Tag Archives: texas a&m

Don’t look back? Ehhh…

It’s often said to not look back. The future is ahead, not behind you. You can’t move forward if you obsess over the past. Etc. Etc.

For me? For me, looking back often propels me even better towards the future. Which is what this last week somehow ended up being all about. Even though it wasn’t the plan going into it.

Somewhere over Texas
Somewhere over Texas

I’m currently in my way back to Nashville after a, frankly, amazing week in Texas. I had traveled with the goal of seeing my neice graduate 8th grade, checking in on family affected by the storms, see my husband play a show in Oklahoma, and visit The Association of Former Students at Texas A&M. If I got some relaxation in there, awesome. I was definitely at, “I need a vacation” point simply due to recent financial stress.

I made it to my niece’s graduating. I mused over how it was 20 years (probably to the day) that I myself graduated 8th grade. One of my classmates is junior high principal, which was cool to see but also admittedly a little weird. (I am not old enough for that, am I!?)

Go Jeni!
Go Jeni!

How far my town has come since my 8th grade graduation! New schools. State championships. Classmates now in the roll of teachers. Sometimes I marvel at it all.

Sometimes it’s good to look back and see progress as its come along.

I then traveled the four hours to see my husband play in Oklahoma. Like, old times, it was me and my parents, off to see this guy with crazy talent, and a heart of gold… Who stole mine a long time ago.

I’m pretty sure when a girl is willing to travel over 4 hours to see you for just a few hours of your time, she finds you pretty special. And if her parents tag along, they approve.

I'm his biggest fan.
I’m his biggest fan.

The artist has changed (a few times) since the last time I saw him play in Oklahoma. This was a different casino. And of course we are married now. I’m also no longer dazzled by the “famous” side of the life. If anything I’m cynical about it all. But I still love going to see my husband do his thing, and it’s more about supporting him than anything else.

Of all of this, however, perhaps the most powerful look back to go forward came when I visited Aggieland on Monday.

I know to some it may sound crazy, but I NEED to visit College Station periodically. Graduating from Texas A&M is one of my greatest accomplishments in life. Those years shaped me more than sometimes even I realize.

Once an Aggie, always an Aggie.


But it’s going to the Association that meant the most. To discover people who I so greatly respect also respect me means so much. I left my meetings that day feeling like I did when I walked across that stage with my diploma:

I can do anything I set my mind to. I have been set up for success. I simply need to reach out and take it.

The trip ended with a visit to the Bonfire Memorial. I’ve gone a couple times before, but it never fails to quiet my soul all over again. As I read about each of the 12 amazing souls lost 15 years ago, I hear them whispering words of encouragement. You can do anything. Live your life to its fullest. Be not afraid.

So yes, I did look back for awhile, and all it did was push me towards my future. My seat back and tray table are up and locked, ready for landing. Let’s do this.

August 15th

I made this post to my private Facebook page, but upon re-reading it I decided to share it here as well.


receiving my diploma photo by parents

August 15th is a date I’ll remember forever: its the day I graduated from Texas A&M University. It’s the day my name was called, I walked across the stage at Reed Arena (ironically with “Happy Hour” written across the top of my cap) to shake hands with Robert Gates, and I was handed a diploma declaring I’d received my BS in Journalism (or as I like to call it, my BS in BS.) It was an ending, but also a beginning. It was a turning point in my life, and so much of what I do today is because of my days at TAMU. I’m passionate about my university, and I tell people very proudly that I’m not just a fan — I’m alumni. And for that reason, I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing people though the Middle Tennessee Texas A&M Club, and it brought the fantastic people of the Nashville ACC SEC Leadership Council and CASA Nashville into my life. I’m thankful for my collegiate years and how they set me up to be the person I am today. They continue to open doors for me, and I am certain that they will for years to come.IMG_0665

Aggie Muster 2014

I. Love. Aggie. Muster. Even more, I love telling people about Muster and why it, in my opinion, sets my university head and shoulders above the rest. Forget football. Forget national championships. Forget all the research and medical advances being done. Remember the PEOPLE. Remember the SPIRIT.

Middle Tennessee Aggie Muster attendees
Middle Tennessee Aggie Muster attendees

Aggie Muster lands every April 21st. It’s a day in which Aggies gather all around the world — including on military bases during times of war — to visit with each other, remember our times at A&M, and at the pinnacle of the event, call the roll of Aggies who have passed away over the last year. As the names are called, they are answered with a “Here” as their spirit is always present in our hearts.

From the Aggie Traditions website:

Still remembering and honoring the time spent in Aggieland, the tradition of mustering has grown in strength, meaning, and spirit. By 1929, meeting had grown worldwide, and in 1942 Aggie Muster gained international recognition. Twenty-five men, led by General George Moore ’08, mustered during the Japanese Siege of the Philippine island of Corregidor. Knowing that Muster might soon be called for them, these Aggies embodied the essence of commitment, dedication, and friendship- the Aggie Spirit. They risked their lives to honor their beliefs and values. That small group of Aggies on an outpost during World War II inspired what has developed into one of our greatest traditions.

Muster is celebrated in more than four-hundred places world wide, with the largest ceremony on the Texas A&M campus in College Station. The ceremony brings together more Aggies, worldwide, on one occasion than any other event.

Some day my name will be called and answered with a, “Here.”

If that’s not a staggering and humbling realization, then you just don’t GET it.

Calling the roll, Adam Beloney '03 & Greg Dew '80
Calling the roll, Adam Beloney ’03 & Greg Dew ’80

We have a saying at Texas A&M, “Once an Aggie, always an Aggie.” Aggie Muster really embodies that fact, as we pause to remember and reflect on this bond we share with other Aggies. It’s not just a diploma on the wall. It’s not just wearing something maroon and white. It’s not even our beloved Aggie Rings. It’s something so much more. It’s much deeper. Its respect. Dare I say, its about love of your fellow man. As the roll was called and Silver Taps was played, I looked around the room to see many tears being shed. Its overwhelming.

My turn to speak.
My turn to speak.

I’ve organized Muster for middle Tennessee since 2008. I do it because I love it that much. I stress and stress and stress over it, because I want it to be perfect. I can’t relax until we are done, because I feel like if something goes wrong its my fault. I want the spirits of those names we call and their families to know we love and respect them enough to give them a proper “send off.” Logically, I know that no one would hold it against me if something fell through, but in my heart I want it to go perfectly.

One of the biggest things is the guest speaker for each Muster. This year, we had Mike Flynt. His story inspired me when I heard it the first time, and I hope it inspired everyone else at Muster last night.

Mike Flynt
Mike Flynt

How can you not be inspired by a man who went back to college at the age of 59 to play his senior year of football? And who also has such a strong faith and belief in God? I’m still on a high from last night.

So forgive me if I happen to think my university is a little better than the rest. Forgive me if I get fighting mad when people “put down” Texas A&M based strictly on football. Because its so much more. Its so much deeper.

From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. And from the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.

Gig’em and God Bless.