JShu on the Journey

A Kansan takes on Missouri

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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.

Travel.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Work.

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.

Friends

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

Grace

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(from Bittersweet, by Shauna Niequist)

Written by Jessica

October 16, 2013 at 1:33 am

Posted in Wisdom

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‘Trust in the slow work of God’

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Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We would like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability — and that it may take a very long time. Above all, trust in the slow work of God, our loving vine-dresser.

— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin via Sojourners

Written by Jessica

August 28, 2013 at 5:08 am

What I wish I’d known at 21

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My 21-year-old self, left, with my then-roommate and best friend Mallory.

My 21-year-old self, left, with my then-roommate and best friend Mallory.

Each week, I get to go out and harass people do man-on-the-street questions for my newspaper as part of a biweekly feature.

I have to approach strangers and ask them two questions and take a mugshot of them, and it’s about as awful as it sounds. Especially because a lot of people say dumb things (like that the movie awards show they’re most looking forward to is the Country Music Awards) or they don’t want their picture taken (I think a fourth of St. Joseph is wanted on warrants or something).

I try to be polite, pitch them what I’m doing and always let them see their picture and allow retakes. Sometimes it works. Sometimes…it does not. Recently, I’ve been on a roll with good answers, but I think it’s because I’ve been doing them at big events, not the mall.

Today I went to cover a college graduation and decided to pattern my questions off it. I asked, “What do you wish you knew at 21/22/the majority of the graduates’ age?” and “What job-hunting advice would you give the graduates?” I got some pretty good answers.

One guy stumped me when he turned the tables on me and asked what I would say to the first one, and thought it might make a good topic to cover here/also ask others.

1) I wish I’d known that everything was going to be ok. 

Obviously, you don’t know this when you’re in the middle of it, but things tend to turn out better than you’d expect and your deepest fears tend to be unfounded. I had a mini existential crisis about graduating, particularly in the middle of a terrible job market in a hard-to-break-into field. Somehow things lined up and it all turned out ok. Mostly.

2) I wish I’d known that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere. 

There is no perfect place to live. Even if it’s sub-tropical and warm in the winter and not-the-midwest. I missed a lot of time with family and friends the years I was in Florida, which was something I didn’t expect.

3) I wish I’d known the red-flags of a hostile working environment

However, I’ve learned and will never, ever accept a job where they (churning staff, people who flinch when they think they hear a boss’ laugh, bosses who emphasize loyalty and doing what you’re told as their top things that are important to them) are exhibited. It’s so not worth it.

Those are a few off the top of my head.

How about you?

What do wish your 21 or 22-year-old self knew going into the world, rather than having to learn it the hard way? 

Written by Jessica

May 12, 2013 at 12:24 am

Posted in Missouri Living, Wisdom

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I suck at dating.

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Fact: I haven’t gone on a date in about two years.

Two. Long. Years. And what’s sadder? It wasn’t really an official date kind of date…sigh.

Part of this has to be geography. For one of those years, I lived next to what is sometimes called Disney World for senior citizens. Another part of it is just not meeting many people beyond work/working an awful lot/moving.

This weekend, at a low point realizing that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I succumbed to temptation and put my dating profile back up on OK Cupid. I’ve not really shared this extensively, but I’ve been on and off it for the last few years.

I’ve really been more off than on — I kind of have a love-hate relationship with it. I love the ability to see people I probably wouldn’t have otherwise met. I hate the uneasy feeling that so much of online dating is just like shopping for a significant other…we’ve managed to reduce meeting possible spouses into just a shopping list of items. There’s just something so … inorganic about it all and I’m not really sure if I will find someone there. But there’s something to be said for trying and putting yourself out there, so there you go.

Given that, it’s kind of a funny coincidence (or a God-ordained moment?) that I’ve been snapped up into a single young ladies’ group at church AND the first sermon series I’ll hear here is about marriage/relationships. Yeah, I bet you can guess my first reaction to that news. It may have involved an involuntary gag reflex. 😉

But it’s started and it’s been pretty decent. I really appreciate my pastor’s sensitivity and honesty in addressing some pretty tough topics, like why we’ve as a culture delayed marriage and why it’s important to be pure before marriage and why we need to have a solid foundation in God before we really can love other people selflessly. The last is a good reminder — unlike the messages we hear elsewhere, we don’t find completion or wholeness in another person, it’s really in God. We love others because He first loved us. (See 1 John 4:19 for that one!)

It seems like the older I get, the more clearer the ache gets for another person to do life with. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel like I’m hopelessly single. It doesn’t help that nearly every other day Facebook delivers new hearts in the upper-righthand corner of my screen: “So and so is engaged!!!!!” I mean, seriously, Facebook? It’s usually hard to miss the million ring pictures, was that feature really necessary? And well-meaning loved ones. They can be add to it, for sure.

Like so much I’ve been thinking about in the last year with jobs junk (having a crappy one, getting a better one at a financially not-so-great company to getting a new one), I really just have to trust in God’s providence and timing. And try to confine my inner-green-eyed-monster.

Barbara, the leader of my small group, has been beating one thing into our heads in recent weeks, and I’m kind of trying to internalize it. She always says the desire to get married is God-given, and quotes Psalm 37:4…”Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

So, who knows? Maybe there’s hope for me yet. Despite sucking at dating. 😉

Written by Jessica

February 5, 2013 at 2:19 am

“You cannot always stay on the summits”

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You cannot always stay on the summits. You have to come down again… So what’s the point? Only this: what is above knows what is below, what is below does not know what is above. While climbing, take note of all the difficulties along your path. During the descent, you will no longer see them, but you will know that they are there if you have observed carefully. There is an art to finding your way in the lower regions by the memory of what you have seen when you were higher up. When you can no longer see, you can at least still know…

—René Daumal, The Art of Climbing Mountains (via Crashingly Beautiful)

Written by Jessica

October 7, 2012 at 1:49 am

Posted in Wisdom

The perfect verse …

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I have found the perfect verse for anxious insomniacs. This week that described me more than I’m comfortable admitting in a public forum.

It kept popping up. Again and again. Don’t you love it when scripture not just speaks, it commands your attention and application?

Here it is:

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

Written by Jessica

October 5, 2012 at 12:40 am

Posted in Wisdom