thanks for sharing with us your 18 years of heartfelt effort. From the twinkle in your eye and the cooing the first time I held you, I could tell you're a fighter with a zest for life. It could be said that your birth was a miracle: twice while still in the womb you picked just the right time and way to alert Dr. Deseay you wanted to live. When things get rough, and you wonder "why", take it from a first time Dad that saw the birth, the twinkle, and the smile over and over; your life is a miracle: Never forget that. You and I never had the big battles so many parents and kids have over their independence; nevertheless, I can tell you yearn to take control over your life. Never feel guilty for wanting this. Nor should you let this responsibility overwhelm you until you cede control just so you don't have to make the tough decisions that will make you who you will become.

Over the next few years there will be plenty of people that will try to replace Mom and Dad. Suitors, bosses, even teachers and preachers will all try to exploit you to make you into something you are not. Some may be trying to enlarge their power, but others are simply passionate and want to mold you into their passions no matter the mismatch. Be true to yourself.

Over the next few years try to discover who that is. Try new things. Take classes, just to explore something. Go places just to meet different people. Take risks. Do not settle just to settle. I know it is tough, sometimes you may not know your major, may not have a job, may not have boyfriend, or may not have a group of friends to hang out with on a weekend and money will be tight. But each of these things is too foundational to pick the wrong ones.

It is scary and disheartening to think you may not be needed or wanted. But never be too afraid of the unknown to quit. When you find yourself without these anchors, then is the times to double down have confidence and invest in you. If it is not working for you, be quick to admit you made a mistake and reverse course.

However, on the other side, once you see both the potential and the real cost and you believe in something or someone and enjoy your work, do not look back. If you decide it is for you, do not trade your responsibility for the thrill of the chase, or to keep dreaming rather than face the harshness of the real world. Neither should you give up because it is too hard or not as easy as you thought.

But most of all trust in yourself when others say you cannot, it is impossible, or that only the lucky "make it" in that world if you really want it and know that you are made for it. The critics maybe right about the luck needed. The critics are always right that effort required would be too monumental if there is no passion. But for the passionate, effort is child's play and sacrifice is a perfect fit for those built for the job.

Perhaps the secret to controlling your universe is believing in others. Call it God or Karma, but "what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again". Therefore, look for what others bring to the table, rather than define them by their weaknesses. Look for the good in others.

This is how you find favor with other because this is how they see themselves. They believe what they bring to the table is of the utmost importance. They then can return the favor. Those that do the same for all are those that you should trust, rely on, and bring close. These are the people that will make you prosper and bring you happiness. Recognizing the richness that others bring to your life in return will bring you love. When you look for and believe the good in others only then you can see it and believe it about yourself. Recognizing what you bring to the world, and will then help you find the richness that makes you, "YOU".

Love always,



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