JShu on the Journey

A Kansan takes on Missouri

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Things fall apart: January edition.

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It’s 10:30-ish on January 31. I’m ready for a new start already, again, so I’m pretty thankful that February 1 is upon us.

It’s funny. December 31 included work and a date with a boy, the new year beginning with a kiss, a tradition I had not yet ever actually taken part in. A little over a week later, the boy became my first boyfriend. We were boyfriend and girlfriend, a label that felt a little foreign, but right.

Then, less than two weeks later, we weren’t. The words “We need to break up” tumbled out of his lips as we sat in a low-lit Crossroads bar. It all happened so quickly and took me by such surprise, I couldn’t form words to respond.

It feels a lot less raw now, thankfully, but I still am struggling to suddenly write out a guy who had been part of my daily life for the last three months or so, much less get my head around the reasons for our uncoupling.

So anyway. Here I stand on the other side, trying to press forward. I’ve done a decent job of doing that, I think. I think I’m going to pick up watercolor painting, pick up my knitting again. Eventually I’ll rejoin online dating again (reluctantly, again) but for now I need a little space.

Anyway. I don’t want to sound depressed, because as a whole, I’m really not. I’ve been grateful for the kind words of friends and time with them. I have a decent life that stands on its own, apart from being attached to a man.

Oddly enough, between this guy and the last guy I saw, I have this growing feeling that if it’s not him, there is a man out there who will be right. It’s a weird confidence, but it feels true in a way that it hasn’t before.

I just wish he’d hurry up and get here already…


Written by Jessica

January 31, 2016 at 11:48 pm

Hello, 2016.

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Hello, friends.

I nearly forgot about this space. Then a few days ago I received an email about my 2015 posts. All three of them. (Oops).

Let’s just say 2015 was an interesting year. I felt like a lot of it was tentative. Under wraps. Not yet a thing.

To be clear, a lot went down in that short time frame. I spurned online dating. I let someone back into my life after I felt hurt and let down by them in 2014. I went to at least two weddings (and wished I could have made it to others). I cooed over friends’ babies and learned I’m going to become an aunt next year.

I adventured to Illinois and Michigan. I learned a lot about Abraham Lincoln.

I wrote a 3,800-word story and part of that reporting effort won an state broadcasting award. I challenged the status quo. I applied for jobs and interviewed. I turned 28.

I waited. And found distractions in my waiting.

I found out that I had a lump (non-cancerous) in my thyroid and underwent low-dose radiation treatment. Still waiting to fully see the outcome of that.

In September, I accepted a job offer. And life moved awfully fast the last few months of the year. I quit my job in St. Joseph, a town that began to felt more like home than any other place post college.

I moved to Kansas City in late October. I’m still convinced it’s the best city on earth and I marvel at the skyline every day when I commute into work downtown. I can get lost in thought gazing out the window at my desk, which gives an 8th-floor view of a busy street.

Then…the most recent thing that still feels new and tentative but growing: I met a guy.

Literally the day after parting ways with someone else, I rejoined Tinder (even though I have a well-documented hate of online dating) and immediately matched with someone. And yeah. I’ve seen him more in the last month than anyone else and there is something growing that is lovely and it makes me gushy and mushy and excited.

It’s been quite a year, just typing that out. I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Or a lot of things. Or purposely glossing over others. But that was my 2015. I am so excited for 2016 and what it might have in store.

All good things, I hope.

It’s looking excellent so far.

Written by Jessica

January 2, 2016 at 12:23 am

Posted in Missouri Living


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Hello again, friends. It has been ages. 

I’m on vacation this week and just now coming out of the fog of Big Story land. (If you want to read it — aka, please read it and justify my spending two plus months on it — it can be found here). 

There are so many things I could say about life since December, but crazy is probably the most succinct and most accurate. 

I’ve written letters to convicted drug dealers in federal prison, sought answers from powerful people, received a libel lawsuit threat by an attorney at a law firm that my company hires for legal counsel (nice work checking out those conflicts of interests, eh?), and marveled at the sheer depth and complexity of this story. 

The story is still in progress, though slowed right now as I tackle stories that are actually on my beat. Speaking of, the new beat (city hall) has been a refreshing change of pace. In December I finally moved to days, which has been a pretty big adjustment, considering my schedule on nights was like two years. 

Last week I had some new areas moved under my beat purview, adding some more governmental bodies to what I cover. Woo. 

Work remains stressful (mostly due to newsroom factors beyond normal deadline stress) but it is what it is. Doing work that is meaningful overcomes a lot of that, or at least makes it slightly more tolerable. I’m also consciously trying to stick to my guns on boundaries involving work/home balance. 

Right now, this week, I’m all about this rest thing. Well, kind of. I’ve been mostly loafing around since Sunday, which has been fantastic. I’m hitting the road for the remainder of the week, to sleep on coaches of friends and laugh till I cry and see old places. 

As much as part of me wants to go full hermit the remainder of the week (I’ve seriously considered it), I really need some time with some of the best people in my life. So yeah. Hermit Jess will have to wait until another time to fully hermit. 

I’m not really sure what the purpose of this post was, other to reassure you that I’m still alive and well and give me a chance to talk about Big Story and share it. But that’s ok, I think? 

Written by Jessica

March 3, 2015 at 6:54 pm

Posted in Missouri Living

Update to an online dating moratorium

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So, tonight I found out that the subject of a years-long crush recently got married.

My response? Meh. Good for him.

That is so surprising, considering my history, but I think it’s good because that’s the healthy response. Maybe I’m finally getting it together? Maybe?

I should probably give an update on my online dating moratorium. It went strong, May through November last year. I rejoined Tinder temporarily, mostly because I was curious about what it would be like in D.C. (Hello, great matches!) vs. KC (is anyone out there????).

But other than that, I’ve not really participated in online dating, per se. I haven’t refired-up my OkCupid profile or thought about joining a paid service.

I texted my friend who brought the idea up recently to say that I think that’s the best decision I’ve made all year.

I think I’m over online dating for good, too. I didn’t like how it made me see other people and how I see myself, ultimately. And the thing is, it wasn’t even really working for me. I had only gone on a handful of dates.

Even though I’ve gone on even LESS dates since this experiment (Nov. ’13 was the last…ouch), I feel way way way better about myself. Which is actually attractive, right? You have to love yourself before other people can love you, I hear (and am inclined to believe).

So basically: good riddance, online dating. I’m not gonna miss you when you’re gone because you’re freaking terrible.

I guess I’m kind of daring God, the universe, or whatever to send me in the direction of a dude without the (non-) help of the Internet.

Stay tuned.

Written by Jessica

January 3, 2015 at 11:44 pm

Posted in Missouri Living

Goodbye, 2014.

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This is a little late, but better late than never. I started this post before midnight, if that counts for anything. I figured I should hurry and get my year in review post up.

In the last week, my paper has run countless top 10-type stories to wrap up the year that was.

It’s cliche, but it’s good to look back as well as look ahead to the coming 365 days.

Here are some good things that happened in twenty-fourteen.


I got around quite a bit this year. In a good way.

In January I went to St. Louis to visit my bestie Mallory. We shopped, she cooked me tasty food, we laughed and went to the Arch. I wish we saw each other more often.



In April I took a super short road trip to Omaha (it’s two hours away.) for my friend/coworker’s wedding. It was one of the top ones I’ve been two. Kim and Joel are such a fun couple and everyone danced the night away.


I also stayed in a tiny house, my first and only AirBnB experience to date. It was so cute! I have my eyes on another rental, a home in Western Kansas that’s adorable and cheap and looks like a great off-the-grid retreat type place.


A month later, I did a longer road trip. I took a week off and drove to Morris, IL, then to Chicago and stayed at a hotel with my good friend Rachel, then Champaign and over to my grandparents’ in Indiana. It was perfect and relaxing.

In November I made the journey to DC. I can’t help myself. It’s my happy place.

I stayed with my friend Melody on Capitol Hill.





I’ve had no shortage of interesting things to report on this year, and for that, I’m thankful.

I’ve covered a federal case and carved a niche keeping an eye on federal courts. I broke a lot of stories this year and feel extremely proud of that fact.

I had a few other exciting things happen. One was two schedule changes — first, in January, moving from Tue-Sat. to being Mon.-Fri. and then last week, shifting to days mostly.

I also moved from night police to city hall as my beat. I’m learning more and more of the new beat and I’m enjoying it’s breadth of subject matter. I miss police reporting though. It’s one of the best beats. Minus covering a fire in subzero temps, though…

Also last month I celebrated two years with the paper.


This year I saw deepened relationships with friends in St. Joe. I didn’t hang out with the crowd I used to as much but sometimes that’s a good thing.

My friends (here and beyond) help get me through a lot this year.

There have been parts of the year that have sucked, but life moves on. It ebbs and flows, despite the obstacles and stuck places.

I keep coming back to Wendell Berry’s poem with the line, “The impeded stream is the one that sings.” It’s true, though. No one gets everything they want and if they did, how boring would they be? How boring and predictable would that existence be?

Perhaps not getting your way is, in itself, a form of grace.

Anyway. I’m hoping you all had a good 2014 and have an even better 2015.

Written by Jessica

January 1, 2015 at 11:00 am

Back on the bandwagon.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my weight-loss journey. That’s largely because I’ve fallen off the bandwagon this summer, in spectacular fashion.

I’m mostly back on again, after getting some sobering results from my annual checkup.

It’s one thing to be told that your weight isn’t in a safe range, but it’s another thing to be told that your glucose-tolerance levels are heading in a bad direction. And that Type-2 Diabetes could be in your near future.

Um. Yikes.

My fasting glucose levels were out of the normal range, ever so slightly, but thankfully other tests did not say that I’m pre-diabetic (whew). I did get a sitdown with my doctor to talk about the results and prevention, though.

Lemme tell you, chronic disease is not something I want for my life. Diabetes, and being told you might be on the way towards it SOON, is an amazing motivator for change, however. I’ve done a whole lot better, eating wise, in the last two weeks and plan on continuing that streak, and getting back to the gym a whole lot more often.

Also, in the month between my checkup and my bloodwork (you did see I’m a procrastinator, right?), I managed to lose a few pounds. (Small victories)

Now I just have to keep heading in that direction…which is the hard part. I’m down 21 pounds from where I was last summer (!!!), but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by how much further there is to go.

I’m miles away from where I was last year, but still have many more to go. Such is life, I guess. We are all works in progress.

Written by Jessica

September 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Procrastinators, unite … tomorrow

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Hello, my name is Jessica and I’m a horrible procrastinator.

I am, in fact, currently procrastinating on a project that I managed to put off completely until the day it was due. Gulp. Enter: slight extension and a few Hail Marys. This is going to be an interesting weekend.

I’m 27 years old and work with deadlines non-stop, but apparently there’s nothing that I can’t put off. It’s frustrating to get caught in that cycle. It’s one of my worst professional-life faults.

Looking back, there are all kinds of deadlines I’ve missed, with varying levels of fallout.

My senior speech, which was my first and only college F, required me to go back and redo it to graduate. Thankfully I passed on the second try, after a lot of hard work.

Some stories at my paper in Florida caused a lot of needless office tension. To be fair, I look at my output those days and wonder how I managed to write so much (I do not miss the days of writing three stories in one day and then having to turn in a 1000+ word magazine article). Then I remember quality wasn’t as big of a priority as feeding the beast.

How do you all deal with deadlines? With fending off procrastination? Any pointers?

Written by Jessica

September 19, 2014 at 9:32 am