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,

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

Sharon D. Dillon,,

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 Available in print and e-format at


Passion, compassion, humor and style

Thoughts to Ponder

“My mission in life is not merely to survive,
but to do so with some passion,
some compassion,
some humor,
and some style.”
Maya Angelou


Maya Angelou had the ability to tell us the hard truths gently. We knew she was telling us how to live fully. This quote reminds us that we must be multi-dimensional, rather than too focused on one part of our life. In order to live fully we must not just survive, but live with passion, compassion, humor and style. That sounds like a tall order, but it isn’t. This is merely a repeat of lessons taught us through the generations.

We must work, play and rest with our whole being, our passion. Working at a job or participating in a recreational activity we don’t like quickly drains our enthusiasm. Rest is particularly important. Our bodies do not regenerate if we limit our sleeping hours or if we’re reviewing our to-do lists as we begin to drift into Sandman territory.

Not only do we look at those less fortunate than we with compassion, but we must also treat ourselves with kindness and love. Throw the shoulda, woulda, couldas into the trash can. We must accept ourselves for who we are before we can become the people we want to be. That sounds backward, but is not. If we constantly go through our day thinking and saying, “I’d be better off if I could only lose 50 pounds or run a marathon,” we will accomplish neither. We need to say, “This is the weight I am and these are the physical abilities I have today. I choose to use them to the best of my ability.” With that attitude, miracles happen.

Have you ever noticed that when you have a headache and feel like your head is going to explode then someone comes along and tells you a joke. You begin to laugh, and soon the headache is gone.

Humor also heals relationships. For example, one person will tell another, “You’re acting like a stupid a$$. “
The other one begins to bray.
“What are you doing? We’re trying to solve a difficult issue here.”
“You called me ‘a stupid a$$,’ so I thought I’d act like one.”
Now both are laughing and the problem is solved by the pair working together.

Everyone has his or her own style. Maya Angelou carried her great height with flair and wore clothes that enhanced her appearance, but most of all she had her own particular way of relating to those around her. Often we say, “I wish I had so-and-so’s way of walking, talking, wearing clothes.” We don’t need that person’s style. We have our own. If we don’t like our style we can change it, as long as it fits our personality and environment.

We create our own passion, compassion, humor and style. What we do and how we do it is unique to each of us. We have no need to copy another person. We are unique and can carry that individuality with panache or we can schlep through life being invisible. Which would you rather do?


Creator Spirit,
Thank you for reminding us that we are unique, yet we each have passion, compassion, humor and style. The more we remember that we are unique, the less we have a desire to fit in, to be one of the crowd. Crowds don’t solve problems or heal someone’s aching heart. Individuals do. Today we chose to be the very best unique people we can be.
And so it is.

© by Sharon Dillon, August 26, 2014

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

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Nude Hiking??

This is something I couldn’t resist writing after reading a local columnists take on the subject. It’s old, but I think, still funny.

Copyright by Sharon Dillon, May 6, 2009

 Recently the Daily Press printed a brief article about Germans hikers who have scandalized their Swiss neighbors by hiking the Alps wearing only backpacks and boots. This was followed by a lengthier piece, “Nude in the News,” by my favorite Daily Press columnist, Tony Gabriele.

Tony researched this practice and learned it is called freikorperkultur, literally translated as “free body culture” or more accurately “let it all hang out.” He advised readers to “invest in German sun block lotion companies.” Tony proceeded to reduce me to giggles discussing the history of nude warfare and potential political results of future attempts. However, he missed some vital complications to nude hiking.

While Tony mentioned the sun block issue, he did not address the problem that, for most of us, certain body parts have not been exposed to fresh air and sunshine since – well – ever. Oh, wait; my mother did explain the old-fashioned method for healing diaper rash.

Those of us whose ages are north of 50 have body parts that are not creeping, but rushing quickly, toward the Equator. But this is just a matter of pride. I want to talk about more serious problems. Shall I enumerate them?

  1. We live in an area where mosquitoes rule the world. So, do we invest in buckets of insect repellant or risk lumps on our rumps? If we go for the risk, how do we explain to our co-workers that we are scratching body parts that are not, shall we say, socially acceptable? If we choose the other route, other questions arise. Do sun-block and insect repellant work together? And, how can we feel confident greeting other hikers when we reek of “eau de yuck.”
  2. Ticks may cause another big problem. People who work outside tell us to wear our pants tucked into our socks to keep the miniscule critters from migrating to “warm” body areas.” Hmmm???? If we are letting it all hang out, what do we tuck in where? Once we’ve contracted Lyme disease, imagine our physician’s face when we bare the classic target rings.
  3. Lunch time? When out in the woods, most people tend to take their lunch breaks while sitting on fallen logs or tree stumps. What lives in fallen logs? Well, all sorts of tiny and not so tiny creatures. We are all familiar with the office-mate who is Johnny-on-the-spot whenever cookies cross the threshold. This person is a slow poke when compared to an ant looking for a picnic. Imagine the ant’s path as it climbs, by the shortest route to the crumbs on our chests.
  4. Weather is another issue. Do sweat bands work effectively when perspiration is rushing down our backs and fronts to puddle in our boots? Does that much moisture in our boots cause blisters? On the other hand, being from Wisconsin, I’ve known many serious winter campers. Weeeeelll, we all know what happens to our various appendages in cold weather. Not a proud site to greet another hiker. This could also lead to another trip to the doctor to explain a frost-bitten whatever.

On a balmy, late spring day before the mosquitoes buzz, this hobby sounds appealing. I might be tempted to join the fun. But two things stop me; I wouldn’t want a lump on my rump or a tick on — whatever.

I’m not lyin’ – I’m 29

I’m 29 and will be that age until I’m old and gray-er. If you don’t believe me, just ask my 44 year old son. If Jack Benny could stay 39 until his death, I can stay 29 forever. (For you younger than 29s, Jack Benny was a comedian whose popularity was highest in the 1935-65 era. One of his ongoing jokes was that he was always 39.)

Actually, my family is one of a kind. Mother, daughters and I are all 29. Granddaughter hasn’t reached that elevated status yet, though she doesn’t have far to go. For the purposes of this tale, she is being promoted to 29. Since we are all the same age, we all have the same memories and enjoy the same music and activities. Well, kinda-sorta.

We all remember when Grandchildren graduated high school and their sons were born. But gosh, not everyone remembers manual typewriters, cooking without a microwave oven or riding bicycles without a helmet. Some can recall when home computers were first on the market and mobile phones were carried in a heavy tote bag. One thinks anything older than an iPod is ancient history.

The five of us 29 year olds have eclectic music tastes. Mom (or GG) likes the Big Bands and Frank Sinatra, as do I, though I tend to listen more frequently to Elvis, the Beatles and Carlos Santana. Their music, according to Mom was invented by some crazy person who drank too much. Daughters admit that GG’s music has some good qualities, as do those of my era, but they prefer Michael Jackson and Garth Brooks. Granddaughter, on the other hand, prefers Taylor Swift and Jay-Z and thinks, like GG, that 60s rock was invented by a crazy person who drank too much.

One conversation with Granddaughter went something like this.

(Gd) “What was special about Elvis?”

(Me) “How can you ask that about the King?”

(Gd) “Michael Jackson is the King.”

(Me) “Michael is the King of Pop. Elvis is the King of Rock and Roll.”

(Gd) “You’re weird, Gramma.”

Another day I was telling Granddaughter that she looked cool and fresh in her tube top. She responded, “Go buy one, Gramma.”

After I stopped laughing, I said, “Sweetie, it’s not a good idea to wear a tube top when your boobs reach your waist.”

That conversation leads us to fashion statements. GG prefers elastic waists and polyester. I tend to hang out in jeans and pullovers as do Daughters. However, being stick women, they look much better in jeans than I. My body type could be best described as fluffy. Granddaughter on the other hand is wearing GG’s elastic waists until she loses her “baby weight.”

All things considered,  I want to recommend staying 29 forever to all women, especially if they have three other generations who share being 29.

Men, take a page out of Jack Benny’s book and stay 39.

 © April 2010 by Sharon Dillon