Make the world a happier place…

July 12, 2018

Today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog is so good that I have to repost the whole thing…

“Happiness starts with a smile.”  (Sent by Carol Stanonik)  When you’re on a bus or subway laughter isn’t what you expect.  A Belgian ad agency, working for Coca-Cola, hired an actor to start laughing on a crowded train, with today’s quote as the tagline.  The result showed how happiness can be contagious.  Even a simple smile at someone will often result with one in return.  This world, at times, can be unkind.  Let’s help to make it a happier place.    😉  Jack    Coca-Cola: Happiness starts with a smile – YouTube

You’ve got to play the video.

I recommend that you save that link to the video and play it back every morning before smiling-sunyou start out on your day. It may help put a smile on your face and that will start the process of making the world a happier place.

Be a contagious carrier of happiness today…put a smile on your face.

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Granny’s Attic Sale in Milford

July 10, 2018

The much anticipated and always fun Granny’s Attic Sale is this weekend in Milford, Michigan at the Milford Historical Museum. This annual sale date at the Historical Museum is now used by local merchants to host the annual Milford sidewalk sale. I’m not sure which sale came first, but both have been going on for  along time.

Granny’s Attic is much more than just a rummage sale. One of our members does estate garage salesales during the year and almost always returns with things that didn’t sell then but which give the Granny’s Attic sale a unique flavor and content. There’s furniture and unique items, as well as the expected glass and china items. You’ll find things in this sale that you’d normally only see in antique stores. The sale runs Friday and Saturday fro 9 AM until 4 PM both days.

I’ve posted a few pictures of some of the items that will be available at the Milford Historical Society web site.  Get there early for \the best selection. Avid antique hunters always come to this sale.


There needs to be a new middle ground…

July 9, 2018

In today’s post to Jack’s Winning Words, Jack used this quote – “Divide and rule is a sound motto.  Unite and lead is a better one.”  (Goethe)

Goethe’s words certainly offer a better solution than continuing down the destructive path of divisive politics that our country is currently on. What’s missing is someone charismatic enough to unite the country around a new direction and provide that leadership. I don’t see that person coming from either current political camp. Both Republicans and Democrats seem intent on solidifying their opposing positions and purging their ranks pf any who would dare to compromise with the other side. By focusing upon political purity they have silenced the moderates in either party who used to be able to work together for the common good of America.

Recall the words of the Stealer Wheel song – Stuck in the Middle with Youclown car

Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you

Perhaps that’s where we all are right now, with clowns to the left and jokers to the right.

It is well past time for a new, third party, positioned in the middle, to emerge from this political melee. There will always be those who gravitate towards the extreme right or left positions, but they need not hold the rest of the country hostage to their ideologies. Instead of the anarchist approach of  “get the government out of everything”; or the “government knows best on everything” approaches of the two current parties, a platform based upon compassion, fairness, fiscal constraint and inclusiveness for all politiciaN SPEAKINGneeds to be championed by a leader who can inspire people to rally around the cause of a better America for all. Right now I don’t see that leader within the current political environment; he he/she is out there somewhere.

While it would seem to be a very uphill battle to start an entirely new political party, I just don’t see the willingness within either of the existing parties to embrace enough change in their current positions to be able to occupy the middle ground.  Perhaps that is just a leadership issue within both parties. Forming a new party would allow for the discarding of old positions and political baggage. There has already been one example of the ability of a single charismatic person to rally enough support to create a new movement and a new party – witness Ross Perot and his Reform Party of The United State of America. While that effort ultimately failed, it did prove that someone with enough financial backing and a strong message could make a significant dent in the American Political scene. Imagine the change that could occur if a really strong leader with the right message were to rally America towards the political center.

There will always be those who gravitate to the extremes on either political side and theydisagreement2 will not go away, but both extreme would be marginalized into the disgruntled little camps that they deserve to be, if there was a strong alternative in the middle providing the leadership needed to get things done for America. I suspect that a good number of politicians, who now swallow their pride and compromise their own values in order to cow tow to the litmus tests of their parties, would break ranks and switch a strong and sensible middle party.

What can we as ordinary citizens do? One thing is to stop supporting the extremes from either party and start finding (and voting for) better people to represent us. Start making noise for things, instead of just against things. Start running for offices ourselves, if we don’t see those that we can support running. Start doing and not just complaining. There needs to be a new middle ground and that starts with all of us who are already there. Let’s find that new leader to rally around.

Have a great week ahead.


He doesn’t blink…

July 6, 2018

Recently, Jack Freed made this post to his Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Be thankful for today, because in one moment your entire life could change.”  (Unknown)

Jack went on to write –  “In the blink of an eye.”  An eye blink is about 4/10s of a second.  If a batter blinks, the fastball will pass him before he opens his eyes again.  That’s how fast life can change for us…in the blink of an eye.  Perhaps you know of someone who’s experienced that.  Regina Brett wrote: “God never blinks!”  What comfort to know that God’s unblinking eye is on YOU!

Most of us have probably experienced one or more of those life changing moments that seem to happen “in the blink of an eye”. Perhaps it was the death of a loved one and maybe your reaction was something like this, “I was just talking with him yesterday.” Maybe it was a relationship that abruptly ended and you can’t figure out why. Maybe it was a job that went away without warning. Maybe it was that accident that left you disabled in some way or that deployment into a war zone that has impacted you in ways that you didn’t imagine. Whatever the life change that happened to you “in the blink of an eye”, we all do well to remember the words of Regina Brett – “God never blinks”. Your belief in God provides the unchanging touchstone in your life. Your faith gives you the rock-solid starting point from which to go forward from any setback.

What do I do now? How can I go one? How do I get through this? There are all typical questions that you may be asking yourself.  The key to coping is to stop turning yourwoman-praying questions inward and start directing your search for help in the only direction that always offers comfort and help – towards God. In times of crisis, it’s time to pray to God for help. While you could ask God to fix this for you; but, what you really need to do is trust God and ask Him instead for His help to get through whatever it is that He has put on your plate. I like a quote from Mother Teresa on this –

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle.  I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”  — Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

So no matter how your life changes in an instant, remember that there is nothing that God cannot help you handle, because He doesn”t blink.


Be THE American in the room

July 3, 2018

“I am not an American, I am the American.”  (Quoted by Mark Twain) from the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to comment on Twain’s role as a journalist in shaping the America of his day.

Twain’s words still ring true today. We are not free to hide within a crowd that we call Americans. Rather, we are obligated by our freedoms to represent the values and principles upon which the nation was founded. In all ways and in all places, we should see ourselves as “the American” in the room, from whom others will carry away an impression of America and what being an American means.

At its core, being the American in the room means demonstrating through our words and actions that all men are created equal. It means embracing all other Americans no matter what their race, religion or ethnicity or sexual preference might be. It means being willing to volunteer and work toward the well flagbeing of all Americans. It means being willing to defend the country in times of war and offering our help to friends and allies in their times of strive. It means being respectful of the symbols and institutions of the country. It means accepting and exercising the rights of a citizen to vote and to serve as needed in communities across the country.

As we celebrate our nation’s birth on the 4th of July, let us all take a break from the parades and picnics and fireworks to think about what it means to be THE American in the room. I hope that you take pride in carrying that title and are aware of the great obligations and responsibilities that it carries.

Happy Birthday America. I’m proud to be THE American in any room.


The honor of serving others…

June 30, 2018

I recently was honored by our local Huron Valley Rotary Club by being named a Paul Harris Fellow. I am honored and humbled by the selection for that honor. The Paul paul harris pinHarris Fellow Award is the Rotary honor for service to the community is pursuit of the goal of making the world a better place for all. The Rotary has that goal and has done great things both locally and internationally.

As I was thinking about what to say in accepting the award, I drew inspiration from my most dependable source, the Jack’s Winning Words blog. I save the little quotes that Jack uses to open each blog post, because they usually come in handy as inspiration for something that I want to write about later. In this case, they seemed perfect as comments on this honor.

The first was this quote by Clarissa Pikola Estes –

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”

Small, local groups, such as local Rotary Clubs, Optimists Clubs, local Chambers of Commerce, Good Fellows groups and many others, are the backbone of local efforts to sewrving soupmake the part of the world that they can reach a better place to live for all. Often their efforts go unnoticed, because they work in the background on projects that may not garner much attention in the media; however, it is through those efforts that things get done, that needed to get done. Playgrounds are built, parks are cleaned up, homes are rehabilitated, meals are delivered to shut-ins and so much more.

Sometimes the results of a dedicated and tireless effort does have worldwide impact, such and the Rotary International effort to eradicate polio. Rotary clubs joined the fight against polio in 1979 with a campaign to provide polio vaccine around the world until polio was totally eradicated. By 2018 the campaign has achieved a 99.9% success rate against the polio virus worldwide and the fight continues to take the vaccine into the most remote regions of the world where the virus still exists.

The second quote that I used was from Helen Hayes –
“We relish our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to someone.”

To those children who otherwise might go hungry this summer, the heroes are those who make sure that the school meals programs continue through the summer vacation. To those shut-in who might otherwise go hungry, the Meals on Wheels van drive is a hero. To the homeless veterans who otherwise would not have a blanket to sleep under or a new coat to wear when it get cold, the heroes were those who collected and distributed those gifts. To the child who wandered down the wrong path for a while the heroes arehomeless man those who reach out to help and counsel and not just to condemn. To the widows who lost a husband in war or in service to the community, the heroes are those who offered support and comfort and helped then find a way through their grief and the strength to go on.

There are many who toil in the background who probably never get an award or recognition of any sort from those that their efforts help or whose lives are made better because of their efforts. I was fortunate enough to be recognized for some of what I try to do in the community that I live in, but I think it is important to take a moment every now and then to give thanks for all who serve their communities and those in need there. They don’t do it to get recognition. They do it because it needs to be done and they have answered the call to do it.

Here are a couple of quotes that I found since that night that I wish I had used then, especially in this highly charged political year –

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Unknown

I write here often about getting out and serving others by volunteering for things in your community that need to be done. I also write about self-help quite often and dealing with life. That’s one reason that I like this quote by Mahatma Gandhi –

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

So, find something that needs to be done in your community and just do it. Volunteer. Serve. Find yourself.


Don’t just talk…DO!

June 28, 2018

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes today’s inspirational quote – “It’s a common delusion that we make things better by talking about them.”  (Dame Rose Macaulay)

It seems that we’re seeing a lot of talking about things lately, but very little doing something about them. That’s especially true in politics these days, where talking aboutdebaters things seems to be the only thing that the politicians can actually accomplish. The two sides of our political system have become so polarized that here is no room for getting together to work out a compromise, so all that is left is calling news conferences and slinging accusations and mud at the other side.

I’m not sure if it is hate or fear that is really behind the polarization that has taken place, but it sure isn’t the “Love thy neighbor” that Jesus espoused. Perhaps another saying from a recent post to Jack’s blog holds the secret to resolving the mess that we find ourselves in –

“I do not want the peace that passeth understanding, I want the understanding that bringeth peace.”  (Helen Keller)

There is currently little effort made towards understand on either side of the political divide, so very little actually is done. Understanding does take effort and a willingness to try to see a different point of view. Reaching compromises and getting things done happy greetingcannot be accomplished by hurling sound-bites at each other from behind the hardened barriers of ignorance, mistrust, hate, prejudice and bigotry. There must be a willingness on both sides to drop the shields and seek common ground by understanding the motivation for differing views. I hope that out of that understanding will come peace, compromise and actions to get things done. One can only hope.

Have a great rest of your week. Don’t just talk…DO!