With my recently announced expanded role at The Valley News and Essex Independent, I thought I would take some time to reintroduce myself and let you all in on how I came to The Valley News in the first place.

When I was in college, I thought I wanted to be a language arts teacher, but upon practicum decided teaching was not the best fit for me. So, after working at the Nemaha County Sheriff’s Office as a 911 dispatcher and jailer for several years, I moved to northwest Wisconsin to start a new life.

After four years there, I returned to southwest Iowa unsure of what I was going to do or where I was going to go. I did know one thing, I was broke and needed a job.

While I was sending out resumes to places in Chicago, Denver and Dallas, I applied for an advertising representative position at The Valley News in Shenandoah. My thought was to just get a job and save up money to move elsewhere.

A call came from The Valley News for an interview, but not in sales. On my resume they had noticed I had taken English and journalism classes, as well as had written for my college newspaper. I went in for the interview with the same goal in mind, get a job, save money until better job comes along, leave area.

Although I did not enjoy my experiences at the college newspaper, when offered a staff writer position at The Valley News I decided to accept, as it would only be temporary.

Twelve years later and I have been named Editor-in-Chief by BH Media officials, I am celebrating 10 years of marriage on Sept. 29, and have the most amazing son who is 6.

I am living a blessed life although it is not even remotely close to what I had planned in my head when I was in high school, or college, or even following that, but God has his own plans, doesn’t he?

I hadn’t worked at The Valley News very long when my aunt Sharon, co-worker Rhonda and friend from high school, Jamie, tried to set me up with this “too nice” single guy who had his own business.

Regardless of how hard they tried, I was not interested in dating, anyone. I was still healing from a longtime relationship gone bad, and while Sharon and Jamie backed off, Rhonda was persistent.

She gave this young man my phone number even though I told her not to. She told him to call me, even though I asked her not to. He called, we spoke on the phone and yes, he was nice and funny.

He asked if we could meet sometime and to get him to leave me alone, I told him I was covering a CD release party at The Depot and we could meet there. We met and he was not only nice and funny, but handsome. We have been together since. I have made plenty of poor decisions in my life; too many to be able to say which one was my poorest. However, it is easy for me to say that the smartest decision I ever made was agreeing to meet Bryan that night. He is a wonderful man who has given me more than I deserve.

On a side note, Sharon, Jamie and Rhonda do not know one another, but each of them were trying to set me up with Bryan.

In addition to a great husband, I have a handsome, smart, funny, kind son, Colt, who is a first grader at Essex Community Schools. I have no idea what I did in my life to deserve such a blessing – but whatever it was, it must have been good! He is my heart, the love of my life, plain and simple.

The three of us live on a beautiful farm near the Bethesda Church. Being in the country allows me the escape I need and want after being surrounded by people daily. Sharing our home and farm are a school carnival feeder fish, Feather, a swirled tabby, Yellow, an orphaned bottle calf, Chi Chi, a Blue Heeler/Catahoula puppy, Hair Drier and a 20 head cow-calf operation.

In a million years I never would have imagined myself in the newspaper business but it is a career a love. I’d like to thank each of you for allowing me to entertain and inform you over the past 12 years. Without our advertisers and our readers, I wouldn’t have this job.

God Bless you all.

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