60 Gifts and Blessings for 60 Years

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60 Gifts and Blessings for 60 Years
By Bernadette A. Moyer

60th-Birthday-Card

This fall as I am about to turn 60 years old and to begin the celebrating I thought that I would make a list of all that I am grateful and all the many blessings I have had throughout my life.

One blessing or one gift to represent every single year. I hope that in sharing my list you think about creating your own “birthday blessings” list …

1) God who has never once let me down
2) For my parents Bernie and Inez who gave me life
3) My Italian heritage
4) My Irish heritage
5) My Catholic roots and faith beginning with Baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation
6) The healthy genes I have inherited
7) Love of reading
8) My writing of poems, blogs and books
9) Connections through my many written words
10) Friends that are like family
11) Childhood in a neighborhood where I could walk to the park, stores, friend’s houses
12) My private Catholic education
13) First loves
14) Broken hearts
15) Laughter
16) My Soul
17) Sense of right and wrong
18) Ability to see both sides of most situations
19) Giving birth
20) Raising adopted twins, a son and a daughter
21) Experience of motherhood
22) Becoming widowed young and learning the value of life and living well
23) A second marriage
24) My loving life- long husband and partner
25) Love of good food
26) Ability to cook from scratch
27) Baking of cookies, cakes and pies from homemade
28) Decorating
29) Party planning
30) Fundraising
31) Driving long distances and enjoying every stop along the way
32) Live musical concerts
33) Theater
34) New York City at Christmas
35) Going home to the Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market
36) Connecting with my high school friends
37) Continued education through classes, workshops, seminars and more
38) Learning just for the sake of something new
39) Gardening
40) Growing roses
41) My beautiful hydrangea bushes
42) Growing up on a farm
43) My love of animals
44) My precious pooches
45) Finding and enjoying meaningful work
46) My sphere of influence
47) My intelligence that I am certain came from my mother
48) My creative and artistic side that I am certain came from my father
49) Living through abuse and becoming a full-fledged survivor
50) Our history with our second home at the beach
51) Looking forward to whatever the future brings
52) Giving up control for peace
53) Living a peace-filled and love filled life
54) Enjoying the many beach destinations that we frequent
55) Becoming a wedding officiant
56) Mentoring young people
57) Swimming in the warm ocean waters and swimming in our private pool
58) Saving money and saving memories
59) Our home where we have lived for almost 30 years
60) This big fat beautiful God blessed life that I have enjoyed for 60 years!

Follow Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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Not Afraid

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Not Afraid
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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This coming October I will turn 60 years old! I just can’t believe it and how quickly the years have passed by for me. For most of my life, I have been afraid – afraid of this – afraid of that.

When I was 50 I wrote a book titled Halfway Home, the first 50 Years and during that time I wrote about my fear of death. Today I no longer have that fear, I imagine death is very much like giving birth. You go with it and you don’t control it as it takes over you. I suspect that death is the same. It takes over you and you just go with it.

One of the greatest gifts that comes from not being afraid is giving up the need to control. There is no anxiety when we finally learn to live and let live. Living without fear and without anxiety allows you to be present in the moment and enjoy the here and the now.

My faith in God allows me to live without fear as I know that He is in charge and with God all that is good and all that is possible is born in life and in death.

I can’t help but think of Kenny Chesney’s song; Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven but not right now… I Ain’t Ready! He sings.

There is still a lot of life in me, but I know that much life is also behind me. People that I know or have known die every day. And life goes on without skipping a beat.

Each day, each year, every season, every birthday I am reminded of the miracles and the blessings associated with life and in death.

I am not afraid. “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” A famous FDR quote about how fear just makes things worse. For all the years of fears, aging has taught me just how senseless being afraid truly is and the many negative ways it affects our living.

Be not afraid … and John 14:27, my favorite reads; “Peace I leave with you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”

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Eating Olives

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Eating Olives
By Bernadette A. Moyer

olives

There was a time when I would never ever have eaten a green olive and now I crave them. It started with a “dirty martini” and eating the blue cheese stuffed olive. Then we graduated to “dressed olives” they are tossed with spices and often served with special crackers or fresh warm bread. My husband Brian is the “we” in graduated. Neither one of us would have touched this stuff as a child. Today we absolutely love “dressed olives.”

Our taste buds are evolved and matured just as we have in our life experiences. We aren’t kids anymore but fully fledged adults who love adult foods and adult experiences.

We marvel at our “aging” and how much we have changed, we know the difference between ego driven and just sitting back to watch. Not everything requires our comments and input, less truly can be so much more. Life has become simpler and sweeter, well actually briny. Briny as in salty like the sea and just like the green olives we enjoy.

Everything changes. We change. Life changes. It becomes more important to love and to accept. And loving and accepting starts within and with knowing ourselves.

“To love others you must first love yourself.” Leo Buscaglia

It takes time to know ourselves and to love ourselves, it takes time to evolve to maturity. Maybe you will never love green olives or perhaps you always loved them, regardless there are things in your life like people, places, foods and more that you enjoy as you age that you never dreamed of liking as a child.

Allow yourself the greatest freedom of all in learning, aging, evolving and “eating olives” or whatever makes you happy… Peace and love… and “green olives!”

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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Where Do You Belong

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Where Do You Belong
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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It is a crazy big world out there and I like to think that the biggest comfort comes from knowing who we are and where we fit in and belong. What groups do we align ourselves with? What feels “right” to us?

Being part of a group and being with like minded people helps us to achieve our goals. When we are with people that love and support us and when we are headed in the same direction it becomes easier to get there. But what happens to us when we are unsure and uncertain regarding where we belong in life?

A Catholic Sister recently passed away, she was 92 years old and by all accounts lived a full and rewarding life. I only met her more than a year ago. I only knew of her in her last years of life. She was poised and met most people with a smile. I could sense that she was a good woman. What I didn’t find out until just after her death was that she was also a Pilot, she was licensed to fly a plane! This woman was born in 1926 and all I could think was wow how progressive.

How ahead of her time she must have been either that or I am not travelling in the right circles. None of my friends are Pilots and I don’t know of any female Pilots either. But for this Catholic Nun that was once where she felt that she fit in as a Pilot and as a Sister in a Catholic Congregation of Women. That was where she belonged.

Through the years I have mentored several young people often as interns and later watching them make their own way in the world and discerning where they fit and where exactly that they belong. They try different things, some fit others don’t. They learn where they belong sometimes by trial and error.

A new book titled Alienated America researches this concept about “community” and where we belong in our society. It came as no surprise to me that people that were active in groups like church, politics, family and others did well as far as quality of life. Simply put if we are connected to others and have that sense of community our lives have more meaning and we feel more valued. We feel connected and are happier as a result.

Today my family life centers around my husband and the life that we have created together, but where did I “belong” before we created our bond and our family? Most of us have our first family, the family that we are born into. I never knew “unconditional love” until I learned it in my marriage to my husband. We met at age 32, soon we will turn 60. So up until age 32 I saw and experienced what I thought was “love” and later learned just how dysfunctional and sad and wrong it was.

In an article published in The Guardian titled; Siblings; what if the bond just isn’t there? The writer states, “We expect siblings to have an automatic draw, but usually we would never pick them to be our friends.”

I never had that “sisterly” connection with my sisters, it started in our childhood when my father favored me over the four of them. They built a bond with my mother that I personally never felt or experienced. I tried to like them but they always seemed to give me reasons not too. When my husband died, one sister stole my wedding ring so I couldn’t wear it to his funeral. She later returned it to me. Many times I chose forgiveness and to look the other way. When child sexual abuse married into our family I could no longer do that. They gave me reasons like stealing my possessions to their last and greatest cut of omitting me from our mother’s obituary. The things they did in life, many times caused me to feel that I just didn’t “belong” there. I could never side with a child molester over a child. Buddhist believe that most people are either our “lover” or our “teacher” and I think most of the people in my life would and could fall in either one or the other category.

As a Libra known for balance I typically and easily see both sides of most situations. Life changes and life changes us. One day we might be someone’s husband or wife and then one day we aren’t, they leave or they die. We have a title at our job and that lasts as long as we are working it. We might be a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent but that is also a title, and like most titles can change at any time.

“What I know for certain is that nothing is certain.” Anthony Bourdain from Zen wisdom of “I am certain of nothing.”

The longer we live life the more of life we will experience, we may fit into certain circles at various times in our life that may not suit us at other times. My faith in God has always been a constant in my life. Without God I am nothing, without God I have lost hope, without God I don’t feel connected to others or to life and to this world.

God and gratitude save the day for me. When I look and act out of what I believe God wants from me I am at peace and connected to all people and all things that are good and right for me, it is where I am most at home and where I belong. And when I make the choice to view the most hurtful and difficult situations and people that have been in my life with gratitude for all the lessons learned, again I belong and am most connected to my soul and living my best life with God at the center. That is my forever home and truly where I belong.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Lots to Love

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Lots to Love
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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There is so much to love! But you would never know it by turning on the news or checking out the various websites. How and why is that even possible? To hate when love is so much healthier and easier on us?

There is so much to love here, and in every way and on every single day. We should be throwing love around rather than criticism and hatred. How we respond when we don’t get our way or when things go against how we believe they should is an opportunity for grace and love.

I find pleasure in the little things! I turn off the television and turn off the news and internet and make food, I listen to music I watch love stories. I like cleaning and running errands. I like getting things done and enjoy that simple feeling of accomplishment. I love lots of things! I love going to the gym and enjoying the dry sauna.

Going to drop off the dry-cleaning I stop and get a good cup of coffee and turn up the tunes. On the way to Goodwill to drop off some gently used clothing and household items, I open the sunroof and let the cool fresh air in even when the temperature is at freezing. The sun hits my face and it makes me feel happy to be alive.

I think about what is left of winter and what spring might bring. Thinking about what flowers I will plant and what improvements are coming up makes me happy. The thought about upcoming travels reinforces how much there is to love.

What do you love? Make more of it! Do more with it!

On my day off I am thinking about the projects that are ahead and the ones that truly make me happy. What might I do to keep that accomplished feeling alive and spread more grace and love?

My house is clean, the laundry is washed and folded, I just pulled a meatloaf out of the oven and a fire is burning and warming our home. My dog sits at my feet and all I can think is, there is lots and lots to love here…

Love is everywhere around you, and so is hatred, choose happy, choose joy and choose love … there is lots and lots to love … seek and you shall find!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Happy New You!

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Happy New You!
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Most of us are walking around and greeting with “Happy New Year!” but this year I have decided to go with “Happy New You!”

It could be as simple as a new hairdo or as meaningful as a new career move or job. Each year as we turn over to the New Year, we have the unique opportunity to begin again. We have a chance to create a new life. We can lose weight and eat healthier and work out at the gym more often.

We can learn a new language or paint a room and remodel and redecorate. We can give more away than what we consume and take in. Each year we can rethink, redefine and readjust who and what we are all about. How do we want to spend our time, what should we do each day to ensure that we are happy and operating as our highest and best self?

What will you do this year that you have never done before? What will make 2019 better than 2018? How will we define “better?”

Each life has a beginning, a middle and an ending, where are we in our life? And what should we do so that each day we want to leap out of bed and begin our day? Should we travel more or stay put longer?

Is our attitude one that still serves us well, or do we need to change and adjust it? No one knows how long their life will be but if/when it comes to a conclusion have we lived, loved and learned?

The only person responsible for our happiness and our quality of living is us, what might we do in 2019 that helps with be the best version of ourselves? How can we begin again and be a happier healthier newer version of ourselves, our best self?

I see a New Year as the perfect opportunity to be a New You! Happy New YOU!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
Books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Expectations

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Expectations
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Expectations are something that we all have and are also often what makes us upset or disappointed or even sad and depressed. When something doesn’t go the way that we believe it should and our expectations are not met, we become disappointed and maybe even disillusioned.

Last Saturday I made an appointment at a local car dealership and expressed interest in test driving two vehicles. Several phone calls and messages later I was certain we were set for our 10:30 a.m. appointment. It was a rainy Saturday morning and when we arrived we were met by our salesperson and almost immediately passed off to a “specialist” who did NOT have the vehicles I requested ready and started asking questions like; “what do you need to have in a vehicle?” and when I pressed him about seeing the cars I inquired about we ended up walking through the car lot in the heavy rain.

Inside I could feel myself getting upset, my expectations were not being met and ultimately I made the decision that I was not going to do business with them. It was almost comical how he chased after us and then his sales manager chased after us. We drove off the Jeep dealership lot in a Jeep we already owned! That day we expected to buy a new car and it didn’t happen.

A week later I went to purchase another Jeep and my experience was wonderful and met all my expectations! The car is so much nicer and the experience was so much better.

We are just a few days from Christmas, a holiday that brings with it much anticipation and often high expectations. Will it be as magical as all those Hallmark movies and Christmas cards? Will we feel that special “spirit” of the Christmas holiday? Will we receive and will we give that perfect gift? And how about that special Christmas dinner, will it meet all of our expectations?

Do we expect too much or not enough? Will we feel the love from our family and our friends? Our level of expectation is almost equal to our degree of happiness.

The longer I live the more that I understand the only person I have the right to place expectations on is myself. We set ourselves up for disappointments when we expect others to respond the way that we would respond.

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” Alexander Pope

I don’t know that we could live our lives without any expectations but I do know that one of my very favorite phrases is “exceeded expectations.” This holiday season I wish that everyone has their expectations met and even exceeded.

Merry Christmas and wishing you all a very Happy and Healthy 2019!

May God continue to bless us all …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble