L’Shana Tova!!!!!!!!!

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Hello Everyone!

Hey everyone!

I hope that everyone is doing fantastic. I’ve been pretty busy over here in Washington working hard writing for a bunch of places. I even got to visit a farm for an article I wrote for a local newspaper! (Thanks for the hospitality Caruso Farm!) I’ve been getting into vlogging. Here’s an example below:

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In other news I’ve been trying out this drink called Shakeology. It’s a tasty way to get all the nutrients you need to fuel yourself through the day. I’m happy to say that I am fully recovered from the car accident and am slimming down while gaining strength once more.

I have a lot of big plans ahead for the month. First I’m heading down to San Francisco for a wedding and then it’s off to Hawaii for the LOST 2014 Convention and Rosh Hashanah. I’m stoked.

My name is Matt and I write.

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For the Sake of Zion I will Not be Silent

Hey avid readers.

I hope that everyone is staying cool during these hot summer months. Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you’re aware of everything that’s been going on lately in the Middle East. I’ve been following the news as I regularly Skype with my friends living in Israel and it amazes me of how uneven the reporting has been.

Yes. It absolutely has sucked for the civilians in Gaza. I feel their pain as they are caught in the crossfire. However, it is Hamas that is to blame for their plight through their network of tunnels that would have led to a major terrorism plot on the Jewish New Year and endless rocket bombardments. Sadly Hamas intentionally sets up their launch sites in the middle of civilian centers making the chance of crossfire all the more likely.

Here is an exclusive video released by FRANCE 24 English that was posted online once the reporters were safely out of Gaza and away from threats to not share such news:

At the same time the people denouncing Israel without understanding that the people there have been under constant threat ignore the massacre of Christians in Syria and Iraq by the Islamic State. I will not show the footage on my blog but take my word for it: I’ve seen some of it and it’s pretty nasty. Will the international community stand silent while the real danger of the Middle East continues to grow into a force that will disrupt the region more than Israel defending itself ever could? Sadly, the answer is likely yes.

I’m signing off by sharing this lovely cover filmed from within an Israeli bomb shelter.

My name is Matt and I write.

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Escape from the Darkness: How One Girl Escaped Prostitution

The following was previously published via the now defunct Yahoo!Voices on August 27, 2013. This important issue should not go unnoticed. If you see something, say something.

Evelyn Rose was like any other girl when she turned 12. She went to school, had a lot of friends and only wanted to have fun.  Although she didn’t know it yet, her life would spiral into a world of deception and cruelty by her next birthday.

Her world began to come crashing down after Mom went to jail for attempting to murder her Grandmother. Although she lived with her Grandmother at first, the stress of what occurred led to fall in with a bad crowd of teenager.  Although she wasn’t with the group of kids at the time, she was accused of breaking into house. Evelyn ended probation rather than spend time in juvenile detention. It seemed like everything would be okay when she moved in with her Uncle (Anthony Gehon of Phoenix, Arizona) but instead of taking care of her he allegedly put her on BackPage.

One of the first things her Uncle allegedly did was take virginity at age 12. He started working her as a prostitute when she turned 13. This life would continue for the next four years. Evelyn explained that her uncle gave her a fake ID so that clients (She saw five to nine of them each day) would think she was in her 20s despite her youthful appearance.

When asked about the kind of clients she had, Evelyn replied “Politicians, FBI agents, cops in uniform…you name it.”

Clients paid $120 for a half hour and $220 for hour to see her.  Although her Uncle knew to expect to base amounts, clients sometimes  gave her tips which she pocketed to secretly buy food for herself when she passed by a convenience store.  Sometimes she even used the money to spend time with her cousins who had no idea what was really going on.

Her life was utter despair.  Evelyn’s explained how she was regularly chained to a bed for weeks and given doses of acid to keep her subdued.  Although she sometimes broke the chain and fled to the streets (her longest escape lasted two weeks), she was always captured again in the end. Whenever she was recaptured, she Evelyn was forced to walk the streets offering herself for $5. Although she was usually in her uncle’s ring, she explained that she was occasionally traded on the international human trafficking trade. According to Evelyn she once found herself in a drum shot up with heroin on the Mexican side of the border. For one reason or another, the deal didn’t go through and she was shipped back home.

She tried to go to the police but for the longest time they didn’t believe her until she finally managed to steal the USB that her uncle stored pictures of the girls and their Backpage advertisements. The police investigated the house and discovered chains, collars and whips. Even more poignant was that Evelyn’s uncle had tattooed all the girls marking them as his own. During our interview, Evelyn showed me the tattoo on her back and the scars on her arms and hands.

As Evelyn spoke with the police who finally believed her, she told them stories of her uncle’s cruelty.  She told them about the time she sat in the backseat of a car and watched him snap a man’s neck for disappointing him. According to Evelyn, her uncle and other family members (including her aunt) had been involved in her uncle’s business since the 1970s.

“From the 70s to now there were 100 girls that passed through. I would say there were 40 girls who were firmly in it. Only 12 have agreed to testify.” Evelyn said.

Although Evelyn isn’t even 20 yet, her youthful appearance is betrayed by her thousand-yard stare. Life has been hard for already and the concept of normal is skewed. Although the subject matter was emotionally trying for both interviewer and interviewee, she was able to speak freely about what  had happened.

I noted how well she had done at telling me her story. Evelyn said, “I know that it sounds like I talk like it’s nothing but this was what was normal for me. I realize most 13-year-olds didn’t have life like this.”

After nearly a decade of captivity, Evelyn is physically free but the scars continue to haunt her. Her tears as the stony façade she had managed to portray made me lose my breath but I encouraged her to keep working towards the better life she wants. Evelyn told me how good with computers she had been when she was younger and wants to go to college to become a computer technician. With good friends helping her get on her feet, I know she has the determination to make it in this world as a free woman.

“I try to not let the past prevent you from getting to the future.” Evelyn said as we neared the final moments of our conversation.

If you know of something amiss, contact the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Edmund Burke once said that “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” How true that is in a story like this.

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Stressful Clients

Hey avid readers,

Freelancing can be a stressful endeavor from time to time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to deal with people who don’t know their left hand from their right. Out of a professional courtesy I won’t get into specifics but here’s something important to remember: Not everyone is going to like your work. There, I said it. Understand that and keep writing anyway. I just wanted to get that out there. Much of my writing is on other websites these days but I’m glad to have this space to scribble my thoughts.

While I was reading up on how to handle difficult clients; I found a rather funny website that I recommend you check out. It made me laugh after a stressful day.

My name is Matt and I write.

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A Pair of Poems

The Beach

Walk along a peaceful beach

Children happy making sand castles

Pebbles strewn from places all over

Joyous crowds drink from bottles

Palm trees sway gently throughout the day

Water crashes against the shore

Memories are made here every day

Kodak moments happen here

Enjoy the sun shining from above

Apple Tree

Apple tree sways in a field

Children sit beneath giant branches

The stories this tree could tell

Lovers ponder what will happen next

Sons and daughters laugh all night

Sign of comfort through generations

Juicy apples high above

Hold on tight and climb up branches firm

Throw apples into baskets

Savor taste of apples so juicy

Remember the fun at the beach

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Happy Memorial Day

Hello avid readers!

I wanted to wish everyone a happy memorial day. Today I went to a ceremony at the local retirement home for old soldiers that is nearby my house. I had the pleasure of speaking with a 94-year-old gentleman who had served as a Marine in the South Pacific both during WWII and during the post war occupation forces. This kind old man saw things in his life that most of us who haven’t seen war can’t imagine. His service was summed up nicely by his statement that “There were some good others and some days that were more…difficult.”

Today let us pause and reflect on the men and women who fell in the name of freedom and democracy and remember that no matter where we stand on politics; this is one country.

My name is Matt and I write.

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A Simple Message for my Readers

Smile_have_a_nice_day_sign

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Never Surrender

Hello avid readers.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. There are so many places to visit and so little time. I know way too many people who don’t even think about exploring everything that our world has to offer. Too often all they focus on is the darkness that some people bring upon others but forget that life is also beautiful. It is what you make of it. Stop feeling sorry about how difficult life can be and pull yourself up and do what you want. Don’t let anything stop you from doing what you want. To be frank; those who say you can’t are nothing more than jealous people who want to drag you down with them. Don’t let that happen my friends!

If I listened to everyone who said I couldn’t….I  wouldn’t be an Eagle Scout.  I wouldn’t be a published writer. I wouldn’t have my Masters Degree.  Stop listening to the naysayers of life and be who you really want to be!

As Dr Seuss once said “Those who matter don’t mind. Those who mind don’t matter.”

Life is an adventure so make one happen.

If you could go anywhere in the world; where would it be and why?

My name is Matt and I write.

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Just Saying Hey

Hello avid readers,

I’ll admit to not writing on here nearly as often as I should. I’ve been pretty busy working on my freelance writing. Rest assured, that I am definitely A-Okay. It was a long winter and I’m very glad that it’s nearly Spring. Here’s a fun question. I’ll try to write something more interesting next time.

If you were an animal, which would be?

 

My name is Matt and I write.

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