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,, December 2, 2016

© by Sharon D. Dillon, December 2, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon,, “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.


Calm for the Holidays

Thoughts to Ponder – November 25, 2015

 “What would calm do now?

What would peace do now?

What would relaxation do now?”

Martha Beck*

We may want to ask ourselves those three questions when we feel stressed, worried or frightened. Just asking can help our bodies and minds feel more at ease.

So much is happening in the world and in our country right now that can make us afraid. The news seems to be structured to encourage that fear. Many of us talk of our fears and spread anxiety to others. Or, we try to hide those fears in frenetic holiday preparations. We check our credit card balances, watch the sales ads and gird ourselves to face the Black Friday horde.

Thanksgiving, a day to share gratitude with our families and friends, often becomes a day to cook until we’re exhausted, eat until we must loosen our belts and watch multiple football games. A few hours later many of us jump into our cars and head to the stores to try to snag the Early Bird Black Friday sales. Then it is more shopping, cooking, and hosting or attending various holiday events until the Big Day arrives.

That’s when we realize that all the hype has been just that and our gifts are just gifts, not the ultimate whatever. All our hectic preparations did not make the stress, worry and fear disappear. They are still within us. Is that the way we want to honor the many winter holidays we have the opportunity to enjoy?

Perhaps this is the time to remember:

 “Keep calm and carry on”**


Thank you for opportunities to share calm, peace, relaxation, and joy with those we love, those who are less fortunate and those we meet each day. We choose to not spread worry, stress and fear. We choose to carry those traits forward day by day.

And, so it is.

* Daily Inspiration, Martha Beck, November 16, 2015

**British poster distributed in 1939 as WWII pressed in on their country

© by Sharon D. Dillon, November 25, 2015

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