Make happy memories today…

August 18, 2014

“It’s sad when someone you know becomes some you knew.”  (Henry Rollins) from the Jack’s Winning words blog.

Last week many people spent time remembering Robin Williams; but, all of us have memories of someone we remorsefulknew. Many times those people are still alive, but just not in or life anymore. Maybe you or they moved or maybe the two of you just drifted away in different directions and now don’t associate. Things like that happen, but we still have memories of them that we may revisit from time to time.

Sometimes debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s or even depression can take away the person that we used to know, leaving only our memories of the person that we knew. In situations like that we have to try harder to get to know the person that remains; sometimes because they need us even more now than they did before.

freinds - 3Sometimes life changes like divorce take people out of our lives; many times for the better, at least temporarily. By the time that happens, the person that we thought we knew was probably long gone and the person that we now know just isn’t someone that you can’t live with. It’s sad, but maybe, over time, you’ll heal and have fond memories of the person that you knew.

Sometimes life-changes , like graduating from school,  getting out of the service, or changing jobs takes you away from the people that you knew.  At the time it may be intensely painful because th4ese are the people that gave meaning to your life at the time and whatever awaits you in your new life  is still unknown.

We tend to remember celebrities who pass away by the events that we experienced that they were a part of – movies, live shows, sports event, etc. We didn’t really “know” them, but they were a part of our life and hopefully one that you will retain good memories of for the rest of your life. Being a little older now, I have memories of celebrities that I knew growing up that more than half of the current population never saw or experienced in person – early TV comics like Sid Caeser, Red Skelton, Milton Berle, Jack Benny and Jackie Gleason were long gone before there were more than just three TV channels to choose from. There are tons of TV and movie stars whose best works were over before the 1970’s and who now live in memories or late-night re-runs.

friends holdi handsIt is a bit sad to contemplate people and even pets that we once knew, especially if they were significant in our life and not just an acquaintance or someone that we saw on TV or the screen. What makes it sad is that we miss the interactions that we might have had with them; the conversations or doing things together. The good news is that the memories that you have of your times together will remain and you can revisit them as often as you like. It seems to me that, over time, it is only the good times and good things that one remembers about most people who have departed; although some are only remembered for the infamy of the bad that they did.

Still, we should hold on to the good memories that we have of people that we knew. We should call those memories up from time to time to remind us that we did have some time together and that those were good times. Yes it is sad that they are gone, but there is some happiness in the fact that they are not forgotten.smiling man

Someday we will all just be memories to others; let’s hope and work to make sure that we are fond memories. When someday they say,”I knew him/her”, let that memory bring a smile to their face. I hope that someday, in the future, people will remember me and say, with a smile on their face; he made me laugh.

So go out and create a great memory of you for someone today.

Do good; feel good…

August 13, 2014

“When I do good, I feel good.  When I do bad, I feel bad.  That’s my religion.”  (A. Lincoln), from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

I think you could do a lot worse than have as your religion what Abe Lincoln was talking about. At least his littleLincoln statement seems to acknowledge the difference between right and wrong and the ability to discern which is which in his daily life. Much has been written about all of the good that Lincoln did, but there was probably a little bad in his life, too; as is the case with all of us.

How about you? Do you feel good when you’ve done something good, even if there is no one to acknowledge the act or heap praise upon you? Just as important; do you feel bad when you know you’ve done something bad? In a newspaper article today, about a trial just concluded for a man who killed a small child, the judge exceeded the sentencing guidelines and sent the man to prison for a longer time because she said that he showed no remorse for his actions. When you’ve done bad, do you feel and show remorse?

rewardSome people have a hard time accepting praise for the good that they do. For them, their actions just reflect that they did what needed to be done, not something extraordinary. They avoid the fuss and praise of those seeking to thank them, almost in embarrassment. These are people for whom just the self-satisfaction of having done something good is enough reward. Others may require a little pat of encouragement and reward on the back in order to reinforce their feelings of satisfaction. Are you content with your own feelings of accomplishment when you’ve done good?

Many of those who are more prone to doing bad seem to have developed the ability to blame their misdeeds on others or on circumstance. Do the looters in St. Louis really believe that they deserved what they stole becauseremorseful of the earlier incident with the police or because of some long-standing set of circumstances that they felt held
them down? I doubt it. They just saw an opportunity to steal under the cover of a civil protest and they took that opportunity. Do they feel bad about it? I doubt that, too. They have no religion. When you do something bad, don’t try to find a way to blame others or your circumstances, just acknowledge that you made a mistake, accept responsibility and the consequences and move on in life. If you are fortunate there will be a way available to you to make things right

So, take Lincoln’s words to heart in your daily life. When you do good; feel good about it. When you do bad, acknowledge it, feel bad about it and then try to make things right or at least to avoid doing the same bad again. I suspect, if you even took time to think about the choices in front of you, that doing the right thing (the good thing) is an easy call. It’s also a time saver. You don’t have to waste your time feeling bad, being remorseful and trying to make things right again, if you do the right thing in the first place.

Have a great day and do the right things!



Eat the frog…

August 11, 2014

From the Blog, Jack’s Winning Words – “Eat the frog first.”  (Dustin Wax)  In an article, “50 Tips For Getting Things Done,” Wax suggests doing the most unpleasant job first.

Many people avoid eating the frog (doing the unpleasant tasks in life) altogether, preferring to see if the frogs willfrog go away if left unattended to long enough.  Usually that is not the case; the frog just gets bigger and uglier the longer that you put it off.

How about you? Do you try to get the worst jobs done first, to get them off your to-Do list; or, do you try to put them off? Nasty things in life might include having to tell someone “no” about something that you know that they really want or need; or, maybe it is just that smelly job of changing the cat litter box.

In many events that are manned by volunteers it’s the clean-up duties after the end of the event that are the undesirable jobs. You’d probably cleanuplike to be going home, too; or going out wherever everyone else is headed, but you have to stay and clean up, put away tables and chairs, and carry out the garbage. Take heart from this little saying by George Bernard Shaw – Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness.

It may not seem like greatness at the time, but doing what must be done, even if it is that “frog” job that no one else wanted, is what great people do.  Believe it or not, those are also the jobs most appreciated by the people who may have been in charge of the whole event, because they are the hardest to get volunteers to do.

Even if you don’t get accolades for the frog jobs that you do, keep in mind the words of Henry Ford – “There is joy in work. There is no happinesswoman working except in the realization that we have accomplished something.” So do the job and find the joy of having accomplished something; somethign that no one else wanted to do.

I know that this post is all about work and finding joy in doing the job; but, hey, it’s Monday and we all need a little encouragement to get going at work. Your frog is waiting! BON APPÉTIT!

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.