Am I Alone

Taxes H&RBlock Turbotax taxman

Please tell me I am not the only person in America who has this look this week. You know, that desk is piled so high in papers and receipts you can hardly make out the person who is sitting there look. I hate to admit it but I let it happen again, and I swore I wouldn’t, I waited until the bitter end to do our taxes.

Normally I am the kind of person who gets the jump on things early, and has the taxes done by February. However this year it just seemed like other things took priority. Family visiting from out of the country, medical maladies with some of the furkids, auditions, working on music, life, stuff, and then all of the sudden it was spring break and tax time was just around the corner. Yikes!

The Mr. and I had a trip planned to visit family in Florida for Easter and as much as I wanted to get them done before we left, it just didn’t happen. Why is it that sometimes as good as your intentions are when you set aside time to do something, it just seems like something always comes up last minute to interrupt the best laid plans? So here I am, the week they are due and now it’s crunch time.

It wouldn’t be so bad except that it’s not just personal taxes for us; it’s for an LLC, which can be a bit more complicated. Especially for those of us who are not you know rocket scientists by nature. So I’ll be sitting here with a hot cup of happiness in my hands for the next few days organizing and adding up all the activities of the last year. Thank goodness for Dunkins’ because I know one Greek Girl who will surely be “running on Dunkins'” for the next few days.

I will say it is always interesting for me to see where and how money was earned and spent. One thing I especially like to do is add up what we gave away. Some people don’t necessarily give often or a lot because they think they can’t make a difference. When you add it all up though, it does. I find that for me anyway, one of the best parts of the yearly taxes chore is seeing how we were able to impact the lives of others by giving in the previous year.

Back to reality, back to the job at hand. Makes me hope one of the candidates for President actually will eliminate the IRS and make it so we can file our taxes on a postcard. That would leave more time for other things we all would like to be doing instead of burning up the calculators. Oh well, one can only hope. In the meantime, if you have this crazed last minute doing your taxes look about you like I do, here’s to all of us finishing on time. Happy Filing.

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

 

 

 

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Leap Please

#safespace #politics #election #trump #news #media #facebook #twitter #socialmedia #silly #blog #primary #supertuesday #wethepeople #america #makeamericagreatagain #cruz #rubio

 

Leap day is here. Pretty neat indeed, but I think I’d like to leap to the next one please. Normally I’m not the kind of person to want to fast-forward to the future, but this particular leap day, America seems to be relishing in the politics of hate. So if I could I would fast forward to four years from now when it’s all over.

Funny, the last time we had a leap year it was also an election year. I think the extra day has done something to peoples brains. It’s not surprising to find the usual suspects in an election… opposing ideas, plans, and debate. It’s when you toss the media in the mix that things start to really boil, which is expected. However this year I think someone turned the heat to high and it’s turning everyone’s noggins to mush.

The vitriol is at levels I have not seen in my lifetime. Maybe it’s that social media is playing a part in this election like never before. Access for everyday people to sit behind a computer screen and type whatever they like without regard to whether it is actually true or not. The rise of the “new media” has produced a multitude of blogs, and pundits popping up out of the woodwork. Suddenly everyone is a “political expert”. People can now hide behind a computer screen and cut, paste, twist, splice, dice, and concoct articles and videos that are used like bullets to wound those they view as needing to be taken down. I find it frightening because often these efforts are not promoting the truth, but instead deepening the divide.

The high and holy conservative pundits sit on their thrones telling people essentially:
“You must support thus and such or you cannot possibly be a real conservative or Christian”. The same bodes true for the opposite side of the political isle… liberal pundits pushing their guy or gal as the case may be. It’s like some of them are literally having a temper tantrum from atop their media perch: “How could you evangelicals choose Trump, oh the humanity.”  

Many of us have seen it; a “friend” announces on their Facebook something to the effect of:

“If you support thus and such candidate for President then you can just delete me now. In fact I’ll even save you the trouble, if you post or like anything by said candidate I will delete and block you myself.”

These kind of posts always give me a giggle. I’m not sure the people who post them even see the irony of making such a statement. See we have a word for this in the Greek language it’s called hypocrisy. Let’s see according to the Merriam Webster dictionary the word means the following:

Hypocrisy: the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do: behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel.

What a silly thing for a person to post. Stating that one is so staunch in their belief of freedom that they can not possibly tolerate anyone in their “safe space” (in this case personal Facebook world) who does not agree with their deeply held convictions of personal responsibility, liberty, independent thinking, and most importantly freedom of speech that they have to ban anyone who does not think exactly like they do. Doing so is completely and totally hypocritical. Actually I find it pretty funny, and seem to be having more and more laughs about people doing this very thing, as we get farther along in the election cycle.

Which leads me to just a little bit wish I could hit the switch and jump onto the next leap year when all of this is behind us. To that magical place in time when people will have woken up to the fact that this is the real world, and there are no “safe spaces”. When people will have put on their big boy and big girl pants and finally figured out that we are all free to think and choose our own thoughts. What we like, dislike, and even whom we choose to support for President. That even if we “agree” on some things, even most things, there will always be something for we the people to disagree about, and it does not make us bad people. My wish is that this practice of character assignation of people who do not 100% agree with each other is a fad that dies, and quickly.

Happy Leap Day and Super Tuesday!

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Love to Hate

#iowa #trump #superbowl #nfl #cruz #rubio #fox #news #blog #sharethis #obama #republicans #media #movies #oscars #facebook

Something has been bugging me for a while now. I try to ignore it, but the more I ignore the worse it seems to get. So like any good creative person, I decided to write about it.

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the past few years. It started slowly and has grown to the point that it makes me want to pull the plug. Pull the plug… What in the heck in the world are you talking about Greek girl? We all know the Internet can be a powerful tool. However these days it seems more and more like a weapon.

For people like me (an independent recording artist) the Internet is a powerful tool that has opened up an entire world of opportunities (literally). Opportunities to share my music and brand with people in parts of the world I never would be able to without it. Artists, businesses, non-profits, the list of people who benefit from the freedom and connection of the Internet are endless.

For some it’s a powerful tool to share ideas and products. For others it a hideaway to hurl hate. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe everyone is entitled to have their owns opinions and feelings about everything in life. We don’t all have to live the same and think the same like robots in a Stepford Wives episode. I mean we do after-all live in the greatest country on the face of the earth. Something has happened though, something that truly scares me. Never in my life have I witnessed so many who seemly love to hate. People united in posting, sharing, creating and devoting oodles of precious time spreading pure venom. Hatred, jealousy, envy, sorry but those are just not American values.

A little term I came up with called “derangement syndrome” seems to be everywhere anymore. Insert name or organization before the term and there you have the description of an entire group of people united in sharing and spreading each and every negative thing they can find about said person or organization. People who go bonkers, I mean literally off the rails at the mere mention of derangement objects name. What do I mean? Well, lets see… we have a few examples in no particular order:

Patriots Derangement Syndrome
Tom Brady Derangement Syndrome
Trump Derangement Syndrome
Bush Derangement Syndrome
Joel Osteen Derangement Syndrome

The list goes on. I post these examples not to judge or praise any of them, rather only to illustrate a few of the particularly common derangement syndromes permeating our society today. The thing I find most troubling about this condition are the people who come down with the syndrome, many of whom are Christians.

Of course it’s not just Christians getting it that bothers me, it’s anyone who comes down with the syndrome. When Christians get it though, I find it especially disturbing. You see Jesus said they will know us by our love. Now I’m not saying we need to lie down and let everyone walk all over us because Jesus stood up when it was necessary. Like the time when he flipped over the money tables in the temple. Standing up though doesn’t mean devoting ones self to the sharing of and spreading of hate.

We have a word in the Greek language for this kind of behavior, it’s called hypocrisy. Better known as do as I say, not as I do. It’s almost as if they are saying: “Yeah I’m a Christian I love God, I love people, I’m good, but I devote my entire Facebook page, blog, website (or whatever the case may be) to sharing articles I do not one hundred percent personally know to be true, but that’s OK because I got my opinion out there.”

Everyone knows the media has an agenda and often times are biased. However the rise of the “new media” movement has bred a multitude of websites, blogs, videos and more devoted to spreading utter vitriol. Oftentimes I am shocked even more by the personal words written by people in the comments section when they share these things. The people I see this bitterness coming from, and the level to which they go, this for me is what cuts the most. There have been times I almost dump my dunkins on my laptop it’s so disturbing.

America was built on hard work. Used to be a someone saw a successful person as an inspiration. If they can do it, so can I kind of thing. Americans used to celebrate others success. Instead today we have media propping people up then far to willing, ready, and waiting for the chance to tear them down. When a successful person rises to incredible heights in their field or career, the haters come out in full force. They hide behind a computer screen and cut, paste, twist, splice, dice, and concoct articles and videos that are used like bullets to wound those they view as needing to be taken down.

#internet #facebook #twitter #instagram #sharethis #computer #apple #hate #love #politics #trump #faith #like
Not sure how or when it happened, but jealousy and entitlement for many have replaced aspiration. Take Tom Brady for example: he’s talented, good looking, has a beautiful wife, makes boatloads of money doing what he loves. He can’t possibly just be gifted though, he must have cheated. Another example, what did the founding fathers want in a President? Successful businessmen to leave their vocation to go and “serve” the people for a time, then leave. So when someone steps up to do it, they are labeled an egomaniac or Hitler. I’m just sayin… think about it.

There are always two sides to every story and there will always be stories until the end of time. I just know I would not want to stand before God at the end of my time and have the answer to what I did with my time to be “sharing hate”. So I for one will continue to use the internet as a tool to share the good. To share my music and message. To make a positive impact, to encourage, inspire and do my best to lift people up, not tear them down. My hope is that more will catch this syndrome and do the same.

Blessings, Love & Music,
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

 

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Joy

#Joy #BiggestLoser #Resolution #NewYear #Happy #fun #weightloss #fitness #goals #dreams #neverquit #inspiration #facebook #wordpress #dontgiveup #yes #yesyoucan #share #sharethis #like #google #BobHarper #trainer #fitnesstrainer #health

It’s finally here! In fact I’m so happy about it I’ve been humming a little tune all around the house for weeks now. “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart…” Joy about what Greek Girl you may be wondering?

The new movie Joy starring cutie patootie Jennifer Lawrence? No, but it was a fantastic movie that I highly recommend! The characters were all very well developed, and it’s a super feel good film that gets a big fat thumbs up and five stars from this film critic.

If not that, what pray tell could be causing all that “joy” I am talking about? Why The Biggest Loser premiere of course! Why on earth am I so excited about a TV show one may wonder? Well hello… it has many of my favorite elements: sneakers (my number one favorite shoe to wear), people doing things they thought they couldn’t, inspiration, drama. Sure in my opinion the show will never be the same without Jillian, but it’s still incredibly inspiring, and never fails to have me in tears at some point during an episode.

I have been so inspired by some episodes in the past that I have even written lyrics to songs from watching. So for me it’s a win-win.

New year, a new chance to get up to bat and swing for one’s goals and dreams in life. We all have them, many start out strong at the beginning of the year and for a multitude of reasons peter out and end up quitting. For me it is magical to watch people who have tried time after time, after time to achieve a goal who have never been able to do it, finally break through and get it done. It’s just my happy place.

Society today has so many tools to be healthy and live longer, yet it seems is getting more and more unhealthy by the second. Your body is a miracle. When you treat it right by feeding it the right things and making fitness a part of everyday (just like brushing your teeth) the results are remarkable. That’s why I love the show so much, it demonstrates this principle in such a dramatic way on such a large scale, literally.

I think everyone has the ability inside them to blast through barriers… it’s just a matter of will. Not a matter of “can”, but a matter of “if”. Excuses can be made for everything, everyone has something. Not everyone has the “physical capability” to be an olympic athlete, this I know very well. Accidents, disabilities, many things can make a person think they “can’t” be physically fit. The truth of the matter is though that there is a modification for almost everything. There is some kind of physical activity that everyone can do, and once one changes their mentality from can’t to can… the entire world can change.

So you can be your bottom dollar I’ll be parked in front of the TV watching. With a hot cup of happiness a la Dunkin’s in my hands (with Truvea instead of sugar of course). Will you? If not my hope is that 2016 is a year for everyone to reach beyond their limits and break though barriers to reach goals and dreams they have buried on the inside. Remember, everything is possible… you just have to believe. Happy 2016!

Blessings, Love & Music!
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

 

 

 

 

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Should They Stay or Should They Go

What would Churchill Do?...

What would Churchill Do?…

Immigration… seems like you can’t go a day without hearing, or seeing the word these days. People are so passionate about it on both sides of the issue that it’s almost becoming one of those taboo topics, like religion or politics that it’s not polite to talk about because people get so heated. Well since I’m Greek which is code for (born without a filter) you had to know I would have to put my two cents in. WARNING: (This blog is not politically correct).

It’s everywhere from your local community to the talking heads on TV and most everyone understandably feels very strongly about it. I wonder though if it’s far more simpler than anyone realizes. It really boils down to the law. Either we have a country with laws or we don’t. We don’t get to pick and choose which laws we are going to enforce… or do we? Sadly these days it seems to be the latter.

Sounds like a line from a Trump speech does it? Dang right it does because he is right. Gasp… is Greek Girl a racist? No! HELLO (my dad immigrated to America from Greece before I was born with just $20 in his pocket) I’m the last person anyone could call a racist. It’s really just about the law. Are we going to follow our laws or not?

Yes America is the land of opportunity, we welcome the poor the tired, and we want to do whatever we can to help the least of these. The question is what about the poor and the tired who are here who are effected by the astronomical costs of illegal immigration? Think about it, what would happen to any random American who decided to go live in another country illegally. Lets just say Saudi Arabia for example… anyone who violates their immigration law is subject to deportation, fines and possible imprisonment. I’m willing to bet an American ICE holding facility is like club med compared to a Saudi Arabian jail cell.

Forget Saudi Arabia, pick a country. Any country… be as simple as a Google search. It’s all there. Australia for example has implemented one of the harshest border policies in the world. Characterized by three core points: turning or towing back boats of asylum seekers at sea; forcing asylum seekers to live in detention centers across the Pacific in Nauru and Papua New Guinea; and guaranteeing they will never be resettled in Australia.

Compare that to America. Can anyone imagine American authorities doing anything like that? Of course not because that would be inhumane and the media’s heads would literally explode at the slightest hint of anything like that. So instead we have people from God knows where who have come here to do God knows what, who have a virtual red carpet rolled out for them. Yes there are good, decent people who come here to find a better life like my dad. Even so, if they came illegally they broke the law, and on some level the point could be made how decent is that?

Our country is full of sanctuary cities with oodles of assistance programs (in NYS we have SSI, WIC, Welfare to name a few) where people receive free housing, medical care, and spending money and in some cases free college (no I’m am not kidding). HELLO do we not right now at this very moment have boatloads (no pun intended) of indoctrinated college kids jumping up and down marching and demonstrating at universities all over the United States demanding free college, and that all student loan debt be eliminated? It’s enough to make ones head spin. Here’s an example that could cause a serious case of agida: right now at this very moment, there are residents of Islamic training camps in Hancock and Deposit, NY who are receiving SSI, WIC, and or welfare. All paid for by US tax dollars.

Yet we had to have Obamacare so legal born American citizens could be forced to buy more expensive insurance with astronomical deductibles that cover less, things they don’t want or need. Meanwhile we have illegal’s receiving all kinds of things that these programs when instituted were never intended to be used for what they are being used for today. Either by people who mean well turning a blind eye or by policy loopholes and or lack of enforcement. It’s a serious problem… at the same time complicated and simple enough to be a sitcom episode.

My dad went through the legal channel to become a citizen. It was hard, and he had setbacks like when he and my mom got divorced he had to start all over again, and go to the back of the line. He didn’t complain, he didn’t go to a government agency and the news and carry on about how hard it was. He got up every day and did whatever he had to do to provide for his family and meet the requirements to become a citizen legally. He washed dishes; he worked construction as a bridge painter. He worked his way up to owning his own restaurant and eventually even to own his own bridge painting company.

I remember a story about a time before I was born when he was painting bridges down in the south somewhere. He had another week until he would get paid, and it was hot summertime. He was hungry and thirsty, so he took his last ten cents to get a coke from a vending machine. You know the old fashioned bottles that have now come back into style. He put the ten cents in and waited. Nothing… so he hit the machine. Still nothing, it was hot and he was dying of thirst so he hit it again. Just before he turned to give up he kicked it, then all of the sudden cokes started coming out one by one. So he grabbed one of the empty plastic bottle holders that were lying on the ground. He filled several of them, and he thinks it must have emptied the machine. The beauty of it is that he lived on those cokes until he got paid again.

Somehow somewhere in the days from that time to now there has been a shift, a shift from victors to victims. It seems were living in a day when some want to label an entire group of people as victims rather than enforcing the law and empowering people to utilize their strengths and talents and help them help themselves. Sadly in the midst of this problem as I mentioned above we have those who wish to do us harm and they are taking advantage of the gaping holes in US immigration policy. I fear what it will take for our leaders to wake up to the reality of what is actually happening.

What do we do? We have to do something. One thing is for certain Lady Liberty is tired and America did not become a Great Nation by being a doormat. What happened in Paris is a horrible tragedy, it is happening all over the world, and it has been going on for years. No one person has the solution, but unless we want to see it happening here in America… Maybe that wall isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Blessings, Love & Music ~

Ava xo

www.avaaston.com

 

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Costume Party

Halloween (Howl-O-Ween for those of us who have pets) is right around the corner. I mean who can resist dressing up their furbabies in costumes anytime there is a holiday? Not this Greek Girl! Like everyone else life is busy and it can be hard to make time for just having fun. Even though I’m working on new music, making muckery and starting my own skincare line, it’s important for me to spend time with my furry-babies!

Recently I indulged in the yearly fall ritual of laughing my head off as I picked out the costumes for my furkids, so I thought it would be fun to post a virtual Halloween parade. So sit back relax and get ready… Time to bring on the cute!

  1. The furkids circa 2010: Left to right: Pookie dressed as an Angel, Bobo as a punk,  Punkin as a bug, Itty Bitty was supposed to be a pirate but he looked more like a little old lady (he is now at Rainbow Bridge).
The humanity...

The humanity…

2. Furkids 2011: Left to right: Itty Bitty (now at Rainbow Bridge) dressed as a punk rocker, Bobo top row dressed as a bumble bee, Pookie dressed as a bat, and Punkin again as a bug. (She was just too cute as it not to do it again).  

Just hurry up and take the pic so you can get these costumes off of us!

Just hurry up and take the pic so you can get these costumes off of us!

3.  Furkids 2012: A few days after Hurricane Sandy hit NY. We had no power, but in the midst of cleaning up we needed a good laugh, I mean there was so much sadness. We also had just taken in Pepe as a foster and wanted to get in into the swing of the costume routine. So… out with the phone. Top to bottom: Pepe dressed as a jailbird (fitting since we had just busted him out of doggie jail aka NYC ACC), Punkin dressed as a skunk, Bobo dressed as a shark, Itty bitty (now at rainbow bridge) dressed as a pumpkin, and Pookie dressed as an alligator.

Um, hello mom in case you didn't realize a hurricane just happened here in NY we have no power... Why are you taking our pics in costumes?

Um, hello mom in case you didn’t realize a hurricane just happened here in NY we have no power… Why are you taking our pics in costumes?

4. Furkids 2013: Itty Bitty had just passed unexpectedly so we superimposed him into the pic. Left to right Itty Bitty, Bobo dressed as Elvis, Punkin as a Ladybug, Pepe as a dinosaur, and Pookie as a girl.

First Halloween without Itty Bitty he had just passed, so we super imposed him from last year.

First Halloween without Itty Bitty he had just passed, so we super imposed him from last year.

5. Collage of some of my favorite costumes… Bobo as a bumble bee, Pepe as a lobster, Pepe as a jailbird, Bobo as a solider, and Punkin Pie as a witch. Which is what she says she feels like now that our latest addition Gracie has come into the house…

College of some of the furkids too cute!

Collage of some of the furkids too cute!

6. Howl-O-Ween 2014: Their faces kill me in this one. First year with Gracie the King Charles we were fostering at the time and have since adopted. They are still not too keen on her, she’s younger than they are. Hopefully time will change that. Left to right Gracie dressed as a devil (Punkin picked that costume for her), Pookie as a princess, Bobo as a soldier, Pepe as a dragon, and Punkin as a witch.

Bad enough we're dressed in costumes... now we have a new dog in our pack... Ov vey!

Bad enough we’re dressed in costumes… now we have a new dog in our pack… Ov vey!

So there you have it, the Halloween parade until this year 2015 photo is taken. We will soon be dressing them up again and I personally can’t wait to see my little monkeys dressed in costumes. Halloween isn’t really a holiday we celebrate except for dressing the dogs, but if you ask me this is the most fun! Be safe and happy howling.

Blessings, Love & Music!

Ava xo
www.avaaston.com
www.glowosity.com

 

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Clear Your Mind of Can’t

You can if you don't quit.

You can if you don’t quit.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for the underdog… what can I say, I just love a good comeback. (They also know I love coffee, dogs, sneakers, flip flops, and my favorite movie of all time is Rocky – all of them). So I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I was so excited I had to pinch myself when I learned about the new movie “Southpaw” starring Jake Gyllenhaal (not just because I’m left handed either). No worries, Greek Girl isn’t going to spoil the ending. What happens in the movie is a blog for another day.

However when I saw the trailer for the film it reminded me about some things that have inspired me over the past few years. One so much so, that I was compelled to share it again. You may have seen the transformational video on social media, or on the TV Show Shark Tank… called “Arthur’s Story”. Arthur Boorman was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War who lived with pain for fifteen years, and was told by his doctors that he would never be able to walk on his own, ever again.

He stumbled upon an article about Diamond Dallas Page doing Yoga and decided to try it. He couldn’t do typical high impact exercise, so he tried DDP YOGA, and sent an email to tell Dallas his story.

Dallas was so moved by Arthur’s story, he began emailing and speaking on the phone with him throughout his journey. Dallas encouraged Arthur to keep going and to believe that anything was possible. Doctors told Arthur walking would never happen, but he was persistent. He fell many times, but kept going.

Arthur got stronger, and lost weight at an amazing rate. Because of DDP’s unique workout, he gained incredible balance and flexibility, which gave him hope that maybe someday, he’d be able to walk again.

Arthur’s story is proof that we shouldn’t place limits on our capabilities. Often we don’t even know our own potential. Niether Arthur, nor Dallas knew what he would go on to accomplish. In less than one year, Arthur completely transformed his life. If only he had known what he was capable of doing fifteen years earlier.

I’m passionate about sharing this story not only because it is incredibly motivating, but because I have also experienced the benefits of this amazing program. As a person who suffered injuries and has experienced physical setbacks, I can tell you how much DDP Yoga has helped me both physically and mentally. His positive energy, his own story of going from physically broken to back in the game and helping others to do the same are simply irresistible.

In case you don’t know Diamond Dallas Page is not only a three-time professional wrestling heavyweight champion, but he is also an incredibly inspiring motivational figure and speaker. His career spanned two decades, and he entered the ring at thirty five years old. Many pro athletes are forced into retirement at that age. Years of wrestling left him with major injuries to his neck, back, shoulders and knees. Injuries that could not only end his career, but also affect his quality of life.

His answer to his injuries was DDP Yoga. A system he designed that allows you to work at your own ability, and with consistency grow stronger every day. Don’t waste precious time thinking you’re stuck. You can take control over your circumstances, no matter what life has thrown your way. Change might come faster than you might think, or it might take longer than you planned. All that matters is doing your best.

I’ve loved physical fitness as long as I can remember. Where most women have a collection of high heels, Greek Girl has collection of “sneakers”. Recently I found some Presidents Physical Fitness Awards from elementary and middle school up in my moms attic while visiting. Looking at them reminded me that we don’t have to give up the things we love; no matter badly we may have been knocked down. That is, as long as we continue to get back up.

Hopefully Arthur’s story can inspire you to follow your dreams, whatever they may be. For me, I just try every day to do my very best, and let God do the rest. No I may not be where I used to be, I may not be where I want to be. I know on the road to any goal all that matters is that you;

Get up, show up, do what you can… then one day you will be “doing the thing you think you can’t”. 

Remember… anything is possible!

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

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