Posted by: energywriter | March 5, 2017

Daughters Tackle the Army

Thoughts to Ponder

February 28, 2017

A year after their brother joined the Marines, my identical twin daughters left home to join the Army. I didn’t write an essay about their departure and it disappointed them. When they asked why I told them the truth. The stories would have been almost identical except for writing daughters instead of son and Army instead of Marines. Now I can look back and write what I was unable to say back then.

I was so proud of my girls choosing the Army both to serve and to learn a usable skill. Yet I worried about them differently than I had my son. I knew they could surmount whatever challenges they faced in basic training, but as girls they were much more vulnerable in so many ways than their older brother was. Because they chose different job specialties, one a food inspector, the other personnel manager, they went to basic and advanced training at different locations. These two girls, who had functioned almost as one entity for 17 years, were now forced to be individuals, relying on themselves.

All I could do was trust God that they would be safe. As far as I know they were, but I also know they still hide unpleasant facts from me. Whatever they faced they became strong women. As they matured both married career Army men. Both men were good choices. One daughter gave me a granddaughter and grandson. In turn they have given me five great-grandsons so far. The other daughter has become a close friend and support for her stepsons and their families.

These women have been my cheerleaders, strength, motivation, wisdom and caretakers. They encouraged me when I went to college, they supported me when I faced life-changing decisions and cheered me during down times. They monitor my health and support me when my spirit is low. Best of all, I feel that they do it out of love rather than duty. Sometimes I think that is more than I deserve. Even so, I am so proud of them and brag on them every chance I get. Most of that bragging is vocal, but it’s long past time to put those words in writing.

So, I’m taking this opportunity to say, “Linda and Sarah and am so proud of you. You’ve become strong women who exemplify all that is honorable and compassionate. You are role models for younger women – and for me. I trust your words and actions and probably rely on you more than I should. Thank you for gracing my life.”

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of Echoes of Your Choices, a motivational book, and one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

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Posted by: energywriter | February 28, 2017

Thoughts to Ponder

February 28, 2017

“Here are the two best prayers I know:

‘Help me, help me, help me’ and

‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’

Anne Lamott1

“I would maintain that thanks are the best form of thought;

and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

G.K. Chesterton2

Those two quotes sum up the main teachings of any belief practice. Remember those sermons about sin and repentance or rules for correct spiritual practice? As we think of the rules we’ve been taught, we may wonder where this topic is going.

However, if we stop to analyze those lessons we will remember that the two main points our spiritual leader was trying to make were:

  • I’m in trouble and need help.
  • Help received. Thank you.

After considering the main points of those sermons, we may stop to consider events when our situations improved, perhaps unexpectedly. We were happy that it was resolved and wondered how it all happened. Often, we assigned those small or large miracles to mere coincidences. Possibly, if we were spiritually inclined, we might say something like, “God was on my side that time.” That is expressing gratitude or “happiness doubled by wonder.”

While I acknowledge God as the Supreme, Eternal Being, I tend to anthropomorphize that entity and the angels or spirit guides as someone I can talk to like my best friend. I like to start my prayers with gratitude. I wake up in the morning and say good morning and thank you to God for giving me a new day and the gifts of sun, trees…. Then I tell the Higher Power that on this day I choose to be the highest and best me I can be. After that I ask for the guidance and the ability to do what is mine to do. As I end this conversation I express my gratitude again, knowing that all that happens this day will be in my Highest Good.

Those of you who know me personally are probably saying her life does not reflect the words she is writing. That is so true. I tend to take the easy way out in many aspects of my life. Then I wonder why certain miracles are not forthcoming.

Spiritual teacher Doreen Virtue3 advises us that God and the angels will always help but you must first ask. If I follow that advice and ask my Higher Power to assist me as I do what is on my to-do list, each situation is resolved quickly, leaving me to wonder what the big deal was – and grateful.

The point of that confession is to admit that my Eternal Source has not let me down. I cannot blame God for not giving me my heart’s desire. Instead, I must admit that I often do not follow divine prompting and take the action that is mine to take.

Spirit, Thank you for this new day, new beginning. I ask that you will show me what action is mine to take today. I will ask for help when I need it and express gratitude when that help appears. And, so it is.

1Quotables, O the Oprah Magazine, September 2016

2ibid

3Virtue, Doreen, Hay House World Angel Summit, audio, “Real World Angel Experiences”, February 28, 2017

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of Echoes of Your Choices, a motivational book, and one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Posted by: energywriter | January 31, 2017

We can use fear for good

Thoughts to Ponder

January 31, 2017

“Fear is faith that it won’t work out.”

Sister Mary Tricky*

 “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself….”

Franklin D. Roosevelt**

 

Recently I wrote about life being stressful and the need to find relief by finding ways to relax and laugh. Since then I have become aware that stress is often a disguise for fear.

Fear tends to be sneaky and finds many ways to insert itself into our lives. One way it manifests in my life is that I say that I don’t like roller coasters because they upset my stomach.  What I really mean is that I am afraid I’ll vomit and humiliate myself. Gosh, so that’s why thrill rides are often called vomit comets. I also say I’m afraid that I’ll drop my cell phone, knowing that it would shatter into many pieces. What I really fear is that I will fall out and my body will shatter into pieces. That’s an unlikely scenario, but it is real to me.

Many people face their fear by riding the coaster and enjoying the adrenaline rush. Their anticipation of the rush is stronger than their fear. Think I’ll ever get there? Nah! Besides, my cardiologist would get mad at me.

I recall hearing that anger is the face of fear and know that is true. I’ve seen this happen in my life and I see it happening in the world around me. Some people face their fear by protesting. Others yell at the television. Still others have health failures because their bodies can’t handle the stress.

This became all too real to me recently. A couple weeks ago I had a scary dream that caused my body to tremor for several hours until I spoke with a trusted advisor. That person led me in a meditation that showed me I was fighting Fear with a capitol F that is a part of me. I have to accept that, but I don’t have to live by Fear’s rules. That exercise lowered Fear’s impact to a lower case f on an important portion of my life and gave me freedom to try certain things that I’d been delaying for fear of failure.

However, over the past several days I’d noticed that my body was rebelling, a pain here, an ache there, and so on. I tried relaxation and physical exercise to no avail. Finally, I felt prompted to calm myself and just let my thoughts guide me. Those thoughts reminded me that this fear had a different cause and that sometimes it gives us pain to keep us stuck in a dark personal space, that place where fear controls us.

Then my thoughts (guides) gave me the realization that I have a platform for sharing this information and that I should use it because many others besides me are living in the same fear. They think it their bodies are failing, but they aren’t. Their bodies are simply holding the fear that is preventing us from moving forward. They think they are angry, but they are afraid their world is crumbling around them. We can’t stop those people whose actions distress us from doing what they are determined to do, but we can lessen their impact by not concentrating on the “what if” aspect of what we see.

I’m not going to be ingenuous and say that I no longer have fear. I don’t want to be fear-free. After all, fear is what keeps me from stepping in front of a fast moving vehicle. Instead, I asked fear to take its proper place in my life, keeping me safe when necessary while allowing me to move forward in other areas, such as writing this short essay.

For those who aren’t sure that angels/guides can teach us:

“The answers will always be discovered when we connect to Mother Earth.”

A Window of Wisdom***

We do this by sitting on the ground and feeling the Earth’s energy. If we’re not as agile as we used to be, we can sit outside in a lawn chair with our bare feet touching the ground. As we relax, we can feel our stress drain into the soil. If we leave our feet there a bit longer, we can feel regenerating energy flowing back up our feet and legs.

Spirit,

Thank you for giving us the gift of fear and showing us how we can use it for our protection without allowing it to dominate our lives and prevent us from doing the job we are on Earth to do. Thank you for making us aware that we can use fear for reasonable protection rather than a barrier to prevent us from being who we are meant to be.

 And, so it is.

* Andrews, Robert, The New Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations, page 480. Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933 (also used in other FDR addresses and by other world leaders)

**Warner, Carolyn, Treasury of Women’s Quotations, page 114, Prentiss Hall

***Window 1397-Step Outside, https://awindowofwisdom.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/windo-1397-step-outside/

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of Echoes of Your Choices, a motivational book, and one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Posted by: energywriter | January 19, 2017

Laughter really is the best medicine

Thoughts to Ponder

April 8, 2016

“The more stressful, baffling, or unpleasant your situation,

The more important it is to laugh at it.”

Martha Beck*

“You grow up the day you have your first real laugh, at yourself.”

Ethel Barrymore**

Life has been stressful for all of us for quite some time. All sorts of things have weighed on our minds: economy, weather, politics and our own personal issues. We’re allowing ourselves to turn into a nation of curmudgeons.

It’s time to reverse that trend and remember to laugh again. During our nation’s stressful times, humor helped people laugh and relax just a little. A few of those people are President Abraham Lincoln, who loved a good anecdote, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Erma Bombeck, and Robin Williams. They found ways to make distressing events funny. Every drama includes one or two of humorous incidents to break up the heaviness. How often have you been in a serious meeting where little is accomplished, then someone makes a joke, everyone laughs and immediately you are finding solutions to your dire dilemma.

Let’s dial back on the news and drama shows on television and focus on what is happening closer to home. We’ll see our children, our pets and, most of all, ourselves in a new light. Rent a funny movie and kick-start laughing with the whole family. The next time you spill your cereal on yourself, don’t worry about the mess, but imagine how funny you look to the rest of your family.

Spirit, Thank you for the ability to laugh at ourselves. Often we don’t realize what a gift humor is until we’ve been surrounded by seriousness and someone makes a joke in the middle of it all. And, so it is.

*Beck, Martha, Daily Inspiration for January 19, 2017, info@marthabeck.com

** Warner, Carolyn, Treasury of Women’s Quotations, pg 169, Prentiss Hall

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of Echoes of Your Choices, a motivational book, and one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Posted by: energywriter | December 21, 2016

Holiday Sanity

Thoughts to Ponder

 “If you long for the world to be a saner, more loving place,

please be advised that you must start inside.

Care for your sick, anxious, exhausted self as lovingly

as you want to care for every suffering thing.”

*Martha Beck

This is such a busy time of year. Many holiday events keep us busy, so busy we often feel frazzled rather than joyful. We want to attend special holiday programs, spend extra time with our families, buy gifts for everyone who has graced our lives this year, decorate our houses, cook bountiful holiday meals with all the traditional foods and enjoy the loving spirit of the season.

Whew! Can really do all that? We try. Then feelings of inadequacy begin to creep into our psyches. We begin to criticize ourselves for not being up to the gigantic tasks we set for ourselves. We’ve pushed our bodies and our minds beyond what they were intended to do. How can we enjoy the holidays when we are exhausted and stressed?

Perhaps it’s time to remember that we are called human BEINGS rather than human DOINGS for a reason. This is the time when we must do as Beck suggests and care for ourselves “as lovingly as you want to care for every suffering thing.” Our Higher Power wants us to enjoy life, to be healthy, happy and sane. How do we accomplish this seemingly impossible task? How do we take care of everyone and ourselves too?

Beck answers this in her December 19th message:

“One little thing. Just do one little thing. The first one little thing is to get a piece of paper and write down ALL THE THINGS. Then eat ice cream or pie, for purposes of recovery. Then decide on the most pressing one of ALL THE THINGS, and do one little thing about it.”

Sounds simple, yet in our complex world this can be very hard to do. We don’t know how to choose the most pressing activity. We have to finish gift shopping, buy groceries at the last minute so nothing is stale or wilted, do laundry so we all look good at the concert, fix a treat for the office party and on and on and on.

Perhaps the most pressing thing is to read a story with our child, or tell our spouse that we are glad that he or she is in our lives. Or just maybe the most pressing thing is to take a nap and awaken refreshed. We can only decide for ourselves what is most important. No one else can make that decision for us.

Spirit: Thank you for bringing this valuable lesson to our attention when we need it most. We are finite humans, not the super heroes we perceive ourselves to be. Yet by taking care of ourselves and trusting that with You all things are possible, we can often do heroic deeds – one moment at a time. And, so it is.

*Beck, Martha, Martha’s Daily Inspiration, December 8, 2016, info@marthabeck.com

**ibid, December 19,2016

© by Sharon D. Dillon, December 21, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as a paperback or e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.img_0686

Posted by: energywriter | December 2, 2016

Gratitude without platitude

Thoughts to Ponder

 “… When you receive, not only do you affirm your own worthiness

and open the way for more,

but you make possible greater joys for the giver….

*The Universe

So many holidays this time of year can lead to stress or to joy. That choice is entirely up to us. We start the season with Halloween and giving candy to Trick or Treaters. While we’re still eating the leftovers we’re shopping for Thanksgiving. We cook for days and dinner dishes aren’t finished yet when stores begin their Black Friday sales. From then on, preparing for all the winter gift giving opportunities keeps us on our toes, trying to avoid traffic jams at the malls, watching the ads for sales and telling the kids that, “That expensive toy may not be in Santa’s budget this year.”

Each winter we have Hannukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Years, all gift giving and receiving opportunities. We go to store after store looking for perfect gifts. Some of us actually started craft projects months ago. Either way we are putting a lot of thought and effort into our gifting opportunities.

We should put just as much effort into our receiving opportunities. This is not to say we should heap flatteries over an unwanted item. But we should recognize that the giver made an effort to find something we’d like and acknowledge that. One example of not receiving graciously is my mother who was taught to be a humble receiver. Humble is good, degrading yourself is not.

No matter what I gave her it was too much and/or too expensive. After years of her denigrating herself as well as my gifts, I said, “Mom, you take all the fun out of giving.” To her question of how, I replied that each birthday and Christmas I tried to find the perfect gift. Each time she said it was too much. Her negative comments made me wonder why I tried so hard to please her. After a moment of silence, she responded, “My friend told me last week that I take the blessing out of giving.” I said, “Your friend is correct. Can you just say thank you and stop there?”

Can we, each of us, offer sincere gratitude for gifts received without extraneous commentary? That is unless the gift is really fantastic. In that situation we can bubble over with complimentary adjectives.

I must admit that bit of wisdom did not originate with me. After years of saying that gifts were “too much” a friend gave me that same talk. Fortunately, I listened to her advice and years later my mom listened to mine.

Spirit: You shower us with gifts every day and we express our gratitude by thanking you for the new day, new opportunities, trees, flowers, grass, birds, animals and more. We know that you freely give those gifts that we can never earn. We express our gratitude by enjoying those gifts. We can we do no less in our personal interactions. And, so it is.

*A Note from the Universe, www.tut.com, December 2, 2016

© by Sharon D. Dillon, December 2, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as a paperback or e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.

Posted by: energywriter | November 12, 2016

We will survive

Thoughts to Ponder

 “Years ago fairy tales all began with ‘Once upon a time…’

–now we know they all begin with, ‘If I am elected.’”

Carolyn Warner*

We’ve recently ended another presidential election season, the most contentious in my memory. That’s not to say it has been the worst in U.S. history. There was a lot of name calling leading to states seceding from the Union in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was the candidate of the newly formed Republican party. Recently I was listening to “The Thomas Jefferson Hour” on NPR and heard an interesting story.

The election of 1800 was a three-way race among Jefferson, John Adams seeking re-election and Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton started a rumor that Jefferson had died. Communications being what they were at that time, Jefferson first heard of this several weeks later when he received a letter from a friend. He immediately sat down and wrote letters to several people telling them that he was, indeed, still alive and still a candidate. Those letters also took several weeks to find their recipients. But they had the desired effect. As a result Jefferson was elected to be our country’s third president.

So, should we be surprised at the recent political shenanigans we just witnessed? I’d guess not. The difference is that we now live in a 24-hour news cycle with information coming from many sources. As the election drew near I found myself becoming irritable with my great-grandsons who were just being their age. I was cranky at work. Each newspaper article I read or news program I watched made the situation worse. The vitriolic words spewed by both candidates and their supporters kept my insides in a twist. Yet, I felt compelled to stay informed, though I limited my exposure.

To do otherwise would be detrimental to my health, so I made a decision to take steps to improve my mental outlook. About a week before the election I began to pray to accept the outcome whatever it might be. On election day I went to the polls early and immediately felt a slight easing in my distress knowing that I had done my part in making this momentous choice. That evening I periodically checked election news to learn what was happening, then went to bed at my usual time. The next morning I clicked on the television long enough to learn who had been elected. I asked God to guide Mr. Trump as he assumed his new duties. These small steps eased my distress significantly.

Healing came Thursday evening when I attended a 4th grade Veteran’s Day program at my oldest great-grandson’s school. The children were decked out in patriotic vests and presented a program of U.S. history and patriotic songs. Each child had made a list of relatives who had served in the military. Those names covered an entire wall of the gym. At one point in the program each service’s song was played and audience members who had served in that particular branch stood to roaring applause. Then we were treated to a slide show of photos of many of those relatives in their uniforms. The program concluded with the audience standing as one child’s grandfather sang “God Bless the USA.” I was not the only person wiping tears of joy from my eyes.

As I write this, I’m crying, but my tears are healing months of distress and worry. I’m still nervous, but for my own sanity I must trust that we can survive this election and continue to grow as a nation. I trust that this will continue to be our legacy.

Spirit: Most of us have lived the past several months in pain and distress. You have shown us that the human race has survived worse and continues to thrive. Each of us, no matter who we are or where we live, has the ability to change the world just a little bit for the better. Please keep reminding us of that responsibility and privilege. And, so it is.

*Warner, Carolyn, Treasury of Women’s Quotations, 1992, Prentice Hall, page 239

© by Sharon D. Dillon, November 12, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as a paperback or e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.

Posted by: energywriter | November 1, 2016

Face your truth

Thoughts to Ponder

 “If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”

Virginia Woolf*

 “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”

Janis Joplin**

 About two weeks ago I opened my mouth and inserted foot. As soon as I verbalized my thought I felt shame. But, it has turned out to be a valuable lesson, just not one I anticipated. Here’s the short form.

While at a writers’ group one member was talking about his new book and how it will help students achieve success in college. I’m certain this book contains much hard won wisdom. Yet, I opened my mouth and said, “Discrimination no longer exists.” Where that statement came from, I had no idea. I knew that was not a true statement, yet I tried feebly to defend it. After the meeting I emailed everyone to apologize. I received very kind responses. Yet, I can’t help thinking they must think that is my real self.

Those words weighed on my mind until yesterday, when the message finally burst through my embarrassment. I was speaking to myself, telling myself I no longer have any excuses for not doing what I should be doing.

How did that attitude come to be? I has been a long, crooked path. I grew up poor, so that was an excuse not to go to college. I didn’t think I was capable of working full-time and going to school. So college was a dream for others. When I reached my 40’s I attended and graduated from a top-notch college while working full-time, disproving that theory.

During my college years I met and married a physically-challenged African-American man who had a brain that constantly astonished me. His mental retention and recall was amazing. Yet he always seemed to fall into pits that derailed his plans. I could never figure out why until one day we both had to register for classes on the same day.

He attended school in the city where we lived. My school was in a city 90 miles away. We left home at the same time. I drove the 90 miles, registered for my classes, had lunch with some classmates and drove the 90 miles home. I expected that my husband would be home watching sports on television; but he wasn’t there. I began to worry that something terrible had happened. Finally, more than an hour later he showed up tired and frustrated because registration had turned into a horrible ordeal and the school had no compassion for his difficulties.

The situation was this: Both our schools had us move through stations one through eight. I got in line and moved through the stations as directed. He started at station three and was sent back to station one. After one and two he decided he needed a coffee. After that break he lined up at station five and was sent back to three. And, so on.

What does all this have to do with my blurting out an unacceptable false statement? After stewing over this embarrassing moment, I realized I was not talking to my friend. I was talking to me. My dreams are not being fulfilled, not because of discrimination, but because I’m not following steps one through eight. I want good-fortune to fall into my lap without working for it. My age is not an issue, nor is my height, weight, need to work, or physical stamina.

My attitude is similar to my former husband’s. The rules are not made for me. I should not have to do the research, apply the BIC (butt in chair) rule to successful writing, make phone calls to set up speaking engagements, and so on. Why can’t I just sit here at home, go for walks, play with the great-grandsons and have fun while my book sells itself and I earn tons of money?

It’s ironic. What I saw in my former husband, I could not see in myself. Now that I do, I need to put that knowledge to work. However, breaking a life time habit is a tough job. While I managed to follow the rules to graduate high school and college, hold a job and raise my children, I found many ways not to give 100% and wondered why I failed.

It might be easy to say, “From now on I’m going to give 100% effort to all I attempt.” But, is that reality? I know I won’t, but I do choose to improve. From now on I’ll say:

Spirit: Thank you for this awareness that I create many of my problems. I’m not pleased that you showed me in such a humiliating manner, but appreciate the lesson. I ask that today and every day that you will guide me to be the best me I can be. And, so it is.

*Warner, Carolyn, Treasury of Women’s Quotations, 1992, Prentice Hall, page 56

** ibid, page 54

© by Sharon D. Dillon, November 1, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as a paperback or e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.

Posted by: energywriter | October 27, 2016

A Halloween to Remember

It was 1968. Orville had recently returned from his second tour in Vietnam and purchased a small house in Copperas Cove, Texas. A few local families were the backbone of the community. The rest of us were military families attached to Fort Hood.

To give you a little background, Orville grew up in rural West Virginia where costumes were whatever Mom could scrape together out of old clothes. Because they lived in the country, the kids only went trick-or-treating at two or three houses.

I grew up in an Ohio town that was large enough to have three elementary schools. Towns were safer then, so we went in groups carrying shopping bags or pillow cases and had the run of neighborhoods that were within walking distance.

About a week before Halloween Orville and I went commissary-shopping. I began piling bags of candy into the cart. He returned most of the candy to the shelves. I put it back in the cart. He asked, “Why are you buying so much candy?”

“For Trick-or-Treat.”

“You’re buying too much.”

“No, I’m not. We need much more than this.”

“How much candy do you plan to give each child?”

“Two pieces.”

“Then one bag should be enough.”

“No it won’t. The Smith’s have four children. The Jones’ have five. We have three. The rest of the families on our street have approximately the same number and kids will be coming from other neighborhoods.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I am. We need at least 12 bags of candy, 20 would be better.”

“I don’t believe you, but I’ll agree to 10 bags.”

“That won’t be enough.”

“That’s all I’m buying.”

On Halloween I put the candy in a soup kettle and asked Orville to watch for Trick-or-Treaters while I dressed our three little ones in their homemade costumes. I reminded him not to give anyone more than two pieces.

“We’ll have candy left for Easter,” he complained.

“No we won’t. Remember I grew up in a town and know what kind of crowd to expect.”

Soon, the door bell rang and there stood four little beggars. Three more arrived just as he was handing candy to the first group. Then there were another five. There was a Superman, a cowboy, a doctor, a princess and more. Orville ran to grab his movie camera and said, “You pass out the candy. I’m filming this.”

“We agreed that I’d take the kids out and you’d pass out the candy,” I said.

“We’ll pay the neighbor girl a dollar to take the kids out. I have to get this on camera.”

And so the evening went, until we were down to two bags of candy. I told Orville that I needed to make more treats and headed for the kitchen. I had baked cookies that day – just in case. Two cookies went into each sandwich bag. Soon all our apples, oranges and bananas flew into outstretched treat bags. Then I began popping and bagging popcorn.

That was nearly gone when, finally, curfew hit and we were able to take a few deep breaths. Orville said, “I can hardly believe what I just saw. Next year we’ll be better prepared.” I couldn’t resist tossing a “told you so” his direction.

The following year not only did we buy more candy, but Orville also invited another couple to bring their candy to our house. The men passed out the candy and filmed the Trick or Treaters while we moms took our pre-schoolers house-to-house, then returned to make sure the snacks kept coming.

copyright by Sharon D. Dillon, October 27, 2016

Posted by: energywriter | October 21, 2016

Fear or safety, it’s up to you

Thoughts to Ponder

 “Protection comes from never choosing to believe you need any.”

Mutant Message from Forever*

Fear is one of our most powerful emotions. It protects us, but can also prevent us from exploring the world. We want to protect our children so teach them to be afraid of many life experiences.  Our lessons are valuable and well intentioned. Perhaps we’re a bit too protective at times.

Other times we overreact to scary situations. One adult acquaintance is terrified of dogs because a large, black dog bit her when she was four. No amount of calm discussion and comparisons that “This isn’t the dog that bit you; He’s brown not black; He’s small not big;” could convince her that it was safe to be near any canine.

Currently many of us fear the results of our upcoming presidential election. If this candidate wins, our country will go to hell in a hand-basket. If that candidate wins, our country will go to hell in a hand-basket. Our protection is to be informed, vote our choice and know that our country has solutions built into our founding documents. The Constitution gives us the power to remove incompetent or overreaching officials. It is a complicated, lengthy procedure designed to ensure that we, the voters, act thoughtfully and deliberately rather than in the anger or fear of the moment.

How do we know if we are acting purposefully? In the same book Morgan says,

“Observe yourself. It is perfectly all right to feel uncomfortable, just don’t deny or hide how you feel. From this we learn people can have differences and each is right for his or her own path. If you can’t honor your own feelings, it would be impossible to honor those of another.”

The biggest fear we all have to overcome is our fear of other human beings. A reasonable fear to be sure. Daily we hear of terrible crimes being committed. The perpetrator has what seems to be a valid reason for the action. Possibly that is to obtain a desired object or revenge, possibly to satisfy a religious tenet or political belief. The reasons are endless, and make perfect sense to the person whose behavior we observe.

There are a lot of ways to acknowledge and overcome concerns and fears. One way is to set our intention each day to be safe and protected. We can be alert to our surroundings. We can watch fewer scary movies. We can filter what we hear on the news to retain only the facts we need to know, rather than the fearful voice of the announcer. We can take reasonable precautions.

Years ago I worked in an office building situated in a run-down neighborhood. That location choice was made to encourage businesses to move to the area and to stimulate a community atmosphere. Some of my co-workers would not leave the building except to walk to and from their cars. A few of us would go for walks, alone or together, during our lunch breaks, shop in nearby stores, and generally act as if we worked in a more prosperous neighborhood. When questioned about my supposedly risky behavior I responded that I took reasonable precautions. I wore walking shoes, not high heels, so I could run if necessary. I wore pants or loose skirts, rather than tight skirts that would inhibit my stride. I carried a few dollars in my pocket instead of a purse that might tempt a thief. And I walked with a purpose, observing my surroundings rather than acting timid.

Those are simple solutions to one potentially frightening situation. We can face anything that comes our way if we choose to observe and face it with confidence.

Spirit: Thank you for giving us the ability to reason and made good decisions for ourselves and our loved ones. We know that by using that ability we can go through life with much less fear than we might otherwise do. We are also grateful for angelic protection. And, so it is.

* Morgan, Marlo, 1999, Mutant Message from Forever, page 249

** ibid, page 246

© by Sharon D. Dillon, October 20, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as a paperback or e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.

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