“Give freely to the world these gifts of love and compassion. Do not concern yourself with how much you receive in return, just know in your heart it will be returned.” Steve Maraboli

During this season of giving Living for the Weekend acknowledges several organizations that presented their Christmas parties as a season of giving for the children. While most organizations charge an admission fee to attend their Christmas parties, many just wanted toys to give away. Zach McDaniels and the Murphy Law Offices hosted Philantropix to benefit Ronald McDonald House. Del. Adrienne Jones’ annual toy drive and reception was catered by Colin’s Restaurant and Grill donated food and toys to shelters in the Randallstown community. The Paul Gardner and friends’ toy drive was held at the Reginald Lewis Museum. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) toy and book drive was held at the Reginald Lewis Museum, too, and was catered by Jimmy Britton’s Class Act. The Fantastic Four collected toys for the community at their Christmas party at the Bleu Room.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran

These organizations transformed the spirit of Christmas parties through their philanthropic endeavors while partying with a purpose they helped make Christmas merry for the children in the community.

“This is how we do it. It’s Friday night, and I feel all right, the party is here on the West side.” Montel Jordan

The Gents on the Move did it again at their Christmas Party at the AKA’s Ivy Center on a snowy evening. DJ Sugar Chris was amazed on how old school folks can party. Whatever jam he played, we took the floor. He tweeted “this 40-and-over crowd is jamming” doing the latest line dances, hand and swing. The secret DJ Sugar Chris didn’t know is that 90 percent of the people dance weekly at Libby’s Tequila Sunset on Pennsylvania Avenue, one of the few places left where we can continue “twisting the night away.” Gents on the Move members AJ Miles, Jerry, Winkler and Scotty didn’t give away ordinary door prizes. One of the items was a toaster oven won by me. So if you open a gift from me thank the Gents on the Move.

“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” Zig Ziglar

The Montague family won the Ashley Furniture Store’s $10,000 shopping spree, 15 Ravens’ tickets and was guests of honor at Ashley’s tailgate party prior to the New England game. The Montagues beat out 189 families in the contest to show the best house outfitted with Raven paraphernalia.

“At 50 years: here’s a time when you have to separate yourself from what other people expect of you, and do what you love.” Jim Carrey

The invitation arrived in a white gift box with a jeweled fringed, ruby mesh bag inside protecting the magnetic keepsake invitation nestled snugly beneath the silk lining. The “pomp and circumstances” surrounding the invitation’s delivery created an air of expectancy for Renaee Johnson’s 50th birthday party at the Clarence Du Burns Arena. The temperature dropped below freezing outside, but inside, orange and ivory floral arrangements, white leather seating arrangements, glass tables, crystal accent pieces and candles casting a soft warm glow transformed the arena into a South Beach hotspot. Guests danced and dined on shrimp and grits, sweet potato shots, hummus, assorted sandwiches and premium drinks and cocktail specials. The photographer captured the guests entering the beautiful arena.

“The best birthdays of all are those that haven’t arrived yet.” Robert Orben

Friends, past and present, elected officials and family joined former Mayor Sheila Dixon at the fashionable Oxygen Lounge in the Inner Harbor to celebrate her 60th birthday. Guests enjoyed cocktails, food and plenty of dancing as Sheila led the line dances.

“I got the hook up holla if you hear me…” Master P

Don’t frustrate yourself trying to figure out the newest gadgets and sound systems Santa brought you for Christmas. Contact Zane & Associates at 443-963-ZANE or zaneassociates@gmail.com. Ask me how I know.

“Softly, I will leave you, softly for my heart would break if you should wake and see me go. So I leave you softly, long before you miss me. Long before your arms can beg me stay for one more hour or one more day.” Giorgio Calabrese
Condolences to June Dennis on the death of her husband Jack Dennis; Wendy Savoy on the deaths of her brother Vernon Savoy Jr. and her father Vernon Savoy Sr.; Terry and Carla Sharp on the death of his dad Charles Sharp; and to the family of Money Johnson, may you find solace during your period of grief.

“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.” John Burroughs

2013 was a year of expectations and anticipation, some joyfully awaited and others unwanted but expected. We witnessed the birth of a prince and the death of a king –Madiba. We saw tragedy in places we never expected and our trust questioned in leaders we love and respect. We rejoiced in the accomplishments of friends and family and cried at the death of loved ones. We mourned the deaths of spiritual leaders Rev. Carter and Monsignor Miller and exult in Pope Francis showing us faith, hope and charity.

“Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day.” Michael Josephson

In 2014 may you find the peace that eluded you, the love you long for and may God grant you the happiness you deserve.

Happy New Year Valerie & the Friday Night Bunch