The signs are there

Thoughts to Ponder – August 25, 2015

“When people show you who they are, believe them.”

Dr. Maya Angelou

“I think we’re so desperate to believe that we’re lovable that we’re gullible.”

Pamela Harper

Dr. Angelou was a wise woman. From reading her books and listening to her speak we know she found wisdom the hard way. She told us to watch people’s actions and listen to their words before deciding to have a relationship with them. The same thing applies in the work place and in our social lives. Often we ignore those signs and don’t even think of them until our world has fallen apart. Then we realize that the signs were there all along.

It took me many years and hard knocks to learn this lesson. I committed to brutal, agonizing and demoralizing relationships. I had friends who gossiped about me behind my back while sympathizing with me to get more information. I worked at jobs that were demoralizing, rather than enhancing my life.

I hung on to those situations hoping that these signs were just passing episodes. I believed those men would change their stripes and become supportive, loving partners. I believed my friends really cared about my well-being. I believed that if I just worked a little harder the job would be the right fit.

Eventually, I learned that those people and situations were who and what they were and would not change. Even worse, I learned the signs had been there in the beginning, before I even made the commitment. That realization was demoralizing until I became aware that I’d suffered long enough and decided to change my way of looking at the world.

This knowledge led me to be more aware in various situations and discussions – not suspicious, but aware. I still look for the best in people and situations, but keep my eyes open for signs of disrespect. By being aware and learning to step away from potentially hurtful situations, I came to respect myself and my judgment.

What a wonderful lesson! I was not a hopeless klutz who kept falling into bad situations, but a wise woman capable of making intelligent decisions. The result: fewer negative people and events enter my life and many more happy experiences do.

Spirit,

Thank you for giving each of us the wisdom to see what is before our eyes, to recognize the signs before danger follows and to make decisions that will enhance our lives rather than damage them.

And, so it is.

  • From Super Soul Sunday, OWN, borrowed today from pamela@pamelaharper.com,  August 24, 2015

© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 25, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

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

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” 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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Oops, I hit the wrong key

I love writing but, regrettably, I have the typing skills of a St. Bernard, big paws and too much drool. This conflict has led me to some unusual experiences.

Back when we still used manual typewriters my time was mostly spent tossing out wrecked pages and no longer usable carbon paper. Then we advanced to correcting typewriters. That was a big improvement. I could ruin carbon paper even faster. But the biggest advance for me was, as my friend once said, “You can type faster backward than forward.” Not everyone can brag about that skill.

Eventually, we had computers in the workplace and were expected to work even faster. The good part was that I could edit on the screen and print out a clean copy for the boss. He was happy with that improvement, he just couldn’t figure out why it took me five times longer to generate a letter than the other program assistants. Well, I was still typing backwards, so to speak. My right little finger is just a bit longer and wider than the left because it grew and developed strong muscles from repeated trips to the backspace key.

The biggest improvement was the internet. I could look up information for the boss, and play Solitaire during my lunch break. Let’s talk about the Solitaire first. It provided me with the opportunity to buy a whole new wardrobe. Since I no longer walked with my friends during our break, I became horizontally enhanced.

Now to looking up information, while checking flights to Washington, D.C, I hit the wrong key and was taken to a site that burned my eyeballs and sent my brain into a catatonic state. Since I was incapable of retreating, I was at the site longer than was excusable as a typing mistake. I was told to pack my bags and leave immediately. How was I to know that watching porn on office time is considered a Class A work violation, no second chances?

That led to my early retirement. Because of my embarrassing dismissal I was considered an undesirable potential employee. So now I write blogs and email my friends way too often. Those are mostly harmless hobbies, except when I hit the wrong key. I sent my pastor a video of a Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance but he received a video of two dogs doing the same thing that got me fired from my job. Now I’m looking for a new church. How was I to know that hitting the wrong key is a mortal sin?

P.S.:  Thank you to my friend, John A. for the writing prompt. This was so much fun.

© Sharon D. Dillon, August 20, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

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

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” 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

Enrich yourself by giving

Thoughts to Ponder – August 20, 2015

“All expenditures, whether from the heart or the wallet,
in the past or present, 
big or small, can be viewed as either ‘depleting’ or ‘enriching.’
Enriching works for me.
Get more,

The Universe” *

Many of us were raised with the idea that we have to hold on to our physical, mental and spiritual resources or we will lack what we need to live a good life. If we give away too much time, money or love we will run out of that resource. The opposite is true. We must be willing to give of ourselves to enrich ourselves.

I’m not suggesting that we drain our bank accounts to build a homeless shelter or quit our jobs to become the second Mother Teresa. I am suggesting that we be a little more generous to those who might need a boost. Donating money or goods is beneficial, but we can give in other ways as well.

We can give by listening with our hearts and our minds to the message behind a person’s words. Once we understand what is happening behind the words we can provide a better response. The second part of that is to accept that person just where he or she is. This is often hard when we see that person’s potential or what we consider to be a waste of their talents.

We might want to ask our guides to tell us how to respond. Possibly we can steer the other person to a job opportunity, a doctor or a resource. Perhaps the person just wants to be heard and to hear us say, “I understand.” without telling our own story. This is hard for me. I love to relate my own tale of woe or joy and have stories for any situation.

We might send up a quick, silent prayer for that person’s highest good. It’s not our place to ask God to heal their illness, provide them a job or send them a free car. We don’t know what lesson they need to learn or what gifts they may receive by walking their current path. By asking for their highest good we’re allowing what is needed to be given and received.

We should be enriching ourselves in the same way. We can prepare for any situation that may come our way by saying each morning, “Today I choose to be the best me I can be.” Whatever entity we consider to be our Higher Power will understand what we need and give us those resources/talents. If we don’t believe in a Higher Power, that’s okay too. Our inner selves will hear and steer us in the right direction.

Either way, we will grow bit by bit into better humans, so we can spend more on others and enrich ourselves in the process. This is reflected in the way Dooley ends his daily message, “Thoughts become things… choose the good ones! ®” *

Spirit,
Today I ask that you give me the inspiration, motivation, energy and resources to be the best I can be and do the things I need and want to do and to enjoy each moment as it occurs.
And, so it is.

*Mike Dooley, TUT – A Note from the Universe, www.tut.com, August 19, 2015

© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 20, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

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

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” 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

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Thoughts to Ponder – August 16, 2015

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.”

Helen Keller*

I’ve heard this quote many times over the years and thought I was living by its truth. However, I’ve come to realize that even though I’ve done many things that were unthinkable to others, I undertook many of those adventures because I was afraid of the alternative. This came to my attention recently and was reinforced the next morning in an email exchange with one of my role models.

A few days ago some friends and I were talking about why our fondest wishes don’t come true. We talked about trust, hope, determination and more. Our conclusion was that we block our wishes with fear:

– fear it won’t happen,

– fear of what will happen if the wish does not come true,

– and fear of what will happen if the wish does come true.

We may not call it fear but use words like anxious, nervous, concerned, yet the feeling is still fear to a greater or lesser degree. If we live in fear, our fears will come true. For example, if we’re afraid we’ll get a horrible disease, we will. If we fear that our boss won’t give us the raise we deserve, she won’t. If we fear our love will be unfaithful, he will. The same is true of the world at large. If we fear something bad will happen, ie., famine, war, disease, it will.

The next morning I was having an e-mail conversation with my friend and bemoaning my lack of progress. She said, “Often I observe what others are doing, and think I’m just standing still. . . . But I plod along with purpose as you do, too.”

Suddenly, I realized that I have not been plodding along with purpose, but progressing in fits and starts. In between I’ve been living in fear, much less recently than in the past, but still with a certain amount of anxiety.

A few days ago co-worker asked me to swap a shift with him. I said “NO! NO! NO!” and meant it with every fiber of my being. The next morning I realized why I was so adamant about refusing to trade shifts with my co-worker. I had just been to his work station and witnessed a scary (to me) event that is unlikely to ever happen again. I did not have a valid reason to be afraid. Conclusion, I told him that I’ll trade with him.

The other side of fear is courage to take life one step at a time. Each day is a daring adventure if we face it without fear. We don’t have to envision what life will be like when . . . .  We just need to take life as it comes and be willing to try things we’ve never tried before. Wonderful experiences will grace our lives, perhaps even more than we had hoped.

Spirit,

Thank you for this reminder that we do not need to live in fear, or even concern. We know that all will work out for our highest good if we trust that it will be so.

And, so it is.

* Treasury of Women’s Quotations, page 185, Carolyn Warner, Prentice Hall

© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 16, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

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

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” 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

Snails are slow and so am I

Let’s be honest. I’ve never been the fastest kid on the block, except for reading when I was a kid. Now I read slowly to savor every word.

When I was young my father used to tell me to stop playing with my food. I wasn’t. Most of the time I was so engrossed in the grown-up conversation that I forgot to eat. Except – when Mom cooked liver and onions, an adult favorite, which meant she served it way too often. I would cut my piece of liver into teeny-tiny pieces and try to hide it amidst a huge fork-full of mashed potatoes and sautéed onions. I chewed contentedly until I reached the liver nugget in the middle and all progress stopped. I tried to swallow the liver bit whole but my mouth and throat went into full resistance.

The rule at our house was that I sat at the table until my plate was clean. Then my tactic was to try to make the food last until my dad forgot what day we’d been served the disgusting liver. That didn’t work either. After a while Dad would return to make sure I ingested it all. Darn! Why couldn’t Dad have a faulty memory and think we’d had the liver last Tuesday?

In high school typing class was a challenge. All the other students were tip-tapping away and I was pecking, not hunting because I’d actually learned where the keys were located. I practiced and practiced and made little progress. Electric typewriters were new then and I longed to try one. However, the teacher had a rule that we couldn’t graduate to an electric model until we could type 60 words per minute on a manual. Day by day I sat there looking longingly at the electric typewriters and wishing upon a star that someday I would be allowed to try one. My wish came true. On the last day of school the teacher came to me and said, “Well, I don’t think you’ll ever reach 60 words, but you’ve been working hard. You can spend the last five minutes of class on an electric typewriter.” The other students were dismissed five minutes early and I felt like a real typist pecking away on the modern equipment.

Several years later as a newly single mother, I attended Opportunity Industrialization Center, a school for low-income people to learn job skills. Most were trained for factory work but a few were trained in office skills. After weeks of seeing me struggle with the typewriter my instructor stood over me as I typed. Suddenly, she announced, “You aren’t clumsy, you have a fine motor skill disability.” Those words saved my shredded typing ego. I knew I was smart and could do almost anything I wanted that didn’t involve speed.

When I reached my 30s I began to add a few pounds, mostly from sitting in an office all day. My doctor told me to start exercising. I didn’t think I’d stick to that, so he suggested I try a team sport. As luck would have it the spring women’s softball league was about to start. During tryouts I missed nearly every ball thrown my way. By the time I figured out the trajectory of the ball and moved into position with my glove in the air, the ball had sailed over my head and bounced across the turf. You guessed it. I was that season’s right fielder. I must brag, though. One evening the third base player was ill and the coach had no one else to substitute. Our team was down by one run and the opposing batter was headed my way. The shortstop threw to me and – I caught the ball and saved the game. That moment of personal victory is still clear in my mind.

Now I fondly recall something my dad used to say, “Grandma is slow, but she’s old. What’s your excuse?” I say “fondly” because I am, as my son used to say, “Vertically challenged, horizontally enhanced and chronologically gifted.” Finally, I have an excuse for being just a bit slower than everyone else. Who said being old is a problem? It’s a gift.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 7, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

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

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” 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

“Ask for what you want. You just might get it. And. . .”

Thoughts to Ponder – August 6, 2015

Two days ago I was scheduled to assist at a local hospital blood drive. I had an earlier appointment so arrived two hours late. I found the canteen in a mess: no cups, no napkins and no recycling container. I asked my co-worker where those things were. She said, “This is all they gave us.” This was true. The Red Cross only provides the basics and the host site provides the nice touches.

I walked across the hall and asked a cafeteria worker if we could have some paper cups. She walked into the store room and returned with an unopened bag of plastic cups, just the right size for a little ice and a can of juice. I then went to the dining room accessory table and grabbed a stack of napkins. Then I asked one of the blood drive staff if he had an extra plastic bag I could use for recycling. He produced the perfect size bag. At the end of the afternoon I had a full bag of cans and cardboard containers to bring home and add to my bin.

My co-worker said, “You’re a miracle worker. You just show up and we get everything we need.” I replied, “I’m not a miracle worker. I just asked if these items were available.”

While I was slightly bemused by the incident, I also felt sad for her. I used to be that way. When I was a child we were poor, so I learned quickly not to ask for things. My parents provided what they could and otherwise I did without. They also told me not to ask others for things because it was not polite. When I married and was dissatisfied with our living conditions an officer’s wife told me, “If they Army had wanted your husband to have a wife, they would have issued him one.”

A few years later I needed a new pair of shoes. My Keds were getting holes in the canvas. Finally, in frustration, I asked my husband why he didn’t buy me a new pair. He said, “Why didn’t you ask? I thought you liked wearing them that way.”

After still more years I was hired at a new job and given a tiny cubicle with a wobbly chair and a few worn out desk accessories. I used my own pens and pencils. One day I happened to ask my co-worker how she had acquired such nice office supplies when I had such poor quality items. She walked me over to the office supply cabinet and told me to help myself. I did and she helped me carry my new supplies to my cubicle. When she saw my chair, she walked with me to the supervisor to ask for a new chair, which I received within a day. It turned out that my cubicle had been empty for some time and people had just gotten in the habit of dumping their old things in there when they got new. Ask for what you want was beginning to soak into my brain.

A few years ago my mom (about 4 ft. 11 in.) and I went to a public event and thought we’d chosen a good viewing area. Just as the program was starting, a few very large men stepped in front of us and blocked our view. My mother became angry and said, “I guess he doesn’t know he makes a better door than a window.” I told her that they probably didn’t even notice us since we were smaller than they. She replied, “Well, they could have looked around before they barged in.” I tapped one of the men on the arm and asked, “Can my mother stand in front of you. She’s short and can’t see.” The man smiled and said, “Of course, and you come up here too. I’m sorry. We just didn’t notice you standing there.” I thanked him, we moved to the front and enjoyed the program.

Learning to ask for what I want was a long, slow process. But it works, even when what you want is intangible. I’ve learned to ask my Higher Power for things like safety, arriving where I’m going on time, friendship and even groceries. All are provided when I remember to ask. A lesson from the Bible says simply, “Ask and it shall be given.”

However, we cannot forget that asking is a two-part process. The second part is saying, “Thank you.” All people and entities enjoy giving to people who appreciate their efforts and tend to feel used when those who ask don’t express gratitude.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Spirit,

Thank you for giving me these words. I hope they will help someone find the courage to ask for what he/she needs.

And, so it is.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 6, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

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

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” 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