4th of July Parade in Milford

June 30, 2016

The annual Independence Day Parade (4th of July Parade), presented by the Milford Historical Society,  actually takes place on the Monday, the 4th of July, this year; however, it will not take place using the usual parade route.

Due to delays in the road construction project on E. Commerce Road, the Milford Public Safety officials have decided that it would d be unsafe to use E. Commerce Rd as part of the parade route; therefore the parade will start at the corner of N. Main Street and E. Commerce Road. People desiring to view the parade should not set up their chairs along E. Commerce Rd in front of  the Milford Historical Museum. The parade can only be viewed from Main Street this year. The parade will still proceed all the way down Main Street to the corner of Main and Huron Streets.

The change in parade route has also necessitated a last minute change in the parade line-up locations. The parade participants will line up on N. Main Street, N. Milford Road, Detroit Street and Union Street, north of Detroit St. If you are a parade participant you can find your parade slot by clicking here to see the line-up map. All parade entrants should plan to enter the line-up streets from Summit St. There will be street guards at the north end of the line-up streets to give people more information about their parade line-up slot. The parade steps off at 11 AM, but line-up for the parade starts at 10 AM. Due to all of the road construction and detours, parade participants should allow extra time to get to their line-up positions.

If you have questions about the parade roue or your line-up slot and location, call parade co-chairs Norm Werner at 248-763-2497 or Rich Harrison at 248-935-5556.

RotaryDucksFollowing the parade the Huron Valley Rotary Club will be hosting family fun activities in Central Park leading up to their annual Duck Race, which will be at 3 PM. Plan on spending the day in Milford.

The end of the world; and how to cope with it…

June 28, 2016

Another end of the world scenario has come and passed with the vote in the UK to exit the European Union. Of course the Brexit vote, as it was dubbed, caused immediate panic on the world’s stock exchanges, most of which were due for downward adjustments and just
like that, poof billions of dollars in stock and bond value just worried1disappeared.  Like most, I suffered a loss to my retirement savings; but, I wondered if the people in the poorest countries of the world even noticed the cataclysmic impact of that vote? Who in Liberia, the poorest country in Africa with a GDP of just $454 per year, really cares whether Great Britain is in or out of EU? In fact, who in the small, poor villages of Liberia cares about the EU at all?

The world did not end and only time will tell whether the people of Great Britain made a wise or foolish decision. The sun came up the next day and life went on. Floods and fires continued to ravage parts of the U.S. Wars, famine, drought or floods continued to wreakarguing havoc with many parts of the world. And in other news, people continued to rob or shoot other people, trusted people in roles of authority continued to embezzle or cheat those who trusted them, people with pets found new things to post about them on the internet and Hillary and Donald continued to sling mud at each other. The world around us goes on.

So, as we begin another new week, confident that the world will go on; maybe we should turn our attention to things that really do matter, things that do have real impact on our lives, because they are things that we can control. Perhaps the words of Elbert Hubbard that appeared in a post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog could guide us – “Be pleasant until ten o’clock in the morning, and the rest of the day will take care of itself.”

To be pleasant takes a conscious effort, mostly not to be unpleasant, not to let prejudicespleasant or preconceptions about others take over and manifest themselves in our behavior. Perhaps letting ourselves be empathetic towards others, rather than judgmental, is another way to be pleasant.  It’s worth a try. So, try to be pleasant until at least 10 AM and see if the rest of your day takes care of itself.

Have a good (and pleasant) day.


The choice is up to you…

June 24, 2016

“When you can’t have what you choose, you just choose what you have.”  (Owen Wister) – as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Life is full of choices, but many times we cannot have what we would prefer to choose. Sometimes we feel like we’re “stuck” with what we have, instead of being thankful and happy that we have anything. One has only to watch the nightly news to see stories of people who have no choices and/or have nothing. If that gives you pause to say to yourself, “There but by the grace of God go I”; at least you’re in the right ballpark, but maybe no yet on the right track.

As a society we have become enamored of the basics of life, taking them for granted. I get a kick out of the news stories were people are proclaiming that they have a “right” to this orbill of rights that, whether it be clean water or electricity for their home or the many other things that people believe are somehow “owed” to them. Somehow the things that we should be thankful for have become expected, even proclaimed as rights. Even the rights that we have that were enshrined in our Constitution were extended to us by the consensus of the people at the time they were written and were not somehow innate.

There is nothing wrong with choosing to try to attain something that we currently don’t have, whether it is more education, more money, more possessions or new relationships; but we cannot just choose to have them. One choice that we must constant make in life iswomen looking at watch whether to be happy with what we have now, even while perhaps striving for more or newer or bigger or better somehow. I have learned from experience that the attainment of most of those strivings brought much less satisfaction or joy than I initially imagined it would. It’s just another thing or a bigger thing; but still just a thing.

The really rewarding attainments in my life came out of new friendships or new relationships. Perhaps the most rewarding of all comes from continuing to choose what I already have – a marriage that celebrates 50 years of choosing each other this year. I think the trial period on that is over and I’ll keep that relationship and choose to be thankful for it every day.

bored2The other big choice in my life that really worked out was choosing to allow Jesus into my life. Sure, I went through the period of doubt or disbelief that most people do in their youth. I went through the “Going through the motions” period, too; where going to church was more of a social event or just another task to get through at the end of the week.

Then I had my “Come to Jesus” moment, as most people eventually do and my life
changed forever. Mine, as happens with many, came at a very dark time in my life, when hopelessness and despair were in control and I saw no future in living. At that dark helping handsmoment I reached out in desperation and Jesus was there to reach back to me, take my hand and lead me out of that pit. I have found comfort ever since in the little prayer that I said that night – “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

I will never look back into that pit. I have made a different choice and I have chosen what I have in Jesus. You can, too. Try that little prayer and see if it doesn’t make a difference for you.

The choice is up to you.


Love thy neighbor, be kind today…

June 22, 2016

“Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.”  (Samuel Johnson); as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog today.

One could say that cordialness is in our power, even if friendship is not. The point is that we make the choice of how to react and interact with others, even those with whom we disagreement2disagree or who don’t make liking them easy. In this season of heightened political passions it is particularly hard sometimes to be kind or cordial with someone who may be proclaiming the political opposite of what you believe.

Unfortunately in life and is politics we have become a more polarized society, with little opportunity for intelligent conversation about the middle ground or compromise. Discussing topics like gun control, birth control and the GLBT lifestyle have devolved from conversations into rants and arguments. We are forced into taking side in discussions where the only alternatives are “you’re either with us or against us.” We are not allowed to have a middle-ground point of view or to espouse a solution that involves compromise by both sides. Even the word compromise is now used as a litmus test against others in some political circles and has become associated with weakness or betrayal of strongly held beliefs.

Jack went on to write – Some people are really hard to get along with.  To “love” does not necessarily mean to be “fond.”  Kindness is what Jesus had in mind when he talked about love…trying to see with a different set of eyes.  Are you able to do it?

Kindness is not pity. Kindness is not false. Kindness is the conscious attempt to understand the other person’s point of view without prejudging it. Much of what others
may proclaim with loud bluster is actually masking deep fears and insecurities. Many predjuicesprejudices are rooted in the same insecurities and fears. We tend to fear what we do not understand, rather than make the effort to see things from that different point of view.

We need not try to force ourselves to like the choices or lifestyles that people we meet may have embraced; but, we need not fear them either. We also don’t have to embrace their point of view; just be kind and accept them for who they are. Once you can do that, you may even find them to be someone who you could be fond of. At the least you will no longer have to be afraid of them or prejudiced against them.

I have found that refusing to rise to the bait of a pushy or bully type person or stopping myself from jumping immediately to a conclusion about a person, based solely upon the judge thingsinitial visual impression that they make, helps me. It is that initial pause from making some immediate judgement that allows that ability to be kind to kick in. It’s not always easy; because I carry around the weight of a lifetime of fears and prejudices, as we all do. It takes a conscience effort and I am not always successful; but I have found that the rewards from making that effort far outweigh the alternatives, which almost always lead to regrets later. Making a new friend is much better than adding a new fear or enemy in life.

Try to be kind today and see if it makes a difference in your life. Maybe you’ll end the day with a new friend, too.

It is what it is; or maybe not…

June 21, 2016

I’ve posted here a few times on this topic, but it’s always worth a re-visit. Down through the ages there have been various pronouncements about accepting things in life –

All the way from “Make the best use of what is in your power and take rest as it happens.”  –  Epictetus (circa 55 AD)-  from a recent Jack’s Winning Words blog.

And then there was the advice in a more modern song – “Let it be – The Beatles

boredThe key to understanding  those pieces of advice is our ability to distinguish between those things that we can change from those over which we have no control. Frustration, anger or maybe even despair come from railing against those things that we cannot control, rather than just accepting them and getting on with life.

The little toss-away saying “It is what it is”, is a reflection of the rather passive attitude that everything that happens to you is just something that you have to accept. I don’t accept that.

Sometimes, “what it is” might be an injustice or the result of a prejudice and you don’t calm personhave to passively accept that. Sometimes, “what it is” might involve a slight or a snub or some other hateful or hurtful behavior towards you and what you still control in those situations is how you react to them. Fortunately, we have some help with that which is captured nicely in this little quote that is also from the Jack’s Winning Words blob –

“God give us the power to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”  (Reinhold Niebuhr)

Jack went on to write that this was a little prayer originally included in a sermon by Niebuhr and that it has been adopted by many 12-step programs including AA. You don’t have to be in a program to use it to make your life better. Pray for that wisdom to praying handsdistinguish in your life those things that you just need to accept from those that you have the power to change and then pray for the courage to change them. Remember that “it isn’t what it is until you decide that it is.”

For those things that cannot be changed, pray for the power of God’s peace that will allow you to accept them with serenity. As the Beatles song says – Let it be.

Have a great and peaceful week ahead!

Make life’s journey more satisfying, take this side trip often…

June 11, 2016

“The most important trip you may take in this life is meeting people halfway.”  (Henry Boyle) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog recently.

The ability and flexibility to meet people halfway in life is comprised of equal parts of empathy, humility, intelligence and faith and is an extremely important and valuable part of making life better for you and the people that you meet. If you always try playing life as a win-losing zero sum game, you will soon find yourself playing alone. Everyone that you meet wants to win, too; so the real secret to a successful and satisfying life is finding ways to make every situation a win-win for all parties involved.

Creating win-win scenarios doesn’t necessarily require that you lose. Meeting people half way isn’t losing, it is allowing both of you to win. As a society that has become a lot harder discussion over tablelately, because opposing views have hardened and compromise has taken on an undesirable meaning that is associated more with losing than with everybody finding a win out of the situation. Our political process, especially at the national level has effectively broken down because of the inability of the parties to compromise and the increasing polarization of those we elected to govern. They cannot govern because they cannot compromise. To them politics and the decisions that they control is a win-lose game.

Life doesn’t have to be like that; your life doesn’t have to be like that. Psalm 34:4 says – “God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.” It’s those different beliefsanxious fears that sometimes drive us to stand back or shy away rather than even try to understand someone else’s point of view. It is our own insecurities that make us cling to old, outdated or bigoted stereotypes, rather than to take the chance of embracing someone new. Perhaps you can meet them half way.

Keep in mind that the other person is also moving away from their comfort zone in order to meet you in the middle. They may be having just as hard of a time seeing your point of view as you are having trying to seeing theirs. If you can start with the thought that neither point of view is right or wrong, just different; then, perhaps, you can take the next step and consider that things might look different from men huggingtheir vantage point and that may drive different decisions or behaviors. Maybe you’ll even have an “aha” moment in which you finally understand their perspective. You don’t have to embrace it, just accept that it exists. You don’t have to go all the way there; you can usually see it, if you’ll just meet them half way.

So take a few little side trips as you journey through life and find out how other people live by meeting them halfway on things. Who knows; you might even like their point of view, once you understand it. You’ll never know until you try.

Be kind, even if you have to bend the truth…

June 9, 2016

“Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.”  (Robert Brault) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

look in mirorSome people take great pride in always being “truthful”, even it it may be unkind, such as truthfully answering the question, “Do these pants make me look fat?” What value is there in your truthfulness in that situation, if it is unkind or causes pain.

From WikiPedia comes this definition of kindness – “Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions.” There are no downsides in that definition of kindness as there might be in always being truthful with others. After all, as the opening quote points out, how sure are you that what you might be saying is the “truth?” In many cases, such as in the case of the question above, what you might say is the “truth” is really just your opinion. If that is true, why render an opinion that might hurt the feelings of someone else. What’s the upside in that?

Aesop, the well-known and respected Greek author, said “No act of kindness, no matter greek manhow small, is ever wasted.” The same cannot be said about the truth, which often falls upon deaf ears. So, perhaps today you will have one of those choices to make – to tell “the truth” to someone or to be kind. What will you do? Why did you make that choice? Do you think that telling the truth will somehow make the situation better, make the other person feel better or just make you feel better?

Perhaps we should all head the advice of Colossians 3:12 – Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. So, as you put on your clothes to start a new day, also kindness quotecloth yourself with those virtues before you begin encountering people and situations that will challenge you for a response. You’ll feel much better that the end of the day if you have responded with kindness, rather than smugly responding to all questions and situations with what you perceive to be “the truth.” So, the best answer to the question in paragraph 2 is that “those are really nice looking pants and they look great on you.”

Have a kinder, gentler day.

Put a little humor into your life…

June 8, 2016

“People with a sense of humor tend to be more humble in moments of success and less defeated in times of travail.”  (Bob Newhart) – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog. I always liked the approach to humor that Bob Newhart took.

In times of travail, disappointment or failure my wife and I often say to each other, “Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh about it.” Just that little reference to the humor that might be found in the situation is usually enough to relieve the moment or smiling doglighten the mood.

I’ve always found that a good sense of humor and of the humor that may be found in life is a great coping mechanism. Whether the humor is found in the thought, “What was I thinking to do that?” or perhaps in reflecting on my over-reaction to the situation; there is usually something in every situation that can bring a laugh or a smile to my face. That smile usually breaks the mood and helps me get through whatever it is.

Sometimes we all take life and the situations that we find ourselves in way too seriously. There are few real life and death situations or decisions in our day-to-day lives, even timidthough we make many of them out to be that serious. The young are especially prone to over-reacting to events, since they have no real base of knowledge or wisdom to draw upon. To many of them every moment of crisis is an OMG moment. Later in life they become “been there, done that” moments, which your wisdom helps you understand didn’t kill you the first time and probably won’t kill you this time either. Being rejected for a date or getting a pimple before the big dance is not life-ending.

Self-depreciation or the ability to laugh at yourself is important too. It keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously or thinking too highly of our self-importance. Humility in the face of success is based upon seeing the humor in the alternative outcome or perhaps the happenstance that led to the success. The humorless man is said to have hubris instead.

lady under cloudSometimes the situation at hand is so dark or sad or overwhelming that we might have difficulty finding any humor in it at all. At times like that I often think of the Al Capp character Joe Btfsplk from the Little Abner cartoon. Joe walked around with a little dark rain cloud over his head all the time because he was the world’s worst Jinx. Bad things always happened around Joe. Instead of feeling like Joe, I find a little spark of humor in the thought of Joe that helps lighten my mood.

Do you find humor in life’s situations? Does humor help you get through your day or through bad situations? It can, if you let it. I’ve written here in the past that I make a sillyfunny face face in the shaving mirror almost every morning as a way to start my day with a little humor and a mechanism to help me not be so serious all the time. Try it tomorrow morning and see if that doesn’t put you in a better mood to start the day.

Put a little humor into your life. Someday you’ll look back on the things that are troubling you today and laugh about them.

Get up close and personal…

June 7, 2016

“It’s hard to hate up close.”  (James Comey, FBI Director)  – re-blogged from the Jack’s Winning Ways blog. Jack went on to write – Do you remember the song from The King and I?…“Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you.  Getting to feel free and easy When I am with you.”  Director Comey believes that police and citizens should have more face to face contact.  Studies show that most of us have a racial bias and use mental shortcuts when meeting “different” people.

Today’s blog title comes from the old ABC Sports coverage on TV, where they would get “Up close and personal” with various athletes that they were covering. It was a way of letting their audience know the life story behind the athlete – to get to know them.

I find Director Comey’s observations on prejudice and hate to be especially true. It is so easy to sit at home watching news events unfold on the evening news and to form criminalprejudicial thoughts about people that you see on the screen, especially people who are “different”. Sometimes when a story about a crime starts on the news I find myself having pre-conceived notions about what the perpetrator will look like if they show a picture later in the story. Many times I am wrong, but my own prejudices have taken over.

Perhaps we all allow something like that to happen in our lives. Maybe we see someone coming towards us and notice a tattoo or a nose ring or lip bead or maybe blue or purple hair; and, without any personal knowledge to go on about tatooed girlthat person, we form an opinion about that person; an opinion that prejudices our feelings about them without a word being spoken. Does something like that ever happen with you? You may pick your own set of visual cues.

Those instances in our lives are probably the times when we should try our hardest to put those prejudices behind us and get up close and personal with the person that we’ve just encountered. Life doesn’t always give us that opportunity; however, each encounter is an opportunity for you learn from and better control your own reactions.

Make it a practice to ask yourself after each unjustified negative reaction why you feel that way. Ask yourself what do you know about this person that would cause you to automatically fear or hate them? If the only thing that you come up with is that they look different and somehow menacing, then you have encountered prejudice within yourself and need to focus some time and prayer on resolving that personal flaw.talking-2

One of the better ways to work on prejudices that you may have is to take the ABC Sports approach and get up close and personal – take the time to really talk with and understand the other person – their background and point of view. Maybe it would help to star by saying to yourself that everyone you meet is someone’s child or parent, someone’s mate or friend, someone’s brother or sister, someone. Until you know who that someone really is, you really don’t know them well enough to form an opinion about them – to hate them or fear them.

Once you do that, you may find that Director Comey is right. It’s hard to hate someone
that you have met up close and personal. You are far more likely to have empathy with their life situation, or perhaps be ready to offer help, than you are to just hate them for different peoplewhat and who they are. In fact you may end up loving what or who they are and the free spirit within them that gives them the freedom to be “different.”

So, today, take the time to get up close and personal with someone that you may have avoided in the past or someone that you may have had a prejudicial reaction to when you first met. Understand them as a person. Listen to their story and see if you still feel the same about them now that you have gotten up close and personal. You may find that the opening quote is true – It’s hard to hate up close.


Love each other as you loved me…

June 6, 2016

“I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me.  It would be a better world.”  (Muhammad Ali) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Ways blog.

AliLike, Jack, I first knew Muhammad Ali as Cassius Clay. I remember listing to that fight on the radio with my dad. No one thought that the brash young fighter stood a chance against the hulking Sonny Liston. Clay soon converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali and began the strange journey of a fighter who preached love and peace to all who would listen.

Ali’s quote is almost a take-off on John 13:34 – Jesus said: “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

Muhammad Ali was a beloved figure around the world. He was famous as a fighter, but beloved as a person. He used his bully pulpit as a famous fighter to promote peace instead of war and understanding instead of bigotry and hate.

Our society has become one where many people are presumed guilty (and thus unworthy to be loved) until they prove themselves to be innocent, just because of the color of their skin or their mannerisms or lifestyle. We can change our society one person at a timmen hugginge by
starting with our own prejudices and pre-conceived notions. If we start each encounter with the attitude of “I love you”, rather than “I’m afraid of you”; perhaps the outcome of each meeting will be different. Over time, enough of those meetings will occur, resulting in positive outcomes; that society will begin to shift away from suspicion and cynicism. At least that is the hope; and where there is hope there is possibility.

So, do your part this week to make the world a better place. Show love, rather than trustsuspicion, to those that you meet. Be open and attentive to their needs, not withdrawn and concerned about your own safety. You will be pleasantly surprised how much better life can feel when you show love to others and get their love in return.

Have a blessed and loving week ahead.