renewed faith in humankind

Church Farms School, Exton, PA

Today was a VERY nice day, and long overdue. A beautiful day with nice people, people who do real good in this crazy world in which we live. A day where everyone was friendly, people were fine wearing masks at a school as we are still living the COVID life. A day with no one with an axe to grind, only positivity and community in the best sense of the word.

One of my friends from Shipley is part of the development office team at Church Farms School. She told me a while back one of my friends and classmates from Shipley, syndicated cartoonist Robb Armstrong would be honored and be part of the Farm Fest parents Weekend 2021. Robb’s cartoon strip is called Jump Start.

This weekend has many activities and it was also the dedication of the buildings Church Farms has been working on and renovating and creating adaptive reuses of on campus. This school should get a historic preservation award for adaptive reuse. Greystock Hall and the Buck Family Center for the Arts were dedicated, they announced the Joseph E. Rhile Endowed Scholarship, and presented their inaugural CFS Medal to Stacey Shreiner Kley, Caroline Buck Rogers and Cannie Crysler Shafer.

So my friend Robb Armstrong was the youngest nationally syndicated cartoonist and is perhaps also today the most widely syndicated black cartoonist. I will note that I think there are only four syndicated black cartoonists. He created the interior of our Shipley yearbook, and we were all memorialized in his drawings. At Syracuse, where he majored in Fine Arts, he penned a strip in college newspaper called “Hector”. His strips are still drawn by hand, and he is also a motivational speaker.

Robb Armstrong speaking at Church Farms School, October 16, 2021

Robb spoke to the kids, and faculty, and parents, and the rest of the guests (which had a rather fun Shipley School contingent!) I am including most of what he spoke about. I missed the first few moments because of connectivity issues. I am also including the opening remarks from the Head of School, The Reverend Edmund K. “Ned” Sherrill II. I found him to be such an inspiring individual. He is a Head of School that is there for his students. He refers to what they do as “for the boys”.

It was a day that was full of good. For a few hours we left the strife and nastiness of everything locally, regionally, and in the world behind. It was so nice. It was also inspiring and soul rejuvenating. To see actually good people, spend time with them, learn what they had done and what Church Farms is about today, was just so nice. My husband and I had a wonderful time, and we also got to see a couple of our favorite teachers from high school.

If you are interested in Church Farms School or would like to make a gift, please visit their website.

I will note for the record, I was not asked to write anything, am not being compensated for this or photos. I am just paying it forward.

Enjoy the Church Farms Boys Choir, they are one of three videos I am posting.



The other day a dear friend’s book was published. Today my copy arrived in the mail.


Author, author!

And I know the author. My high school classmate and friend, cartoonist/artist/inspirational speaker Robb Armstrong.

Fearless: A Cartoonist’s Guide to Life (Reader’s Digest, 2015) is more than a mere cartoonist’s guide to life. It’s my friend’s autobiography, and he had me in tears over parts of this book.  It’s amazing and honest and raw and wow are all of his friends proud of him.  It’s not easy to bare your soul and raw emotion like that.
RA collageAnd parts of the book are also damn funny. It is the story of his life woven with anecdotes and drawing lessons, little inspirational thoughts, and life lessons. And at the end, he gives his readers a list of art supplies.

You will laugh and you will cry and you will love this book.  And you might even learn something.  It’s a beautiful thing, this book. And it is well deserving of all the accolades it is receiving.

Here is what Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Elizabeth Wellington said today in her article:

APRIL 26, 2016  by Elizabeth Wellington, Fashion Columnist @ewellingtonphl

Even if you’re just the occasional reader of Jump Start, West Philadelphia native Robb Armstrong’s 27-year-old award-winning comic strip, you’re likely to assume Armstrong lived quite the charmed life…..Yet the reality is Armstrong’s personal life is nothing at all like the pleasantly Technicolor world of his fictional Cobbs.

Armstrong recounts his somewhat tumultuous coming of age in Fearless: A Cartoonist’s Guide to Life (Reader’s Digest, 2015), part self-help book, part memoir. The self-help is delivered in 20 drawing lessons, one at the start of each chapter. Through sketching self-portraits or outdoor scenes and even practicing their lettering, readers (Armstrong hopes) can get in touch with their inner artist and embrace their mistakes….”If you are stuck in a dark underground labyrinth, you don’t want someone to show up and say, ‘Hey, man, it’s dark,’ ” Armstrong said from his home in Burbank, Calif. “You want someone to show up with a flashlight and help you. I want my book to be that flashlight.”

Read all of Elizabeth Wellington’s article, it really is terrific.

And buy the book.

Thanks for stopping by.