Ever Faithful


Okay. So I squelched in my New Year’s resolution to blog at least once a week. I’m only human. And for once, it had nothing to do with the lack of material or the desire to remain private over lame or negative life situations to post. Truth be told, I have been so abundantly blessed in the last two weeks that my head can’t even keep it all straight. The provisions of my needs and wants are practically immeasurable and yet to do service to what I stand for, I must share with all of you.

My last blog post was an explanation as to why my birthday and Valentine’s Day is typically ignored on my end. It wasn’t to sound negative, but to give a background as to why I have been so negative toward them for so long. In my defense, I admitted that despite all of my so-called failures and unhappiness in the past year, I was vigilantly faithful that God was about to turn it all around for me… naturally after a few small moments of “why me?!” every now and again. Like I said, I’m only human. I was “coming out of my desert”, nearing a final breakthrough. Almost immediately upon posting that blog, my breakthrough began and I haven’t really had time to stop and catch my breath, or process the extraordinary turn of events in my life. Continue reading

Dear 16-year-old ‘Me’…


Recently, I came across a video that moved me, called “Dear 16-Year-old Me“. It was a video about Melanoma and how “we” (as a general use) would like to warn ourselves of the dangers of even one bad sunburn before the age of 18. It’s starts out with a bit of humor, warning about perms and that you actually have to practice to get better at the guitar, but quickly transforms into a collection of people communicating to their 16 year-old-self  about the fears and trials they are going to face with this skin cancer. Each one – a personal flare to it. Really, it’s moving and I  encourage every one to check this video out, pass it on to a 16 year-old.

However, I do not have melanoma and this is not about skin cancer. The video inspired me in other ways.

As the people in the video begin speaking to their 16-year-old self, I wondered, “What would I warn my 16 year-old self?”

Wow. Where do I freakin’ begin?

Dear 16 year-old ‘Me’,

Stop coloring your hair blonde; it looks funny with your thick, dark eyebrows and doesn’t complement your skin tone in the least. It just isn’t natural and it won’t at all make you more popular.Enjoy the size you are now in spite of the ridicule you’ve been enduring from others. Your mom is right, they really are jealous. And by the time you are in your 30’s your metabolism will drop and gravity will be working against you. Your jean size willsee double digits, so learn how to excercise and eat healthy now. It’s harder to convert a lifestyle as you get older.
But remember, your size will in no way change your beauty.

Don’t play with the radio when you’re driving. You are not invincible and neither is your car and you risk the chance of getting into a one-car accident that will break your sister’s collarbone as well as her trust in your driving. Your 1979 Chevy Malibu will be totaled and that’s a heavy financial burden on your family.

So what if you’re a virgin? By the time you reach college you will no longer hear derision over the matter and instead admiration from mature friends. Hang on to it as long as possible, because it really is more than just a physical act. It’s the sharing of one’s soul and people can be fickle with your heart. It’s not an easy recovery when they change their mind after the deed is done.

Spend quality time with your family. By the time you’re 20, you will lose the grandmother you’re closest to. She’ll be diagnosed with cancer during Christmas of your sophomore year of college and will not see even Thanksgiving of the following year.

You will move out on your own at 21 and begin to see how the lives of your family members are beginning to branch out on their own as well. Embrace it, but don’t take the time you have with them now for granted.

Don’t judge others so quickly for the mistakes they make and circumstances they’ve been given in life; let your soapbox rest. You may know better, but you’re only flesh – you’re not perfect either. That girl who got pregnant out-of-wedlock? The boy who can’t afford a winter jacket? It could easily be you at any given time.

Please stop gossiping. It makes you look untrustworthy and ignorant and it is no way to keep or make friends.

Singing loudly does not constitute as singing better. You’re hurting yourself and you should treat your vocal cords like gold. By the time you’re 18, you will develop nodules. This will be one time you will not pass off a hoarse voice as an allergy infection and you will catch the problem early to correct it.

And accept the fact that you aren’t going to sing in the same key as an original artist. Just because Barbara Streisand sings  “My Man” in A-flat doesn’t mean it won’t sound just as wonderful if you do it in G. Besides, why are even singing Streisand? In 7 years, you will resign from theatre work. Believe or not, you will study jazz in college and when you are 29, you’ll play bluegrass and then move to acoustic pop. That’s right, I said play. You’re more than just a vocalist; you can be a musician. And you will be a good one. Don’t sell yourself short. Why don’t you try writing music as well? I think you’d be great at it.

And while we’re on the subject of music: You can hide all you want from that still small voice that speaks to your heart, but eventually you’ll give in and it will fulfill you beyond your imagination. Don’t allow your mother’s opinion of Worship music deflect you from what you were called to do. She is only human and wants what’s best for you – what she is comfortable with. But you are you’re own person.

Hold fast to your faith in Christ. In college, your faith will become shaky, even to the point you will be considered agnostic for a short period of time. Remember that your mom and dad raised you with a strong foundation of belief and would never lead you astray. And no matter how far your think you’ve gone, Christ is always in front of you with His arms wide open; always ready to take you back, because you can’t really run from Him if He is yours and you are His.

Worship how you are led, though. That is between you and God; let no judgement affect you. Who are you to judge how the Spirit of God looks and how to praise Him? You will eventual step out of that mold you were raised in – and it will be bittersweet and scary – but you’re doing right by you and your children.

Yes, you will have children.

That doctor you went to in college was wrong. You are fertile. Very fertile. Be prepared.

Jealousy will get you nowhere. It’ll simply eat you from within. Stop comparing yourself to other vocalists you know. You are all amazing in your own right. Amazing and different – there is no comparison so don’t let others feed that idea into your head.

Do NOT date that guy, even though you will anyway. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. He really is cheating on you and he will dump you by the end of the year so he can marry the other girl. Try not to let it get you down or break you. Trust me, you didn’t want that kind of future. You deserve so much better.

And try to forget the other guy. Well, don’t forget; just move on. You will continue to be involved on and off for the next few years, but if you look hard enough, you’ll see that it was truly all done and over with when he moved. You will put too much effort into something that won’t last. It may be a learning experience, but you’re also closing your eyes to other possibilities because of him – though no fault of his. And what’s wrong with being single?

You do not have the makings to be a cheerleader so don’t waste a summer trying to learn when your mother comes up with the brilliant idea that you can get scholarships that way. Being a cheerleader is your sisters’ thing. You will not spend a dime for school anyway. You’re talented.

For goodness’ sake, Do your homework. Changing a report card every 6 weeks is exhausting and that last stretch before you graduate will practically give you a nervous breakdown when it becomes questionable that you’ll graduate. This is what happens when you are dishonest with your parents. It isn’t worth it unless you consider the experience as book-worthy.

Yes, you will write a book. Writing will become a big focus of yours.

Be thankful that your parents are still married and love each other deeply. Show empathy to those whose parents have divorced. It’s hard on them, even when they don’t show it. Someday, you will be a part the statistics and your children will experience a hurt that you’ve never fully grasped. Be patient with them and show them love. Don’t feel guilty for your decision though. You did what you thought was best for everyone involved.

Dear 16 year-old ‘Me’:

Relax. It’s just a breakup; it wasn’t in God’s plan and He wants you happy. You will be happy. It’s just money. It can’t buy happiness. It’s just a transition; you will adapt and overcome.

It’s just a diagnosis; not the end of the world. Over 17 million people suffer from it. A doctor will tell you at 19 that you too have a chemical imbalance called clinical depression. Try not to wallow in that, though it may seem impossible at times not to. At 21 you’ll consider suicide. Don’t. It’s a selfish way out and in spite of what your brain tells you, many will be devastated by your loss. You have so much potential. Tune in to CBS the night you sit at your dorm room window before Christmas break. Linus Van Pelt will remind you that Jesus came to the Earth to give peace. In that instant you will find that peace and go home to collect yourself. It will be a struggle, but you’re a fighter.

And God gave us two P’s to help us. Prayer and Prozac.

Slow down. Walking fast everywhere you go and driving in a hurry doesn’t increase your time for other things, it only increases you chances of an accident or make you miss the sweeter & simpler things in life. Besides, I don’t think a few more seconds is going to make that much of a difference in time management.

Don’t act unappreciative over the birthday parties your mother throws for you. Eventually, the parties will stop. And when you’re 30, in battle to embrace a milestone you so desperately want to reject, you will have to throw your own party, because your husband at the time forgot your birthday altogether.

I know you’re bored with horror movies right now. They haven’t been the same since the early 80’s. But in a few years Wes Craven will put out a movie called Scream and will revamp your enjoyment of this genre. A few years after that, a new breed of horror will take the genre by an independent film called the Blair Witch Project. Some will hate it. You will love it…but it will also make you motion sick.

Avoid Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween. Only bathing yourself in acid can make the tainting of that film go away.

Go to your senior prom stag or you will be miserable with the date you choose.

In two years your family will finally buy a computer and you will be introduced to the internet. It will literally be information at your fingertips and you will never research in a library again. High school will be over, so this will piss you off, but at least you can still utilize it in college.

And you will be mind-blown with its possibilities when you become an adult.

Being 20 does not make you an adult and you don’t have the all the answers at 25. You sound dumb when you act as if you do.

Crossville is your hometown. I know you hate it. But every time life kicks you down, you’re only able to get on your feet and dust yourself on when you’re back home. It’s much like Scarlett O’Hara and her beloved Tara Plantation…just less dramatic and sensational.

Don’t ever try a Starbucks’ latte. It’ll be like crack to you. Not only will you spend a ton of money on this habit, but your butt and thighs will reap what you sow. But it will taste so darn good.

Relying on someone to support you financially is a mistake. You will leave your job behind and when you divorce at 34, you will not only be broke but have a large employment gap during a bad time in America’s economy. Being hired somewhere will be difficult, but it will happen. Keep faith during this struggle.

Be selfish. Enjoy that, because when you are 26 your life will center around a beautiful baby boy instead and selfishness will have to be a thing of the past. Don’t laugh too hard at your parents’ stories about you as a child. Your second child will give you a run for your money. Be patient with him and guide him the best you can. He has a good heart, he’s just mischievous and stubborn – like you.

Your marching shoes are in no way to be worn off the field. They provide no traction in the halls of your school and you will fall and break your elbow during Homecoming week. Like a nerd, you will be wearing a poodle skirt for 50’s day and your underwear will make an appearance. (This is why they tell you not to run in the hallways.) Some people will not forget this incident, but don’t worry. Eventually, you’ll find it humorous too.

If you don’t taste banana in the punch then you can go ahead and stop drinking the punch because 99 Bananas is not part of a fruity recipe. It will all reappear that evening with the frozen pizza you ate earlier. You will never eat frozen pizza again. But the lesson will be learned.

You’re still listening to Debbie Gibson religiously though she is gone from the public eye already. It’s okay that you enjoy her music, but know that she does not make a come back. And don’t buy the playboy issue with her spread in it. She does this to show people how she’s grown up. It’s stupid. And you look like a lesbian even if you are just buying it for the article.

That guy who lied about sleeping with you? Don’t worry about it. You weren’t even dating him so no one really believes him. You have a good reputation, too. He’ll continue lying about things as an adult and behind his back will be a group of your mutual adult friends laughing at him. Chances are that if he’s still lying at 35, he’s sick.

Continue taking piano lessons and don’t let your husband give your piano away for free just because you’re moving to an upstairs apartment.

Be bold.

Be brave.

If you change your mind about something, then change it and don’t be ashamed.

Dear 16-year-old ‘Me’:

Love yourself. It seems to be the hardest thing for you to do sometimes.

Life is short so try as many things as possible while you are still breathing and young enough to enjoy it.

35 is still very young.

Take care of your skin. Wash it regularly and moisturize it.

Sleep. If you’re tired, sleep. It keeps you healthy and young-looking. And I promise you won’t miss much during your down time.

Cut back on Mello-Yellos…well, sodas, in general. They’re bad for your teeth. No matter how tired you are before you go to bed, brush them. Every night. No exceptions.

Spend your money wisely. Start making good financial habits for yourself.

Don’t wear orange. It may be your favorite color, but it’s not appealing on you. Get the charcoal colored sweater instead.

Don’t sell your banjo. Your best friend may want to learn to play someday – or at least toy with the idea of learning.

Finish college. Don’t major in music or theater. Major in a Plan B.

Avoid Myspace and Facebook if you can. Sure, you will be able to catch up with friends and family better than way, but it will consume too much of your valuable time with no benefit in return. It will also make you look as if you have no life.

Follow your instincts. $6,000 is a lot of money to invest on a business you really have no faith in – so don’t. You’ll lose it all within a month.

And lastly, 16-year-old ‘Me’, know that you are not alone. You never have been and you never will be. You have friends and family that will stick by you even in your lowest of times.

And a Father who holds a boundless love for you even when you don’t believe in Him.

He will bring you back and you’ll be better than ever.

You will not peak at 16 and be done with like so many others. You will stay on top as long as you desire. It’s always your choice.

Love,

34-year-old  ‘Me’

P.S. You can do this! I believe in you.

Realistic Resolutions part 2


And so the time has come… Get ready, this is a lengthy blog. Grab a cup o’joe and relax as you read for a bit.

First, let me give you all a big HAPPY NEW YEAR! I pray that everyone is showered with love and blessings this coming year.

I, for one, am glad to see 2011 gone. Not to sound like a Debbie-downer, but surely I’m not the only person on this earth that felt like 2011 royally sucked (for lack of better words).

In 2011 I suffered a deeper depression than I have ever been through. I struggled with new footings as a divorcee. I suffered such an unimaginable loss – so great that I realized the term brokenhearted was vastly an understatement … a newer term I’ve yet to come up with. First my heart was occupied with pain, then just emptiness. Occasionally, the pain would return for a pounding. I struggled with unemployment. My laptop crashed. I struggled with identity, not just as a human being, but as a mother and a musician. As a one, not a plus one. I lost faith. I was broke. I was angry with God. Stress aged me. For the first time in my life, I struggled with weight. Not five or ten pounds – I’m talking WEIGHT! Guess what? I look horrible chubby. Not only do I look horrible and OLDER, but I feel horrible & OLDER. I battled rage. I battled my do over.

But I refuse to enter in this new year with baggage from the last. Some things will continue to hurt in the next year… maybe some will hurt forever. And plus, I was blessed with some of the most precious encounters this year. Few, but amazing enough to fight to balance out the year.

So I release them as I think fondly…

I found that in the midst of a divorce – that even though many have spoken out of turn and assumed as to why it happened and who was at fault – who my true friends are and that my mom was right when she said years ago that my closest and most trustworthy friends could be counted on one hand alone.

My mom is one of them. Sure, like any mother & daughter who are forced to live together under some unappealing circumstances (like a divorce), I could strangle her to death at times. But over all, at the end of the day, I know she has my back and that my stresses bleed onto others – as if they don’t have daily stresses of their own to deal with. My sisters, Mandy & Jess – holy crap, how is it possible to even have three women of three very different personalities all on the same “schedule” and after a tad of cattiness, still be best friends? Only God makes this possible by sisterhood. My dad? Sure he’s a friend. Who else can I talk “Days of Our Lives” and politics with? (Yes, I just outed my DOOL-closeted fan dad for the new year.)

Then there are the friends that should be family with the way we come together. Holly, who checks in from time to time. Prays for me. Confides in me. I question why weren’t friends in high school. Jen. She’s probably one of my greatest local supporters whether we are talking music, books, or my hair. I now get to worship with her from time to time and nothing can bond a friendship stronger than a mutual love for God. And then there’s my Matty. Amazing and wonderful in every essence. Funny – even if the humor is only something he & I can grasp. Quirky. Neurotic. Spiritual. The Dawson to my Joey. The Laurie to my Jo. He’s my best friend… and more so. He’s dragged and put me in places that I was destined to be so I could finally find my spiritual path again…well, actually it’s a new path. One I’ve never been on before. He pulls me out of darkness by just a simple text message or mischievous grin. Even an unfiltered joke. He’s irreplaceable as far as friends go… as far a human beings go. Love doesn’t even cover what I feel for this guy. Muchly.

I was able to spend the better part of the year doing what I do best at and what I love. Music. I was unemployed, but where I was not bringing in a steady check, God showed provision. I gigged regularly and made good money. Though nothing quite felt in line until October. Maybe because it had been spoken over me last January that God was going to use me – use my voice. I denied this at first. Tried avoiding it at every turn for a while. Then, there was a stirring for something greater. A stirring I had been ignoring my whole life. I didn’t seek it out. The opportunity presented itself when God felt it was time. His time. I did my first worship service in November. lead my first service in early December. Even visited another church on Christmas Day to lead Worship as well. The music fills me almost as much as His love does. For the first time in my life, I play music where I not only feel unhindered in my expression (spiritual expression, in fact), but don’t suffer from Ricky-Bobby syndrome as far as what to do with my hands. Did you all know that that’s why I’ve always made a point to play an instrument? Besides wanting to be taken seriously as a musician, I didn’t know what to do with my hands. Even watching performers on television move their hands in expression, made me uncomfortable.

Not here. Not with God. In worship, I am no longer myself, but only a vessel for his Message & Love.

Because of my divorce, I am no longer obsessing with how miserable I am or what went wrong. That energy is now being spent on getting to know my boys. Aidan is the personification of compassion and creativity. Ethan is the epitome of  courage and fun. I look forward to this next year of learning more about them and see how time molds them.

I became a published writer. I self-published my first book ever in early 2011. By July, I had three offers from small publishing companies. I made my choice and now ShadowShifter will be re-published this Winter of 2012. Meanwhile, I am wrapping up on its sequel book, Lycanthrope. I learned that I enjoy writing and though I may not be a Stephen King or Anne Rice, I’m still pretty good at it. Different, but good.

I went on some fabulous hikes and camping trips.

I made new friends.

I gained three new families… My Grace Community Family, my Global Fire Family, and The Clyde Family. No, I do not feel like my Ellis family was insufficient, but I enjoy extensions for sure.

I got a new niece. Affectionately referred to as “Bree-bree”. (Her name is Aubree)

Captain America became one of my newest boyfriends.

Transformers 3 kicked major A.

Though I am not done with the full trilogy, I was able to sneak in The Hunger Games (books 1 & 2) by the end of 2011. And I do not over-exaggerate this. As I finished Book #2, Catching Fire, I looked down at my watch and saw it roll from 11:59 to 12:00. These books are AMAZING. I haven’t finished book #3, Mockingjay, but I have faith that Suzanne Collins isn’t going to bomb with a Breaking Dawn-like fizzle. Read these books!

I read the life-altering book, The Shack. I will never see things the same way again.

I got better at guitar.

I started playing piano again.

I released an all acoustic CD called Just Me.

I got to see Mindy Smith in a stand alone concert.

I GOT TO SEE NORAH JONES!

I saw Les Miserables.

The Walking Dead came back… and will return again on my birthday in a little over a month from now. So far, this season has not disappointed.

I was able to get back to the Winding Staircase (a beautiful waterfall hidden in Lafayette, TN) for the first time since I was 22. I can’t wait to take my boys there this year. Many family/childhood memories from that place.

I flew on an airplane without drinking alcohol or taking a xanax… and I didn’t freak out… not too badly, anyway.

I got a Kindle for Christmas. 🙂

I will not send 2011 off with a kiss but a simple wave. Bittersweet. 2012, I welcome you with open arms. You will not be flawless. You will not be perfect, for I am not perfect. I do not plan to change my imperfections, they will just change to other imperfections.

I embrace 2011 for what it was. A season – a hard one. A season of learning. A season of testing. You see… I was born into a Christian family, saved by Jesus’ blood & God’s wonderful grace by the age of 10. I know nothing more than what I have been given. I’ve never had a real struggle in my life aside from my diagnosed depression. God has had plans for me – long before I was even born. He has work for me to do and he doesn’t want some “waffling-warrior” on the front lines. I’m being put to the test. He knows I’ll pass. There are no right or wrong answers as long as I put my Faith in Him. You know that saying “what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”? This is it. 2011 didn’t kill me. At times, I thought it had killed my spirit to the point where I would not be able to pick myself back up off the ground… until I surrendered to Him – His love. His grace. His mercy. His destiny for me. These struggles, he has not forced on  upon me, but has allowed them to enter. I’m building character. He’s preparing me, to place me on the front lines. His desires, at last, have become mine.

2012 will a year of revelation for me. I will actually break through these trials and step into where I belong, bringing on a whole new and exciting journey.

In this journey, these are my resolutions. My realistic resolutions…

1. I want to know my Father’s love for me. Deeper than I’ve really ever known before. To love Him is to know Him… just as He knows me. I know Him through intimacy and His Word. In His love, I want to drown myself and never return, making me a different person spiritually. I want to hear His voice when He calls and not question if it’s really Him or myself. Aside from Worship, he wants me to broaden myself for His work, to counsel others. Empathize. Help. For far too long, I’ve been too self-absorbed. He has called me to show compassion for others who may be experiencing the same, less or more than my own hardships. People will see Christ through me as I follow His lead in this pursuit.

What do you think My mid-life Do Over is? I’m reaching out to others who are divorced or turning over a new leaf. I’m following His lead, so that others can see my lead. Leading by example.

2. I’m going to work even harder on my relationship with my boys. They are at a crucial time in their life, growing up as men. The more I speak to them, the more I listen… the more my life and walk with Jesus will influence them and stick with them in the long run. Besides, they are amazing little human beings with so much hope & possibility!

Gosh, I love my minions.

3. I’m going to write more. This last year I’ve been solely focused on Lycanthrope because I can’t manage my writing time well enough. My goal is to post a blog a week – here and/or my other Author’s blog site, “I’m a Writer! When Did that Happen?

This also includes songwriting.

And I will be writing more books. Many different kinds – however I am led. Not just paranormal romance, but I am heavy in heart to start an actual “Mid Life Do Over” book.

A romance book. An all-out thriller. So much in my head is screaming to get out.

4. I hope to post a new music video of myself every week. Sigh… the hardest part about this is the make up & hair. Wish I could just roll out of bed & just record, but who wants to watch Pee-Wee Herman’s Large Marge croak out a tune? *shudder*

5. I’m investing more time in my relationship with Matt. It’s too special to pass it off as a casual friendship. I’d like us to spend more time in God-talk, prayer… making Him the center of our friendship. That’s what it’s all about. I know it sounds strange, but it’s what God has laid upon my heart.

6. I’m going to camp more and take part in many more outdoor adventures! Oh yeah….

7. I’m going to get healthier. ah-ha! I didn’t say lose weight – though it is sort of the plan. I’m going to get to a point where I look and feel good about myself again. Take off the ten years I feel I’ve put on in the last year. If I think I’m cute, then I will not look at a scale to verify that for me. Healthy. This also means cutting back on my caffeine consumption. I started this a few weeks ago already and have been fairly successful at it. I’ve been replacing my usual 3 – 4 cups of coffee with caffeine free tea. Already, I’ve felt a change! And sleep. Unless writing beckons me at night, I’m working towards an “early to bed, early to rise”.

8. I’m making my first attempt ever to learn football,  follow a team and become a fan. I’m more of a baseball girl and I hate being left out of “talks” during football season. Who’s the lucky team you may ask? Well, many things have factored in on this decision… and I realize that not everyone (especially here in Big Orange country) is going to like my choice. But isn’t that what makes it all the more fun? I didn’t want a team that EVERYONE ELSE seemed to like. Plus, I always felt that Maroon was a good color for me.

Hello, Aggies. I’m going to be your newest fan this next year. I have months to learn your game in the meantime.

9. I’m going to accept the struggles that come my way. I may have a melt down or two in them, but I’m going to smile and try my darndest to give them to God. It’s what we’re supposed to do anyway.

10. I’m going to enjoy life. All of it. Every small moment. Every secret discovery. Every sunny morning. Ever rainy afternoon. Every new blossom. Every fallen leaf. I will savor every embrace from the tiniest arms. Value every spoken word of affection. Take pleasure in every kiss – even if it may be our last. Endure and learn from every trial. Take time for thanksgiving at the beginning of every morning and at the close of every day. Life here on earth is too short.

10. I’m going to accept that I’m going to be 35. Yes, this knowledge hurts, but my age will be determined by my outlook and my approach to life. My youthful ideals. Not by the ticking of a clock. I’m going to be young for a very long time. I have too much Spirit & heart to offer.

11. My two big goals this year – as far as projects go. I’m going to work on my first full band album since 2009… Worship music. And even if it doesn’t get released this year, it will be released next year.

I also want to put out a Christmas album.

12. Matt and I are going sky diving this summer.

Every new year, we are given a do over. Every year we start with outrageous plans to make our do overs more effective. We fail most of the time. This list I have prayed on for a considerable amount of time… and it will be conquered. Even the whole Texas A & M thing. I will live this year deep in prayer & meditation, taking life one day at a time. My do over will not be wasted. 2011’s official start to my mid life do over was not wasted. It was only my start.

In closing, I leave you with a “Go, Aggies!” (haha!) and this Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

–Reinhold Niebuhr