Unspeakable Crimes

In the news, we come across tragic stories everyday. It’s the nature of the business, the beast. It’s our job to share those stories and their impact. We’re not spreading depressing information, but letting those involved know that we know it mattered to them and others should be aware. We share the struggle. We show the rebuilding. We’re able to do this by detaching ourselves from story, by setting ourselves aside and relaying the facts. Sadly, it’s easy to become callous, to talk about unspeakable crimes without them affecting me. Because it’s my job.

But that’s not the case today. This one is personal. You came into my house. You hurt my family. You hurt my viewers. You calculated how to do the most damage, waited for a live broadcast to attack two individuals and in the process assaulted thousands across the country.

My heart is heavy because I know the power of television. I can’t begin to imagine the chaos in that newsroom, on that set, when gunshots rang out. I take that back. I can. That explains the lump in my throat and the feeling that I was just punched in the stomach.

My consolation rests in the fact that I have a more powerful God who comforts those who are hurting.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

Tip of the iceberg

Hi, my name is Jamie and I’m an iceaholic.

That’s right. I’m an ice fiend. That statement is just the tip of the iceberg. Let me explain.

I do, in fact, have low iron. Many a time have I been turned away from donating blood for this reason. I haven’t actually gone to a doctor to get it checked out, but it’s on my list of things to do some day… anyway, I digress.

It started back in high school and got substantially worse as time went by.

I’d grab a big tumbler and fill it with crushed ice from the freezer. So easy, so accessible. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.

In college, I developed the habit of crunching ice while driving, mostly because my family couldn’t stand the noise at home. So as I was leaving the house, I’d fill my cup and chew it in the solace of my car.

When I moved out, my new apartment didn’t have the convenience of an ice maker. So I used trays. I’m very possessive of my ice, so when company comes, I’d have to make extra. My ex-boyfriend filled my ice cube trays once and I yelled at him. He filled them all the way. Who does that? The cubes are larger and take longer to freeze. Nope, I fill mine a little over half, maximizing crunch to freeze time ratio.

I have it down to a science. I have my freezer set to the coldest temperature. I know which ice cube trays I like the most, and how to stack them so they freeze just how I like it. I have five. Four go in the main part of the freezer, the fifth goes in the door (it freezes faster that way).

In the morning, I wake up and empty my trays. That usually fills two large cups. One for now, one for later (any extras being dumped in the storage bin in the freezer). Refilling the trays, I wait two hours – and of course eat that second cup of ice from the morning. Before heading to work, I empty them again so I have a cup of ice in the car. There’s typically ice left since it’s a short ride, so my coworkers graciously bear with me as I grind on their nerves. On my dinner break, I stop back at my house because of course, my trays are frozen and ready to be munched. Then after work, much to my delight, they’re ready again. Twist, crack, plink plink plink. Two more cups of ice. If I stay up late enough watching tv, they’re ready right before bed. The perfect bedtime snack, even if I’ve already brushed my teeth!

Even waitresses at my regular haunts know of my crazy habit. They serve me an extra cup of ice without even having to ask. I also tend to steal friends’ and family members’  drinks when they’re done so I can chow down on their leftover ice.

So there you have it. Five rotations of five ice cube trays a day: 25 trays. That’s been the routine for the last year (and quite similar for the past ten years…). That is, up until 29 days ago.

I was challenged. Can you go without ice for 30 days? I said sure. I don’t need it. I just really like it. Crunching ice is like having a stress ball. It’s one of the ways I deal with pressure and problems and other stressors. Chomp them away.

The first day without ice was interesting. I didn’t walk into work with tremors because I hadn’t gotten a fix or anything. But I did notice that night when I went to watch tv just how automatic of a habit it was. I said to myself, “this is when I’d get a cup of ice.” After that episode was done, “this is when I’d refill my cup.”

I tried drinking a lot of water, but was constantly thirsty. I couldn’t get enough water. I think I’ve drank more water than I typically take in with ice, so I can’t explain that one. But honestly, I’ve just been so thirsty this month.

Smoothies are great. And frozen. I bought a bunch of fruit, froze it, and started making smoothies (without ice, just frozen ingredients). I even added spinach to try to boost my iron levels.

I bought a bunch of crunchy foods. Potato chips, taco bell cinnamon twists… I even started munching on the frozen fruit. I bought a pack of gum to keep my jaw in shape.

I still got ice in my drinks from restaurants. I only drank from a straw so as not to eat the ice. It was actually somewhat therapeutic to stir the ice with the straw, you know, that stress relief.

About 20 days into the challenge I started dreaming about ice. I’d realize I was dreaming that I had accidentally started chewing ice and had ruined the challenge. I chalk that up to being stressed about failure.

Now that I’m on day 29, I can truly say that I don’t need ice. Does that mean I’ll continue in my no-ice adventure? Heck no! Does it mean I should probably cut back before someone puts me on “my strange addictions”? Yeah, probably a good idea. I can chill out (lol) some and reduce the number of times I head to the freezer.

I will definitely be rinsing out my ice trays and refilling them tomorrow so I’m ready for my cup of ice Wednesday morning.

Yes it’s cold. No my teeth aren’t sensitive. Yes, I’ve cut my mouth millions of times on sharp pieces of ice. I love visiting hospitals because they have great ice. I go through the Wendy’s drive-thru and order food just because I want a huge cup of their perfect pellet ice. I know I have a problem.

“I’ll travel the sub-zero tundra
I’ll brave glaciers and frozen lakes
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg
I’ll do whatever it takes  To change.”

–Owl City

P.S. I came across this article which pretty much spells out what’s wrong with me to a T. It appears to be written by someone researching ice addictions who was not in fact an ice cruncher. “They were showing people crunching and eating ice cubes as if it was Captain Crunch cereal.”

Right moves

Do you ever get a glimpse of just how annoying you are and wonder why people –nay, if people like you? I recognize the fact that I’m a know-it-all. I sincerely apologize. It’s hard for me to stay quiet when I know the answer. It’s hard for me to sit back and watch someone struggle when I can give them some pointers.

I’m not trying to be bossy. I promise. I’m really trying to help. I just end up coming off as a ridiculously pompous person.

So I’ll try to hold my tongue, or at least choose my words more wisely… because what really matters is that I don’t actually have all the right answers.

I know we got it good, but they got it made,
And their grass is getting greener each day,
I know things are looking up, but soon they’ll take us down,
before anybody’s knowing our name.
All the right friends in all the wrong places, yeah, we’re going down.
All the right moves in all the wrong faces.

–One Republic

News Selfies: A year in the making

Today I celebrate one year of being a reporter.

I started a project that first day last year, taking a selfie on set. It may not be as cool as those parents who take a picture of their kid every day for fifteen years… but still, 200+ pictures later, similar concept?

So enjoy the video – from the different hairstyles, outfits, and makeup… there sure is a lot of change!

Being a reporter is fascinating. There’s a new problem, question, topic to tackle every day.

There have been ups and downs. Slow days and I-don’t-know-if-I’m-going-to-get-this-done-in-time-but-I-have-to days. Working on one story and then dropping it to race off in another direction.

I enjoy the people I work with. That’s made all the difference. When you pack up your life and move somewhere new, people are important. You don’t have many to begin with, so it’s great when the ones you’re around at work are fun to be with. We’ve annoyed each other, frustrated each other, and grown closer together.

It’s fun to look back and see how far I’ve come, what I’ve learned. It’s evident in how much time it takes to whip something together for a newscast. It’s evident in my interviews and the questions I ask. It’s fun to watch brand new reporters going through all the same struggles and being able to help them along their journey.

So here’s to more crazy stories, late nights, technical difficulties, and becoming better at what we do.

Just remember, if you ever have an awesome story you need told, call me up!

You’ve got the story all made up inside your head
You write me out of it and use your words instead
You hold me just out of reach, but you keep me pounding the beat
To take all the soul you can get
–Churchill

On my mind

June 2, 2009. It was a day like any other. I went to work. I got a haircut. I got a phone call.

June 2, 2009. It was not like any other day.

My life changed. It was shocking, like jumping into ice water, the wind knocked out of you, struggling to breathe. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since I got the phone call telling me Dan was gone. I remember it like it was yesterday. The disbelief, the anger, confusion. The resignation, convincing myself it was real. Bawling into my dad’s shoulder.

I don’t know where I’d be now if Dan had not died. I can’t even begin to imagine. I know that I’m a completely different person now because of it. It amazes me how God can use every situation to shape you into the person he designed you to be.

I’m grateful for the time I had with Dan. The friendship, the budding romance, the laughter and stories. It’s not easy. I’m a stronger person now.

It’s funny, I pulled up the “Dan’s Stuff” folder in my iTunes. It breaks my heart and makes me smile at the same time when I look through the song titles on the Jameson playlist: Look at you girl, history in the making, girl in red, a love like that… It makes me chuckle remembering how much of a sappy romantic he was. I treasure those memories. Each song has its own story.

I’m so thankful for my friends and family, right by my side the past five years, along this journey, helping me grow.

Image

 

You’re always in my heart, you’re always on my mind. When it all becomes too much, you’re never far behind. There’s no one that comes close to you, could ever take your place. ‘Cause only you can love me this way. –Keith Urban

Moonshine

Staring out the small oval airplane window, craning my neck to look higher, I see the moon. It casts a smooth glow on the blanket of cloud cover floating beneath the aircraft.

Orion stands just above the cloud line, sinking into the fog while shooting into the vast onyx expanse.

A gap opens in the clouds and a miniature cityscape twinkles up mirroring the stars above.

An orange glow gives texture to the clouds below as a brighter city makes its presence known to travelers. A minute later it’s gone; the grey moonshine washes out the color.

The world below is blurry, but the sky is crisp. The clarity is striking against the hazy divide.

This is the closest I’ll ever come to the stars. I sit here pondering the mystery and greatness of it all. Yet, too soon, my thoughts are grounded. 

I look up now and all I see is a white smudge across the dark sky. The clouds that once carpeted the air below me, now obscure the sky above me, reinforcing my small position in the world. 

I can feel but I can’t touch the atmosphere of your love. Surrounded by something I know is there. For reasons that I can’t see, what exists is far beyond me. But I will have faith in the unseen. I’ve heard the song of ancient hymns. I’ve felt the chills of the cool, cool wind. I’ve tasted the sweet before, been lost in the beautiful, the powerful mystery of the invisible. Have faith. Have faith, my dear.

–Veridia

Stranger

Family. How does yours compare? You never really know other than water cooler conversation. Oh, your uncle got drunk? The kids made a mess? There wasn’t enough turkey?

I love my family. I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with them this year. It’s not a holiday we typically go all out for. I mean, there’s a big meal, yes, but other than that it’s typically just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. I’m thankful for that because I love them. Therefore I love spending time with them.

But that wasn’t the case this November. I was scheduled to work, so I wouldn’t be able to make it home. Unlike last year, the family couldn’t come to me for the holiday. Instead, I planned to spend the day with my coworkers. The company would bring in dinner for us anyway. 

My boss told me to come in later than my usual shift. I had more of the day free, and nobody to spend it with. So I took to the inter webs, asking for a surrogate family. Multiple people replied, offering up their homes and families. For that I am grateful. It’s not a small thing to open up your intimate setting to a stranger. I accepted an offer from a family that I went to high school with. Not my classmates, but my sister’s. Nevertheless, I felt welcomed. Special. 

When I showed up, I was made to feel at home. It was like I knew everyone. Yes, there were familiar faces, but when the extended family showed up, I got the frank “who are you?” question. Which I expected. I am Jamie, the stranger borrowing your family for Thanksgiving. 

It’s interesting to see how families interact. To see the different personalities playing off of each other. 

I got to help in the kitchen. I helped amuse one of the kids with her toys. Then I got to kick back and show off my pool shark skills. Or not. But the moment I was waiting for was dinner. Duh. It’s Thanksgiving. That’s obvious. I was curious to see how they would acknowledge the day because I know what my family does, but I had never experienced another family’s tradition. 

My family takes a moment to thank God for all that we’ve been given. Our family. Our friends and loved ones. For keeping us safe. For coming and dying for our sins, rescuing us. Bless this food to our bodies, amen.

This year, one of the family members started to speak before the meal, recognizing his appreciation for everyone being gathered in one place. He noted the absence of an uncle who was no longer with them, but declared that he will always be remembered — even by the dishes we were eating off of. It’s those moments, the private, personal family moments that we, as outsiders, never know about. It was beautiful. I’m grateful for the glimpse that I got into another family’s core. 

Even with our differences , There is a place we’re all connected. Each of us can find each other’s light. So for tonight we pray for What we know can be. And on this day we hope for  What we still can’t see. It’s up to us to be the change. And even though this world needs so much more, There’s so much to be thankful for.

–Josh Groban