Fear vs Fearless

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Fear vs Fearless

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Children are fearless! I watched a little boy about 5 years old run through our house yesterday. He had never been here before; he jumped on my bed and ran downstairs through the basement. The entire house was new to him and yet he ventured from room to room completely fearless. He was not afraid.

In 1989 I was single and dating. A male friend came by for a drink. My daughter was sleeping she was just nine years old. The only bathroom in my tiny two bedroom house was upstairs where she slept. When he had to use the bathroom I waited outside. During these years I learned not to trust any men around my child. In a way I had lost my innocence and my ability to trust. It only took one bad experience and one person to change me. But I was forever changed.

It only takes one bad situation for us to become fearful. We can fear people and places and things that are unknown to us. Women learn to be weary of dark corners and traveling alone. We learn that we can easily become the target of assault and rape.

The Catholic Church, The Boy Scouts, schools and most places that deal with children and youth operate on the “Buddy” system. Children are treated differently now that we are aware of the amounts of abuses that can and have occurred with children being the target. We have become afraid. We are afraid of what might happen and what could happen because of what did happen with child abuse.

Our society teaches us to be cautious in dealing with new people and people that are different from us. Our country has been assaulted by terrorists both locally and internationally. We used to be more trusting and somehow we have lost that trust to those that use terror to control us.

In the 1980’s I was in my twenties and frequently traveled an airline called, People’s Express. It was a budget airline and you literally paid your fare once in flight. There was none of this security and full identification required as there is today. We didn’t know of nor did we fear terrorism back then. We were unafraid and we were fearless.

Today we fear getting on an airplane not just because of a possible accident but because we learned through tragedy that people can use an aircraft just like a bomb.

A child comes into this world dependent and fearless; they are filled with trust and with wonder. Life has a way of taking that innocence and scaring them into becoming fearful.  But what is fear? How much is good for us and how much fear stops us from being all that we can be?

It has been said that “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

One of the most powerful statements we can tell ourselves is, I am not afraid!

There is something so innocent and fresh about being fearless and having confidence to forge ahead unafraid. We can fear most anything and anyone. Just like we can be fearless in anything and with anyone …

Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Our Love Anniversaries

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Our Love Anniversaries

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Do you have “love” anniversaries? You know from your first date day? Or first kiss day? Or when you officially became a couple day? Your wedding date?

My husband remembers them all! I try to be as good as he is with them. Of course I remember our wedding date but I admit I do have to think harder when it comes to the date that we met or when we moved beyond just being friends.

We celebrate most all of our “love” anniversary dates. We celebrate as much love as we can and it starts with the day that we met and where we met and what we were doing. We would be introduced when I was holding his baby daughter as I was babysitting so he could attend his wife’s funeral. Hard for him not to forget that date. And yet we both feel so God blessed to have met one another.

Then we remember when we first went out and when we moved past just friends. We celebrate the anniversary date from when we purchased our family home and brought two fractured families together to begin again as one.

The biggest love anniversary is our wedding date. This summer we will be legally married for 18 years, although we have officially been a couple for almost 23 years now.

It just amazes us how we got together and how much we have been through together until now. We have a history that goes on for more than two decades and we celebrate every day that we wake up together.

Our love has been all over the map with the highs and the lows that any couple that manages to change and to grow together can and will endure. We have known the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We grew together in our thirties and our forties. We raised our children and we succeeded in our careers together. We said good bye to our parents and hello to older age. We navigated through the busiest and challenging of times and fought the good fight and surrendered to those that weren’t worth the fight. We did it together and we did it with love.

One of the things that keeps us going is that we don’t take each other for granted.  We celebrate the every day’s together and build upon our love anniversaries. Love anniversaries are important as they help us assess and gauge how we are doing. We reflect back as we look ahead.

Recently I was receiving Physical Therapy and my husband sat in the waiting room for almost two hours. When the therapist was done with me he commented on how much patience that my husband had while in his office. I said I knew that as it is his norm and I know just how lucky I am.

Love begets love and the more that we celebrate our love, the more love that we create to celebrate. It is a wonderful circle of love and of life. Remember your wonder “love” anniversaries and celebrate them all and you will never be without love.

Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Where Does Your Heart Live

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Where Does Your Heart Live

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Where does your heart live? Does it live in the light with a desire to make the world a better place? Or is it bitter and unkind?

I am so proud of my friends and my peers, most of them are giving back, and just about every one of us has a favorite charity or two. Most of us have raised kids that were honor students, Eagle scouts and set up for success. Today was our local Komen for the Cure run supporting breast cancer. There are so many of my peers who are involved in this cause by running, giving and doing. They are happy to be in a supporting position.

“It is in giving that we receive.” St. Francis of Assisi There were many years when I was a young mother, widowed with a child to raise that I had very little to give. My energy was spent on my career and on raising my child; however I always found ways to make contributions. Often I would bake for the school and church bake sales, I didn’t have much money but my baked goods were always a hit and helped to raise much needed funds for our church and school. If I made pie, I made two of them and found another family to give one of my pies too. I learned early on that giving was for the giver, and that everyone has something to offer.

We can trade our piano playing skills and teach piano, we can teach cooking and reading and writing. There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t have a gift and a talent that can be shared. Some people can give time and others are afforded the gift of treasure so they donate money.

If someone is unkind and unhappy you can usually see where they have stopped focusing on others and become focused solely on themselves. I heard a story a few weeks ago about a truly wealthy woman, she was a doctor and in a thriving practice. When she learned of her terminal illness she didn’t go off on a vacation or head to a tropical location, instead she volunteered her time to a soup kitchen and encouraged reading to all the adults and all the children she encountered. Her last days weren’t spent being miserable but rather in giving back to society. She wanted her life to matter and to make a difference and it did.

I have also known a few people that can best be described as “sour grapes” and “haters” they may have had a difficult time along the way but they have made the choice to stay miserable and self-focused, I call them the “eternal victims.” They waste their lives by deceiving and hurting people with lies and manipulation.

When I think about it … it is all a choice, where do you want your heart to live? Do you want to give back and make something good of your life? Or do you choose to be the “hater” who thrives on hurting others?

My heart lives in a place of giving and doing and trying my best to take even the most hurtful situations and turning them around and finding the gifts and the goodness in them. Last week I met a man, he is homeless and has no teeth and no clean clothes, after he ate a warm meal and acquired some gently used clothing I took a few minutes and chatted with him.  He pulled a folded up piece of paper out of his pocket and shared with me a drawing he had created, it was a picture of a little girl sitting on a park bench eating an ice-cream with a bird over her shoulder and a sunshine skyline. His drawing was special and it drove home for me that I can’t draw to save my life, the best I could do was stick people. He was truly gifted and talented and yet he was broken down poor.

When I finished chatting with him, he gave me that piece of art that he had created. He wanted me to have something of value and what he gave me was far greater than that piece of art. It was the realization that every single one of us has something to offer and that we need not judge, each person deserves to be treated with dignity. We are all children of God.

There isn’t a person alive that shouldn’t have enough food to eat, clean clothes to wear and a safe place to lay their head at the end of every single day. I couldn’t help but think about Luke 12:48 from the Bible that reads; “to whom much has been given, much is expected.” Most of us have so much and have so much to give. We are so blessed.

Where does your heart live …

Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Our Good Health

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Our Good Health

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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For most of my life I have been afforded good health. On my mother’s side of the family there were many health care providers like nurses and doctors. We were encouraged to stay healthy and to stay away from hospitals. Hospitals were where sick people were and we weren’t sick.

Last Saturday morning I woke up with severe pain in my right arm and shoulder. Pain that I never experienced before. It was startling. I couldn’t raise my arm up. I could feel tingling and shooting pain from the shoulder all the way through my hands. It was so scary.

Turns out I had pulled muscles and some nerve damage, all from resting on my arm in an awkward position for over an hour during a long car ride. I went from ice packs to heating pads to many doses of anti-inflammatory medication.

I couldn’t function since the pain was so intense. Little things like taking my clothes off and putting my clothes on and showering were painful everyday tasks that I normally took for granted. My husband had to help me. He had to comb the knots out of my hair and come every time I needed something that I normally could do for myself.

Today after not writing for days, I am using my left hand and yes it is awkward. The first day was probably the most painful. It would also be the day our little dog would be sick with a cold and runny stool. A normally house broken dog now eliminating all throughout the house and of course just moments after my husband had walked out the door. One day he went to CVS four times to get my mediation and other items to try and comfort me. This would also be the day that Chipper left messes all throughout our home. As painful as it was I cleaned it up. I wanted to get mad at my husband for leaving at just the right time so he didn’t uncover the mess nor have to clean it up.  Like it was his fault.

I can’t say that I have taken my normally good health for granted as I have always appreciated it. But today as I sit at my desk pained by an arm that isn’t fully functioning I surely can appreciate those who have alignments every day of their lives. We wonder why some people aren’t happy and smiling but I can see where when you are gritting your teeth to fight back the pain that smiling is the last thing you are thinking about doing.

My husband and I talk about how we are getting older and less attractive and how our health won’t always be the best as we continue on the aging path. I love being healthy and being slowed down to almost a complete halt is no fun at all.

Today I pray for all those who are suffering with health issues and that includes me with what my husband lovingly refers to as my “bad wing.”

Prayers for healing for all who need them …

Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

O’Connell Girl … Happy St. Pat’s Day!

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O’Connell Girl … Happy St. Pat’s Day!

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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When I was growing up along with my four sisters we were often referred to as “The O’Connell Girls.” Growing up with an Irish father and an Italian mother was our natural heritage. Both sides were very proud of their roots. The Italian side of our family was bigger and louder and more readily available to us when we grew up. Back then and to them being Italian meant everything! Unlike our society today where cultures are so easily blended my grandfather would have preferred that his daughter, my mother not just marry an Italian but an Italian Catholic. Oh how the world has changed.

It wasn’t until after my father left home and began his new family that I witnessed his pride in being Irish. I had gone to visit him, I was teenaged and I was happily shocked how well decorated his home was for St. Patrick’s Day. There were shamrocks and green decorations all throughout his home. If I never knew it before I knew then just how proud and happy he was to be Irish!

With a name like O’Connell I wasn’t going to fool anyone or be able to deny my heritage even if I had wanted to deny it, clearly we were an Irish Catholic family. I was always proud of my heritage, I often said, “I am Irish and Italian and I have the temper to prove it.” Today I might modify “temper” with the word “passion.” Both Irish and Italians are known for their passion, their spirit and their pride. I certainly have mine.

St. Patrick was the patron Saint of Ireland, although it is said that he came from Britain. He had several messages he believed came from God and ultimately he became an ordained priest. It was through his own struggles and adversity that he came to be a religious man.

Prayer of St. Patrick

May the Strength of God pilot us

May the Power of God preserve us

May the Wisdom of God instruct us

May the Hand of God protect us

May the Way of God direct us

May the Shield of God defend us

May the Host of God guard us

Against the snares of the evil ones

Against temptations of the world

 

May Christ be with us

May Christ be before us

May Christ be in us

Christ be over all!

May Thy Salvation, Lord

Always be ours,

This day, O Lord, and evermore.

Amen.

When Irish eyes are smiling, sure tis like a morn in spring. In the lilt of Irish laughter you can hear the angels sing. When Irish hearts are happy all the world seems bright and gay, and when Irish eyes are smiling, sure, they steal your heart away.”  – Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr.

I’ve been to Chicago when they turn the river green and I shared my share of green beer and Irish whiskey but the one tradition that sticks for every single year is a pot on the stove with corned beef, potatoes and cabbage. Right now, I can smell it cooking as I write this blog.

One of the great things about St. Patrick’s day celebrations are the parades and clovers and shamrocks and the luck and spirit of the Irish that goes along with it, and on this holiday we can all wear our green (the color of health) and we can all enjoy the spirit of the Irish because there is nothing better than when Irish eyes are smiling.

And one of my Irish favorite sayings is “May you be in Heaven a half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.”

“Anyone acquainted with Ireland knows that the morning of St. Patrick’s Day consists of the night of the 17th of March flavored strongly with the morning of the 18th.” Author unknown

Celebrate wisely and Happy St. Patrick’s Day, now pass the beer, and the corned beef and cabbage please … And may the luck of the Irish be with you too!

Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Job Interviews and Blind Dates

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Job Interviews and Blind Dates

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Does it seem like job interviews might just be a tad bit like a blind date? Where we don’t know what we are getting until that actual face-to-face occurs and we are looking at this person, the candidate? In one setting we are looking for a professional relationship and the other for personal reasons but either way, we are looking at the potential candidates to fill a void, a slot or a position.

For many years I held interviews to fill a variety of positions from assistants to managers to directors and interns. My gut instincts were almost always right on target. In the dozens and dozens of professionals that I have engaged in employment, few times did I ever sense that I made a bad call or that I made a bad decision.

Much of the decision making came from my ability to retrieve the answers to questions like did I view the candidate as someone that I could manage and work closely with and did they carry themselves professionally. Could I trust them to do their job and what kind of trouble shooter were they? When faced with a challenge could they work their way through it and find answers? Or did it stop them in their tracks? Were they self-motivated?

It has been decades since I have dated or even been on a “blind date” but it seems like when we bring people into our circle whether it is for professional reasons or personal ones, we want to make sure that it is a good fit.

Last year a friend went out of state for a big job and a big interview when she returned we were discussing her interview. Her read was that she didn’t get the job. She was 100% certain it was not going to go her way.  We were actually talking about it when the call came in and she was offered the position.

What she thought and what actually happened were two completely different outcomes.

In the past few years I have interviewed for new jobs and interviewed with potential clients all the while being “on” and knowing that you are being ranked and judged. Can this person fit the bill? I have asked the key questions and been asked the key questions. “Why do you want to work here?” “What can you do for this position?” “Why should we hire you and work with you?” and the classic “Where do you see yourself in 5 years and 10 years?”

Last year I interviewed in a panel interview after making it through several screens. They did their homework as it was one of the most notable interviews I ever faced. I left there uncertain as to the outcome. Within hours I was called and accepted the job. I loved the panel that interviewed me.

About a year ago I interviewed almost across the street from where I live, I immediately knew I did not like the person nor did I want to work with them and for them. I am certain she sensed it too.

My answer when people asked me how an interview went is always the same, and it is the same when I am interviewed by potential clients, “I gave it my all and you never know what the competition is and who else they are looking at to fill the position.” As a result I never take it personally if I don’t get the job.

Last month I interviewed for an hour and a half with an Executive Director, I liked him, I liked the mission and the location. I had a great tour of their facility and I learned so much.  It is coming up on a month and I haven’t heard a single word. What I know is that he had four candidates and that I thoroughly enjoyed our time together and I learned so much more about the work that they did. It was a good interview whether I got the job or not and I would be willing to financially donate to their cause. They are doing such greats works with a mission that is both near and dear to my heart.

Today my newest job interview was cancelled due to a snow storm. This will give me a longer period of time to study their works and to imagine myself working there. What I know for certain is that I always end up right where I am supposed to be and if it is meant to be it will be.

I do think though that job interviews like first dates and blind dates have some things in common. We are looking to include or disqualify the potential candidates.  We do judge people by how they look, how they carry themselves and what type of education do they have, we want to know that they can handle what they are signing up for whether it is for a job or a relationship.

Our social skills and our communication skills are tested when we interview just like they are tested when we are dating. In the final analysis, interviews and dates are very much alike when it comes down to it because we never really know what we are getting until we risk engaging that potential person.

So here is to all those that are taking risks in relationships for both securing employment and finding love and companionship. Just putting yourself out there and going through the process adds to our skill set. Each encounter offers us something new to learn. We learn about others and we learn about ourselves.

Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Why This Mother Loves Snow Days

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Why This Mother Loves Snow Days

By Bernadette A. Moyer

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I love snow days! They are nature’s holiday and when God is saying, “Slow down and breathe and just take it all in and take it easy!” My family is safe at home and all together and that is why I love snow days. We are all together and under one roof.

Our son left for work this morning and returned home about an hour later as his place of employ was closing due to the 8 to 10 inches of snow that we were getting here in Maryland. My 11:00 appointment in the next county was cancelled due to the snow.

So we all came together and enjoyed our home and each other’s company. I made food. My husband shoveled some and we took turns taking the dogs out and each one of us working out on our exercise bike. It is peaceful and quiet. Together we watched a cooking show competition for kids.

I decided to put together a meal with what we had in the house and it was pork chops, oven brown potatoes with chives, baked beans that I doctored up with a favorite barbecue sauce and yellow corn. I found a frozen loaf of bread in the freezer and got it out and defrosted in time to make fresh warm bread.

At dinner we made jokes and I laughed so hard I had to leave the table! We all laughed. I made a Hershey’s cocoa cake from scratch and there is a fire burning in the woodstove. The dogs are good company and my husband has started to sip the homemade lemon liquor that we just made today.

We are doing laundry and preparing for the weekend and our week ahead. There is something so wonderful about being a mom, and a snow day and having the people closest to you all together and at home and truly enjoying just being together as a family.

Thank you God, thanks be to God!

Bernadette on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer