Sunday, August 28, 2011

Departure-Part II

Those of you who know me well (or who have simply been paying attention) know that I haven’t been content at my job for a while. I’ve been here for over six years and have reached the point where I’m no longer challenged or fulfilled by my work.

I mean no offense to the newspaper, but I am looking down the road to my future family – and I don’t think being a crime reporter is conducive to motherhood. Heck, it hasn’t been conducive to being a good spouse — and that’s my fault.

I will look back on my time at the paper and treasure the fond memories and the amazing friendships that were built — not to mention finding my husband! I plan to stay in touch with many of the folks there, and I expect them to do the same! There were stories I wrote that changed my life and impacted this community. Not too many people have the chance to do the things this job allowed me to do.

It’s bittersweet to announce that I’ve accepted a communication position at a private Christian school in Peachtree City. It’s intimidating to embark on a new journey – I’ll be the new kid at school, yikes! – but, I know that it is time for me to fulfill my calling and serve the Lord in a more tangible way.

I'll also be working for the Life Training Institute one day a week handling various tasks pertinent to their operations. I hope to wade into the waters of marketing, fundraising and event planning.

My last day at the paper will be Friday, Sept. 9, and the first day of my new life will be Monday, Sept. 12! I will be working primarily from Peachtree City, but my home and my heart remain in Newnan.

Please pray for Jonathan and me as we begin a new chapter in our lives! Change is daunting for me, but I'm genuinely excited about these new opportunities. Specifically pray that I’ll be able to get out of bed MUCH earlier than I’m used to!

Don’t forget to follow along on this journey with me via the blog!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Change-Part I

I'm a little slow to the punch.

First, let me apologize for not being real and honest on my blog. I've had some major things to say and not the words to say it. I have also been waiting for the right time.

It takes me a while to grapple with what I'm feeling emotionally and to dig down to uncover what's at the root of those emotions.

It may not seem that a writer — someone who has ease with expression — would struggle expressing herself. But, I do.

A few years ago I was in a dead-end relationship, and my relationship with Christ — even more importantly — had grown stagnant. I thought that, just maybe, I was experiencing the best Christianity had to offer, and the best that a potential spouse could offer — but I was wrong on both counts. I was being called to obey God's will. I finally did and now I have a happy marriage to show for it. I attribute it to the sanctifying work of Christ. I needed to move past a major stumbling block. Sanctification is a ROUGH process, but there's no other way to live — or die.

Lately, though, I've found myself in the same position at work. All of these emotions have been welling up inside me — anger, depression, frustration, anxiety, etc. They've been overwhelming at times.

I rationalized it for a while by telling myself that it was just the disappointment of coming down from the greatest year of my life. Nothing could top all of the excitement of 2010 (you know, engagement, showers, home buying, wedding, honeymoon, MARRIAGE!) — well, maybe having children one day — but I've finally realized that's not the culprit here.

I had a revelation recently thanks to a good friend. My friend, Jess, casually asked me how I manage a household with a stressful, demanding, full time job? Her question made me emotional — made me want to cry. I felt like her question struck at the heart of what's been upsetting me.

My first priority is my household. I want things to be clean. I want my husband to be well fed because he works so hard to provide for us. Cooking nutritious meals is the least I can do for the man I love. I want him to come home to a stress-free wife so that our home will be a sanctuary for us both.

My job competes for my attention. It doesn't just compete, it demands that I sacrifice caring for my household and spending time with my husband. Then I get angry, frustrated, depressed, etc. And, there you have it. I have gotten to the root of the problem. It's in this vein that I realized that it's once again time for a change.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Heart

I can't believe I've been blogging for months and have failed to write about my passion: The Pro-life Movement. I want to be a champion for the unborn. More importantly, I want YOU to be a champion for the unborn!

The issue is surprisingly simple: What are the unborn? Everything hinges on that question. If it’s not a human being, then by all means, have an abortion. If it is a human being, he or she is worthy of our protection. If you can't answer that question definitively, then you should err on the side of caution.

Scientifically, the unborn are distinct, living and whole human beings. Philosophically, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today.

I have had the privilege of volunteering with an amazing organization, the Life Training Institute, headed by Scott Klusendorf. I’ve done a little blogging for them in the past, as you may remember.

Klusendorf lays out the argument more eloquently and simply than I ever could. So, visit his organization's website. Better yet, purchase a copy of Klusendorf’s book, "The Case for Life."

Our argument is won on truth — not Biblical truth, although I obviously believe the Bible supports our conclusion — since we are all human beings made in the image of God — but on scientific and philosophical truth.

If you’re pro-choice or on the fence about the topic (as I admittedly was when I embarked on this journey) I challenge you to read this book and not reach the same conclusions I have about abortion. Commit to go wherever Truth may lead you.

Or, if you don't want to commit to the book, at the very least watch the abortion video posted on and see how you feel about this controversial issue after you see the aftermath of abortion. The images are shocking, but they're evidence of unaltered truth. It's hard to call the unborn anything other than human beings — babies — after you see these images.

If you are someone who has had an abortion in the past, I'm sorry you felt like ending your pregnancy was a decision you had to make. Truly, my heart goes out to you. And, your sins can be forgiven by an almighty, gracious and loving God! Connect with a crisis pregnancy center in your area for post-abortion counseling, and connect with a local church for a community of believers to uplift you going forward.

And, if you have follow-up questions, please get in touch with me and I'll do my best to answer them or at least point you in the right direction!

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Since the theme has been reminiscing about my job, thought I'd share some pictures (I wish this could be a photo montage set to cheesy music):

(Covering a 9/11 ceremony)

(Annoyed my photog was taking pics of me during a murder trial)

(My job has driven me to drink more than once)

(Interviewing Army dudes home on leave from Afghanistan)

(Do I need an explanation here?)

(Some Halloween fun at the office as 1950s Louis Lane)

(A very chilly Black Hawk helicopter ride)

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Biz

You all are apparently intrigued by my job at the newspaper based on the response I received to a recent FB posting. I guess it does sound glamorous, though I'm more than a little desensitized to it all. The only perks to my job include free food and admission to events.

I will say that, in my six years as a journalist, I've seen and heard some pretty crazy stuff. Things most of you probably wouldn't believe.

As I sit and reminisce about the highlights of my career, two separate cold cases that I reported on immediately come to mind: The Eagle Exhumation and the Vieng Phovixay murder trial (no, definitely not being on Oxygen's "Snapped" for the Michelle Garner Hall trial, though I'm probably going to be teased forever for that!).

WARNING: The following photos are graphic and never before published!

These photos are of a man who was murdered more than 20 years ago and then dumped in a make-shift grave in the middle of the woods less than 2 miles from where I was living when these remains were unearthed. Look closely at the picture and you'll see that the man decomposed face down with his arms over his head. You can also see that his red boxer shorts did not decompose. Authorities found multiple bullets in his grave with the aid of a metal detector.

This man was not murdered in Coweta County, however. He was murdered by his "friend" in Connecticut, and that friend drove the body all the way back to Coweta in order to bury it on family property.

Behold, the aged face of a killer:

This murderer led authorities to the area where he remembered burying his friend's body as part of a plea deal. He helped bring closure to a cold case — to a grieving family — and in return, a few years were knocked off a prison sentence he was going to serve for other crimes committed, including another murder!

But, the story that I'm proudest to have written actually was a story that won me a Georgia Associated Press award. It is the story behind the murder of Vieng Phovixay.

I can't sum it up any better than this.

There were others — the good, the bad and the ugly.

I enjoyed seeing much of Georgia from a Blackhawk helicopter. I hiked through marijuana fields once in high heels for a story and ended up with chigger bites where the sun don't shine. I once reported on a tragedy involving a bride whose 3-year-old daughter was run over and killed outside the chapel during her wedding. And I once met a family who lost two children in a traffic accident and, six months later, lost the father in a motorcycle accident.

I'm haunted by the stories I've heard in court. Stories of girls who were raped and impregnated by their fathers. A boyfriend who helplessly watched his girlfriend — the woman he planned to marry — be shot to death. I've beheld the disgrace of a senior U.S. District Court judge stripped of his Regan appointment after he did blow with an exotic dancer and threatened to shoot up her dealer.

This is a crazy world. My job has opened my eyes to that. I live differently because of my interactions with these people during profound moments in their lives. This job elicits the gamut of emotions. It's no wonder I'm tired!

Okay, when I really think about it, this has been one pretty amazing job!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

From the Ground Up

I'm so proud of my husband!

I'm happy to announce that he's been awarded the bid to develop the website for a conference center that's being built in Newnan. He's a freelance web developer and this is definitely the biggest project he's participated in. Go, hubs!

His career has really taken off in the past 2 years. He graduated from Auburn with a degree in design but decided that his passion lies with technology. Blows my mind that he's self-taught in this business (by day he's the paper's director of Information Technology). His web development business marries his talents for geek stuff AND design.

He's doing great business, and he's never even had to advertise! Praise God for the extra income, too! ;-)

Here are a few of his most recent websites, in case you want to take a gander:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Look Ahead

I'm always happy to see what my husband comes up with next for our flower boxes.

Check these out:

And, on top of being beautiful (whatever they are!), they're attracting butterflies and hummingbirds — which totally remind me of our Jamaican honeymoon!

Here are the new hanging baskets we got to replace our dead ferns:

In all honesty though, after we OD'd on yard work leading up to July Fourth, we let our yard GO! Everything died. You remember those peppers I was growing?? Gone! Last weekend, shame prompted us to take action. Things are looking good again, though we still have a lot of weeding left. And, we actually cleaned off and used our patio and grill Sunday to make delish cedar-planked salmon!

I don't know about y'all, but we're looking forward to fall and the absence of mosquitos! The cooler weather this week has been just what we needed! In our household, fall means family holiday adventures (the boy LOVES Halloween), the return of red wine, porch sitting and just overall happiness!

There are a lot of things brewing on the horizon for us. We have a really busy fall approaching — I'm helping throw a b-rette party and I'm going to be in my friend's wedding, to name a couple of things. Plus, Jonathan and I are approaching our one-year anniversary. Big things are coming!

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's a Celebration!

Happy b-day to my BFF Amy!

I drove 1 million miles this weekend to and around Columbia, SC, for Amy — and it was so worth it! Luckily I had a riding buddy, my other BFF, Lezlee :-) (Actually, when we're together it's Lizlee)

We all had a weekend packed with excitement. On Saturday evening we grilled and then attended Brew at the Zoo at Riverbanks Zoo in Cola. Then, on Sunday, Amy had her first wedding shower — she's getting married EXACTLY 2 months from today! Lezlee and I get to be bridesmaids in her wedding. Ain't we special...

(LtoR: Amy, me, Lezlee, and Amy's sister, Jenny...this was the only minute of the event that it wasn't pouring—rain that is!)

(The rest of the night we looked like this!)

(Love my Amy—and her awesome dress)

(Amy and her sweet mom)

(Lezlee fashioned a bouquet out of ribbons)

(My girls being goofy...hehe)

(Can you spot Amy in her sea of gifts?)

(Yay, presents!)

(The pink food room)

(Amy cutting her cake)

Here's some of the decor:

(Loved this cake server!)

I'm really looking forward to Amy's bachelorette weekend in the mountains in less than a month! She better get ready b/c Lezlee and I have some fun surprises in store ;-)