Monday, June 29, 2009

Thoughts on a Lost Boy

Over the past few days, I have been trying to determine why a celebrity's death would throw me for such a loop. It's not like I ever met this celebrity or even attended one of his concerts.

Yes, I am talking about the biggest news story right now: the death of superstar Michael Jackson, also known as The Gloved One, Wacko Jacko, MJ, The King of Pop, and even Peter Pan.

Did I cry out when I first heard the news because Michael Jackson was born in my home state?

Am I mourning because I had a major crush on Michael Jackson as an adolescent and used to sneak into my brother's room to open up his ALBUM to this picture?

Am I sad because the music and dance world lost an icon and an inspiration?

I think I am sad for all of these reasons . . . but there is so much more to my melancholic mood over the past few days.

Whatever your thoughts on Michael Jackson, you cannot deny his talent and the effect he had on the world. I have personally always viewed him, not as Peter Pan, but as a lost boy. I think he had fame thrust upon him at a young age; too young an age to have even partial responsibility of "bringing home the bacon" for a large family. I truly believe that the only time Michael was happy was when he was making music and/or dancing. You can see it on his face, even as a child. But I cannot even begin to imagine the type of pressure he was under.

He was a young, black entertainer born into a family of musicians trying to make it. And he tasted success at the very beginning of a country's journey to a change it was not quite ready to make. Somewhere along the way, Michael Joseph Jackson got lost, and I think he stayed there, in Neverland, as a perpetual child . . . a lost boy.

While listening to some memorials to Michael on MTV, a long-standing friend said he once asked Michael about his oft-debated relationships with children and Michael said something like, "The children are the only ones who tell me the truth." For someone who stayed in a childlike world, the harshness of the real world had to have been difficult. I am not saying this in any way excuses him from some of the crazy things he did (nor will I claim I know what crazy things he DID do), but it makes me see things in a different light. How many times have we wished we could go back to our childhood when things were simpler? Well, Michael did it. Things were never simple for him, but he tried.

Even with all of these things, I still could not determine why the cloud of sadness was lingering over me. So I started remembering . . .

When Thriller came out, I was 7 years old. It was 1982. In 1982, Time magazine named its first non-human Man of the Year, the computer. A black man and and a white man recorded a song about "living in perfect harmony". Ronald Reagan was president, and even though we were in the midst of a recession, he would not back down in his belief that our country would come out okay on the other side. And we did.

Although there were some scary things going on at the time, I remember being full of hope for the world that I lived in. I believed in hope for a better day. Hope and Change were not words that people used to get elected, they were words that they used because they wholeheartedly believed that there was hope for change, for the better.

Ronald Reagan said, "Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we've ever known." Ronald Reagan was right . . . but are we holding up our end of the bargain?

My two favorite MJ songs have always been "We are the World" (co-written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie) and "Man in the Mirror." (Videos provided in an earlier post.) When I hear these songs, I remember that feeling of hope; that feeling that our country really is good and that none of us have lived up to our potential . . . but we still could.

I think I am sad because people have given up. People have started using words like hope and change to sell records, to win elections, to get people to jump on board a sinking ship. They use these words and then blame someone else when things do not go the way they planned.

But the death of Michael Jackson has made me realize one very important thing:

"We can't go on pretending day by day, that someone, somewhere will soon make a change."

We cannot wait for someone else to make things better for us. We have to be a part of change, be a part of hope, and we have to take personal responsibility for ourselves and our actions.

"I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love. It's time that I realize that there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan. Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone? A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart and a washed-out dream, they follow the pattern of the wind, ya see, cause they got no place to be . . . that's why I'm starting with ME."

I am sad, because I feel like I have lost a symbol of hope from my childhood.

But my hope is renewed because I believe that there are others who believe as I do: that Good will triumph and that we CAN and WILL make a difference . . .

"If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Remembering Michael . . .

Thankful Thursday

Today, I am thankful that God is in charge and not me.

And I am certainly glad it is not the A/C guy who STILL hasn't fixed the drippy ceiling above my desk at work. Will I ever be able to put my things back where they go without the chance of them getting wet?

I guess I can pretend I am on vacation and the sound of water is a waterfall, but it sounds more like a drippy faucet and that makes me feel like I need to pee. (Sorry if that was an overshare!)

So thank you God for being in charge of my life - if I would just give it over to you (and NOT take it back), I wouldn't get myself into the messes that I do.

But the drippy ceiling is not my fault . . .

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thankful Thursday!

Today was a rough day. I didn't get much sleep last night, I was late to work, my finances went haywire and it isn't even near payday, I hit my head, my two youngest children have decided that their ears don't work and truth doesn't matter . . .and one of my cats got out!

I thought it was going to take a lot of digging to find something to be thankful for.

But the people I work with are caring and helped me through the day. Whether they realized it or not, God made them my angels today - and things are on the way back to normal. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to realize who is holding you up.

So I will praise Him in the storm as well as in the sunshine.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday (late) and Furry Friday all rolled into one

I am thankful for our animals. Although they drive us insane, they are such a stress reliever when you just need to cuddle.

I've noticed that the kids gravitate toward them when they are having a bad day. Each of the kids have at least one animal that likes to sleep with them, and they LOVE that.

So this week, I am thankful for the furries that God gave us for so many reasons. :-)

Here is Murphy making himself at home on our bench. And yes, he needs a haircut, and yes I took this picture with my phone.

I'll do better next week . . .


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Furry Friday (a day late)

I thought I would include ALL of the Furries this week.

This is a complete roster of the Animal Planet that lives at our house.

Our newest additions - Murphy and Riley. Very much PUPPIES.

They LOVE to take rides.

Baby Willow who is probably almost a year now- is growing up

into a proud fat cat like her sisters.

Gracie is around 2 years old.

She is attempting to help me grade papers.

Max is Hunkahubby's kitty (or was, before the traitor got DOGS).

He is 3.

Max likes to get in our drawers . . .

The only furry who is absolutely without a doubt, MINE. My big boy Rufus.

He was my 30th birthday present, which means he will be 4 this year

(and yes, I just confessed my age.)

The beautiful white/calico kitty is Cali.

We got her from our friend who had an overabundance of kitty cats

(seriously, a TON). She is about 6, I think.

Rufus and Cali have a love/hate relationship.

This beauty is Britney. She was Hunkahubby's kitty before we met.

He found her in a snowstorm. She was tiny. She is definitely not tiny now.

She is about 12 years old.

And this ornery thing is Lily, the office cat who comes home with me

on long weekends and vacations. She is a people cat, NOT a cat cat.

I have no idea how old she is.

So there you have the furry side of our family. Go ahead, you can say it. We're NUTS!

But if you ever need animal therapy . . . come to our house! :-)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Birthday Edition!

Today, I am thankful for my brother who was born THIRTY-EIGHT years ago.
This post is for him . . .

I am thankful for all the wonderful memories we have of our childhood,
especially the times we spent with Grandma and Grandpa.

I am thankful that you forced me to play school when I was 2, so I could read by 3
and helped me learn to love reading so much that I now use it as a procrastination tactic. (hmmm . . .)

I'm thankful that we still remember all the "silly ditties" we learned
or made up when we were kids.
(Especially our very clever answering machine messages that we sang in harmony.)

I miss singing with you . . .

I'm thankful that we survived our sibling rivalries when I was your bratty kid sister,
and learned to love and support each other even more
after you ABANDONED me and went away to college.

I am especially thankful for the way you love your nieces and nephews.
They are crazy about Uncle Bobby.

I know we don't always agree, but I know that because of what we have been through together that we will always get through whatever comes our way.

I love you.

P.S. - YOU'RE OLD!!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Win a Wii!

Our Wii is one of the favorite gadgets we own.

Go here before June 4th and you could win one too!!

Happy Tuesday!!