treat. My answer of course came without hesitation, other than let me talk to Jason first.

I cannot fully put into words how excited I became after hearing that offer. I will be in the same state with my family as we all come together to celebrate Christmas!! That right there is the best Christmas present I could receive.

Jason’s response when I told him Mom wanted to fly me home for Christmas left my heart singing. His response too was without hesitation. “Go, go spend Christmas with your family.” This will be the longest we have been a part since we started dating. One full week. That week will include my birthday, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, our first time of being a part on those specific days. I wish Jason could make the trip with me, but I am beyond thankful he is so understanding. He knows I need to spend time with my family.

This will also be the first time I will be a part from Lucy, our puppy. Mom told me I could bring her along, but after looking into a plane ticket for her, I had to rule out that decision. I have a hard time spending $100 one way on a ticket for an animal. I will miss her.

I left Fort Myers April 30, 2013 and haven’t returned since our move to Northeast Tennessee. Although I have seen the majority of my family in either Illinois, Maryland or here in Kingsport since then, I haven’t seen my little sister Maureen and older brother Bill since leaving.

This trip also means I get to see my friends who I miss terribly!

With my excitement fully overtaking me, I sent a text to my great friend Dorene telling her when I will be in town. Her response “Yay! Yay! Yay!” I cannot wait to see her.

I also sent a text to Charlene and Judy, who I also miss like crazy!

Then the texts continued to all of my brothers and sisters.

I loved what response I received from my little brother Tom when I told him I will see him in Fort Myers next month. Tom too moved away from Florida . . .  he lives in Maryland with his wife and two boys.

Within a few minutes my phone rang . . . it was my nephews on the other end. After catching up for a few minutes and sharing our excitement of seeing each other again, Caleb, my 3-year-old nephew got on the phone. What he said melted my heart. “I’ll see you soon.” I can never get enough of spending time with my nephews!

Although I talked with Erin about her recent trip to Florida’s east coast through text messages, we didn’t talk about me traveling to Fort Myers. I was laughing to hard at the description she gave me of the time her and Alex had! I’m excited to see her and her family, including my two nephews!

Later in the afternoon, my brother Bill called. With his hectic schedule we don’t have a chance to talk as much as I know we both would like. It felt great to tell him I will see him soon.

If a phone call with both of my brothers was not enough,  I also talked to my younger sister Maureen for more than an hour last night. That conversation was a perfect ending to my day.

Wait . . . I also talked with Emily, my younger sister through a few text messages before finally going to bed. I could hear and feel her excitment of the news as well.

I actually talked to all of my siblings in one day. I cannot tell you the last time that actually happened. Those conversations only made me miss them more. But, knowing that I get to see them in a little more than a month, priceless!

Thank you Mom. You always seem to know the perfect present to give! I cannot wait to spend time with you and our entire gang!

Outstanding weekend

Jason and I had such a good weekend – one full of laughter with his friends and family.

We left home early Friday morning, on Jason’s birthday, and headed to Jasper, Indiana. It was a place he called home for many years – one I was happy to finally see. It was a cute little area with tons of corn fields.

It’s always a lot of fun to see all the places Jason has explained to me over the years – the jobs, the homes and the different landmarks. It was also nice to finally put faces with names of friends he spent a lot of time with during those years.

Definitely a good way to celebrate his birthday, surrounded by friends.

I love hearing the stories that come with friends seeing each other after many years of going their different ways in different areas. So many hysterical memories, so many everlasting moments were shared between Jason and his friends.

We also paid our respect to one of Jason’s friends who unfortunately passed away, way before his time while in Indiana. Jason gathered some of his friends and we met his buddies sister at the gravesite.

A line of three cars pulled into the cemetery, which moved his friends sister to tears. As Jason and his friends stood around the grave nonstop laughter filled the space as everyone shared a funny story about their friend. What a great way to celebrate the life of their friend.

It was a great night.

We started Saturday off extremely early, an hour I am definitely not used to rising, so we could arrive in Robinson, Illinois early to start visiting with his family.

The drive was much, much shorter than the day before. We witnessed a stunning sunrise on the way into town, which only added to what turned out to be an amazing day.

As soon as we walked into his grandparents home I felt like I had been going there for years. I was greeted with countless hugs and sincerity of everyone excited to meet me. I was overwhelmed with how nice everyone was, how welcoming they were. I felt like I instantly became a part of their family.

A moment that stuck out the most was when I was standing between the kitchen and the living room. Wyatt, Jason’s nephew, came running up to me and threw his arms around me giving me the longest hug. Yep an instant smile spread across my face. Throughout the two days we were with his sister’s family he constantly came up to me hugging me or snuggling close by. Wyatt definitely stole a piece of my heart.

His niece Jorja was the same way … we spent a lot of time building towers with blocks, or just being close by to each other. She always seemed to find me no matter where I was.

It felt great spending time with the kiddos.

Before all the festivities began, his grandparents, brother and fiance, sister and family and mother all gathered at the park for pictures. I was included in almost everyone of them, which again made me feel good because I again felt like I was a part of the family.

Jason’s family touched me this weekend …

Almost 40 people gathered together last night to spend time together as hotdogs and sausages were grilled over a fire. It was a great atmosphere, lots of laughter, lots of reminiscing and lots of new memories made.

I caught myself looking at Jason many times over the past few days, he was so happy. It always touches my heart when I see him around kids. He is always playing with them, always making them smile and laugh. I also enjoyed watching his interaction with family, it was great to see …

I thought of my family often these last few days … large family gatherings are always fun. I always walk away with a smile that never fades away.

It was great to get to know his aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and mom … a wonderful group of people. It was also great to see his sister and family again, as well as meet his brother for the first time.

What a phenomenal weekend … one that again makes me feel closer to Jason.

As we drove away, I told Jason we have to go to more of these huge family gatherings with both of our families.This weekend only reminded me of what I already know – family is extremely important to me.

My heart is smiling …

After enjoying lunch with some of the family who was still in town, we said our goodbyes while sharing we hope to see them all again soon, and headed out of town.

Jason and I reminisced about the events that unfolded over the past few days while driving to our next stopping point. So much joy!

Family bond

Almost the entire family gathered at my parents house today to celebrate my nephew’s 4th birthday.

It’s almost impossible to get everyone – all six siblings – under one roof at the same time. Everyone’s lives become so busy that schedules are always conflicting.

When I arrived I was surprised to see my older brother playing ball with my nephew, due to his crazy schedule as an executive chef. We instantly caught up on each others lives after I made my rounds saying hi to everyone, as well as giving the birthday boy a big hug and kiss.

The sharing did not stop there as I talked to my older and younger sisters, as well as their significant others.

The day was filled with endless fun as everyone took time to jump in the bounce house, play with my nephews, enjoy food and cake and have continuous conversations.

My parents house has always been the gathering place for family, as well as friends. Something special always unfolds as we all come together as new memories are formed with stories we will share for many years to come.

I am extremely blessed to be a part of such a large, loving family. Days like today – a fun packed afternoon with family – are needed from time to time.