By Valerie Fraling, Special to the AFRO

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder. You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger. May you never take one single breath for granted. God forbid love ever leave you empty handed. I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens. Promise me that you’ll give fate the fighting chance. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance I hope you dance. I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance. Never settle for the path of least resistance. Living might mean taking chances but they’re worth taking. Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth making. Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter. When you come close to selling out reconsider. Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance I hope you dance. Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along. Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance I hope you dance” Lee Ann Womack

“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” Anne Frank

As the year 2018 comes to a close we reflect on the changes that have occurred in our lives, our community and country. You personally may have not been affected by the hurricanes, devastating fires, or horrific mass murders but, as we all know if one is affected, we all are affected.

With that being said I hope you dance. I hope you dance as if no one is watching. I hope you dance with such reckless abandon that you fall exhausted to the floor in a heap of laughter. I hope you dance so that you continue to live with hope and keep hope in your heart, for better days are coming.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the game.” Randy Pausch

I had no idea that when Caesars Entertainment opened Baltimore Horseshoe Casino almost five years ago that I would meet some of the most wonderful African-American Baltimoreans, who have made this entertainment venue such a success. Minyanna Farmer, Casino Marketing VIP Services Manager, spearheads the VIP staff, which also includes Executive Host Devon Howard and Dalaina Ray, who is the first African-American female general manager of Gordon Ramsay Steak. I recently was invited to dinner with Minnyanna, Devon and Dalaina as their guests with my friends Bishop Josephine and Tommy Ridgley.

“We are family.” Sister Sledge

I knew my relationship was special with them however, with the recent death of my mother they took the time out of their demanding schedules to call me, visit Wylie’s Funeral Home Randallstown and send a beautiful floral arrangement.

It was a fun evening as we dined on lobster tails, crab cakes, lamb chops, steaks and a medley of side dishes and appetizers including a toast to Gordon Ramsey on his birthday.