The Road to the perfect Chef Coat

The Road to the perfect Chef Coat – The amazing and unlikely journey of a mother suddenly widowed..

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Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove – a book review

Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove – by: Sandra Harvey

Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove is another example of Ms. Harvey’s non conventional, inspired, and creative approach to storytelling.   The main story of the book is told in a wonderful poem that spans over 76 Full color pages to tell that story of one magical moonlit night in Woods Cove.  Some people say rhyming books are easy to write, and this may be true to an extent. Everyone can find a rhyme for Sun right? -Did you just think Fun?  But,  every once and a while an author really comes through with a story that is told in Rhyme with no typical or forced rhymes.  This is  one of those books, the pace is almost hypnotic, there are no extra syllables, there is not a trace of the story being driven in a direction for the sake of keeping the rhyme alive, and their are no typical easy rhymes.  This is just FUN to read, it’s easy to get in the flow and to absorb all the humor, magic, and adventure while rhythmically flowing from page to page.  This book is great when read out loud, and did I mention it is FUN?
Some of the  other aspects of this book worth noting are: The Hand drawn cartoon art  matches the characters and story very well. The entire book is colored in blues, purples, and greens on black paper and is very soothing to look at and also creates a real feeling of night.    While the main story is written in rhyme, the characters also have non rhyming dialog with each other through the use of comic book style captions… What?  … Yeah you read that right! Comic Book style dialog and thought bubbles that tell a story all of their own. And in addition to that there are subtle words hidden in the background on some pages, that are not only fun to look for, but also convey a general message related to the story.  This combination of elements works amazingly well without one ever stepping on the other. This is distinctively a Sandra Harvey creation. How Sandra keeps  pulling out fresh and brilliant ideas I’ll never know.  I am currently trying to get her to sit down with me  for a YouTube interview.

In a way it is also a bedtime book, but it is a bed time book in which the children stay up and play all night, get lost in a scary fog, end up at a mysterious  tower, and actually do not go to sleep until the sun starts to come up.  This is yet another example of Sandra and her deep understanding of children.

 Another aspect of this story I found to be fresh  is through the Characters Annie Blue, and Lily. Through these 2 characters the book briefly  touches on abandonment and loss but manages to keep it light and comforting.
Trizzella has magical powers, she can talk to animals,  and cast spells but to her it is just part of everyday life.  Where Trizzella’s real magic power is, is in her heart and her sweet gentle soul.  She has a magic sewing needle that has the power to mend hearts and sew stars into blankets. Trizzella doesn’t  hesitate to use her magic to help out a hungry caterpillar who arrives at an apple tree before apple season, or to clear a scary fog.  This story has pirates, ghosts, adventure, food, fun, and an devious little kitty cat (with an amazing hat collection) who has decided his purpose in life is to destroy any chance Trizzella has for finding love.
Like every Sandra Harvey Book I’ve reviewed so far, this book is intended for children, but adults will love it too.

Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove is available here.

There is also a collection of Free Trizzella cartoons available at
This is one of my favorite Ryhmes from the books.
Underneath the bookcase lives her strangest little cat
his room is full of pirate things like skulls, and books, and maps.
his name is Edward Villain.
He eats birds, and rats, and mice.
Trizzella calls him E.Vil because he’s really not that nice.
 He goes on vast adventures in his vivid little dreams
to destroy Trizzella’s chance for love
he plots and plans and schemes.

Who is the Half Hearted Girl?

The Half Hearted Girl

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I want to tell you all about an amazing project I have been fortunate to observe from conception to  completion, It has been so much fun for me  to be behind the scenes and watch this all come together.

doorhalf

 

The Half Hearted Girl ( 2 words not hyphenated) is a black and white fully illustrated book. The story, writing style, and art are relevant to people of all ages, however I think the target audience is probably around 11-20 years of age.   I wish it was easier for me to classify this book, but it simply stands alone. I want to be clear that this book is by no means some Obscure novelty book. With a page count of just under 100 and with so many illustrations it is hard to classify by modern literary classifications.  I think of it more like a modern fairy tale. This is a book you would have seen in books stores 70 years ago.  It is similar to some of the works of Hans Christian Andersen as far as word count and art. I call it a modern fairy tale because their is no physical antagonist in this story. The challenge our Protagonist has to face is that of an internal nature.

QUESTIONS

The main theme of this story is about love and soul mates and how meeting another person can sometimes help us become a more complete person ourselves. The story follows the life of The Half Hearted Girl and her quest to seek out wholehearted things.  When one day she discovers something special.  ( I do not wish to be more detailed about her discovery for Spoiler reasons) This discovery sends her off on an adventure.  The author now tells a  parallel story of The Half Soul Boy. Who one day also discovers something that leads him off on an adventure of his own.   Layered inside of the main story line is a  coming of age tale with some very significant and meaningful  insights about life, the emptiness we all feel inside at times, and the great mortal coil . There is a real  longing so many of us feel to try something new, to meet someone new, to go someplace new, and to find out what is over the horizon.  We often think that somehow we will find what ever it is we are missing if we just keep looking, but somehow  it’s always just one more step away.

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We choose the path that leads to the right, and after we have been on it for a while we think we should have gone left instead. So we go back and go left, and after being on the left path for a while we think we should have probably stayed on the right path all along.  Often times as humans be do not appreciate who and what we have around us, and how amazing our lives are until we seek out the unknown. What do most of us find out there beyond the rim of the world?  Well, some of us do find our Soul Mates,  but we also find  the answer to our own unique question, the same question that set us on our journey to begin with.  The answer more often than not is that all we need, all we love, and all that matters was always there all along we just needed to see the world and to gain knowledge; we just needed to meet new people to gain experiences, so that through comparison we can see who we are, where we come from, and what matters most to each of us.

Adventure-Book

We often get restless and start feeling trapped. This is something a lot of us deal with all of our lives. Perhaps we feel like the daily routine is like  living with half of a heart or half,  of half of a soul.    Sometimes we just have to get far enough away from those things, those people, and those places  and to realize there is nothing out there in the unknown that we will find under some rock that will somehow complete our lives and make everything perfect. Even when we find the one thing we seek it always comes with a choice.  After all isn’t life often about giving up something you want, for something you want more?

That is my own interpretation of the story,  I do feel the author may have had a more literal meaning in mind,  but that is one of the wonderful things about every story I have read from Sandra Harvey.  Ultimately it is for you to decide.

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Do not miss out on this incredibly wonderful and life changing story, with amazing illustrations by Calum Jones.

available on amazon 1

 

 

 

 

Who is the Half Hearted Girl?

The Half Hearted Girl

hhg

 

I want to tell you all about an amazing project I have been fortunate to observe from conception to  completion, It has been so much fun for me  to be behind the scenes and watch this all come together.

doorhalf

 

The Half Hearted Girl ( 2 words not hyphenated) is a black and white fully illustrated book. The story, writing style, and art are relevant to people of all ages, however I think the target audience is probably around 11-20 years of age.   I wish it was easier for my to classify this book, but it simply stands alone.  It is by no means some Obscure novelty book. With a page count of just under 100 and with so many illustrations it is hard to classify by modern literary classifications.  I think of it more like a modern fairy tale. This is a book you would have seen published in books stores 70 years ago.  It is Similar to some of the works of Hans Christian Andersen as far as word count and art. I call it a modern fairy tale because their is no physical antagonist in this story. The challenge our Protagonist has to face is that of an internal nature.

QUESTIONS

The main theme of this story is about love and soul mates and how meeting another person can sometimes help us become a more complete person ourselves. The story follows the life of The Half Hearted Girl and her quest to seek out wholehearted things.  When one day she discovers something special.  ( I do not wish to be more detailed about her discovery for Spoiler reasons) This discovery sends her off on an adventure.  A parallel story of The Half Soul Boy is told and of course one day The Half Soul Boy discovers something that leads him off on an adventure of his own.   Layered inside of the main story line is a  coming of age tale with some very significant and meaningful  insights about life, and the great mortal coil.  The emptiness we all feel inside at times. The longing so many of us feel to try something new, to go someplace new, and to find out what is over the horizon.  We often think that somehow we will find what ever it is we are missing,  but it’s always just one more step away. 

signtop400dpi

We choose the path that leads to the right, and after we have been on it for a while we think we should have gone left instead. So we go back and go left, and after being on the left path for a while we think we should have probably stayed on the right path all along.  Often times as humans be do not appreciate what we have around us, and how amazing our lives are until we seek out the unknown. What do most of us find out there beyond the rim of the world?  Well, some of us do find our Soul Mates,  but we also find  the answer to our own unique question, the same question that set us on our journey to begin with.  The answer more often than not is that all we need, all we love, and all that matters was always there all along we just needed to see the world and to gain knowledge; we just needed to meet new people to gain experiences, so that through comparison we can see who we are, where we come from, and what matters most to each of us. 

Adventure-Book

Often humans get restless and start feeling trapped. Perhaps like we are living with half of a heart or half of a soul.    We just have to get far enough away from those things, those people, and those places  and to realize there is nothing out there in the unknown that somehow makes our lives perfect, because even when we find the one thing we seek it always comes with a choice.  After all isn’t life often about giving up something you want, for something you want more?

That is my own interpretation of the story,  I do feel the author may have had a more literal meaning in mind,  but that is one of the wonderful things about every story I have read from Sandra Harvey.  Ultimately it is for you to decide. 

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Do not miss out on this incredibly story, with simply amazing illustrations. 

available on amazon 1

 

 

 

 

Where is God in all of this?

No matter what God you believe in , if you do believe in a God than you probably believe that God created humans. I am 100 percent sure, your God does not want you killing his creations for any reason, and especially not in his name. To Murder another human is the ultimate rejection of God, and to murder a child will earn you a trip to what ever version of Hell you believe in. An interesting fact is if you look at the global peace index, nations that have a higher percentage of people who follow Christian and Islamic Beliefs are the least peaceful and most war-like, while countries that have a higher percentage of Agnostic and Atheists are the most peaceful. And while I have noticed that MOST Atheists certainly are not quite about the fact that they think anyone who believes in God is a moron. I do not think I have ever seen a bombing or shooting of a doctor in the name of atheism. I also do not see atheists trying to dictate the lives of gay people because of things they believe in a book. And just in case anyone is wondering. I am NOT an Atheist, I try and just look for truth, and all I want for this planet is acceptance, and peace. Is that to much to ask after thousands of years of killing each other?

If you must pick a side please, pick the side of peace.

It does not matter who you think is right or who you think is wrong. There is no good or right side in a war. There is no good enough reason to ever kill another human being, and certainly never a reason to kill children, or to classify the death of Innocent civilians as “Acceptable casualties.” The media tells you what they want you to believe, the Media is a weapon of mass distraction that is controlled by the stock market. Humans are not inherently evil, People do not instinctively want to kill other people. Soldiers on both sides of any conflict are brainwashed and fed propaganda. Years after a war is over if you ask any soldier on either side of the war they fought in if they feel like they did the right thing, 99 out of 100 of them will say NO. Armies are controlled by governments, and governments (just like your favorite news station) are controlled by the stock market.

The only side worth taking in any war is the side of peace. Scary to think in a world made up of billions of humans, only about 1,000 have any real power, and these people are essentially the only truly evil that exists on this planet, they just turn others to their cause with power and manipulation , so they can get even richer, these people have no regard for any human life other than their own.

I am not stupid enough to believe every single person that is not part of the people in control are angels, But honestly I think most people really have good hearts. I also think there are a lot of reasons why people go bad, the invisible class system that still exists, poverty, desperation, sexual abuse, and religious and sexual persecution all affect peoples development. It’s amazing what a person is willing to do to feed their children, or protect what little they already have. This global poverty, destruction, and desperation I do blame on those in power.

I have trouble understanding the US opinion on the Gaza / Israel war. The US news is showing the Israel / Gaza situation so 1 sided, and the American people are eating it up. John Kerry makes a huge humanitarian plea, and Americans are slandering him? Are you kidding me? After all this time people still believe what they see on the news, and what other people tell them to believe. Do your research, and form an opinion based on your own findings, do not let a new anchor give you your opinion for you.

The truth is Israel has broken UN regulations more times than Iraq did under the rule of Saddam Hussein. Israel forces military service on all their citizens, they openly admit to war crimes and torture.

Gazan children are being killed playing soccer on the beach, and the US is just watching it happen, because for some reason it’s okay for Israel to do the same things Iraq did. it just makes me sick, violence,war,death, hate. It’s so sad to see Humanity still resorting to killing children over invisible lines on the ground, Money, and religion. Now I am not saying I think we should get involved , I do not think you can fight violence with violence. But it is interesting that the US is just watching this happen. I know this post wont change anything, or make people care. And I am not taking sides in this either, but Dammit! I wish people would just stop hurting each other and live in peace. Humans are capable of so much more than this.

Exposure for my art and free drinks does not feed my children

—Update my add was deleted from Craigslist because of its content only 8 hours after it was posted,  In those 8 hours I got 2 somewhat well written non offensive responses,  1 telling telling me how Evil of a person I am, and about 5 telling me to “F-Off” I posted the 2  that I feel are appropriate for all readers in my Comments section.

8 Hours and it was deleted…yet dozen of adds asking for free art and music still exist.—  The link below no longer works but I wanted to preserve the original post so below this screenshot of the original add, is the original post I made on WordPress earlier today.

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Does this add seem ridiculous to you?   http://asheville.craigslist.org/fbh/4576234223.html  Now read it again but reverse the position and services of the 2 main parties involved in this add. Does it seem as ridiculous?

(in the event the add is deleted and the link stops functioning, I have posted a screen shot of the add on the bottom of this post)

My CL add will run for 30 days. With several other adds in different places in an attempt to raise awareness for the value of art, music, and literature. You should not have to be Dead, Katy Perry, or on the  New York Times best seller list to make a living as an artist.

Exposure for my art and free drinks does not feed my children

I will post the unedited replies to this add as they come in in the Comments section as myself, for as long as the add is active.

It is very common to see adds just like these almost anyplace in the country, and somehow people are conditioned to think this is acceptable.

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A great opportunity for artists!
We need a talented artist with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Indesign skills.  We require a Logo for our sign and front end apparel. We also need a 4 page menu and wine list.  This is an open competition to all artists interested, we will use the best work submitted.

Compensation: Great exposure, eat for free.

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Live musicians needed

Looking for talented local band to play 15 song set list.  We will require you to perform at 8 pm and again at 11 pm.  If interested please contact me to set up an audition.

Compensation: Get exposure for your band!  Sell your CD’s before and after your performance.  Did we mention?   Free Drinks!

 

 

5star

All we are saying…

Is give peace a chance.

Well maybe that is the problem right there, people who want peace are by nature not going to be aggressive, you can say it all you want, but the people who need this message are not listening. The problem is you can not fight for peace, you can’t force someone to be peaceful. You can not tell someone who has been hating someone else for so many decades to stop hating them, when they are so consumed by hatred they do not even know why they started hating them in the first place. So forcing peace on the world can never happen. But that does not mean Peace can never happen, it’s just going to take courage , far more courage then it takes to hate and destroy. People are going to have to start trusting again, and stop looking at human life as a statistic on a screen in a war room.

YES! Special interests groups do control the media, and they show every country a different story, none of which are true.

Every single time we go to war, every single time we are told by the media that American has to respond to the current “Evil Nation”. That nation is being told the same thing about us or about the nation they are in conflict with. If your an average American you have a sense of pride and patriotism, you believe that we are a righteous force protecting the world and bombing the bad guys. You believe in pick up trucks, shotguns, and country music and that somehow we are gods chosen people and we are always right in everything we do. Well I am here to tell you that you are wrong! a good part of the world sees us as warmongering , self obsessed, glutenous pigs, that will go to war with anyone that disagrees with us. So you see it’s a matter of perception, of media, and of government propaganda.

It is ignorant to think that once you cross some made up line on the earth , the people that live on the other side are so different than you that the only way to deal with them is to kill them.

Does it even matter where, why, or who? Isn’t it simply a violation of Humanity itself to kill for any reason? Your God does not want you killing, and even if you do not have a God, your soul , your heart, and the very essence of humanity and the universe itself does not want you killing either.

I have believed for some time now that there are 2 difference species of human beings on this planet. There is nothing about war and violence that seems Human to me at all, there is no part of me that wants to kill, or bomb, or rape. This might seem like a very negative post, but in fact from my perspective It seems the less evolved humans make up a very minor part of the Global Human Population, yet somehow they are the ones with the power. We are all one regardless of race, sex, and religious beliefs. I know more people that think this way then do not. So why are we still killing each other over things like invisible lines drawn in the ground, oil, and what or who we chose to worship? Because a handful of primitive humans consumed by power, lust, hatred, and greed are running the world? Well it is time to take the world back and reclaim and redefine what it means to be a Human. But how do we get started?

Corazon of the Outer Banks :: A book review.

The Spanish meaning of the word Corazon is Heart.

Corazon of the Outer Banks is a heart warming story of friendship and courage and is exactly what you have come to expect from the amazing Storyteller Sandra Harvey.  Adding to the story with his incredibly detailed and expressive full color illustrations  is the amazing London artist Calum Jones.

Sandra Harvey has a way of creating incredibly organic, real, and original characters.  Ms. Harvey’s stories often break current publishing trends,  and this is just one of the things  that I personally love about her writing.    Her current switch from novels to Picture Books is really shaking up the picture book industry and making some very real and very important changes.  This book being the first I have seen with a main character that has an Hispanic heritage and is in no way being portrayed with any of the stereotypes of the Mexican culture.

So many authors fail when trying to create ethnically diverse characters by type casting them based on their race.  It has always been my opinion that a strong non white character would not be any different than a white one in the way they act and behave.  I do not believe that an African American child wants to read a children’s book about segregation  They want to be casting magic spells, saving the world, and going on adventures just like every other child does.

Corazon of the Outer Banks features the two main characters  Corazon and Jose.  Corazon is a wild horse that lives on the coast of North Carolina but does not feel or act like the other wild horses do.  Jose is a boy from Mexico who’s mother brings him on vacation to the Outer Banks for the summer.

On his last day of summer vacation a storm approaches and Jose does not come to see Corazon. The friendship and love that has been built between Corazon and Jose all summer long will test both of their courage, and change Corazon forever.

I love this story,  it’s appropriate for all ages and I think adults will love it just as much as children.  I myself – a 38 year old man cried when I read the last page.  Remarkable storytelling and remarkable art work.  I can see this book being picked up by Scholastic and being read in schools.

    {This section added 7-12-2014} Something I feel is worth mentioning. The organization WildHorseEducation.org contacted me through twitter after reading my review.  I was made aware by the Founder Laura Leigh that both Ms. Harvey and Mr. Jones  donate a sizable percentage of their own profits from each sale of this book.  This is a foundation set up to help save and stop the capture and slaughter of the American Wild Horse in the mid west.  Apparently this is not mentioned on the cover of the book or anyplace in the interior because they wish to keep the book 100% kid friendly. I think it is pretty awesome to see an author giving money to a worthy cause and not using that fact for self promotion.

Today I  requested an e-interview with Ms. Harvey, if she accepts I will transcribe it here on my blog.

Also earlier today The Spanish version was confirmed for release in September.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Corazon-Outer-Banks-Sandra-Harvey/dp/1500385719/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405018089&sr=8-1&keywords=Corazon+of+the+outer+banks

Corazon of the Outer Banks Cover

Growing up, Moving on, Letting go

Today my oldest son graduates from High School and the complexity of emotions is one I find very hard to sort out.

I met Colin when he had just turned 11 years old.  He barely came up to my chest, he had curly long hair and sad eyes.  Colin’s Dad has been killed in a car accident just a few years back.  Over the years Colin and I have had lots of ups and downs. I think that is to be expected.  I made some mistakes with him, and we have both hurt each other.  But no matter what we are family, and I will miss him more then I knew I could miss someone.
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His mother and I are California natives, Colin and his Brother were born in a hospital overlooking the sea. So the Ocean, and the Califonria life style is in all of our blood to some extent. Because of some continuing behavior problems in 2009 we decided to moved him and his younger brother away from the fast-paced life of Orange Country. With the idea we could give them a better childhood if we raised them in a low pressure, low stress, and more organic environment. I will always wonder if this was the right choice. (Isn’t that the curse of a linear existence? never knowing which path to take, and then looking back and wondering if you should have taken a different one?) So we moved to the mountain town of Asheville North Carolina.  The cost to me personally was it would mean I would give up a big salary job to spend the last 5 years barely able to scrape together an income.  This would drive a wedge between his mother and me, that has just gotten deeper over the years. I do not have regrets over my sacrifice,  but  I wish I could have given him so much more, If I could have just found a way to just made a little extra money I think of all the adventures I could have taken him on, and all the memories we would share together for the rest of our lives. but I hope what little he got from me is enough to help him in the world.    You see Colin has big dreams, and he is just itching to go out on his own and slay dragons.  He wants to see whats out there,  and no matter how much his mother and I tell him that he can stay with us, and go to college.  He just wants to leave.  His soul is much like mine was at that age. Always looking for the better life, always looking for the big adventure, always  thinking life will be better if…  For me it never turned out that way,  if I had learned to appreciate what I had around me rather then looking for more I would have had a much happier life.  But you can’t take your wisdom and make it someone else’s experience.  I have always encouraged him to dream big, to set no limits, and to live life on his terms and his rules. And just because I never slayed any Dragons, does not mean he wont. 

He wants to return to California,  and I can not blame him.  It’s a very appealing life style for a young man.  I miss it myself, The ocean, the culture, and jobs.  But I still have 1 more child in the house, and for now its probably best for him if we stay put. 

Colin will most likely live with his Grandmother on his Fathers side.  A women who has made it a point to belittle me, injure me, and assault me every chance she gets.  A women who has showed me more cruelty then any other human being.  She once told me that the boys had a father and they were not allowed to call me that.  After driving them 7 hours to a family Christmas in West Virginia, she greeted me with “it’s to bad their real dad could not be here”.  , Once while visiting her house, and teaching Colin to shave she walks in and says ” Its to bad his real daddy didn’t get to teach him that”. These things echo in my mind every time I see her. Never once a thank you, never once a your doing a great job.  I try to understand her pain of losing her son, and seeing me in his place.  I try so hard to forgive her,  maybe someday I will be able to be a big enough person to be able to.  After all not being able to forgive someone really just hurts us, it does not hurt the person who has wronged us. This is a women with an abundance of wealth, and she uses it for control,  and now in these moments I wish for nothing more then that same wealth so that I can provide it to Colin out of the kindness of my heart,  with no expectations, no manipulations, and no control.

You always hear about the things parents give up for there children,  but you don’t often hear the stories of what step parents give up for their children.  There are days I have so much resentment over my complete lack of quality of life.  But at the end of the day, I know this is the best place these kids could have been, even if at times they hate it.  But this blog  is not about what I have lost, because I have gained so much just by having Colin in my life.  It’s funny how much you can learn from a child if your just willing to talk to them like an adult. 

 

Now just before his 18th birthday,  and the day of his graduation. I will stand next to his grandmother and smile for his sake.  As I look  up at Colin ( as he is now at least 2 inches taller then me). I recognize how proud of him I am.  He is handsome, clean cut, fit, remarkably intelligent.  He marches to his own drum, he does not follow the herd, he does not follow trends.  He is an incredible musician, and an amazing artist.  He reads more books in a month then most people do in a year. Things come so easy to him from athletics to art. He is kind, and he is in no way your typical teenager. He is a much better person then I was at his age.   I will miss you, and you will always have a home with me, no matter where your travels take you. I love you so deeply, I wish I could have been able to tell you that so much more.
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May you be guided by your passion, may you stop and smell every rose, stop and watch every sunset. May you stand on top of the highest mountain and yell as loud as you can, may you love, and fall in love, and LIVE, may you see people that love you for who they are, and be capable of returning that love.  May you never let life harden you as it has me. And as someone else said” May you dance like no one is watching”

 

Congratulations Nathaniel Colin Hall class of 2014, I am so proud of you.
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