JShu on the Journey

A Kansan takes on Missouri

Posts Tagged ‘life

A Single-lady Christmas letter

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, again.

Today I got my third Christmas card of the year and the first Christmas letter was tucked inside. It got me thinking, maybe instead of doing my Top Things list that I’ve done thelast few years, I might just do a quick overview of the year instead. Since single ladies don’t usually get the chance to do splashy year in review letters with their photos and all that jazz. 

For the most part, 2013 feels like it’s been another in-between year. A year where a few exciting things happened but no major life changes (moves, job changes, etc.) did.

My year started out with a bang, toasting with coworkers at a party here in Joetown. 

I feel like I’m kinda awkward in this photo. Yay for hanging out with near-strangers and being way out of my comfort zone.

Then, I decided at the very last minute to go to D.C. for Obama’s second inauguration. I found out about a week ahead that a good friend was going to be in the region and we went together. It was so fun and not too cold and we even heard Beyonce lip sync. But that is the first time to my knowledge I was within a half-mile of Queen Bey.

There was kind of a lull through the next few months, but in March, one of my old friends/roommates got married. I’ve known Dawn since my freshman year at MNU, pre-Olivet transfer. I’m really glad I could go, since it was just over the state line in Kansas.

Yay, D-Dawn!

A month later, I made my TV debut, producing a package at work for my newspaper’s adjoining TV station. The same day it aired, I met an author I’ve long admired: Anne Lamott. It was great. I wish I could have seen her talk that night prior to the book signing but work held me up late.

A photo of me and Anne posing for a photo. Creeper shot by my friend Matt.

A few weeks later, I did my first (and only to-date) live shot with the aforementioned TV station. I was standing on the narrow shelter of a two lane highway talking about a crash and it was kind of traumatic, but hey, it was over pretty quickly.

April was kind of a crazy news month, actually. A big story I worked on about a kid peeing a teacher’s lounge coffee pot went big locally and was poised to go national until the Boston Marathon bombing happened a day later.

June saw two great weekends in Illinois, partying it up at my best friend’s bachelorette party and then going to her wedding.

Photo: as one of the hotel stayers says..."heaven must be on recess" bahahah

I spent both weekends seeing my grandparents, too, as well as my good friend Rachel (she was my +1 at the wedding) and great friends from Morris. It was the first time in Morris since I’d left. It was weird being back (felt like nothing had changed in a way) but it was fun getting together with my friends there and laughing so hard. I really am blessed to have amazing friends, wherever they are in the world.

July…I went to see the Postal Service. Mates of State opened, but didn’t play any songs I knew. Ben Gibbard=amazing. I went to yet another wedding-related event (the 5th of the year): a wedding reception for another old friend.

The rest of the year has been a blur. Basically it’s the following:

August…I turned 26!
September…I started covering a federal case involving a local police detective. And found myself a federal inmate penpal/source.
October…I covered a national story happening in our backyard. It got kinda crazy.
November…I went on a last-minute business trip to D.C. for a story. It was amazing and a such a God thing the way it all worked out. Even when I didn’t think it was going to come together. Going back made me realize how much I miss it…and also how maybe I might be able to come back one day. I’m kind of coming up with a new dream. Stay tuned for 2014.

I also went “home” to Indiana for Thanksgiving and it was a much-needed trip/time off.

And now it’s December and I have hit my one-year at work and my apartment and I’m really not sure where the year has went. It’s kind of crazy.

The other day, I was wasting time on Pinterest when I saw a pin quoting Zora Neale Hurston, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” For me, this was a year of questions: What is God’s purpose for my life? What’s next? How can I live in my dream city? When will it be my turn to find a significant other? I’m hoping 2014 will be a year of answers, of feeling more settled and a little less restless.

Here’s to hoping, at least!

Whoever is reading this, wherever you are, I hope you’re having a lovely holiday season and have a wonderful, healthy, adventure- and love-filled 2014.


Written by Jessica

December 17, 2013 at 4:24 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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Life in God’s Waiting Room

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That’s what they call Florida. Because of all the gray-haired retirees that populate this state.

It’s a little ironic. I feel like in a few ways, that I don’t really want to get into on this forum, I’m in a metaphorical waiting room right now. In a holding pattern. Waiting for something to happen. Its appointed time is yet to come. In the meantime, I’m still here. Waiting.

I’ve never been a patient waiter. In college, when something didn’t work out, I jumped to a new place. A few times.

In theory, life is big and open and there are possibilities.

In reality, we are very much dealt a number of limitations.

I feel like for whatever reason (one that I don’t know), I’m supposed to be here. No attempts at being able to go elsewhere (even when I was sure I had it) have succeeded. You can only hit a brick wall head on so many times before you give up.

Over the last few months, though, I feel like I’ve been gradually been called back to having a real, living, active, breathing faith.

A professional journalist I met this past spring encouraged me to find a home church, something that I’ve put off and eventually gave up on. He was actually the second person to do this, but he put it in a new way–one that hit so close to home. He said that news business can be so soul-sucking when one is not being fed spiritually. Let’s just say I feel like for awhile, my soul has been majorly sucked away.

For the first time in awhile, I have started going to a church frequently. I found one within my denomination and have been going pretty regularly (except for a three-week gap of a black hole earlier last month, to be quite honest), but every time I go, I feel a little more alive. More connected. People remark on my absence. I wish the church were closer — it’s 45-50 minutes away — but I love the congregation, the pastor/his family, and, crazy enough, the drive. It’s like a mini-road trip.

I am beginning to connect with other people.

Last week, the pastor focused on the importance of reading God’s word. Given the fact that I’m a slacker in so many other disciplines, I’ve definitely been a slacker there. I’ve put more energy into reading this week, via an iPhone app reading plan, and it’s been amazing how relevant each message is each day. It’s like God’s there, waiting to speak, but by not reading, I’m not giving him room to speak into my life.

I’m still in a rut, and my life is messy. But it feels like there may be a glimmer of hope left.

One verse that hit my gut this week came from the story of Abraham and Sarah. It’s where God promises the patriarch that his wife will have a child, a preposterous statement because she thought she was well-beyond child-bearing years.

She overhears this conversation between God and Abraham and laughs.

God says, “Hey, I heard that,” (ok, maybe not in those words) and asks, “Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” (Genesis 18:14, NIV)

Then, she becomes pregnant. Even when it seemed impossible, even preposterous that she would. And she named him Isaac, which means laughter.

I guess if Sarah can have a son, if God worked a number of ways through his people, surely nothing is too hard for him in my life.

I guess I just have to keep faith that he is doing something, even if I’m not clued in on the plan.

Written by Jessica

September 3, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Florida Living

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