Now is a time for giving thanks
Well, it's that time of the year where we give thanks for all the blessings we have and stuff ourselves with turkey, dressing and all the fixings until we're nearly ready to burst. This has been a year of major changes for me, some good and some bad, but for the most part, it's been a year of blessings for me.
My life has completely changed from this time last year, when I was making plans to start a new band in St. Louis with some of my best friends. I had no intention of finishing my college degree and wanted to play music. Things fell through in early January and, in a moment of epiphany, I decided to go back to college for my final semester and finish my degree.
I began my final semester by resuming my duties as photo editor and writer for The Scene, the student newspaper for St. Louis Community College – Forest Park. When no one seemed interested in writing sports, I jumped into the role of sports editor on top of my other duties.
I was a quick study in writing and shooting photos for sports. It was the best semester I ever had, and in May, I finally earned my Mass Communications degree with academic honors and a 3.77 GPA. Not bad for a guy who swore 25 years ago to never go to school again. So I am most grateful for my college education.
I cut off my long rock star hair and started applying for jobs a couple months before graduation. In early May, I was contacted by Jeff Moreland, the Editor/General Manager of The Springfield Sun. We talked on the phone a little and he invited me to come to Springfield for an interview. I was a bit weary because a couple weeks before, I got a similar call from a paper in Iowa and I got my hopes up. I traveled to Iowa and thought I had a good interview. The job came down to me and two other people and needless to say, I didn't get it. I was disappointed and learned a hard lesson. But I'm a firm believer in the fact that wherever you are, that's where God wants you to be.
So my girlfriend Cindy and I traveled to Springfield for my interview being very cautious. Things went well and I ended the day as the new guy at The Springfield Sun. It's been a mixed blessing moving to Springfield. I'm thankful for a great job that I love and have fun doing. A lot of people can't say that about their job. I really like the people I work with and I've made a lot of new friends in Washington County.
I'm also blessed to have bought my first house, which I thought I would never do. But God has opened up a whole new world for me and for that I'm extremely thankful.
The only bad part about being here is that Cindy couldn't move with me. But she's with me for this Thanksgiving week as we travel into Ashland, Ky., to visit my family. That's been the hardest part of my time here; the separation from her - but we're confident everything will work out in the end.
The only low-light for me this past year was the recent passing of my mom from cancer. It was one of those things that just snuck up on us, and within three months she was gone. This will be our first holiday season without her home-made Chex party mix, and we're never going to be able to watch Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas without thinking of her. She must have watched it at least 20 times every Christmas. But she knew I was happy with my new job and she didn't have to worry about me anymore.
So my blessings have been plenty this past year. I graduated from college, got a great job working with great people and I'm now a homeowner. Whew! That's enough to make your head spin.
Most of all, I'm thankful to live in Springfield, where I feel welcomed and like I'm part of the community. Having a great job and a house to call home don't mean much if you don't like where you live. Although I've been here a short time, it really feels like home.
I've been fortunate to make new friends around the area; some politicians, some athletes, some business owners, some teachers and a lot of sports fans. I still get a little overwhelmed at times, sometimes a little lonely, but I realize that I'm lucky to be in the position I'm in, and that not everyone is as blessed as I am. I hope the next year brings you all good health, happiness and prosperity.
Thank you for the blessings you have given me in my short time here. I am truly thankful.