To Those Who Have Commented On My Blog

Thank you all so much… I mean it when I say I have been overwhelmed by the show of support.

So here’s my odd little way of saying thank you… a little playlist about friends and friendship.

Thanks again, everyone! ūüôā

xx Michelle

Seems the Pretenders won’t work from my playlist. so here’s the video from YouTube.

Bigotry, Ignorance & Sir Elton John’s Family

I was doing some shopping yesterday, at Target in Omaha, with my brother. When we got to the checkout lane, as usual, I did a quick glance at the headlines and photos on the magazines. I don’t actually buy them, I have no real interest in celebrity gossip. If I don’t hear about it through legitimate, responsible news venues, I ignore it.¬†
One cover made me stop and take a long look and it made me smile. And it was a story that had been covered by CNN, MSNBC, and pretty much anywhere there was a radio or television, so I knew it was a legit.
Anyway, it was this week’s US Weekly. The headline: “Elton’s Baby: At home with Elton John, David Furnish and baby Zachary”
Here is the cover:
My question is: What’s wrong with that photo? What about it is even the least bit offensive?¬†
And yet, Harps Supermarket in Mountain View, Arkansas, chose to do this:
Maybe I’m a bit naive, but I honestly thought we were further along than this in our society,
What exactly is the point of this? What are they protecting the young shoppers from? Pornography… No. Graphic Violence… No. Profanity… No.
They are protecting them from… A PHOTO OF A FAMILY!
Now, unless you were living under a rock at the time, Elton and David were married in a civil ceremony on December 21, 2005, and, by all reports it has been a very happy marriage. They love each other, they have chosen to share the rest of their lives and now they have chosen to have a child to share their love and lives with… isn’t that something that married couples do if they choose? Have children?
I look at that photo and I see two happy fathers with their infant son, who, by the way is absolutely adorable.
The people at Harps saw something to be ashamed of, disgusted by, frightened of, something to be hidden… Any or all of the above? I don’t know. But, why?
Do they still not understand that sexuality is not a choice? That marriage should be the right of every man and woman and not just a privilege afforded only to heterosexuals? That what constitutes a family is not genders of the individual members but the love that is shared between them.
I pray that should God bless me with another chance at love in my life that, no matter who I end up with, my family and friends will be happy for me and accepting of whoever my partner may be. Because, with me, it could go either way.
This isn’t the way I originally intended to do this, but I just feel so strongly about all of this that I’m going to lay it all out for everyone to see why I do feel the way I do.
I know a lot of my family and friends will probably be shocked, though, I think, if they really thought about it, they wouldn’t be. I also know I run the risk of being “disowned” by a few. If that happens, it’s their choice and their loss.
You see, I knew when I was a kid that I was different. That I liked girls just as much as I liked boys. But I was also taught at a pretty early age that it was a sin and that the Bible said that anyone who behaved that way should be put to death. Scared the wits out of me so much that for most of my life, other than a girlfriend I had in junior high and high school that was kept secret, I hid and tried to deny how I felt about women. I think that has quite a bit to do with my struggles with depression and bipolar disorder. Not the only reason, mind you, but one of the biggies.
So now, no more hiding… no more denying… no more pretending. I’m going to say this as plainly as I can, I am also going to say it proudly. No more hanging my head in shame about anything in my life. I have gone before God and have prayed and even begged for him to change me and, guess what? Nothing has changed.
After years of struggling with it all, it took one simple sentence from an Oprah Winfrey interview that made me finally come to terms and accept myself for who I am, who I was born to be. It was Chely Wright who put it so simply, yet so powerfully,,, “God doesn’t make mistakes”. You see, God made me the way I am. God doesn’t make mistakes. I am not wrong to feel the way I do and I am certainly not a mistake
Here it is:¬†I’m Bisexual. You can accept it or you can walk away. I’ve wasted too many years of my life hiding and I have spent to much of my energy on anger and self-hate and I just am not going to do it anymore.
Now you know why I am such a strong supporter of  Gay and Lesbian Rights and speak up about the need to legalize same-sex marriages. Because someday I may be in a relationship with someone I want to marry and spend the rest of my life with and I want to be able to regardless of whether that person is male or female,
Marriage is¬†everyone’s¬†right… not a heterosexual privilege!
And it certainly not anything that needs to be kept away from the eyes of children!

Too Far…

I had a particularly nasty experience with another Manilow fan over the weekend.

Now, it’s not that I didn’t know of this kind of thing happening. I know it happens all the time, though I wish it didn’t. It sheds such a negative light, not only on all Manilow fans, but on Mr. Manilow himself.

Anyway… I had posted a status on Facebook. One of those “repost if you agree” things. In and of itself, nothing to get your undies in a twist over. My niece, in one of her replies, apparently ticked off one of my “friends” when she wrote “My mommy says I shouldn’t trust everything I read on facebook. And I shouldn’t trust anything written from someone who loves Barry Manilow.”

You need to know my niece and me and something about our relationship to realize that, she was just having a little fun… at my expense, sure, but it wasn’t anything that I wasn’t used to and it wasn’t anything I was really upset by.

This person, who, because it’s not my style to make life miserable for someone I’m pissed at, shall remain nameless, took it upon herself to privately message my niece.

This is what she wrote in her message:

“Hi Courtney, My name is … and I have a page named … I just wanted you to know that your mommy is wrong to tell you not to trust anything that anyone would say who loves Barry Manilow.I happen to know a lot of people who are great people and very trust worthy who love Barry Manilow. Don’t judge people, or you will be judged. I really doesn’t matter who you like as a singer everyone has their own tastes. But as you get older, you will learn not to hate, and that nice is good. Moms are not always right.”

On the surface, I guess it’s not too bad… but she had no basis for it other than just that one comment. And it didn’t end there.

My niece, not knowing who this person was or why they would write to her in the first place, responded like many 18 year old kids would respond… with a simple “WTF”?

I found out about the exchange soon after and chatted with this person via Facebook IM and told her that, while I appreciate having people stand up for me, it really wasn’t necessary and she should just let it go. It was a nice chat, she seemed like a nice person, and I thought she understood and that would be the end of it.

Not so…

She chose to write to my niece several more times, privately, and barraged her with many insults including that she was worthless and would never amount to anything and also continued to insult my sister, as well, saying what a terrible mother she is.

When I heard about that, I emailed this person and told her she had crossed a line and owed an apology to my niece and sister because she said a lot of terrible, untrue things to and about people she didn’t even know.

Her response was that she had every right to do what she did because she was responding to a public conversation that could be seen on by everyone on Facebook.

I’d accept that had she responded in public, but she did not. She chose to respond and attack by private message. Needless to say, I was not going to deal with her anymore and I ended up booting and blocking her from my friends list on Facebook and the Manilow Network.

Let me make this clear to everyone… when it comes to my family, I know all of them, I love all of them, and I do not need to be defended from them. We have our moments, disagreements, fights like every family… but we get over it pretty quick. Also, being the only real Manilow fan in my family, I’m used to smart-ass comments from other family members. I’ve heard it all, trust me.

What it comes down to is this… you see a post I’ve made somewhere and you want to comment either to me or someone else who has commented, I have no problem whatsoever with that as long as you make it a public comment.

Do not track down someone else and attack them privately… my family or not.

It’s just not the right thing to do and it will not win you any brownie points with me. What it will do is get you booted and blocked, too.

As far as I’m concerned my family is first… before friends, before Barry, before anyone and anything except God.

Reminder: All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

After spending a week hearing about the Tuscon tragedy, praying for those lost and their loved ones, and pulling for Senator Gabrielle Giffords… and be disheartened by the complete lack of common sense amongst our politicians. I mean, just because our constitution gives us the right to say anything without fear, doesn’t mean we SHOULD say anything we want and there needs to be a toning down if not complete elimination of hate/violence rhetoric among our elected officials. I know of five year olds who handle disagreements better than our politicians do!

Anyway, Kimberly Allison (on the Manilow Network) reminded me of this, and I thought I’d share it here.

Some might say this is oversimplifying things… I don’t think so.
It’s just good common sense… something we seem to be sorely lacking in in this world today!

All I Really Need To Know
I Learned In Kindergarten

by Robert Fulghum

– an excerpt from the book, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do
and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not
at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the
sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play
and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup:
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody
really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even
the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die.
So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books
and the first word you learned – the biggest
word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.
Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into
sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your
family life or your work or your government or
your world and it holds true and clear and firm.
Think what a better world it would be if
all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about
three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with
our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments
had a basic policy to always put thing back where
they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you
are – when you go out into the world, it is best
to hold hands and stick together.

© Robert Fulghum, 1990.
Found in Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, Villard Books: New York, 1990

Another Sleepless Night

Thought racing
taunting… condemning
Ever reminding me of past wrongs I’ve done

Can I ever make it up
to those I have hurt
My thoughts say no… and they’ll never forgive

Give up, they tell me
Forget about all about it
Because they don’t care and never will

But I care
I was foolish and hurt people I love
And I need them to know I’m so sorry

If they could give me one last chance
If they can forgive my human errors
If they could only see how much I hurt, too

I’ll never make the same mistakes again
I’ll be a better friend, better person than I was
I’ll do whatever it takes to make things right

Maybe, if I know I have that chance
Maybe, if I know I can be forgiven
I won’t another sleepless night

Help Bring Brian Home!

Brian is a beautiful little boy, 5 years old, from EE.
My cousin, Sheri, and her husband, Bill, are in the long process of adopting him and bringing him home.
They could really use your prayers and, yes, even financial support as the cost for all the paperwork and travel necessary to bring little Brian home is quite expensive.
Please follow their blog so you can find ways to help. They have been doing fundraisers and auctions and Sheri blogs to keep everyone updated on their progress.
We all love this little boy already, And we are all believing that God will open all the doors necessary for him to come home.
To help, just click on the picture of Brian on the right side of my blog. To follow Brian’s journey home, read the Burger Family blog at this link:¬†
Thank you for your support!

Help Out The Manilow Music Project

I was a band and choir geek all through school. I ended up focusing more on voice by the end of high school, but I loved being in band too. At various times I played trumpet, clarinet, tuba, and violin. I also learned over time to play piano and guitar by ear,
Music education was extremely important to me. I felt like I actually belonged somewhere during a time in my life when I mostly felt I didn’t fit in anywhere.
School was always difficult for me. I was very much a loner, very easily bored with what I was being taught and, honestly, the only reason I liked school at all was because it got me out of the house and away from the nightmare that lived there for, at least, a few hours a day. Having to deal with that nightmare made it very difficult for me to concentrate at school and I barely¬†squeaked by all of my classes with C’s and sometimes only D’s. It wasn’t that I wasn’t smart or that I couldn’t do the work. I just couldn’t concentrate enough in class.
Music was my saving grace. And it actually helped me to do better in my other classes. I still didn’t make A’s, but my grades did go up. It also helped me to fit in with other kids.
It wasn’t always easy, There were some schools I went to that had next to nothing to provide students for their music classes, Funny how they always had more than enough for the football teams, though,
I remember a couple classes where everyone had to share the same sheet music or we’d have to spread the sheet music on the floor at our feet because there weren’t enough music stands, And if an instrument needed repair… forget it. You were likely out of luck the rest of the year unless you knew how to fix the problem yourself or could afford to take it to a professional who could. Few of us could do that.
I remember one time I got a crack in my violin… I ended up repairing it myself after getting advice from my music and woodshop teachers and spending a lot of my saved up allowance money. I sanded down my violin, filled the crack with some wood glue, sanded it again and refinished… quite a task for a 14 year old with no experience and the fact that any changes to an instrument can damage the tonal qualities. And there were some changes to the sound of my instrument, but not enough to make it unplayable. I was actually quite proud of the job I did and it looked new when I finished the work.
Because of that experience, I’ve always known how difficult it’s been for some schools just to keep a music program going, As the years have gone by, budget cuts in education have made it even more difficult causing many schools to cut music programs altogether,
When I heard that my favorite musician/performer had started an organization to help schools keep their music programs going… well, of course, I decided to do what I could to support that endeavor.
I’ve donated money of my own to the Manilow Music Project and now I am asking you to help me support them, too,
It’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes. Please do what you can to help. Thanks!