When I was 16 I ran for student body president. I thought I had a great campaign, my slogan was, “Way deep inside you know you need Deanell,” it was a line from a Led Zeppelin song and I was sure that everyone would connect. My speech included a lot about women’s rights and genuine leadership capabilities that women innately carry. True to the nature of high school and teenagers, the captain of the football team won. I was depressed and had just experienced one of the first heartbreaks of my life. I began at that moment to understand that everything does not always go my way, although everything does turn out exactly as it should.

My grandma from Colorado was visiting us in Idaho during that time. I remember very clearly, her coming into my room and talking to me about my loss. She handed me a small laminated folded card. One side contained a simple “slogan” and inside it contained twelve steps, the rules for Alcoholics Anonymous. She talked to me about bravery and strength and that while things did not work out this time I should continue to try. The “slogan” on the card was the Serenity prayer.

“God give me the strength to understand the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

Regardless of your religious belief system, I think we can all relate to this in some form or another.

I ask myself and I ask you, what can you change? What is within your grasp that will make a difference in your life? Whether it is overcoming addiction or reorganizing a closet, one step forward is still all it takes.

I continue to be struck by my grandmother’s kindness and the fact that compared to struggling with alcoholism my setback must have seemed so small and insignificant, yet in that moment she understood my sadness and empathized completely with my struggle

My grandmother passed away several years ago and while I miss her all of the time, I still have that card and still hold on to the wisdom that she shared.

I wish you the courage to change the things that you can.

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