Change starts with me…

June 17, 2014

“No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.”  (Carrie Snow) – A quote I saw on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

I liked this little quote when I saw it on Jack’s blog. I had no idea who Carry Snow is, so I Googled her and she is a very funny comedian. Click here to see a You Tube video of one of her routines.

As I get older the thought of a nap during the day becomes more appealing, even if it isn’t a bad day. I think you could stop Carrie’s little saying right after the word fixed and still have a good thought for Gandhithe day, because I also ran across another  short saying from one of the original cool dudes of my time (before the Dalai Lama), Mahatma Gandhi –  “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

How true is that? It is so easy to sit back and lament the things that we see which need changing, most of the time because we have this feeling that we can’t affect them ourselves. Many times those involve big things that require widespread change to have an impact; but, consider that widespread change most often happens one person at a time and you have the opportunity to be the next person to change. If you abhor the poverty and misery that you see in the world you have the next opportunity to give or to volunteer. If you hate the bullying that you see going on around you; maybe you have the next opportunity to intercede or to offer your help and friendship to those being bullied.

If you are appalled by things around you, change them by taking action and not by just being depressed about it. Reach out, help out, be an agent of change. It is much more satisfying at the end of the day to have helped make one little change in things than to spend another night in front of the TV lamenting all of the misery and wrong that you see reported. In fact, if you’re really into helping make the needed change you won’t be watching the news, you’ll be on the news.

Whatever the things are that you see and feel need to be changed to make the world a better place; that change begins with you. So, go ahead and take your nap, if that makes you feel better; but when you wake up, jump back into the world with the attitude that if things are going to change, that change begins with you. I suspect that, when you adopt that attitude, you’ll have a different and much better day for the rest of today and beyond.


Your fate is in your own hands…

June 16, 2014

“The fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”  (Shakespeare) – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack goes on to talk about the movie The Fault in our Stars” and the arguments that some make that their fate is somehow in the hands of the stars or preordained by God; while others  believe that our fate is in our own hands. My thoughts (and Jack’s) tend to run with the latter crowd.

There was a story in today’s Oakland Press about Makaya Morgan, a young girl who has just finished high school in Novi, Michigan, and is going to college in the fall on a full scholarship. In and of itself that doesn’t sound too extraordinary; however, this story is about a young African-American girl who has bounced around through various foster home situations, whose father was killed when she was 4 years old and whose mother is homeless and suffering from dementia and whose brothers and sisters have been broken up into various foster homes. Through all of that she has maintained a resolve to control her own fate by hard work and studying to get ahead. She has a goal of graduating from college with a degree in a medical field and one day getting her family back together.

That young girl could surely tell you that her fate is in no one’s hands but her own. So, not only is the fault in no one but ourselves, the future is there, too. It is all too easy to cop-out and lament that somehow the stars and the world were against you and that is why you failed at something. It is harder and much more rewarding in the long run to take the attitude that leads you to learn from women dreamingthat failure and try again. In a nod towards God, it is perhaps His hand that is helping you with that attitude towards life. God is not there to hand you things, but to make sure that you never stop
reaching for them.

I went looking for a quote to throw in here and found a really great one that seems to fit nicely –

Until you are broken, you don’t know what you’re made of. Being broken gives you the ability to build yourself all over again, but this time around build yourself stronger than ever. Therefore you will be unbreakable. – Melissa Molomo.

I’m not sure anyone is ever unbreakable, but you can become unflappable and unstoppable; or at least more so than before. That is what that young girl in Novi, Michigan has become out of her travails. She never stopped believing that she could succeed and she has and will in the future.

While Googling around to find out more about Melisa Molomo, I found another saying that Melisa had posted on Pinterest  that seemed to be a good  fit for this post and a good Monday morning start to another week.

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder

Makaya Morgan is surely an example of that philosophy. She still has to work while in college because her room and board are not included I the scholarship; but, you kind of know that she’ll do fine, because she is a winner and has her fate in her own hands. What about you? Are you ready to take control of and responsibility for your life?


Get into the 4th of July Parade…

June 15, 2014

The Milford Historical Society invites you to participate in the 2014 Independence Day Parade. Our Parade will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, July 4rd.   As you know this Parade is an opportunity for business and individuals to “Toot Their Horn” and show community spirit at the same time.  The Parade will begin in downtown Milford and end at Huron Street. Participants can begin staging in designated areas by 10:00 A.M.  Below is a link to the Application for the parade.  Please complete and send  or fax back.

 

The theme for the Parade will be:

Our  Milford,

    “A Small Village with a Big Heart”

 

parade band pic

We ask that your float, music or demonstration somehow relate to the theme through the use of colors, etc.

To participate in this year’s Parade, please fill out the attached form and return to the address below, with a stamped, self-addressed envelope so we may mail back to you your assigned parade spot.

We will be mailing back to you, in the envelope you have provided, confirmation of your placement in the Parade.

If you have any questions, or require additional information, please feel free to contact me.

In order to offset the rising cost of running the parade we are asking business participants to consider also including a donation to the Milford Historical Society with your application. Your donations of $10 – $50 will help keep the Independence Day parade going. Thanks

Sincerely,

 

Katherine and Russ Rheaume, Parade Coordinators

PO Box 685

Milford, MI 48381-0685

248-684-7373      248-684-0070  Fax   Email  krhea31888@aol.com

______________________________________________________________________

PARADE  PARTICIPANT  RULES  AND  REGULATIONS

 

The Milford Historical Society Independence Parade is an entertainment event.

It is geared for both businesses and families to show off our town and support this

great country where we live.

 

*    All vehicles towing floats should be driven with a clear path of vision.  People

walking along side should help with keeping children from stepping in front of the vehicle and getting injured..

 

*    The Parade line up will be mailed or e-mailed about a week before the event..

We ask that each participant respond by phone, E-mail, etc. that they have received their Parade Spot Number at that time.

 

*     Entry themes or props must not be based on controversial, political or social

issues  Naturally, no alcoholic beverages or banned drugs are allowed.

*     Parade participants are permitted to distribute material while going down the

parade route.  Absolutely nothing including candies, toys can be THROWN

at the parade viewers.  Michigan State Law prohibits throwing items in a parade.

Please hand these items to the parade participants. We don’t want anyone hurt while running into the traffic to pick up items off the ground.

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*    Please do not leave any large gaps between your float and the one in front.

The Parade is usually video taped and video copies are shown to the community and nursing homes throughout the year.  Large gaps destroy the continuity of the

parade.  We suggest no more than 20 feet exist between each exhibit.

 

*   An announcer will be reading your provided script promoting your exhibit as you

pass by.

 

*   Milford Historical Society volunteers wearing MHS T-Shirts will be situated all

along the route to assist and answer any questions that arise.

 

*   We encourage animals in the Parade, but insist that they not be dangerous and are

properly trained to be among people while leashed, ridden, hooked up, etc.

 

*     The Milford Historical Society reserves the right to restrict, limit, accept or reject

any exhibit application.

 

*    Our goal is to have everyone go home after the event with fond memories of

a Parade well done in a safe, fun  and interesting manner

 

Click here to get the parade application. Print it out and return it (see address above) or Fax it in (248-684-0070) to reserve your spot in the 2014 Independence Day Parade on July 4th.


On human nature…

June 14, 2014

“You really don’t understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around, and why his parents will always wave back.”  (William Tammeus) as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Merry go roundI’m not sure that I do understand this saying or maybe human nature. I can remember back to the times when our children were young and took merry-go-round rides. It seemed to me that they did wave the first few times around and of course we waved back; however, after a few times around they appeared to want to look more blasé about the whole thing or perhaps they had wandered off in their minds to that pretend place where these were real horses and they were real cowboys and cowgirls.

It certainly is human nature to wan t to be seen and recognized and to wan the attention of those that you love and that you know love you, too.  Locally, Channel 4 sports caster, Bernie Smilovitz, does a shtick that he calls “Hey, Hey Look at Me. Over Here, Look at Me”, which features funny video clips about people calling attention to themselves.

Even those seemingly shy people who appear to want to be left alone in the corner really do appreciate someone taking the time to talk to them; they just don’t have the confidence to initiate the contact. It is human nature to desire interaction with others and that desire often goes unrequited in those who cannot summon up the courage to even say “Hi”, much less to initial a conversation. That’s too bad, because many of them have very interesting backgrounds and would be fascinating to talk to.

I am not by nature one of those outgoing people who seemingly engages everyone in a room in casual conversation. However, in my role as an Ambassador for the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce I go to a lot of Chamber functions, from coffee club meetings to mixers and one of my duties as an Ambassador is to help newcomers to the Chamber get introduced around and meet other Chamber members.

I recall how intimidating it can be to walk into a room full of people whom I don’t know who are seemingly engaged in conversations with people in the room who are their friends. You can get that deer-in-the- headlights thing going on and just shrink back into t a corner. My role as an introductionAmbassador is to make sure that this doesn’t happen to new members attending their first events. We introduce ourselves those people as soon as we spot them and take them around, introducing them to others in the room. It also forces me to do things that I might otherwise not do, so I get a benefit, too.

I’m not sure what the difference is between those people that we all see as outgoing and social and the rest of us who aren’t always at ease in social situation but I suspect it has mainly to do with self- confidence. Those outgoing people are happy and confident about whom they are some maybe to the point of seeming somewhat egotistical; while the rest of us are probably self-conscious about some flaw or shortcoming that we think we have. That’s human nature.

Most of the time there is not going to be an Ambassador in the crowds that you may encounter; so you’ll have to figure out how to introduce yourself. Start before you get there by thinking quickly about the situation that you are getting into and what might be an appropriate self-introduction. In some situations, introducing yourself as your child’s mother or father might work best, in others settings relating who you are to your job might get things started and in yet others just starting out by stating that you are new to the group will encourage people to stop and introduce themselves and maybe take time to explain the group.  The point is that you may have to initiate the conversation and if you do so in a manner that immediately gives the others in the groups a way to relate to you. You’ll be surprised how quickly they will engage you in the conversation. That’s human nature, too.

Life is a little like that merry-go-round. You have to wave at it as it goes by and it will wave back.


Find happiness in the ordinary…

June 11, 2014

“Never get so fascinated with the extraordinary that you miss the ordinary.” (Magdalen Nabb) –  from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

How true that saying is. We have become a nation that tends to focus on events, either real or made up for television(and in a true perversion of the word called “realty” shows) and in the process we have become somewhat blasé about the ordinary things going on around us. In some big cities, such as New York or LA or Boston, residents have gone further and seemingly can ignore all but the most extraordinary things around them. Yet there is much to be observed and learned from the ordinary. I found the quote below that seems to sum up my thoughts quite nicely, especially as it concerns children.

“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.” ― William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

child fishin gin puddleInstead of looking for extraordinary things to do with your children every weekend, perhaps just sharing the ordinary with them is the best things to do. Go fishing or go watch a ball game. Sit and talk with them under a tree or take a walk through a local park and share the experience of nature with them.  There is more value in time spent together in pursuit of the ordinary than in all of the thrill rides and concerts around.

If it’s just you and your significant other share some time sitting on the porch (maybe in an old fashion swing) or just take a drive together with no particular destination in mind. It is during the time shared in these “ordinary” pursuits that real conversation can occur, not while you are at some special event. It is in those ordinary moments that hands reach out and the simple act of holding hands rekindles the original reasons that you are together.

I think that we don’t spend enough time considering all that is going on around us in our ordinary lives. If we did really look at the lessons to be learned or the opportunities to serve that are all around us, I suspect that we would agree with this quote from Mitch Albom –

 “You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.” ― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

So, look around you at all of the ordinary things going on with an eye to seeing the meaning and importance of those things. You may be surprised that you see things that you’ve never seen before that have always been right in front of you. There is beauty to behold. There are needs to fulfill. There are opportunities to be explored. There are truly important things happening in your ordinary little life; don’t miss them. And don’t worry; the extraordinary will take care of itself without you.


It’s a new week – jump in, don’t limp in…

June 9, 2014

“Lose the anger, lose the attitude, lose the prejudice, smile more, stop feeling sorry for yourself, see the good in people, appreciate what you have, and go out and do something for someone else.”  (Jeff Brayton)

It’s Monday and time to jump into a new week ahead. Perhaps we should all print off this quote from Jeff Brayton and hang it next to whatever mirror we use before going out to face the day. That way we would all start off each week and day with the proper attitude and in the right frame of mind.

Monday’s have certainly been given a bum rap for some time, so it takes a special effort to get back into happy going to workthe grove and start the week out on a positive note. So, instead of taking the attitude of “Oh crap, it’s Monday and I have to go back to work again”; perhaps starting off with the thought, “Wow, I get another chance to succeed this week; I’ll make the best of that.” There have been no books on success that I know of that advised being grumpy and down on Monday mornings. There are lots of books with hang-over cures, but that’s a different issue.

The other key to Brayton’s quote is the last part. Do something for someone else. It’ll make them feel good and you’ll feel good, too. That can be as little as holding a door open for someone or picking up something that they’ve dropped. Sometimes just recognizing someone with a cheery “Hello” is enoughhappy greeting brighten up their day. Going beyond the perfunctory greeting and inquiring about them or their family shows that you care and for many (even the initially grumpy) that is important.

Grumpiness feeds upon itself; and schlepping along with your head down and exhibiting a foul mood becomes a self-reinforcing thing.  People will avoid you, rather than engage you. You may initially think that this is what you want (after all you are in a grumpy mood); however, most people really don’t want to feel alone or outcast.

If you go to work with your head held high and with a smile on your face and a warm greeting on your tongue, some may wonder what you had in your coffee this morning, but they’ll all want some of whatever it is, too. People like meeting happy people, not downers. A wonderful side-benefit of all of this is how great it will make you feel, even if you had to fake it to start. A second benefit is the energy that happy winneryou’ll gain from interacting with others, especially other cheerful people.

So, put on a happy face and jump into a new week. This is your week to excel. This is your day to meet new people, have new experiences and reach new goals. Go for it.


Take a risk today…

June 3, 2014

“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”  (Neil Gaiman), as seen on my favorite daily blog feed from Jack’s Wining Words.

Are you the type that goes home and feels good that nothing happened at work today? If so, you are probably hiding from life and well as from things at work. Life and well as work, is full of risks that surrounded by sharkspresent themselves for you to take or to demur. The key to success in work and in life is knowing how to evaluate those risks and how to choose to take the right ones.

Like investing your money, life has very safe, low-risk avenues available that also present very little return. You can sock your savings away in safe investments, like a CD at the local bank and earn 1% or less with basically no risk; or you can jump into the stock and bond markets in an informed way and earn substantially more, with only moderate risk.  Life presents many similar choices. There are those who never take a risk, preferring the safety of a boring but safe routine; and then there are those who seem to live life to the fullest, even if there are a few risks involved. Which life are you leading?

Of course there are many shady or speculative investments that one could make with their money, especially if they get reedy or reckless. Most of them promise spectacular returns that seem too good to be true – and they are. People who jumped onto the high return bandwagon that Bernie Madoff was pitching are still wondering where their money went.

The same is true in life. Many people succumb each day to the allure of a quick, artificial high on drugs or the promise of good times on alcohol. Many people die each day from trips gone awry or poor decisions made while drunk. There is no lasting return from either drugs or booze, so find a way to have fun without either. You’ll be surprised how much fun the people who don’t get stoned or drunk are having.

Having covered some of the cautions, one is still better off being a bit of risk taker in life than hiding out on limbfrom life in hopes of living forever (spoiler alert: it’s never been done). So, let go of some of your fears and take a few risks in life. Talk to the person whom you’ve been dying to meet, but were afraid to approach. Go to that party or bar that your friends are all talking about and allow yourself to have a good time. You don’t have to drink or do drugs to have a good time.

Good times, aside; there are many risks in life that are worthwhile taking –

  • going back to school to get a degree that will allow you to get a better job
  • traveling to a foreign land to see and experience different cultures
  • buying that convertible instead of another bland four-door sedan
  • asking the boss for that long overdue raise
  • finally popping the question on the soul mate that you’ve been dating
  • taking that tandem sky dive that you’ve been dreaming about
  • jumping into (or back into) the dating pool or signing up at a match-maker site

The key is to take enough time and to have enough information in order to make wise decisions and yet not to over-analyze or over-think every decision. Some people see every opportunity as a win-lose situation. They sit there and visualize the negative – I asked for the date and got turned down, so I lost. Try to see the same scenarios in a win-win light – I got turned down for the date this time, but at least I asked and now she/he knows that I exist. I’ll figure out how to do better next time. Life is not a zero sum game, it is additive and you just added to your store of knowledge. You tried something and even if you failed it didn’t kill you and you can go on. Isn’t that better than going home without trying and wondering what might have been or beating yourself up for not trying? As John Maxwell put it – “Sometimes you win.  Sometimes you learn.”

tightrope walkerYou have to value the learning from trying things and failing as much as you do the pleasure that you get it they turn out. Both add to your knowledge and eventually to your wisdom, but sometimes the knowledge gained from your failures make a stronger impression and add more to your problem solving abilities than the successes. After all, how many times do you take the time after a success in life to analyze what went right and how you got there? If you did, you might find the path to that success was paved with earlier failures and lessons learned (either yours or someone else’s who passed on their wisdom to you).

So, at the end of your day, can you look back and say, well that was fun; I tried; I took a risk and here’s what I learned? Congratulations, you have gained as a person. Now you can go to sleep[ tonight looking forward to the risks and opportunities that tomorrow will bring. Now go back and read my ealier post: Three Little Words -Just do it.