Be unforgettable today, in a good way…

July 24, 2017

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou

Maya’s quote about how you make people feel works two ways – you can make them feel good or an encounter with you can make them feel bad. I would hope that most of us would prefer to make the people that we meet feel better for having met us. Sometimes we do just the opposite by doing nothing at all and not even acknowledging those that we meet. Doesn’t it make you feel bad to be ignored? It causes a little pain if we make eyearrogant contact with someone and they look away or choose not to even acknowledge that they see us with a little smile or a nod, perhaps even a quick “hello, how are you”.

Nat King Cole had a wonderful hit “Unforgettable” that his daughter Natalie re-recorded as a duet with her father (on film). You can be unforgettable is a nice way by just making the people that you encounter during the day feel better. It’s not that hard to do; just acknowledge them with a smile and perhaps a quick hello. If you have time, stop and talk to them, ask them how they are and then really listen to their reply. It’s not magic. It’s empathy, concern, love, understanding and compassion all wrapped up in simple gestures that really don’t take that much of your time and it can have a magical effect on the other person.

So, tear your eyes and attention away from your smartphone and look around you for this-is-mesomeone else that you can say “Hi” to and you too will become unforgettable. Just remember that when you are not making that effort you may become unforgettable in a bad way and be considered to be aloof and unapproachable, or worse. I certainly don’t want to be unforgettable in that way. Do you?

Advertisements

Conquering fear with faith…

July 19, 2017

Fear of the unknown is at the root of most of the fears that seek to control us. We don’t do things that we may wish to do because we are fearful of some unknown (and unknowable) outcome. We don’t reach out to others because we fear an unknown outcome, perhaps rejection or worse. We don’t stretch ourselves and go for that new jobtimid or try that new sport because we don’t know enough about them and fear the consequences of those unknowns.

Perhaps no unknown is more feared than death. We think about it, but we can’t imagine what it will be like and what, if anything, comes after death. That is where faith comes in. Faith in God and His son Jesus is the only real option that you have when facing death. Jesus promised us life after death when he said “Where I go there you will be also” and many other comforting passages from the Bible. Having faith can help you conquer many fears while you are here on earth; however, the biggest fear that faith can help you conquer is the fear of death.

Our human imaginations help us find solutions to many of the problems that we VR2encounter in life; however, our imaginations at too often limited by our understanding of the physical world around us and the knowledge that we might have accumulated in life. We tend to frame things, including our ability to imagine life after death in very restrictive human terms. Some religions have very elaborate descriptions of life after death that imagine things almost completely in normal human terms. Other religions define the afterlife in terms that not even they understand. Even Christian religion uses descriptions of the afterlife in heaven that the common man might relate to – a “house with many rooms”; however, it is also alluded to a “peace that passes all understanding”.

As humans we tend to define what we hope heaven is like in terms that we can relate to. We hope to see loved ones there. We hope that our past pets might be there also. We depict people in white robes with wings and halos. We see it as a bright light at the endhelping hands of a tunnel. We do all that we can to imagine it as something warm and bright and comfortable, because we are trying to overcome our fear of the unknown. If any and all of that makes you feel better about it, imagine away; however, know that it is your faith that there is a life after death, that you will be with Jesus in His Father’s House and that your earthly fears and concerns and pains will all drop away.

What will it be like? No one can know until they get there, but we can be sure in our faith that it will be wonderful. Let your anticipation of what is to come next become stronger than your fear of the transition to that next life. That is called faith and faith conquers fear every time.


Hope based upon faith is not dreaming or wishing…

July 17, 2017

Recently the Jack’s Winning Words blog has featured a couple of post on wishing and hope –

“Wishing are the dreams we dream when we’re awake.”  (Buddy DeSylva)

“Accept life and what it brings, I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things.”  (The Kinks)

Jack went on to write – Peter Marty wrote recently about the difference between wishing and hoping.  Wishing upon a star is different than placing hope in God.  Hope seems to have a spiritual tone to it.  It’s what sustains us when we’re not ready to give up on God.  The Kinks’ song came out of the writer’s down time.  As I read the lyrics I see more hoping than wishing.  What do you see?    😉  Jack 

I suppose that one could argue about which comes first faith or hope. I would take the position that hoping in the absence of faith is just like dreaming or wishing; there is no basis for belief that something will actually happen to make the dream or wish come true. As Jack wrote, “Wishing upon a star is different than placing hope in God”, and thewoman-praying main difference is that “placing hope in God” is actually placing your faith in God. After all, who are you asking when you wish for something without a belief in God? Who will grant your wish? To whom do you turn when you have a dream of a better life? Hope based upon faith provides clear instructions on where to take your wishes and dreams and how to ask for what you need and want.

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” – Matthew 21:22

As you read the first part of that quote the tendency is to say, “Alright, I can have whatever I ask for”; however, the kicker is in those last four words – “if you have faith.” Time after time in the Bible you will read that faith is the precursor to hope or the fulfillment of prayers. Many times we “pray” for things that we do not get and there is usually the same answer for why not –

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” – James 4:3

There are many things that we may dreams about or wish for that fall under the general man prayingcategory of our passions – the things of this world that we sometimes think are so important. We might pray to win the Lotto or we might pray for a new car or for other material things, rather than praying that God help us do the right things in life and trust that He will provide all that we really need. The key is having faith first and allowing that faith to guide what you ask God for in your prayers. Base your hopes on faith and they will be fulfilled –

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24

I think I wrote here once before that, if I happen to include a mention of the Lottery in my prayers, I ask God to help me do the right things with the money, if I should win. Lately I have refocused my requests in prayer to a very simple ask – “God help me make good decisions today.” I have faith that those good decisions will actually be God decisions.

What do you ask God for in your prayer? Are your hopes based upon your faith?


Do it and achieve your destiny…

July 14, 2017

I was searching for inspiration this morning, determined to break out of the lull in my blog posting. My life got a little busy and then went off in directions that distracted me from making the effort to write for this blog. I missed it and decided it was time to get back to posting. I keep a list of inspirational quote on my PC desktop, so I perused that this morning. two entries in that list caught my eye as being things that should be linked together in a post. They are:

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda

What strange bedfellows Emerson and Yoda, yet thinking of those two quote together seemed natural. How often we hear people say, “I’m trying to be a better person.” That person needs to heed Emerson’s and Yoda’s advice and decide to just do it, not to just try.

IF you find that you need a little boost of confidence each morning to help you achieve your destiny, perhaps this little verse will help.

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

So make the decision and define your destiny, then get to it.


It’s Sunday morning; time for…

July 9, 2017

How do you end that sentence? For all too many, the ending is Golf, a ball game, a soccer match, or some other recreational or sporting activity. For fewer and fewer the ending is “church”. I read recently that in America 51% of adults claim to be religious but that on average less than 20% of the people regularly attend church services on Sunday mornings. Declining attendance could be blamed on many things, but the one that I find most alarming is the trend over the last few years for organized youth activities like baseball, soccer, and hockey to view Sunday mornings as prime game or practice time. The result is whole families missing church because they have to be at a practice or a game during the times that churches are holding services.

I remember times when many states had what were called “blue laws” that required that all stores be closed on Sundays and no alcoholic beverages cold be sold, so that people could go to church. They were gradually weakened or abandoned, which was probably a good thing, but it started the process of viewing Sundays differently and with less emphasis on God and church. Now Sunday’s are all about almost anything else than going to church – sports, shopping, entertainment. There are 168 hours in each week and all that God asks for is that you take one of those hours to go to church and say thanks, by worshiping Him.  Call me old fashion; but, that doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Parents are expected to try to give their children opportunities in things like sports, but they should also take seriously the need to teach their children about God and the practice of religion. It’s hard to do that if parents choose to put their child into sports that demand their time on Sunday mornings. Some parents push back and say that the church needs to adapt and offer services at more convenient times. To them I would say, “No; you need to get your priorities right.” It is not right to place the worship of God second to the playing of a game. What lesson is that teaching your children and bye the way, where were you during the church service? Both you and your child or worse for the decision to place God after your games or other distractions.

I’ll stop for now; but I won’t stop trying to get people back to the values that are really important in life and cajoling everyone to make better decisions about how to use their time on Sunday mornings. You won’t find God sitting in the bleachers next to you at your child’s game.


The smartphone is our bucket…

July 8, 2017

In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack Freed shared this little quote – “Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of knowledge.”  (Isaac Bashevis Singer).  Jack went on to write – A little boy kept dipping a pail into the sea and running back to pour it into a hole.  “What are you doing?” someone asked.  “I’m emptying the ocean into this hole.” He replied.  Basically, that explains our quest for knowledge. 

Perhaps one appeal of the modern smartphone is that it acts like that little boy’s bucket and allows us to empty the ocean of knowledge into the hole in or heads. When webrain map constantly “Google” things we are emptying the ocean of knowledge into our heads, one bucket-load at a time, at least that’s a rationalization that I like to think justifies my constant use of my smartphone.

Some people joke that their phone is smarter than they are and for some that may be true; however, the phone is just a conduit (a bucket, if you will) for accessing the vast ocean of knowledge that is floating all around us in the ubiquitous “cloud”. The Google search app just happens to be one of the better ways to access that knowledge. Google is just the modern and fast way to do what we’ve always done – look for and read and process information.

In the “good ole days” we might go to the library and look something up in a dictionary or an encyclopedia. It was a time-consuming exercise and perhaps not always successful, since you had to know where to look. Just like a Google search using the wrong search terms, you could end up not finding what you were looking for in the books that the library had available.  Now we literally have all the books right at hand through the women with open mindInternet and Google; however, if the results that you needed were on page 10 of the Goggle search results you may never find them. At the library we were shown how to use the card catalogue and the Dewey Decimal System to look up various books (undoubtedly now available on a computer at the library). Today we have to learn how to formulate the right inquiry for a search engine, in order to find what we need.

There are lots of bad habits that we can get into with modern technology, including the use of it while driving, and the pitfalls of the use of social media have been well documented. The use of modern technology and the search apps that are available is probably one of the good uses. Others, such as GPS-enables maps and location-based local information are good time-savers. Of course there are the amusements, too – gamesknowledge in and music and video – which, if managed properly can be good things. All-in-all the smartphone is a great bucket to be carrying around with us, so long as we do not let it turn into a crutch that replaces thinking and good decision making or a master to which we become enslaved.

Got to go. I found a great event to go to today by Goggling “events in the local area”.


The Fourth of July Parade in Mayberry

July 4, 2017

Many people like to think of Milford, Michigan as a modern-day version of the fictional town of Mayberry that was the setting for the Andy Griffith Show Mayberry RFD. There are some seminaries. Milford is a small town in a somewhat rural setting. We have a basically a two block long downtown, with a light at each end (which Mayberry didn’t have). We have quaint little stores and a barber shop in the middle of the downtown. But there the similarities probably end. We have a vibrant set of restaurants within the downtown area, as well as three jewelry stores, an exercise place, a bridal boutique and a women’s store that is known state wide for its “social ware” (think weddings and special occasions requiring a gown and not just a dress).

But getting back to the Mayberry theme, we do have several parades a year, starting with the big Memorial Day Parade, which is one of the biggest and best in Southeastern Michigan for honoring our veterans, and then the Independence Day Parade, which was today and ending the year with the Christmas Parade, which takes place on Thanksgiving weekend. Interspersed before, after and in between are a bunch of minor parades – the Martin Luther King Parade in January, the Little League Parade down Main Street at the start of the baseball season, the Homecoming Parade for the local High School are three that come to mind. There are several other occasions that close down main street; an event that seems to average about one closure per month. That’s small-town America at its finest.

start of paradeSo today we had the Fourth of July Parade. Well over a thousand local people lined Main Street, many staking out their favorite spot by leaving blankets and/or chairs on the sidewalk on main street as early as the night before the parade. The parade didn’t start until 11 AM, but there were people out before 10 AM. Some came much earlier and had breakfast in one of our downtown restaurants before claiming their spot for the parade.  The local AmVets group walked up and down the parade route handing out small American flags, so that the kids and their parents had something patriotic to wave as the parade passed by them. An entrepreneur also walked up and down selling cotton candy to excited kids who awaited the start of the parade. How Mayberry-like is all of that?

The parade stepped off precisely at 11 Am with the Village Police Chief leading the parade. I can just imagine Sheriff Taylor doing the same in his police car in Mayberry. Then came the procession of walking groups, homemade floats, decorated vehicles and Rotary Duck Race kidsbicycles and the horses. This year we had the Huron-Kensington Metroparks 6-horse Clydesdale wagon in our parade, which is like the Budweiser Clydesdales that we see on TV coming to Mayberry. We also had horses from the Cowboy Church of Michigan and from the local Kensington Trail Riders organization.

Of course we also had politics in the parade, with many local politicians marching to remind their constituents to vote for them in the next election for whatever elected position for which they might be running. And this year, we had the pro- and anti-Trump groups, which is something in national and local politics that would have been out of Bridge to Unity floatplace in Mayberry and perhaps was a little too political even for a Milford parade. But we got through it without incident. We also had a fly-over with a single plane from the Tuskegee Air Museum making several passes over the parade route. It was an old T-6 Trainor from WWII, which might have been a modern plane back in the time depicted on TV in Mayberry.

All–in-all, it was a great parade in small town America and the absolute best way for those who came to view it to pause and celebrate this great country. Where else but America could you go see such a parade that is set in, and filled with the small town values of, Mayberry.  Maybe you had a parade like ours, too, in your little piece of Mayberry.