Surprising News

This morning I opened my email and began reading messages. Suddenly I saw this big headline:

“You should always consult with a physician before beginning any treatment for erectile dysfunction.”

Below was a photo of a handsome young man and a beautiful young woman obviously anticipating their impending pleasure. In the upper left corner the ad showed a blossom of three pills (Cialis, Levitra and Viagra) all pointing out with a red dot in the center and a caption reading:

“From $0.62 – Special Price – Order Now Men’s Trial Pack”

Then the picture shifted to a huge jet with its nose pointed at me, implying that I would soon have great elevation. This message was shorter:

“Fast delivery World Wide”

This ad might have been good news to some, but, it deflated my self-image. You see, I don’t have any body parts that need enhanced. I gave birth to three children, performed what has traditionally been considered women’s work and acted in ways that defined me as a woman.

But wait! This morning that email told me I am a man. Can this be true? Many people have told me that on-line advertisers target their ads to a specific audience who will use their products, so it must be true.

Do I need to buy tighty-whities instead of lacy undergarments and start watching sports and playing fantasy football? Perhaps I should take a lesson from my grandfather’s philosophy: “I don’t curse, drink or chew, nor associate with women who do.”  It would go well with the skill he taught me – how to roll cigarettes.

What’s a gal, er, guy to do?

© by Sharon D. Dillon, September 23, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as an e-book or paperback 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.


Take Care of Yourself First

Thoughts to Ponder – September 11,2016

 “When we let what others are doing or not doing become a part of our

every day life, it is we who are not doing our own life.”

 A Window of Wisdom*

How easy it is to become involved in another person’s drama. We spend hours trying to find a solution for a friend who is dealing with a seemingly unsolvable problem. We should be concerned about our friends. However, we need to find a balance between concern and obsession. Over-thinking anything – elections, football, weather, job, friends, lovers and so on is harmful to our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual bodies.

Being concerned without becoming involved in another’s problem is sometimes difficult, but doable. When someone shares a problem, we can say “I’m sorry you are facing this dilemma. How would you like me to help?” Usually she just wants a willing listener. If she is seeking a solution, we can offer a suggestion or two then remind her that she has to decide what action to take or not. Then we let go of the problem. It is not ours to carry.

We tend to get mired in our own problems. We spend hours, days, or weeks pondering our ability to resolve the issue and how this crisis will affect our future. These valid concerns deserve our attention, but not to the point of supplanting other facets of our lives. Our personal crisis tends to swirl around in our brains at the most inconvenient times. Trying to push it out of our minds is futile.

A better option is to allot a time to concentrate on that issue. Some ways are to read about the subject, talk to a trusted adviser, write a list of possible solutions, or meditate. Even better, do all of them. After evaluating the situation we will probably have a solution or at least a step or two to take that will lead to a resolution. For example, we can decide to take this action and if that works the problem is solved. If not, then we can try step two and see where that leads. Many times the result will not be what we think it should be, but will lead us in a direction with better options.


Thank you for reminding us to place our attention where it belongs and that we can’t resolve anyone’s problems but our own. You’ve given us steps to find solutions and the ability to decide the proper action. We chose to use those options.

And, so it is.

*A Window of Wisdom, September 2, 2016,

© by Sharon D. Dillon, September 11, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as an e-book or paperback 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.


Thoughts to Ponder

 “The wiser the soul, the greater the simplicity. In everything.”

 The Universe*

That is an understatement if ever there was one, but it seems to contradict our current lifestyles. We hustle about from morning to night shuffling work projects, going to the gym, running errands and fitting school events and medical appointments where we can. Statistically Americans take fewer vacation days per year than any other nationality. Why is that?

Did we listen too closely when our elders told us, “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”? Are we expressing our determination to be the “best” in the world?” The best what? Manufacturer? Money maker? The smartest student? If those are the reasons, we are defeating ourselves with our keep busy at any cost mentality.

I’m not suggesting that we sit idly and wait for prosperity, fame and academic achievement to bless us with bounty. Yet, there is a point when we spend too much time doing and not enough time being. I once heard a wise person say, “There is a reason we’re called human beings rather than human doings.” She was telling us that we must find a balance between our overly rushed schedules and rest and regeneration time so we can resuscitate our souls and bodies.

Our current and past role models have set us a good example. The Dalai Lama spends hours each day teaching but he also meditates, eats good food, exercises and socializes. Mother Teresa was an example of charity in action, yet she found time each day to refresh her body and spirit. Even our presidents have taken frequent vacations from the demands of daily White House activities. They stay in touch with what is important yet, take a break from constant meetings.

If we study history we read that many of our national and international heroes took time to be quiet in the midst of chaos. We can also look at the lives of Jesus and the Buddha, both of whom spent hours teaching, yet also spent time socializing and praying.

Can we do less? I’m not suggesting any particular form of relaxation or meditation/prayer. Nor am I telling you what the ratio should be. I’m simply asking you to evaluate your life for balance and take the necessary action to set your priorities. Determine how much time to devote to your work, family, social activities and personal quiet time.

For a while you may need to pencil relaxation or meditation into your appointment calendar. I’m certain that once you develop the habit you’ll be almost instantly aware when you’ve missed your quiet time. It will be easy to spot. You’ll be irritable, stressed and overwhelmed. That will be your clue to take a few minutes to sit quietly, breathe deeply and remind yourself that calm produces more effective decisions and actions than forcing a solution.


Thank you for teachers who show us how to live balanced lives. Thank you also for giving us unease to show us when we are out of balance. Thank you for reminding us that finding our way from stress to calm is just a few slow, deep breaths and a moment of clearing our brain of its busyness. And, so it is.

*A Note from the Universe, August 12, 2016,

© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 18, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as an e-book or paperback 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.

My personal Prodigal Son

Thoughts to Ponder

 “’Look, dear son,’ his father said to him, ‘you and I are very close, and everything I have is yours. But it is right to celebrate. For he is your brother ….’”

Luke 15:31-32*

An event happened recently that focused my awareness on what has and is happening in my own family. Perhaps it is happening in yours as well.

Dan was my first born. He had an outgoing personality, an intelligence that focused on math and science. He was also ADHD. He required much parental and educator attention.

Eighteen months later my identical twin daughters, Linda and Sarah, were born. They were quiet, well-behaved and tended to entertain each other. To me they were a gift that allowed me to spend more time trying to keep their brother under control.

When Dan left home at 18 to become a U.S. Marine I wrote an essay that was printed in the Chicago Tribune. When Linda and Sarah left home the following year to serve in the U.S. Army I did not write an essay. A few years later they asked why I didn’t write anything about them. My response was that the essays would have been nearly identical because my emotions were the same. They dropped the issue and I naively assumed that the situation was settled.

This pattern has continued throughout their lives. Their brother spent his energy visiting other relatives and friends rather than his sisters. He visited me from time to time and his sisters when obligated. He was a spiritual seeker and one of my teachers and advisors. Shortly before Dan transitioned of a heart attack at age 45, I asked him why he chose to ignore his sisters and their families. He said he didn’t know. I don’t know if that was an honest answer or if he had a reason for his actions. Since his passing he’s been my angelic guardian.

The girls have always remained close to me. They welcome me to their family events, balance my checking account, go to doctor appoints with me, do minor repairs at my house and much, much more. They are also my teachers and advisors. I frequently brag about them to my coworkers and friends, but probably don’t tell Linda and Sarah as often as I should.

Their situation hit me full force this week. A friend forwarded an internet posting by Maureen St. Germain, Dan’s spiritual advisor, in which she said that Dan had been her incarnate guardian. I’d always been curious about their relationship, but was astounded to read what she had to say. I shared this information with Linda and Sarah and was underwhelmed by their responses and wondered why.

A couple days later I shared St. Germain’s post and a few stories about some of Dan’s spiritual experiences with my meditation group. They encouraged me to write a book about him. I was flattered that they thought he was worthy of that much attention and that I have enough talent to share his story. I replied that I would consider it but something didn’t feel quite right.

As the conversation shifted to another topic, four words flashed into my mind, “The Prodigal Son’s brother.” I realized that Linda and Sarah feel like the Prodigal Son’s brother felt when his father welcomed his wayward son with gifts and a huge party. I had been doing the same. I always made a big fuss when Dan came to visit because it rarely happened and bragged about his accomplishments. Now, 4 ½ years after Dan’s passing, I was once again effusive about his uniqueness. I made a vow to more frequently express my gratitude for Linda and Sarah’s many kindnesses and to write more about how wonderful they are.

Spirit, Thank you for making me aware that I have not been giving my daughters the gratitude they deserve and for showing me how it affects them. I’m grateful that I have time to rectify the situation. I ask that you continue to remind me to express my appreciation of them and the many other people who have taught and supported me over the years.

*The Living Bible, 1971, Tyndale House Publishers

© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 2, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as an e-book or paperback 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.

Let go and take a risk

Thoughts to Ponder

 “Processing our failures only keeps us in the past … forgive, let go and get back up … for if we remain in that negative space, we allow the shadow to win.’”

Window of Wisdom*

Hashing over old mistakes is a habit many of us learned from our families and teachers. We continue to reinforce that habit as we mature. But is it good for us?

When we do something wrong we should review our contribution to the argument, unpleasant situation or disaster. After accepting our part in the situation we apologize and vow to do better in the future. If we’re fortunate the other party will accept our apology and agree to move on. Otherwise, we’ve lost a friend or job.

If the situation is not resolved amicably, we still need to move forward. We can remember the situation as a learning experience and live our lives according to our new awareness. Or, like most of us we learn and change our behavior, yet carry the guilt around for the next 50 years. Nothing weighs more than guilt. It prods us at the most inconvenient times. Perhaps we’re starting a new job and each day we wonder if that is the day our supervisor learns about our colossal error that cost the old employer a valuable contract. Possibly, we meet a new love but are afraid to commit because that person may learn how we caused pain in a former relationship.

When we notice that our old mistake is costing us happiness in our current lives it is past time to heal ourselves. If we were truly contrite about the situation we can tell ourselves that we took all the steps we could to repair the damage and have changed our behavior. If the situation catches up to us, we must be truthful and show our remorse.

In the meantime, to grow into a better person we need to do as Martha Beck recommends:

“Every day, do at least one frightening thing that contributes to the

fulfillment of your desires.”**

Perhaps that frightening thing is merging onto the Interstate to get to work. We don’t like it, but we have to do it to feed our family. For me the most scary thing I need to do is make a phone call. The phone that weighs ounces in my pocket weighs 500 pounds when I have to punch in some numbers and hit send. I fear I may be interrupting something important on the other end. Yet I must do it to schedule appointments and visit with my friends. One event that terrified me was enrolling in college when I was in my early 40s. It turned out to be the best decision I ever made.

Each of us has different things that frighten us, but we’ll get nowhere except our rocking chairs if we give into those fears. We must do something scary each and every day to move forward to reach our goals.

Spirit, Please remind us each day to do something that frightens us, whether it is tasting an unusual food or applying for a new job. Only in that way can we grow into the strong people we are meant to be. And, so it is.

*A Window of Wisdom, July 4, 2016,

**July 6, 2016, Menu Item #5, Risk, The Joy Diet, Martha Beck,

© by Sharon D. Dillon, July 17, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

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

Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as an e-book or paperback at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Love Yourself

Thoughts to Ponder – June 7, 2016

 “Live today by the Buddha’s words: ‘You could search the whole world and

never find anyone as deserving of your love as yourself.’”

Martha Beck*

Many of us grew up with the idea that we shouldn’t brag about our accomplishments or show off in any way. That is true to a certain extent, but often we take it to heart and become people who turn a compliment into a put down. For example, some might say, “I like that dress/shirt/haircut.” In return we respond by saying, “Oh, see this tiny spot on the sleeve,” or “I really wanted my hair cut this way.”

Not only are we devaluing the sincere compliment, but also we are telling ourselves that we are not worthy of receiving a compliment. Over time we begin to think that we are not quite as good as everyone else. That insecurity shows itself in every facet of our lives. We settle for jobs that don’t use all our talents, loves who don’t respect our true selves and friends who like us because we aren’t competition.

Living by Buddha’s words is difficult when we first start to implement them. However, we find that each attempt comes easier. Eventually, we find that we are getting hired for better jobs, meeting potential love partners who honor us and actually trusting that we are worthwhile humans who have friends who respect our talents and choices.

Even after learning that we deserve our own love, we can slip back into old behavior. I did this recently. A man complimented my new hair style and I replied by saying something about not liking the way my hair looked that day. Then I chastised myself for negating his comment and learned from the mistake. A few days later another man mentioned he liked my new hair style. I just said, “Thank you,” and smiled. That felt much better and I’m sure he felt better than the first man whose compliment was rebuffed.

That’s a long way of saying that when we learn to love ourselves we also show more sincere love to other people. We can only reflect what we feel about ourselves.

Spirit, Please give us a gentle reminder each time we fail to love ourselves. Remind us that we are the best we can be and we need to honor and love ourselves. And, so it is.

*Beck, Martha, Daily Inspiration,, June 7, 2016

© by Sharon D. Dillon, June 7, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon,, “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 Available in print and e-format at

Work is better than Wishes

Thoughts to Ponder

April 29, 2016

 “…Many are waiting for their life to take off.

Who’s going to tell them that this could be their problem?

Don’t wait, do something, anything, everything you can think of.”

The Universe*

This message rings true. How many years have we wasted waiting for life to take off, for success to arrive, for a gigantic pay raise?

Well, we can all agree that’s not going to happen unless we put some effort behind the wait. We hear so many stories about people achieving instant success–overnight sensations. We don’t hear that the musician played for years at local bars for what beer he could drink during his show. We don’t hear that the famous artist waited tables while earning an MFA degree. We don’t hear about the writer who has fourteen unsold novels and 100 rejection letters in her closet.

I must admit that I am one of those who quit when the going got hard. My parents believed that success belonged to the wealthy and that poor people worked until they died – still poor. But, I can’t blame my parents. I had more opportunities than they, yet always hoped that prosperity would come from the end of a fairy’s wand. Of course, life didn’t turn out that way. I had some successes and some failures and overall have earned a place a little higher on the prosperity ladder than my parents enjoyed.

Still, I always wanted to say, “I did this” or “I was presented that award.” It may be that one day I’ll be able to say those things, but I’ve finally learned that, as much as I don’t want to, I need to work for what I want. It took me long enough to face that fact. One role model who inspires me is Thomas Edison, inventor of the electric light bulb, the phonograph and many other useful items. He said,

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Work is what I always tried to avoid. So, here I am, just now learning about being willing to work. Sometimes it’s still hard. I get up in the morning and want to read the paper and reply to emails while I relax in my recliner. Then I choose to go for a walk or solve a puzzle, but not work. It’s not easy to break a life-long habit of waiting for success to fall in my lap.

But, here I am putting these words on paper. This means I have to start taking steps to reach my goals.

Spirit, Thank you for this awareness, even though it has come late in life. If I’m willing to put in the effort, I know that all will turn out for my highest good. Just as we must make an effort to be kind and caring, we must also make an effort to earn our successes. And, so it is.

*Mike Dooley, TUT – A Note from the Universe, April 25, 2016,

Sharon D. Dillon,,

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

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at


Thoughts to Ponder

April 18, 2016

 “A major advantage of age is learning to accept people without passing judgment.”

Liz Carpenter*

Most of us have learned to judge people by their age, size, color, wealth, education and many other non-specific criteria that we have stashed away in our minds. Often we judge those who don’t meet our standards harshly. Other times we can dismiss those differences with a “different strokes for different folks” attitude. Being able to accept other people for who they are is an attitude most of us cultivate.

Today, however, I want to discuss a must more difficult challenge – accepting ourselves where we are each and every moment. Most of us have learned to accept ourselves most of the time. Periodically, we still denigrate ourselves with “shoulda, woulda, coulda”. To some extent, that is just human nature. We have a choice. We can live with and nurture our petty complaints or we can look at the big picture. We’re alive. We’re functioning to whatever ability we have and are able to feel empathy for others.

This last was a choice I denied myself yesterday. I woke up feeling deprived, abused, neglected and generally in a sorry mood. I was upset because over the past few years I’ve had some health issues, annoying and inconvenient, but in the larger view, rather petty. I ranted at my God, angels, guides, and whomever else might have been listening. “I’m tired of all these health issues! If I had the energy I could have done this activity. If I hadn’t had to spend so much money on medications, physical therapy and dental work I could have gone on this trip or done that project. I’m angry. I want to spend my time and energy on having fun, not on health issues.” The worst part was that I shared my anger with a kind, young man whose mother can’t eat solid food. I’m sure she wishes that her health issues were as minor as mine.

This morning I awoke with a lesson that I’ve shared here in the past, but had been floating around in my miasma of anger and fear. Yes, fear. If I’m this decrepit now, what will life be like in another 10 years? The truth is I probably have another 10 years or 20 or more to learn what life holds for me.

The most important lesson is that we cannot change who and what we are until we accept who and what we are today, in this very moment. I had to accept that I was angry over relatively easily handled problems. The doctor sent me to physical therapy to relieve what has turned out to be temporary pain. If I didn’t spend money on therapy I may have eventually lost the use of my arm. What would have that cost? My recent bout with breathing issues is healing with prescription medications. What would have been the cost without that option? Expensive dental work provided me with a new tooth. What would have been the long-term cost of not being able to eat crunchy food?

Each of us faces his/her own personal issues to complain about and accept or not accept. We all have our personal heroes who have borne difficulties that we can only imagine, yet triumphed in life. Helen Keller and Steven Hawking are two who come immediately to mind. Keller was deaf and blind, yet blossomed into a woman we often quote for inspiration. Hawking cannot control his body, yet his brain continues to astound us on a regular basis. They continue to inspire us to move forward, no matter what. As long as life is, we have hope.


Thank you for putting our problems in perspective. Thank you for showing us that acceptance and gratitude are the basis for a happy life. Thank you for giving us the ability to see the positive outcomes of our negative experiences. Thank you for giving us another day to live in gratitude.

And, so it is.

*Carpenter, Liz, The Treasury of Women’s Quotations, pg. 20, Carolyn Warner, Prentiss Hall, 1992

Sharon D. Dillon,,

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

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at

Tooth Fairy – Changed Tactics

It used to be that the Tooth Fairy gave boys and girls money for their teeth. Now he charges for his services. How did that come to be? I’m not sure, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it.

My parents grew up during the Great Depression. When they lost their baby teeth they were handed a clean rag to bite down on and complimented on growing up. By the 1950s when I lost my primary teeth, Ms. Tooth Fairy left me a dime for my first tooth and a nickel for the second. After that I was given a Kleenex and congratulated on my achievement. TF scolded me for attempted extortion when I asked for money for the other teeth that fell out. Actually, the lack of cash was beneficial. No money, no candy, no cavities. One question has nagged me over all these years. What does the Tooth Fairy do with all those teeth she collects?

Along came the 1970s and my children became more sophisticated. They wrote notes to the Tooth Fairy requesting a quarter and a rhyme.

Their efforts paid off. The Tooth Fairy left them 50 cents for their first tooth and 25 cents thereafter. Still not a fortune, but at least the Big Guy shelled out for each tooth and took time to write a short funny verse.

Tooth Fairy had to fly to Germany to look under my grandchildren’s pillows. Since TF has small wings, I’m guessing that she had to buy airline tickets for those trips. She couldn’t have had much cash left after all those trans-oceanic trips. Even so, I’m sure they made out pretty well.

Now my four great-grandsons are keeping him busy, dropping dollar bills under pillows, even for a tooth that slid down one little boy’s throat while he was eating. Other teeth have been dropped on the way to their pillows, but The Molinator* still deposits cash for every tooth.

I understand that inflation costs the Tooth Fairy more each generation. Everything else costs more. Why not teeth? However, I don’t understand why Tooth Fairy is now charging me to retrieve my recently lost tooth. Did she go broke serving all those little children? Was it a dollar fine for each time I forgot to brush my teeth at bedtime?

All I can do is explain how it all happened. A few months ago at my regular check-up my dentist gasped when he saw my x-ray. A cavity had formed under a crown on a 12-year molar. After assuring me that I was not ready to face a toothless old-age, he explained that the Tooth Fairy would need to return to dental college to learn how to replace a tooth.

After graduation TF began a procedure that included multiple x-rays and all sorts of strange equipment. The most traumatic event was her extraction of the affected tooth. When TF realized that I snore like a saw mill and that my exhalations have the power of a hurricane, she decided not to try a sleep extraction but to use an ordinary numbing medication.

She stabbed me several times with a syringe filled with happy juice. After a few minutes I was lying in the reclining chair smiling up at her with a cotton filled mouth. She firmly grasped the tooth and began tugging. Nothing happened. She tried again, wiggling the tooth a bit. Then harder and still nothing. Fianlly she grabbed a chisel and a hammer and broke the tooth in two. Pretty soon TF was leaning over me, tugging with all her might. Finally, she climbed on my chest to get a better grip, bracing my jaw with her knee to keep it from dislocating. Finally, the first half of the tooth popped out, almost banging TF on her own chin from her exertion. The second half slid out easily.

After all that TF inserted a place holder for the new tooth. From the sounds and her motions, I was able to visualize what was happening. First she used a Black and Decker electric drill to make a hole in the jaw bone. That didn’t take long. Then TF inserted a place-holder peg with a ratchet wrench. As her hand moved back and forth to tighten the peg I felt like I was under construction. When she completed this phase of my oral repairs I told TF what I had imagined. She confirmed my suspicion by saying that was exactly what had happened. Then she explained that she honed her skills at home by making wee doll houses using a full range of tiny construction tools. That analogy continued this morning when TF inserted my new tooth, ratcheting the permanent peg into place and sealing it with a caulking gun. Oh, the material is partially zirconian, so I now have a fake diamond smile. I even have a specially designed tooth brush. It looks like a teeny, tiny bottle brush.

When I asked for a $1 for my lost tooth, Tooth Fairy just rolled on the floor laughing. She reminded me that children’s teeth simply become loose and fall out. She just plucks the clean, dry teeth from under pillows. For all the trouble I gave her she demanded the title to my car and a second mortgage on my home. I’m sure the new tooth will be worth all the cost and effort. But, gosh, I can’t even go around to my friends and say, “See my new tooth.” It’s just not polite behavior for woman who has long since passed her 9th birthday.

*From ”The Santa Claus” movie series

© Sharon Dillon, April 12, 2016

And that has made all the difference

Thoughts to Ponder

April 8, 2016

“…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the road less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost*

As we travel through our days sometimes the road is a smooth, easy, lovely ride. Other times we hit small bumps or potholes that damage our egos and indicate that we are traveling the wrong road and need to make a detour, sooner rather than later. We can keep driving down that road until our car is wrecked and our souls are bleeding.

Why do we continue this disastrous pattern? Often we don’t see another road we cab travel. Or we see an alternate road but are afraid to make the turn because the old road is familiar. We know where the bumpy road will take us. We don’t know what will happen if we change directions.

Those fears are valid. We don’t know where the new road will take us. Often we are taught from childhood that we must follow a certain path, no matter what. Fear of change can be a generational roadblock. Other parents teach their children to go for the prize. A friend once told me that he was taught to shoot for the stars and if he only reached the moon he’d still be further than had he remained Earth bound.

My own upbringing was more along the fearful lines. If I were to step out of my role something terrible would happen. I would live to regret my rash behavior. I believed that for many situations, like speaking up at work, but in others I took chances and am glad I did. I had to change my direction several times. While many decisions had serious repercussions they always came with a gift that made my life better.

Some examples:

  • My first marriage was a disaster, but my three wonderful children made life worthwhile.
  • I left that marriage not knowing what might happen and learned that I was capable of earning a living for my young family.
  • After my children were grown I enrolled in an elite college with only $25 dollars in my pocket. I graduated at age 47 with less student debt than anticipated. That degree led to better jobs.
  • At 55 I chose early retirement and a severely reduced benefit to move across the country to live near my daughters. That move allowed me to watch my grandchildren reach adulthood and give me four great-grandsons that are the delight of my life. And, another baby is on the way.
  • In 2013 my favorite online inspirational writer chose to close her blog. Uncharacteristically, I chose to continue her work with Thoughts to Ponder. While my following is not as large as hers, the number is growing. Most of all I feel satisfaction in doing my part to make the world a more peaceful place.

All that is a long way to say that it is never too late to change directions. I’m now looking for other ways to expand my life and new roads to travel. If I don’t fly among the stars I’m still a lot further than if I’d never started this journey.

I urge you to take a risk and take “the road less travelled.” You may face some unpleasant situations but you will have gained so much more.


Thank you for showing us that we have options. We can change directions as often as necessary to reach our goals. By exploring new roads we learn that we have talents we never expected. Those talents will lead us down more roads and to new adventures. Those choices might not all lead to the stars, but they will certainly get us further on our journey than if we stay focused on the potholes in front of us.

And, so it is.

*Frost, Robert, “The Road not Taken,” in Mountain Interval, 1916.

Sharon D. Dillon,,

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

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at