2016 flew by.
This year I think I learned most to appreciate life and be thankful each day.
I miss writing. I don’t do it enough anymore. I have to admit lately, words haven’t come easy to write or type. Nowadays, I use my time at work capturing video. I still get to do interviews and meet tons of awesome people with amazing stories. I miss writing the stories and telling the stories through words, though. From reading the sports page for the first time as a first grader and then becoming a sports writer at a newspaper, that was a dream come true. I feel often like I gave up that dream.
I know though, too, God has me where I am for a reason working at a television station. It’s given me the ability to refine another hobby and talent I have. This job has taught me a lot over the last year. I shifted from covering sports in a small town in Iowa to coming back to South Dakota to cover news, and a little sports here and there. Sports is my passion. I miss it. But covering news has allowed me to see new things. It’s the people that I encounter that I love about the job. I love listening to people’s stories and experiences. I’ve met police officers, firefighters, business owners, teachers, students, athletes, musicians, doctors, and just normal ordinary people that have made an impact on the world.
Here’s a few stories that have impacted me in 2016 –
I saw the downtown community of Sioux Falls rally around a tragedy a few weeks ago after a building collapsed. I saw the ups and downs of that day. I saw the power of prayer work. Some might say why did God allow a woman and her dogs to be rescued but not the construction worker that day? I don’t have that answer, but I know for sure God was there that day on Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls. People were praying in a nearby coffee shop, and I was by a man from Tampa, Florida on top of a parking ramp that was praying. Sioux Falls saw joy and heartache that day. Being a Christian isn’t easy and sometimes God allows there be suffering. There was good that came out of that day. The downtown businesses rallied around that construction worker’s family by giving back some of their income to the family. The coffee shop nearby the building collapsed, had encouraging notes on a window that people had wrote about the construction worker and for all the hard work the first responders put in that day. I was proud of my town that day.
I love the days I get to share my faith at work, too. Sometimes after interviews, I will sit and talk to people. I met an artist from Estelline, South Dakota. I met this woman at an art fair and just started asking her about her art. She was a violin player, and now is starting to lose her hearing. She is painting musical instruments now. She also paints God’s faithfulness and shares through painting about how she is a cancer survivor. I was able to make a connection because my mom is a cancer survivor, too, and my faith is a big part of my life. That day taught me that I can meet someone with an amazing story any day and all I have to do is smile, have a positive attitude, and be willing to listen. My work really is my mission field. I may not be a missionary, but I have the ability to share Jesus wherever I go.
I also got to share my faith with a police officer one day. I interviewed an officer about going to Des Moines after two officers there had lost their lives. He shared with me how knowing Jesus is always there gives him comfort because being in the line of duty can be a dangerous job.
Another day at work I had to drive to Estelline, (there must be something amazing about the people in that town – wink, wink), and interview a high school senior about being named scholar of the week. Towards the end of the interview, she gave advice for underclassman and that advice stuck with me because it’s applicable to anyone. It’s deep. Here’s what it was:
You need to take care of yourself before you try to take on all these things because if you are going around half asleep all the time, and drained emotionally, you’re going to suffer. You need to get sleep, take care of your body and sometimes you have to say no to people. Don’t have that attitude that nothing matters, or I don’t care. People need to keep that inspiration they had when they were a child – I want to be something great and not just, I want to barely do enough to get a job to get a job that pays enough. Because we are going to get a point where no one wants to do work to be great and someone else will do it for you. There are going to other people that are going to make the most out of these opportunities.
That advice was from LeAnnah. She’s a high school senior and I’m sure she is going to go far in life. Her advice is so true. LeAnnah motivated me that day.
These are just a few stories over the last year made an impact on me. They are why I love being a journalist. Sometimes the media gets a bad rap. I understand that. Trust me, working in the news during this past election, exhausted me. I have to say it made me want to get out of journalism and really miss covering sports even more. But I know this The sun rose the next day after the election on November 9 and will continue to because God is in control. I know God gave me my gifts in writing, and in photography. I’m going to keep going. I don’t know where God is going to take me, but I trust in God and in his plan completely. Who knows, part of God’s plan may be to have me get back into sports writing someday. But in 2016, God taught me to love where I am at.
I met some incredible people. I work with a lot of awesome people. I have an amazing family and friends. Most importantly, I have the best Father in heaven that loved me so much that he sent his son, Jesus, to be born in a manger and to die on the cross for my sins so I could be saved by his amazing grace. That’s love. Now everyday, I need to share that same love Jesus gave me with me the people in my life.
Wherever God guides me in 2017, I will follow. All of me is Yours, Jesus.
I’ll write soon again. I am praying for all of you and love you a lot.