Monday, November 3, 2014

.இڿڰۣ-ڰۣ— June 25th 2014 - Michael Week ♥

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~ Maya Angelou

I've been unable to write for months... ever since June 2014. I was not snubbing anyone... or disappearing from the MJ world... just quiet.

After Michael Jackson left this earth for his heavenly home, suddenly and unexpectedly I became filled... overflowing with words, phrases and thoughts that just HAD to be written down... NEEDED to be written and shared. I’d never been a “writer” and can’t say that I am now... really. However the jolting, shocking grief that over came me in the days, weeks and months that followed the loss of MJ also filled me with an inexplicable compulsion to write. I felt I simply MUST write or burst.... express my inner soul. 

As I began to share my writings I realized I was not the only person filled with the desire to share about MJ in some creative way. All over this planet MJ fans were expressing themselves and still are. In fact it was as if Michael as he left this earth sprinkled a bit of his Tinkerbell Fairy dust over many of us sharing a bit of the massive creativity that once filled him on this earth.... with millions of us. Giving us a final gift of love and art... filling us with a huge creative urge to express ourselves. It has been an enormous blessing for me... an outlet... my healing process. 

June 25, 2014 marked the fifth year of Michael’s death. MJ fans have gathered every year at Forest Lawn to pay tribute and respect to Michael on this day in June. This year was no different. Yet I was different. That grief that hit me on June 25, 2009 like a semi truck had only grown to become like a roaring freight train in my life. Yet now I’m changed... the train has slowed to a livable pace... is drifting now. Grief is a process. 

I personally have been so blessed. I live in Southern California and am able to visit so many Michael places... Michaeling. Connected... following in his footsteps... researching... learning... feeling and touching and experiencing MJ’s HIStory in a tactile way. Although most of those places have now become less exciting and more like everyday to me... I still simply love to see the faces of those I take around to experience the Michaeling adventure. It’s like watching the joy of a young child as they learn something new and their eyes light up... like experiencing the magical beauty and flutter of a butterfly for the first time. 

Yet why have I been blocked... why is there NOTHING when I sit down to write? I always wondered how long this gift would last... always asking the Lord... “Is it over now ?” Maybe. Why then? June was packed full of beautiful friends, events, celebrations of LOVE and Michael’s life. All the things I love to share... taking others along for the ride. It truly was amazing!! Yet I was stymied for words.

Then today... I heard a clip which I’d heard for the first time at Brad Sundberg’s Homecoming: In The Studio with MJ Seminar at Westlake Studios on June 25th. The MOST incredible video I’ve EVER seen of Michael. He is in a N.Y. studio... inside a glass sound booth with just headphones... no costume... no make up. In his typical red shirt and black pants and fedora... singing... creating... recording and absolutely nailing it like NO one else could. Outside the booth is a the full orchestra... in the background you can hear the children laughing and talking from the video. The song: “Have You Seen My Childhood?” The clip of the audio on YT was not taped on the up and up by a fan while attending the seminar as all cameras, phones etc. were suppose to be handed over and stored until after the seminar. Yet... I was suppose to hear this song... AGAIN.  So I feel extremely blessed to have experienced it in June. It was another life changing moment for me. This clearly unauthorized taping of the audio from the seminar video jolted me... AGAIN... as on the day I first saw and heard it. 

Michael had/has that ability with his voice to spark fires in the souls of men and women without even being in their presence. This God given gift touches deep down inside. There are no words for it. It is just simply spiritually anointed.

That video... that experience seeing and hearing it on studio speakers as if Michael was in the room with you... the heaven on earth look of sheer utter joy on MJ’s face as he leaps into the air with perfectionist satisfaction at having nailed it perfectly in one take...  there are no words for that. Inexplicable... so why try? So I couldn't even write about it... until today.

The massive numbers of MJ fans from all over the world descended on L.A. in joy and love in remembrance of the most incredible soul God blessed us with for too short a time on this earth. So many in fact that events I planned and others planned were so packed there was not enough room for everyone. It was simply overwhelming... no words would come.

Things change... people change... hopefully we grow. My hope is that I grow... never stay stagnant in life... especially spiritually. I want to take what Michael gave the world... has taught me personally by his example in the incredible, multilayered life he lived and use it in a positive way... share it in LOVE. I’ve learned so much from Michael. He was and still is an amazing teacher and inspiration in my life. He always pointed to God... to Jesus... emulated Jesus. He was a human being with human frailties and character flaws like all humans. He was not... IS not God. I feel so sad for those who pray ‘to’ Michael... for they do not know the utter joy, strength and graceful miraculous touch of the true God that Michael loved in their lives. The one who gifted him and was his source.

I once knew an incredible man... he was a member of Alcoholic Anonymous and about 70 at the time... this was about 30 years ago so I’m sure he has gone to his heavenly home by now. He was the most brilliant scientist and I still can't even believe I... this lowly soul... ever had the privilege of knowing him. A Nobel Prize winner...  yet he sat in murky, candle lit rooms while struggling alcoholics like himself bared their souls in order to hold onto dignity in life and sobriety. A genius of a man, large in stature with a kind face and spirit, a soft spoken, gentle man with deep strength. I will never forget... as I was searching for meaning and direction in my life via astrology at the time and prattled on about how my horoscope said... but wow my day didn’t go that way... I was baby sitting my friend’s bird while she was on vacation and it died... I killed it somehow (I thought at the time I did)... so what is up with that?...  Blah Blah Blah... sharing a 'I want to crawl under a rock type feeling'. After the meeting he came to me and gently took me by the arm... looked deep into my eyes and succinctly said, “Why not go directly to the source who made the stars and look to Him for your answers? There is your real power.” Words that changed me forever. 

God brings us people to speak to us... to guide us... to help us on our journey. He uses the most unexpected ways to teach us. After all wasn’t Jesus the King of all Kings born and placed in a lowly manger? How random and unexpected was that? Michael Jackson was like that for me as well. He spoke to my soul. Before his death he was a mega star... incredibly talented and controversial. Someone FAR away from my life. In my life only on the radio... famous... unapproachable... not really real. I was so busy surviving the blows of life and raising my children I didn’t even realize I was an MJ fan. Yet his music, short films and TV spots filled my life... created magic and special moments.... that gave me the escape I craved. Is that not a fan? I organized my life around them. The word fan was weird... just silly to me. I didn’t want to be a 'fan' of anyone... well except the Lord. I hid in God’s word and in church. I learned about loss and pain first hand for many, many years. Each new year was going to be the year that things would change. Yet only more loss and pain persisted... like a 15 year plague... just surviving... existing... losing more and more people in my life. Many times I felt like Job in the Bible minus the locusts and boils. 

The incredibly ironic gift is that in MJ’s death... life was restored to my broken heart. In my grief for Michael’s loss all my pain and suffering was encapsulated into a reason to grieve.... along with millions of others who felt the same way. The axis of my life was altered... on a new course. The question WHY at the forefront. Why Lord did you allow this most special person to die way too soon? Why Lord did you allow so much pain in his life? I identified with Michael’s persecution and suffering.... pain and torment.  Why did I not see it before his death? It must be true... that sadly... we do not really truly know what we have until it’s gone. This realization has changed my outlook on life. Embrace the now... embrace who you LOVE now. Don't wait until they are gone.

Michael Jackson was a treasure, a precious gem. He taught the world about love by continuing to love even while being bullied and hated by those who didn’t even know him. He is a testament that LOVE wins. I believe that the Lord took him too soon to save him... save him from a much worse pain. He had already endured so much... yet they... the media... the sensationalist who bottom feed on lies and slander, the users and leeches and hanger on-ers would never have left him alone. Evil loves to tear apart and destroy  good.... and Michael was too good... too kind... too generous. There was only more pain and grief to come. God knew Michael's fragile, broken heart simply could not bear anymore pain. So the Lord took him to His side. His special child, Michael, had done what he was created to do. He shared his gifts freely... he gave his heart fully... and it was time for God to take him under His wing and protect him from any further pain and torment.

He spared Michael... and ironically in the process the Lord connected me to life and people I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d ever meet. God is good like that... restoring lives. He can take the most broken and turn their ashes into joy. That is what has happened in my life as I look to God for my guidance and direction. He works through people like my scientist friend... my MJ friends... my family... the friends of MJ... MJ himself... and he molds us like clay... directs our path... opens our mind and heart and soul to be all He created us to be. He sees us perfect and completed... always has... since before we were just a twinkle in Father God’s eye.

Well... apparently I am no longer blocked or not blocked at the moment anyway. All gifts are from God... the ultimate source... our creator. It is God and God alone who frees us in HIS time to do HIS calling... not ours. God has better plans for us than we could ever dream or imagine. Since June God has called me to be silent on my blog. It has been a time of digesting, questioning, sharing personally with others, but mostly resting and refocusing. 

June.... This month holds the day that will mark my life forever... this sad anniversary has become a celebration of Michael's life. June was amazing. Fans around the world had been saving and planning to visit Los Angeles for the 5th year anniversary of the passing of Michael Jackson.  The result was they showed up in droves from all around the globe. I love the different languages and accents. I met literally 100s of beautiful people in person who I’ve talked with and communicated with only online for years now...   your faces and smiles shine bright in my memory. There were tears and smiles and most of all hugs and healing. I feel so privileged that God has allowed me on this journey.

There were many great events and gatherings in June for 'Michael Week' as it has come to be known... it was simply non stop and packed with activity and Michaeling.

Here are a few highlights from the week... 

♥ Brad Sundberg’s In The Studio with Michael Jackson Seminar at Westlake:

Yes!!! Brad Sundberg’s, The Homecoming, In The Studio with MJ Seminar at Westlake Studios in Beverly Hills was at the top of the list for me. There are simply no words to describe it. Stories, recording clips and pictures of Michael behind the scenes creating his magic shared by those who were personally with him while he made many of his albums.

MJ’s personal chefs were also on hand with MJ’s fav food for us to indulge in. I especially enjoyed the enchiladas, pop corn and Hot Banana Pudding. Two ladies, The Slam Dunk Sisters, as MJ dubbed them, shared stories about cooking for MJ and time with him. Michael flew them all over the world when he craved their cooking. One story in particular about a time they were summoned to cook MJ’s favorite dinner ‘cheese enchiladas’ at Neverland for a visitor. How MJ leaned over the upstairs banister and yelled to them there would be someone knocking on the door soon and that he wanted them both to answer it and he’d be down in a while. Soon there was the knock so they went to the door and opened it and there stood PRINCE. Yes! That Prince... Purple Rain Prince... all decked out top to bottom in a canary yellow suit with white platform shoes and a top hat with a large white plum out the side. He stood there meekly holding a little gift box for Michael. They were totally at a loss for words and just stood back against the wall as he walked in the front door past them... speechless... their mouths hanging open. MJ took a while to make his entrance then suddenly appeared at the top of the stairs, glittering and dressed to the nines... for an outfit showdown. There he stood saying nothing just looking directly at Prince. Prince took a stance like 'Check me out!' and MJ responded with his pose... giving each other the showdown glare with each striking pose. This went on for sometime as they showed their awesome stuff off. Then they broke into laughter and started giggling, slapping each other on the back and telling each other how great they looked. They settled in for a long night of friendship, dinner and movies... just hanging out and being themselves. 

It’s stories like these... the private and yes many funny moments that are gems for me. The man behind the persona. This seminar was filled with so many genius moments of Michael in action behind the scenes... writing songs bit by bit... listening as a few notes on the piano became an entire song... listening to the whole process of the genius at work. It was mind boggling. The Childhood video was life changing for me. It touched my soul... my heart in a way I’d not felt since MJ’s death.  The look of utter sheer joy as his perfectionist soul achieved the finished product and expressed with his angelic voice... saying openly to the world what he’d always wanted to say... literally... "Have you seen my childhood?"

More changed for me too when listening to Brad speak so lovingly and respectfully of Michael. As with all those who were close to MJ... who really knew him... Brad knew him as a person not a persona and his view of him is different than that of a fan. He shared about the artist at work. The everyday working guy doing a job which just happened to be sharing the most incredible God given talent the world has ever seen.

I had reminded Brad that at 2:20pm MJ fans everywhere normally observe a moment of silence. He expressed he didn’t want his seminar to be morbid or down... he wanted it to celebrate the life of Michael and his genius. He felt Michael would not want us hanging our heads in sadness. He said he’d prayed about it and was still giving it some thought but might not include that moment. I gave that moment to God and went with the flow. Before I realized it the moment came... Brad looked at his watch. Acknowledged that he wanted everyone to enjoy this day... it had been mentioned to him about the moment of silence... then he began to share from his heart. Not facts... not clips... not sound bites... but his heart. He began to tear up... but fought it off not wanting to ruin things for the fans by crying yet that is what we all identified with... what was in our hearts. The missing... we needed to see those who loved and respected Michael also missed him terribly. This genius Peter Pan who had made such a dynamic personal global impact on millions of lives... only someone gifted by God could do such a thing.

Brad shared a simple story of once stopping to get gas on the way to Neverland and absently mindedly adding some Chapstick he’d seen at the check stand that MJ used all the time... AND was always setting down somewhere and loosing. So he randomly grabbed and added a few tubes in a plastic case of the simple, plain black Chapstick to his purchase. He arrived at Neverland and went to work, busy installing sound equipment into a tree to pump music to that spot. Music was installed EVERYWHERE on the property... unexpected places like trees and rocks and special different sound tracks were piped in for each place. Michael drove up in a golf cart, just like on many days when he was home, and cheerfully greeted him, “Hey Brad!” Brad responded with a “Hi Michael...” and “Oh, by the way I picked up something for you.” Then reaching in his pocket and retrieving the Chapstick he’d stuck there, pulled it out and casually tossed it to him. Michael caught it and was stunned. He looked up at Brad... touched to his core... silent... and began to cry. Then softly said, “You noticed. You noticed. Thank you so much. Thank you.” It was such a little, random, kind gesture that meant so much to Michael. Just the thought that someone would notice something so small and care enough to think of him. Brad, a big man, over six foot tall, holding back tears said... “I just miss the little guy. I really miss him.” At that moment our hearts all nodded in agreement.

 No more words needed.

Each of Brad's seminars are different and are chock full of amazing MJ content. Rumor has it that Brad’s Seminar will return next June. Personally I very much hope so as it is something to definitely save for and attend. So well worth the price of admission. But then Michael always hired the very best and like Michael, Brad is a perfectionist and presents the very best.


 ♥ Glittery Tattoo Meet and Greet:

 There were sooo many MJ fans there it was crazy. Normally about 30 to 50 of us just sit in a living room type, bar atmosphere, very relaxed and share and talk... eat and drink. This year there was no way of doing this as thousands of MJ fans descended upon Los Angeles for the 5th anniversary... it grew this year exponentially. This event has always been a loose mix and mingle of laughter, drinks and bonding of hearts. People are free to come and go and never feel they need to stick to a schedule... and each year it grows. As with most things we plan... God laughs... and this event turned out to be it’s own entertainment. I lost count... there were so many people and I apologize to anyone who didn’t get your tattoo because of time restraints and unexpected, bizarre hotel restrictions... long story and long line. I have learned to go with the flow in life and that is how my MJ events seem to go as well... they take on a life of their own. It's always an adventure. Next year we may need to find a new venue to accommodate both the glittery tattoos and those who love to party together. All in all it was a great success because what it truly is about is celebrating the joy and love of Michael that brought us all together. A great big thanks to MK for kindly showing up and sharing his incomparable, beautiful MJ self at this event. 




 ♥ HIE Meet and Greet:

This event was simply awesome. Hundreds of MJ fans showed up packing the meeting hall at Holiday Inn Express Hollywood. There were smiles everywhere as we gathered to hear MJ’s photographer, Harrison Funk, share about his time with Michael. He showed us amazing, private pictures of Michael photo shoots from his collection. What a privilege to listen to him talk so lovingly and loyally about Michael and what it was like to work with him. This was an incredible time for all.

 Wanda always does such a great job putting this event together and providing food and snacks.


♥ One Rose for Michael J. Jackson 2014:

This out pouring of LOVE for Michael is proof that LOVE wins... showing in the number of gorgeous, brilliant red roses that increases in size for Michael at Holly Terrace each year. This year an unbelievable and massive show of love with 15,627 Red Freedom Roses being lovingly placed at MJ’s burial site. This incredible, royal-red carpet of love for our King of Pop is only best viewed in full from above by helicopter. 

We the MJ fans globally continue to show the media... the world...  the universe that we will NEVER forget Michael Jackson. That he is truly LOVED and that love continues to grow for him and will never die. I feel so privileged to be a part of this incredible tribute of massive love for Michael. One Rose... One Heart... One LOVE for MJJ. A very special great big THANK YOU to Robyn and Sarrah for continuing to over see this beautiful event.

Each year we are all amazed and blown away at the showing of LOVE with these beautiful red roses. The red carpet of love grows more every year. I pray this event continues For All Time and will continue to grow in overflowing LOVE for Michael until the display of red roses completely surrounds and hugs the entire Holly Terrace Mausoleum front and back where MJ lays at rest.


♥ MJ's Lanterns of LOVE:

This was the first year for this event and it was spectacularly peaceful and meaningful for me. After going with a small group of spirited MJ fans to deliver One Rose roses to the Aides Project Los Angeles in the One Rose pay it forward event... I went directly to the beach while the sun was still warm to find peace and solace before fans arrived. Sitting quietly on the beach reflecting, taking in the suns rays and beauty of the ocean I meditated on where I had come in life since MJ's death. I felt so blessed and loved. There are no words to explain the scene on the beach this night. The orange and purple sunset with Santa Monica Pier glowing in the back ground as the MJ fans gathered in love... made this an overwhelmingly blessed experience of peace. So many from distant, far away lands all gathered, connected now... closely sharing hugs and laughter. The lanterns glowed from the heart of each fan around the world on the beach very near where Michael raved with joy, like a kid at Christmas, when he experienced his very first tented Cirque de Soleil show with John Branca. This event was simple... simply love... in the sand for Michael and each other. With the Pacific Ocean mist on our faces... the ocean breeze in our hair we shared what Michael shared with the world... LOVE. Beach chairs and blankets set out, enjoying the glow of the lanterns as dusk turned to darkness... and of course MJ’s music softly playing... then we all joined in and sang Man In The Mirror as squeals of joy and fun were heard on the pier in the distance. So very reminiscent of Michael’s Neverland. A very blessed night indeed. 


♥ MJ One Vegas -
'before' party at the Palms and 'after' Party at the Mix - Mandalay Bay Hotel:

Thank you to Melanie for continuing to facilitate the Before MJ One Party at the Palms Hotel. It is always so fun and it grows each year as well.

Wow! Wow! Wow! is all I can say... seeing the Cirque MJ One show for the 4th time and it was still absolutely amazing...

BUT then the impromptu (the very best and can never be replicated) dance party on the top floor in the Mix Bar was all out AWESOME!!! Thank you to Marty for making this happen!! MJ fans from all groups around the world spontaneously showed up and we danced to MJ’s Xscape album as the DJ played song after song. Whoooo Hooooo...  LOVE Never Felt So Good... the place was rockin'. We turned it up LOUD! Dancing into the wee hours... enjoying views of Las Vegas you don’t see else where especially from the ladies and mens bathrooms. LOL I’ll leave that to your imagination. It was a fantastic way to end an incredible Michael week! 

♥ Memories for a lifetime!! ♥
Now to rest up for next year.................


  1. Oh My Betty......... yet again you have transported all of us, that were unable to make the journey this year, alongside you in what was, without a doubt, an amazing and spectacular " show " of Love which replicated ALL that was and IS Michaeling and Michael's Heart. How I wish I had been able to share in the Magic and Wonderment of that Amazing week, to have been able to meet other MJ Fans that I have yet to meet, and of course to see and hug those I met last year. Your words, as always, touch my Heart and Soul - You are blessed and have a beautiful gift with words, words which encompass us all, bringing Love, Comfort and Joy. God Bless You - I feel SO privileged to have you as my friend.

  2. This was such a warm article. What is really wonderful is to have an entire experience of love rekindled in your heart. This year was the first time I came to Michael Week. I don't think I was really up to I didn't see all the things as I would liked to (really wanted a glittery tattoo, maybe next year). Nevertheless, Your writing has actually allowed me to go there once again. Its so rare to read a piece that you are connected to. I look at all that is in this article and think...this is a part of me. I am a part of all of this wonder. I believe I have been blessed. Thank you Betty for renewing in me a spirit of unified hearts, all empowered by Michael. He is the glue that has made us one body. Many members, but we are one. One body.

  3. Thank you Betty for sharing your experiences during Michael week and especially your heart. I really apprciate your stories and personal incites. I can relate to your feelings and feel part of all the celebrations as well. I too feel blocked but I know it is for a season and a reason. Im glad you are finally able to write again and convey your experiences and feelings so elequently in a way that touches mine and other hearts in the MJ family... God Bless

  4. Well tHIS article is great Betty! The year 2014: 5 years missing MJ. Globally all sorts of tributes, you mention the special, we had in Nederland on the beach of Scheveningen the first time awesome dedicated Lanterns and next year we will put them in the glowing SUNset again. It was amazing beautifilled with MJLove!
    Brad: I attended the Amsterdam (Brad will always remember that day) Seminar with lots of MJfollowers. It was a dedicated, touching day...Childhood recording to see, that broke our see and hear Him pure. What a guy...
    The Roses, The Hearts (SouthAfrica, Neverland), all..a Tributeday here with a Peacefull parade through the streets of Best, where His statue is...goosebumps for that. To meet the sweet kind respectful Francois Glorieux, from Belgium, who is 82 now and shared all kinda touching memories with us on that tributeday..a Classical famous man who was asked by Michael (Branca called Francois) to create a cd with MJs songs in Classical way..Francois told us how nice and concerned MJ was towards him. He even fed the man bc of the long airtrip he made just to meet Michael..Branca made MJ look like a germophobe while he hugged and kissed Francois on the cheeX while meeting him for the first time hehehee..LOL hilarious, Michael was "normal"!! I bought the Classical MJsongs CD, very Rare to me. Betty I read the article with pleasure and attention, thank you dear. G.O.D. bless you. Marry

  5. Betty I can relate to you I too just wrote and wrote after June 09, last year was my first year trip to LA, I also went to all the above except the tattoo event, In The Studio was awesome and the Childhood clip blew me away, I listen to that sing completely diff now, I had always imagined him completely devastated and really sad, seeing his beautiful smiling and laughing face, how jubilant he was recording it instead of heartbroken. You have covered the other activities far more eloquently then me, when I got home I made a photo picture book of my whole trip, a forever treasure for me to keep, all the roses, FL and all the other great events, that's me in the Las Vegas picture dancing and clapping wearing glasses, every time I hear the tracks from Xscape I'm taken back to the bar at the top of Mandalay Bay, what a wonderful night, I'm sending all my love to everyone in LA this year, I am not there but my roses will be, to those who it is their first time, breath and take it all in, those who are going again, give my love to Michael I will be thinking of you all on the 25th and to the rest of the MJ community who will be remembering in their own way God bless xx

    1. Sharon I so remember your joy last year! You will def be there in spirit sharing in the love for MJ <3 Thanks for the lovely comment <3