On being grateful

Tomorrow I will hit 150 days of posting what I’m grateful for on Facebook. 150 days.

Fifteen days into my grateful postings, which I started in honor of November (Thanksgiving), my dad was killed in a fire in Wichita. I won’t ever forget my brother’s words: “There was a fire at mom’s house and dad’s gone.” Dad’s gone. What? Miss you dad….so much…

I rushed down to Wichita to be at my family’s side and somehow in the middle of all of it, I decided to keep the thankful posts going. Because, even through the tragedy, there was so much to be thankful for. The kind words. The kind gestures. Disaster assistance for my mom. Donations. It was a surreal week — most of that week I wondered how the hell anyone even breathes during this kind of tragedy — but then I realize I was indeed breathing. And so were the people around me.

November came to a close and I just kept going with my thankful posts. Even when some days I wanted to resist the entire concept — there are some days I don’t WANT to be thankful for anything. Because we all have those days — where you feel like hell, you just want to cry or scream — and those days it became really hard to post. But most days I did. And if I didn’t I caught up on what I didn’t post.

Then, after a particularly hard weekend, I stopped posting altogether for a week. I just simply wanted to sit in what I call the “rabbit hole” for a week. I didn’t post thankfuls. Or photos. Nothing. And something I didn’t expect happened — I got messages from people missing the posts. I was like “what, people actually read that?” Yes, people do actually indeed read what we post on social media.

So, really, in a long-drawn out post, this post is for all of YOU who have read my posts. Who have hit the “like” button and have left comments. Because as I’ve walked through grief since my dad died, those small gestures mean so much more than most of you probably realize.

So today, on day 149 actually, I dedicate this post to YOU, my family and friends.

I’m grateful for you.


Sometimes it is crushing

I was bookmarking a link I found on twitter tonight and I came across others — the links I had saved when my dad was killed in a house fire on nov. 15. The video of them fighting the fire. My dad — he was on the floor of the back bedroom while that fire ravaged their home. The cat and dog perished — jersey and twister. The moment — that raw horrible moment — came flooding back tonight. I’m sad tonight. And angry. The man I came to know as my father — he was the father he didn’t have to be to my brother and I. I miss you dad. So much still. Sometimes the pain is as raw as ever. 

Winter’s beautiful silence

I was in Melvern today helping a friend work on a house. When I stepped outside, the trash bin was coated in a fine, frozen glaze of ice. As I ran my hand across the bin, I noticed the cool, roughness of the ice.

Time to get back home.

The paved roads were glazed, so we hit the gravel roads — so beautiful. So silent. So magical. We came across a wooden bridge outside of Olivet. This rickety old wooden bridge. It wasn’t until we were all the way across it, I decided to grab my camera and sprint back across it on foot. I had to have that shot. The shot that illustrated such perfect silence — the bare trees seemed to reach up to touch the sky. The deserted bridge that possesses so much character. I began to wonder how many vehicles and pieces of farm equipment that bridge has supported all these years.

While I was trying to frame the perfect shot, the icy wind mixed with light frozen liquid danced through my hair — chilling me to my core. But the shot was worth it. The subtle beauty of the old bridge was enough to make me want to stay awhile — even if it was 17 degrees out.

On the way through the Flint Hills, the beauty of the winter mist in the valley was just as breathtaking. We stopped near a body of water in the distance, capturing another classic winter Kansas shot. The dark, bare trees stood in sharp contrast to the brown, dormant grasses.

Beauty is all around us in Kansas. No matter what the season. Today, even with chilling winds, ice-glazed roads and bare trees, Kansas had so much to offer.

For it’s in winter, she bares her soul — the lands lay bare and seemingly desolate. But looking beyond that, Kansas is all but desolate — even in winter.

Learning to love the life again

I as sit here awake at nearly 4:30 a.m. I went down the Internet rabbit hole after posting a weather alert for the newspaper website. I realized I’m learning to love the life again. That “hectic, crazy, you may have to be up at all hours” life, again.

After two years on the “dark side” as those of us in media call it, it was a rough transition coming back into the “light” where sometimes your time isn’t really yours and sleep, well that depends on the weather radio or police scanner.

It’s been a beautiful transition. I’ve seen myself grow professionally and personally. I’ve seen the staff grow professionally. I’ve seen the newsroom change and grow.