Taking Responsibility – Making Time

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Taking Responsibility – Making Time
By Bernadette A. Moyer

 

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Today our son achieved his weight loss goal. He lost 50 pounds in six months, six months almost to the day. He has taken responsibility for his health and his life. He set a goal for himself and he achieved it. There was no trick, gimmick or special pill; it was all diet and exercise. He had to change his habits and how he thought and he had to make an effort.

When we change our thinking, we change our lives.

We take time and we make the effort for people and for things that are important to us. If our health is a priority we make the time and the effort to achieve good health. The same can be said about all of our relationships including the one we have with ourselves.

We show people we care about them by taking time out of our lives to spend time with them. How we treat ourselves also says a lot about who and what we are all about.

Recently my husband and I were talking to a salesperson and in that casual conversation he shared that he was recently divorced. He said that it was the result of neglect. The marriage died due to a lack of effort. As we drove home my husband and I continued the conversation that most relationships will die without any real effort. It takes work and it takes effort to make a marriage work long term.

A good marriage takes work and it takes effort, it is pretty plain and simple, there are no gimmicks or special secrets. We agreed that we work really hard at making our relationship a priority. Taking responsibility and making time for the things that matter to us is what we do to feed out hearts and our souls and to live our own best life.

Here is to taking responsibility and for making time … for all the people, places and things that make us happy and whole.

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

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

If You Break It

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If You Break It
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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How many times have we read a sign in a store that reads, “If you break it, you bought it” I think the same can be said for our relationships.

Each and every single day I hear from people who are suffering a broken relationship. Where my general rule of thumb is that it takes two, it takes two people to create a relationship and it takes two people for a relationship to succeed and/or fail.

But what about the person who single-handedly decides a relationship is over? In my view the person who ends it without input or agreement from the other side, now fully owns the outcome. If they can live with the outcome and their decision so be it, but if not, then they are the ones tasked with making the effort to re-build it. They broke it, they bought it, and they own it.

One of the things we learn in visiting a ”china shop” is to be careful, and why? Because broken china can seldom be repaired to its former condition before the breakage, broken china is often replaced with new china.

The relationships that are long term and that we care about will test us, we grow together or we grow apart. Often a long term relationship is based on love but also includes acceptance and tolerance. A relationship that breaks down many times comes down to what we are willing to accept and tolerate.

Not every single person is supposed to remain in our lives; some come and go and some stay with us. In family we want it to work out and many times we will tolerate and accept things from family that we would never tolerate and accept in others. Some families remain close some just don’t.

A few days ago our son came home from work and shared with me that he ran into his former fourth grade teacher. His teacher asked him about his twin sister since he had both of them in his class and knew them well. Our son told him that they aren’t close and really have no real relationship. He is a twin and as the mother that raised them both it makes me sad. We always thought it was so special that they were twins and had each other like a built in best friend. But what surprised me most was his teachers answer. He said, “My sister and I never got along either.”

I have a hard time believing that families that suffer with estrangement are ever truly happy and healthy even for those that made the decision to estrange. How could you NOT think about “mom” on Mother’s Day or “dad” on Father’s Day or on their birthdays or on holidays?

Same goes for the parents, I don’t know of any mothers or fathers who don’t think about their children on their birthdays and on holidays. I don’t think it could be humanly possible to NOT remember the day that you brought a life, another living person into the world. This fact alone makes it hard to accept estrangement as any “norm” or normal behavior.

This July I will have been estranged from my oldest daughter for nineteen years. In my view she was young and foolish. She made decisions that were life altering and affected many others in hurtful and negative ways. She was just a kid and just shy of the age of eighteen. What makes it baffling isn’t what she did at eighteen but all that she has continued to do to keep it going. She is committed to her anger and to her narrative a narrative that many immature teens go through but most grow up and grow away from.

Like my many followers, friends and sisters and brothers who struggle with and suffer in estrangement, it is like any loss and grief with the many stages from denial to acceptance. I don’t believe that there is any stage that you are over it or 100% healed from it nor do I believe that estrangement has any winners. To deny your parents is to deny facets of your own life and who you are and what made you and where you come from. This is to live a lie.

My husband was the first to bring that line to my attention “they are living a lie” think about that? If you deny your parents and your roots, what does that say about the life that you are leading? And what stories now go along with that lie to justify living in such an abnormal way?

Things change. I suffered through shock and my heart was shattered when my child left home. I was completely broken. I never saw it coming. I didn’t think I could go on. I honestly believed I gave her everything any child could want or need. I beat myself up. I would have done anything for a different outcome.

Then I started to heal. I saw how easily I was to manipulate after her dad died. I became stronger. I went to work for several nonprofits that supported kids, many that were truly disadvantaged kids. I began to see clearly just how much I had spoiled my child.

But I still and for more than a decade I held out hope, I thought for sure she would mature, grow up and life would show her just how much she had. When she had her first child I was devastated not to be included but I also thought great now she will see what it means to have a child, to raise a child to be a mother. Sadly that didn’t happen.

Life is long life is challenging and life is filled with many decisions. I have always tried to live my life with the thought that yes I will stumble, I may fail and I may fall but I do my best to try not to do things that I can’t come back from or recover from.

And I do believe that if you break it, you bought it and you now own it …

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Broken china may not ever be able to come back together in its original form but many beautiful mosaic pieces have been made from the broken pieces. Beautiful jewelry and all kinds of beautiful newly created artworks can come back together and create something truly beautiful, different and unique from what was once broken and shattered.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facbook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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What Mom and Dad Really Want

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What Mom and Dad Really Want
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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We are half way between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and I have been thinking a lot about what moms and dads really want from their children. And it is pretty simple too. At every age and at every turn they want their children to be happy and to be healthy. They want them to be the best that they can be, however that is defined.

Most adult children will buy mom and dad gifts and although that is really nice and appreciated, most parents just want to know that their children are okay and doing well. They want to see them. They want to hear from them. They want to know that they haven’t forgotten the people that gave them life and raised them. They want to be respected for having tried and having done the work even if it wasn’t always perfect.

Mom and dad want peace with their children. They want to hear their stories and hear about their struggles and their achievements. They want to share space and time. They want to have the opportunity to create new memories.

When I was a young adult I often went to visit my dad who had re-married. I liked just stopping by and he always seemed to enjoy my company. We drank coffee together. I would tell him about my boyfriend or about school or about the issues I was facing in my life. Often he shared his stories too. He would talk about his parents and his siblings and his time in the service. These were some of my best memories of my dad.

Sometimes we would go to the Farmer’s Market or make a cigarette run for him. However menial it was what we did, we did it together and just being in his company was healthy and good for me. It allowed me to see him not as a child and a parent but as two adults sharing time together, two adults that shared a history.

I wouldn’t give those memories up for anything in this world. Now that he is gone and I am older, I appreciate them all the more.

My dad came to visit me when I was in the hospital giving birth to my daughter. Later she would spend a week in the summer with him. She had a chance to get to know her grandfather.

Gifts are nice but spending time talking with mom and dad and enjoying their company is truly what most parents want from their children. Above all else parents want to know that their children are okay and safe and doing well. They want to be remembered.

So when Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and birthdays and holidays roll around no need to stress over the perfect gift. A simple phone call or visit is sure to make mom and dad feel special and truly is the gift that they want most in life.

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

Who Cares

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Who Cares
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Seldom does a day go by when my husband and I see something or hear about something and our united response is “nobody cares” or “people just don’t care anymore.” It is often in reference to old fashioned values like respect or concern.

We can’t begin to imagine raising kids in today’s climate. Where the political anger has spilled over into all areas of life and a little boy can “demand” that the Vice President of the United States must apologize for accidentally hitting him when he raised his arm.

Almost daily we witness behaviors that stun and even shock us. We see people that openly and willingly do things to others or say things about others that they would never want done to themselves and they do it for the entire world to see.

I see grandparents openly denigrate and disrespect political figures. This is the “norm” and the behaviors that many young people are subject to and witness and are sure to model later in life.

My husband and I also talk about how lucky we are to have each other and to care for one another. It is team work and based on love and respect and it wasn’t always that way either. We learned often through trial and error how to care for one another. We learned that we are better together than apart. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t experienced our share of issues either. We have.

The bottom line is that when you have found someone that cares; cares about you and cares about all the things and the people and the places that you care about that it is special and to be cherished.

At a time when our culture seems so self-absorbed … care and care often and see just how much goodness comes into your life as a result and watch who then comes forward and cares about you.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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Netflix “The Keepers” – My Thoughts

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Netflix “The Keepers” – My Thoughts
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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It has been a few days since I watched all 7-episodes of “The Keepers” a Netflix true crime docuseries. Since watching it I have felt a wide range of emotions and have many thoughts. I would like to share a few.

I was born and raised Catholic and I graduated from a co-ed Catholic High School in Northeast Pennsylvania. I am very proud of my Christian roots and my many Catholic friends.

My oldest daughter graduated from a very prestigious all girls Catholic High School in northern Baltimore County, Maryland.

For seven years I worked for the Archdiocese of Baltimore at a youth retreat house. For more than 35 years I have lived in Baltimore County Maryland.

“The Keepers” story takes place in Baltimore County and the abuse alleged occurred in Baltimore County and by a Catholic Priest who was part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Although I was never sexually abused, sexual abuse impacted my family in a big way when a child molester married into our family and abused a little girl that I knew well. Most of the family loved and supported the child molester and did not believe the child who made the accusations.

I have written a few blogs about sexual abuse because I witnessed first- hand all the fall out when child sexual abuse becomes known within a family and in the community.

The first thought I have about this Netflix series is that the victims are true survivors and should be applauded for their strength and courage. No one should ever have to endure the abuse that they suffered. I appreciate their story and the depth of courage that it took for them to tell it.

I also felt incredible disgust at the Priest Fr. Joseph Maskell who abused so many children both boys and girls. He was a sick disgusting person who also happened to be a Catholic Priest. He was trusted and operated from a position of power that he repeatedly abused. This man should have never been trusted and he should never have been allowed access to young girls and boys.

The story starts out because a young beloved nun Sister Catherine Cesnik is missing and later found murdered. The sexual abuse came out later as a possible motive to the murder. It is believed that she may have been ready to report the Priest for abuse when she was murdered. To this date it is still an unsolved murder.

One of the points made in the series is that The Catholic Church is a business and it is, when we are young and so naïve and trusting we might not think like that.

I struggle with finding the right words as I write this. Sexual abuse doesn’t happen in a vacuum and it isn’t a random act. The abusers groom their victims and are often very charming and likeable. Sexual abusers are not strangers they are people that we know and people that we trust to have around our children. We do not allow our children to be in the company of strangers.

People don’t like talking about sexual abuse and they don’t want to admit that anyone they know and love is capable of molesting and even raping a child. For most people in order to believe the accuser they have to also believe the person they hold in high esteem like this Catholic Priest Fr. Joseph Maskell is capable of the acts of sexual abuse and rape of a child. People just don’t want to be wrong.

In light of all the many recent findings of sexual abuse within the Catholic community and the Priesthood it is not difficult to understand why many populations of people do not have a high opinion of the Catholic Church. If you weren’t Catholic and if this is all you knew about the Catholic community you would not and could not have a good opinion of them.

There is good and there is evil in every community. As much as my heart is with the victims and it truly is I can’t help but wonder about Fr. Joseph Maskell. What on earth happened to this man to make him so sick and so evil? I have a hard time believing that anyone could be born so hateful, so cruel and so heartless.

I also question whether we give too much power away do we hold other people and institutions up when the only person we should hold up is ourselves and our own faith in God. Fr. Maskell got away with abuse and it is believed that he did so with the support of the police and the Catholic Church.

Many of the key players from the Catholic Church and Archdiocese of Baltimore who were identified at the end of this docuseries I personally sat in meetings with and attended numerous functions with, I knew them fairly well. If I had to call out one common trait it would be ignorance and arrogance. They just can’t be wrong. In my view their denial contributed and caused extended pain to the survivors.

It would have cost them to believe the abused children. It would have cost them the reputation of the Catholic Church and it would cost them much money in lawsuits. The Catholic Church had both, it had a good and prestigious reputation and it has wealth. It also has armies of people, professionals including lawyers and law enforcement that defend them.

The victims on the other hand needed to be believed and supported and they were not. The cost to believe them was huge. In many ways the victims were victimized a second time when the system failed to believe and support them and then take the appropriate actions. Sexual abuse is a crime.

I pray that this murder is solved. I pray that the Catholic Church makes amends and does what is right. As a result of this series the Baltimore Police have added a link to their website where victims can come forward and also for anyone with information about the murder of Sister Cathy to come forward.

Hopefully this series brings about much healing and resolution.

It is never too late to make amends.

It is never too late to do what is right.

For so many reasons I believe that “The Keepers” should be viewed by everyone, if for no other reason than awareness and awareness on a subject that most people want to turn away from unless or until they are directly confronted.

I want to end this blog by stating again, there is good and evil in every community. There are many good and wonderful people that work every single day in the Catholic Community and they are doing really good works. Many of them I consider to be good friends.

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

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

You Might Not Be Rewarded

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You Might Not Be Rewarded
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Do it for yourself! Do the right things and do them for yourself! Sounds simple, right?

How often do we do things and just expect to be rewarded? Then when we aren’t? Maybe the real rewards have nothing to do with what lives outside but rather what lives within us?

Love to love. Just for the sake of loving.

Give for giving. Just for the sake of giving.

Do for doing. Just for the sake of doing.

Work for working. Just for the sake of working.

Contribute for contributing. Just for the sake of contributing.

And the list goes on …

Do what is right and do it for you …

Let the only reward that you concern yourself with come from within and don’t think about rewards that may or may not ever come from outside of you.

Disappointment is rooted in expectations that are not met. The only disappointments we should ever entertain are the ones that we hold for ourselves, they become the meter for our soul, our character and they define us.

When we do the right things and when we do them for the right reason … we achieve peace and love from within.

When we have love and peace from within we have already achieved our greatest God given rewards.

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

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Dear Moms …

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Dear Moms …

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We are about to celebrate yet another Mother’s Day. For some of us our children will be here to celebrate with us. And for some of us our children will not be. Our adult children make that decision. Each year my adult son takes me out to lunch and a movie to celebrate Mother’s Day. It has become our tradition. Half the fun for me is witnessing his excitement in planning it and making it happen.

My husband always treats me special on Mother’s Day. I think the thought that he could have been left alone to raise newborn infant twins when his first wife unexpectedly died was terrifying for him. He has always appreciated me for stepping up and assuming the mother role and raising his twin children with him. Today we can’t imagine our lives any other way.

My oldest and I were extremely close when she was coming up; so many people thought we had the “ideal” mother – daughter relationship. I have the most vivid memories of her as a toddler and later as a young teenager. She was strikingly beautiful and just as intelligent. Often I sat in amazement at her spunk and spirit. My memories are mine and no one can take them away from me.

For some families the kids will come home to see mom and celebrate together with family. Some will travel to the cemetery and lay flowers in remembrance.

Today there are statistics that show that 1 in every 5 families has an estranged family member, many are the adult children who have mothers that will grieve their loss and the void left behind on Mother’s Day. Through the years and because of my writings I have heard from thousands and thousands of mom’s who suffer a broken heart because “John” or “Jane” decided that mom was just not worthy of any relationship. It is hard not to be angry when I hear such hurtful stories. It seems that many adult children have no love and no respect for the very person that gave them life.

But for all of us mom’s we can share in the knowledge that we were brave and filled with faith and trust in just becoming a mother. There is no greater task in life than the awesome responsibility of bringing another life into the world and then the depth of commitment that it takes to raise one until adulthood. My heart was never so filled with pure joy and genuine love as the day that I first became a mother.

Often we beat ourselves up or second guess ourselves when the truth is that for most all of us we did the best we could with what we had and what we knew at that time. Know that you did the best that you could have with what you had and what you knew at that time. Our parents were not perfect and neither are we nor are our adult children. Flowers, cards and gifts are often a big part of the Mother’s Day celebration.

If you are on the receiving end of acknowledgement this Mother’s Day know that giving is for the giver and although we may be the receiver, relish in knowing that your child thought of you and did so in a way that lets you know that he/she is capable of love and of giving.

If you are feeling the pain and the loss of an adult child who does not acknowledge you or appreciate you, just know that you are not alone. Allow yourself a few minutes alone to grieve it, let it out. Cry it out, shout it out, write it out, whatever it takes just release the grief so that you are freer and can cleanse some of the loss and heartache away. Know that it is normal to feel the grief and that you will always have a soft spot for your child no matter what they have said and done. Say a prayer for them and for yourself.

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Then do your best to pick yourself up and treat yourself with kindness and care. Whether you are acknowledged or not you deserve to be appreciated. Appreciate yourself! Take a walk or a long hot bubble bath. Buy your own flowers or candy. Go to lunch or dinner with a friend. Buy a new book and get lost in a story, treat yourself to a movie. Buy a new dress or new shoes. Take a day trip. Go to an event. Do something outwardly that shows that you are important and that you have value. You do have value, believe it!

We give others too much power over us; we allow their judgement to take center stage. The only person who truly knows you and your heart is you. Try not to get caught up in the negativity that your child has placed upon you. Estrangement is not an act of love or of kindness nor does it come from a caring person. We are not our children. We are not responsible for any of their adult decisions.

We gave them life. We gave them the ultimate gift. Celebrate! You deserve to be happy and you deserve to have peace and love. There are always people that can and will love you. Love yourself. Treat yourself well.

Always remember that you gave your child the greatest gift ever when you gave them life and you raised them, you deserve to be celebrated. If not celebrated by them then with others who can appreciate you and celebrate from within yourself.

Happy Mother’s Day with much love and peace,

Bernadette

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

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