Reality Through My Lens.

I was walking down the street the other day to catch the tail end of a sunset… By the time I got there all I could see was a little bit of light over the trees, I took a few pictures and started to walk home. There was a lady out of her mailbox and I stopped and said hello. We talked about how the days are getting shorter are and how I was getting my sunsets earlier in the evening. She then asked if I was a photographer. I thought about it for a second and hesitantly replied, “yyyyyyess”. Next, I was walking alongside her down her long driveway to enter home and meet her daughter Jordyn and set up a time so that I could do her senior pictures.

I just finished processing the photos for my third wedding. This week I will be doing my second and third senior portrait session… I think it’s time I say with confidence, that I am a “Photographer “! I have an old acquaintance that would see my pictures posted and share them saying her favorite Northwest photographer. That just seemed weird. I was just taking pictures in nature wherever I went and sharing them. I did not believe that I was a photographer. I guess it’s hard for me to say I am because I have never been trained or taken a class in photography. Some people say I shouldn’t admit it but I am not a good liar… I don’t know a lot about cameras, but I do know that what I see through it is with all of my heart!

All of this kind of happened out of the blue. I started my six-month sabbatical last July. I traveled as much as possible, hiked as much as possible and took pictures as much as possible all while sharing it with my friends on Facebook. Several friends suggested I start selling my work. After many years of not printing any photographs, I decided to order some prints. I was blown away. Last November, without ever attending one myself, or doing any research, I threw together a mock photography showing in my home… I invited all of my Facebook friends who seemed genuinely interested in my work and lived in the area. I had about 65 people show up and it was a total success.
Following the event, I started getting requests to photograph weddings, engagement photos, families, babies, parties… I’m a landscape photographer. There’s no pressure in nature. But people??? So I agreed to attempt to photograph several different people on several occasions. I’m still learning and will be forever… but I am just starting to get my feet wet and I feel like I might actually jump in.

I’ve put all wedding photographer requests on hold and let those who have requested my presence know that I want to get through the next wedding and decide whether or not this is something I would like to do more of in the future.

I thank my dad very much for letting me borrow two of his very nice DSLR cameras to get this possible career rolling. Without his support I would not be able to do this. Once I figure out if this is right for me, I will look into buying my own equipment.

It’s really ironic, one year ago I wondered what I might do with my life.  What career path I would go down. All of this started happening during my six months off without even trying. I was supposed to be starting to write a book about my life experiences, but that just seemed like too much work.  Some might say that my experience in becoming a photographer has been very “organic”. I am okay with that!

I’m currently a barista at Starbucks and I’ve been there nearly 14 years. Working there in the mornings allows me to work on my photography, as well as cater which I have also been doing for many years. I am staying plenty busy and love what I do. Life is too short to do anything otherwise.
Thank you to all who continue to support and encourage me to move forward! I’m excited to see where this new adventure takes me.

I have several landscape photos on my blog, so now I would like to share with you a few of my portraits I have done in the last few months. Thank you for reading and your continued support!

With all my heart,
Jolene (A so-called Photographer)

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The best Valentine’s Day to date


Yesterday I had probably the most memorable Valentine’s Day to date.  To be honest, I have never had a boyfriend on Valntine’s day and it’s really not that big of a deal.  According to stories my Valentine shared with me about our childhood, I may not remember the day for long.  She reminded me that we were in 1st, 2nd and 4th grade together… it seems like my memory isn’t the best these days!  I woke up at 3:30am to make coffee for the morning and then headed out to spend the day with my dear friend, Brandi.  We intended to go out and hike in The Gorge, but after making what we thought would be a quick pit-stop into a make-up store called Ulta, we ran out of time to hit the trail.  As much as we wanted to go hiking, we were both content with the fact that we had no plans that we were tied down to and we were just able to go with the flow of the day.

A friend of mine had posted a poem on Facebook and as we were running around town doing a few errands, I read it out loud to Brandi.  The poem was written by the late Charlie Chaplin on his 70th birthday on April 16, 1959.

As I Began To Love Myself

As I began to love myself
I found that anguish and emotional suffering  are only warning signs
that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody
As I try to force my desires on this person,
even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it,
and even though this person was me.
Today I call it “RESPECT”.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.
Today I call it “MATURITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time,
and everything happens at the exactly right moment.
So I could be calm.
Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do
and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm.
Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health –
food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself.
At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.
Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right,
and ever since I was wrong less of the time.
Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future.
Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening.
Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick.
But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally.
Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others.
Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born.
Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!

After reading the poem, we reflected on our paths of love and love for ourselves.  It is so wonderful to have friends like Brandi in my life that I am able to connect and communicate with on levels such as this.  We both agreed that we are at a point in our lives that we have so much love for ourselves, that when the day comes and we do have a love to share it with, it will be absolutely amazing.  The feeling of love while talking about our love for life and it’s goodness made my hairs stand up.  We went into the evening with a nice dinner and searching through Netflix for something to watch.  We agreed that a documentary sounded best, in which we ended up watching HAPPY.  The movie combined real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.  There were many times throughout the movie when we looked at one another and thought the same thing… what was being talked about in the movie was a lot of the same things we had talked about earlier in the day about our own happiness.  All in all… the day was absolutely perfect and filled with love, happiness, and so much laughter that it caused tears.  I am thankful for this life, for the friendships I have made and sustained and the beauty that is around me everyday.  When many things might leave one feeling bitter, I am thankful for continuously seeing love in this life!



201 Days of Memories and a Lifetime of Gratitude!

I can’t even begin to express the gratitude that I have for being able to take the last six months (201 Days!) off of work… And to live out what I believe to be fortunately loving life! I went into the six months off with having a lot of fear and anxiety that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish or feel as if I was taking full advantage of my time off. Little was I aware then, that I would have very little time to do anything outside of loving every minute and that was exactly what I needed. I spent countless mornings and evenings enjoying sunrises and sunsets, I went on many hikes, I went on the first vacation ever with my best friend, I went backpacking for four days in the Olympic Peninsula, I camped at Crater Lake, I’ve had countless conversations with friends and strangers that have made my arm hairs stand up and my heart grow, I went to Thailand by myself for two weeks, suddenly photography became an organic calling and I am successfully sharing and selling a passion of mine, I went to Croatia, Slovenia and Venice, Italy, and spent a couple days in New York, I went to Mexico alone to see a childhood friend who’s from there get married, spent a ton of time connecting with locals and old friends and fell in love with Mexico all over again, had a quiet Christmas and New Years, and finally I managed to survive a mosquito virus from Mexico just in time to go back to work!

I want to thank all of my friends and family who have supported me and my journey. I know that taking six months off is unfortunately not something everyone can do, but I do feel so very fortunate to have had the time and experiences that I have enjoyed so much. I am forever grateful for the life that I live and the wonderful people who choose to be in it.

Here are some of my top memories of the last six months… Please enjoy!
I truly hope that if you aren’t already, that someday soon you may be Fortunately Loving Life!

Cancer Schamncer… This is my story.

It was July 3rd of 2009… I went to a Croatian girlfriend’s Fourth of July party.  I couldn’t be out too late or drink much because I was running a half marathon at Sauvie’s Island the next day.  My friend Marijana, the Croatian (because where she is from is important, right?) was telling me that she had tumors in her neck back in Croatia that she had to have removed.  I was intrigued and asked her how in the hell she ever knew she had tumors in her neck and she told me that she could feel them.  So I took my hands and moved them from my jaw line down along both sides of my neck and throat and I felt this HUGE lump.  I asked my friend to feel it… and in her thick accent she said, “Oh my god, Jolene.  You must go to the doctor!!!”

The next day I ran my half marathon with my friend Stacy, an Anesthesiologist at OHSU.  She told me to see someone right away.  A couple of days later I went in to see a general physician at Providence that my grandmother, mother, father and I had seen in the past.  He felt my neck and agreed that there was definitely something large there.  He called it a nodule.  I had blood tests done, ultra sounds and a fine needle assessment, also known as a biopsy.  Some time later the doctor came back and told me that the biopsy came back “inconclusive” from the lab.  He had no explanation as to why that was the case, except for that they might have handled my labs incorrectly.  I asked him to have them redo them for me at no cost and he told me that that would just open a whole nother can of worms.  Okay, great.  The doctor was a jackass.  I felt fine, had no side effects and moved on with my life.

Nine months later I was in Puerto Vallarta vacationing with a friend.  About half way through the vacation I started getting a really bad strain down the side of my neck and into my shoulder.  I wondered if It was due to the large purse I had been carrying around, but also knew that I should probably get back to the doctor.

I Return from vacation and go to the “Jackass” doctor’s Office.  I walk in and tell them that I would like to pull all of my charts/medical records and am going to be treated elsewhere.  The assistant leaves and comes back and tells me that the doctor wants to talk to me in his office.  Great.  I spend close to an hour back there talking to him.  He feels my neck and yes, it’s still there… go figure.  I tell him that I am uncomfortable with what he had not done for me when I had seen him last and that I needed to go see someone who was going to take care of me and my health.  He admits that his office dropped the ball in not following up with me and I also bring up the fact that he claims that they did my labs incorrectly.  He is stuttering like a mo’fo’ (I am also recording our conversation without him knowing).  I record our conversation because I realized when I am talking to medical personnel, I don’t always retain what they tell me.  I also have two sisters that are nurses, so it is helpful to relay everything to them.  In the end of our conversation… NEARLY one year after first being seen, he says he wants to refer me to an Endocrinologist.  Fine.

I move to another part in the Providence system.  I have a new doctor who tells me that 95% of the time, people have these nodules and they are nothing.  And since all of my blood tests were normal, I could go another five or ten years and see if it grows.  My running friend, Dr. Stacy and many others are now pretty concerned.  I get a referral to see a really amazing doctor up at OHSU, all because of Stacy.  Once I see Dr. Gross, he tells me that we should probably take out the tumor (oh, the tumor’s name is/was Gloria.  I have never named any body part, car or anything in my life before this, btw).  This is August and I decided I could wait another month and a half until my sister’s wedding is over to have it removed.  There was no way I was gonna have a big slit in my throat as her maid of honor!  It was a good thing I waited until after the wedding!

On October 6th of last year, I get in the driver’s seat and take my mom and sister, Janelle with me to OHSU to have Gloria removed along with a partial thyroidectomy.  The thyroid can fully function with only half remaining.  My tumor was encapsulated, but connected to the right side of my thyroid.  I’m laying in a bed and there are people coming in and asking me questions left and right.  Taking blood, giving me IV’s.  One guy asked me if I had any implants or prosthetics of any sort and I grabbed my boobs and said, “THESE ARE FO’ REAL”.  He was so freaking embarrassed.  Before I got all drugged up, I asked the doctor if it would be possible for me to see Gloria once she was removed.  He thought it was an odd request and told me that it wouldn’t really be possible due to the fact that I would be out.  I told him that it would only be fair for me to see it since she was mine and I was the creator and she had a freaking name.  He agreed to get me a photo.  And soon enough, after the surgery I had an email in my inbox from the doctor with a picture he had taken of the tumor next to a ruler from his cell phone!  It was the size of a lemon.  Bigger than most.  You better believe I posted that shit on facebook!  What a nut, huh?

The doctor came in and told my family that the tumor looked good.  Meaning, he was pretty sure it wasn’t cancer, yet they needed to send it off to be biopsied.  I was supposed to get the results within so many days and that didn’t happen.  I was at the beach house and trying to recover. He called me and told me that the doctor that needed to review my biopsy was not available and it would be a few more days.  I found this strange, but didn’t think much of it.  Days later, I was sitting at home around the kitchen island when I got the call from Doctor Gross.  “Hi Jolene, Dr. Gross here.  I’m calling to let you know that you have Follicular Papillary Thyroid Cancer.”  My heart skipped a beat.  I said, “Okaaaay, now what?”  He proceeded to tell me that they would have to schedule another appointment one month later to take out the rest of my thyroid.  Six weeks after that I would have to have Radioactive Iodine Treatment.  Hearing all of that made me teary eyed and scared.  He told me that for two weeks before the treatment, I would need to eliminate all iodine from my body and from my diet.  That was shitty.

I went in for my second surgery in the beginning of November to take out the other half of my thyroid.  So weird how you can be so drugged up and a big group of people get all inside your body and take out something that is so crucial to your everyday life.  Surgery went fine, but I needed to stay overnight to make sure that all of my levels were where they needed to be.  I was supposed to be in the “penthouse” of rooms, but for some reason that didn’t work out.  I ended up in a big room with a bunch of curtains for walls. I was drugged up and delirious and found the app, FATBOOTH.  If you were friends with me at that time, it is more than likely that I laughed and cried over a photo that I created of you that evening in that hospital.  Jessica came to visit and we laughed so hard.  Ryan D. McCoy had brought me the most amazing boquet of flowers, cookies with sea salt that were to die for and some magazines.  Life wasn’t all too bad.

After this surgery I went back to the beach with my mom and dad.  For being an active person, all of this being cooped up and healing time was taking a toll on me and I needed to get out of the house.  A trek down to the beach from my parent’s house is a good 15 minute walk, so I decided to get in my mom’s car and drive 2 miles to my sister Jacquelyn’s condo where I could just walk straight onto the beach.  Unfortunately, I backed out of the driveway and straight into a big rock that was a couple of feet off the driveway just beyond the grass.  I was probably still drugged up.  I rammed my moms new Lexus SUV into a rock and scraped the hell out of the bumber/mud flap area.  I was freaked out.  My dad get’s so mad over the smallest things… how was I ever going to tell him this?!?!  I called my mom and told her, called Jacquelyn and Jessica, texted pictures to them and Patrick.  I decided I would leave and go down to the beach.  Unfortunately, as I pulled up it started to pour.  Torrential downpour. I went back home.  I think I had my mom tell my dad.  I was freaked out to see his reaction.  Let me tell you…. The cancer saved my life.  I think if I were to not have had cancer at that time, I would have been shot.  Folks…I’m still here today!  Thanks dad!

I carried on with my life.  Tried to get back to work, but there was a lot of pain in my neck.  As a barista, you are moving non-stop, so it just wasn’t doable and I was able to take nearly 3 months off work to get through the rest of it all.  After the 2nd surgery, they put me on a thyroid replacement, Synthroid.  I will take this every day for the rest of my life.  First thing in the morning on an empty stomach and no eating or drinking for an hour afterwards… things can always be worse 🙂  I spent many nights up until 5 or 6 in the morning.  My body was all jacked up and freaked out, but it eventually evened out and I was sleeping normal again.

My 32nd birthday was on December 8th.  My family was feeling terrible for the fact that I had to undergo my treatment from December 21st through December 27th and that meant that I would be in isolation and not allowed to have any visitors within 8 feet of me for more than 30 minutes a day.  Children specifically could not be around me.  So we had a big party.  30 of my closest friends came over for dinner, drinks and a damn good time!  I had an amazing birthday!

I made it through the low iodine diet.  It wasn’t easy, but I figured it all out.  I catered a little bit here and there just to get out of the house.  Most people couldn’t believe that I had cancer and was actually maintaining a positive attitude.  I felt really fortunate.  One, I have an AMAZING family and a handful of friends who supported me with everything I could have ever needed and TWO, I had incredible health insurance and the opportunity to not work.  A good attitude helped the healing process.  I felt like it couldn’t have been a better time in my life to get cancer.  No career, husband or kids to worry about.  It was just me… and fortunately, I am okay with me.  I became REALLY anxious the night before I went into the hospital to get my pill.  One pill that costs $8,000 and will put me in isolation for a week.  I didn’t know what to expect, how I was going to feel and what life was going to be like.  There were possible side effects.   I was reading blog after blog about people’s experiences with this cancer and treatment, but everyone had a different story.

The next day I make it to the hospital and get my pill.  It comes delivered in this steel pill container.  Pretty hardcore looking.  I take the pill along with a long list of instructions for the next week and must leave right away.  My mom gets into the front of her SUV and I have to sit as far away as possible from her… in the back, back.  I get home and go straight to my room.  I must use paper plates.  I must shower 2-3 times a day.  I must flush the toilet 3 times after every use.  This stuff is apparently coming out of my pores… AND I FEEL FINE.  It’s bizarre.  I had absolutely no side effects.  So for a week, I watched the cooking channel and played on my computer and iPhone doing the facetime with all of my friends and family. I got a few nicknames… none offensive to me…GloLean, Jo Glo, and many others that I can’t remember, but I was a superhero… kinda. My mom had a table set up outside of my door in the hallway with a santa bell.  Every time she had something for me, she would ring the bell and run off and then I could walk out and get it.  On  Christmas day I was able to come out briefly (we didn’t ask the doctor’s permission) and I sat at a table by myself about 15-20 feet away from my family.  They all laughed and made fun of me… and I made them feel the same.  After dinner I went back to my room and they all went to the family room to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  I got spoiled having Cancer at Christmas.  It was pretty entertaining and a good time of the year to have it, I guess.  The best part looking back… I didn’t have to work retail during the holidays… it’s always so insane!  Again, there’s always a positive!

The day I was free to leave my room and get back into the real world was amazing.  I still had to keep my distance and could have no bodily fluids exchanged with anyone for 2 weeks.  Boring!  I was single (kinda) anyway… so it didn’t matter.  I missed being outdoors the most and the first thing I did was went snowshoeing.  And a month later, I went to Peru and Ecuador.  I had to have a note from my doctor to fly because there was a good chance I would set off the radioactive detectors in the airports.  In March I started training for my first full marathon that was on May 1st.  I did it.  Done.  Never again.  I kicked it’s ass and my own.  I have a medal.  Weeks later I ran in Pole, Peddle, Paddle as your favorite Purple Teletubby.  The end of August I took my team through the finish line of Hood to Coast as the twelfth runner.  Now I don’t run, although I will probably get back into it some day.

This week is one year since I went in for my first surgery.  This last year has flown by.  I’m lucky it wasn’t worse that it was.  I know so many people with so many horrible things going on and some that have already passed from it.  I am still going in to see the doctor several times a year.  My medication still needs adjusting and therefore my blood needs to be drawn to figure that amount out.  Once a year for the next five years they will perform a scan.  Getting the news last week that I am in the clear after a year was a great feeling.  Crazy how I have felt so good for the last year and up until a couple of weeks ago, I started getting really anxious.  I’m good now.  I’m good.  Yay!

Hey, you wanted detail.  You got it.  I hope you enjoyed My Cancer story.  Thank you to all of you, especially my family, friends, aquaintances and strangers who made this last year more comfortable than I could have ever imagined for being what it was.  I appreciate the heck outta all y’all!  XOXO

This is a photo of me on the one year anniversary of the removal of Gloria (my tumor) and the first half of my thyroid.  Holding my cell phone with the picture of the tumor to my neck!


Right after my first surgery and still smiling. No more lump.


Such a sweet note that my friend wrote and posted in the Starbucks that I worked at. Thank you, Faye!


They spray the nastiest stuff down your nose for this. YUCK!


I bought the FATBOOTH app while in the hospital after my 2nd surgery. I made everyone and their Mom fat, yes… that means you, too. Stored all on my phone. I laughed, I cried and was a little freaking obsessed with making y’all fat! THANK YOU FAT BOOTH APP!


The day I took my radioactive pills!


Family coming by my room… “Don’t get too close!”


My 32nd birthday party… What a great party!


The Traveler

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

I have now been on my sabbatical for nearly two months.  I was so anxious days before this adventure started, thinking of how I might manage my time off, if I would be busy enough or feel lazy, sitting around the house.  Today is the first day since my time off that I am truly sitting at home and just relaxing.

A big part of my goal during my time off is to start writing my book.  Writing on here is helping me work towards that, but I haven’t started.  I have been on the go, nonstop.  Seriously, nonstop.  I sometimes talk myself out of writing.  Maybe doing a photo book would be a better idea and of course, much easier.  But I will never know if writing is for me if I don’t just get on it.  In the meantime, instead of writing, I have been traveling.

I have been on a couple of amazing backpacking trips!  One was a two day trip up on Mt. Hood to Yocum Ridge…



The last one I just got back from 4 days in the Olympic Peninsula.  My time there was some of the most spectacular and beautiful 4 days of my life.  I have a heart rock obsession, but here not only did I see countless heart shaped rocks, but HEART LAKE!


ImageI have a BFF whom I have never traveled with and we had the opportunity to travel to Canada together.  It was an incredible road trip as we drove from Portland, Oregon to Banff, Canada.  The sight and feelings of driving through the Canadian Rockies was out of this world… but it didn’t stop there.  The lakes and rivers were unreal, the colors to blue/green.. nothing like I’d ever seen.  The trip was a huge success.  I got to know my BFF of 3 years even more than before, realizing just how hilarious he is (he’s a 52 year old, single male and the best friend, nothing more, ever!).  I am so blessed to have him in my life.  Here is a photo I took of some canoes in Lake Moraine and a photo of Patrick and I at Lake Louise.  Oh, and I also took one of my best jumping photos yet…





I have also had the pleasure of going to the beach with some lovely friends (both whom had only met one another briefly at a previous engagement) and we had an amazing time hiking, walking the beach, enjoying the sunsets and delicious home cooked meals… by yours truly!



I had a long weekend camping up with some friends on the eastside of Mount Hood and I always bring props!  This time I brought Peruvian and Ecuadorian masks that I purchased on a trip there a couple of years ago.Image

I traveled to the Wallowas in Eastern Oregon with my traveling partner and friend, Joyce.  It is considered the Swiss Alps of Oregon.  We enjoyed the views of Wallowa Lake, Terminal Gravity Brewery and camping in the Lostine River Corridor.  We also did an incredible and challenging hike to Maxwell Lake.





After Eastern Oregon, I had just enough time for a couple of hikes and visits with a few friends before I was off again to the most wonderful Crater Lake.  I went with a dear, old friend whom I have had the opportunity to reconnect with and hike a bunch with in the last year.  We camped at the Mazama Campground near the lake in Crater Lake National Park.  We enjoyed music, the sunrise and sunset, camping food, hiking and one another’s company.  Once again, another perfect getaway!



I have shared many sunrise and sunset hikes with friends when I can fit them in.  This week, I am seeing a lot of people that I haven’t had the time to see and we have made it happen by putting it on the calendar.  Time is flying by and I am busy and loving it and still fortunately loving my life.  In a week I leave for a solo trip to Thailand.  I booked it a few weeks ago on a whim when I found a deal I couldn’t pass up.  I am hoping to get the writing bug while I am away and get this book started!

All I can say is that I am so thankful for my current situation.  I am thankful for the life I live and the people who are in it.  I am thankful for nature and how much it affects my heart and soul.  There are lyrics to another song by the Avett Brothers that I absolutely love and they say, “If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die.”  Of course I don’t want to die, but some day we all will and you need to do what makes you happy before it’s too late and I am so fortunate to be doing just that!

Thank you for your continued support and following my journey!  Stay tuned for Thailand!


Let go of it, Love comes from it


I was listening to music with an ex last night whom I have managed to maintain a healthy relationship with. I shared with him one of my favorite lyrics from a song I heard for the first time recently, “let go of it, love comes from it”. When I heard that for the first time, my heart grew bigger. I think of many instances in my life where I was able to let go, but one in particular was last year with the first love of my life.  At the age of 33, I told a man for the first time that I loved him.  After several months of “being in love”, I realized it was not what I wanted and my future with him was questionable.  My future alone had so many possibilities! Letting go of him, showed me more love than I ever knew I was capable of having. Despite being verbally torn apart and harassed after I made the decision for a better future apart from this man, I still think of all of the positive and amazing times that we shared together and am thankful that I do not let his actions leave me scarred. Is it possible to look at past relationships and reflect without being bitter, but be appreciative of what was learned based on the outcome? Just try and let go of it, I am living proof that love comes from it!

Speaking of love, love is everywhere!