Perhaps it not the sun after all…

September 28, 2016

“Keep your face always toward the sun, and the shadows will fall behind you.”  (Emerson) – as seen on a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

smiling-sunJack went on to write about keeping a sunny disposition and the power of positive thinking, which was probably what Emerson was thinking about, too; when he wrote those words. We tend to associate certain things with the sun – warmth and perhaps happiness and smiles and a positive attitude.

Witheyes shadows we tend to think about dark things, such as unhappiness, depression, fears, uncertainty and doubts. We don’t like being in the shadows; yet many dwell there because they see no way out of the darkness.

As I read Jack’s post, it occurred to me that making a single letter change to that line also makes sense, maybe even more sense than how it was written. Consider this variation –

“Keep your face always toward the Son, and the shadows will fall behind you.” 

OK, so that’s two changes, if you count capitalizing the “S”; however, you can immediately grasp the significant change that points your face towards Jesus, rather than just the sun. Nothing is more effective in life at keeping the shadows away than a strong belief in the jesus-as-lightSon of God. In fact, if you surround yourself with His presence in your daily life there will be no place for shadows to form, no dark places for evil to hide, no room for the dark things. He is the way out of the darkness.

Perhaps, if you start each day with a simple prayer like, “Lord, be with me today and always”, you may find that there is no room in your life for shadows. There is no reason to dwell in darkness or to explore the shadows.

The positive attitude that Jack wrote about will come automatically, once you have emerged from the shadows and walk in the light of the Son. You may find that the warmth that you receive from Him will radiate out from you and others will want to be around you, because it just feels good. Try it today and see if you don’t feel the change in your life.

Have a great day in the Son!

We are living in dangerous times, educate yourself…

September 26, 2016

“Dangers to Human Virtue: Business without ethics; Science without humanity; Politics without principles.”  (Gandhi) – from a past post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

GandhiGandhi would surely be aghast at the current times. We see daily headlines about businesses, especially big banks conducting their business without ethics or morals. We read about more and more science being devoted to removing humans from the daily activities of life, including driving; and, we certainly are in the midst of one of the most unprincipled presidential election seasons ever. We have national level politicians loudly proclaiming that they are standing upon their principals as they obstruct legislation; when, in fact, the perches that they occupy are those of bigotry, hate, homophobia and racism.

In these dangerous times it is perhaps more important than ever to have a strong personal base of morals, ethics and principals, not to use as a shelter to hide away from the world, but as the knowledge base upon which you make decisions. That knowledge base is called “values” and those values are the result of educating yourself. William R. Inge said it best – “The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values.” 

We tend to equate the term “education” with schooling; and, indeed, there is much to learn in the schools that we attend. Unfortunately, parts of what is learned in school are the bad values of some of one’s fellow students who are uneducated, perhaps even from the “teachers” that are there, too.

Perhaps a better source for establishing a good base of values is to be found in the Christian churches of America and the Bible upon which they are based. One aim of most religions is to establish rules bypreacher-pointing which the faithful can live. The perversion of many religions comes from the leaders within those religions who find ways to manipulate the written messages of their faith to serve their own purposes. Even in Christianity there are church leaders who loudly thump their Bibles as they spit out messages of hate, exclusion and bigotry. Perhaps Gandhi should have included a fourth danger in his quote – “Religion without love.”

There is an old saying about taking things with grain of salt. It is an idiom of the English language, which means to view something with skepticism, or to not take it literally. One must certainly do that in politics these days, as well as in business and science. One would do well to apply the same skepticism to some of what we hear coming from various religious leaders, too. Those who point to passages in the Bible and loudly proclaim that it is those words that justify their acts of bigotry or exclusion, must be viewed skeptically, for they are proclaiming a religion without love.

So, educate yourself to protect against the dangers of the world around us. Start with the Great Commandment – “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy WWJDheart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” — Matthew 22:35-40. If you can get those two down as the base of your values, you are off to a great start.

Have a great week ahead.

Milford Home Tour heads up fun Milford Weekend events.

September 17, 2016

The 40th annual Milford Home Tour headlines a family fun weekend of events in Milford, Michigan, this weekend of September 17 & 18. The Home Tour, which is put on by the Milford Historical Society, features docent-led tours of five of Milford’s historic homes, 624-n-main-stwith two this year that have never been on the Home Tour before. Several homes will also feature entertainment by various individuals and groups. Proceeds from the Milford Home Tour go to support the operation of the Milford Historical Museum.

Also on the Home Tour itinerary is the Log Cabin on GM Road, next to the fire station, and the Milford Historical Museum at 124 E. Commerce Rd, just one block from downtown Milford. The Museum will feature a special Home Tour display of “Ladies’ Handiwork”, including a lace making demonstration. The Log Cabin will have games and home crafts from the late 1800’s for the kids and whole family.

The Home Tour starts at 11 AM each day running until 5 PM both days. Tickets may be 957-s-main-stpurchased at several downtown Milford locations prior to Saturday – Acorn Farm, Main Street Art, Your Nesting Place and the Milford Historical Museum – or at the homes that are on the tour either day of the tour.  Tickets are $15 for Adults and $13 for seniors. This year’s homes are located at 624 N. Main St, 324 S. Main St, 104 Second Street, 957 S. Main St and 1018 Atlantic St. For more on the houses that are on this year’s Home Tour go to the web site and click on the Home Tour Poster.

Saturday night will feature a special end-of-season concert called CURRENTS, an evening metal rockerof indie rock at the new LaFontaine Family Amphitheater, from 7-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19. Presented by Huron Valley State Bank and the Milford Downtown Development Authority, the concert is curated by Milford’s own Sean Lynch and will showcase three local and regional bands in one night, including hometown band 800Beloved, Grand Rapids-based Dear Tracks and Detroit’s Missionary. The concert is free to the public and will feature all original music. The LaFontaine Family Amphitheater is located in downtown Milford’s Central Park.

crusin-news-adOn Sunday, September 18, downtown Milford will be turned into a giant parking lot for the 32 annual Milford Car Show – the largest area car show of the year. Cars of all ages and type will be on display with show attendees getting to vote for their favorite cars in several categories from vintage streets rods to modern muscle cars. Over 250 cars are expected for the Milford Car Show which will open to the public at about 10 AM. Cars start showing up much earlier than that ad line up from Main and Commerce Streets all the way down to Central Park. For more on the Car show, go to

There is also a Tractor Show on Sunday starting at 11 AM out at the Huron Valley State Bank tractorparking lot at the corner of GM Road and Milford Road. Tractors of all sorts show up for this annual event; from working farm tractors to lawn tractors. There have even been a few steam engine tractors in the past.

So come out to Milford for the weekend on September 17 & 18 and enjoy the historic homes, an indie rock concert, the classic cars and the tractors. Stay and enjoy the many fine restaurants that are to be found in Milford. On Saturday you can also enjoy the great local shops in the downtown area and be sure to stop by the Milford Historical Museum for the lace making display and demonstrations.

We’ll see you in Milford this weekend.

If you haven’t had failures, you haven’t been trying hard enough.

September 15, 2016

Recently this little quote appeared on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Failure is temporary.  Move quickly beyond it.” (Unknown)  Jack went on to write: No one’s a success 100% of the time.  We are made better by our failures.  The Bible tells the story of Job, a man who had all kinds of bad luck.  His friends told him to curse God and die.  Job responded, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.”  And, in the end, God rewarded that trust.

failuresFailures are a part of life and a key to learning and the building of knowledge and eventually the accumulation of wisdom. Some people experience fewer failures than others, sometimes because they are too afraid of failure to even try. Others may work extra hard at planning to avoid failures, thus limiting themselves to the number of things that they try. Still others go through life blissfully failing at almost everything they try, yet learning nothing from those experiences. Failures happen – move quickly beyond it

The advice in the post title and in today’s quote from Jack’s blog go hand-in-hand. If you aren’t experiencing failures, you probably aren’t trying hard enough or often enough and if you are failing, then learn from those experiences and move on. Don’t dwell to long on them and don’t beat yourself up for the failure. Live and learn is another little tidbit of advice that we often hear growing up. Perhaps it should be modified to read Live, fail and learn. That is not to say that you should plan to fail, just that failures happen – move quickly beyond it.

There is a famous quote about failure by Thomas Edison – “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Life is like that a lot. You find ways that just don’t work. Maybe it is an approach towards someone that you’d like to befriend or to have a date with,  and you get rejected. You just found a way that won’t work. That doesn’t meanfailure2 that you can never be friends or that you will never get that date. Learn from that failure and move quickly beyond it.

Sometimes in life you come to real dead ends, places where there is nothing else to try or no place to advance. Not every situation in life has a solution or alternative approach that results in a positive outcome. The important thing in those cases is to recognize the futility of continuing on your current path and deciding to choose a different path, a different goal or perhaps a different job or life pursuit. As important as dealing with failure-3failures is dealing with dead ends and learning to move quickly beyond it.

Perhaps we all can learn something from Job and reinforce our belief and trust in God’s plan for us each time we fail. I have had many real estate clients over the years who found “the perfect house”, only to lose it to another buyer. Some were devastated by the failure of their offer, but others were able to say “it was not meant to be” and to move quickly beyond it.

So, keep in mind today and every day that you will experience failures; you should try to view each one as a learning experiences and move quickly beyond it.

Have a great. Try lots of things. Learn lots of things. Maybe, even have a few successes along the way.

Get old; but, never change…

September 14, 2016

“A pretty face will get old, a nice body will change, but a good person will always be a good person.”  (Unknown) – seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Getting old is inevitable, along with the physical changes that go along with that; smiling older fcehowever, a man or women that others might describe as a beautiful human being will remain a beautiful person in the eyes of the beholder, as long as they never stop being a good person.

So, what does it take to be perceived as a “good person?” That is a simple question that is harder to answer than it might seem.

A piece on the Huffington Post had this take on it –  In David Brooks’ viral New York Times piece “The Moral Bucket List,” he shares his own interpretation: “They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued … Those are the people we want to be.”

A Google search on the term good person turned up this rather long list of the traits of a good person on the Web site – 15 Simple Traits of A Truly Good Person


  1. They are honest in relationships.
  2. They complement others when deserved.
  3. They call their parents regularly.
  4. They are polite.
  5. They are kind to everyone.
  6. They are generous with their belongings.
  7. They remember their manners.
  8. They think of others.
  9. They go the extra mile.
  10. They are kind to loved ones.
  11. They smile.
  12. They make the best out of every situation.
  13. They make friends easily.
  14. They don’t take things for granted.
  15. They are consistent.


Maybe you don’t have all 15 traits (few probably would, especially the one about calling your parents often); but, you can still be viewed as a good person and view yourself as a good person. Most people who think of themselves as good people attribute a large part of that to their upbringing, to their parents and teachers. Many also include the influence ofpreacher with children coaches or scout leaders or others who had impact in their formative years. For many, their church life – their Sunday School teachers and pastors – help them become good people.

If you read down the list of the 15 traits of a good person you might note that almost all of the traits are expressed outwardly, towards others. The remaining traits work to bring inner peace in life’s situations. Another thing that you might notice is that none of these character traits are things that age will have an adverse impact upon; they aren’t physical abilities or attributes that fade with age. That’s why a good person will always be a good person.

One might ask, “Why isn’t everyone a good person?” If you look at the list again; think about how many of those traits can get pushed aside by selfishness, arrogance or pride. How many of those things can get buried under the weight of ambition or envy. How arrogantdifficult it would be to be a good person, if your life is ruled by prejudices and hate. How easy is it in the rush for material success to just ignore others; rather than being polite and caring and kind? In the back of our minds most of us know what is right, but the demands of  our world often overwhelm us and the temptations are often too great for us to take the time to look back there, in the back of our minds, and see what is right.

The good news is that we all have the ability to be good people. We just have to stop and let that little voice through that is trying to tell us the right things to do. For many that pause comes in times of prayer. We have a wall plaque in our kitchen that reinforces that need for quite prayer. It reads –

Make time for quite moments… for God whispers and the world is praying

Maybe you can just ask God directly by praying, “God help me be the good person that I know that I can be.”

If you make time to hear God’s whispers; you will always be a good person and that never gets old. Now, go call your mom and see how she’s doing.

The future is now… be glad in it.

September 12, 2016

“My future starts when I wake up every morning.”  (Miles Davis) – seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Wow, I’m living in the future. I woke up this morning. As one gets older, one doesn’t take that event as casually as \when they were young. Time becomes a bit more precious, even as it seems to speed up and fly by.restless sleep

Some people dread the future or perhaps just the next day, especially if it’s a Monday. A few may spend so much time being concerned about the future and what it might bring that they fail to live in the moment – in today. For those people the dawn of a new day awakens fears and causes anxiety.

I am reminded of a the words of Psalm 118-24 –

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Perhaps if one starts each day by reciting the Psalm it will put them in the right frame of mind to face the day. The future is now…I, for one, am glad to be in it. No matter what listening toi music.pngtoday may hold, being there to experience it is certainly better than the alternative.

The future is now…rejoice and be glad in it.

Are you happening to things?

September 12, 2016

“…people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I saw that or something just like that on a little inspirational poster somewhere lately and liked it. It seems to be a much more upbeat and positive thing to be out there happening tobored things than to be sitting back and waiting for things to happen to you. It’s also better advice than just being ready to react when something happens to you or in your life. I’ve written a few times about handling problems or crises in our lives, but that is still a reactive thing and not a pro-active thing as is suggested by today’s quote from da Vinci. Are you happening to things?

The thoughts that one conjures up when you think about going out and happening to things are images of power and control, of planning and execution and of guiding one’s own destiny. One can’t really get to those thoughts without also giving some thoughts to what it is you want, where it is that you want to go, and the goals that you are striving for. time-for-actionWhen you are comfortable with those issues and plans and know where you are going you can swing into action. Are you happening to things?

Successful people also spend a little thought time on looking at the alternate outcomes of what you are about to make happen. They visualize what is to happen and “see” themselves in a successful outcome. They spend a little time considering alternate outcomes and how to afraidreact to them; but truly successful people seldom let themselves get bogged down in over analyzing the situation at hand. Rather than expending much energy on planning for failure, successful people put their efforts into making success happen. Are you happening to things?

Among the goals of most people are the inner personal relationships that they want or need to have in order to achieve success. Those may be relationships at work or of a more handshakepersonal nature; and those relationships start by something happening – a chance meeting or a planned introduction. In either case, successful people always take the initiative; they don’t sit back and wait for it to happen; they thrust out their hands first and introduce themselves; they happen to the other parties in the meeting. Are you happening to things?

So, in the week ahead, try to take da Vinci’s advice. Don’t wait for things to happen to you. Go out and happen to people and things. I think you’ll end up liking the things and people that start happening to you, too. Are you happening to things?

Putting another leaf in your table…

September 9, 2016

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog featured this quote – “If you are more fortunate than others, it’s better to build a longer table than a taller fence.”  (Unknown)

Jack went on to write – Battle Creek, MI was once known as the city with the longest breakfast table.  It stretched several city blocks with room enough for all who wanted to come…and the food was free.  In today’s world we talk more about fences than about long tables with room for all. 

It is unfortunate that we hear so much during this political silly season about building a taller fence (a wall, actually) to keep people out, rather than about finding ways to build introducing friendbigger tables to include more people. Today’s quote is about inclusiveness and sharing and not about just trying to protect what is ours and keep it away from others. It’s about inviting others to share the bounty that you enjoy that helps you in putting another leaf in your table..

It is not hard to find people in need. One doesn’t have to look to foreign countries; there are plenty of people in need, right here in America. One has to look no further than the local school systems to see that need. In our local school district over 50% of the children in many of the schools qualify for the free school meals programs. A national program called Blessings in a Backpack was created to send these children home on weekends with enough food in a backpack to feed them for the weekend. There is a local Blessings in a Backpack group that is trying to provide that service and food to the students in need within the Huron Valley School system. . Contributing to that program is like putting another leaf in your table.

helping handsThe message of caring and inclusiveness is not restricted to just sharing food; it is really about helping other whenever and wherever you can, with things other than food, such as clothing or furniture or counseling services or housing. There are many opportunities in every community in America to be a part of efforts to help others, whether they be church related groups or just volunteer community organizations to provide helps and services for the less fortunate. In our area we have a group called Community Sharing that provides a wide variety of support to those who may need a little help. It is a group; that you could join if you are interested in putting another leaf in your table.

Those opportunities to serve are great and very worthwhile; but there is another opportunity to share something other than bread. One’s faith also provides the elca-godswork_ourhandsopportunity to share, rather than to hide or safeguard the blessings that we enjoy because of our belief in Jesus Christ. Evangelism is often considered something untoward and to be avoided. We live in a secular world, where public displays of faith are to be avoided and speaking of one’s faith best left for Sunday’s. Yet silence about the Good News seems somehow to be contributing to the height of the walls around us rather than like putting another leaf in your table.

It would seem to me that one doesn’t have to drop to their knees and begin loudly praying in public to be displaying their faith. Doing the right things, helping others, displaying compassion and inclusiveness are all ways that we can display the faith that we share and being kind 1that we want to extend to others. Doing the little things to help each day when we interact with others and see needs in others is just as important as volunteering once in a while for one of the many charitable groups in our communities. Each of those little acts of kindness and compassion is putting another leaf in your table.

So, I ask you; how long is your table? Have you put the leaves into your table to be inclusive and caring and compassionate? Are you sharing the bounty that results from your belief in Jesus with others? What are the little thigs that you can do today that will result in you putting another leaf in your table?

Haven Hill

September 8, 2016

An interesting blog post that documents a visit to the wonderful Haven Hill site in Highland and to the Milford Historical Museum. Like the author of this blog, my wife and I enjoy finding and visiting little, out-of-the-way museums during our vacation travels.


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Edsel Bryant Ford was born in Detroit in 1893, he was the only child of Henry and Clara Ford. From an early age he was passionate about art, with Henry Ford as his father he naturally went into the family business, Ford Motor Company. In 1916 he married Eleanor Lowthian Clay, they went on to have 4 children together, in 1919 he became the youngest president of Ford Motor Company, that same year Henry and Edsel became sole owners of Ford Motor Company, not bad for a 26 year-old man. In the early 1920’s Edsel began buying up land in Highland and White Lake Townships with the intention of building a self-sufficient retreat to escape city life; what he created was a 2,422 acre estate called Haven Hill. Today we’re in the Highland Recreation Area for the Haven Hill Festival.

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We park near the Gate House, built in 1927…

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Do you have SISU?

September 7, 2016

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog come the inspiration for today’s post –

“I have perceived that man with courage and will-power can overcome anything.” (Scharnhorst)

Jack went on to write – Determination?  Persistence?  Tenacity?  Guts?  The Finns have a word for it: SISU!  Sisu is even in the Bible.  “I can do all things…through Christ who strengthens me.”  Paul wrote this while facing difficult situations in his life.

I often advise my real estate clients that selling their house will take patience and patiencepersistence. They must get into the habit of keeping the house in a condition such that a showing could take place at any time. That means allotting some extra time in the mornings to make sure it is show ready before heading off to work. It helps if you can exercise that patience with a good attitude.
In life in general, those with SISU as part of their personal makeup most often succeed. They have the courage to try new things and the will-power to stick with it until they succeed. They have SISU.

sisuSometimes we need the extra little boost to our SISU in our daily lives that a little reflection in prayer can add. Perhaps you could find strength and resolve by just repeating that little phrase that Jack mentioned in his post – “I can do all things…through Christ who strengthens me.” For some the opening lines of the 23rd Psalm is a pick-me-up – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” For others the fear of the unknown or of failure is stripped away be this passage, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

The common theme that runs through all of the supportive scriptures that I might mention is that you are not in this alone, if you accept and believe in Jesus Christ. He is always with you and with Him in your corner you cannot fail. You may suffer setbacks from time to time, but your willpower, courage and tenacity (your SISU), strengthened with God’s help, will pull you through.

Video game players know that in many video games there are secret treasures to be found that have restorative powers. The character that you are playing may be beat up, injured or otherwise in bad shape due to setbacks in the game; however, if you find those hidden man prayingtreasures they can restore the character to full strength immediately, ready to go with the game. Life is a little like that; although the restorative treasures aren’t really hidden; they are most often just forgotten about. Those restorative treasures are the words of God as found in the Bible. A few have been mentioned here, but there are too many to list.

Here’s a link to one site that points you to several uplifting passages that might help make you day better. Find a few for yourself and see if they don’t restore your SISU.