My Thoughts on President Donald Trump Speaking at Liberty University’s 2017 Commencement

by Jeremy Carden

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Considering how much President Donald Trump has been in the news (and Twitter) before and after his entry into the White House, I just wanted to give some of my thoughts about him speaking at Liberty University this weekend.

Let me just put it out there; I am just a student at Liberty University. My academic career for the time being will be coming to a close within the next few days after I turn in my final paper.

I have had an amazing time both as an online and residential student. Not to mention, I am about to hit my third year working for Liberty’s online department as an academic advisor.

My current job title aside, I am writing this post as a student and NOT as an employee of the university.

No one pressured me into writing this post, and I am just going to discuss my own feelings about this particular commencement speaker.

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I want to speak to everyone that is questioning why Trump is speaking at this particular university’s commencement despite all of the controversy surrounding his character.

Politics and whatnot aside, a lot of people do not think Trump’s personality and religious beliefs make him someone that would fit the glove of a “Liberty University commencement speaker.”

The thing about Liberty students that has astounded me over the past couple of years is the group of people who either mail back their degrees along with expressing feelings of shame for even being a Liberty student at all.

At the end of the day, Donald Trump and Jerry Fawell Jr. are not the professors who taught the classes that students had to pass in order to earn their credit hours. SallieMae and other loan agencies are not going to wipe away the debt that students owe just because they were Liberty students (if they are can someone let me know? Seriously, I need this student loan monkey off of my back…).

Jokes aside,  I do not think that the decisions of President Falwell supporting Donald Trump justify any past or present Liberty student for feeling like their connection to the university has been tarnished.

Do I agree with everything the university has been doing over the past few years?

As a student, I feel that Liberty University is not the same college that I visited back in 2008 as a young College for a Weekend (C.F.A.W) student. Some of the values and direction of the school seems to have shifted since I walked around campus a few years ago.

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However, I have lived in Lynchburg away from the campus for about three years now. Yes, I have worked for the school for almost three years, but working at an off-campus site and living on campus are two different things.

I cannot give a true insight about my thoughts on the school because I have not been there for awhile. I can only speak about my time there, and some of the differences that I have noticed. My job does not allow me to see behind the scenes as to why some of the decisions that have been were made. I just hope Liberty continues to be a positive institution of education and faith rather than the political convention that a lot of people view it as today.

With that being said, I want to get back to the students who are willingly mailing back their degrees. You are throwing away four years (or more) of your life away just because you get angered by the decisions of another person. With that in mind, I hate thinking that some people are not going to commencement just because Trump is speaking.

Even if you do not go to the main ceremony, I hope that you will go to your individual ceremony to cross the stage. Graduates, you have EARNED this! There is no reason to not go just because you disagree or dislike the people standing behind the podium at the football stadium on Saturday morning.

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I have to say as a person who does not really dabble in politics or identify myself with a particular political party, it is pretty cool to say the President of the United States is speaking at my commencement!

Come on, not a lot of college students have the privilege to say that about their graduation. Sure, their speaker may have a better commencement speech, but level with me on this one here.

I go into all of my thoughts regarding the upcoming commencement in this video:

Consider this a video that you can listen to in the background while you are making dinner or cleaning out your closet. Maybe you will nod your head in agreement to some of the things that I say, or you will immediately dislike my video before shutting off your computer.

Regardless, I would like to get some feedback in the comment below. It is always interesting to get the thoughts of others on topics like this.

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I would like to request that if you disagree with others below, please refrain from tearing each other apart. Respectfully engage in a conversation with others that will leave both parties thinking about the topic at hand.

Am I angry or excited about Donald Trump speaking at my commencement this year? 

I will put it like this; I am excited to be graduating! Republican candidate Mitt Romney spoke at my commencement in 2012 (yes, I have a few Liberty degrees under my belt). I was actually excited about a man who could possibly be the next President of the United States of America was speaking at graduation!

However, I was disappointed that his speech and just the atmosphere of that particular day was more about politics than the actual graduates. I was sitting with the other graduates, and I was astounded on how divided the crowd was.

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Whenever Romney said something that had even an ounce of political substance behind it; half of the stadium applauded while the rest were as stiff as stones.

I have no doubt that the same thing may occur this weekend. Also, it would not surprise me if there is a lot of booing and jeering going on…

Considering everything that has occurred in the past year around Liberty’s campus, I would not be surprised if there are large groups of protesters this weekend. Maybe more protesters than actual graduates…

Walking into the main ceremony, I want it to feel like a true graduation. Not a riot like the desegregation movement in schools or people boycotting a business for making “offensive statements.”

Honestly, I want this to be a great commencement. I want Trump to give a great speech to inspire us graduates! We are about to go into the real world outside of Blackboard and weekly school assignments. I want to get a speech that will inspire me to go out into the world and make a difference while becoming a better person.

Overall, if he gives a great speech that we will be talking about for weeks to come (in a positive way) then I will be satisfied.

I want truth and a sincere speech rather than a false sense of religious beliefs to blend in with the university that this event will be taking place at.

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To everyone traveling to Lynchburg this week, I hope you have a safe trip! It might be raining, and “Drenchburg” does not play when it comes to the weather.

Just remember that use this weekend to cheer for your graduating family members and friends. Do not let the true purpose of this event drown in the sea of politics (and possibly rain) because this is a defining moment of achievement for the students!

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Tyler Perry’s The Haves and The Have Nots Theory: Do I Work for Tyler Perry?

By Jeremy Carden

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There is a subject that I should address once and for all. Many of my faithful readers have been asking me about a particular topic ever since I posted my first HAHN blog. It has to do with whether or not I am a staff writer, ghostwriter or mystery writer for Tyler Perry Studios.

I must admit that if I were a HAHN fan reading blogs like these from someone who can create such elaborate twists and plots for where the story will go, I would think that person was one of Tyler Perry’s writers myself!

However, this is NOT the case…

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You have no idea how much I would love to work for Tyler Perry Studios! Considering that I have been writing on this blog for over 2 years without a cent to show for it, you know that I am crazy about the HAHN!

I graduated with my Master’s in Theological Studies from Liberty University in 2014, and I have been working as an Academic Advisor in the school’s online department for the past year.

Working in a call center has taught me how to deal with many types of people, and gave me a new appreciation for good customer service. It goes without saying that I have to deal with unruly students from time to time.

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If I worked as a writer for Mr. Perry on this hit show making good money, do you really think that I would still be working in a call center?

That is NOT a rhetorical question to throw off suspicion, or that my job in a call center is a cover-up for me being a staff writer.

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Usually, I have the same face as Candace (shown above) while I am on the phone with someone being rude or unruly. However, I thank God for giving me the patience to help work through problems with angry students to come up with a positive solution.

My mother and I watched the first episode of HAHN on OWN when it premiered back in 2013.

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From there, I discovered that 140 characters on a mere tweet were not enough to express our thoughts and theories. That was when I first began to write theory blogs for the show.

Funny story, it was actually a tweet from Tika Sumpter/Candace that inspired me to do my very first blog.

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It had to do with the episode “Angry Sex” when Candace told Jim about how she feels no sympathy towards him because he has everything, but he is willing to throw it all away because he is bored with it.

I believe my question to her through a tweet had to do with Candace’s own issues. She responded that Candace knows that she is imperfect, but is secure with her own imperfections making her who she is.

Tika asked me what did I thought about that statement. Of course, I could not put my full thoughts into a single tweet, and that was how my first blog began. The topic was whether or not Jim was in love with Candace, and the rest is history!

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Whether or not Mr. Perry has actually read one of my blogs is still a mystery to me. However, I have heard back from nearly EVERY character on the HAHN through Twitter and Facebook!

It is such an amazing feeling to have the cast members retweet, favor or tweet back to one of my tweets where I provide a link to my blog. It makes all of the time that I put into my blogs worth it.

Even if I never receive a thin dime from TP Studios for my writing, I am still happy to know that the cast members enjoy my work. The same can be said for any readers of my blog who comment or like the post. Just one like on it means that my mission was accomplished.

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Hopefully, this puts an end to the questions regarding my “position” with Tyler Perry Studios. I am not provided with any episode summaries, scripts or anything like that to use as material for my blogs.

My mother and I practically talk about this show EVERY SINGLE DAY either in person or over the phone. We come up with theories based on previous episodes, and our own personal thoughts on where the story will go next. That explains where all of my theories for the new episodes come from for each blog.

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The #1 theory (at least in my mom’s mind) is that the show itself is all going on in the mind of Katheryn Cryer due to her having a dream while in surgery for her breast cancer.

Again, I appreciate everyone who has helped me in some way with my blog. Whether it was sharing my blog with other HAHN viewers, or sending a kind word with a tweet.

Even though I do not officially work for TP Studios, I would like to think that I do work for it.

Why?

Well with each blog that I write (especially during the show’s hiatus times), I like to keep fans thinking about where the season ended. Then it helps to spark interest before the new season even starts up! So, in my own little way, I do what I can to increase fans for the series.

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I cannot wait until January 5th because it will be a brand new era of HAHN blogs for Season 4!

Like what you read? Then be sure to follow me on Twitter (@jccarden) because on Tuesday nights at 9 PM I’m on there tweeting during each new episode of the #HAHN! I also have a Facebook page dedicated to my blog posts and HAHN memes as well! Also follow my blog so you can enjoy my new articles when they are posted. 

 

 

A Message To Single People: God Is Love

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by Jeremy Carden

This story happened early in November around the time that I was going through some girl problems. It seemed that no matter what I did or didn’t do I was being turned down left and right.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t going up to every girl I saw and asking “Would you go out with me?” because that wasn’t the situation at all. For some reason I was being put in the friend-zone.

I was going through a period where I was no longer content with being single. Every day I would ask God why I still haven’t found the woman of my dreams.

One night I was really depressed and was just lying in bed for about an hour. I was praying to God for some kind of direction because I really had no idea what I wanted to do next semester. I didn’t have a real reason to come back to campus (well I will admit that I was just looking at how I didn’t have a girl to come back to next semester), what to do after I finish graduate school in May and how to keep from getting turned down like this even by girls who I do not even have a romantic interest in.

And the questions went on until I asked for some sort of sign from God before finally falling asleep.

So to get my mind off of my troubles, the next day I just stayed in my room and did all kinds of busy work that I’ve been putting off; some cleaning, non-school related writing and other things like that.

Around 6 PM, I decided to make a quick trip to Ollie’s just to get out of my room and get some air. I made it to the bus stop and missed the bus by a few seconds meaning I’d have to wait 20 minutes for the next one. Instead of going back to the dorm and coming back, I just decided to sit on the wall next to the bus stop and listen to some music.

Not too long after I put my headphones in, another bus pulls up and a guy getting off the bus just comes up to me and says Hello. I said hey back thinking to myself whether or not I’ve seen this guy before and it turns out that I hadn’t. He asked where I was headed and I said Ollie’s but I had missed my bus. To my surprise he offered me a ride.

Well Mama always said not to take ride from strangers and after saying that I’d wait for the bus he kept insisting that it was no trouble at all. So, we start walking to his car and he asks “If I knew Jesus?” right away my first instinct is “Oh geez, this is just some evangelism student probably doing his Witnessing Project…”

Turns out he wasn’t, I didn’t ask him but I could just tell. Before I could answer his question he said you know what I think that you do know Jesus. I asked him how he knew that and he said that he could just tell. I told him that I was told long ago that the way you carry yourself can show other people the God in you and he agreed so we just talked about how and when we got saved, what we were majoring in at Liberty University and just simple small talk.

About 5 minutes later, he stopped the car in front of Ollie’s. Right as I was getting out of the car after thanking him for the ride, he told me “God loves you.” After taking a moment to reflect on that I thanked him again and he drove off.

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With a few letdowns in terms of women, a night full of doubt stressing about what to do next and questioning where God was when I was going through all of this just disappeared in that one moment! The thing that hit me was the night before I was asking God for a sign and He delivered it so quickly!

This might seem a bit cliché since I’m sure everyone has heard this many times; the most important relationship that you can have is a relationship with God. From that experience, I can honestly say that I could not agree more with that statement. Since that moment I’ve been trying to look at life a little differently. Doing my best to look at the positives instead of the negatives has made things a bit easier for me. There are still a lot of unanswered questions that I sometimes wonder the answer to, but one thing is for sure: GOD LOVES ME.

College Dating #3: Compromise But Don’t Settle!

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College is supposed to be the best years of your life when you get a small taste of life outside of your parent’s house and start to discover who YOU are as a person. Relationships can be a plus but of course there is a lot of compromise. I’ll get into that in Part 4 of my college dating blogs. This blog (Part 3) is going to be about compromising your standards and Part 4 will cover compromising with your significant other.

All too often when you are in a crowded environment for a long period of time (especially one filled with couples), you’ll start to feel the lonely part of being single. I can talk about this from experience being in a place like Liberty University. Most colleges have that famous slogan; “Ring by spring!” or “Ring by spring or your money back!”

Well, I’ve been at Liberty for 3 springs and let me tell you I haven’t met a woman who I felt strong enough feelings for to hand over a ring nor have I seen one sign of getting my money back!

In any case, LU was a college that really seemed to PUSH relationships. I’d say the last couple of semesters have been a bit calmer in that regard. That was not the case in 2011-2012 because it seemed that every person that spoke at convocation or Campus Church was there “preaching” about relationships or marriage.

There was one pastor who gave a piece of advice that I put into practice the night that I heard him say it at a Wednesday night service. He said that we should all take out a piece of paper and make a list. Writing down everything that you’d expect from your future wife or future husband and I wasted no time in writing down the qualities of my future wife.

When I finished, I made another copy and folded it up into my wallet. As time went on, if I had been seeing a girl for awhile or even ones that I talk to on a normal basis, I’d do a mental checklist of which qualities they had that was on my list.

After a few months, I decided to look over my list again. You know that feeling you get when you get back a graded paper and it was a lower grade than what you expected? That was kind of how I felt when I looked at my list again. Some of things on it were probably a little unrealistic in terms of what to expect out of someone that I’d like to spend the rest of my life with.

Thinking back to that church service, the pastor said that we needed to be careful of writing things down like; they have to be rich, good looking, etc. Because those kinds of things are more about selfish desires rather than true love and he was absolutely right.  I spent that night redoing the list and making it more about the personal qualities rather than physical or material qualities.

I must say that I met a few girls who were very compatible with the list that I made but certain circumstances made any chance of a relationship not possible; home states, career goals, how many kids we wanted and things of that nature that would be important if we were going to consider getting married in the future.

However, I feel alright about it because I know that I am looking for REAL love not just an artificial love based on looks.

As times goes on, it is easy to stumble and just fall into a relationship instead of falling in love. When you are constantly the third wheel when a friend invites you out with their girlfriend/boyfriend and you are just “there” or when everywhere you turn you see couples cuddling and you are alone…it starts to get to you. Then you’ll just find the first person who looks at you and say “I want THEM!”

That is a mistake because you are using a relationship as a way of avoiding loneliness. I’ll tell you one thing; you will feel lonelier in relationship with the wrong person than you will while you are single.

It is alright to say “Well this person doesn’t have every item of my quality list, but they come really close!” Seriously, you will probably never find that person who is 100% of what you are looking for relationship-wise. I don’t call that settling, I call that being realistic.

Why would you turn down someone who was “scored” a 96% on your Quality List for someone with good looks but they got a 54%? That doesn’t make any sense at all!

Just remember that settling and realistic are two different things. Either one can make or break a relationship. Consider what you want in a person and how they stack up in terms of your expectations. Trust me, a relationship based on that is probably going to last longer than one just to make you feel less lonely.

God Will Take You through the Storm

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Ever since I graduated from college in May, I’ve been feeling unfulfilled in terms of where I am in my life right now. I have filled out at least a dozen job applications, mailed out around 15 scholarship and donor letters in order to get help paying for graduate school and network as much as I can in order to get a few doors open to more opportunities. However, it has been almost two months and my efforts have not been successful in the least. For the past 3 years at Liberty University I used my time to study, network and do whatever I could in order to prepare myself for the world outside of the “Liberty Bubble.”

Now that I am in the world outside of the bubble, things do not seem to be going well at all. There hasn’t been a single job that has called me in for an interview or one where my application made it past the first round of applicants.

I live in Southern Virginia and for the past few days we’ve been getting nothing but storm after storm. The day might start out with the sun shining for a couple of hours but before long those dark storm clouds roll in. Next thing you know the sound of thunder rumbles from behind the clouds before a flash of lightning stretches out across the sky. After that, it is followed by the inevitable downpour that goes on and off for hours. 

The storms seem to represent some sort of outward manifestation of the storms that I seem to be going through in my life at the moment. I seem to be going through a storm of struggle, where I’m trying to walk towards success but the wind and rain seem to be pushing me back making the journey a difficult one.

Going further into this situation, I am reminded about Jesus’ parable of the house on the rock. During that story, the man who builds his house on a firm and stable foundation will be able to survive the storms that come and beat upon the house. It is meant to represent the kind of life we should live building our foundation on the faith of God. When I think about it, I realize that we are all going to go through hard times in life.

Looking up to the sky, all we can see are the dark clouds making it seem like all is lost. However, it is important to remember that the sun although out of sight is still there behind those clouds. After the storm is over, the clouds will depart but not before that first beam of sunlight cuts through. To me this represents the reward of all of the struggles we must endure during the storm of doubt. For those who keep the faith and keep on going no matter what the storm may dish out, just knowing that the sun is on the other side makes the storms worth it in the long run. 

College Dating #1: Finding the Right Love at the Wrong Time

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How many times in life have you had this thought go through your mind; “If only I had met him/her at a different point in my life, maybe things would have worked out between us…”

Coming out of college in May and only being 21, I’m surprised at the number of times I’ve caught myself thinking about this late at night. I mean high school is a lot different than college. Not just in general, but I mean in terms of relationships.

Honestly, in high school a lot of people date each other just to date each other, form a relationship and usually break it off before or soon after graduation. In college, it is a whole new concept because typically in college you do not just date to date. More often than not when you are looking for someone to form a relationship with it is usually with someone you plan to spend the rest of your life with.

In conversations with women at Liberty, it was not uncommon for me to talk about things I never had to discuss while I was in high school especially on a first date or during a general conversation with a friend who was a female;

  • Where do you see yourself after you graduate?
  • In 5 years, what do you see yourself doing?
  • What goals do you have?
  • What career are you going for?
  • Do you plan to stay in your home state/region or move somewhere else?
  • How many kids do you want?
  • What religion do you practice?
  • What political party do you stand for?

And the list goes on because it might sound strange but dating in college is kind of like applying for a job. You have to have your “interview skills” intact because you need to be prepared for the standard questions that are asked by someone who is interviewing you for a potential position in a company. In a dating concept, men and women are “applying” for a potential position as a husband or wife without even knowing it.

I know that might sound ridiculous but just think about it; Women are tricky when it comes to this because just a job interview, they may throw in one or two questions that you didn’t prepare yourself for or you can’t give a straight answer to and I’ve seen a lot of guys get thrown off and not get called back for a second interview.

Looking back at some of the girls that I met in college, I’ve come to realize that the reason most of those friendships never blossomed into anything more was because we were both at different points in our lives or wanted different things:

  • She saw herself living somewhere that I didn’t want to move to
  • I wanted to wait for kids but she wanted kids right away
  • She felt called to travel overseas on mission trips while I wanted to stay in the states
  • I was ready for a relationship but past baggage kept her from wanting one

Now I’m not picking on women when I say these things, it comes down to me being male and saying things from a male perspective. I’m sure many of the women reading this are going;

“Well there was a guy but it turns out that he didn’t want kids at all! There was a guy I dated for 2 years but he never proposed because he had his heart broken before! I knew a man who wanted to go on mission trips but I wanted to stay in Utah!”

I know it is not just women who have baggage or are the ones who do not think a relationship can last due to certain circumstances. It all comes down to where both of you are in life at the time you are dating or are planning to date. Not only that, what you want and what you expect of each other is also a deciding factor.

There will always be that one person who crosses your mind from time to time. Let’s call that person “What might have been…” and that person is someone that shows up a lot for some people. It is important to not let relationships that “could have been” interfere with the relationships you are in now and the ones you certainly will have in the future.

Who knows that one person you thought was the one for you but was not due to it not being the right time might show up sometime down the road. There may be potential to start a relationship if both of you are finally at good places in your lives and can finally be together. Only time will tell that tale.

More about me: Jeremy Carden

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First of all I would like to express thanks to WordPress.com because this has been the best blogging website that I have been a part of posting different topics for readers to enjoy.

Second round of thanks goes to the bloggers who followed my account I think that the “Run-Out Diet” post really got attention because a lot of you could relate to what I was writing about which was a real honor knowing that my words has some effect reaching those who need the encouragement or to know that they are not the only ones going through a problem.

So, if you follow my on here, read my blogs or whatever I’d like you to get to know a little more about myself. By the time you finish reading this post, I hope that you get to know the man behind the blog a little bit more.

My name is Jeremy Carden and I am from Clover, VA a small town that and I live out in the woods with my parents. Clover is a town located in the South Boston/Halifax County area let me put it in perspective; I’m 30 minutes from town, most of the traffic where I live is deer and squirrels and even in the town of South Boston Wal-Mart is the mall. Seriously, that is how small this county is.

I’m a student at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Next Saturday I graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communications (Advertising/Public Relations), Associate’s in Religion and a Minor in Biblical Studies. I plan on going to graduate school as well for a degree in Theological Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Communications.

I’m 21-years-old and I’m proud to share my birthday with the King of Pop: Michael Jackson on August 29th. My favorite number is 8 and my favorite letter is W. Dogs are the BEST pets!!!

Going a little deeper, I’m a book-a-holic and writing is my passion (songs, poems, short stories and screenplays). My dream job is to be a professional songwriter or do voice-over work (because I get told a lot that my voice is wonderful because it’s deep yet soothing and this has been by professional radio stations and music professors at my school).

At the tender age of 8 (did I mention that is my favorite number), I was saved and joined my church family at Bethel Grove Baptist Church knowing that the Lord was my Savior which was one of if not the greatest days of my life thus far. I’ve been speaking in churches since I was 9 so in a sense I’m somewhat an evangelist I guess because that’s what most people call me or “Preacher Man.”

This was before I went to Liberty so know that I have the degrees to make it official there may come the day when I chose to get ordained if I feel that it is God’s calling for my life. Until then, I enjoy speaking to people about God’s grace.

Social media is my playground! Twitter, Facebook, you name it I’m addicted to it!!! I manage 3 Facebook pages for my school, 1 for my music and of course my own personal Facebook page. I’m that guy who posts funny, inspirational comments to get people thinking. Most people ask if I get this from another website but really those comments come from things I see or experience.

True, I’ve reached a point in my life I’m not supposed to be at until maybe age 22 or 23 finishing college with multiple degrees and fixing to move on up in life. I’m still single…

No, I haven’t found the woman I want to marry due to being a work-a-holic not to mention I haven’t found anyone that I see myself compatible with. Only time will tell when the right woman comes into my life and won’t that be a happy day for me!!!

So, if you wanna know more about me of just want to connect here are some of the sites I am commonly on:

Facebook: Jeremy Carden

Facebook Music Page: JC Carden Lyrics

Twitter: @jccarden

LinkedIn: Jeremy Carden

Music Website: JC Carden Lyrics