Gone to God … Gone to Glory

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Gone to God … Gone to Glory
By Bernadette A. Moyer

When I go to God
St. Peter gives a wink and a nod
When I get to Glory
They already know my story

At the pearly gates of heaven
I hope this is what I will hear
You did good your heart is pure
God is ready now be rest assured

When I go to God
I will have passed through this life
When I get to Glory
God knows no more strife

St Peter leads me to God’s grace
There are angels abound
Now we meet face to face
Calm cool and quiet, not a sound

Heavenly Father embraces me
Once again I am whole
The songs they are singing
Pierce my angel spirit soul

As I move forward, who do I see
To my right and to my left
All those before, that mattered most to me
God stands before us, He is our host

When I go to God
When I get to Glory
I won’t have to speak a word
God knows my story

The Lord is my light and my salvation
So why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger
So why should I tremble? PSALM 27:1

When I go to God
When I get to Glory

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P.E.A.C.E. – Parents of Estranged Adult Children Everywhere

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P.E.A.C.E. – Parents of Estranged Adult Children Everywhere

by Bernadette A. Moyer

What do famous actresses like Demi Moore, Meg Ryan and Jennifer Aniston have in common?

imageAt one point in their lives they were estranged from their mother. In 2010 a survey conducted by 20th Century Fox showed that 8 out of 10 people reported that the women in their families were responsible for ongoing family feuds; 4 out of 10 reported that they were currently going through it.

A fifth of the people polled admitted that a family member died before they could make peace. Thirty percent of women have been estranged from their moms. Imagine Jennifer Aniston’s mom seeing her daughter’s high profile marriage to Brad Pitt and she wasn’t invited to attend the wedding?

There are numerous chat rooms and blog sites most of them kept fairly under the radar where parents communicate their grief and their confusion over the loss of their adult children. Often it is learned behavior that passes from generation to generation.

Amelia’s Story

When Amelia left home she was newly graduated from the Peabody School for the Arts. She was an honor student and gifted and talented concert pianist. She received a full honors scholarship to Harvard University that was academically based. In the months between graduating from Peabody and attending Harvard she would decide to move in with her teenaged boyfriend. Shortly thereafter she became a teen unwed mother and Harvard was no longer an option.

In her lifestyle choices she would also decide to dismiss her mother from her life. A mother she once seemed to adore; wrote her college essay about and by all outward signs had a close loving mother/daughter relationship. No one was more surprised by Amelia’s actions and life choices than her own mother. When her mother finally decided to go after Amelia, who was just shy of 18, Amelia retaliated with accusations of abuse. A nasty court battle ensued and the outcome was declared “unfounded” and further stated “Amelia has many mental health issues as a result of being sexually abused as a child.”

For many years Amelia’s mother grieved the loss of her daughter and her grandchild. For more than a decade she tried many times for reconciliation and all to no avail. It took many years and heartache and finally today her mother accepts that Amelia will never be a part of her life and she is okay with this conclusion. When asked how she finally came to peace? Mother responded with, “If Amelia wasn’t my daughter, I wouldn’t even like her. The person she has become is not someone I would want in my life. Then I started thinking that all relationships end, some end by divorce, some by death and some by choice. Finally I am free of her and accepting of her decision. I live a very full life and it just doesn’t include my daughter.”

Amelia claimed abuse by a man who married into the family, when uncovered and confronted the extended family chose not to believe or to support Amelia or her mother. Family members not only didn’t support by word but also by deed as they allowed the accused “child molester” unlimited access to their own babies. The declaration of sexual abuse would trigger decades of estrangement.

How does a mother go from giving birth, breast feeding her baby, nurturing her and providing her with the best educational opportunities, providing undying love and support for her daughter and then to acceptance of estrangement?

Like all loss it had to be a process with the stages of grief until acceptance. In many ways it is a death. For a parent it represents a death of the future, one that their child was expected to carry forward.

Chase and Beth’s Story

When Chase brought his new fiancée’ Beth home to meet his mother he didn’t expect the reaction he received. Chase was a successful African American male and Beth a blond blue-eyed gal, not the picture of what his mother believed was the right choice for her son. They didn’t speak for over a year. Finally as a result of the up and coming wedding mother met with son and they reconciled their differences. Today more than 4-children and 2 decades later all is well in this family. The love between mother and son was greater than any differences. Beth is openly embraced and loved by all family members.

When it comes to our children we see ourselves and our future, perhaps it is easier to let go of parents as most will outlive them. Parents may represent the past and adult children may decide they want a new life apart from parental feedback, input and influence.

In my research I have communicated with many parents, mostly mothers of estranged adult children. For the most part they have real difficulty letting go of their children even when they are fully developed functioning adults. What other relationships would we hang on so desperately for? Like divorce kids also decide at times to move away from parents both literally and figuratively. Sometimes they come back and sometimes they don’t.

Peggy and Her Son Dan

imageWhen Peggy’s son Dan left home he was bitter and angry over his parent’s decision to divorce and he began abusing drugs and alcohol. Peggy tried to get him help but because he was a legal adult her hands were tied. Initially Peggy told her neighbors and friends that Dan had gone away to college. Later she said he was living with his friends. Admitting to the truth was just so painful for Peggy. The truth was that Dan didn’t want his mother in his life. The hurt she experienced was by far the most personal cut; her own flesh and blood that she absolutely adored had denied her.

Through the years Peggy would hear about Dan, he had fathered a son but Social Services stepped in and removed the boy from both parents who were unable to care for him. He was adopted by a loving family. Dan was in and out of jail for years, often drug and alcohol related charges.

More than 9 years after leaving home Dan totaled his car as a result of drinking and driving. The accident resulted in a pedestrian hit and run that eventually lead to death. Dan was charged in this death and is now serving a prison sentence. Finally free of drugs and alcohol he has embraced the one person who never stopped caring for him, his mother.

Richie and “The Will”

When Richie died and his will was read, his assets were to be divided amongst his three adult children. His daughter Janet would receive 60 percent, his youngest daughter Jane 30 percent and his son Thomas the remaining 10 percent. This fueled years of sibling upset and estrangement and confirmed Thomas’s worst nightmare; he was the least favorite child. Father and son had not spoken in the last decade of Richie’s life.

Marlene Dies

Marlene died leaving behind 4 daughters and a messy state of affairs, her business was failing and she owed much more than her worth at the time of her death. Her funeral was delayed for weeks because not one of her children would take any of the financial responsibility. Two of her daughters would determine they were most worthy and would try and lay claim to an inheritance that Marlene believed she had coming to her. The daughters didn’t know that Marlene had mortgaged that inheritance long before her death. There was no money. The 4 sisters once close are now divided over money and possessions.

In my research the family dynamic often set in motion by a parent figure and even more often a female family member dictates estrangement. Mothers often have a difficult time seeing themselves apart from their children. But when they do take a healthy step back and away from their adult children and truly live for themselves this often allows the breathing room for a healthy adult relationship.

My Story

Estrangement would be a part of my life on both sides; my mother and me and my daughter and me. In my story it all pointed back to the same person and continues so today, although I initially blamed myself; it had to be me. As long as I remained “the scape goat” I remained the target. You could easily make the case that it was modeled behavior that carried on from generation to generation. My own mother was once estranged from her parents and her siblings. Later they did reconcile. My child witnessed my estrangement from my mother, perhaps it wasn’t such a big leap for her to follow my example.

I can honestly say that it was not what I wanted on either end and that I beat myself up for many years over these estrangements. My mother and I never had a fight, I was told that her husband was abusing and I chose to protect the child that confided in me. I also chose not to hurt my mother with these accusations and so I walked away. (Later an article, The Importance of An Investigation for All Parties will be published)

The last person I ever thought would leave my life was my daughter and she did. Through the years with many doctors, counselors, therapists, friends and research I would come to the universal conclusion that I was an easy target for manipulation. I allowed my desire to make up for the loss of a parent to death and accusation of abuse to make me that manipulated target. I wanted to make it all better, fix it and take the pain and loss away. I wanted to protect my children from further hurt and loss. All I really did was allow a “victim” mentality to grow and fester in my children. At that time I couldn’t see it.

My mother didn’t speak to me for the last 23 years she lived; I would go unmentioned in her obituary. I was the adult messenger who spoke out on a child’s behalf. Having lived through it and in retrospect I did the best I could with what I knew at that time. Today I would definitely have the police and detectives get to the bottom of it. “The story” needs to be documented and preserved legally. Fortunately for me I have all the documents from teachers, social workers, detectives and other adult parents who witnessed what a child declared and also what I personally lived through. Do keep good records as this information can make all the difference in “what really happened.” Abuse in all forms is often behind many family estrangements. Historically, and as the years pass, the story may change depending on who is manipulating it and why.

Today for me, it doesn’t really matter what I believe but rather what I know. Did a little girl lie? Maybe she did and maybe she didn’t either way my job was to protect her.

imageIn 1998 I started my involvement in an online group where I received much comfort in the sharing of estrangement stories, clearly I wasn’t alone. P.E.A.C.E. parents of estranged adult children everywhere was a place we could openly communicate our loss, our feelings and our deepest hurts in losing our adult children. I was astonished at the real life stories of estrangement but no so today. It exists but most often is not talked about because of the shame and embarrassment and the pain associated with this incredible loss.

What did I learn?
1.You are so much stronger than you think!
2.There is comfort that comes from sharing with others who are also estranged from their adult children. Find a group that works for you. You are not alone.
3.Forgive yourself. You did the best you could.
4.Not all relationships last, some die, some divorce and some choose to leave for their own reasons.
5.Do not allow your children or any single person to have so much power over your life, that without them you feel your life has no value.
6.Get help! It is painful and not something you should have to go through alone.
7.Let go in love, do it for yourself and for your adult child. You gave them life; let them have their life and let them live it their way, even if that means you are not included.
8.People will acknowledge a broken arm but can’t see your broken heart. Take care of you!
9.Even in the best scenario and intact families, there is life after raising children.
10.Find “other mothers” and “other daughters” who lift you up and love you for who you are. Fill the void with healthy relationships that enhance your life not ones that hurt you.
11.Give yourself time, in so many ways it is like a death and you will need to grieve your loss.
12.Accept it! Not everyone is going to like you let alone love you and some of those who don’t like/love you; just may be your own biological child or family members.
13.Surround yourself with love and life! You can never have enough people who love you and support you in your life.
14.In the absence of people, I highly recommend bubble baths, fresh flowers, chocolates and beauty in all art forms. Pamper yourself.
15.Have faith whether you believe in God, Angels or any higher power, take your hurts and your troubles and hand them over to God.
16.LOVE YOURSELF! If you don’t why on earth would anyone else?

Just a few of the books that helped me …

How To Survive The Loss of a Love by Melba Colgrove, PH.D, Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D. and Peter McWilliams

The Dance Moving to the Deep Rhythms of Your Life ORIAH

Surviving Ophelia by Cheryl Dellasega, Ph.D

Women and The Blues Passions That Hurt, Passions That Heal by Jennifer James

My Mother Myself by Nancy Friday

When Parents Hurt by Joshua Coleman

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

In closing…

I never ever thought I could live a happy healthy and whole life without my child. It seemed so unnatural to me. I truly couldn’t imagine it. Finally through hard work and many years I hear what so many professionals said to me, “You must save yourself!”

One of the best things I ever did was go to work in nonprofit for children’s causes. My child’s departure made me feel so devalued and that none of my efforts in parenting made a difference. After she left home and for twelve years that immediately followed, I worked as a professional fundraiser. First I worked for a special needs school for children and later a religious organization that served youth and young adults. During this time I raised more than a million dollars by writing grants, hosting special events and securing outright cash donations. In my abilities to raise funds for these children, I regained my sense of value. It was so healing for me to go on and to help so many other kids.

God gave me this child, and now all these years later, I have given this child back to God. When I could finally do this I found my whole heart again and my most peace-filled center, my own authentic place in my life.

If you would like to comment or to share your own story and experiences please write to me at bmoyer37@aol.com

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New book ALONG THE WAY at http://www.createspace.com/5705583?ref

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Gentle Breeze (A Poem)

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Gentle Breeze (A Poem)
By Bernadette A. Moyer

This gentle breeze
Blows over me
Ocean air
So clear and bright
Water, wind and sand
It’s all at hand

The kid and the kite
Birds flying over
This gentle breeze
Brushing over me
Water is colder
The air so crisp

Days are becoming shorter
Less and less light exists
I see the sky
Search the surf
All the children are playing
While I’ve been sitting, praying

The sea, the sand and surf
All so much at hand
This gentle breeze
It comes and goes
The surf rolls in
And then out it goes

Ferry boat in
Ferry boat out
My time here
Rolls out to sea
Flowing like a gentle tease
Along with this very gentle breeze

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

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Why Trump Speaks to Me

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Why Trump Speaks to Me
By Bernadette A. Moyer

I know! I know! I have read the comments and many of the not-so-nice reviews on Donald Trump. And he sure as heck doesn’t need me to speak for him or to defend him.

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But … here are just a few thoughts on why he speaks to me.

• He is not afraid! – Like him or hate him he is who he is and is true to himself. In a world full of phony people and false friends, he manages to stay true to himself.
• Skin in the game, his own skin! – He isn’t bought and paid for; he is using his own resources to get around. Every businessman knows that “time is money” and he is investing his time and his money.
• High Energy Level – This guy has energy!
• He has been up and he has been down and he survives it and often thrives in it. We have witnessed both his personal life and his professional life fail and he always comes back from it.
• His wife – She exudes class and good taste, very Jackie O like. She is also a smart business woman.
• His kids – His children all seem to be so educated and polished. They have the brains and they have class.
• Business skills – My belief is that if we ran our government like a business we would be much more successful. Every family runs on a budget and so should the government.
• The ability to get things done – He has a proven track record of getting jobs done and getting them done under budget and on time.
• His passion for the Presidency – He doesn’t need this job but clearly he wants it and he thinks that he can make a difference. All success starts with an inner belief.
• The ability to ferret out the best people – I didn’t watch that many episodes of The Apprentice but when I did view it, it was clear that he was surrounded by good hard working people that were deeply committed to the task at hand.
• The Depth of His Understanding for Negotiations – With all his business transactions he understands The Art of the Deal he knows that first you have to have the ability to communicate and then you have to find middle ground and you have to be willing to give to get.
• His desire to make a difference and “Make America Great Again” it might be a catch phrase but I like it. Our country has had better days. We need to reinvest in ourselves in our highways and rail systems in our businesses and in technology and education. We need to give people hope that they are all able to be a part of the American Dream.
• He represents the “anti-politician” politician and like many in this country, I am tired of career politicians that get nothing done. If he was President I believe that he would work hard at it and that he has the burning desire to stop talking and start doing.

Believe me I see it and know what people don’t like about him too. I see his ego and his arrogance but I would be willing to bet most if not all Presidents before him had a certain amount of ego and arrogance too. I suspect it goes with the job.

For the record I also like Dr. Ben Carson and I am still open to learning more about all the candidates except I have to admit I am really turned off by Hillary.

So like him or not he has made politics fun and newsworthy and he has people listening and watching and he has done this in a period of time in our history when a large majority weren’t paying attention and had already thrown their hands up in surrender, disbelief and frustration.

If nothing else, more and more people are involved in the conversation and more and more people are watching …

Oh and the only thing we should agree on? Is that we are not all going to agree on who should be tasked with running our country because that is what elections are for …

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

I Am …

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I Am …
By Bernadette A. Moyer

What do you tell yourself? Are you positive and uplifting or negative and destructive?

I am strong, I am successful, I am a survivor, I am loved, I am loving, I am kind, I am giving, I am happy, I am content …

Or what else do we tell ourselves that maybe isn’t helping us at all? Things like “I am sick and tired!” tell yourself this and sooner or later you will become both “sick” and “tired.” We are so often so hard on ourselves with negative comments about ourselves when it would be just as easy to recite positive affirmations.

The brain is the computer system of the body, what goes in is what comes out. Give yourself kind compliments and encouraging thoughts and do so often. Be your own best friend! You are worth the best of everything and if you don’t think so, why on earth would anyone else?

Start with things like …
1) I am happy
2) I am wonderful
3) I am loving
4) I am good
5) I am successful
6) I am worthy
7) I am beautiful
8) I am a child of God!

Desiderata
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible and without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others; even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of aridity and disenchantment it is a perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

The first time I read the above I was in high school in 1977 and I have often thought of it through the years and read it over and over again. I think it is still relevant and valuable food for thought.

“You are a child of the universe; you have a right to be here!” What are you telling yourself?

Today, I am happy I am whole and I am in love with life!

Just remember it starts with I am ______________
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When It Is More Important To Be Liked

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When It Is More Important To Be Liked
By Bernadette A. Moyer

Who doesn’t want to be liked? We have built a culture in our society that is driven by “likes” how many “likes” do you have on your page, article, post?

We all want that desired feeling of acceptance and likeability. Years ago I had an attorney refer to his client as “A really likeable guy.” The guy he was speaking about left his wife for another woman when she was pregnant and was a confirmed cocaine addict with bill collectors and other unsavory types constantly after him. He was in and out of court with driving offenses and never seemed to accept any responsibility for his choices in life. But … he was likeable!

This guy never took a stand, never had an opinion and never outwardly offended anyone. Was he a good person? I guess it matters whose yard stick is being used to measure him.

Most business owners know that if they display a religious or political statement, they could lose business from potential customers with another view. So they don’t take a stand nor do they speak out on any issues.

I was listening to Dr. Ben Carson from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and now he is running for President; during his speech he made numerous examples of how wanting to be politically correct has eroded our abilities to communicate. People are afraid to say what they think and what they know for fear of offending someone.

Parents often have to make decisions in raising their children that deem them unlikeable by their children. I remember a time when one of my kids was failing and they became angry with me? And I said, “Let me get this straight, I should applaud your failure, tell you great job for NOT doing your assignments and for cutting class?” What kind of mother would I have been if being liked was more important than trying to install values like completing your work, being honest and giving it your best effort?

“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” Alexander Hamilton

Dr. Carson talked about the importance of communication and of respect. We don’t have to agree on every issue but we should respect everyone’s right to an opinion. The type person, who slams someone with a different point of view without hearing him out, is a bully.

No two people agree 100% on every single issue but out of discussion, dialogue and fighting for what you believe is right can help to flush out the best solutions.
Having an opinion might cost us a few “likes” but truth be told, when we fear speaking our truth we have paid a far greater price in our silence. Not taking a stand, not being heard is a stand; it allows the louder voice and the bully pulpit to be heard and in this to win every single time.

Taking a Stand by CD Taylor

Send me a light to guide my way
To carry me through my darkest day
Make my heart warm, soft and pure
But strong enough to endure

Help me to walk a path that’s right
Keep my eyes on the guiding light
Let me harm none as I live my life
Let me not meddle in envy or strife

Let me be humble and to know my place
Help me remember life is not a race
It is not a contest to be lost or won
It should be filled with love, joy and fun

When I meet people who don’t understand
Let me help them as I take my stand
With kind actions, words and a helping hand
Let me not sink into their pits of stand

Being “liked” and winning seems to have taken the place of standing up for what you believe is the right thing to do. What messages are we sending to our children when being politically correct has replaced being morally responsible and true to our own code of values?

Not that long ago I was working with a team of people that openly kept their “truth” and true feelings from their Supervisor because they knew he wouldn’t like it. So to his face they were in complete compliance and as soon as he turned his back they did exactly as they wanted. They knew they would never be heard by this guy and they believed that they were right and he was wrong.

This happens often in the workplace, “truth to power” people are afraid to stand up for what they believe in right and go up against someone is a position of authority.

“Speaking your truth is an essential aspect of living a life of passion, fulfillment and authenticity. However, for many of us it is much easier to talk about speaking our truth than it is to actually do it.” Mike Robbins

Being liked and politically correct might make you popular but it surely won’t be an authentic life of integrity. A really smart man isn’t afraid to hear from the opposition, because he knows that until all voices are heard, all positions are represented, the best solutions are seldom possible.

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

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My World Is A Beautiful World

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My World Is a Beautiful World
By Bernadette A. Moyer

My world is a beautiful world! And yes it is by design. I surround myself by people and with things that I love. Life is too short to settle for less. Toxic people and toxic things have no place in my world. Life is tough and we control so little of it but what we do control are our thoughts and our inner circle at home.

Recently with our decision to simplify many things no longer have a place in our home; they just didn’t make the cut. They no longer work for us and no longer fit. Space is an issue and what remains is what we cherish and love and brings us happiness. Not only did we get rid things we no longer need or use but things that remind us of people that we no longer have any affection for. Just like in Feng Shui, everything brings with it an energy field and the only energy we want surrounding us is positive, uplifting and good energy.

Welcome to “Bernadette’s world” where everything is beautiful! Our home and our world view. Our new locale takes us to a much more relaxed place and newly retired we have a much more relaxed attitude. In just weeks it is remarkable just how good my husband looks as a result of less stress. He smiles all the time now!

The ocean is a short drive for us and we go there at all times of the day and night. Just being near the water is so uplifting and seems to heal just about anything and everything that ails us.

This is my story. Each one of us has the power of mind over matter and the ability to create our life the way that we want it to be. We are filled with energy, do we want to use that energy to create something good or for something not so good. It is our choice. It is the choice that we make every single day.

We must value ourselves first and foremost. By creating a healthy mind and a healthy living space we have created the beginning stages of self-love. Then too what matters most. “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” CORINTHIANS 13:38

“Love means living the way God commanded us to live. As you have heard from the beginning, the command is this: Live a life of love.” JOHN 1:6

Live a life of love! It starts with you and it ends with you. We are incapable of giving genuine love or receiving genuine love unless or until we can self-love. There is nothing selfish about self-love it is only then that we have a full cup and the ability to share with others. Don’t go around “bankrupt” fill your cup and fill it often. Do the things that make you feel good, do the things that are healthy and keep you whole.

We are all creatures with a mind, a body and a soul. We need to nourish them all, we are a whole people. All parts of our being must be fueled for us to live at our best. To be happy and content allows us to love fully.

My world is a beautiful world, is yours? If not, what might you do to make it beautiful?

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

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