Friday, October 29, 2010

Going the Distance

Good Morning - it has been a whirlwind week since being home and will be capped by a weekend of officiating hockey. I am looking forward to some testing at the UVA Medical Center initiated by a very close friend of ours when I get back which will "hopefully" address either the overall heart issue or the reality of a latent viral disease that has been misdiagnosed for several I have said before..."you can't make this stuff up!"

I will be keeping this short today as I have many things to do...but as we were sitting together the other night we realized that this blog is seen by a lot of people - over 3000 last month alone! Blogspot has a tool in its configuration called "Stats" that allows its authors to track readership within the blog itself...and when you engage this option you quickly realize that there are a lot of people out there on the Internet. Places as far away as China, Indonesia and Russia have shown steady readership based on the "tags" that we have put in place within our postings. Back home the hits are very heavy in places like Missouri and Wyoming where my COO is from --- probably checking on the durability of our relationship or where to find a good "Dunkin Donuts Shop" --- as well as Massachusetts, Texas, California and...dare I say...Virginia!

This blog is a great tool that we are going to tie the current book, our new charitable organization (The Life On Point Group) as well as our co-authored book (tentatively titled..."They Never Knew...Until Now") directly too foster additional readers. I had no idea of the overall readership of blogs across the world especially in areas such as humanitarian relief, military, health and welfare, family abuse, pregnancy, skiing, hockey, etc...all matters that we will be writing and dealing with over the coming months. One of the stories will focus on the establishment of our not-for-profit and organization and the "Red Tape" encountered in just trying to do the right thing for people in need...suffice to say that we in the United States are all about paperwork and this will be a story that hopefully will change the outlook of many of our readers...especially as it pertains to Burma!

Now I am sure that many of you know that the most popular television show on cable TV today is...Professional Wrestling...I kid you not! If you take a pole and ask who watches this satire play out on the screen you get the typical "I would never watch that" ... well somebody is according to the Nielsen Ratings released just a few days ago...over 50 million US viewers PER WEEK...the analogy here is that we have a total of 14 registered users yet over 3000 separate readers across the like wrestling...we have more readers then anyone admits to...especially in places like VA, MO and WY...the IP address list is huge!

That is is a crisp day here and the sun will soon be up...we have a lot to do this weekend and then travel planning for the upcoming holidays as well as our Burma initiative. As previously posted we continue to write in the hopes of our manuscript submission prior to Christmas...a couple of quick passages from the forthcoming work..."They Never Knew...Until Now"...are attached below...we may have discussed this previously but this literary work will be unlike anything many of you have seen or read before...or dare I say are prepared for...yet it is real; riveting; forthright and necessary to fully understand our decision making process...and why...we will always be one... 

"If you have ever recalled a time where a persons life or direction radically changed it was normally due to a monumental event. My fiance refers to this as a watershed moment...a critical turning point in ones life where everything changes...for either good or bad. It is a point in time when nothing after that will ever be the same as before. This critical turning point in ones life can be brought on for various reasons...some very good but all too often...something very bad has happened. What we glean from these changes and how we respond is entirely our own decision. They often provide a new fork in the road to what we had deemed as our path. This past year has brought in to my life many critical turning points...some of the moments were bad but, I am thankful that many more were very good. When you are a survivor you often view your rocky path not characterized so much by education or our work but, by your predisposed emotional insecurities"

"I once spoke to her about it...making her not only aware of what happened but also from the standpoint of how our two children would be raised...that fear and those acts would never punctuate the lives of our kids...ever. She offered what comfort she could but what more could she do...until you experience it firsthand you are nothing more then a visitor to the world of the offer what you can...when you can...and you hope for the best...and then you leave...and take care of what you hold dear...your children...and their future"

"Our past and our previous journey to this point were overshadowed in that moment as our whole direction changed. Our new life lay ahead of us...chosen by us and not by others. We are stronger; unified by our love which can now be viewed by the world in the symbol an unending circle worn on each of our hands"

Have a great weekend...and please...keep reading!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ongoing Mission Support to Burma

Good Morning - it has been a whirlwind of events over the past 45 days while in Asia. The mission has been a real "eye-opener" and we are anticipating moving forward for a long term presence as part of the Life on Point Team in the region. This also means establishing The Life on Point Group as a registered Not-For-Profit operating throughout Southeast Asia. These are exciting times however they are tempered with a foreboding sense of reality in that the reason we are here in Burma is quite Free the Oppressed!

The Mission

I have to state that physically it was one of the most demanding things I have ever done in my life. The terrain does not lend itself well to someone just walking in off the need time in this area to develop the skills necessary to not only navigate but just to survive. I have lost roughly 15 pounds in this short period of time and now require a smaller belt just to hold my pants up! As we measure distance between our home and Wal-Mart, the Karen measure distance in in how many days’ walk to the next village. My initial infiltration was 19 hours walk across some of the most arduous and difficult terrain you can imagine…my guide stated that “it is a two day walk…but we will do it in one”

When you meet the Karen you realize that although somewhat shorter then you...these men can move through the jungle with the grace and speed of a cat...barely visible...and yet...always there. Several hours into the movement through the jungle and you get a real appreciation of how they have adapted to this harsh environment. My time to move with them came during the monsoon season and the weather did not disappoint...cascades of rain fell for the full 19 hours of the infiltration...suffice to say that I was soaked to the bone upon reaching Operational Camp 1 in Karen State.

Some Background

As many of you know the primary reason for this mission was to support ongoing humanitarian efforts for the Karen Peoples of Burma. They are embroiled in one of the longest running civil wars ever recorded...and the atrocities continue. After numerous years in the military in some of the most difficult and varied assignments offered I really thought I had seen it all…but on this mission…I was appalled at what I saw...and over such a short period of time. Burnt and scorched villages, land mine victims and displaced civilians through out the jungle punctuated my stay. What you will wake up and take for granted today here in the US is nothing but a perverse version of science fiction to these people. For the Karen…sole possessions are carried on their back or in a small bag under your arm…and the expectation of a meal or clean drinking water comes only after risking ones life time and time again.

The Future

Burma will undergo an electoral process on November 7th, 2010 but those in the know realize that this is an election only in name for the ruling junta has already made plans for the continuance of its campaign of terror. It's a shame that in the 21st century we allow this to take place...yet here we are.

I arrived home on the 22nd of October and am already waiting for the word to go back...the work is that compelling. We are waiting on the results of the election and a series of other events before deciding what to do next…however I fully anticipate being back either right before or immediately after the holiday season.

We will keep you updated on developments as the team continues to report from Burma as well as what  has happened over the past 45 days while in country...till then...the mission continues.