Next big weekend event in Milford…

August 9, 2014

MM_Postcard_2014The annual Milford Memories Street Festival, run by the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce, is in full swing this weekend in Milford. Rated as one of the top 100 Street Art Fairs in the Country, Milford Memories draws thousands of people each day over its three day run. Milford Memories is open from 9 AM until 7 Pm today and from 9 Am until 5 PM on Sunday. Over 300 artists and venders from around the country come to Milford each year for this festival, which also features a number of ancillary events (see the events schedule here). There’s still plenty of time to get out to Milford for this year’s Milford Memories festival. This show is ranked as one of the best of the year by the vendors who attend.

The next big weekend event on the calendar this year will be the Milford Home Tour weekend. Each year the2014 Annual Home Tour PosterMilford Historical Society organizes and runs this tour through some of Milford’s fine older homes. There are five homes on the tour and it is usually a walkable tour, which means an enjoyable stroll along the streets of Milford. In addition to the Home Tour, which will be on Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21, from 10 AM until 5 PM both days.  Click here to go to the Milford Historical Society web site and view a poster of the event and the five houses.

MilfordCarShow-2014On Sunday only, the annual Milford Car Show takes over all of Main Street and part of Central Park as over 300 cars of all types are on display. This audience- judged show has lots of different categories for entrants, so you’ll see a little bit of everything from vintage cares to street rods. Click here to go to the Milford Car Show Web site and register your car for the show.

On the Sunday of  Home Tour Weekend two other events draw people into Milford. There is an annual Tractor tractorShow at the south edge of town in the Huron Valley State Bank parking lot. This show features working tractors of different vintages and sizes. One never knows what will show up there. Then, in Central Park around noon the Rotary Club of Milford holds its annual Rubber Duck Race in which hundreds of little yellow rubber ducks vie to see which one can make it to the end of a stream leading into the Huron River. Each duck is numbered and sold as a fund RotaryDucksraiser. The owner of the first duck to reach the finish line wins a money prize based upon how many ducks are sold. Last year the winner took home $2,000.

So, that third weekend in September will be another time to plan to come out to Milford and enjoy our small village and the events that will be going on. While you’re there, you can enjoy shopping in our quaint downtown and a good meal in one of our many fine restaurants. Many restaurants feature outdoor dining areas which should be very pleasant at that time of the year. Come on out today for Milford Memories and put the Milford Home Tour Weekend on your calendars for the fall.

How to rest easy…

August 8, 2014

“Fear can keep us up all night, but faith makes one fine pillow.”  (Philip Gulley), from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Many people live in world of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt); they are always anxious that some unknown bad thing is about to happen to them. In most cases, such fears spring from the creative well of our own minds. To pervert an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, we break it”, at least in our imaginations.

Knowledge can sometimes remove or lessen the fears; but, even equipped with the best knowledge about whatever it is that we fear, we are still able to conjure up “what, if” scenarios that exacerbate the situation. Fear is after all driven by the unknown – things about which we do not have complete knowledge.

Hope is also a strong counter-force to fears or uncertainty. One can hope that nothing goes awry.  People tend to use hope more to mask their fears than to deal with them. You can often still see fear in the eyes of those who are saying that they hope everything turns out alright.

So, if knowledge and hope are not enough to allay out fears, what is left? At the end of the day, it usually comes down to having faith, and being confident in that faith, that gets us through the crisis, whether real or imagined.  Faith is what is there when you have exhausted all else. Faith is what is there to lean upon when you finally conclude that you cannot do it by yourself. Having faith is not giving up, it is admitting that you need help and seeking that help in the only place left when you have come to the end of your rope.

I have a hard time even trying to imagine what those with no faith do when they have reached the end of their own wits. Where does one turn if they have turned away from faith? Where does one vest their hope if they do not have faith as an option? To whom (or what) do they go for the help that they need?

As for me, I prefer the comforting pillow of faith. It has helped me get to sleep on many troubled nights.




Put on your slippers…

August 6, 2014

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “It’s easier to put on slippers than to carpet the whole world.”  (Al Franken)  Jack went on to write – It’s interesting to note that there’s an actual comedian in Congress.  In thisslippewrs instance, Al’s humor makes sense.  We can’t solve all the world’s problems, but we can do something about some of them.  Foster-parenting is one.  Collecting school clothing for needy kids is another.  Are there people you know who are wearing slippers today?

An inverse or negative way to make the same statement might be – “It’s easier to put on a pair of boots than to clean up the mess that you’ve got to walk through.” Many people seem happy to just put on a pair of boots and wade through the mess, rather than working to clean things up. Still others would prefer to stand on one side and complain about the mess that is preventing them from progressing; again, rather than do anything to clean it up. Do you know people like that, too?

bucket and scoopSo, which are you? Do you put on your sippers and do what you can now, without waiting for the floor to be carpeted; for everything to be perfect? Do you avoid the work of cleaning things up by putting on a pair of boots and wading through the mess; or, do you grab a bucket and shovel or mop and start making things right?

What’s the common thread between those two views of the world? It’s taking action to do something, rather than finding excuses to wait and not act just because the conditions aren’t perfect. I’ve know people who spend inordinate amounts of time making excuses about why they aren’t doing something and what they have to wait for, rather than jumping in and helping or righting a wrong. They convince themselves and then try to convince those around them that they can’t takeboots action until some other thing is corrected first. In their minds, the act of making the excuse is action and they claim to be ready to act, just as soon as the imagined obstacles in their way are removed. By the time that happens the job has been done or the need has passed, usually not with good results. Of course then they convince themselves that the need wasn’t really all that important in the first place.

So, today, put on your slippers, or get out your shovel, and starting doing something that needs to be done, rather than finding more excuses for doing nothing. Sure the world isn’t perfect and it won’t be no matter how long you wait, but someone will be happier in your little corner of the world because you reached out and helped or did what needed to be done. World hunger will not be solved; but some little, old lonely person will be happy tonight because you brought them a Meals –on-Wheels meal and stayed to chat for w few moments. Some at-risk child will go to bed tonight with a smile on his or her face because you took the time through Big Brothers or Big Sisters to reach out to them and help. Some soldier helping childin a far off land will feel more connected to home because you took the time to write a note and send some treats.

You may not have solved the worlds issues with hunger and loneliness in the elderly or resolve the issues with at risk children or cause world peace and bring all of the soldier everywhere home; but your single act of caring or kindness made one little part of that bigger problem better, at least for today. And tonight, when you take your slippers off, you will feel a whole lot better about yourself.

Don’t you just hate that…

August 5, 2014

“Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.” – Dalai Lama

What is unsaid in the Dalai Lama’s statement is that the hook of anger or hatred is normally baited by things that entice us to bite. The danger is increased in both by the speed with which they normally come on. Road rage is a good example of anger that can instantly take over a normally docile person. Hatred, on the other hand, may take time to develop; although some people are prone to saying, “I hate that” at the drop of a hat.

blowhardOne piece of sage advice that you hear a lot to deal with anger is to stop and count to ten when something has happened that would make you angry. What’s at work in that little piece of advice is creating the time for your brain to allow reason or logic to kick in before your react to the incident. It gives you time to think, “so what, if that guy cut in front of me?” Does it really matter enough for you to get angry? What purpose will it serve for you to yell at that person or flip a gesture at them? What if that just made them angry too and now the whole incident has suddenly escalated? There is no win-win scenario that can come out of allowing escalating anger to take you over.

While anger is transient – flaring up quickly and then gone in the next instant – hatred can build over time, festering in the back of your mind. It usually take a while for something to progress from “I don’t like that” to “I hate that”; but not always. People do snap to a judgment of hate sometimes on non-personal things, or at least they use the phrase – “I hate that.” Whenever I hear someone use that phrase about an object, I generally interject, “Hate is such a strong emotionhate computer to waste on and inanimate object.” Sometimes that helps them see the error of their statement in the situation at hand; sometimes not. After all, in that moment, they are filled with hate.

Hate is a very strong emotion and is usually directed at someone, sometimes because of some perceived wrong that they have done to us. Hate is an ugly emotion that probably causes much more harm to the person harboring it that to the target of the feeling. Both hate and anger have been shown to have negative health effects on the people carrying them around, usually to do with elevated blood pressure levels. Hate can be a powerful driver. Hate can also push out logic and reason from our minds and drive behavior that defies either. That is angry couplewhy so many hate crimes are so hard to believe or understand. A normal person can’t imagine what would drive someone to commit them. There seems to be absolutely no redeeming qualities about hate at all, so working to keep it out of your life is a good thing.

So, let us all take the Dalai Lama’s advice and avoid the hooks of hate or anger in our lives as much as possible. Take the time to stop and count to ten (to twenty, if you need to) and let your brain regain control over the emotions that have welled up and tried to take you over. Be in control and be calm; or as the British say KCCO. You will feel much better for it.

For fast relief…

August 4, 2014

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”  (Lily Tomlin) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Mary Jean “Lily” Tomlin is a Detroit-born American actress, comedian, writer, and producer. She has been a major force in American comedy since the late 1960s, when she began a career as a stand-up comedian and became a featured performer on television’s Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. She went on to appears in many movies and on several TV shows. For a person as busy as Lily was and is still, I suspect that the insight that she shared in today’s quote was important to maintaining her balance in life.

It is obvious to all that we live in a much faster-paced world today than existed just a couple of decades ago. We are ubiquitously “connected” almost all of the time and for some that constant since of urgency to react and respond has only added to the pace. For many our need to service our devices seems to have taken over life. The constant need to share the information “where are you?” and “what are you doing?” has actually become more important to some than the reality of where reading newspaperthey are and what they are supposed to be doing (and with whom).

Many older means of communication or information sharing, like letter writing or reading a newspaper have been supplanted by faster, electronic versions, many of them summarized down to a sound bite or a paragraph or two. The music industry was turned on its ear by the rise of music file sharing on our devices, with the result that release and sales of traditional albums is almost dead. Sales of physical musical products, like CDs, have plummeted and many performers eschew agents and recording deals altogether and release their songs directly to the public on-line. All of these things have added to the sense of urgency and speed in put everyday lives and caused us all to become a little overwhelmed by the perceived need to keep up.

I’ve written before about one little respite that I find helps me and that is slowing down and sitting on my front porch for a while. Porch sitting is a lost art for most, mainly because large front porches that one could sit on fell out of favor with builders. I happen to live in a historic home that has a very large, wrap-around front porch that is screened in. I can sit out there without being bothered by bugs and watch as people walk by (I was tempted to use the term “stroll by”, but no one seems to have the time to just stroll anymore either). Admittedly a nice glass of wine makes the experience all the more enjoyable.  That is my way of slowing down and getting fast relief.

So, what do you do to find a break from the pace of life? If you don’t have a big front porch to sit on, maybe you have a deck or patio or maybe just a quiet room somewhere in your house that you can “retreat” to. You need to have a refuge somewhere. You need to be able to put down the phone for a nap at workwhile and kick back and just relax. Turning off the phone is even better, but that causes anxiety for many.  For some a nap in the middle of the day may be the answer. That is certainly one sure way to slow down for  a few moments. I’ve done that occasionally and even a short nap of 10-15 minutes is very refreshing. Surprisingly, the world seemed able to function and go on without me for that time.

One must at some point choose just how fast they are going to try to live their life and how much effort to put into “keeping up” with everything that might be going on around them. One could do well to heed the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, – “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” He might well have gone on to say that her reward is longevity.

So, have a great day, but take a few moments, maybe several times during the day, hop off the treadmill of life to slow down and be at peace. The world will go on and you can hop back on at the next stop.

Unleash the power of you…

August 1, 2014

The power of you

I saw that little phrase on a postcard that is advertising an upcoming event for youth at the Milford YMCA. The program is aimed at empowering youth and I’m sure that it will be great. It was the thought behind that little phrase that really caught my attention, mainly because it reinforced a longer quote that I saw recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog –

“I am the people-the mob-the crowd-the mass.  Do you know that all the great work in the world is done by me?”  (Carl Sandburg)

Most people go through life never considering the power that they have to change the world around them, maybe because they don’t know how impactful even the small changes that they can accomplish themselves might end up being. After all, how can one little act of kindness that you might perform or one service that you might render for another person or for an organization make all that much difference? Yet we see and hear story after story on the news shows about whole movements taking of or trends being started by the actions of one person – the power of you.

aha momentOne little girl somewhere in Nowhere, Oklahoma starts collecting pennies to buy candy to send to troops overseas and suddenly everyone everywhere seems to be saving up to send candy, too.  A lady in Outthere, Alabama shaves her head to share in the hair-loss experience of her best friend with cancer as she undergoes chemotherapy and suddenly everyone in town seems to show up with a bald pate. There are tons of those stories and theyt all started because of the power one person- thButterfliese power of you.

In science there is a thing called the Butterfly effect, defined thusly in WikiPedia:  In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependency on initial conditions in which a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. That’s a whole mouthful to say that many big events or happenings may be traced back to very small initial causes – the power of you.
women dreaming

Yesterday I wrote about believing in yourself and you will see that others believe in you, too. Today, let’s extend that thought to include believing that you can make a difference; that the things that you do to make the world a better place or to help make someone else’s life better do matter and they do cause change in the world. There are things in life that are hard to see changing, because the changes are so slow or so small, but they do happen and we believe in them. I don’t disbelieve when someone tells me that an iceberg is advancing at 2-3 feet a year down a slope just because I can’t see it move when I stand in front of it, even if I stand there all day. Likewise you may not see a big, dramatic change in the world because you stopped and helped a turtle cross the road, but it did change because of the power of you.

So, each day, as you awake and get ready for the day, remind yourself that you have the power to change the world. You can make someone else happy that day. You can ease a pain or lift a burden from someone. You can choose to happily greet people and engage them in conversation. Maybe some of them were lonely before they met you or they might have been down in the dumps. You had the power to change their lives and youhelping old lady
did. Maybe you can just do a great job at work today, knowing that much needed work got done because you were there and used your power. Maybe you can volunteer today to take food to shut-ins, or collect food for others to distribute or maybe you’ll end up cleaning up after others who have been working, so that the place is ready for tomorrow. Whatever it is, keep in mind that it would not have gotten done without the power of you.

At the end of each day, you should look back over the day and realize how the world is different because you were there. Even if you can only recall a single thing that you did that seemed insignificant at the time, remember the Butterfly effect; perhaps your little act of kindness or sympathy or empathy set of a series of events that whelmed into a torrent of goodness somewhere else and it all happened because of the power of you.

So, power up and face the day my friends; you have a world to change!