Red Lipstick Hats and A New Smile

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by Bernadette A. Sahm

You don’t wear hats and red lipstick when you are not happy with your smile! You just don’t …

There are a lot of people that are self-described as having a “dental phobia” and have great fear and anxiety concerning the dentist. I believe that most people either 1) love their dentists and go to the dentist or 2) don’t have a dentist that they like and therefore don’t go there.

For me I had a long and winding road before I ultimately found “the one” perfect dentist for me! It was thirteen years and six dentists later before I had restoration dentistry. I needed someone that was not only experienced and skilled but where I felt cared for … patient care is two parts for me the patient and the care.

Yes, I know that it is a business, a service business but I needed someone that cared about me and had the necessary skills.

When I was just twenty-three, I had six crowns on my six front teeth. Back then it was a big deal and for a young twenty something expensive but necessary. My smile was restored, and I was happy with it. But like most things, it didn’t last and forty years later my dental work was failing. My teeth had moved to the point where it appeared that I was missing a tooth that showed itself when I smiled and yet I wasn’t missing a front tooth.

So, at the age of fifty I began searching for a new dentist, my dentist was retired and so my journey began again. It took me thirteen years and six dentists until I found what I was looking for and during those years I have so many dental experiences. One that turned me off by his demand for full payment two weeks prior to any work being done and not one person working in his office had a pretty smile!

Later I landed on Dr. S who was referred by one of my professional networking groups. He was very good to me and made my appointments first thing in the morning and gave me laughing gas to keep me relaxed. He worked up a dental plan and I had much work done until …. until we came to the six front teeth. He wanted to pull them and said that I wasn’t a candidate for dental implants. That meant dentures and for me that was not an option. I decided ugly and failing front teeth were better that a piece that I had to put it and take out.

Then this past summer a close friend recommended her new dentist, she was young and a female in her own small dental business. I saw her just once and she gave me hope that I could have the dental implants that I wanted and had been searching for so long. She referred me to her dentist who was a periodontist and not only specialized in the kind of care that I needed but was also the dentist that my new dentist was using. So off I went … again and to a location that was not in my neighborhood. It took several weeks to see her, and my appointment was not on time nor did my husband or myself like the office vibe.

The initial plan was that these two dentists would work as a team to get the results that I needed, however after a few office visits it became clear to me that this was not feeling right to me, and they lost my trust and faith. The best thing I can say about them was that ultimately, I was referred to Dr. Boenning in Towson who actually ended up being the perfect dentist for me.

He asked questions actually listened when you responded to his questions and seemed so much better skilled than what I previously experienced. It didn’t hurt that after my first office visit, I learned that he was the dentist that my favorite retired dentist was seeing along with his wife. Also, during my first visit my husband stayed in the reception area and witnessed a doctor come in still in scrubs after delivering a baby with a toothache that needed immediate attention. So now there are two area medical professionals seeing Dr. Boenning. I liked him and I liked his staff. I felt comfortable there and it was less than two miles from my home.

MY BIG DAY …

The week before Thanksgiving I was finally scheduled for dental surgery and dental implants. I was so ready and had so many people praying for me. I was scheduled from 8:00 to 3:00. It was going to be a long day but by now I was more than ready! I arrived on time after taking medication to help relax me. A foot inside the dental office was a wheelchair waiting for me, my husband knew right away that it was for me. It never crossed my mind. The staff was warm and welcoming and ready and not long after Dr. Boenning came in to say hello check on me and then prepare for my appointment.

I was never asleep but was comfortable during the entire process, I had eye coverings since I didn’t want to see this process and earphones listening to classical music. I could hear the assistants and Dr. Boenning throughout this process. At one point I tried to look at my watch and Dr. Boenning said its 1:15. We took one and only one break just before 2:00. My husband Brian was on standby when I had to call him and let him know I wouldn’t be finished at 3:00 but more like 5:15.

During the entire process there were two assistants with Dr. Boenning and me. Finally at close to 5:30 I was done for today. My implants were beautiful and prettier than I expected. I was sore and for days swollen and bruised. This is the first part where I have temporary but permanent implants. In four to six months after all the swelling and healing is complete, I will receive my permanent dental implants.

My husband keeps telling me how proud he is of me and how good that I look. I could never have afforded this procedure without his support. It isn’t cheap and dental insurance covers a very small amount. However, I have never felt more confident and happier, and I am definitely smiling so much more.

If you are in the Baltimore area and in need of the best dentist who can do it all and specializes in restoration dentistry and give you the best cosmetic dentistry, please contact Dr. Keith Boenning 410 324-2294 Boenning & Dancykier Dental Implants & Cosmetic Dentistry of Towson located at 1104 Kenilworth Drive Suite 104 Towson, MD 21204.

Dr. Boenning is an artist not just with creating the perfect smiles but throughout his office you will find his painting hanging on the walls. By his own admission he is a perfectionist. He also teaches his skills to dental students. I literally can’t recommend him and all his staff enough. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions.

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

#cosmeticdentistry #dentistry #dentist #newsmile #smile #dentalimplants #itsanewday

Leaning In

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by Bernadette A. Sahm

Did you ever notice that the really great photos of yourself were taken by people that you love and only after you leaned into the camera? There is a lesson here about the importance of leaning in and being present and not fighting or working against the things in life that we like and even love.

What can you lean into? A better relationship? A better sense of self? A greater sense of inclusion? A deeper faith?

What does it look like for you to lean into this New Year?

Recently a mentor said to me. “I hope that you will share your presence and your spirit with as many people as possible” think about that phrase for a moment. As I reflected upon it, I had two immediate thoughts 1) such a kind thing to say to someone, how empowering and 2) we all have power in our presence and in leaning into what is most important to us.

How about the times we fought against having our picture taken? How did that turn out? I know that for me, it never was my best look or my best effort if I wasn’t first leaning inward and fully present.

It has been said that “leaning in” has come to mean doing what’s necessary, becoming more courageous, confident and successful doing what perhaps we don’t even want to do.

This year I am reflecting upon all that is good and great and all the possibilities of leaning in and sharing my presence as I begin moving forward in 2023.

Wishing you a Happy Healthy New Year where you are leaning in and fully present!

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

Currently working on my next blog post, Red Lipstick, Hats and My Smile

The Thing About Love

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By Bernadette A. Sahm

The thing about love is that it can be infinite as we can love as much and as many as we choose to love. If one love dies, we can still love again. In April when we lost Chipper our hearts were broken, we loved him so much and in June of 2018 we lost Happy and were deeply saddened too. Yet in mid-May 2022 we brought Bailey and Buddy into our hearts and our home. They aren’t Happy nor Chipper as they have their own unique Bichon Frise personalities. We love them as they are and for who they are.

When I look back on my life and on all my relationships, I can’t help but reflect on the positive loving relationships I had as opposed to those that were a lot less than loving. The big thing that stands out the most is the simple fact; we can love as much, and we can love as many as we so desire. There are no limits!

Whatever life losses I may have experienced, I was blessed to fill those voids with other loving relationships. Other mothers and other friends who became mothers and sisters for me. Each and every departure made space for new opportunities to love.

On August 1st my husband Brian and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, there is more love today than ever before. We survived much together and came out stronger and with a deeper bond. In our over 30 years together, we raised three children, one set of twins and made a home with five dogs. We gained in love, and we lost in love, it didn’t change us. By nature, we are caring and loving people. We are givers and doers and live life fully. The greatest gift in being widowed so young, for the both of us, was learning just how quickly life can change. In an instant, life can change forever. We appreciate every single day, we know that every day is a gift, a gift from God.

My husband and I also experienced those difficult and unloving relationships, the ones that teach us about what we don’t want or like in our lives. Our past relationships prepared us for our relationship. The Buddhist teachings about love “accepting a partner for who they are, for who they are throughout their life no matter what changes and making the best of every situation is how one achieves personal fulfillment in a romantic relationship.” The idea of unconditional love is essentially what Buddhism teaches.

We all want to be loved and accepted. We all want the same thing. Maybe just maybe if we focused on loving instead of fear, hatred and division, we would receive more love and radiate more love toward others.

Lyrics from a Gary Allan song titled; Like It’s a Bad Thing … “I don’t know about you, but I was put here to live and love. So, what if I don’t do it like everybody else.”

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

It All Sounds So Cliche’

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by Bernadette A. Sahm

Sometimes it all sounds so cliche’ “do it now” “don’t wait” “live your best life” “what are you waiting for” “time waits for no man” “just do it” “life is a journey, not a destination” and the popular phrases and words of wisdom sometimes seem endless.

The truth is we have but one life, we never know just how long or how short that one life might be. Each day is filled with decisions from the moment we wake up until the moment we fall asleep. Most adults make more than 35,000 decisions each day. That is a whole lot of decision making!

Each decision that we make is also a decision NOT to do something else, we choose one thing and in doing so forgo something else.

In April, my husband and I celebrated being together for 30 years, living in our home for 30 years and later this summer, married for 25 years. Recently, I met a woman who is 75 years old and getting married for the very first time. Not only that, but she is moving from the United States to Italy with her new husband. All I could think was, “wow, that is so brave!” She is living her life, making big bold decisions and seems quite happy to do so.

I reflect on my own life and can’t help but think that I have made safe and conservative decisions. How many people can say they lived in their same home for 30 years and have stayed in the same relationship for just as long? Yet I am perfectly happy and content to do so.

At the same time. I thoroughly enjoy being a witness to how others live and make their decisions in life. Sometimes it is just fun to people watch and take joy in the life choices of friends and family.

Create the life that you love to live and always remember, “life is for the living, live it!”

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

Living our best life …

Chipper

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by Bernadette A. Sahm

Our little “Buddy” Chipper

Chipper is our Christmas baby boy who was born on December 21, 2011. When I first saw him at the pet shop, he had a “reduced price” sticker on his crate. He was slight, the runt of the litter and his left paw turned inward.  I asked to see him and spent some time in a private room with him. We immediately took to one another. I gave him back went for a walk and called a friend. Should I get him? We already had another Bichon at home. Happy was born in 2009.

I couldn’t leave the area without taking him. I felt “the pull” of when you know this is for you. I bought him and a few new things for him. My husband and I were having a little tiff and not talking. Recently our daughter had unexpectedly left home. It felt right to bring a new love/life into our family.

I sent my husband a photo and he later said that when he received the photo, he said to himself, “that dog is in my house!” When he came home from work, he picked Chipper up and almost immediately bonded with him. We had talked about getting another pooch and with the help of my high school friend Joann picked out his name. We wanted a name synonymous with Happy and so Chipper it was.

My husband never liked when I referred to Chipper as having been on the “reduced rack” for a quick sale. To me it was humorous because he was the perfect fit for our family. Our son met him and said, “you are going to like it here!” Happy on the other hand took a little more convincing that this was a new sibling for her to learn to co-exist with.

In a few weeks his papers arrived from the American Kennel Club, he was a pure-bred Bichon Frise and much to our delight had the same parents that Happy did. They were true brother and sister just born from different litters. It was perfect and so was he!

Chipper never knew he was small and was always the alpha-male taking on much bigger dogs without fear. We had both Happy and Chipper from 2011 until 2018 when we lost Happy. I will never forget just weeks after her passing the deep throated howl of pain that Chipper let out. He missed her as did we miss her. For the next four years we had Chipper and took him everywhere with us.

We took him to New York and Niagara Falls; we took him to Nashville Tennessee, and we took him to Williamsburg Virginia. He loved to travel with us. He had accommodations in our home and beach house. He loved to run on the sandy beach.

As I write this, I am dreading our 3:30 Vet visit, he is sick and not eating and when you are just 8 pounds every ounce matters. We know that he is closer to his death date than his birthdate. My husband is leaving work early so that we both are present at the Vet visit. This past weekend we cried, and we cried. Our sense is the end is near and we are crying for ourselves because we already know the huge void that Chipper will leave in our hearts.

He is our baby boy; I spend every single day with him. I always feel the “pull” of what it is like to have someone at home that is waiting for you and loves you unconditionally. During COVID he became my office mate and attended every ZOOM meeting. He is such great company and made us better “dog parents” than ever before. We called him “Buddy” “Little Man” “Chip” “8 Pounds of love” and “Chipper.”

I leave work and not sure of what I will find at home, is he going to be alive and active or knocking on deaths door. Happy to report he barks bounces out of his crate and eats some chicken and drinks some water before going outside to do his business.

So … we just left the Vet, she thinks it might be his kidneys, we had him x-rayed and no broken bones, he has lost .8 pounds. Now we wait for all the test results.

What we know for sure is that an average dog lifespan is 10 to 13 years, he is over 10. We have given him a good life and he has given us much joy. What more can we ask for? We love him so much and thank God for the gift of Chipper!

Update – Chipper died peacefully on Wednesday April 6, 2022. Our hearts are shattered but we are comforted in the belief that he is reunited with his sister Happy in heaven. Each death teaches us about our own mortality. We are doing our best to stay focused on all the joy, love, and happiness that he gave to us, RIP “Little Man” Chipper we love and miss you so very much! Our lives are so much richer from having you …

Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

When I Wasn’t Loving Myself …

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by Bernadette A. Sahm

This blog was started weeks ago and finally on Valentine’s Day I decided to finish it. I have been blessed with a 30-year relationship that is based on love and care. Many have called it “a marriage made in heaven by heaven” all we know is that we feel blessed, and we never take each other for granted. We still date each other, and we always put our marriage first. But it also begins with self-care and self-love. You cannot truly love and accept another human being until you learn to love and accept yourself.

I see it all so clearly now, what I couldn’t see back then, when I just wasn’t loving myself. Every bad decision, every destructive relationship, the times when I didn’t think I was good or good enough. What was I seeking? What was I looking for and what was I recreating to fix or to master? Why was I attracted to people or situations that weren’t good for me and ones that didn’t treat me right? Why was my younger self willing to settle for so much less than what I deserved? What did it take for me to finally know better?

Aging and self-reflection offer so many good answers. I had to grow into my best self. I had to experience the hurts, the pain and the loss of much to finally hit my bottom and get back up and in touch with my core and my best self. For years I valued others’ opinions of me over my own opinion of myself. In my younger days, I repeatedly gave my power away and in doing so, I gave my self-worth away.

When we love ourselves, we won’t accept what is not right for us. Loving decisions start with how we treat ourselves, how we speak to ourselves and our own inner dialogue. Loving ourselves enough to feed our mind, our body and our soul a diet of healthy good for us choices.

Sometimes we settle for less than what we should and/or we allow ourselves to make less than loving choices. Women are natural caregivers and often put themselves last, we have to learn that it isn’t selfish to love ourselves and put ourselves first. If we don’t love and care for ourselves, why would anyone else love and care for us? We teach people how to treat us by how we treat ourselves and by what we are willing to accept.

Our best life can only ever be achieved when we love ourselves enough to make our life the priority. What do I need to do to be my best? What is good for my mind for my body and my soul to be happy and whole and living my best life? We all have our own unique answers to these questions.

It’s been said “it is not about the destination. It’s about the journey.” Each journey affords us the opportunity for growth and development, and the chance to know and love ourselves. If your life isn’t what you love and it doesn’t make you happy, you alone can change it! Enjoy the journey …

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

Let someone else enjoy it

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by Bernadette A. Sahm

I continue to be amazed at just how much “stuff” we have accumulated through the years. Things that we just had to have and purchased. Today we are streamlining all that we own. We recently found a good home for our piano that we purchased 27 years ago. It was a beautiful upright Baldwin piano that we purchased brand new for almost $5,000. It lived in our dining room for almost three decades. Letting it go was all about “let someone else enjoy it” and we just love the new found open space that its absence has created. Knowing it found a new home where it will be played and enjoyed makes us happy.

In the past few years we have rented two large dumpsters and filled them up with junk and things that no one wanted or would want. We have taken multiple trips to donation centers for both household items and clothing. Giving it away for free in hopes that someone else could use it and enjoy it.

Marketing firms target younger people for many purchases. Now that we are older, we think more about what we spend our money on and do we really need it. Do we want to manage more “stuff” and often the answer is no, not now.

Giving is for the giver! There is so much joy and happiness tied to our ability to give. Letting go of the things that we once held and doing so that someone else may enjoy it just feels so good.

What are you hanging onto that you no longer need or want, what if letting it go makes someone else happy and they can use it and enjoy it?

As we approach the “giving” gifts and the season of gratitude, what gifts do you possess that could so easily be shared and in doing so make another person happy?

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

Living Faithfully

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by Bernadette A. Sahm

What does it take to live in faith? To make a commitment and then stick with it? Whether we commit to a God, a faith, a religion, a job, a career, a calling or to a marriage and children. To dedicate your life to one cause or one place or one person and then stick with it?

Recently I witnessed several religious celebrate 60 years, 65 years, 70 years and even 75 years to their religious community. They made a commitment and stayed with it. I can only imagine that not every single day was a great day. There had to be times when they reflected upon and questioned their faithful commitment.

To have stayed in a community for 75 years that you entered in your early twenties and stayed throughout your twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and well into your nineties. That is the absolute definition of living faithfully.

Today few people stay in a job or a career for a lifetime. It used to be that if you had more than two jobs on your resume’ the question was why can’t you keep a job? There was value in sticking with a job and working it until retirement. Young people today think little or nothing of moving from one job and one career path to another and doing so frequently. They gain experience and diversity in their abilities to adjust and adapt to various jobs and positions.

I never viewed myself as having the goal of a lengthy marriage or in living in my same home for 30 years and yet next year I will have achieved just that in being committed to the same person my husband for 30 years. We have been faithfully committed to each other.

Here is what I know about being “married” and staying committed in marriage for so many years. First and foremost it is not always easy and not every single day is going to be a happy day. It takes work. It takes commitment. It takes compromise. It is about taking one day at a time and making that commitment again and again.

“The secret to a long and happy marriage is a short memory.” Lou Holtz.

There is truth in that quote, You have to be willing to forget the times when it wasn’t great. You have to stay focused on all that is good and it has to be based in love and in understanding. You have to want it and you have to want it even when it is a challenge and difficult.

My marriage is good and at times even great but it is not perfect. There is a whole lot of love between us and also passions. Passion that cuts both ways where its good but also can be destructive. I heard a recent interview from Country Music Artist Tim McGraw about his marriage to Faith Hill. He acknowledged that yes they have a happy and committed marriage. But it doesn’t come without their share of stuff. He states that marriage isn’t a linear process and you say we won’t fight in front of the children, and guess what, you fight in front of the children. It happens. I give him credit for his honesty.

My husband and I work on our marriage and treat it like the living breathing thing that is it and we strive to keep learning and growing together. There are many types of stress that find their way into a marriage. Raising children and having a family is some of them. So are jobs and career choices. We do our best to minimize outside influences impacting our union.

There is a joke that goes; “Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond. By the end, you wish you had a club and a spade.” Anyone who has be married for a length of time appreciates this thought.

We have built a life together and as my grandmother used to say, “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” We have acquired history together something that only happens when you put both the effort and the time into living faithfully. Given the choice neither one of us would choose to live differently, we appreciate the marriage, the companionship, the friendship and all that living faithfully as a couple has afforded us.

Thanking God for today and all the days of our lives …

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

Beautiful Things

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by Bernadette A. Sahm

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

It has been said that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” we all have things that we find beautiful. Some things most others will agree and some just may be beautiful to us. The older I become the more important “beauty” is to me. I seek beauty in beaches and in bars, in gardens and in garages. I seek beauty in nature and in people, I seek beauty in animals. Most often I seek beauty in my environment. For me a beautiful surrounding makes me feel more peaceful and more beautiful within myself.

Philocalist a lover of beauty; someone who finds and appreciates beauty in all things. An aesthete is someone who loves and appreciates art and beautiful things and that would be me!

Simple pleasures like the cast light of the moon glowing on the ocean as the sun sets. The opening of the rose buds and all its many layers of color. The cut watermelon in its pink and red glory. The gray sky as it rains a harsh windy forceful driving rain. The small child in the grocery cart who smiles at you when you are a complete stranger.

The voice of a good friend, a chat with a new neighbor and the sounds of the sprinklers keeping the gardens and grass looking so healthy and beautiful. There is so much beauty in the world and in our every day life and travels.

Beauty is always there if we are open to seeing it. Like happiness being a choice so is living a beautiful life with beautiful things …

My Father’s Art

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By Bernadette A. Sahm

My father’s art always spoke to me and I was thrilled during his last days before his death that he gifted me two very special paintings. They remain in my office today. Recently I enjoy seeing several red cardinals in my yard. I believe as the folklore goes “Cardinals appear when angels are near ” they are heaven-sent messengers of love for you. They make me think of my dad.

“Dad: a daughters first love …”

My father was far from perfect but I loved him and I knew he loved me too. I am his namesake, the son that he never had with my mother.

Next year I will celebrate 30 years with my husband and I believe that little girls often grow up and marry men like their fathers. My husband does share many of my dads best traits and thankfully not his not so good ones. Girls without dads are often attracted to men who are absent and a zero. I see this time and time again in life. Without a father figure a little girl often grows up and finds men who are not really there for her.

Dad was the first male figure to tell me that I was beautiful and the first man to view me as good and as worthy and that I was valued. I had my share of relationships with men who were much like my fathers dark, angry and destructive side, the ones that aligned more with the negative traits in my father. Again we are attracted to what we know and what feels familiar to us.

I accepted my father as he was and for who he was, I tried to understand some of his anger and his difficult days. Never making excuses for some of his behaviors, I grew up to view him through the eyes of an adult rather than of an immature judgmental child. At the end of his life, he called for all 8 of his children to make peace with them before he died. I have so much respect for that final act of love that showcased his character and what was important to him.

Sometimes in a weak moment, the little girl in me wants him to come and protect me from the pressures, pains, disappointments and heartaches in life. Yet I know that between the red cardinal visits to my yard and his artful paintings hanging in my office, he lives on through me. I am at peace and I know he lives on in my heart and in my many memories. So thankful for so many gifts that he bestowed upon me.

If you still can, call your father, call your father!

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