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The Reason For The Season

12 Dec

I swear, it always seems like forever has come and gone twice when I finally have a few quiet moments to either update my blog, write a post or upload a YouTube video. At any rate, if the falling cyber snow is any indicator, Christmas time is fast approaching, and with it, the opportunity to reflect our lives, our goals, what we have accomplished and have yet to do this year (and in the next), and to embrace friends and family during this festive time of year.

With that, I am wishing each of you a wonderful holiday season and reminding you that through it all, to keep CHRIST in Christmas and love in your hearts this December!

Love you! *Mwah*

Doing Our Part: Support Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

5 Nov

Hello Pack Faithful!  It seems like ages since real life has afforded me the opportunity to take time to sit and indulge in what has always been for me, the pleasure of sharing my thoughts, concerns and general musings with each of you, but I honestly had to make the time to talk with you guys about Hurricane Sandy.

Let me first say that for any of you who have been affected, I am praying for your peace of mind and that you find swift relief and recovery in your circumstances.  For me, although I can say how blessed I am to have heard from so many of my family and friends up and down the East Coast who survived through Super Storm Sandy last week with only minimal damage and a few days’ inconvenience as it related to power outages, food shortages and the like, I am still wholly mortified by the images that I continue to see from as far south as The Outer Banks to the heavily hit northeast region of the New York/Tri-State area.  It is for that reason that I wanted to use this platform to encourage each of you to do something.

While so many of us don’t have the necessary training or resources to assist in clean-up efforts in areas like Ground Zero or the New Jersey Shore or across the Mid-Atlantic, it is good to know that we are not helpless.  If like me, you find that the daily news stories of damage assessments, the rising death tolls or coverage of images like the ones below tend to leave you in a state of unrest, then please donate to The American Red Cross on behalf of the victims of Sandy.

As a nation, lets prove this November that a contentious election is not the only time we can mobilize in full force for a worthy cause.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Day of Service, Not a Day Off

16 Jan

Happy MLK Jr. Day family (even to those few of you in New Hampshire and Arizona, who after all this time still grudgingly stay home from work)!

It seems as though I say it every year, but even in the face of virtually no rush hour traffic, the lack of mail delivery or the premiere parking in the company parking lot; today is not simply a day to stay home from work and catch-up on your TiVO and DVR recordings.

The observance of MLK Jr. Day is a day not only to reflect on the legacy of this memorable and outspoken civil rights leader, but it is also a day to give back to our country, our society, our communities.

You don’t know what to do or how to get started, you say?  Well, let this be an integral, each-one-teach-one moment.  Click Here to find a service project in your area to be a part of, or start a service event of your own. Oh, and remember: although we all ought to make a small sacrifice to serve our fellow man today, service is a 365 commitment.  Feel free to be a part of something great all year long!

This has been a Fanny Pack Public Service Announcement

Healing in Haiti: Two Years Later

12 Jan

It is incredible sometimes how quickly time seems to speed past some, yet remains completely motionless for others.  The stunning, grotesque and heartbreaking images from January 12, 2010 have been so seared into my mind that they are as emotionally potent today as they were two years ago.  Seeing how a 7.0 magnitude earthquake could hit the island of Hispaniola; ravish the country of Haiti and demolish the City of Port-au-Prince not only left me physically and emotionally spent, but it showed how even as political rivals in this country have bickered across party lines about ideology and have continued to lay social and economic fault at the feet of one another (from their luxurious hills on high), thousands of people in a third-worldly region laid dead and dying; millions of their brethren suffering through lives irrevocably battered and broken.

With the anniversary of the earthquake that rocked Haiti (recognized by native Haitians only as January 12th) and the many news reports and features that are coming out of the Caribbean nation, it is reassuring to see and hear that so many people are making a concerted effort to rebuild their lives.  Unfortunately (and realistically) however, there are many more who are still struggling day-to-day to survive, just as they were two years ago.  Yes, humanitarian aid has continued to flow into the country and the national infrastructure remains a work in progress, but the sad reality is that for as much international assistance and political restructuring that has filtered through Haiti, the country has still been riddled with corruptness (insert various questionable foundations and funds misuse, missionary border-crossing fees and tenement land taxation for the homeless scenarios here).

Still, the resiliency of The People is not only encouraging, it seems addictive.  They are returning to work.  They are attending school.

They are adopting the children of the fallen.

They are mending families.

In many ways, they are embodying “community”.

January 12th was the great equalizer.  For all intents and purposes, it was as though the haves were introduced to a life just marginally worse than the one the have nots had been living previously, and in residing on common ground, forced both groups to become a village; impoverished and fragmented, but a village nonetheless.  Today, in the face of despair, dire straits and an unforeseeable future, The People aren’t waiting for what the rest of the world will do for them; they are figuratively and literally digging through the rubble left in the wake of January 12th and rebuilding their lives one day at a time.

Yes.  Even in a wealthy nation not used to suffering through an 8.5% unemployment rate, the plight of Haiti and her people still really does put “poverty” and “having a hard day” into perspective now doesn’t it?

 Listen here to Dick Gordon from NPR’s “The Story” as he travels to Haiti in this second of three-part special Re-Inventing Haiti.

Hope You Weren’t THIS Guy on NYE!

2 Jan

While this bloke wasn’t actually ringing in the New Year bumbling down the streets of London, if we are being honest, some of you did bring in 2012 in an incredibly identical inebriated fashion.  And while it may seem all fun and games to start your year off popping bottles and sipping cris, the reality is that being a sloppy drunk and a slovenly lush is not only an un-sexy move, but it can lead to memory gaps, injuries, the bubble guts and that infamous morning-after migraine.

Besides, with Big Brother looming just about everywhere nowadays, would you really want your grandmother to clutch her pearls in embarrassment because one of her bridge club members saw your tipsy New Year’s Eve exploits recorded for all posterity on the 11 o’clock news?!

In truth, we have all been blessed to see yet another year, where many unfortunate souls simply have not.  That makes each New Year memorable and worth remembering, don’tcha think?

Getting My John Coltrane on in 2012

2 Jan

No, I’m not making epic music on my horn (although I did play the tenor sax until Junior High School…Fanny Pack Fun Fact # 128), but I am in A Sentimental Mood as I’ve been reflecting on 2011 and making preparations for a productive 2012.

Let me be the first to say that while I am blessed every single year, 2011 was honestly a time of both high highs and low lows for me.  But in my planning to agressively chin-check 2012, I am not sitting down and calculating a bunch of unattainable goals just because a New Year has crested upon my horizon.  What I am doing is looking back on all of my loves, losses, goals, miscues and realities and making a commitment to myself to dedicate some real and substantial time toward addressing each.

That alone makes 2012 an exciting prospect for me, and I am looking forward to all that is in store; I hope that each of you are as well!

Thanksgiving Wishes & Turkey Day Dreams

27 Nov

It’s been a wonderful 4-day weekend full of blessings, family, fun, Friday Shopping Deals and food comas.  Before we head back to work and our regularly scheduled programming, I just wanted to wish you all a fabulous (though belated) Thanksgiving Weekend and truly blessed holiday season.

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