Backyard Talent In The Age of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s death has been the topic of many articles discussions and events lately. His genius legacy will have many of us  look even more closely at the talent emerging around us. Some of that talent is good and need our support.
I was happy to see this insightful review of local talent from my friend Carole Copeland Thomas. Although, I was not there, I trust her perspective. So, this is my way of participating in that legacy of support for local artists.
by Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA
Most would agree that the Jackson Family has generated a gigantic tidy package of hit songs and treasured musical legacies for more than four decades.  That became concrete on Wednesday June 24th when one of their youngest, Michael, died suddenly of cardiac arrest.  At age 50, Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, had sung and danced his way into the hearts and souls of millions all over the world.  And his musical genius will be sorely missed by countless fans from the bright lights of Los Angeles to the rose gardens of Cape Town.
We all appreciate his music, and the music of his entire family.  Yet beyond the scores of musical success, it’s their family history of career aspirations in overdrive, physical and mental abuse, and fame on steroids that trouble me the most.
I will be the first to admit that all families have skeletons in the closet and dark secrets that are rarely discussed.  I have some in my family.  But the Jacksons seem to have numerous family hotspots that stick in the forefront of an adoring public.
Last evening, I was treated to a performance of a local Boston gospel group that reminded me where to find my entertainment role models.  Not exclusively in Hollywood but right in my own backyard.  The group delivered a different genre than pop music, but it was soulful just the same.
The Harmonizing Stars of Boston reminded me that there are countless local groups all over the world whose passion and musical talent are just as vital as The Jackson Family.  And sometimes, as in the case of this local group, it’s a reminder that there are role models all around us.
Dr. James Bruce, one of the original members of the Harmonizing Stars, asked me to read the history of group during the dinner concert.  It was a lengthy read, and I was concerned that the audience might get restless as the history was read aloud while steaming plates of baked chicken hit each guest table.  My concerns were unfounded. As I read the animated and colorful history of the group, the audience stayed with me right until the end.  They loved it.
My reading actually showcased 40 years of an African American singing group who managed to stay together as a gospel staple in Boston.  First there were nine who started at the beginning in 1969.  Now 40 years later there remain four: two brothers, a cousin, and an uncle.  Working by day.  Singing by night. Endless rehearsals and unlimited dreams.  Countless costumes and an abundance of talent.  All acapella.  All in the honor of God.
While I read their history, it dawned on me that their history paralleled the Jackson Family. Same time period. Different cities and different musical genres.  But still two family acts with very different roadmaps.  The Jackson Family reaching fame, fortune and now great tragedy with the loss of Michael.  The Bruce/Bradshaw Family, otherwise known as the Harmonizing Stars of Boston, reached high level musical dynamics but never snagged that record contract that would allow them to pursue their road to fame and fortune while keeping their talent, dignity, and integrity in tact.
The songs performed last evening resonated with every person in that dinner hall who came to celebrate a family institution started 40 years ago. Last evening reminded me that our role models don’t have to have seven figure record contracts to make a difference in our communities.  Our role models can include that talented poet at the local cafe who makes you stop and think about your life.   It could be the young dance group who practice every day after school in the basement of the lead dancer’s home.  Or it could be four men who sing their hearts out in matching outfits, just as they have done for decades.
Just months ago The Harmonizing Stars of Boston were named “Best Gospel Group” by the New England Urban Music Awards Organization.  That’s quite a tribute for a family group who decided years ago to sing, pray, and stay together.  They are a reminder that far too often our hometown heroes are just as important as our Hollywood ones like the Jackson Family.
So the next time you have an opportunity to reach out and support local talent doing good works, do it.  It will help remind you that local community arts and culture are strengthened by the artistic talent of its local citizens like the Harmonizing Stars of Boston.
Hats off to this amazing group, and so many others in different parts of the world who are making a difference through song, dance and art.
-You can reach the Harmonizing Stars of Boston at the or call Dr. James Bruce at 617-259-4398.

Carole Copeland Thomas is a global diversity, multicultural, and empowerment professional and founder of the Multicultural Symposium Series.  You can reach Carole at www.mssconnect or email her at

What Makes You Stand Out As a Baby Boomer?

What Makes You Special
What Makes You Special

We all know that baby boomers are special. But what makes you special besides age? This tree is older but what makes it stand out? Is it the color or is it how it continues to survive with that telephone wire cutting through it’s branches?

I was just reflecting on how each one of us are often surprising others. We have special gifts, talents and heaps of expertise. Yet, do we realize just how special we are. Many of use have survived so much yet keep on keepin on. While others can still dance on stage with heels like Tina Turner.
I often surprise participants in my workshops. They may expect that the baby boomer before them may never keep them awake. So they are surprised when I may have someone sing or have them exercise or dance to music. Oh, my and they still learned something.

For many, your spiritual faith makes you stand out or your love and kindness to others. Nothing like being that light in a very dark room. A light of hope, inspiration and encouragement that shines because it is running on batteries that have been recharged. But sometimes baby boomer wisdom knows how to shine that light in the right direction. Hence, many may be surprised when you capture their face in the light.
What makes you stand out as a baby boomer? What is it that surprises those who meet you.

Being a Caregiver

You must keep looking at the sky
You must keep looking at the light in the sky




Cargiving can be dark at times but we must keep looking at the light in the sky.

Our guest post for today is from our friend  James Armstrong. This article is a repost from last year. The first part of the article was also posted last year. You can review the article Becoming a Caregiver.

Following is part two of an interview with Phyllis Slater, owner of Slater Solutions LLC. Ms. Slater has devoted years to providing coaching and concierge services to the working caregiver and aging parent. Visit Phyllis Slater’s website simply by Googling the name Phyllis Slater.

Q. Is caregiving a rewarding career?

A. Yes, I have a creative personality and passion to find solutions. Working for others did not provide that freedom, which was a trade-off for security. Eight years ago I started my own business helping seniors to downsize their home, pack and unpack for relocation, and organize the home for ease of movement. This process is more than just packing and unpacking. Now the family can learn how to properly do these tasks for themselves by hiring me for coaching sessions over the telephone.

As time went on, I created friendships with other senior care providers. It became clear that there was a gap with respect to information, resources and the caregiver. Unfortunately, aging is not a pleasant thought and people wait for the last minute to think about it.

Q. Could we have an overview of caregiving?

A. There are two types of caregivers. There are both family and professional caregivers.

Q. What does it mean to be a family caregiver?

A. Family caregivers are on call 24/7 should a loved one’s health and care change. Today a loved one may be independent but a fall tonight could mean hospitalization, rehabilitation and care when they return home. That is if they return home.

Q. Describe a day in the life of a family caregiver.

A. From rising in the morning, responsibilities start with making sure a loved one takes meals and medications; is bathed and dressed; you cook, clean, shop and provide transportation. Don’t forget the importance of social interaction with the loved one.

Family and professional caregivers must work as a team. A perfect scenario of how to be a great caregiver includes planning ahead for any contingency, which includes a list of products, services and resources within reach. However, this is not reality since most caregivers wait until a crisis to think about these things. There are unknowns, such as being independent until illness places them into a nursing home. Years ago there wasn’t any in-between stage. Now we have options such as Assisted Living and Continuing Care Facilities.

Q. What kinds of people are most in need of caregiver services?

A. Caregiver services should be available to someone who has physical, mental or age related challenges.

Q. What do these people need the most?

A. Support and services in a clean, caring and affordable environment. Aging is a process. Preparing for reality of aging is as important as preparing for retirement.

Q. What kinds of challenges does a family caregiver face?

A. When a loved one can no longer be fully independent, many families have no idea of the emotional and physical stress it puts on them. The key is to avoid “burnout” by taking time out for a quiet walk, lunch with friends or bringing a massage therapist and hair stylist to the home.

Q. What kinds of advice do you give to a Boomer who is considering getting a caregiver for his or her parent?

A. Plan ahead by asking friends for referral services they have used. Keep a record of this for future reference. Doctors and organizations provide referrals, but that does not mean they have ever used them or know someone who has.

If a professional caregiver is required, interview their company as closely as they will interview you.
* Is the company and staff bonded?
* Will one person be the primary caregiver?
* Does the personality of your loved one work with the personality of the caregiver?
* What is the pricing?
* Perform company background checks.

Q. What are some of the disadvantages of being a caregiver?

A. Burnout is a big concern if there is no personal respite time allowed. Sometimes a spouse feels guilty about taking time away from the ailing spouse. What happens is that the healthy spouse dies first.

James O. Armstrong, who serves as Editor and President of,, which is The Resource for Job Transitions over 40, also wrote “Now What: Discovering Your New Life and Career after 50.” In addition, he is the Cofounder with his wife of Armstrong Solutions Inc.,, which is a Counseling, Coaching and Career Management Practice with a reduced fee schedule to expand their services to a larger group of men and women with needs. Armstrong also serves as President of James Armstrong & Associates, Inc., which is a national and international media representation firm serving Central US and Canada out of his Suburban Chicago base.

Caregiver Blogs? Please Send Your Best Posts. Postive Points and Pleasing Humor

I want to feature caregiver blogs for a few days. Why? Because not only am I a care giver but many, sooo many baby boomers are providing care for a loved one. Many are doing inhome care,  site visits, or doing what they can long distance.

It can provide a strain, both  emotionally and physically on the care giver.Although there are support groups out there many of us just don’t have that quality time to attend. Some of us get great therapy, hope and information from blogging.

So, if you have services or just plain support to save sanity regarding caregivers please share. Now if you want to be a guest blogger please email me, rosiehorner(at), with your blog post. Please  I don’t want just ads but added value information that can help all that read this site.

Thanking all of you ahead of time.

Just hope that the information can help somebody.


What is Attitude Therapy?

Just read a powerful post, five minutes ago, that was written by a fellow Boomer Diva, Debra Stokes. After I read it I came up with the term” Attitude Therapy”. I define it as the stuff we go through and see other folks go through that helps to provide therapy to our own sometimes funky attitudes. The result is “Thanks I needed that.”

It’s what you do when you are depressed about not being able to expand your shopping budget. Then you go visit someone in a rehab facility and realize that your concern is nothing in comparison to what the person is going through that you visited.

Attitude Therapy is what every baby boomer I know should go through because we have gone through, going through or will go through some stuff. Every medical test my husband or I go through must have some kind of attitude therapy. Every diagnosis, every treatment needs Attitude Therapy.

It is also something we should put ourselves thru just to keep things in the right perspective. We are not in this world alone and I am a firm believer in helping others as I have been helped. Yet, I am not always successful because of stuff I may allow to get in the way like time, resouces and ATTITUDE.

Any way, thanks for this powerul post Debra.  And also the hint you are making about delivery of client service, word choices, humor and relationship to healing. Will I use it in my workshop this afternoon to Outreach Workers? You Bet!

Read this insightful post written by Debra and see if what I mean about Attitude Therapy.

Homeless Baby Boomer Graduates From County College-How’s That For Determination

Many baby boomers are known for being resiliant, determined and super heros.  Well someone sent me this article today about a woman in Newark, NJ who graduated from Essex County College while she was still homeless. I am sharing this article  for two reasons.

#1 It is powerful inspiration for anyone who is making excuses about not continuing their education.

#2. I am hoping that this goes viral so she can get a job and funds to continue her education.

Read this awesome story now!

Are We Spreading Lies Without Knowing it on the Internet?

Is it possible that everything we read on the internet is not true? Yet, how many of us may read something and believe it is because we KNOW the sender? How can we check out the facts?

This issue was addressed today by one of the most prolific baby boomer writers on the internet, Martin Diano.  ( I can prove that statement)He posted an article called How Misinformation is Spread over the Internet. Please read it and share with others. Perhaps as we encourage others to stop and think before we spread information we can make some kind of positive impact.  We might even save a life, business or someone’s sanity.