Good ending

Yesterday was nuts.

Well, let’s rewind, it all started the night before around 11 p.m.

Jason and I were snuggled close on the couch when Leo appeared and laid with us. This is the first time he has laid with me since we brought our puppy home.

Well things changed drastically after this.

Out cat Leo, who we have had since 2010, started to get sick. This of course happens from time to time with hairballs, but never to this extent. He kept throwing up, to the point where it was just stomach vile.

With deep concern, we all finally went to sleep hoping for the best after the vomiting subsided. As we all got situated in bed, yes Jason and I are accompanied by our puppy Lucy and other cat Kimber, every night, I spotted Leo laying on the ground between the wall and our bed. I’ve never seen him lay here before.

I scratched a few of his favorite spots and then put a blanket next to him on the floor.

I soon fell asleep to the quite breathing of Jason next to me.

Lucy woke me up early yesterday morning, 5:45. This is unusual for her. So, we went outside, so she could go, came back in and she had breakfast.

After Jason left for work, Leo jumped in my lap and cuddled close. Ever since we got Lucy in April he hasn’t snuggled with me. I enjoyed every minute, well until Lucy wanted to take his spot.

As soon as he jumped down, Leo started getting sick again. This kept on going on and off until around 11:30 yesterday morning.

My concern deepened with my heart heavy. Leo was exhausted by this point. He finally settled down and fell asleep.

After talking to Jason, I made an appointment at Banfield,  the same place we take Lucy. Unfortunately we couldn’t get him in until 3:15 that afternoon. I was so worried, I could barely concentrate on my work.

Jason came home on his break and helped me take Leo to the vet. I love this man so much for coming all the way home. My emotions were frazzled by this point and I didn’t want to take Leo by myself, especially without a cat carrier.

So after waiting a while after we got there, the vet finally saw him. She said he looked really good and without some extensive testing she wouldn’t know for sure, but it might have just been a rather large hairball that he was struggling to get rid of.

With both of us fearing the worst,  this was good news. Jason drove Leo home as I paid the bill and made another appointment for him.

Words cannot describe how much that meant to me. Jason works a good 40-45 minutes away from home. When I told him thank you, his simple response was “that’s what I do.” I love this man so much.

After he left to go back to work, Leo started acting a little more like himself. He even ate some food. Since I knew there wasn’t anything major wrong with him, I finally left the house with Lucy in tow.

I had to get rid of the stress of the day and give some one-on-one time to Lucy. So we went to our favorite place the Kingsport Greenbelt. It felt so good to be outdoors for an evening run.

Shortly after we starting running, we came to a stop when I saw four deer crossing the path a little ways before us. How cool is that? I love spotting animals in nature. I of course tried to take a picture, but with a puppy that doesn’t sit still it came out rather blurry.

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We kept going, until Lucy spotted our favorite place. This is where we stopped and took a break.

After some exploring, we were on the path once again heading back to our starting point.

We ran 2.48 miles going from 1147 in elevation to 1236.

This run was exactly what I needed, what we needed. So, feeling satisfied, we drove back home to wait for Jason to come home from work.

Yesterday shined some light on our relationship once again. There’s not anything this man won’t do for me and all of our pets. How did I get so lucky?  I’m so glad our paths crossed again.

I’m happy to say Leo never got sick again after returning home from the vet. He’s been talking up a storm today.

Oh, our life is back to normal.

Now to get some writing done, so I can hopefully go to the gym this afternoon.

Thankful

Some thoughts that struck me while exercising today . . .

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Do you ever wake up thinking you have a beautiful life? That the life you lead is because of the confidence you have in yourself to make it happen?

I’m not sure if these thoughts have bombarded me because I had a conversation with someone from my past, or if I’m just reflecting on how far I’ve come because I’m experiencing the daily change in new life right outside the window.

The life of nature, if you think about it, goes through some drastic changes before new life is born. That new life of spring, and the warm temperatures that also grace this season, has spoken to me.

I really cannot put into words the feelings that take over me when I spot that new flower presenting itself on a tree or on the ground for that matter. After seeing the trees bare for so many months, its eye-catching for sure.

Today, while I was out taking pictures, I heard lawn mowers running and the smell of new cut grass filled the air. This alone made me smile. Do you know how long it has been since hearing those sounds or smelling that fragrance?

Yeah, is all I have to say.

Reflection . . .

The best part of that conversation earlier this week, is it made me smile, instead of making me dwell on the life I decided to leave behind. It’s amazing how much your life can blossom when you have the right people in your life. Without support from my closest family and friends, those mountains that blocked my path seemed unbearable. With their constant encourgement, the mountains turned into little, tiny hills, bumps for that matter. It was easy to catch a glimpse of the other side of the hurdle and continue along this path of my life.

IMG_1434What I took as genuine happiness about how far I have come from this individual kind of left me speechless. I know it shouldn’t have because he was so encouraging when he was a big part of my life. Even as discussions were had about another person of my past, the feelings that used to consume me no longer did. The only feeling that grabbed a hold of me was sadness. The same conversation that was had almost five years ago, was the same tune I heard that day. It’s a shame when someone can’t or does not want to find the new light at the end of the tunnel to carry on and see the new beauty that presents itself.

Life is precious, you have to make the most out of everything. This of course can be hard on occassion. The daily stresses of life sometimes gets the best of me.

The statement below I found one day is very true.

“Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time? Three years? Five years?” If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.”

I have found myself getting better at this every day.

New beauty . . .

IMG_1429New beauty is constantly presenting itself, if not in nature, in the daily happenings of my own life.

So, why not leave the worry behind, the unneeded stress, when you are in charge of your own happiness?

That one day struck me, it was time to grab a hold of that happiness and be in charge once again.

A huge turning point for me was moving back home to Fort Myers to be close to family and friends. The unconditional love and support often times took my breath away. I will never forget those days. I will never forget how my dad was my strength, how he carried me through one of the hardest times of my life.

The second best thing was rekindling that relationship with my first love.

I will never forget that conversation that started on Facebook almost five years ago after more than a decade of time passing by.

Strength . . .

That word can mean so many different things. I often find my thoughts turning to this word as I’m out in nature admiring its beauty. The more time we spend outdoors, as well as my time I spend at the gym, constantly reminds me just how strong I have become.

IMG_1423I have discovered a strength I did not know existed almost five years ago. I owe that discovery to my family and Jason.

Jason constantly pushes me, which I am so incredibly grateful for. He pushes me in every aspect of life. Every aspect in life.

When we are out hiking and an obstacle presents itself along our path, he pushes me forward, often times giving me words of encouragement, as I battle with the “I can’t do that” kind of thinking.

I have also found a strength inside as we continue this adventure in our new home state. Things, I won’t lie, were really rocky when we first arrived. I was an emotional mess for a few months, until I found my own footing. Found the confidence I needed in the new life we created for ourselves.

This morning as I chatted back and forth with my really good friend back in Florida through text messages, I was flooded with the thoughts of accomplishments. She asked how many papers I now contribute for . . . eight in Arizona, four in Florida and one in Tennessee.

Who say’s you can’t accomplish something when you have faith in yourself?

After telling her this information, my mouth kind of dropped open. I knew I contributed to quite a few, but until I wrote them all down, I guess I forgot the extent.

Independence . . .

IMG_1421I was taught to take care of myself through the years I was growing up. My parents raised all of their children to be independent, which I will forever be grateful for.

Unfortunately, sometimes through the course of life, you lose site of that “independence.” You believe life can only be fulfilled with that one person next to you.

Although I cannot look into my future and not see Jason there by my side, it doesn’t take away my independence. We built this relationship on us both being independent, but sharing a life with each other.

Through the course of last year and into this year, I have found that independence. My contribution to all these publications provides me with the independence I need.

You see . . . some of these things leave such an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness. Often times it leaves me breathless, but in a good way, when I think about the beautiful life I have created and absolutely love living.

The outdoors . . .

Growing up, my brothers, sisters and I, spent a lot of time outdoors. It was just how we were raised. So, it really isn’t a mystery that I still love being outdoors as an adult.

I’m just thankful I have a new found love and appreciation for everything around me. When we moved to Tennessee, I had a feeling I would appreciate my surroundings a little more. Indeed, I have.

Jason and I have run into many people who have lived here their whole lives and not seen half of the places we have in the last year. Being with Jason has shed a light on exploring new places. I couldn’t imagine not exploring. I never want to take where we live for granted, especially when it provides so many great getaways only miles down the road.

So on that note, here are a few more pictures I took today while out and about. The pictures above are also pictures I took today of the simple beauties that surround me.

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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.

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!

I know better

I have found that going to the gym has unfortunately been placed on the back burner these past few weeks.  Although going a minimum of three days is still better than none at all, I would rather go five or six times a week. This is what I’m used to, this is what keeps the stress levels down.

When I worked out with my mom in Fort Myers, my day started off at the gym, yep bright and early at 6 a.m. It’s hard to find excuses of not going when you go first thing in the morning. There was no, “I’m too tired,” at the end of the work day.

Although I work from home and make my own schedule, I’m still struggling with putting my work down for a couple of hours to go to the gym. That struggle comes when I look at my white board and see the amount of articles that are due.

I, of course know better. I know that if I do not make time for myself, I become stressed, which has a domino affect on my writing.

I’ve been waking up and going straight to my desk to start working, which I have found turns into a day without going to the gym. I get caught up in writing, editing, interviews and waiting for call backs that my day gets away from me.

I know better, days like this is when I need the gym the most.

The worst part about this is I am a member of a 24-hour gym, so I could really go at any time. With that said, when I put in a full day in my office, my brain becomes so drained that it makes the rest of my body tired as well. It’s sad, but I would rather walk downstairs and unwind in front of the TV, instead of lacing up my running shoes and hitting the gym.

On Wednesday, I started working around 8:30 a.m. The light in my office was not turned off until 7:45 that night. It was a productive day to say the least. I turned in five articles (three to one publication and one each to the other publications I work for), as well as many hours worth of editing for sections I am responsible for doing. My stress level was pretty high that day as I worked towards meeting my deadlines.

I was beyond tired …

Jason of course helped with that stress. He would pop in every once in a while, sometimes bringing yummy treats to brighten my mood. I would also walk downstairs and sit on the couch with him for 5 or 10 minutes to pull myself together again.

My stress level tends to grow, as the need to walk away from my desk and take a break rises. That day, going to the gym would have been helpful, but I couldn’t tear myself away for the fear I wouldn’t meet my deadlines.

So, Thursday I had Jason make sure I was really awake when he said goodbye before heading to work. Although it was hard to get out of bed, leave my warm covers behind, I did it and left the house before 8 that morning. It felt fantastic to start my day off on the right foot, a morning at the gym. I love starting my day off with a run, some weight training and other cardio training.

My spirits tend to stay high when I have that physical exercise in my day.

The best part about all of this was when I arrived back home there was a message waiting on our phone from Jason. He was checking up on me to make sure I did wake up and go to the gym.

It’s always helpful when you get the encouragement you need to get back into your rhythm again.

So, today I continued that trend and started on the right note again. I was out the door a little before 8 this morning. I was on my way to the gym.

I ran 1.5 miles and did more than 6 miles on the bike before ending my workout. On my way home I stopped at the grocery store to replenish my smoothie supplies, as well as grab ingredients for dinner. Today my smoothie was a mix of frozen strawberries, mangos and pineapples with a fresh banana and kiwi with orange juice. It was absolutely delicious, a wonderful treat after a great workout.

I am determined to keep myself on track, yep that means go to the gym first thing in the morning before I sit down at my desk.

When I finally made it to my desk this morning, my stress level remained low as I kept in stride and turned in article after article to my editors. I was also able to connect with some sources to finish three more articles that are due this coming week, articles I was worried I would not be able to finish. So, when Jason leaves for work tomorrow, I will put in those few hours to finish those articles and turn them in, so I can start next week on a clean slate. This of course will happen after another trip to the gym.

Hopefully then on Sunday I can take a day off, the first since the last Sunday of January.

Exercise is an incredible outlet, one that I am so thankful I found all those years ago.

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 . . .

Our new home

Yesterday began early, as we started loading our cars full of boxes, clothes and little things that filled our first apartment in Kingsport.

There is something about moving that always adds stress. I don’t know if it’s the packing, which I dread doing, or the unpacking, which can be time consuming.

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Although our cats, Leo and Kimber, become a little tense during the trasition, they always make the most of the boxes we bring home. It’s a new adventure for them … What boxes can they fit into? What boxes won’t fall when they climb to the top? They are such curious animals, always seeking out the newest place revealed.

Or what cabinets they can finally climb into once we clean them out …

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Jason always assures me that everything will fall into place, that there is no need to stress out. We have moved enough together that those intense emotions should not come into play.

Although we started off kind of slow, once the afternoon came around, our new townhouse was becoming full with all of our things.

We eventually got to the point where we only had large furniture/items left, so we carried the cats to my car, ready to introduce them to our new place. The catcher was, Jason had to stay behind, so he could meet up with his buddy who was bringing his truck to help us with the rest. So I carried Leo and Jason carried Kimber to my car. Now that was an adventure.

Leo climbed to the back and sat between the seats and Kimber sat on the front seat. Kimber cried the entire time, a very loud, scared cry, and well Leo took on hissing if she became a little to close for his liking. Thank goodness it was a short drive just down the road.

When we arrived, I went and unlocked the front door, so I wouldn’t have to fuss with a key and lock holding one of them. Since Kimber was a nervous wreak, she was the first to be introduced to her new home. As quickly as I opened the door and let her inside I was back out the door to retrieve Leo. Leo, my little buddy, was waiting patiently on the back seat.

After the adventure we had traveling from Florida to Tennessee, I can’t tell you how proud I am of him. He was so mellow, exactly what we both needed.

Our lovely Kimber was very talkative yesterday, nonstop meowing. She’s definitely our nervous kitty.

As soon as they were both in our new home, the exploring began.

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And new places were found …

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They both instantly fell in love with the space above our cabinets in the kitchen.

They eventually found the stairs to the second floor, which was so sweet to see. I of course had my phone in hand videotaping their adventure.

As I unpacked the boxes we were able to load in our cars, Jason and his friend did all the hard work. Jason is so good to me, he makes moving day extremely easy for me, always has. So why I stress, I have no idea!

We put the living room together, a small comfy space with all of our furniture. The kitchen, well, let’s say it’s getting there.

As the day turned into night, the events of the day caught up to us. So we enjoyed a simple, easy dinner and watched the baseball game.

We climbed the stairs and crawled into bed … we still had more to do today, more moving, unpacking and sorting.

This morning we woke early and I instantly began working on the second bedroom, my office. It felt good to put all my books on the bookshelves, organizing the space for when my desk and chair arrive today.

Today we hope to finish everything and get situated before another crazy work week begins. We still have to finish all the rooms and my favorite part, hang the many pictures I have accumulated.