Gone to God … Gone to Glory

Standard

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

say_hello_2_heaven

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

Standard

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

image

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

1 Notes on this post
msbklynamazon likes this

melissarwalker likes this

bernadetteamoyer reblogged this from bernadetteamoyer

debarel1960 likes this

Gentle Breeze (A Poem)

Standard

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

IMG_4061 [466807]

Why Trump Speaks to Me

Standard

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.

trump

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 …

Standard

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 ______________
Facebook-20150823-125738

When It Is More Important To Be Liked

Standard

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

Facebook-thumbs-up

My World Is A Beautiful World

Standard

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

most-beautiful-rose-gardens-in-the-world-k0umet1x

Be The Friend That You Would Want To Have

Standard

Be the Friend That You Would Want To Have
By Bernadette A. Moyer

Be the friend that you would want to have, treat others the way that you would want to be treated. Just like the golden rule. It sounds pretty simple and yet so many friendships are challenged by jealousy and doing things to another that you wouldn’t want done to you.

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Over the past few years I have been looking closely at my friendships but also my friends and how they relate to their friends. A few conversations have come out of this idea and overall the number one deal breaker was a friend that was either jealous and/or not supportive.

What makes a good and true friend?
1) A good friend is honest and when something doesn’t seem quite right they let you know.
2) A good friend is fun and interesting and you look forward to being together.
3) A good friend supports you with your dreams, goals and ambitions.
4) A good friend is someone that you can trust who won’t steal your boyfriend or husband or your children.
5) A good friend shows that they care about you.
6) A good friend sees you at your best and at your worst and supports you either way.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

What are the deal breakers with a friend?
1) Being dishonest and talking negativity behind your back.
2) Someone who always requires more attention and care than what they contribute. Not just on occasion but most often
3) A Debbie-downer, no matter what you want to accomplish they just can’t see it or are openly non supportive.
4) Someone who can’t be trusted, they steal your boyfriend or husband or your children.
5) Their actions tear you down and show that they don’t care about you.
6) They are only present if they can gain by being with you.

“But your back turned and the knife fell and you swear that payback is gonna be hell. Now you just can’t trust anybody cuz a friend was just a snake in the grass, can’t you see you can’t see tomorrow as long as you are looking back. Got your feet wet, got your heart broke, didn’t pan out like you hoped” As Long As Your looking Back by Gary Allan
Years ago I invited a friend over for dinner and the first question was, “Who else is going to be there?” That immediately struck me as odd; shouldn’t just being with me and my husband have been enough? This person turned out to be a social climber and not a friend at all.

I watched another friend who was openly proud that they had more access to her friend’s husbands’ business and business accounts. If there was trouble in paradise this friend was in it for the husband and not for her girlfriend. It seemed odd to me? It was weird the displaced loyalty or lack of loyalty and the open acknowledgement? All I could think was I wonder what the wife, your so called friend would say and think and feel if she heard that?

Another friend shared with me how their friend told them that they weren’t good enough to remain friends. Even if true, why would you say that to someone? Clearly this wasn’t a friendship at all.

When you have a friend who is happy and successful in their own right, they have no interest in being jealous or trying to tear you down. Friends that are accomplished want to be with others who are accomplished.

A good friend is that friend you can call when you get in a jam and they will drop what they are doing to come and help you. A good friend is invested in you r success both personally and professionally, your success makes them even happier to know you.

A good friend makes the effort, the effort to see you and be with you and be a part of your life and your milestone accomplishments.

A friend is not someone who tries to come between you and any of your relationships. They don’t tear at you to try and make themselves look good. They aren’t jealous of who you are and of what you have.

Having friends isn’t the same as having a husband or life partner, yes my husband is my friend he might even say he is my best friend but he doesn’t take the place of my girlfriends. Girlfriends lift you up; when you beam they are beaming too. When you are happy they are happy for you and when you are sad, they lend an ear and offer support.

A friend may see you do something they don’t agree with or like or even approve of but they don’t divide you from the ones you love over it. They don’t try to gain at your expense. That’s not a friend but rather someone who wants what you have and is jealous and self-serving.

In the end we learn forgiveness or as Jesus would say in Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Be the friend that you would want to have and if you can’t, excuse yourself and say goodbye.

In order to have a friend, you must first be a friend …

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

IMAG0673-1

And The Summer Became The Fall

Standard

And The Summer Became The Fall
By Bernadette A. Moyer

fall

“And the summer became the fall I was not ready for the winter” from the song Nightbird by Stevie Nicks. I am never really ready for winter, I mean yes I have the coats, the hats, the boots, the gloves and scarves but mentally I am a summer and a sunshine girl.

I’ve come to appreciate the fall more and more each year, its harvest time. I like the cooler temps in the evening and “sweater weather.”

Right now although we are still in August, some schools have gone back from summer break and I can see a few leaves that have already fallen from our trees. Recently I heard the weather man say that it is now becoming dark just before 8:00 in the evening.

I love pumpkins and making more “comfort foods” and taking advantage of the harvest.

Apples and apple pie making always makes me happy. It won’t be long before all the leaves have fallen and the days get shorter and darkness comes earlier, and we witness the fields plowed and in rest mode.

“And when I call, will you walk gently thru my shadow”

“And the winter is really here now and the blankets that I love, sometimes I am surrounded by too much love” Quotes from Nightbird written by Stevie Nicks.

Winter always feels like that like, the shadow of night after the summer filled with light. Let us pray that this fall and winter season is filled with an abundance of both blankets and love for all. Tis the season to remember everyone with love and warmth and light …

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

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

 

8 Key Characteristics of Successful Nonprofits

Standard

8 Key Characteristics of Successful Nonprofits
By Bernadette A. Moyer

What does it take to run a successful nonprofit organization? For more than 15 years I have been in nonprofit management and administration. I have witnessed highly successful organizations and others that were constantly struggling.

Times change and often so does support, how do you stay relevant when the financial purse strings tighten?

How important is the leadership both on staff and within a board of trustees? Who is in charge? And what roles do they play?

1. Qualified Staff Members

The key to any successful organization is its people. What is the composition of the staff? Does the leadership have an aligned staff and an aligned board of trustees; is everyone on the same page and working toward the same goals?

In my career it seemed that organizations with executives that had both a supportive staff (inside) and supportive board members (outside) were the ones that met their goals and often exceeded their goals while achieving success.

An organizational handbook and clearly defined job descriptions are paramount to assuring that staff members are informed. An organizational flow chair is imperative.
The more skilled the staff is the greater likelihood for achieving success. Is there unison and is everyone working in alignment and within budget will all determine the future strength of the organization.

Retaining staff is just good business sense. It takes time and money to train people to work together and to learn their job and to work as a team. Staff turnover is expensive and generally costs more than just dollars. It may decrease productivity and inhibit the ability to maintain and meet goals.

2. Cash is King

A nonprofit is no different than any business, regardless of how good your mission is, if you are out of money you are out of business.

Are there multiple revenue streams? Is the fund raising a priority? Is the work being done marketed properly and aligned with grantors requirements? Is the product(s) aligned with the demand?

Do all the members understand the difference between a “party” and a “fund raising” event?

Is the foundation reinvesting in itself? Is the equipment and are the systems up to date? Does the physical plant represent the mission well?

The most successful non-profits are aligned for success by reinvesting in their own products, their plant location, their people and their systems. Is education a priority? Staying ahead of the curve, anticipating needs and filling those needs require leadership. There is a big difference between maintenance and advancing the mission.

Budgets that have no real growth and development year after year are in “maintenance mode” and after a period of years maintaining that same budget is in essence losing money. All costs go up when salaries go up, products and services go up and a budget that is “flat lined” is one that is on the decline.

“It’s the economy” is one of the most overused statements/excuses because someone is always succeeding and growing and making money. Typically they are the organizations that are forward thinking rather than in “maintenance mode.”

Build it and they will come! Fill a need and make a difference in the community and add sales and marketing skills and the cash will flow again.

3. A Good Board of Trustees

A good board of trustees is one that is diverse in skill set, has a desire to help the organization move forward is willing to share their business knowledge and financial support. It is no secret that today’s grantors are looking closely at the composition of the board. They want to see a variety of types of professionals represented and they want to see that board members are 100% invested in the annual board drive. Simply put is the board putting their own money into the organization and are they personally invested.

Example: If you are running a capital campaign do you have contractors, lawyers, business people, financial experts and fundraisers on your board? Having the right people is often the difference between meeting your goals and succeeding or coming up short and failing.

A good board knows how to work together as a team, they come together for the common good and they support the board president as well as the executive director. With the right people in place trust is easily established and mutual respect is achieved.

Most board members are in it for the right reasons; they want to make a difference and to be a part of something that is bigger than them. The articles of incorporation will address the type of board that the organization is whether it is an advisory board or a governing board. Board members should be willing to participate in both orientation and training.

Board members are often recruited for their specific skill set and for their sphere of influence as well as their ability to financially support the organization.

4. A Clear Concise Mission Statement

Everyone associated with the organization should be in a position to clearly communicate the mission of the organization. Who do they serve and why? Who is the target market audience and what sets your organization above others? What makes you unique and/or different?

Often going back to the founder’s intent helps to define the mission and create a clear concise mission statement.

5. Filling a Need

Is the organization doing good work and are they filling a need? Today just about all the buzz surrounding nonprofit work leads back to health and wellness and education. And no matter what the core mission of the organization there is usually a way to tie it back to wellness and education.

Health and wellness and education are never going to become dated and go out of style, they will always be relevant in any community.

Why should your organization be supported? Most thriving relationships are built upon win-win choices. How do you align your organization with helping to serve the community and at the same time succeed and grow?

Who is your identified target market audience?

6. Public Relations and Sales & Marketing

Is the community aware of your products and services and do they feel welcome to become involved with you? Getting the word out has never been easier with so many social media sites and avenues. The challenge may be in the presentation of the materials. What makes your organization stand out? What niche market are you promoting that needs to be sold and properly marketed?

A good story and doing good work sells itself! If you have a community paper and your organization is doing good work that paper will want to share your news. Making pitches and constantly keeping reporters and key community members abreast of your activities will assist greatly with your public relations campaign.

Not everyone sees everything or hears it the first time. Be willing to promote your message and your story over and over again. Most people don’t hear it or take it all in the first time. Beat the drum! Share your successes and your challenges.

A nonprofit that is filling a need and doing good works is an easy sell.

7. A Strong Supportive Volunteer Base

Recruit volunteers and train them and treat them well. A good volunteer is invaluable to most organizations. Build a diverse volunteer base.

Young high school students and college aged students are looking for real life work related experience. Build a program for interns that support young people and the community and watch your organization refresh itself.

Retired community members have the time and the talents to share and are looking for a sense of community and belonging. They bring wisdom and support to the organization.
Having a variety of volunteers with different skill sets and abilities can help fill a void. Value your volunteers and they will value the work that they do and the organization that they serve.

8. Adjust and Adapt

Strategic planning is great and having outside professionals come in and assess your organizations gives new eyes/insight and a chance to help you grow again. Be willing to adjust and adapt. If a program or event is no longer working or relevant, discard it. Creating something new creates new buzz and new excitement.

If your staff is tired and worn out make every attempt to bring them back to life or look at replacing them. Sometimes an organization will hang on to a staff member or a board member because they believe that the organization will fall apart without them. This is seldom if ever the case.

Not long ago I witnessed a board that was so tied to a particular staff member, this person had the board completely “hood winked” they really believed that she walked on water. Yet the people on the inside of the organization, the ones that actually worked with her, saw it completely differently. Without going in the details this person is now a convicted felon. She stole more than $160,000 by writing checks and taking cash that was not hers to take, she stole from the nonprofit that she pledged to work for and no one on the board or the hired auditing firm caught on until the damage was done.

Sometimes what appears to be a setback is often just an opportunity to adjust and adapt and set the stage for new growth and development.

In 2008 when many businesses and nonprofits were feeling the financial crisis hit and taking a loss, I witnessed one nonprofit that grew substantially. How did they do it? They grew their mission and their target market audience. They grew from being a special needs school and added new programs that included addressing the needs of kids with autism. They had boy’s group homes and added a girl’s home. They expanded their grant writing and their special events fundraisers to meet more programs and fill more needs.

They became more and more relevant in the community by serving more and more needs in the community, they had a leader with a vision and he was surrounded by a well-trained and an educated staff and by a board of trustees that not only believed in him but supported him. They all worked together in alignment and all worked toward the same goals and together they achieved them.

At any given time and in every economy, somebody is always growing and doing good works; be willing to adjust and adapt and that “somebody” just may be your organization!

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

non-profits