Be Careful What You Wish For America(Lifehouse’s “Everything”)

Over the past few days I felt compelled to create this movie about Jesus and the state of America. It’s not another fluffy Jesus movie. It’s beautiful in the beginning, but later you’ll find yourself fastening your seatbelt and locking your tray tables in the upright position.

Is this what God intended for us? Is this all there is? What’s the meaning of life? What can one person do? Why are we here? Watch and find out. It touches my heart and I hope it touches someone else’s too.

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Employers Require Drug Testing For Employees. Why Isn’t There Drug Testing To Qualify For Public Assistance?

I have a beef. This isn’t a new beef. I’ve actually had this beef for quite some time, so I’m taking this opportunity to vent. I have worked at a handful of jobs in my day, and every time I was accepted for the position, the employer sent me off to the local clinic to have a drug test done. Obviously, as I’m sure most people are aware, this is done to ensure that you will be a responsible, safe employee with the capacity to efficiently do your job.

I wonder then, why people aren’t required to drug test in order to qualify for assistance? I mean, our tax dollars fund the programs  that we had to drug test and work to make available for them, yet people can go in, file some paperwork, and if they qualify based on income, he or she is sent a check out of taxes we paid in. Why aren’t they required to provide evidence that they are responsible citizens just as we’ve had to? Isn’t there something wrong with that picture? 

By the way, I don’t mind helping people get on their feet. We can all use some help from time to time. I have both paid in and drawn assistance, and I can attest to how vital it can be. I’ll also be more than happy to take a drug test at anytime.

That being said, let’s go back about 10 years or so, because in a country where so many jobs have now gone over seas, and with the economy reeling from a cornucopia of problems, it’s probably too late to set a program like the one I’m proposing into motion anyway. For argument’s sake though, I’ve speculated on reasons why this wasn’t a viable option at a time where it could have been a terrific idea.

No one thought of it? Nope. Not buying that one. I guess one could argue that it would cost too much money to drug test the applicants, but I’m willing to bet that the country would save enough from not having to pay those who’d test positive to compensate for it. Another argument might be that the government’s decided that many people are too dumb, lazy, etc. to become constructive citizens, and that if they’re not supported monetarily, there would be a worse crime wave of theft and vandalism than we already have now? Maybe the government is intentionally allowing people to become dependant on it so that if somewhere along the way it wants to control the masses, it would have an easier time of it. If you cut off people’s ability to shop for anything, they would certainly be at the government’s mercy.

Remember how the government in Egypt shut down the internet in an attempt to quell the rioting? Consider that nothing our government does is by accident, that they pay a lot of people good money to “predict the future”, make strategic moves and accomplish an agenda. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? 

What say you?

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Racism – Alive And Well In The 21st Century

 Article first published as Racism – Alive And Well In The 21st Century on Blogcritics.

Let me give you a little history before I dive into this subject with both feet. I was raised in the burbs of Minneapolis, MN. from 1968 until about 1983. I had limited exposure to other cultures during that time. There were other nationalities in Minneapolis, but generally not where I lived. I never gave the subject much thought. When I was 17 I moved to MS briefly and then to AL with my then husband where his family’s from. Can you say culture shock? We lived in the boondocks for nearly 18 years, where I raised my kids during part of that time. When he and I split, in 2000, the kids and I moved to the town I live in now. The population here is about 25000. You’ve heard the phrase “You can take the girl out of the country(or city), but you can’t take the country(or city) out of the girl”? Well, the same goes for philanthropist.

Ok. So what exactly is racism? It is simply the approval or disapproval of someone based on the color of their skin. (my own definition) I’ve never adopted the mindset of the general population. Racism bothers me. It’s a cancer that spreads because of intolerance, indifference, lack of respect, and ignorance. Unfortunately, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Racism is perpetuated by the attitude of certain groups of people towards others, and the “others” that happen to be of a different race reciprocate, and so it goes. What it boils down to is the actions of a few, tainting the reputation of a whole race in the racists eyes. I have a problem with that. I agree whole heartedly that there are a lot of dingbats out there, but I wouldn’t rub elbows with say, David Duke, even though our skin resembles each others. I’ve heard, “most of the people of that race are like that”. “Really?” I say, because I don’t know most of the people in that race. Is it even possible to know most of the people of a specific race?  Doubtful. So why use the generality? Because it’s convenient to make generalizations about people because of their appearance. It enables you to “fit in” with friends. It provides a commonality allowing you to bond together, and besides, it’s tradition. It’s uncomfortable defending people from false allegations. (unless you’re a lawyer and getting paid for it, I suppose) So why not just blend?

I denounce it because it’s illogical. You can’t make me believe that all males, all short people or all brunettes are alike. It’s the same thing. I reverse the roles and consider that it’s my family’s name or race being slandered because of something I had nothing to do with. So what if they continue to do it even when you stop? When you keep going back and forth it’s just like 5 year olds hollering “poo poo face” at each other and neither side will hush!  Someone has to step up and be the bigger person. Does my point of view reflect the fact that I’m a Christian? Yes. In other people’s cases? Well, I can’t speak for everyone else. I do know that it’s not my job to judge someone else’s life, how they live it or what season they might be in. There’s a very good saying that goes, “What other people think about me is none of my business.” The only one I can change is myself. Diversity can be a beautiful thing. Wouldn’t life be boring if we were all poured from the same molds?

I have a pretty simple philosophy about what we should be doing while we’re here on earth. Making it a better place. Helping each other. Positively contributing. Preserving America’s integrity. There’s actually a selfish motivation behind my philosophy that could have the ripple effect if enough people applied it. When I am a positive influence on the people I touch, It make’s my little world a better place for me, my kids, my friends, family and acquaintances. If we all did it, the ripples would overlap each other and love, peace and brotherhood would have a chance to spread in place of hate. It worked for a while back in the 60’s. Have we learned nothing more since then? We need each other now more than ever, because as we’ve seen, big brother isn’t able to take care of us. We’re going to have to start taking care of each other. United we’ll stand, divided we’ll fall.

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Who Decided How Grown Ups Ought To Act?

When we’re children, we don’t know much. We don’t know that there are certain times we’re supposed to be hungry. (when I was out playing my mom always had to holler at me to come home for supper) We don’t know what boundaries are for . (I’ve climbed through, over and under many a fence because I thought they were just for keeping stuff in) and we don’t have any concept of time. Days go on forever, and summers, even longer. We don’t know that life is short. We don’t know that it’s unfair. We don’t know that there are unwritten rules in the world we were born into that are gradually going to try to bind us. And we aren’t supposed to. Ahhhh, to be a kid.

As we proceed through life the lines that we’re supposed to mind manifest. They’re in our family, then our block, then community, and our city. As our exposure to the outside world continues to grow, the lines keep rolling out before us. Lines for proper etiquette. Lines in other directions too. Lines for county, state, nation, and world. Gender, age, race, financial status. Some lines are good. Good lines keep order, create, renew, progress, discipline, fellowship, respect and unify. 

Some lines beg the question, why? Why are so many people following that stupid line? Who decided that the majority should follow this line? We get older, turn and look back and see the years spread out behind us where the lines once were. We began with good intentions! Then somewhere along the way seriousness replaced innocence. The gym replaced riding bikes. Tv replaced baseball. Shuttling kids around replaced watching the clouds. Contempt replaced acceptance. Malice replaced love. The days fly by faster and faster because the line we followed told us that in staying busy we’d find happiness. We’re never satisfied even though we spend every dime we can get our hands on trying to buy it. 

We might not realize it, but we’ve allow ourselves to be manipulated by one extremely powerful force. Television. Oh, it began benign enough. It was a magical box that brought joy, laughter, drama, and entertainment right into our living rooms and left us all warm and fuzzy from it’s impressions in our minds of joy, honor, morals, love and the guy on the white horse saving the day. But as it grew, it’s personality changed, and so did ours. It became hungry for money and influence. It pushes in our faces everything we should strive for, conform to, admire, dream of, wear, buy, drink and eat. It provides our role models and life lessons. It romances people into imitating synthetic rebels, gods and princesses. It steals away your time as your life grows shorter and shorter with every episode. So are we alive to merely “Keep up with the Kardashians”? Where exactly did we leave our happiness?

Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting boycotting tv altogether. I’m simply saying be aware. Don’t believe everything you hear. Be aware that you don’t need to buy ten different kinds of cleaners. Your home will be fine if you use one. Be aware that if you don’t buy JIF, it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad parent. They tap into your sense of guilt, insecurity, pride, desire for acceptance and selfishness. Analyze and choose the information that you want to use and then apply it to your life wisely. And for crying out loud, don’t let tv raise your children. Start closing that gap that we’ve built between one another. I have a feeling that one day soon we’re going to need each other again. But that’s a story for another blog post. 

Here’s a tip: A good way to keep your money in your pocket? If you weren’t going after it in the first place, don’t buy it unless it’s something you really need. Chances are a week from now you won’t even remember what it was you didn’t buy.

So, things we do know when we’re kids is that life is an adventure. That everything is fresh early in the morning. That life’s chalk full of things to discover. It’s full of moments that will stick with us forever. It’s bugs and swings and tea parties and reading. It’s spinning until you’re dizzy, frisbees, candy and coasting down big hills on your bike. Life is sweet. It can still be sweet. All you have is start following a better line.

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The Awesome Michael Jackson

Who’d have thought that an average little kid from Gary, Indiana would become a household name. As you know, waves of controversy pounded Michael off and on over all the years of his life. I always liked his hits on the radio and thought he was an amazing talent, but I never saw past the glitter and his “top 10″ songs until after his tragic death. Then I began “Googling” as I always do. What I found made me sad. Sad that I hadn’t taken a closer look at Michael while he was alive, and sad that he was gone. The world will never be the same.

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958-June 25, 2009) was the eighth of ten children in a working-class family who lived in a small 3-room house in Gary, Indiana, an industrial suburb of Chicago. His mother, Katherine Esther Scuse, was a devout Jehovah’s Witness, and his father, Joseph Walter “Joe” Jackson, was a steel mill worker who performed with an R&B band called The Falcons. Jackson had three sisters: Rebbie, LaToya, and Janet, and five brothers: Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy A sixth brother, Brandon, died shortly after birth. I’m sure you’ve heard about the abuse Michael endured from his father and maybe even seen the “The Jackson’s: An American Dream” movie. I ended up having strong thoughts and feelings about Michael. He was an amazing person.

There are innocent and carefree qualities about him that I can relate to myself. There was no malice and no hidden agenda. He wore his heart on his sleeve. Growing up he was denied a typical childhood, and he knew what it was like to lack. He had a spirit that believes that you get more from giving than receiving. (as I do) That’s what motivated him to share what he could with kids, and with others who were bound to a less fortunate way of life or to an illness. And plus,what grown people were going to climb trees, ride rides, bake cookies and play games? He wanted to know what it felt like to be a kid. That’s why he built Neverland and not the Playboy Mansion. I believe it was that simple.

You hear about so many bands, singers and actors going through rehab, going psycho, and going under. You never saw that from Michael. No secret porn was ever discovered anywhere in his home or on his computers after his death, his kids don’t appear to be basket cases, and his friends were upstanding, decent people. (Well, Chris Brown turned out to be a dingbat) As the circus of paparazzi and memory of the negative accusations fade, the extraordinary good he did is allowed to shine.

He was an incredible humanitarian. (which not everyone’s aware of) If you didn’t get that from the lyrics to his songs like. “Man In The Mirror”, “Earth Song”, “Heal The World” or “Cry”, here are some efforts he supported behind the scenes and humanitarian awards he earned:

January 10, 1984, Michael Jackson visited the unit for burn victims at Brotman-Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles, and demonstrated his concern with people suffering from grievous injuries

April 9, 1984, David Smithee, a 14-year-old boy suffering from cystic fibroses was invited to Michael’s home, in response to a dying request to meet Michael. David passed away 7 weeks later

April 14, 1984, Michael Jackson was single handedly responsible for equipping a 19-bed-unit at Mount Sinai New York Medical Center. This center is now a critical part of the T.J. Martell Foundation for leukemia and cancer research

July 5, 1984, during the Jackson’s press conference at Tavern On The Green, Michael announced that his portion of the earnings from the Victory Tour would be donated to three charitable organizations: The United Negro College Fund, Camp Good Times, and the T.J. Martell Foundation

July 14, 1984, after the first concert of the Victory Tour, Michael met 8 terminally ill children backstage

December 13, 1984, Michael visited the Brotman Memorial Hospital, where he had been treated when he was burned during the producing of a Pepsi commercial. He subsequently donated all the money he received from Pepsi, $1.5 million, to the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children

1984- Michael was awarded the “Presidential Humanitarian Award” for continuing human endeavors

January 28, 1985 Michael and 44 other artists met to record ‘We Are The World’, written by Michael and Lionel Ritchie, a project devoted to fighting global hunger. The proceeds of this record were donated to the starving people in Africa

1986, Michael set up the ‘Michael Jackson UNCF Endowed Scholarship Fund’. This $1.5 million fund is aimed toward assisting students majoring in performance art and communications, with money given each year to students attending a UNCF member college or university

February 28, 1986, after having had a heart-transplant, 14-year-old Donna Ashlock from California received a call from Michael Jackson. He had heard that she was a fan. Michael invited Donna to his home following her recovery

October 1987, at the end of his ‘Bad Tour’, Michael donated personal items to UNESCO for a charitable auction. The proceeds of his donation were allocated for the education of children in developing countries

February 1, 1988 The Song ‘Man In the Mirror’ entered the charts. The proceeds from the sales of this record went directly and exclusively to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children who suffer from Cancer

April 1988, Michael Jackson ensured that free tickets to three concerts in Atlanta, Georgia, were specifically set aside for the Make a Wish Foundation

May 22, 1988, Michael visited cancer-stricken children in the Bambini-Gesu Children’s Hospital in Rome. He signed autographs and gave away sweets and records to the young patients. He also announced his monetary donation of 100,000 pounds to the hospital

July 16, 1988, Michael met the Prince of Wales and his wife Diana, where he donated 150,000 pounds for the Prince’s Trust, and a check of 100,000 pounds for the children’s hospital at Great Ormond Street

July 20, 1988, Michael visited terminally ill children at Great Ormond Street Hospital. At a unit for less critical patients he stayed longer and to engage in story telling time with the children

January 1989, the proceeds of one of Michael’s shows in Los Angeles were donated to Childhelp USA, the biggest charity organization against child abuse. In appreciation of the contributions of Michael, Childhelp of Southern California founded the ‘Michael Jackson International Institute for Research On Child Abuse’

March 5, 1989, Michael invited 200 underprivileged children of the St. Vincent Institute for Handicapped Children and of the organization Big Brothers and Big Sisters to the Circus Vargas in Santa Barbara. Following the event, the children were invited to his ranch to visit his private Zoo at Neverland Ranch

1988-won the “Leonard Carter Humanitarian Award” for his humanitarian endeavors

Jackson won an award from the National Urban Coalition, for his humanitarian endeavors, in 1989

Jackson was awarded with a humanitarian award, from the Capitol Children Museum, in 1990

December 1991, Michael’s office MJJ Productions donated more than 200 turkey dinners to needy families in Los Angeles

February 3, 1992, at a press conference at the New York Radio City Music Hall, Michael announced that he is planning a new world tour, to raise funds for his new ‘Heal The World’ Foundation. This Foundation was designed to support the fight against AIDS, Juvenile Diabetes, the Ronald McDonald Camp, and the Make A Wish Foundation

February 1992, within 11 days Michael covered 30,000 miles in Africa, to visit hospitals, orphanages, schools, churches, and institutions for mentally handicapped children

May 1, 1992, President Bush presented Jackson with an award acknowledging him as “a point of light ambassador”. Jackson received the award in recognition for his efforts in inviting disadvantaged children to his Neverland Ranch.

June 26, 1992, Michael presented the Mayor of Munich, Mr. Kronawitter, with a 40,000 DM check for the needy people of the city

July 1992, Michael donated 821,477,296 Lire to La Partita del Cuore (The Heart Match) in Rome and donated 120,000 DM to children’s charities in Estonia and Latvia

July 25, 1992, at his concert in Dublin, Ireland, Michael announced that he will give 400,000 pounds of the tour earnings to various charities

June 1993, Michael announced a donation of $1.25 million for children suffering as a result of the riots in Los Angeles

1993-Michael receives the “Humanitarian of the Year Award” for humanitarian endeavors

December 1993, in conjunction with the Gorbachev Foundation, Michael Jackson airlifted 60,000 doses of children’s vaccines to Tblisi, Georgia

1994, Michael donated $500,000 to Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation

October 1, 1996, Michael donated the proceeds of his Tunisia concert to ‘The National Solidarity Fund’, a charity dedicated to fighting poverty

Jackson was awarded with a humanitarian award, from the Crenshaw Community Youth & Arts Foundation, in 1994

In 1995, Jackson won a humanitarian award from the Harry Chapin Memorial

In 1999, Jackson was honoured with a Bollywood Award for his contributions to humanitarianism.

the Millennium Issue of the ‘Guinness Book Of Records’ named Michael as ‘the Pop Star who supports the most charity organizations’

In 2003, Jackson was honoured with a Radio Music Award for his humanitarian endeavors

2004, The African Ambassadors’ Spouses Association, honored Michael Jackson awarded the Golden Elephant Award “for his worldwide humanitarian efforts, due to his fiscal contribution of more than $50 million to various charities, including many organizations that feed the hungry in Africa

These don’t include his musical achievement awards, 387 total. I wasn’t intending to make this post so long, but I just kept finding more, and more and more! I don’t buy that this man was a child molester. He just wasn’t built that way. People scam every day to get rich and Michael had left himself wide open for someone to take advantage of him. He just wanted to be happy and for others to be happy with him. He wanted to laugh, be silly and carefree, and he spent his time caring for and improving other people’s lives. His money allowed him the freedom to do just that, so he did it.  

One thing I believe to be true about anyone. You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. Elizabeth Taylor, Chris Tucker, Brooke Shields, Joe Pesci, Emmanuel Lewis, Quincy Jones, Lisa Marie Presley, Lou Ferrigno, and Princess Diana were all his friends over the years. I’m not going to do a review of each one of these people, you can if you wish. I do know that birds of a feather flock together. Michael kept good company.

If every one of us do a fraction of the good that Michael Jackson did in 50 short years, imagine how much we’ll have done. He was an amazing entertainer, singer, songwriter, father and man. All we have to do is start with the man in the mirror.

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Don’t call the Maytag Repair Man Until You Read This-

I’ve had my washing machine for about 3 years now and it’s been a good one. Then about 6 months ago I went to put the Downy in and realized that the agitator had quit agitating. Upon closer inspection, I found that the bottom was still agitating, but that the upright part had stopped. I got on the internet and started “Googling”, as I always do, to find out why.

It turns out that there are little “dogs” that wear out over time, and that was the cause of the problem. I also found this website that not only sells them to you, but has a video demonstration of the process of replacing them. Awesome! I actually called around and found some locally for $5. It took ten minutes and $5 bucks and I was back in business. So, if your agitator’s quit working, check into this before you call the repairman and save a TON of money! Cheers!

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Need A Lift? Here Are Some Unique, Uplifting Sayings To Give You A Head Start!

I LOVE this! (View the original article here) These are excerpts from a book by Regina Brett. I’ve heard some of them before but I loved finding them all together in one place. I printed them off and hung them on my wall!

Serious Chocolate Steps

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

Peace without Comparison and God Never Blinks

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

Candles, Purple and Sex on the Brain

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over-prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

Change, Miracles and Second Childhoods

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

Is it Useful, Beautiful or Joyful?

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

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