Don’t say it if you won’t be it…

February 8, 2016

“Saying sorry and being sorry are not the same sorry.”  (Unknown) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

sorry1In some marriages the phrase “I’m sorry” is used more often than the phrase “I love you.” Those marriages don’t usually last long. Saying “I’m sorry” is easy. In fact Brenda Lee had a hit song titled, “I’m sorry”. Saying “I’m sorry” over and over for the same actions may not be the description for insanity but perhaps for insensitivity or an indication that you are uncaring about the feelings of others. The hard part is being sorry; because that requires that you think about and accept responsibility for your actions or hurtful comments. It also means learning something from the mistake that you made and hopefully doing something to insure that it doesn’t happen again.

The phrase “I’m sorry” is used to cover such a wide spectrum of transgressions that it has become diluted and less meaningful than the situation may call for. Saying “Oops, I’m sorry” when you’ve just knocked over a glass of water or pop and doused a friend or date is not the same as the “I’m so sorry for your loss” to a grieving widow at a funeral or saying “I’m sorry” to your spouse when you have just been caught cheating on them. The sorry that you’ll need to be in all three cases is different, too; ranging from embarrassed to feeling empathy with the sense of loss to remorseful and regretful. “Sorry” has become sorry 2a throw-away that we toss in to situations without making the personal investment of actually being sorry.

Maybe if we said instead, “I’m an idiot” or “I’m an uncaring ass” or “I didn’t care about how you would feel” or maybe “I didn’t think before I said that” or any number of more descriptive phrases that might be appropriate to the occasion we would be more honest with the other person and with ourselves. I don’t think you’d do that more than few times before you changed the behavior that is causing you to have to say I’m sorry in the first place. The movie Love Story contained a scene with the famous line, “love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Unfortunately that line has become perverted into a means of not really apologizing for the wrongs that too many married people have committed. I would submit that love is really being sorry, if you have to say it.

So the next time you catch yourself tossing the phrase “I’m sorry” off to someone; stop and ask yourself if you are really sorry and how you are going to act sorry about it. Are you going to do something for or with that person to make it right? Are you going to change how you act or what you say in the future? How are you going to be sorry?

sorry 3Maybe of you start of each day and pause to think about not doing things that you’ll have to say “I’m sorry” about you’ll have a better day and you’ll spend a whole lot less time saying and being sorry. But, then; maybe you don’t buy any of this and will just go on being the way you’ve always been – you’ll probably end up sorry about that.

Get out there this week and try harder to not do the things that you might have to say that you are sorry about; however, if you do have to say it, at least own it and mean it.


How many lives have you lived?

February 6, 2016

“We all have two lives.  The second one begins when we realize that we only have one.”  (Unknown) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Of course Jack was referring to the life that we live, once we become cognizant of the inevitable and consider intelligently the alternatives.

I recall (and this goes back a long way, so don’t worry if you don’t remember this) a TV show called “I Led Three Lives”, which was on TV from October 1, 1953 to January 1, 1956. It was loosely based on the life of Herbert Philbrick, a Boston advertising executive who infiltrated the U.S. Communist Party on behalf of the FBI in the 1940s and wrote a bestselling book on the topic, I Led Three Lives: Citizen, ‘Communist’, Counterspy (1952). The part of Philbrick was played by Richard Carlson. The whole Communist and counterspy thing was a cold-war favorite back then.

I would submit that we all live multiple lives, which has not only to do with our spirituality, but also with the secrets that we chose to keep from the rest of the world. secrtetsThose secrets take on a life of their own. The life of Herbert Philbrick sometimes became very complicated as he worked to make sure that the secret life that he was leading for the FBI didn’t somehow spill over or disturb the other lives he led and a family man and a businessman. Our lives can get like that as we try to juggle the “facts” of the various lives that we might be leading. It is trying to keep track of the facts verse the lies that becomes complex when you lead multiple lives. It is an oft-used phrase that, “my life is an open book”; however, it is often a book with a few chapters that the speaker chooses to leave out.

If we get back to the original premise of the quote in Jack’s post; the quote seems to be saying that we begin living a different or second life once we begin to deal with our own mortality. It’s not like you wake up one morning and think, “Oh crap, I’m going to die someday.” When we are younger we certainly hear about the life expectancy of normal humans, but it seems more like and abstraction than a reality. As we age, there comes adeath point at which we start thinking about the “end game” in our own lives. For most people it is something that is there, in the back of your mind for years, which slowly works its way forward until it demands some thought time and attention.

So, now that it’s up at the front of the line; how do we deal with it? How does our second life differ from our first? For many this is the time when faith and religion also turn from an abstraction and a perfunctory duty into something that we take seriously. Some also begin to obsess about their legacy – how they will be remembered by those still here, once they are gone? For almost all there is a feeling of fear. Death is the greatest unknown of all. Is there something after death? Will I still be me? Will I see those who have gone before me again? Is there a Heaven and a Hell? Where can I turn to get answers?

Most major religions of the world have some description of an afterlife within their beliefs. Not surprisingly, given man’s ego, most of those descriptions revolve around us somehow being the same, conscious being we are now but in some different form. Some religions have created elaborate descriptions of the afterlife, most of it revolving around the deceased getting or having everything that he/she ever wanted. Some have posited a state of everlasting peace and contentment. Some describe it as being like a waiting room until you return to earth as someone or something else.

If you embrace Christianity in any of its many forms, then you also embrace the concept of everlasting life and the belief that you will end up in a place called Heaven for eternity. There are only snippets of descriptions of Heaven in the Bible which allude to a house of many rooms and a place flowing with milk and honey. Even the writers of the Bible could not avoid using earthly references when trying to describe what is indescribable.

It really doesn’t matter how you describe the place that you think you will go after death; what matters is that you hold a belief that there is something for you after death. And if Jesusyou are a Christian, you understand that the only way to enter the place that is there for you is through your belief in Jesus Christ. For all who truly embrace Jesus there is a lifting of the fear of death, for it was His promise that, through his death on the cross, He had forever banished death from those who believed in Him.

The second life that you will live, once you have come to that belief will be much different than your life up to that point. For most there is a sense of calm and relief whenhelper they embrace the saving grace of Jesus. For some there is a new sense of purpose and a desire to share the good news. For a few there is a sense of mission that leads to a new way of life. For all of those people the starting point to that new life is the removal of the fear of death.

How many lives have you lived?


What could you be if you only let yourself try?

February 4, 2016

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this little saying – “If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now.”  (Shifu to Po in the movie, Panda 3)  The dialog continues…Po: “I like who I am.”  Shifu: “You don’t even know who you are.”

Do you know who you are or what you could be, if you only tried something new; something that you didn’t know that you could do?

We all tend to find our own “comfort zone”; that place where we love to go and stay because it is non-threatening and, well, comfortable. Some may tend to cocoon in theirprisoner comfort zone, building walls to keep others out. The trouble is that those same walls keep you held in; you become trapped in who you are and never get to explore who you could be, if only you tried some new things. Your comfort zone becomes your personal prison.

Maybe, like Po in the movie, you think that you are happy with who you are in your safe and secure little cocoon; however, it is more likely that Shifu’s admonishment is more true – “you don’t even know who you are” or who you could be. That advice is particularly true in human relationships. You will never know how your life might change and become perhaps more rewarding unless you make the choice to interact crayonswith a great variety of people. Choosing to live life with few, if any, close friends is like sitting down with a coloring book and having only one or two crayons. It can get pretty dull pretty quick and you can lose interest. Making friends and understanding their different points of view fills you crayon box with many colors and makes the pictures that you do much more interesting.

Trying different things in life both increases your knowledge and makes you a more interesting person for others to know. Can you imagine attracting “likes” on your Facebook page if all you posted every day was, “Got up ate breakfast, went to work, ate lunch, came home, ate dinner and when to bed”? Sometimes life may begin to feel like that; but that can be changed by just trying something new each day. The easiest way to saying hellodo that is to try to meet someone new each day. Each new person that you meet adds a new crayon to your box and allows you to add a new shade or color to your life story.

It’s much easier than you may think to meet someone new each day. You can start by not ignoring those that we already see or pass by each day – the person on the elevator that always seems to be there when we are in the morning, or the person that is out walking their dog at the same time that you do or the woman down the hall from you at work whom you see in the break room all the time. Don’t ignore those people, stop and say, “Hi, I see you all the time, I’m …” You may be pleasantly surprised that they were also wondering about you, too.

As for trying new things; that can be a simple as trying a new way home. We all get in ruts, comfort zones, about things like our routes to and from work or our routines before decisionsor after work. Try something new, a different route to or from work or maybe a stop on the way to or from work that we don’t normally make. Maybe you can try something completely different on a weekend; go someplace that you’ve never been or try a new activity that you’ve never tried. You don’t have to go out and try sky diving, but maybe something as simple as going to a sports event that you’ve never been to or actually participating in a sport that you’ve never tried.

It’s amazing what getting a few new things like that under your belt can do for you. Once you get past the realization of “that didn’t kill me” and maybe all the way to “I really enjoyed that”; you will find yourself looking for the next adventure out of your little comfort zone. In fact you may find that your little cocoon just got a little bit bigger and the pictures of your life a lot more colorful for having tried something new. You have butterfly 3become more than you were then because you did something that you didn’t know that you could do. And, unless this all happens on a desert island, you will also find that you now know more people than you’ve ever known, because you put yourself out there where they were, too.

Life can be beautiful and colorful if you fill your crayon box with the colors of the others that you meet. Get out there and be more than you are now.


There’s a new dentist in town…

February 2, 2016

I usually don’t get all that excited about a new dental office opening up in the area; but the new, Milford Family Dentistry office on Union St. came along just at the right time to get my attention. My dentist of 30+ years over in Commerce recently retired, as did my dental hygienist of 20+ years. My wife and I originally started going to that dentist when I lived in Orchard Lake and we didn’t mind driving back over to them for the 16 years that I’ve lived here in Milford; however, it will be a relief to have a local dentist right here in town.

The Milford Family Dentists offices are in the building on Union Street that housed the
practice of Dr. Barbara Huckabee for many years. When Dr. Huckabee retired, Drs. ToddMFD_dentists Napieralski and Brian Wisniewski , along with their associate Dr. Melissa Jett decided to open a location of their practice for Milford in the building. Todd and Brian met as roommates at the U. of M. dental school many years ago and when they graduated they went into practice together in Chelsea, Michigan over 23 years ago. I got to know Todd aMFD building on Unionnd Brian and Melissa, as well as their staff at a recent Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting for their new office in Milford and then at an open house that they hosted that evening. What a fun group. I think you’ll like the doctors, their staff and the modern equipment that they have installed in the grand old house that they occupy.

As both Todd and Brian explained it, they had been looking to expand their practice into a new location for some time; but they wanted to find just the right place; someplace with the small town flavor, culture and ambience that they love about Chelsea. Milford provided that atmosphere and the perfect backdrop for what they hope will be a long and successful practice here. Based upon my impressions of all three of them, and the entire staff, that should be no problem. All three doctors are outgoing and fun loving and very easy to talk with and all three are also excited about being able to sample Milford’s many fine restaurants, which is something that Chelsea can’t match. They also hope to become deeply involved in the fiber of the community and can’t wait to participate in our many community events, parades and festivals.

I had some trepidation about finding a new dentist, since I hadn’t had to worry about that for 30+ years; but all three doctors put my mind at ease right away. They even made it easy to talk about trying to decide on which of them to see, since they have the practice set up so that any or all of them are available to all patients and they expect that clients will eventually just settle in with whichever one with which they hit it off best. They encourage new clients to come in and visit with one of more of them, to see if there is a better fit with one or another – no pressure to choose and no pressure to stay with any choice. I like that.

One thing they discovered about Milford right away is that there are several Milford’s around the country and another dentists’ office called Milford Family Dentistry in Milford, New Jersey had already claimed the .com Web site name that they wanted.MFD cropped-header Getting to that Milford Family Dentistry office would be a heck of a drive; so, if you need to find a dentist in the Milford, Michigan area; I encourage you to visit the Milford Family Dentistry offices at 402 Union Street. That is one block east of Main Street. If you want to find out more about their practice in Milford, visit their web site – http://milfordfamilydentistry.net/ . They are currently open Monday, noon until 6 PM, Tuesday 9 AM until noon, Wednesday 9 AM until noon and Friday 9 AM until 1 PM. As they build the Milford practice their hours will expand and they hope to have early evening hours on some days to accommodate people who can’t get out of work to go to the dentist.

So check out the new dentists in town.  Tell them that Norm sent you.


What do you see in your mirror?

February 1, 2016

Let’s start the week with this little quote that I saw on the Jack’s Winning Words blog today -“Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there you must first see inside of you.”  (Wally “Famous” Amos)  Jack went on to write – I’ve read that there’s such a thing as an x-ray mirror. What if your mirror enabled you to see your inner self?  Amos is “Famous” for more than his cookies.  He’s authored 9 books having a self-help theme and works with a literacy program helping thousands of adults learn to read.

kissing mirrorMost of us spend more time than we would like to admit looking into mirrors trying to see what we think the rest of the world sees and trying to make that reflection look good. What we don’t notice in the mirrors is the rest of what the world “sees” in us. If there is ugliness within you, such as prejudices, hatred, and unfounded fears; they will shine through whatever covering we may have applied to our exterior and the world will “see” you as an ugly person that they would rather not be around.  If you are at peace with yourself and the world around you; that calm will shine through as self-assurance and a welcoming radiance that the world will bask in and seek out.

So, perhaps, instead of spending minutes or hours in front of the mirror trying to make the reflection that you see there look like something that it’s not; you could spend a fewpraying hands moments each morning in prayer, asking God to let you be the person that He wishes you to be today – loving, caring, accepting and giving. Then, should you happen to glance in a mirror or store window later each day, you’ll see a happy, calm and loving person looking back at you. That’s a reflection of what’s inside of you coming out for the world to see and it’s a beautiful thing.

What do you see in your mirror?