Category Archives: Society

The Center of Insecurity – Chasing the Dream

The Center of Insecurity – Chasing the Dream

Lawrence Insecure

Insecure has done a great job of highlighting so many of the dynamics between men and women trying to find a common ground in relationships, dating and just overall social interaction. One of the things that I’ve noticed while not really picking sides between the star characters Lawrence and Issa, is that Lawrence’s journey is one that surprisingly I connect to. I say that not in terms of the struggles that he’s having in his relationship with his now former partner but the background elements of him trying to live the life that he wants and that he has been working towards.

The backdrop of this character throughout these 2 completed seasons has been one of unfulfilled potential. We meet this character dealing with unemployment, clearly having a high level of intelligence as he pitches this new potential mobile app but not being able to get enough traction to get things off the ground. In the meantime, his struggles are wearing thin on his partner and on various levels we get a number of hints that perhaps their sex life among other things is not what it should be. These factors lead to overall growing tension between the two of them.

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I can wholeheartedly relate to the experience that Lawrence has been going through on the personal side regarding his professional advancements or at least his attempts to do so. More people than you know are dealing with an economy and a business world that has been in flux for probably the last 7-plus years now. There are more people with high education and higher work experience all vying for the same jobs. As a black man I already knowing what that job hunting process entails and how much higher you have to aim above the crowd, it’s stressful.

It takes a lot to get up and put on that professional face, hold it together throughout the course of the day and then come home and function when you’re not contributing your fair amount to the household situation. So we follow Lawrence as he goes from unemployment to finally bite the bullet and taking a Best Buy opportunity that was presented to him. It’s an ego check as it falls far below his intelligence and experience, but you do what you have to do to provide for your situation.

I connect with this so deeply, I know from personal experience how that feels to have to sit down and look at what you’ve done in the past, what you’ve accomplished, what you know than sit down and have to take a role that realistically you probably could have retained with no more than a high school degree. Again you do what you have to do to bring in that paper regardless of how much your ego takes a hit for it. Let’s just look things over a bit. In the midst of trying to get your paper right, you now find yourself out of your relationship not established in terms of having your own place so you know what happens next? You holla at your homie and you’re dealing with that air mattress struggle. Again I’ve never been in a situation where I separated from someone and ended up in that way but the air mattress struggle is real I’ve been there and when you find yourself in certain spaces of transition and you’re essentially starting from scratch. Building life from the bottom up is a very humbling position to find yourself in.

So as we watch Lawrence deal with these various levels of change some people may see it as him being the butt of a joke, however, your personal experiences will relate to the perspective that you’re going to bring to the situation and for me without touching the way he interacts with Issa, I get the stress, strain and the conflict that he is dealing with internally.

Interestingly enough the story of Insecure seems to present a situation where it isn’t until Lawrence is away from his supportive partner that he starts to make traction in his life professionally. He gets the new job, he gets the place and it makes you wonder was there something within the relationship holding him back

When shows like this hit the scene it is natural for people to start picking sides. The internet is full of Team Issa and Team Lawrence fanatics. People who just like me, connect to these characters in some personal form or fashion and are riding out hoping to see the best for that particular individual as the show progresses. As I said, I’m not on either of these individuals teams because I feel a lot of the decisions they are making in regards to each other and their former relationship have been incredibly destructive and hurtful to themselves.  

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I had this conversation with a friend recently; they are both being incredibly messy single people. But at least on one level of existence, I get where Lawrence is coming from I get the idea of wanting to be something aiming to be something falling short and having constant reminders around you of your shortcomings. I know what it’s like to be a certain age be in a certain place look around you and see others advancing others prospering and you still struggling to get to a place that you know you should be at. It’s not cool to admit the things that I’m talking about but this isn’t something new I’ve been very transparent with my life for years now. But as Insecure continues to grow in popularity I think the show presents real opportunity, to be honest about the lies that we live. As women open up and claim spaces in our society that they have been due for the longest. I think as men we need to start feeling enough comfort to open up about the difficulties that we have we are expected to be stone cold emotionless and just proceed with life like nothing ever affects us and that’s not true that’s not honest and it’s not healthy.

If anything the true level of insecurity comes in our inability, to be honest with ourselves and others that sometimes we’re just not happy with our lives. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s better to acknowledge your feelings and address them than bottle them up and have them possibly explode in the wrong direction or towards the wrong person.

While we await the next chapter of life between Lawrence and Issa in season 3, I do hope that the level of conversation that this show has sparked doesn’t die down. There are so many areas we need to address with other. We need each other more than ever and the first step to that position comes through understands open communication. We’re all insecure about something so why not share and heal together?

issa-and-lawrence-breakup

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Milestone Summer – Family Ties

Milestone Summer – Family Ties

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Already this summer may go down as one of the most eventful periods in my life. It started out with me celebrating the first birthday of my son Max. Not to be outdone, the following weekend I saw my brother become a husband. Witnessing the marriage of my little brother, as his best man, in front of our family was probably one of the most emotional moments of my life. So between that and the one-year celebration of my son, it’s been quite a summer thus far. With that said there’s been a lot of reflection a lot of introspective days just thinking about where I am where my family has come from and where we’re going. Knowing everything that emotionally struck me when I found out I was about to be a father to where I am today has been quite a path traveled.

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Max Turns 1!!!!

With that said there’s been a lot of reflection, a lot of introspective days just thinking about where I am where my family has come from and where we’re going. Knowing everything that emotionally struck me when I found out I was going to be a father to be where I am today is a major step. In conjunction with that seeing where my brother is at has made me so happy and so proud of everything that he has accomplished.

Interestingly enough, the announcement to my parents that I would be expecting a child and the announcement from my brother that his girlfriend had accepted his proposal all happened within the same November week back in 2015. So to have the wedding and Max’s birthday fall within a week of each other was kind of interesting and pretty cool. I say that now as I think back to the same younger brother who I used to play video games with, play ninja tag and get into fights with, to now seeing him as a grown man and myself now as a father is just a testament to the power of family.

#BestMan #BigBrother #MagicalMountainWedding2017

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I have always said that nothing matters more to me and nothing is more important than family. It is a foundation that not only holds me together in some of my weaker moments but is the foundation that I plan on building and raising my son upon. It’s something that I’m still trying to capture in words right now, where I am where the time has gone and yet almost feeling like we are all at a point of new beginnings. I’m in the early stages of life within Parenthood and now my brother is embarking on the journey of marriage. It really is a brand new world. I look forward to what it will mean for him and I look forward to the life that I’m going to craft out for myself and my son.

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SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING LOVE AND FAMILY WITH THE 2017 MAZDA CX-5

SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING LOVE AND FAMILY WITH THE 2017 MAZDA CX-5

Mazda cx 5

This has been quite an eventful summer. The last edition of Samurai Rides featured me celebrating the 1-year birthday of my son. This time around I had the honor of celebrating my brother’s wedding as Best Man.  With so many major events taking place across so many states, I need to have faith in the transportation I use for myself and my family. Fortunately, I was riding in 2017 Mazda CX-5 and let me tell you it took care of me, my son, my parent’s, anyone that needed to move around the event space for that wedding weekend. Mazda had us covered.

The last time I was driving a Mazda CX-5 I was in Atlanta preparing the final details for the Nomadness Summer barbecue so I know just what type of work this vehicle can put in. Fortunately, this time around I didn’t have as much stuff to carry and pick up. There was no food or alcohol runs,  just a few guests and some luggage bags for the festivities. More so than anything I needed to make sure that the ride was comfortable for my son. This was his 1st time him going to upstate New York and I wanted to make sure it was a comfy ride for him going up and back. He slept for most of the time so I take that as his stamp of approval. Up front in the driver’s seat Sirius XM and my USB port kept the tunes steady.

Mazda does a great job of combining convenience, control, and power with race car like design that still has this luxurious touch to its interior. Mazda is well-known for its stellar designing, especially its well-stitched leather interiors.

The weather that weekend was a little unsettled including more rain then I personally would have liked to see at a wedding but we worked around it. I will say that as always Mazda handled perfectly on the road despite the conditions of rain and wind. Nothing was able to mess up a ride. There was more than enough space in the ride and in the trunk. I would say that if you’re really looking for maximum space you probably want to look at the CX 9  but if you’re someone who is pretty modest with the loads that you’re going to be carrying then you’ll do great with the 5.

On the detailed side the Mazda’s crossover SUV currently ranks near the top of the SUV pack via U.S News and World Report. All this power and style will run you about $25K which is an amazing price. Mazda has been knocking it out the park with their recent redesigns. They have figured out how to pack so much into an affordable package and it’s a win/win for the people.

Hop over to Mazda.com for more info for this top on the line Crossover and stay tuned, the next edition of Samurai Rides will be a fun one, trust me.

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00

New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00 & EP.01

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Funny how life goes in circles. Years ago I was a pretty solid fixture in the internet radio/podcasting/online streaming space. I co-hosted a Toronto-based online show. I made regular appearances on a number of pretty popular online shows and even on my personal blog I was doing a video blogs very heavy.

Now, to have stepped away from that and then see you that same media blow up with a current surge of podcast activity I won’t lie it’s bittersweet. I think I have a habit of being too far ahead of the curve and several times I’m so far ahead that I missed out on the chance to monetize what it is I’ve already been doing.

With that being said, Facebook over the past week just rolled out a very interesting feature. They announced this back at the tail end of last year and now it’s finally hitting. They announce the audio only feature within Facebook live so if you’re not someone who is camera ready at the moment but has a lot to say, has a voice that needs to be heard or a voice that the people want to hear this is the perfect thing. Obviously, you would do your recordings for the benefit of a live audience at the same time your material is saved which you can direct people back to or share across social media.

This past week I introduced “Who’s Listening”.  Episode 00, the pilot episode. This is me stepping back into the podcast world with this first episode. I spoke about the Yankee captain Derek Jeter having his number retired along with a few Yankee memories. I touched on the NBA playoffs as well. In addition, there was social media talk about virtual reality and “Smart” tech like voice recognition.   The main topic of the show was the  “black women are trash black men or trash” t-shirt fiasco that hit the internet last week. I definitely gave some opinions on that so without further ado drop down and take a listen to the pilot episode of  Who’s Listening.

 

**UPDATED – LISTEN TO THE FIRST OFFICIAL EPISODE 01 HERE**

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My Day Speaking at Kamit Prep Institute in Brooklyn

My Day Speaking at Kamit Prep Institute in BrooklynKamit Preparatory Institute Career

One of the best things you can do in life is to aid the upbringing of the next generation. From education to social interaction, it truly is our greatest duty to put the youth in a position to do things bigger and better than we ever did.  To that end, I recently was invited to speak to the students of Kamit Preparatory Institute in Brooklyn for their first annual Career Day. KPI is split into 2 internal schools housing K through grade 6 in the lower school and grade 7 to 12 in the Upper.  This enabled me to address student across the entire spectrum of the system. It was an amazing opportunity that I really look forward to doing again.  KPICareerDay8

I gave 4 different presentations that day sharing my work as a Social Media Manager. The engagement was high across the broad. The youngest students seemed more curious about me personally than professionally which was amusing. As the age and grade level increased the questions picked up in details and scope.

The oldest students were very intrigued about the business I am in both on the digital/social media side as well as the travel side with my direct work with Nomadness. To that end, I was the one that was surprised to find out just how many of these students had passports. Not only do they have passports but they were very active having traveled to Asia, Europe, Africa and many other places across the globe.  You could tell that there were a number of future tribe members in my presence.

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The key thing with speaking to groups of any size, age or demographic is making a connection. With the overall focus of the day being about Careers, I made it a point to let these young minds know, not to stress. Do not feel that you are expected to know what you want to do with your life right now. Especially for those preparing for college that was a vital point I needed them to understand. At times I think we lay out these expectations for our kids and try to give them a foolproof plan to success. It’s well intended and for earlier generations, it did make sense. Today the world is in flux. It’s ripe with opportunities that venture way outside of the box and we need to make sure our kids feel the support to explore these options.

I look forward to checking up on the students of KPI and hearing great things about them in the future. When my time was done, I quietly made my way toward the exit. Suddenly I was mobbed with hugs from a half-dozen 1 st graders. It was the perfect end to my day. As I watched the kids run off, I couldn’t help but think of my son. Max is turning 1-year-old and time will fly and have him in school before I know it……and I will be there. Let’s be there for our kids now and forever.

Kamit Prep Institute

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NYC Hosts Word of Mouth Marketing Summit – [WOMMA 2017]

NYC Hosts Word of Mouth Marketing Summit – [WOMMA 2017]

womma logo

The New York Times building played host the annual WOMMA Summit this past week. The summit featured speakers from a number of major brands like MGM Grand, Tito’s Vodka, BuzzFeed, Wendy’s and many more.

WOMMA which stands for word-of-mouth-marketing presented two days of panel discussions, informative sessions that dove into various aspects of Social Media communication, content creation and the overall effect of digital activity on society. Many brands spoke about how they craft their respective voices along with the teams and systems that go into creating the content that the consumers see on a daily basis.

The online comedic wit of the Wendy’s brand was center stage for that chat courtesy of their V.P of Media, Ads & Social Brandon Rhoten.

Univision EVP Jessica Rodriguez opened up the Summit speaking on ownership of responsibility within her digital teams and the effects of “influencers”.

They also had a number of sessions that spoke not so much to a specific business purpose but how Society as a whole interacts with social media. As social continues to grow and evolve around us it’s playing a greater role in and having increased influence on day to day life. Topics such as prejudice, discrimination, fake news and more were touched on via author Emanuel Rosen

In addition to that WOMMA also addressed the issues of influencers in a few respective sessions. Kevin Knight of Experticity broke down what actually makes an influencer on various levels of scale, what their responsibilities are and how do they best express and deliver on the message of a respective brand.

It’s very informative to get a look into what larger mainstream businesses are doing and thinking in regards to social media. Learning what their methods are that result in the content that they create and what are the do’s and don’ts are that they apply to their own digital spaces. These things are important to be aware of as many of these brands set the trends that up-and-coming businesses and entrepreneurs tend to follow. Not to mention we see on a daily basis many mainstream bands continue to get social wrong and put themselves in positions where not just are they acting in error but then they are put on full display for the world to see just how out-of-touch they are. Truthfully speaking in today’s climate with social media as established as it is you should know the ramifications of the things you do in our business. Nothing is secret and customer service is now a spectator sport. How you treat your customers is no longer lost within phone calls and snail mail complaint letters.

Nicole Portwood of Tito’s Vodka says it best. “We focus on being as human as much as possible vs. being so product-driven.”

This sentiment does well in summing up the overall tone of the WOMMA Summit. Word of Mouth Marketing essentially is a reminder that no matter how far social media advances it is the social aspect, the direct person to person element that carries the greatest value for businesses to succeed. WOMMA isn’t stopping with the summit either. There are a number of events upcoming via WOMMA to continue the conversation of how our communication is evolving and impacting our business.

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SAMURAI SIT DOWN: ACTRESS, MODEL & SINGER – GENESIS VAL LEON

SAMURAI SIT DOWN: ACTRESS, MODEL & SINGER – GENESIS VAL LEON

Genesis Val Leon

Multitasking is a term that people toss around a lot. It’s true that today we find ourselves doing various things at the same time. Well, today I want to present to you a woman that truly embodies the definition of multitasking. A triple threat in everyone sense of the term, meet Genesis Val Leon today’s Samurai Sit Down feature.

Please introduce yourself, where you’re from and what you do?

My name is Genesis Val Leon and I am a curly-haired actress, singer, and model from the Bronx, New York

What was your earliest Inspiration for acting and modeling

I’ve been performing as early as 8 years old. I was that kid that would dance to TV commercials and even the car alarms that would go off on my street. My first classical music/ voice classes started when I entered second grade. I vividly remember my dad playing music from an old record player. We literally would go around the world through music. I remember him playing Tommy Boy, Queen, Whitney, Michael, Prince, Ana Gabriel, Selena and so many other. He gave me one of my greatest traits which my broad music palette. It was something we shared and still till this day do. My dad is an engineer but has an immense love for music (singing)

As for acting, my mom. My mom has the most electric and contagious personality I have ever encountered. Think Rosie Perez meets Sofia Vergara with the most beautiful accent. I remember attempting to imitate her while she would try to reprimand me and getting in so much trouble. I also remember writing apology songs and performing them whenever I got in trouble. My mom is also a huge Novela ( Hispanic Soap Operas) fan. And boy, that’s where the fun really started. You have not really laughed until you’ve watched a novela episode.

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As for modeling, it just came with my personality. My first “pageant” was when I was 5 years old. I wish you all can see this video. I always had big hair and I guess my mom had put my hair in two ponytails. Well, I decided I wanted my hair out. Next thing you know, I walked out with my hair out in this gorgeous fro and strutted my way across the runway, made a detour and walked through the crowd- absolutely messed up the entire order and the organizer had to go and get me.

GVL Coming Soon

Continue reading SAMURAI SIT DOWN: ACTRESS, MODEL & SINGER – GENESIS VAL LEON

The Rock and Under Armour Have Been Cooking Up Something Real Good

The Rock and Under Armour Have Been Cooking Up Something Real Good

ROCK UA

What happens when today’s top action movie star links up with the innovative Under Armour Brand? You get the new Project Rock collection which looks to capture the intensity that Dwayne Johnson himself brings to the gym within the first over head-to-toe performance training collection for men and women.  The Project Rock collection is now available on UA.com and selective retail locations.

Check out a few images from this awesome collaboration along with statements from UA and The Rock!

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· COOLING TO CRUSH IT
UA CoolSwitch pulls heat away from skin for a cooling effect that helps you perform longer.

· GO HARD, BREATHE EASY
ArmourVent® mesh breathes & releases excess heat.

· SWEAT NOTHING
HeatGear® fabric wicks sweat to keep you dry & light.

The SuperVent Project Rock Training Collection debuts with a full product suite for men, featuring SuperVent tees, tanks, shorts and leggings. And for the first time, a women’s performance collection is available, including exclusive cut and sew styles for tanks, leggings, accessories and much more. Price points range from $34.99- $89.99.

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Also part of the collection is the Project Rock Delta training shoe—an exclusive version of the UA Delta trainer shoe that is inspired by Dwayne’s grueling training sessions. This cutting-edge footwear is built with Under Armour’s signature Charged Cushioning technology that absorbs impact and returns explosive energy. The training shoe also offers extended ankle support for increased stability and deep flex grooves to provide extra flexibility where you need it most. The Project Rock Delta is available globally today, retailing for $139.99.

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Brand integrity is a serious thing and when you think of The Rock there’s a certain faith you have in him when it comes to things of a health and fitness nature. I can’t wait to get a few pieces from this collection for myself.

If you like what you see here then please make sure you take a look at the Fall/Winter preview I was invited to recently.

**Click Here to view**

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Media Updates – Sharing New Content and Features

Media Updates – Sharing New Content and Features

SMS UPDATES

It’s been a while since I’ve taken time to share some of the things I’m doing. Fatherhood has changed the way I work and my ability to focus on “me” is in a bit of flux. Slowly but surely I’m reestablishing my digital presence, getting my creative juices flowing and putting content out into new spaces. It feel’s good. I view 2014 as a pivotal year. It was in that year that I covered my largest events, wrote my biggest (at the time) article

Thinking back a bit I view 2014 as a pivotal year. It was in that year that I covered my largest events, wrote my biggest (at the time) article and landed my first client as a consultant. I’m using that year as a reference point for the things that worked for me professionally and how to implement them within my new reality.  That’s within the social media industry and beyond.

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On the writing side of things, I’ve had a few recent pieces published via Complex. Sports connects to folks on so my levels so it’s cool to share thoughts within that space.  Here are mentions from my Knicks and Warriors stories.

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I’m also looking to bring a new outlook on Fatherhood to the forefront. Classic Daddy narratives often paint us in a position of voiceless, emotionless workers. As more dads are taking on the day-to-day hands-on duties of parenting in addition to work, it needs to be understood and respected that we are just as invested in the lives of our kids as anyone else.

In the last week, I’ve been featured by a couple of pro daddy platforms. It’s all about Max and whatever I need to do to keep him smiling.

Good Afternoon everyone👋😍 Meet @NightFall914 & his handsome son Max. This great guy knows the meaning of happiness. You can clearly see his efforts are well received in the joy his son has. A true man, a great father and positive role model. Let’s show him a warm welcome for being such a great Father on his journey as a father. I am proud of you @NightFall914 continue to be the amazing man you are. God has blessed you brother. Congratulations once again!!! Welcome to Fatherhood 👍😎 #FatherRights #DadCaresToo #DailyMessage #DailyInspiration #SingleDadLife4Ever #Daddy #Son #Daughter #Mommy #SingleDadLife #MommyLife #FathersWithoutBorders #ProudFatherOfALittleGirl #ProudParents #Postivevibes #PositiveChanges #SharedMoments #NewParents #FatherHood #ParentHood #Parenting

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at 9:44am PDT

The other feature was a great Q & A interview with DadofDivas. This is something I really want to build one going forward.

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Snippet from Dad of Divas Interview Feature

It’s a new world for me in many ways but with a new motivation to press forward, I’m excited about the future. Also as I have reached and helped many of my readers, I ask those of you viewing this to please reach back to me if you see something that you think I could a match for. Online features, writing, public speaking. I’m wide open to opportunity.

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The Mysterious Month of Me – Facing Birthday Doubts

The Mysterious Month of Me – Facing Birthday Doubts

The Mysterious Month of Me

I don’t think I’ve ever had a month go by as fast as March has this year. The 1st fatherly Month of Me is complete and it has been one of extreme introspection. I’m trying to figure life out now without snapping at folks or losing my mind. The responsibility of fatherhood weighs on everything I do. Every time I look I’m my son’s eyes I’m dedicated that much more to not give up. Yet and still life is dead set on pushing me to my “adulting” limits. The juggling of family, finances, and feelings can get very tricky.

March does always remind me of a number of standout individuals in my life. I’m thankful for those people and the overall community that stands with me. The emotional pick me ups are clutch at a time when I’m battling serious feelings of inadequacy. The thing is, life doesn’t always provide a guy the outlet to release in the manner needed. I’m approaching a year since I left New Rochelle and so much has changed within me.

SMS MOM DD

I’m attempting not to hold so much inside but that is part of who I am at times. I’m trying to still be true to me in a world that wants my skills and talents but wants it in a different package. The emotions of life and daily economics clash often. It’s a puzzle I’m still working on. All the while Max gets bigger, smarter, more aware…….his Daddy’s story is an interesting one to say the least, but it’s still in its’ opening chapters.

As a new phase of this parenting operation approaches, I look forward to life presenting more opportunities. I also expect life to continue fighting me at every turn. Nothing worth having comes easy. I’ve slowly made moves to reestablish elements of life that make me full like my old self. The evolution of me, the progressive work of Jason continues and I’m looking to let Love, Faith & Family drive me forward.

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