My Family Fantastic

Creating Experiences That Help Relationships Thrive

Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 3)

(Video) Howdy from Simone!

Update on the blog, the pitch competition, and thank you to a whole bunch of awesome folks. Love, Simone


Dear Macy’s: Please Save Thanksgiving

Dear Macy’s,Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. It is all about food and family. In my family, my mom cooks the turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, and everyone else makes the side dishes. For example, me and my dad make the yeast rolls, Isaac makes the mashed potatoes, Morris makes the brussel sprouts, etc. etc.  The day includes lots of food, laughing, and games. And until now, there have been no external forces competing for our family time together. And, that’s why you should close your stores. 


You and I have been friends for many years, and I always enjoy scouring the sales rack during the change of seasons. But, I fear your decision to open your doors for commerce on the evening of Thanksgiving is cause for concern.
I know, I know. All the other stores are doing it. But, if all the other stores decided to jump off the proverbial bridge does that mean you would too?

Let’s face it Wal-Mart and Toys R Us began encroaching upon Thanksgiving last year, but you…you are so much better than them. Wal- Mart is known for its low prices and questionable employment practices. And, Toys R US, well, they need all the help they can get. But you, dear Macy’s, have always been better than that. You appear to treat your employees with dignity, you hire veterans, and aside from that icky music video of Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey you and I are generally on good terms.


But, this decision to sacrifice the family time of thousands of employees for four more hours of commerce…could really damage our relationship.

I know full well the sacredness of Thanksgiving and Christmas to mall workers. (The only two days most malls are closed). Because, I worked at Kay Jewelers for six years. And, it is tough to be a mall worker during the holidays…the extended hours, the impatient shoppers, and the increased threat of theft. The mall is open 363 days a year.

Isn’t that enough?

Or do you plan to stop selling online during this period of time?


There is logic that says, “people are shopping on-line anyway, let’s bring them in the stores.” No, we should not bring them in the stores. Because, once you, dear Macy’s, fling your doors open for commerce on Thanksgiving Day more merchants will soon follow, and the damage will be irreparable.


You and J.C. Penny’s made the right decision last year. Couldn’t you make it again?
You may say it’s the evening, and we aren’t opening until 8:00 p.m.!

Even though, the store opens at 8:00 p.m., I imagine staff will have to arrive at 7:00 p.m. And, some employees commute an hour or more. So, they have to leave home at 6:00 p.m. But, it takes an hour to get dressed and look presentable. So, while their family is sitting down to relax and watch a ball game and enjoy dessert they will be ripped away from the festivities at roughly 5:00 p.m.


And, women that would normally be sequestered together with their unwanted in-laws, may now dip off to the mall in avoidance of that awkward silence. And, a golden opportunity for character building would have been missed.


And if you, Dear Macy’s, open your doors on Thanksgiving Day, your peers such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman will soon follow suite. Please save Thanksgiving, Macy’s. You have the
power to do so.


But, should you choose not to flex your influential muscle…I will not be shopping with you again until after the Christmas holiday. Nordstrom, TJ Maxx, and Ross made the right decision. So, there are plenty of moral shopping alternatives.


I’m sorry it, has to be this way, but the choice is yours.

Dear Readerif you share my position on the Thanksgiving  retailing debacle, could you help me spread the word? Please pass this post along on your favorite social network. Who knows, we may just save some folks some time with family. Love, Simone


How Can You Save the World?

Pursue your dreams.

In Britain, last year, a shortage of interpreters led to a small number of foreign suspects being released.
Now, there were some budget constraints that led to this situation. But, it got me to thinking. Perhaps someone out there hasn’t gotten around to following their dream and learning a language. If they had, would there have been fewer crimes on the streets of Britain?

And, that led to another line of thinking.

What other problems does the world have that you and I can solve if we pursue our dreams?

Are you a talented comedian? Good, because there is a lot of hurt and sadness in the world. And, there are people out here dying to laugh. Seriously, I see them everyday at work and on the bus here in D.C.

Are you a gifted filmmaker? Good, because there are millions of stories out there that need to be told. Take Charity:Water, for instance, it provides live-giving clean water to thousands of people in developing countries. You could make a film that tells the story of one person and how clean water changed the life of their village…more people would hear about this person, their village, the clean water project, and give money. As a result of your film, more people on our plant would have clean water!

Okay. Okay. I’m getting off my soap box now.

All of this is to say. We have to pursue our dreams y’all. The world needs us.

My Fantastic Family

My dream is to help make your family fantastic by strengthening bonds, eliminating squabbles, and helping you pursue your dreams. I have more than 30 years of experience living in a fantastic family. We are not perfect, but we are loving. And, I can help you and your family too.

A Face of Courage: Antoinette Tuff

Last week, Morris and I studied courage. In the series, The 12 Traits of the Greats courage is defined as the mental or moral strength to venture. 12 Traits explains that courage is more about action than forethought and that success is simply the action of getting of the bleachers and getting involved.

Antoinette Tuff
Photo from Gwinnett Daily Post

That’s what Antoinette Tuff did this week when she persuaded a would-be murderer at an elementary school to put down his AK-47 and surrender to the police. She got involved.


Ms. Tuff didn’t wait for others to get involved. She didn’t wait to see what was going to happen. She didn’t analyze the perils of getting involved. She just went with the wisdom of Nike and just did it.


And, because of her courage untold lives were saved.

12 Traits says that when you force yourself to do the opposite of what your natural tendencies are telling you to do, and when you turn toward fear instead of away from it, your fear shrinks.

After hearing the story of Ms. Tuff, I decided to start marketing my writing again and shrinking my fears. You see, I had a couple of story ideas rejected in the past year…and it takes some time for me to bounce back. So, I haven’t submitted any articles to publishers in weeks. But, hearing Ms. Tuff’s story inspired me and gave me courage – I submitted three stories this week to newspapers and magazines.


Other folks in my family are shrinking their fears too. My brother, Izo, is leaving his job at a mortgage company this week to pursue his dream of being a producer- with no job prospects in sight. And my brother, Zaiah, has a tryout with a developmental team for the NBA in early September.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

Courage has many faces, and here are a three that inspire me:

Sir Winston Churchill
Photo from Wikipedia
Tank Man in Tiananman Square
Photo by Charlie Cole
Cesar Chavez
Photo from Wikipedia
What  face of courage has inspired you?

The Battle of the Bulge

It was a cold, misty day in December of 1944. One thousand tanks and 200,000 German troops launched Hitler’s final attempt to beat back the Allied Troops in France. The Germans began their assault in the Ardennes Forest. The line of defense stretched for 75 miles (pictured above), and a rag-tag bunch of inexperienced and war-torn American soldiers were stationed there for rest.  The Germans broke through the line (depicted in yellow) after a day of fighting and surrounded most of an infantry division.

Stories of horror began to spread. And, the Belgians began to hide their Allied flags and bring out the swastikas. The British waited to see how the Americans would respond to such a terrifying German offense.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied Commander, rushed in reinforcements to help beat back the Germans. And, within days American soldiers were launching counterattacks. The story of this battle is one of American courage. American soldiers, often isolated, were relentless in slowing down and fighting the Nazi advance. They blocked roads. They burned stored gasoline to keep it from enemy tanks. And, marched in deep snow drifts to restore the line of defense that set the stage for victory.*

Sir Winston Churchill described the battle as “…the greatest American battle of war and will.”

I heard the story of this Battle a few months ago on NPR. And, I thought it was appropriate to share because 1) it is Independence week and 2)  it made me think about my own personal battles**.

The Battle of the Bulge was a huge setback for the Allied Forces. The war had appeared to be almost over. And, then the dang Nazis came charging in. But, the American soldiers didn’t give up. They kept fighting.

April and May were good months for me. Our small group Bible study ended well. We had an awesome Cub Scout end of the year picnic. I began running again. I lost five pounds. I was writing consistently. Our family reunion was a success. I was blogging regularly, and getting good traffic.

Then June came.

And, I found those five pounds. And, I didn’t write or blog. And, I felt guilty. Because I planned to report on my goal progress in June, but my progress has been dismal. So, I revisited the Battle of the Bulge.

The Battle was a turning point in War World II, and the Allied Forces went on to win. I find it super encouraging to know that a setback was not the end of the story, and it  makes me want to fight even more for my goals. I did lose some ground, but the end of this year is going to be awesome.

If you have lost any ground on your goals this year…don’t lose heart. We have six months ahead of us.
So, let’s get to work.

*Source: Army Features-

**In NO way am I trying to equate my personal struggles to those of the aforementioned American heroes.

Idle Threat

Morris and I saw an inspiring documentary last week, Idle Threat. It explained the threats posed to the environment by running your engine for minutes at a time while your car is in park. The film was shown at a community center in our neighborhood in conjunction with the environmental film festival.

I know what you are thinking, how is that inspiring?

Well, the 60-minute film is centered on George Pakenham’s one-man fight against idling in New York City. George fights idling by knocking on the car windows of unsuspecting idlers, explains the hazards to the environment, the associated fines for idling in New York City, and asks them to turn their engine off.

 Based on his reports, 80 percent of offenders turn off their engines. However, it is the responses of the other 20 percent that make for a funny and entertaining movie.

Mr. Pakenham has documented more than 2000 interactions with idling offenders, lobbied the New York City Council to enforce the current idling laws, and won by having parking enforcement officers assigned to write tickets to idlers.

I found this movie inspiring, because Mr. Pakenham is making a difference in the world…something I want to do too. So, it got me to thinking.

Am I passionate about anything? Is there anything I am willing to talk about  everyday to complete strangers? As a christian, I know what the answer should be…but I feel like I am really falling short by comparison to Mr. Pakenham.

Inauguration 2013

Morris and I had different ideas of how to celebrate Inauguration. I wanted to celebrate on the couch by watching the inaugural festivities on the television. But, Morris wanted to be out in the thick of things with the crowds and the cold.
So, we comprised. 

Morris’ dad came into town, and they went to inauguration. I went to the suburbs for the weekend, and watched inauguration on television. And, a good time was had by all. 
The Capitol Pre-Inauguration
This Band was filmed in the movie Lincoln

Presidential Impersonators (Right to Left): Lincoln, Roosevelt, Jefferson, and Washington. 

Inauguration 2013

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