Singer-Songwriter Ashley Stringer: Songs of Healing and Hope

Ashley Stringer – Singer, Songwriter & World Changer

Ashley Stringer is a vibrant young singer and songwriter who hopes to change the world one song at a time. She started writing songs at twelve years of age and will be releasing her first album while she’s still fourteen. Her songs represent a journey woven into a musical tapestry of good news. News of healing and hope, identity and joy. She can be found in coffee shops, church venues, special events and sharing her unique sound on social media, including her own YouTube channel. I recently interviewed Ashley about her love of music and passion to express her thoughts and heart through songwriting.

Music & Song

Q: Ashley and music go hand and hand. Smile. Did you come from a musical background growing up, or was music just born inside of you when you came into the world? Or, maybe a little of both?

A: My mother’s side of the family is musically inclined but I have always had a love for music since I was very little. I was either eleven or twelve when I believe I realized music was my passion.

Q: You sing, but you also play the guitar. Do you play other instruments as well?

A: No, I would love to learn to play the piano soon.

Q: Music is a universal language. How does it feel to use your gift of music and then also to have a platform to share it with others?

A: I feel blessed that God has revealed to me the gift of writing and singing, and count it an honor to be able to sing His praises.  It’s a privilege to write music and I pray that with every song there will be an audience that can relate to it and be ministered to by it.

Q: What is at the heart of your music… What propels you to want and need to express yourself in song?

A: Writing songs and expressing myself seems like a natural thing for me to do. When I have ideas or thoughts I journal them and that’s where a lot of my music comes from. I pray that others are blessed by the songs that were birthed from personal experiences of my own or ones that others have shared with me that I have put to songs.

Q: Have you identified a word or a couple of words that describe what you feel most near to through your expression of music… meaning, your “message”?

A: Honesty, Joy and Freedom.

Ashley in the recording studio.

Ashley in the recording studio.

Songwriting

Q: Not only do you sing, but you are also a songwriter. When you write songs, do you have an idea in your mind of the person, or a type of person, you are singing to/for?

A: First, I always write for the glory of God. Second, I write songs for people who are walking through challenges. I want my music to bring hope, encourage, and help others realize they’re not alone.

Q: When did you know it wasn’t enough for you to only sing, but you also felt compelled to write your own lyrics as well?

A: When I was being bullied, I taught myself how to play guitar and not too long after, I started writing songs. During that season of loneliness, writing music was my stress relief. Anytime I was hurting I would play my guitar and God would put lyrics on my heart and notes to strum on the guitar, He helped me author what I think is beautiful music.

Q: It must feel extremely freeing and gratifying to be able to sing words that are straight from your own heart and mind. With both gifts (voice and writing), you are able to truly express, in the way that you want, ideas and thoughts and challenges for others to hear. Would you comment?

A: Absolutely, every song is a story that allows the listener to pierce into the window of my soul. I pray that through my honesty others will be touched and experience healing through Jesus.

Listen to Ashley’s single about bullying and fitting in called “Simple Smile“on YouTube. (See the cover photo below).

Growth in the Journey

Q: Have you ever felt fear or comparison creeping in, and if so, how do you deal with that in order to push forward?

A: I have to remember when I feel this way that God only created one me and my story isn’t going to be like everyone else’s and that’s okay. I sing only for God’s glory and I don’t let comparison creep in. 

Q: What types of things have you done to help yourself communicate your messages through music even more?

A: I have been actively a part of dance troops and taken vocal lessons since I was very young. I’ve ministered in worship and word at several churches and coffee shops. I’ve volunteered for several years leading worship in kids ministry at a church. I feel that all of these things have helped prepare me.

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Ashley’s anti-bullying single, “Simple Smile”.

Following Your Dreams

Q: What have you found to be one of the most challenging parts of seeing your dream become a reality?

A: Patience and trusting God has perfect timing for all things. I was hoping to have this current album completed a long time ago, but studio production is time-consuming and costly. We have had to wait on producers, musicians laying tracks, and much more.

Q: How did you overcome that?

A: It’s a daily “die to self”. My parents remind me often to trust God and His timing for it all.

Q: If you could give one or two pieces of advice to others who want to follow their dream, what would it be?

A: Dream Big! Trust that God knows what’s best for you and know His timing is Perfect. God won’t put you in a situation you can’t handle.

Q: I know you have amazingly supportive parents. What’s one of your favorite things about how they’ve come alongside you in your musical journey?

A: I’m grateful to have parents who are willing to invest in my dream. They constantly encourage my gift. They have absolutely been a pillar of strength for me on this journey. I owe so much of this to my Dad for being our family’s covering, priest and encourager.  My mom is co-producing everything with me and the other producers.  She has a good ear and gives me advice and keeps me grounded.  She takes me to vocal lessons, studio recording sessions, and makes all possible on the ground-level.

Ashley wrote a song for her father while he was undergoing treatment at MD Anderson for Stage 4 cancer. They later created a short video featuring her song, “Journey“.

Social Media

Q: Where can people connect and learn more about your music? Do you have a website, blog, FB or Instagram page? 13007283_113616142377329_2278447126599045461_n

A: I am available on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. I also have a YouTube channel where you can see covers I have done, and more. (My website is currently being updated.)

Q: How has Social Media made an impact or opened doors for you to share your talent?

A: It has allowed me to get exposure from people I would have never reached before. 

Q: How have your fans played a role in building your momentum?

A: I really wouldn’t say I have much of a fan base, only time will tell. I have followers on both Facebook and Instagram, but haven’t intentionally sought to build a base yet.  It has all been organic and we trust in time it will grow on its own.

Q: Do you use any hashtags specifically for your music on social media?

A: #SimpleSmile, #AshleyStringer and #ConsumedByYou which is the title of my album.

Personal

Q: Your faith is at the core of who you are as a young woman. How has your faith strengthened you, inspired you and/or made you more confident and free to be who you are?

A: The bottom line is, I couldn’t do this without God. He’s the one who has opened every door, made way for every relationship, and empowered me to do what I do.

Ashley with her father, Doug Stringer.

Ashley with her father, Doug Stringer.

Q: You travel a lot with your family. What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to so far?

A: I’ve traveled to seventeen countries many of them multiple times and so far I don’t have a favorite. I’ve enjoyed them all!

Q: What’s someplace you’ve never been that you’d love to visit one day?

A: Greece, although I will be traveling there in the next few weeks! (Ashley just returned from Greece and loved it! See her photo below.)

Ashley’s 2017 trip to Greece.

Q: Name a musician, past or present, that is one of your favorite inspirations.

A: Tori Kelly and Celine Dion are my two favorite artists. I admire their vocal ability and Tori’s consecrated walk. 

Q: What is your favorite genre of music? Is there a genre you’ve not yet explored but would like to?

A: I really like Christian Pop and Christian Rap.

Q: Tell me something that your followers may not know about you yet.

A: Most people don’t know I’ve been homeschooled most of my life and really enjoy it.

About the Album

You’ve been busy preparing to release your new album…

Q: What is the name of your album and can you tell me a little about why you decided to do it?

A: My album will be entitled “Consumed By You”. I began to write music and thought releasing an E.P. would be cool but then God gave me enough material for an album.

Q: What is something significant that you’ve learned or discovered through the process of stepping out with your music and sharing it with the world?

A: Just how much healing can come from music

Q: Okay, Takeaways… What do you hope people will come away with after listening to this album?

A: That whatever my listeners may be facing, they can make it through. God loves them, and with Him, all things are possible.

Q: It’s been a joy to watch your talent and journey unfold. I’m sure this is just the beginning. Can you share something you’d love to explore or do next?

A: It’s hard for me to see too far down the road. I’m just excited for every ministry opportunity I have today. 

Q: Where can we hear and purchase/download your music?

A: I have a single out on iTunes and the album will release mid-February. You will be able to listen through Spotify, iTunes and YouTube.

Love this Girl! Stay tuned for more of Ashley Stringer, singer, songwriter and world changer.

Connect with Ashley Stringer!

The best way to connect with me is through my website or my social media accounts.

Facebook: @AshleyStringer

Website: AshleyStringer.com

Instagram: @Ashleymstringer

Twitter: @AshleyStringerr

YouTube: Watch/Listen to Ashley on YouTube

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Susan G. Komen for the Cure Founder an Ambassador for Life

Nancy G. Brinker, Founder & CEO Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Susan G. Komen fought breast cancer and lost her life to it.  Nancy G. Brinker promised her sister that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. Because of her love for her sister, her own tenacity, and a promise, she is fighting breast cancer and winning. That promise translated into the Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested more than $1.9 billion since its inception in 1982. Her legacy is a testament to Living on Purpose and promoting life.

It’s amazing how one decision can change the course of a person’s life (and legacy) forever. In 2008, Nancy G. Brinker was honored as one of the ”100 Most Influential People” by TIME magazine. Among numerous other achievements, she has been awarded the Forbes Trailblazer Award, Ladies Home Journal’s 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century, Biography Magazine’s 25 Most Powerful Women in America, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control for the U.N.’s World Health Organization, and the list goes on.

Since its inception, Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, has become the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists working together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all, and energize science to find cures. They are also the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.

Nancy reflects:

“Suzy and I talked many times about the conditions of the waiting rooms and how people felt, the lack of research, the lack of knowledge and empowerment — everything that happened along the way.”

She remembers the conversations and feelings about the process and experience breast cancer patients were saddled with, from spending long hours in waiting rooms with uncomfortable chairs and empty walls–as if the swirls of sickness, exhaustion and fear weren’t already enough to bare, to a lack of information and programs with a personal touch for victims, survivors and their loved ones. She quotes Susan as saying: “As soon as I get better, let’s do something about this.  You can find a way to speed up the research. I know you can. And I want to fix up this waiting room and make it pretty for the women who have to be here.  This isn’t right.”

Sadly, her sister didn’t get better. After nine operations, three courses of chemo and radiation, she lost her 3-year battle with cancer. But Nancy Brinker never forgot. Before the luxury of internet and social networking, she stood determined, undaunted and full of vision.  Enter: A Dream.

“I had a dream in which I saw a lot of people — a lot of fierce, but attractive, healthy women running. They were running, and they were in pink. Pink was my sister’s favorite color. I said to myself, “What we have here is a race. This mission we are on is a race for the cure.” Now we are the largest grassroots breast cancer organization in the world.”

Against multiple odds and uncharted territory, she followed her dream, her destiny–and began living her life on purpose. The outcome?  Her work, through creative advocacy and the promotion of life through legal and social networks, has saved and impacted millions of lives around the globe. Read Nancy’s powerful book, “Promise Me: How a Sister’s Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer.”

There was a point when Nancy wrestled with how she could positively impact the lives and experiences of other women struggling with breast cancer, and those who surrounded them. She wanted her sister to know how special she was and that she’d always be in her heart. She posed the question to herself that so many of us do:

“Could one person really make a difference?”

She is quoted as saying that her father often said: “It’s not that people fail because they have bad ideas. It is that they quit.”  How grateful women and people around the globe are, that Nancy Brinker didn’t quit.  She proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that yes, one person really can make a difference!  How proud her sister, Susan G. Komen, would be of her, and to know her sister kept her promise.

Get Educated. It’s Free!  Get outreach materials, learn how to be a good support system for someone who has breast cancer, participate in a fundraising event, about breast self-awareness, and questions to ask your doctor, facts and information, and more.

PinkPassion for Life™–”Raising Eyebrows & Making Memorable Impressions for Breast Cancer™” is a Collection of Advocacy Art by April McCallum designed as a creative way to raise awareness and find a cure for breast cancer. Shop Online.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Martin Luther King Day: Things That Matter

Today, January 20th, 2014, is a day set aside to commemorate humanitarian and human rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. Many of his words remain immortal, as if suspended in time. In large part, because they cross man-made boundaries, borders, and heart lines. One of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes is:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

If there is to be any significant and lasting change, then our “weapons of warfare” must be tools that allow for the greatest good (for all of humanity). Tools that make room for forgiveness, reconciliation, and understanding. It’s a type of violence of the heart–a formidable purposed action plan that invites sanity, promotes healing, cherishes true human brother and sisterhood, celebrates human potential for progress and good inclusive of all, and refuses to settle for less than pure truth.

Another Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that underscores the sacredness and the gift of life:

“Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about the things that matter.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

So, what are the “things that matter”? They are the things that bring life, and light, and love. Apart from them, we can go through our entire life believing a lie, basing our attitudes and actions on false evidences, promoting disharmony, and limiting all that was meant for us–never living our true potential. These are the threads that bind humanity together despite our uniqueness. They help us see that we are more the same than different. We celebrate our individual uniqueness with a concurrent understanding that we all share in our humanness, in that, we are each made up of body, soul, and spirit and wired with dreams, goals, and aspirations.

None of us placed ourselves on this planet. We are all pilgrims on a journey, co-travelers. We are individually responsible to discover and then propagate that life, light, and love. It’s profound in its seeming simplification, but there’s nothing ethereal about it. It’s owning the stewardship of our own lives, families, and responsibilities; being responsible for, and propagating things like justice–true justice, mercy, and compassion; and, being aware and intentional about the purpose of our lives–being about our personal destiny–the why to our being here. These are things that matter.

A recognition that hate against our fellow humans is a useless destroyer that invokes darkness. Unforgiveness kills the potential of the one who refuses to forgive. It invites a sickness that cannibalizes the one who holds it close to their heart. Then there’s selfishness. A pathetic desire to indulge ourselves above all regardless of the outcome–to hoard and cling to every good thing and opportunity for ourselves before others. And what about pride? A lie that allows individuals, people groups, and entire cultures to believe they are better, more worthy; and, more valuable or important than another. All of these petty and frivolous thoughts can become attitudes that eventually become behaviors. That’s why it’s so important to guard our hearts and think for ourselves. These “ways” can creep into our thinking and set up shop, creating mindsets that are destructive both for us and those we live alongside in this life. Ultimately, they insidiously weave their way (because we’ve invite them) into our way of “being”.

In remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. today, I want to be about the things that matter. The things that underscore and highlight life, light, and love. The things that will make a positive ripple effect in the world. The things that have power to make a meaningful difference, inclusive of all. Apart from truth, nothing else matters.

Let us be radical about love, about moving toward the light, and radical about seeking out truth. We are all on this journey together, how will we steward our lives and our part in the lives of those we co-journey with?

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Second Chances

Second chances offer us an opportunity to start over, to reconcile, redeem, or restore things that aren’t quite what they could be, or could’ve been. A second chance may be related to a relationship, a new way of seeing, believing, or being; or it may be connected to a renewed goal or a dream.

Whatever it is, it’s an opportunity. It is unexpected grace, maybe even mercy, this ability to begin again. If we look for them, we can see second chances all around us. By respecting them and showing our gratitude, it’s as if we become alive or renewed again. Second chances are a gift. We can’t take them for granted, because nothing in this life is guaranteed. They may never cross our path again. By our attitudes and behaviors, we show how we value the gift. When we “awaken” to find that unexpected key in our hand, it is there for a reason. Unlock the door while the gift of the second chance is available. You’ll be humbled as you discover (or rediscover) what you once thought was lost. Here’s to second chances in the new year!

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20 Quotes about Light

Light clarifies, illuminates, guides, and warms. Without it, we are lost. With it, we have hope. Hope for understanding, a vision, a next step, and a way out of the cold and darkness. When in doubt, look for the source of light. And when you find it, reflect it, because there will always be someone else out there who needs it too.

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.  –Michael Strassfeld

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. –Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. –Aristotle Onassis

Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby. –Ruth E. Renkel

It takes great courage and determination, to keep looking for light in all the darkness of life. –Menna van Praag

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t. –Blaise Pascal

The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light. –Joseph Campbell

Stop looking for the Light. Be It. –Lori Moreno

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light. –Norman B. Rice

Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?  –Maurice Freehill

An age is called “dark,” not because the light fails to shine but because people refuse to see it. –James Michener

As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others. –Marianne Williamson

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. –Eleanor Roosevelt

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. –Edith Wharton

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. –Desmond Tutu

When walking through the “valley of shadows,” remember, a shadow is cast by a Light. –Austin O’Malley

When you live in love and light, you will not go unseen; ignite the world with every flame of your being. –Alexandra Elle

Light reveals us to ourselves, which is not always so great if you find yourself in a big disgusting mess, possibly of your own creation. But like sunflowers we turn toward light. Light warms, and in most cases it draws us to itself. And in this light, we can see beyond our modest receptors, to what is way beyond us, and deep inside.” –Anne Lamott

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. –Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never find it. If you don’t know what you deserve, you’ll always settle for less. You will wander aimlessly, uncomfortably numb in your comfort zone, wondering how life has ended up here. Life starts now, live, love, laugh and let your light shine!  –Rob Liano

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Shine Your Light

 

“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

 

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Daring, Discovering, Dreaming

Daring, discovering and dreaming are a part of what makes life worthwhile. The past is gone and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Find out what makes you come alive right now, today. Dare to dream. Give yourself permission to be quiet, to reflect and think about your gifts and talents and interests. Then go for it. Start walking step by step toward the future you’ve only imagined up to this point. Dare to step out of your comfort zone and learn or discover something new. Live your passion… Live your life on purpose.

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Live Fearless, Live Free.

It has been said that fear is the prison of the heart. Look up, Push forward, keep going, don’t look back, because fear is a liar… and you’ve got better things to do with your life. Don’t give it power, don’t let it hold you down. Keep on dreaming, keep on hoping, keep on praying, keep on believing, keep on living, keep on keeping on, even in the face of fear. Live fearless. Live free. 

The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be. –Unknown

As fear is a close companion to falsehood, so truth follows fearlessness. –Jawaharlar Nehru

We have to be fearless, we have to take chances. We can’t live just being afraid of what comes next, that’s not what living is about. –Unknown

The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing truth really will set you free. –Oprah Winfrey

Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears. –Arthur Koestler

When we love, we are courageous; and courage has nothing to do with being fearless, it’s about being willing to experience fear, even dread, to do what we must, without guarantee of outcome. –Vanna Bonta

Fear cannot take what you do not give it. –Christopher Coan

There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly you. –Anthony Rapp

Courage is fear that has said its prayers. –Dorothy Bernard

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to to be fearless when facing them. –Rabindranath Tagore

Be fearless, create your own world with courage. –Unknown

I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly. –Oprah Winfrey

The ground of fearlessness is fear. In order to be fearless, you have to stand in the middle of your fear. –Larry Rosenberg

I am afraid yet fearless. For fearlessness is not the absence of fear, but the bravery to do it anyways. –Unknown

Do you think courage means being fearless? Or daring? Courage, real courage, is taking three steps when it terrifies you. –Catherine Anderson

Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it. –Veronica Roth

Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. –Taylor Swift 

He who fears something gives it power over him. –Moorish Proverb

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

Fear is a poser masquerading as truth. -April McCallum

The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be truthful, gentle, and fearless. –Gandhi

There is much in the world to make us afraid. there is much more in our faith to make us unafraid. –Frederick W. Cropp

It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not. –Denis Waitley

I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back. –Erica Jong

Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway. –John Wayne

Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.Louis E. Boone

Look at hopelessness in the face and say: “We are simply not meant to be together.”  Hold courage’s hand and walk away. –Dodinsky

You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it fearlessly. –Steve Maraboli

How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. –Judy Blume

Here’s to all of you who live bold and brave, not because you aren’t afraid, but because you choose to push past your fears in order to live your life more fully, more freely, more alive.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Risks Worth Taking

Life, hope, love, all risks worth taking…

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out for another is to risk involvement
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To live is to risk dying
To hope is to risk despair
To try is to risk failure
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing
They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live
Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave, they have forfeited their freedom
Only a person who risks is free.” -Author Anonymous

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Keep Love Alive

 

“Love always involves responsibility, and love always involves sacrifice.” -William Barclay

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