Cultural Glimpse

Enjoying diversity

Month: June, 2014

Making a Wish at the Ford House!

Peter Pan

The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House was transformed into Peter Pan’s Neverland Adventure on Saturday, June 28. Edsel Ford was the only child of Clara Bryant and Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company. Edsel became involved in his father’s company at an early age and by 25, he became president of his father’s company. This was in 1919. When his wife Eleanor died in 1976, at age 80, the Detroit Free Press wrote, “Mrs. Ford’s greatest gift to the public, indeed, her greatest legacy, is her home, which she had transferred to a trust with the request that it be used for the benefit of the public.”

Yesterday was my first time visiting this lovely home, and from the moment we entered its beautiful gates, it was magical. We were greeted by a pirate who held a little bell over each person’s head and said with a hearty smile, “Make a wish!”

He actually waited a few seconds for us to make that wish before we moved on into a vast garden filled with games, rides and Walt Disney characters such as Captain Hook, Aerial and Tinkerbell. There was a full-size playhouse that the Fords had built for their children, a pool, a breathtaking lake. There was a pool house and the main house, which we could have taken a tour of had we not had to oblige to the children wanting a face paint.

So I will be returning to this house, and surely writing a post about it. Until then, I will make an effort to remember to let my heart be as childlike as Peter Pan as every morning, I allow myself to “make a wish” and then, of course, believe!

Michael Czarnecki’s Rich Life


Whenever I receive a journal entry from Wheeler Hill Journal, I stop and stare at the words for a moment. I remember the author, Michael Czarnecki, whom I met at Oakland Community College years ago. We had sat around a table with two other women. I listened to him tell how in 1995, he decided to quit selling wine and make a living being a poet, publisher, oral memoirist and encourager, a decision which gave him the pleasure of going on “poetic road journeys” with his son.

In his recent entry, Czarnecki talks about how his family, who lives on Wheeler Hill near his Amish neighbors, has identified 92 species of flowers on the property as of today.

“We have been doing this for a little over a decade now,” he wrote. Last year, they counted 161 flowers, which was a record. The Czarnecki family also keeps track of the birds every year. Their average yearly count has been in the seventies.

Whenever Czarnecki shares his adventures, I am in awe to this rich life that like that of multi-millionaires, seems not easily attainable, belongs to the courageous that honor their lives enough to go after their dreams and live life to the fullest.
May such people’s lives inspire all of us to listen to and honor our calling!

Many of Czarnecki’s photos are featured on this Facebook link:

Thomas Turns 50 Years old!

You wouldn’t think it by looking at him, but Thomas the Tank Engine is 50 years old. We celebrated his birthday (though we did not know it was his birthday) by going on one of his rides at Greenfield Village.

Thomas was born when Anglican clergyman, the Reverend Wilbert Awdry created him in order to entertain his young son Christopher, who was recovering from scarlet fever. Christopher, like all children, wanted the stories of the train engine to be repeated repeatedly. His father obliged. Mrs. Awdry believed so much in these stories that she encouraged her husband to publish them, and in 1945 the first of the Railway Series of books appeared.

After twenty six books, the Reverend called it quits and his son decided to continue to write stories for his son, creating ten more books. Sometimes less effort and more love create gigantic results.


Maleficent is Magnificent


When we decided to go to the movies, we split up. The men and boys went to watch How to Train Your Dragon 2, and my daughter and I went to see Maleficent which stars Angelina Jolie. It was her pick, and it was wonderful because aside from taking us into the enchanted world of faeries, it was not your typical prince saves the princess story. True love can and does save lives, and sometimes it comes from people you least expect.

In Maleficent, the moral of the story is that society’s greed – particularly that of patriarchy – is the villain that generates more villains. The pure of heart could either fall into the trap of having a bitter and vengeful attitude, or they could rise above it, and have victory over themselves!

That is the choice we make everyday.

Terrorists Won – Now We’re Really Safe!

Terrorists Won

Over the weekend, the second largest city in Iraq, Mosul, fell and yesterday Saddam Hussein’s home city of Tikrit has fallen. Is Baghdad next in line in what CNN calls “rapid takeovers”? So far, more than 500,000 civilians have fled the fighting that was brought about Islamic Militants.

My opinion? Joshua Blain described it best in his post to a CNN article:

“The reality is that this is all our fault. While Saddam Hussein was indeed a dictator and corrupt, he did not tolerate Islamic extremist groups in his country because they were a threat to his secular regime. Though a dictator, he maintained stability in the country and overall the people lived in peace and had a great education system. We then went in and destabilized the country by removing Saddam and leaving a massive power void, allowing extremist groups to flood the country. In essence we created the very environment we said we were going to eliminate. The great irony is that to the people of Iraq, we are the weapons of mass destruction.”

What “If Only” Moments Are in Your Life Right Now?

If Only

“Our Creator wants our ‘If only’ moments to become teaching moments,” said Pastor Marcus during today’s sermon at Freedom Christian.

The pastor shared how over a bad break-up, he had become sad, depressed, angry and bitter because he held on to one ‘if only’ moment rather than learn from it and move on.
“We use our ‘if only’ moments as an excuse not to take responsibility for our lives,” he said. “We say, ‘If only I had a different upbringing, a different past, or if I could clear up some things in my life, then I could have this or that, or have a relationship with my Creator.”

He told us the story of King David, who said to God, “If only you, God, would slay the wicked!” because King David felt that if God could do this one thing for him, he in return could do so much for God.

“When you identify what your ‘if only’ moments are and hang onto it, you get stuck in your struggles and pain because you blame someone else for your life,” said Pastor Marcus. “You do not take responsibility for your actions. You lose your dreams and hopes because it’s hard to look towards your future. You never progress emotionally and get stuck in immature ways of thinking.”

While Pastor Marcus would not trade his ‘if only’ moments, as they helped him be the man he is today, he also encourages us to have God help us turn our ‘if only’ moments into a teaching moment.

If only people would take this message seriously…