Recently I reached my one year anniversary of writing at The Progress. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

I have learned a lot and I definitely feel more comfortable about my writing. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about how our community functions.

One thing I learned this year is that some people don’t trust me because I work at the paper. Apparently, the media is the enemy or something.

I prefer to kinda be a wallflower and blend in with the background; lay low and float under the radar. But since I need people to trust me I had to leave my comfort zone.

So I’ve had to muster up some charm and sugar to get people to like me; and I think it worked. I’ve made new friends all over town and I think people don’t cringe anymore when I walk in their door. Well, I’m sure some people still do, but maybe just not as many. But I love all the new connections I’ve made! Hi friends!!!!

I’ve also learned that people think I know everything that is going on and everyone’s business. I don’t. Although I do know quite a bit because I have that face that makes people want to spill information. But I just keep that information archived away in my brain for the future.

I’ve learned a lot about new projects and groups that are working to make our community a better place. There are a lot of amazing people in this county that work tirelessly to try and make things better. They want to see our villages be successful, accommodate new businesses and cultivate new opportunities for the residents. These people put in so much time, energy and emotion into making our community awesome and they don’t get enough credit!

I’ve learned that our county has a terrible drug problem, but we have groups and people trying to combat that epidemic. Judge Beckman is doing amazing work with Drug Court and will soon have another graduation. She is giving people hope and a purpose that others might give up on. Some of the people who have graduated, or are getting ready to graduate, are now helping other people and the cycle will keep going.

Also the new CPRP group that is still organizing and will be addressing similar issues. So many people are getting educated and involved with helping combat the drug epidemic in our community. It’s amazing!

I learned that you can’t always assume things about people. I have attended numerous hearings in court. I’ve seen people on trial and I’ve seen people sentenced for crimes. The most important thing I have learned from all of that is just because someone has a felony it does not mean they are a bad person. Good people do bad things. And the families of the perpetrators also need support. No one wants to see their child go to prison. They hurt just as much as the victims family and sometimes they are the victims also.

People with drug issues still have the potential to be amazing human beings. Being an addict does not lessen your worth as a person, nor should it affect the way you treat them. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of criminal record, political beliefs, gender or race.

I’ve also learned that if you want specific donuts from Susie’s Bakery, the best thing to do is call ahead your order the night before. Just leave a message on her machine with what you want, and she will do her best to have everything your little donut heart desires ready for you the next day. This is the best way to guarantee that unfilled long john with sprinkles finds its way to your belly.

I’ve learned that people rarely give feedback about anything that is printed in the paper, positive or negative.  It’s really discouraging when you put a lot of time and effort into a piece and hear nothing.

It’s ok to ruffle feathers. Sometimes they collect dust and you need to shake them off to get people thinking again.

I’ve learned that delegating is a magical thing and that it’s totally OK to do it when you get overwhelmed. It’s OK to ask for help and it’s OK to not understand everything.

I’ve learned that it’s very important to have a drawer full of candy and snacks because once 2 p.m. hits I’m struggling.

The most important thing I’ve learned this year is that we have a lot of great people in our community and I’ve gotten to know more of them over this past year. I’m excited for what will happen this year and for new events and changes that are coming. Thank you to everyone for making my first year here a success!