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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Speak your Mind

Thoughts to Ponder

 “Give it a thought. Consider every angle. And then speak your mind.

You’ve not been drawn into anyone’s life just to listen.

You’re not here to be quiet.”

The Universe*

 This is a different message than what many of us were taught as children. Be quiet, listen, and learn were our daily lessons from both parents and teachers. Those were good lessons to be sure. How can we learn if we don’t listen to others?

A better lesson is to compare the speakers’ words to their actions. That way we will know if they are speaking from their hearts. Are they really saying something we need to learn or as our elders used to say, “… just talking to hear themselves,”?

For many years I thought my job was to listen and obey. Then I learned that I might have an opinion worth speaking. At that point no one could silence me. I talked on and on about anything on my mind. I knew so much and needed to share it. That behavior led to teachers and parents frequently saying, “Sit down and shut up.”

At one job a coworker had a pointed way of making me aware of my behavior. I would start to talk without knowing where her attention was focused. When she realized I was talking, she’d look me in the eye and ask, “You babbled?” Our supervisor was offended by her bluntness, but I knew that she was reminding me to be sure the other person was listening before speaking. I was beginning to become aware that I was a nuisance – to say it politely.

Years later another supervisor told me, “You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in proportion.” He was saying the same thing that the quote says. We must listen, think and consider before we speak. It is important for us to say what is on our minds, but we need to have our thoughts in order first. Only in that way can we effectively share what we know.

It took a while for that message to sink into my brain and begin to transform my communication patterns. I must admit, I still like to hear myself talk, but I do a better job of using my ears and mouth in the correct ratio.

We learn more by listening more. That is not to say we shouldn’t speak up about things that concern us. We must speak whatever is weighing on our minds. If we don’t speak up to right injustice, who will? We have to decide when and where to use our voice or written word. Speaking out on too many issues leaves our message scattered and ineffective. If we speak out in the wrong place at the wrong time we become that nuisance I mentioned earlier. By listening, thinking and considering before we speak, we can discern whether the other person will accept our words.

Spirit,

Thank you for providing this valuable lesson. Help us to use that wisdom in our daily lives.

And, so it is.

* TUT – A note from the Universe, Mike Dooley, September 14, 2016

© by Sharon D. Dillon, October 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.

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