Grocery Store “Bernie” My Angel

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Grocery Store “Bernie” My Angel

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Today I got up early to beat the rush at the grocery store, it is New Year’s Eve day and after being away from home for several days it was definitely time to restock the refrigerator. I made it through the Amish Market before the crowds and then on to the grocery store. I was in “get it done” mode. Barely awake as I left home I hadn’t even had my coffee yet. I was out and about.

When I made my way to the line at the check-out I was feeling pretty accomplished since there was only one person ahead of me and I had secured everything I needed to cook for the evening. The checker was a guy and he was nice. Almost too nice since like I stated I had not yet had my coffee. He was talking and talking telling me how he separated my foods in their bags, where the eggs were and how he protected the glass jars I was purchasing. And I was like it’s early; I am on a mission and wow you are talking up a storm!

I took each bag from him placed them in the cart and handed over my card, this time he was telling me to have a safe and Happy New Year and not just for me and for my family and it seemed like he was going on and going on … it was much more involved than the normal quick “Happy New Year.”

When I finally took the time to look at him I noticed his name tag that read “Bernie” and I said “I’m Bernadette” he immediately said “did they call you Bernie” I responded with “yes my father is Bernie and I was named after him.” He smiled large and said “Bernie?” I said “well actually Bernard.” His smile grew. He continued to chat with me and from the beginning he was so sincere, so caring, you would have thought they were his groceries that he was taking such good care of when placing them into the bags for me.

The thing is I could have missed the whole thing. I wasn’t really present as I was so geared up to what I was doing and what I needed to do next.  I smiled wide as I left there. I thought it was a sign from my dad above. It was “Bernie” alright the one that went to heaven several December’s ago. For me, it was my dad Bernie who has been looking out for me in a whole new way since he departed this life.

This past year 2014 has been filled with blessings and angel signs and I have been so blessed …. Most of us are blessed but so often we aren’t open and we are rushed and closed off. When we open our hearts and our souls and when we are receptive our own “Bernie” angels light our way and protect us. Soon after my joy I looked up and said “thanks dad, happy new year to you too!” and then I had a few tears that rolled down my cheeks …

Whatever is ahead I am able to face it because I know that God is with me  and that my angels are always with me. I am never ever alone and that is as simple as a visit to the grocery store or any other places that I find myself.

Happy New Year 2015 and May you be blessed and open and receptive to all the angels that surround you too!

Sudden Death and Heaven Has a New Angel

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Sudden Death and Heaven Has a New Angel

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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It has been said that death is our final teacher. Yesterday on a long car ride home I would learn of the sudden and unexpected passing of a former colleague and friend. To say that he was respected and admired by many would be a huge understatement. Everyone loved Mark he made sure of that. I have my memories of him. Memories of overnight working retreats and memories of the interview process before he hired me to be part of his team with the Archdiocese of Baltimore. I have so many memories of special events, memories of our lunches, drinks and dinners together and memories of his many attempts at mentoring me.

You don’t last as long as he did within the highly charged political arena like the Archdiocese without learning how to maneuver, he managed to get along with all sorts of people; a  task that few in that same community manage to do and certainly unlike Mark who seemed to do it so effortlessly.

He never let his ego get in the way of his faith and his love for the Catholic Church, although he was tested. I remember meeting him for Mass and lunch downtown one day after he had been moved to another position within the Church. Many others might have left but not Mark as he made the best of it. It didn’t mean that he wasn’t human though, he felt it but his love for the Catholic Church and the work that he did was far greater than his ego. He made it work and he made it work well.

It was during the long 700 mile car ride that we learned of his death, that my husband and I would recall our own experiences with death and the sudden deaths of our own spouses so many years earlier. Our hearts are so sincerely with his wife and his daughter at this time; their lives are forever changed in his passing. Our faith teaches us many things and there is no more of a test of our faith as when our loved ones pass away.

When I woke up this morning I immediately went looking for all the photos I had taken through the years that I worked with Mark, I have some great ones! His spirit will live on long after his passing. I can’t imagine heaven receiving any better of an angel. The sadness I feel isn’t for Mark as I know that he has gone on to Glory but I am sad for all those left behind that are sure to miss him immensely.

Mark was one of the first to reach out to my husband when his mother died and he was one of the first to call me when he learned that my mother had passed away. He always knew what to send and what to do and what to say when death came. Now so many are lost with grief in his passing and sudden death. But I know Mark enough to know that he would want everyone to carry on and to be better for having known him. And we are all better for having known Mark. When I think of Mark, like most people, I smile. Here is to you Mark, Godspeed.

There is No Death

There is no death! The stars go down

To rise upon some other shore;

And bright in heaven’s jeweled crown

They shine forevermore.

There is no death! The dust we tread

Shall change beneath the summer showers

To golden grain, or mellow fruit,

Or rainbow tinted flowers.

There is no death! An angel form

Walks over the earth with silent tread;

He bears our best loved ones away,

And then we call them “dead”.

Born unto that undying life,

They leave us but to come again;

With joy we welcome them – the same.

Except in sin and pain.

And ever near us, though unseen,

The dear immortal spirits tread;

For all the boundless universe

In life – there are no dead.

John Luckey McCreery

The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have is With Yourself

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The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have is With Yourself

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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The longest relationship you will ever have is with yourself, and for me, it also includes God. The way we treat people and our honesty and dishonesty is something that only we can reconcile. So many of us are hugely invested in our parents, our children, our friends and our neighbors and where this is quite noble, the truth is that the sustainable relationship is the one we have with ourselves. Friends come and go, family comes together and drifts apart, parents age and die and children grow up and go on their way.

The biggest investment made should be where it will have staying power and last, and that is within our own self. When we look to others for our value, whether it is an employer, a parent, a child, a friend or any other we have given way to letting everyone else determine our value.

As a child who was born as raised Catholic, I learned many wonderful life lessons. I learned to live by the golden rule and to treat other people the way that I wanted to be treated. I learned the value in living for the greater good and about service above self.  I watched both Priests and Nuns put everyone else above themselves. I learned to believe I was going to hell if I didn’t honor the Catholic code for living. It is only recently that I have discovered that if and when you put everyone else above yourself you have basically taught people how to treat you. You have taught them that you deserve to be last.

Life is a journey and not a destination, each one of us is evolving as we age, learn and grow. Just like a flower that comes back year after year, where it may be the same type of flower it never returns looking exactly like it did in its previous bloom.

When we are young we have no way to fully comprehend how our decisions will impact us later in life. Like the teenager who decides to become a teen mom, they can never fully understand that life altering choice until they age. Parents fret over their teenagers and young adult decisions, because unlike the teenager and the young adult a mature adult has a better understand of poor choices. The choice to walk away and not take advantage of a fully funded four year college education means much more to that same adult, now grown, who does not have the advantage of a college degree that was afforded them as a teenager.

Decisions made in anger and in haste seldom stand up in the test of time. Whether our parents were great parents, mediocre parents or even terrible parents, they are the parents that God gave to us. Every single adult knows the impact of their childhood both good and bad and the importance of their roots and their home. Even in the most highly dysfunctional families, social workers and mental health care providers work to restore the health of the first family or neonatal family. They get it that the parental relationships will impact a child’s life for the rest of their life.

Life is long

Most people state “life is short” or “life is so short” but it was my husband who first shared the statement, “life is long’ with me. Life is long and it feels even longer when as a young person you make life altering decisions that impact your life in a negative way, for the rest of your life.

One of the fastest growing populations of people is estranged parents and adult children. This week alone I received 6 e-mails from across the country and from both men and women, fathers and mothers who are estranged from their adult children and grandchildren. The pain and heartache is insurmountable and almost every single case has set the same cycle up for the next generation. Statistically it has been proven that once this pattern of family estrangement begins, it plays itself, over and over again in future generations.

I have heard from parents, who had social services involve themselves and when it was deemed it was a troubled teenager, the rift between parent and child was broken beyond repair. I heard from a father who was arrested after his teen daughter claimed abuse. It didn’t take long for the investigation to uncover that the teen was angry. She was angry with dad, because he took the car away from her. So she got him back by slamming herself up against the car, getting a bruise, calling police, saying dad did this and when they saw her redness and bruise, he was immediately arrested.

Now dad sees how dangerous and without boundaries, his daughter is and in his anger and hurt he doesn’t want the teen back in the home. The teen daughter is limited in her ability to function without her parents support. The stage is now set for years of estrangement. The social workers once there and involved are long gone as they have moved on helping truly abused children. This family is left with the destruction and the aftermath.

Try Not to Make Mistakes that You Can’t Recover From

It wasn’t until one of my later career jobs that I was applauded for making any mistakes. My supervisor always saw the value in lessoned learned and in the ability to try. According to him, if you made a mistake, at least you were trying. For the effort you were applauded then came the dialogue about what went wrong and how to make it better. Everything was viewed as a learning opportunity and a chance for growth and development.  

Some mistakes can’t ever be repaired, nor can you ever come back from them. Murder and rape are not actions that once crossed can be repaired. Where we want to live in a world of second chances and of reform, there are actions that can be taken that you can never take back.

When you put your life in someone else’s hands and when you no longer have the power over your own destiny in life you have all but ended your relationship with yourself. No one is going to know what you like, need or want in life better than you do. Advice is great and often it is free and perhaps in being free that is what it is worth, nothing. People often have their own agenda and their own idea.

Coming from a place of strength and of self-love and acceptance and contributing to our own success and investing in our own self allows us to be fully developed mature adults. We can’t get our value or devalue ourselves by what other people do or don’t do.

As parents, maybe we need to do better and teach our children that the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship you have with yourself. If you are not full-filled and you are angry, only you can do what is necessary to fix that inside of yourself.

Investing in our own self is not selfish but rather contributes to wellness and to the greater good. We all know that “hurt people, hurt people.” And most often when teens and young adults are lashing out at others, at their parents and at their friends, family and community, it is because they are hurt and troubled.

I can’t say it enough, the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship that you have with yourself. Invest in you, take care of you and do what is right. A pretty good measure for me has always been that if you wouldn’t want something done to you, you most probably shouldn’t be doing that same thing to someone else.

Peace and all good things …

Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

So Much to Be Thankful For in 2014

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So Much to Be Thankful For in 2014

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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If we don’t appreciate what we have, what makes us think we will appreciate even more?

Last year around this time I created my own gratitude jar and throughout the year I used it. I wrote down things that I was thankful for in my life. It was not a difficult exercise. Little did I know when I started to do this just how many things and people and places and opportunities would come my way. It was a year filled with much love and abundance.

It was also around this time last year that I interviewed for a new job in the state of Delaware. Somehow I managed to compete with more than 70 other professionals for that position. It was a position that I eventually secured after a very challenging series of filters that began with a Skype interview and included my 30-60-90 day action plan before the actual face-to-face interview. The team that interviewed me I immediately liked every single one of them.

I loved the small town of Smyrna, Delaware and so many of its residents. It was a huge job with extremely limited resources. In my time there I was very successful. It was a beautiful place. Sadly the lack of unity just burned out the two people they hired to replace me. They lasted as long as I did before moving on too. In about a year they had three different Directors I hope that 2015 brings them better luck and an aligned board of trustees. However I will be forever thankful for my experiences there. I met some of the best people. Some remain in my life as good friends and others will live on in my heart.

After exiting the job I decided to travel some with my husband. So off we went up and down the East coast and I appreciated it all. We will end our year in one of our favorite cities; Nashville Tennessee.  We have so many fond memories of past holidays with our children there and try and go back at least twice a year. I am so thankful that we remain healthy and are afforded so many travel opportunities.

This year job opportunities literally just fell into my lap, many of them I declined however I remain grateful for them and ponder the variety. One was a position in upstate New York working in economic development. We actually house hunted before declining. Another possibility came my way via a dear friend who asked me to help be part of the care giving team for her aging parents. She reached out to me because of my “giving and caring heart.”  Hard as it was I said “no” but her prayers were soon answered with a team of three wonderful qualified adults. Another opportunity I accepted locally and another is based in Washington, D. C. My take away is that there are many opportunities and I am so thankful to be afforded them.

My husband remains at the very top of my gratitude list. What a great life partner he continues to be to me. He is always so supportive of my many projects. I couldn’t ask for better.  And I appreciate my closest friends who are like family to me.

I’ve peaked inside of my gratitude jar for 2014 although I have decided to wait until New Year’s eve before reading each slip of paper where I wrote what I appreciated and was so thankful for in my life. This will be a tradition now as I plan to begin 2015 with a fresh new gratitude jar.

Isn’t that the beauty of life, not knowing what is ahead? What will the New Year afford us? What will we attain or achieve or receive that we will be thankful for? I know that I have so much to be grateful for that came my way in 2014 and I truly look forward to receiving the many gifts that life has to offer for 2015.

Have a most happy and healthy New Year 2015 and be sure to take the time to ponder all that you appreciate are most thankful and grateful for in your own life …

Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

I Had This Idea

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I Had This Idea

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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I had this idea that if I did the right things, the right thing would happen for me.

  • What I learned is that doing the right thing was what I do for myself and it doesn’t guarantee that things will turn out like I thought.

I had this idea that living by the golden rule would guarantee that if I treated others like I want to be treated they would do the same.

  • What I learned is that many people want and expect to be treated better than what they treat others, I learned many do things they would never want done to themselves.

I had this idea that I could trust all my “friends” because that was the understood definition of friendship.

  • What I learned is that isn’t necessarily true and that trusting myself was what was lasting and most important.

I had this idea that if my husband and I worked really hard and gave our children a stable home they would become stable.

  • What I learned is their stability would have to come from within themselves.

I had this idea that if I was open and generous others in my life would also be open and generous.

  • What I learned is that being open and generous is what I do for myself, others may choose to be closed off.

I had this idea that most things fall into a black or white, right or wrong kind of area.

  • What I learned is that many things fall in that gray area.

I had this idea that some events in my life were good and others bad.

  • What I learned was that if I turned it around even the things that appeared “bad” could become good and meaningful.

I had this idea that I had to wait for this or that to happen first before going on to the next thing.

  • What I learned is that the here and the now are the best times.

I had this idea that my sense of wellness and peace was connected to something or someone else.

  • What I learned was that my wellness and peace were always within me, I just needed to tap into it and be open to it.

I had this idea that if I was loveable everyone would just love me.

  • What I learned is that I am loveable whether others choose to love me or not is about them.

I had this idea that my happiness was connected to someone or something else.

  • What I learned is that my happiness lives inside of me and is not dependent on anyone or anything else.

I had this idea if I pushed harder, tried harder did everything right that I would always end up in a good place.

  • What I learned is that I don’t have to try so hard, sitting back and trusting in the universe brings about all the good naturally.

I had this idea how things should be at 20 and at 30 and at 40 and at 50.

  • What I learned is that each decade defines itself in its own way and in its own time.

I had this idea that life is a beautiful thing!

  • What I learned is that life truly is a beautiful thing and even the ugly and the sad and the pain of loss and of love add a beautiful dimension. They offer their own beautiful gifts as long as we are open and willing to receive them.

On Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Death in the Family

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Death in the Family

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By Bernadette A. Moyer

It seems like a death in the family is when the family nuts become even nuttier. Its official my husband and I are without parents as they are all deceased now.  His father John was the last to go. His mother died first and then my father and my mother before his dad recently passed too.

My first experience with death was at 23 years of age when my first husband died. I was so humbled and my heart was huge, I included everyone. In my vulnerability my heart grew. I have come to believe that I am either really naive or just big hearted, perhaps a bit of both.  I had this idea that death should make you find your heart and that there is no greater time to be in sync with our hearts than when we have lost someone to death.

For a fleeting moment I thought that when my mother passed it would be a time for all her children to come together.  She had five daughters and I had been estranged for more than two decades.

When she died I thought maybe the sisters would come together but that was really short lived when her obituary was published naming her four daughters and I was excluded. That doesn’t happen by accident. And not so long after her passing they would come together and write nasty letters to my employer(s) and others. They weren’t involved with me for several decades, but they felt they had a right to try and hurt me. What they did was affirm for me as to why they weren’t in my life.

When my dad died he made sure he had peace and called all his children together. My husband was holding his mother’s hand when she departed this life.  It was during this time that his father asked him to handle his affairs when his time came. Unfortunately he didn’t have a will since he never owned a car or a home or other property. One of his sisters would decide that she should handle their father’s affairs and so rather than fight her; he reluctantly agreed and handed over all important papers including the life insurance. What his father wanted handled peacefully his sister made a court case over, and my husband let go of her fight.  Now that his father has passed all other family members are fighting within themselves and trying to bring my husband along with them.

The truly sad part is that this is not what his father wanted, he wanted his affairs handled. He had already secured a plot and had paid for the opening and the closing so that he could be put to rest with his beloved wife of over 55 years. He had insurance and it should have been a smooth and easy transition.

When people die, we should find our hearts but so often family members will lead with their egos and use the death for their final act of hate, anger and jealousy over their other siblings and their family members.

I have witnessed aggressive hate filled responses within families when a parent dies. I have witnessed it in my family and in other families. It seems like death in the family can bring out the best in people or the absolute worst in them.

I have also witnessed families that respected their parent’s wishes, allowed the adult child they named to handle their affairs and their departure from this life with dignity and with unity so that all the family could grieve and grieve in peace.

How we welcome life and how we say good-bye to those that mattered to us, says much about us but it also says a lot about how we loved. Did we show them that we respected or disrespected their final wishes? Did we come together in love and show respect?

The good news for my husband is that he is a man of faith and a God believing man, he knows that John is reunited with Marie in heaven and knowing this affords him all the peace he will ever need. He was a great son to his father and his father was always so proud of him and his many accomplishments.  His father would also be pleased that rather than fight with his family he chose to walk away, take the high road and be better than all that.

Death in the family stirs up much in the family, sadly not all of it is good, but in the final analysis we have to live with our actions and our own decisions and make our own peace …

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

Shame

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Shame

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Shame can be a powerful motivator; it can push us to get ahead and to move beyond our current situation. Shame can also cause us to continue to live in shame all the while hurting ourselves. I began this blog just before I received yet another e-mail from a mother who is estranged from both her daughter and her mother. The devastation left her suicidal and losing her job too. She like many in her situation is ashamed by it.

My husband Brian grew up in the projects of Baltimore City where his family was the only white family and where his father was the only parent there with a full-time job. He couldn’t understand it and was ashamed of his humble beginnings. He was ashamed of their ways and their behaviors. His shame pushed him out of the city and toward a better life. He wanted better for himself and for his family.

Some people never climb out of it, and they create generation after generation that is born into poverty and often a shame-filled existence. Education and a work ethic often are the vehicles that help drive us toward success and out of poverty and shame.

“How do you do it?” My recent writer asks me, how do you go on after the shame of losing your precious child to estrangement? My quick response is “You put one foot in front of the other and you walk away. You leave it all behind you.”

Yesterday I experienced more hatred and family drama after my husband’s father died the night before. Family members that broke into our home after driving out from the city to our suburban home, they were not invited nor did we know they were coming. When they were uncovered inside of our home, I was verbally assaulted. Called all kinds of curse words and names. I may have seen these people three times in my entire life. My son said, “Now I know why my dad wants nothing to do with them.”  My husband said, “This is why I never took you around them, they have embarrassed me my entire life.”

For years I grieved lost relationships. Most women who are mothers want their families intact but sometimes it becomes very clear that like both my husband and my son state, “we are better off without them.” There is nothing there that is healthy and whole, it took my husband incredible strength and fortitude to get out and to move behind his family of origin. They are an angry people.

After the verbal assaults that took place in our home his family proceeded to scream and yell and curse loudly on our property and in our neighborhood. My husband once again experienced shame because of his family.  The difference is that today they are all grown adults, they aren’t kids anymore. He has changed and grown up and they are still set in their “hood” mentality.

We are better off without them! Women typically don’t want to hear that or believe that and men seem to have an easier time accepting it. Today after many years of grief I am 100% with them. Our lives are happy and they are peace-filled and the self-inflicted family drama is of no interest to us. Simply put, we don’t live like they do. We have respect for people and for their privacy. We would never enter someone else’s home, family or not without being invited.

On the day after my husband lost his father, he found himself sitting in the police station making a report regarding the family members that broke into our home. Even the policemen stated, “people in your neighborhood, don’t do that.” More shame for a man that has moved past it.

I’ve begun to believe that the people; the family members departure from our lives is truly a gift from God.  When their time is over, it is over. Shame can be used as a powerful motivator; it can help us to push onward and upward.  My husband never felt good enough, until he was grown up enough to understand that their stuff was about them and he could decide what was right for himself.

“Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.” Brene Brown

Shame can destroy your life if you allow it. It can make you believe that you aren’t good enough; truth is that we are all children of God, we are good and we are all good enough. We must push past our shame and we must believe it to make it so …