Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The broken beautiful...

I started this blog six years ago tomorrow...a little fact I just stumbled upon. I didn't even realize it might be the reason I felt compelled to write again today.

Six years ago I was sort of lost, looking for a lot of answers, with some sliver of hope that getting my words out there would make a difference somehow. And I would love to say that in those six years I've found myself, or had some massive revelations, or made a big impact, but the truth is I still feel a little lost sometimes...and I am still trying to figure it all out. I'm not sure that will ever change.

What has changed is me, overall. I'm not the same person I was six years ago, everything I've done and said and lived since then has molded me into who I am today. But in some ways I still feel the same. Still fiercely loyal, still naively hopeful, still believing that broken can be beautiful. 

What hasn't changed are the reasons I started blogging in the first place. The need to get my thoughts out of my head and onto a page. The overwhelming desire to be known by many, yet truly loved by few.

It kind of all began by embracing this idea of being broken and being ok with it. A weird concept to some, but to me it just made sense. I can't remember now if it was inspired by Donald Miller's words in "Blue Like Jazz", or interpreting lyrics to a Lifehouse song (or two or three), but what I do remember is feeling like I finally saw something that had been there all along. This truly beautiful part of life that happens when you accept the broken parts for what they are instead of being defined by them.

Six years later I'm still broken and still trying to understand and embrace what it means to be ok with it. In that brokenness I've cried a lot, laughed a lot, and learned a lot. I'm sure there's plenty more of that to come too.

As I've waded through the ups and downs of life over the past six years I've tried to embrace a few simple truths...

We were made to love and be loved. To know and be known. To share the best and worst parts of ourselves with others. To understand we are each a story still being written. And maybe most importantly, that we're worth it. Broken parts and all.

"I know that I don't bring a lot to the table, just little pieces of a broken heart. There's days I wonder if You'll still be faithful, hold me together when I fall apart? Would You remind me now of who You are?

That Your love will never change, that there's healing in your name, that You can take broken things, and make them beautiful. You took my shame and You walked out of the grave, so Your love can take broken things and make them beautiful.

I'm better off when I begin to remember, how You have met me in my deepest pain. So give me glimpses now of how You have covered, all of my heart ache, oh with all Your grace. Remind me now that You can make a way...

That Your love will never change, that there's healing in your name, that You can take broken things, and make them beautiful. You took my shame and You walked out of the grave, so Your love can take broken things and make them beautiful.

You say that You'll turn my weeping into dancing, remove my sadness & cover me with joy. You say your scars are the evidence of healing, that You can make the broken beautiful..." Ellie Holcomb

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Oh what a beautiful life...

I was listening to the radio the other morning on my long drive into work when a song came on by an artist I'd never heard of before. With no better options on the other stations, I decided to give it a listen. And I'm glad I did. The song was called "Beautiful Life" by Nick Fradiani and listening to the lyrics that day made me keenly aware of just how much I have to be grateful for. So much has happened over the past few months, it's hard to know where to begin.

Let's start with the munchkins...way back at the end of October, this sweet little pumpkin turned 2. Good thing it only took that long for him to decide Aunt C was pretty ok, even if nowhere near a close substitute for mom.  He loves chocolate ice cream and being chased around the kitchen and on a very rare occasion sharing some snuggles. And quite frankly he's pretty great, even when he's screaming about changing out of his jammies (pronounced jah-mies). Life is rough at 2 1/2.

Not to be overlooked is his very silly and vivacious older sister, who just turned 5. Five. I don't know how she grew up so fast. It's like we blinked and this tiny baby turned into this funny, princess and mermaid obsessed little person. She is stubborn and spirited and loving all at once. It's been a true joy watching her personality grow and change over the years. I'm so glad she still thinks Aunt C is cool, I'll take it for as long as I can get it.

Back to October. It was actually a pretty busy month in the Pence household. Between 2nd birthdays and baby bro's wedding, it was just one celebration after another. Not a bad way to spend the month if you ask me. Scott and Emily have been together for what feels like forever, since way back when they were just a couple of college kids. Well they're still kids to me. It was truly a privilege to watch them stand up in front of all their friends and family and profess their love for each other. Certainly know how to make a big sister proud.

And not too long after that we were excited to learn they would soon become parents themselves. Another little niece on her way. The end of September can't come fast enough! 

Not a bad few months right? Oh it doesn't stop there. 

A couple of weeks ago I had the extreme honor of sharing a very special moment in my bestie's life. Her engagement. I'm not sure there is anything you want more than to see your friend happy, to find someone truly worthy of their heart. Sometimes it takes a lot of heartache to get there, but I'm pretty sure it's worth it in the end. I can't wait to see what the future holds for these 2, and I look forward to being there every step of the way. That's what besties are for after all.

You never know when inspiration will find you...for me, I'm just glad I chose to listen.

"...oh what a beautiful life, oh what a beautiful life..."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Listen to your heart...

I'm going to warn you now...if you don't know what tomorrow is, this post may not be for you.  Sorry about that.  For all of you that do know (well ok even if you don't)...keep reading!

In case you aren't aware by now I am a HUGE college sports fan.  I quite literally live and breathe it every day.  And tomorrow is national signing day, which for grown ups is like Christmas Day and Draft Day combined into one glorious package.  It's absolutely brilliant.  Especially now with a lot of the "big" announcements being covered live by ESPNU and other various media outlets.  There is even a camera whose sole purpose is to watch signed letters come in on a fax machine.  A fax machine! 

We salivate over the number of stars a recruit has or the overall ranking assigned to them based on their high school or junior college career.  We can't get enough of the highlight reels that pop up on our social media feeds.  We trade trash talk at work and over twitter.  We get our feelings hurt when they don't choose our school, our team.  It is both exhilarating and disappointing. 

I'm sure this won't surprise anyone, but I've never played football in my life.  Not only because I'm a girl, but mostly because I never wanted to.  I always wanted to watch, cheer, boo.  Be a fan. 

But it's so much more than that.  It's yelling at the tv when you're the only person in the room (even if it terrifies your dog), it's standing in the miserable heat/rain/cold for 4 hours just to watch your team lose, it's showing up at midnight the night before a game just to take it all in.  It's anxiously awaiting the decision of an 18 year old kid. 

I can't even imagine what it's like to be one of these kids.  The pressure, the expectations, the fear of disappointing everyone around you. 

Here's the only advice I have to offer.  Listen to your heart.  Follow it.  Choose the school that feels right.  It is your decision and your future.  Embrace it.  Pick the people you want to lead you, to mold you into a man.  Find the place you're passionate about. 

Be passionate about your coaches, your team, your teammates.  Be passionate about your willingness, your dedication, your drive.  Love what you do, every single day.  Be in, be all in. 

As a fan that's all we can ask of you.  All we want is for you to become a part of our team, our traditions, our family.  To know that win or lose we've got your back.  That we won't ever give up on you, so don't ever give up on yourself. 

Thank you for giving us something to root for.  For making your life a part of ours, even if only for a little while.  Thank you for all of the brilliant moments yet to come. We truly wish you nothing but the best.  Oh and just for good measure...Gig 'Em. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Love alone is worth the fight...

I was really conflicted over the purpose of this post, and even now I'm not 100% sure where this will end up, but sometimes you just need to write. 

The past few months have been full of a lot of ups and downs, both personally and professionally, and it's interesting once you're on the other side to look back and see how you changed through it all.  Pretty sure I'm not 100% there yet either.  But I feel like somewhere along the way I started to see things a little differently.  I'm not sure I can fully explain it, but it's like there was this slow shift in priorities taking place.  In a way it was like trying to get back to the basics of being me, or maybe even trying to figure out who I really am. 

And here's what I know so far...some parts of me haven't changed.  I am still a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and a superbly stubborn, unabashedly honest, quasi-perfectionist.  But the new parts...the ones I wasn't as aware of (or maybe less comfortable with)...are just as important.  And those parts, the parts that I am still working to discover, have been both surprising and expected all at the same time. 

I have always considered myself an emotional person, a product of always wearing your heart on your sleeve I guess, but lately I have been finding emotion in some of the most simple, ordinary things.  And I love that.  But it's not super surprising. 

The more unexpected discovery is how that emotion is transforming into an overwhelming sense of compassion and this desire to just love on people.  Sometimes all it takes is realizing that on some level we are all hurting and struggling and longing to be accepted and loved.

It's during weeks like this, where we pause to remember, grieve, and raise awareness, that I realize over the past few months and years I have truly fallen in love with wanting people to know how important, unique, and irreplaceable they are.  I want them to share their stories.  Of struggle, success, failure, heartache, love...whatever it is.  All of it. The good, the bad, and especially the ugly.  And I want them to see how beautiful it is.  I want them to know it's ok to be vulnerable, to cry, to laugh, to talk about the scary stuff, to ask for help, and to try to figure out where we fit in this great big world.  I want to listen.  To understand.  To embrace.  To love. 

If all you get from these ramblings tonight is one thing, I want it to be this...you are loved.  More than you can ever imagine.  And you matter.  No one else can play your part (www.twloha.com).  Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise.  Love alone is worth the fight.

"And we find what we're made of, through the open door, is it fear you're afraid of, what are you waiting for? Love alone is worth the fight..."  Switchfoot

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Love Does.

Two simple words that disconnected from each other are just words, but put together, can change the world.  That's what I learned a few weeks ago...love can do anything. 

Quite a few months ago (ok maybe it's been well over a year now) I started seeing tweets about a book that was coming out written by a man named Bob Goff.  At this point I'd heard of Bob while reading one of Donald Miller's books, but I didn't really know much about him.  As word continued to spread about his book, the more interested I became.  So I ordered it.  And I read it.  And I loved it.  It was definitely not your typical book...more of a collection of fascinating stories from a life full of adventure.  It seemed like something out of a movie.  But Bob is real and so are his stories. 

Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I saw Bob tweet out a link to a conference called Love Does Austin.  Of course I couldn't resist finding out more about it.  I went to the website, watched the video from Love Does Tacoma, read about the speakers and musicians that would be there, checked out the dates and the price, and began to wonder if I should go.  At first I kind of brushed it off.  I couldn't really miss two whole days of work could I?  Would I really go by myself?  Is this really intended for someone like me?  But the more I looked at the website, the more excited I got just at the thought of going.  For starters some people I really admire were going to be there...and some really stinkin' cool musicians as well.  So I emailed my boss, got approval to take the days off, and signed up. 

As the dates for the conference approached, I became anxious about the unknowns of what to expect and how it was going to impact me.  I really had no idea.  Nonetheless on October 31st I got up early, showered, got ready, drove down the beast that is I-35 south and arrived about an hour before it all started.  I was there. 

I was greeted by friendly faces, colorful balloons, warm coffee, and amazing donuts.  I walked around the village for a while to take it all in.  Perused various booths full of t-shirts, jewelry, and other various items.  I still had no idea what I was in for.  But what I got was more than I ever could have expected. 

First up was Bob himself.  For so long all I knew of him was this picture in my head and here he was in the flesh.  From the moment he bounded on stage I knew I was in for a fun couple of days.  His laughter alone was proof of that.  He is more of a character than even Walt Disney could've drawn.  His love and passion and joy just radiated from the stage.  What a cool guy.  More to come on him later.

Bob's son come on stage after him to introduce the first speaker.  Someone who has had a profound impact on his life, my life, and I would imagine countless others.  Donald Miller.  From Blue Like Jazz (the book and the movie) to Through Painted Deserts and most recently A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, I feel like I've been on a personal journey with Don for a long time now.  To be honest he was one of the main reasons I wanted to be at the conference.  And he didn't disappoint.  He talked about mapping out the story of our lives.  Discovering who we are, what we really want, and how we get there. What resonated with me the most was his proclamation that we are not our failures.  And we are also not our successes.  We are made to be known by other people.  Simple, yet beautiful.  Great start to the day.

Next up was one of the many speakers on the schedule I didn't know much about.  Rebekah Lyons.  She walked out on stage and the first thing I thought was this lady has it all together...hair perfectly coiffed, statement necklace positioned just right.  What I was not expecting was her story.  One of overcoming crippling social anxiety.  One of facing your fears.  One of relinquishing control.  The most beautiful thing she said (and I'm paraphrasing here) was sometimes you have to stay in free fall, for only there will you find rescue.  Not something a lot of us are comfortable with that's for sure.  But definitely something worth remembering. 

I was introduced to Jamie Tworkowski, the founder of To Write Love On Her Arms, through a friend back in the summer of 2006.  She was wearing a TWLOHA shirt at camp and I'd never heard of it before.  The coolest thing was the story behind the name was printed on the inside of the t-shirt.  What an awesome way to spread your message.  They are an organization "dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery."  This is a part of their vision..."You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know your story is important, and you're part of a bigger story. You need to know your life matters."  Powerful stuff.  Jamie didn't prepare a speech for the conference, he just got up on the stage and spoke from his heart.  About the organization, about his life and his struggles, and how important it is for people to know that they cannot be replaced.  There is something so endearing about someone who is willing to share their pain with you.  It makes them real.  Broken just like the rest of us.  I strongly encourage you to check them out sometime (www.twloha.com).

There's not much I love more than acoustic music in an intimate setting (several people can attest to that) and the concert that night was no exception.  One of the things I learned about myself at the conference is that food might be the way to a man's heart but music is certainly the way to mine. 

First up was Matt Wertz...a musician I have adored (and yes had a bit of a crush on) for years.  Ever since he played outside of a coffee house in College Station.  From then on I was hooked.  He is goofy and charming and incredibly talented rolled into a sweet curly haired ball.  Just greatness.

After Matt was Sleeping at Last.  Ryan O'Neal is the sole member but that night he was joined onstage by a string trio.  He had played throughout the day between speakers, but that night was something else.  His music is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.  His voice so incredibly unique.  It was like being transported to a different time.  I had no idea that I've been hearing his music for years but not really listening.  Well I am listening now. 

Then the special guest came on stage.  And I will admit I had no idea who he was.  He started singing and I was convinced I didn't know this person.  I heard the ladies behind me talking about him so turned to ask them who it was.  And then he sang a song I knew and I made the connection.  I had never seen a picture of Brandon Heath before, but I certainly knew some of his music, and I would recognize him now.  I definitely hadn't heard his song "Love Does" (which was inspired by Bob) before that night.  But I find myself listening to it on repeat these days.  It was when Brandon was on stage singing that I realized how much music speaks to me.  Of course it doesn't hurt that he's good looking either.

Last but certainly not least that night was David Crowder Band.  And man are they something.  From the beards to the clothes straight out of Back to the Future, they were a sight to behold.  But boy were they spectacular.  I forgot how much I love their music.  What a perfect way to end a fantastic day.

Day 2 started out with a DJ spinning onstage, quite a difference from the previous day's music.  But I was intrigued.  It turns out that DJ Opdiggy is Amena Brown's husband and the rhythm for her spoken word.  Girl.  I was blown away.  Her passion and talent and story were right there in your face and I was speechless.  Not a bad way to start the day at all.

Next up was John Cotton Richmond.  Talk about a guy living out an incredible story.  John is a Federal Prosecutor for the Department of Justice in the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.  Before that he worked on human trafficking crimes as the Director of the International Justice Mission’s slavery work in India.  Wow.  Who can say that they free people from slavery?  Certainly not me.  John can.  The jewels on his crown in heaven will be plentiful for the work he does. 

After John was Mike Foster.  Someone I had been introduced to the previous day during Jamie's breakout session.  Mike is the co-founder of an organization called People of the Second Chance.  Again someone I knew nothing about before the conference.  But someone I came to greatly respect in the time I got to hear him speak.  "People of the Second Chance works to help all of us find the unique gift in our story of struggle. By connecting our hearts to the God of second chances, our stories can find a beautiful purpose. We believe life’s mess-ups and let downs can be used for the good of others..."  I feel like the work that Mike and Don and Jamie do is all somewhat integrated.  Their messages are so similar yet each so special.  Mike reminded me that it is God who takes our brokenness and wants to make it beautiful again.  That we are God's beloved, heaven's poetry. 

Veronica Tutaj works with an organization called Young Lives in East Austin.  Young Lives is part of Young Life that's designed for teenage mothers.  If you don't already know that Young Life is a huge part of my story, you should know that I wouldn't be who or where I am today without YL and the people involved.  I can't imagine how hard it is to minister to teenagers these days, let alone teenage mothers.  But I can imagine how easy it is to love them.  To show them that they matter and their lives aren't ruined and people care about them.  Veronica shared with us some of her struggles over the past year, and I know it hasn't been easy, but I'm so glad she stuck with it, those kids need her.  They need to be loved. 

From Veronica to Jeremy Cowart, an inspiring photographer that's just a bit shy.  His story of never feeling good enough or smart enough is something most of us have dealt with at some point in our lives.  He is a visionary and an artist with an incredible gift. And using his talents to serve people who can't afford to have pictures taken seems like something so small, but means so much.  I can't wait to see what is in store for him, and his app. 

The last and certainly funniest speaker of the conference was Jon Acuff.  Sorry this is longer than 200 words Jon...I just couldn't help it.   Jon is in a season of change, a season of uncertainty and doubt.  And he shared his fears and his hopes and his humor on how he's handling the change.  Change is scary.  Sometimes it happens all of a sudden and even if we think we're ready we may not be prepared for the full impact.  A couple of things he mentioned I found especially interesting...your relationships change when you change...and people won't understand why you want to change.  You don't control the story people tell, you choose the way you live.  Stuff that just makes you go huh.  Never thought about it like that. 

I could keep going on and on about the things I learned over those two days.  Or the people I met like John and Jill from South Louisiana who are quite possibly the sweetest, kindest people I've randomly met.  Thank you for befriending me. 

To Bob Goff...thank you for all that you do and all that you are.  For writing a book and putting on a conference about what love can do.  For laughing and throwing candy and dressing up like Woody.  For being friends with some incredible people and bringing the family together.  For knocking down doors and rescuing kids.  But most of all, for loving.

"Nobody knows why your heart is broken, nobody cries while your prayers are going up, but Love does...nobody walks on the road you're paving, nobody sees all the souls you're saving, oh, but Love does..."  Brandon Heath

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

You're only getting better...

Let me start off by apologizing for the lack of music on the blog right now...the site I was using doesn't work anymore and I haven't had time to find a new one yet.  Hopefully I can get the tunes back up and running soon.  I know the music is really the only reason you come to the blog so thanks for hanging with me anyway.  Also I'm pretty sure this post is going to be a hodgepodge of different topics/thoughts so consider this your warning that I may veer off course a time or two. 

I love blogging.  And before blogs existed I loved writing in a journal/diary as a kid (yes back before computers were commonly owned items).  So I feel bad that I haven't kept up with it as much over the past couple of years.  Maybe it's because my life is considerably less dramatic than it used to be, maybe I process things differently now, or maybe I've just lost the motivation.  Whatever the reason, I really want to do better going forward.  I think I say that every time.  But I mean it this time...well I mean it in this moment anyhow. 

Is it just me or has anyone else felt like time has been passing so quickly lately?  And somewhere in the time passing this precious child turned 3.  Yep I said 3.  Seriously how is that possible?  I know her birthday was almost 2 months ago (see it's not just the 2nd child that gets overlooked), but I felt I needed to make sure she once again knew just how much she's loved.  It's been so much fun watching her turn into this vibrant, stubborn, adorable little person.  She has such a sweet spirit about her and even when she doesn't love her Aunt C the most, she's still pretty darn great.  I think we'll keep her around. 
And of course watching her grow up got me thinking about how much better we become as we get older.  Like a fine wine we get better with age right?  So while E turned 3 this year, it was a little more of a milestone birthday for me...the big 3-0.  I remember being younger and thinking 30 sounded SO old...but now that I'm here it doesn't seem so bad (or old).  After turning 29 last year I started tossing around the idea of putting together some type of bucket list of things I wanted to accomplish in the last year of my twenties.  But for those of you who know me...you know I am not the list maker in the family.  That is all B, queen of the lists.  Don't get me wrong I make lists for the grocery store all the time (mostly so I don't forget things), but it's just not something I love to do. 

So I didn't make a list.  Instead I decided I wanted to become a better version of myself by 30.  Or at least be working on a better version of me by then. Now don't go thinking I was trying to reinvent myself or anything like that...just improve upon a few things.  Probably the most noticeable is my health/weight.  Not something I will go into great detail about, it's still a work in process, but at least I'm headed in the right direction.  The other things range from spending more time with my family to being more positive at work (even when it's really hard) to learning to appreciate and make the most of what I have.  I recently read a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and if you haven't heard of it or read it yet, it's a goodie.  It's a woman's personal story about the challenge to make a list of 1,000 small things to be thankful for and how that gratitude can change you.  Yep another list.  No I haven't started one of those lists either, but in my mind it's fun to mentally make note of the little things as I realize them.  Like right now it's Ella snuggled up next to me on the couch while I type.  Something I take for granted so much of the time.

You may be thinking I'm starting to veer a little right now, but give me a minute to bring it all back.  What I took away from Ann's book was that being thankful for the little, everyday stuff helps us lead a more grateful life, and let's be honest who couldn't do with a little more gratitude?  It was one of those things I didn't even realize I was lacking, but I sure am glad to be working on it now.  And trust me there are still plenty of days where I forget to take the time to mentally add items to my gratitude list...also still a work in process.

I guess I will always be a work in process.  That's really ok with me...who am I to think God's done working on me?  I imagine He's probably laughing about that right now, thinking we've got a long way to go.  And I am grateful for that.  Grateful to be a work in process.  One that's hopefully only getting better. 

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."  Ephesians 2:10

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My life would suck without you...

We sang this song at Jenna's karaoke birthday a few weeks ago and then I heard Kelly Clarkson sing it live a few days later...we sang it better at karaoke of course.  Kidding.  And while we were singing Jenna commented something along the lines of the lyrics being kind of depressing.  Which I had honestly never really thought about before.  Maybe because the chorus is so catchy and happy sounding...or maybe because it sounds like the kind of "anthem" you sing to someone you couldn't imagine your life without.  I prefer to think of it in a positive light anyway.  Glass half full type of stuff.  But it got me thinking...I am a really lucky/blessed person.  There are SO many people in my life that make it not suck.  And this post is dedicated to all of them. 

If you're really lucky, like me, you meet some of these people early on in life.  Perhaps when you're born they're already there, even if they aren't too fond of you at first, or come along a few years later.  It may take a while for you to realize what you have, and there may be lots of pinching, screaming, and crying involved before you get there.  The cool part is getting there.  And learning to appreciate those built in friends not everyone has.  I think I hit the sibling jackpot (most of the time at least).

A little later in life come the friends you meet as a kid and before you know it nearly 20 years have gone by, even though it seems like just yesterday you were having a sleepover or going to Six Flags for the first time.   These are the friends I think most people have while they're growing up and then kind of lose touch with as over the years as they move on to different high schools, colleges, cities, etc.  But not me.  These are the people I consider an extension of my family.  We've shared so much of our lives together...the ups, downs, and fights in between.  They've helped shape me into the person I am today and I couldn't be more thankful.  Again I know I hit the best friend jackpot with these 2.

Throughout high school and college you tend to add more friends to the mix.  Some come and go, but others just seem to have a way of sticking.  I count myself incredibly lucky to have made such good friends in high school...even after going to different colleges and making other friends we still have each other and the nights we're all together are some of my favorites.   And the friends we've added along the way seem to fit right in like they were missing from the start.  It's like a puzzle you couldn't quite figure out. Yep you guessed it...jackpot. 

Last but certainly not least are the "grown up" friends you make.  I like to think of these friends as kindred spirits (thanks Anne of Green Gables).  Now if you're like me and you've moved around quite a bit in the past few years you probably have various groups of friends in different parts of the country.  Which I love.  It's so fun to go visit on occasion and catch up like no time has passed at all.  The cool part is some of these friends have known you the shortest amount of time yet perhaps know you the best out of anyone.  Pretty neat right?  I think so.  

It's like hitting the mega millions jackpot.  I hope these friends, and the ones that didn't make the pictures (I could only pull so many from Facebook), know how much they are loved.  They're all unique and special and our relationships are everything.  My life would seriously suck without all of them. 

"I know that I've got issues, but you're pretty messed up too, either way I found out I'm nothing without you...because we belong together now, forever united here somehow, yeah you got a piece of me, and honestly, my life would suck without you..."  Kelly Clarkson