Reach out, I’ll be there…

July 23, 2012

I started my day with this little gem from my favorite blog, Jack’s Winning  Words – “When you reach out, the chances are pretty good that someone will reach back.” (Cheryl Richardson)

Jack went on to site a memory from the old Lucile Ball show I Love Lucy were Lucy and Ethel sang the song Friendship to each other, with the line from the song, “ If you’re ever in a jam, here I am.”

As I thought about it, it occurred to me that men seem to have much more of a problem reaching out in times of need than women. I guess it’s a macho guy thing to “suck it up” and hold things in, rather than reaching out for help. Of cours,e some women keep things in too.

The image that flashed through my mind was from one of those TV commercials about depression – people sitting alone in a depressed state of mind.  There may be drugs to help with that, but I suspect that being able to reach out and having someone reach back to you would do as much good as many of those drugs.

I also thought about how often we may miss opportunities to reach back to others.  How often do we walk around someone who is obviously hurting to avoid getting sucked into their despair?  Do we sometimes avoid making eye contact with someone who is desperately seeking someone to talk to, because we have other things to do? I also wonder sometimes how many lonely old people sit staring out the window of their assisted living rooms wishing that someone would stop in for a chat.

I’ve also noticed, as I get older and a tiny bit wiser, that those who do respond; those who make the effort to reach back, seem to be as rewarded for the experience as those who were reaching out. There is a reward here on earth, as well as in heaven, I suspect, for caring enough to reach back to someone who needs help.

So keep an eye out today and every day for those whose glance in your direction is really a cry for help. For many it is hard to verbalize the request for help, but you can see it in body language and in the eyes. See if you can turn a tear into a twinkle in someone’s eyes today.


It’s there if you look for it…

March 23, 2020

It is easy in these unsettling times to allow yourself to be dragged down into the doom and gloom that seem to be all around. Many find comfort and guidance in music and song. I found this classic performance by Judy Garland with a message of perseverance and hope. The words are simple and straightforward , set in the context of a housewife engaged in the daily drudge of washing dishes.

As I wash my dishes, I’ll be following a plan

Till I see the brightness in every pot and pan

I am sure this point of view will ease the daily grind

So I’ll keep repeating in my mind

Look for the silver lining

Whenever a cloud appears in the blue

Remember somewhere the sun is shining

And so the right thing to do is make it shine for you

A heart full of joy and gladness

Will always banish sadness and strife

So always look for the silver lining

And try to find the sunny side of life

In this time of unprecedented disruption in our daily lives, it is perhaps hard for some to see a silver lining or find he sunny side of life. Perhaps the key to finding the silver lining amidst the gloom that surrounds us is knowing where to look.  A good starting point is the Bible. The silver lining that is revealed in the Bible is not a sunny day, nor does the Bible promise that all of the troubles that you face will magically go away. What is does promise is relief from fear and anxiety for those who believe.

Belief in Jesus, and why He was sent to earth by God, takes away the fear of death. That doesn’t mean that you have license to do foolhardy things. It just means that you don’t have to waste your energy worrying about death, because you know what happens next. A strong belief frees you to do positive things with your life and not spend it hunkered down in fear.

You could choose to spend your time while you are sequestered at home  watching movies or reruns of TV shows or you could revisit your Bible and find the silver lining in the words that you will find there. Just Google “Bible verses dealing with adversity”, if you need help getting started.

The silver lining in this and all things is there if you know where to look.


Don’t let your mind become tethered…

March 13, 2015

“Imprisonment of the body is bitter; imprisonment of the mind is worse.”  (Thornton Wilder – The Ides of March)  – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write – I once had a tour of Jackson State Prison.  After that experience I realized what a severe penalty it is to be sentenced to “life in prison.”  But worse than “life”, is the locking-up of one’s mind.  “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.”  Society needs to address the problem of mind-robbing sub-par schools and the problem of mind-robbing diseases.

I have written here before about the ability of the mind to soar, even if the body is imprisoned or it is trapped in a dysfunctional body – see post.  I agree with Jack that the sub-par school systems that some are relegated to in our society wastes the minds that flow through them by limiting the training and support that allow those minds to grow, experience and learn about the world. At the other end of life the mind-robbing diseases like Alzheimer’s seem more like a cage that is getting smaller and smaller as more and more of the memories that make up one’s knowledge base drift away, until one is left in the child-like state of a newborn. I agree that more research and more work is needed on both of those issues.

Another issue that I’ve also written about here before seems to me to also be a dui tetherrather large threat to imprison the mind or perhaps the better analogy would be to put the mind on a tether. In Michigan the police use what is called a DUI Tether or SCRAM bracelet, which is as device that is worn usually around the ankle and which can detect any use of alcohol by the wearer. Click here to read an article about how it works and is used. The threat that I’m referring to is our smartphones. Many people have become tethered to their smartphones to such an extent that they actually feel phantom vibrations even when not carrying the phone and suffer a form of separation anxiety if they somehow forget their phone. Even worse, in my mind and admittedly in my case, is how slavishly we react to any call or message or other demand that our phone might make upon us.

The whole texting while driving issue is just one indicator of that inexplicable need to respond to anything that happens on our phone. I often stop and think, “Does it really matter that I respond right now to that text message, in the middle missed callof whatever I’m doing, or can it wait a few minutes?” Does the fact that my phone just buzzed in my pocket, indicating that a new eMail has arrived mean that I must put it out, even while trying to navigate through rush-hour traffic, to try to see what it’s all about? Is that call from some number that I don’t have in my contacts list really likely to be important enough to answer in the middle of dinner? The answer to all of those is obviously No; however the reality all to often is that I do it anyway. I have become tethered to my phone (or by my phone). My mind, in a manner of speaking, has been imprisoned by this beast.

The use of, and your devoted service to, your cell phone can be compared to an addiction. Like any other addiction, it is hard to break. I suspect that a scientific phone with msgstudy of the problem would discover that some endorphin of some sort is released in our brains when we respond to the phone ad that we get used to and actually start craving that endorphin. Maybe it has something to do with wanting to feel connected somehow to other human beings. I’ve seen people spend their entire time at the gym, cycling through various machines and the treadmill, and never get off the phone. I’ve witnessed (in exasperation because it happened right I front of me) a person take a phone call in the middle of a wedding ceremony and actually spend time talking while the preacher was reading through the wedding vows. And I’ve almost been hit a few times by motorists who ran a stop sign at a corner because they were on their phone texting and didn’t see the sign or me. Those were people who had lost control of their own minds to their phones – they were tethered to their phones.

So, now, when I go to church on Sunday morning I leave my phone in the car. I suffer the anxiety of being separated from it for a few moments and I still look at it the instant that I get back into the car to see what I might have missed (never anything important it seems); but I no longer respond to a buzz in my pocket in the midst of the sermon (although, I’ll admit that I’ve experienced phantom buzzes in the midst of the service from time to tome) . It’s a start and an admission that I’ve made to myself that I had become tethered to my phone. I still have work to do on that.

How about you? Are you tethered to your phone? Do you feel those phantom vibrations every now and then?  Do you still check to see what it is that just came in, even in the midst of driving? If you forget your phone at home, do you turn around to go get it or just tell yourself that you’ll check it when you get home? Have you ever spent a hour of more talking on the phone while you were doing other things?  There aren’t Phone Tethered Anonymous groups; but, perhaps there should be.  It’s something to think about over the weekend. Maybe you could put down your phone and get outside for a while without it. After all, that’s what voice mail is for. Have a great weekend.


Goin’ to the motorcycle show…

June 2, 2012

I’ll be in booth 9 at the Motorcycle Mecca show at The Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi this morning from 10 am until 2 pm.

No, I’m not a biker. I don’t ride (yet). I’ll be there selling raffle tickets on behalf of the Milford Historical Society (MHS). MHS in conjunction with the Milford Civil War group is raffling off a 2012 FLHX103 Harley-Davidson Street Glide motorcycle as a fund-raiser. The bike will have a special Civil War paint theme and will be awarded in time for the winner to ride it in the 4th of July parade in Milford.

Tickets for the raffle are $20 and only 3,000 tickets will be sold; so, the odds of wining are much better than your odds of winning anything playing the Lottery. Net proceeds from the raffle (after paying for the motorcycle) will go to fund the activities of the Milford Historical Society, which include putting on the 4th of July parade. The drawing for the motorcycle will be held on June 30 at 2 PM at the Milford Historical Museum. The winner need not be present to win.

So, stop by booth 9 and get your ticket to win a brand new Harley.  I have my tickets already. Maybe I’ll have to learn how to ride before the parade.


Is always being “connected” good?

March 10, 2019

There is a company that Realtors and many others use to stay in touch with their past or future clients called Constant Contact. The company specializes in using electronic and paper-based messages to keep your name and product in front of people. One technique is called a drop-mail program, which is sort of like the Chinese water torture that the name conjures up in the imagination. Constant Contact keeps drip, drip, dripping emails and/or paper mail notes to the recipients until the give up and buy something or use the services being advertised. At least, that is the theory.

Our lives have evolved over the last couple of decades to include the concept of being constantly in touch, being connected somehow. For a while it was through emails and the “Crackberry” became the tool of choice for those who became hooked on constantly checking their email. More recently, of course, the smartphone and aps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp have dominated our time and attention. We are morecouple-looking-at-phones connected than ever. But, is that a good thing?

Stories about distracted walkers getting hurt or distracted drivers getting into accidents, sometimes very bad accidents, would suggest that being this connected in not good. We may laugh at the videos of people walking along fixated on their phone until they walk into a fountain or out into traffic, but it is really not funny. It is certainly not funny to see people blow through a stop sign or light because they are looking at their phone. What we don’t see are eh countless other hours a day that these people are oblivious to the people and event around them because they are absorbed in their connected world of their phone.

It is not just dangerous physically to be so focused upon that world, it is harmful and dangerous to be that disconnected from real life. Social skills fall by the wayside and are left undeveloped. Communication skills become bastardized by the use of catch phrases, acronyms and whole thoughts being reduced to 2-3 letters that are easy to type. Face to face communications, where body language may be studied to help interpret the situation are replaced by screen time where misunderstandings are commonplace and emoji’s attempt to replace facial expressions.

Of course there are very good uses for our smartphones and I’m not advocating that we get rid of them. They are wonderful tools for finding information when you need it and they even allow for great communication with others when distance is an issue; however, they are no substitute for good, old fashion conversations face to

Emoji_Face-with-Pleading-Eyesface with others. Don’t let you phone take over your life. Remain in control of it as a tool; otherwise it can become your master and lead you into electronic isolation. Maybe there’s a three letter word for that – SPS (SmartPhone Syndrome) –

So, maybe always being connected is not a good thing. Maybe it’s time to put down the phone, look up and see what’s really going on around you. Maybe you should put a smile on your face and say “Hi” to someone instead of ending an emoji to Wave at them over Facebook. You may be surprised how much more fun it can be to actually talk to someone, rather than sitting there typing away on your phone.

Oops, got to go. My phone just beeped. It might be something important. Or not. Someone wants to know where I am and what I’m doing. Maybe I’ll find out where they are and what they are dong. How exciting.


Open House at 730 Milford Glen

October 21, 2017

I’m holding 730 Milford Glen open this Sunday, Oct 22, from 1 – 4 PM.

Come out and see this wonderful 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath Cape Cod in the heart of the Village of Milford. This home features a very hard to find (in the Village) first floor master suite, with huge walk-in closet and a master bath that has separate shower and jetted tub, plus dual vanity sinks. The open floor plan entry level has a great room with gas fireplace and an office/den, in addition to the kitchen, a powder room and the laundry.

It’s an easy walk to the shops and restaurants of Milford from this little development and there is no thru-traffic in the development.

I’ll have a dish of fresh cookies for your, so come on out and see the house and have a cookie.

730 Milford Glen flyer


The journey towards perfection…

July 11, 2016

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”  (John Steinbeck in East of Eden) as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog today. Jack went on to write The Ten Commandments and The Sermon on the Mount seem to set impossible goals for us.  When Jesus says, “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” how is that possible?  Is Steinbeck suggesting something less?  I don’t think so.” 

Neither Jack nor Steinbeck are suggesting that you accept as a fact of life that you are imperfect and always will be, but rather that you keep that vision of perfection in mind as a goal and a commitment in your life. Not being perfect at the moment doesn’t mean that Perfectionwe give up the pursuit of perfection (sort of like Mercedes with their cars).

There is a quality concept in manufacturing called “continuous improvement” in which a process of continuously analyzing things that go wrong, cost time or cause waste to see if they can be improved upon. Life is like that, too. We should always strive to learn from our mistakes, to make continuous improvements in our lives and our interactions with others. We may never achieve perfection, but we should never stop striving for it.

There is an old joke that the best way not to disappoint yourself or others is to set low expectations to begin with. So if you think of yourself as a bum, as unworthy or as a bad person, that self-image becomes self-fulfilling most of the time. On the other hand, if you acknowledge that you are not perfect, but keep as your goal to move towards perfection, you can have rewarding thought of the progress that you are making with each tiny step in that journey.  You can be good and know that you rare getting better.

So, don’t get down on yourself is you make a mistake or don’t get that promotion at work bored2that you were striving for or get turned down that date that you finally worked up the courage to ask for or perhaps suffered through yet another snub or social rejection. You’re not perfect. Life isn’t perfect. Accept the temporary setback, analyze what you did or didn’t do correctly to achieve that goal and try to learn from it. More important yet, think about how this incident in your life has helped you grow as a person.

Maybe you can now see and realize that some of your goals were not really as important as you once thought they were. Perhaps some of the things (or people) that you were pursuing have turned out to be superficial and things (or people) that you really can do without. The “OMG, I’ll just die if I don’t get it” has turned into “OMG, why did I think that was important?” Maybe it’s the “G” in OMG that is helping you see things more striving for perfectionclearly and putting life into better perspective.

Don’t beat yourself up about not being perfect n God’s eyes; rather keep asking in prayer, “Please God, help me to be a better person every day.”  God has the patience to wait for you on your journey towards that perfection for which he called upon you to strive.  Don’t give up on the journey and God will not give up on you. You don’t have to be perfect, but you must keep trying. I’ll see you along the way.


Don’t DIY if you don’t KWYD…

July 27, 2015

I promise that I’ll get back to my more inspirational posts starting with the next one. I just had to get this out of my system.

The popularity of many of the HGTV home fix-up shows has spawned a host of amateur DIYers and led to a host of DIY disasters. As a Realtor I end up showing a fair number of these failed projects, many of them in foreclosure. The problem is that the would-be fixer –uppers were people who didn’t KWYD (know what you’re doing).

It all looks so easy on TV, especially the demo parts where the TV personalities seem to be having fun knocking down walls to “open up rooms”. On a few of these “reality TV” shows they at least show the unexpected that can be discovered during the demo phase – the pipes that were running behind the walls or the shoddy wiring that is really a fire hazard or maybe they “discover” that the wall was load bearing after all and needs a major engineered beam to hold the second floor up. Many DIYers often hit those problems and more, plus they discover that demolition work is not fun – it’s sweaty, dirty, hard work and disposing of the resulting waste materials can be expensive, especially  in older (or historic)  homes that may still contain hazardous materials that were in common use years ago. In Michigan, for instance, there is only one dump left open that will accept asbestos waste and it is expensive if you have asbestos waste.  If you’re planning to “open up the floor plan” as part of your renovation; in order to avoid having your house cave in upon itself, get the advice of a good structural engineer before you start knocking walls down.

Once they get to the actual renovation work, many DIYers discover that they don’t have the proper tools. In some cases those tools might be rented, but in many cases they have to be bought, which is just another unplanned expense. Learning how to properly use those special tools can be frustrating, time consuming and perhaps even dangerous. Big wood or tile saws are serious tools that can bite the user. Before you even start a DIY project you should inventory the tools that you have and compare that to those that will be needed. You can get an idea about the needed tools by reading remodeling books. You might be able to get a good handle on the cost and skill needed to properly use those tools by attending one of the demonstration programs at your local Home Depot or Lowes store. Some even have some hands on training time.

Along with tools there is technique. Many aspects of a renovation job involved mastering specific techniques of working with the materials involved, especially if plaster repairs are involved. It’s not that you can’t slap a bunch of plaster up on the ceiling or wall and smooth it out; it’s that it will look like you slapped a bunch of plaster up on the ceiling or wall and tried to smooth it out.  It takes years of experience for professionals to master some of the techniques involved in their trades. Even painting is an area in which the differences in results between the average DIY person and a pro will be noticeable. You can put up all of the blue painter’s tape you want and still not get a job that looks as good as a painter who cuts his edges in with a brush and no tape at all.

Before you jump into any major remodeling project also make sure that you understand the local building codes and regulations about permits and inspections. Most projects that involve major changes to the plumbing system or the electrical system and any structural changes will require both permits and inspections by the building official for your area. I’ve seen finished projects in which the walls had to be opened up again because the DIYer forgot to pull the necessary permits or didn’t get the work inspected before the drywall went up. That can be a very expensive mistake. I’ve seen building officials make the DIYer tear down the newly installed drywall so they can inspect the plumbing or electrical work. And don’t think that because you’re working inside and you don’t think that anybody will notice that you’re making changes that you won’t have to pull a permit or get the job inspected. Many times a neighbor will report the work or just rumors on the street (or in your Facebook posts) may alert the officials.  It could also come back to haunt you when you try to sell the place. There is a question on the Seller’s Disclosure form for Michigan that specifically asks if you’ve made any structural changes to the house without permits.

The bottom line is that if you don’t know what you’re doing don’t DIY. You probably won’t end up saving the money that you thought you would and you may end up decreasing the value of your home or hurting yourself in the process.  You probably already have everything that you need for even the most demanding projects. It’s called a checkbook and the only skill needed to use it is the ability to fill out the checks. DIY using that tool and get the job done right by professionals.


“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” ― H.G. Wells

June 11, 2015

“Ambition is the path to success.  Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”  (Bill Bradley) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

I would add to Bradley’s quote that “perseverance is the fuel that keeps the vehicle going”.  There are a number of quotes that have to do with people quitting when they are in reality just around the next corner from reaching their goal. They had the ambition and they may have been persistent in pursuing their goal for some time, but eventually theystruggle could not persevere through the setbacks that they hit along the way.

On the Dictionary.com site the word to persevere means to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly. In my real estate business life I tell would-be sellers that they need to mind their P’s and C’s. The three P’s of real estate are Price, Persistence and Perseverance. While the Realtor will provide useful information and market guidance to help the seller set the price, it is really up to them. After that they must be persistent in their efforts to keep the house ready to show at any time and they must persevere through what could be a long process, with potentially many disappointments when offers don’t materialized or work out.

The three C’s that are also their responsibility are Condition, Clutter and Cleanliness. They need to take care of the things that could detract from the marketability of the house, whether that be routine maintenance items or something bigger. Of course getting rid of clutter and keeping the place clean for a showing comes with the territory, too. I suspect that there is value in applying those same guidelines to life in general, by keeping yourself maintained (in good health and condition and looking presentable) and decluttering your life. I’m just going to assume that you keep yourself clean (literally and figuratively).

reaching goalAs I revisit the first sentence in today’s little saying I think that ambition is what turns dreams into goals and plans to achieve those goals. We all have dreams about getting somewhere in life or achieving some goals in life, but not everyone takes the next steps with those dreams and creates plans to achieve them (ambitions). Those plans are the road maps (the paths if you will) for how to get there (what you have to do) to achieve those dreams. There may be stops or turns along the way and those may be intermediate goals. Dreams that are never turned into ambitions are sometimes called pipe dreams.

Some people advise us to pray for what we want in life. I would advise that you pray for the perseverance needed to get what you want in life. Pray for the strength to work through adversity, to endure the pains and burdens that you may have to bear and for the belief in yourself that you will achieve your goals if you just work long enough and hard enough towards them. Instead of saying “Lord, do this for me”, pray instead, “Lord, give me the strength, the courage, the faith and the perseverance to do this myself.” Then, as you are on the journey towards achieving your ambitions; when your persistent efforts exhaust you; you’ll know who to turn to in order to refill your tank (to persevere).

Here’s a great little saying by Mary Anne Radmacher –  “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”  That is the courage to persevere. Have a great today and tomorrow.


Use your mind’s eye to find your happy place…

October 10, 2014

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, or even touched.  They must be felt within the heart.”  (Helen Keller) – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Isn’t the imagery that we have created around parts of our bodies and how we “use” them in our everyday lives interesting? We say that we see things “in our mind’s eye.” We may make decisions based upon a feeling in our gut or perhaps in our heart. We may love people with all our heart.  We feel things with our heart. We try to “get our head around” things. We can be “touched” by others without physical contact.  We may say that the death of a loved one can make the heart ache; and, thinking of difficult things is sometimes said to make your head hurt.

We tend to use those to describe feelings that are deep and most of the time very emotional and we need a place brain mapto locate them within our physical existence, so we choose body parts.  I suppose that we are lucky that someone in antiquity choose the heart as the symbol for love and not our brains; otherwise, we might be delivering box of candy shaped like the brain. Of course modern science has been able to locate and map out the portions of our brains that are really involved in all of the emotions that we have and so far none of the maps have pointed to the heart or revealed a real eye in the brain.

But, let’s let go of science and accept things as we feel them. Helen Keller couldn’t see or hear, but she somehow came to understand the concept of beauty and could see them in her mind’s eye and feel them in her heart.  Even if you have normal eyesight there are things that you cannot see that you may have some feel for in your mind’s eye. Hypnotists sometimes help people find their “happy place”, somewhere that either they have been to in the past or a totally imaginary place that they can conjure up in their mind. With your eyes closed you can “see it” and feel the happiness that being there brings. Do you have a happy place that you go to when you need to? Usually they are quiet, comfortable and safe feeling places; many times they may even be places from your childhood memories. They cannot be touched or seen but they are felt in your heart and thus seen in your mind’s eye.

If you have never really tried to conjure up your “happy place”, I encourage you to do so. Having a refuge like that, which you can visit whenever you need to, can be a life changer (sometimes a life saver). Some people get Butterfliesto their happy place through a form of meditation; others may use prayer to get there. How you get there is less important that the fact that you can get there and that being there makes you feel better, more at peace and more able to cope. It’s not really so much about escaping whatever caused you to need to go there; it’s more about regaining control over the emotions of the situation, calming down, and getting back within yourself. While you are there, if you look around; you will likely also find the strength and the courage to persevere, once you have to return to your conscious life.

There also tend to be a lot of faith and hope to be found in your happy place. That gets back to getting back in control of your emotions. You can once again have hope, maybe based upon faith or maybe just based upon taking a calmer look at the situation.  Even if the situation is beyond hope, there is still faith; for it is faith that allows you to step off into the abyss that you can see knowing that you will not fall due to the power that you cannot see. It is so much easier to take the step of faith if you are already in your happy place and at peace.  women dreaming

So, get off by yourself this weekend; maybe with a little soft music in the background and a nice glass of wine, perhaps sitting in front of a crackling fireplace, and find your personal happy place. Go there. See it in your mind. Remember it and how to get there; then use it whenever life starts to overwhelm you or when emotions overtake you. It’s a beautiful place that you will feel in your heart.

Have a great weekend! I’ll see you next week. I’m off to my happy place for the weekend.