Grief Can Be a Gift …

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Grief Can Be a Gift …
By Bernadette A Moyer

It was around the holidays when this piece was first published; today I am updating it because many gifts have come from my grief throughout the years. When this was first published I immediately heard from a father thanking me for writing it, his son had just passed away prematurely. He was grief stricken. His pain was so raw and he was so humbled by it. I couldn’t believe that he thanked me for writing it, he said it helped him. It was Christmas and my little essay helped him?

My first experience of grief was when my first husband died, it was really unexpected and we had a two year old daughter. I was only twenty-three and I had intense grief and survivor guilt. At that time I was so humbled and my heart was wide open. Any grievances I had just melted away, death will do that to you. It will give you a real perspective on what is important and what is not important.

My loss was more than three decades ago and the grief was overwhelming, the loss was profound. It changed my view of life. I read everything I could get my hands on about death and dying. I went to see a therapist. I dealt with it. I tried a bereavement group with my church. The problem for me at that time was that everyone there was 20, 30, and 40 or more years older than I was, no one there really looked like me so I couldn’t relate. But I worked my way back. I didn’t even realize how far gone I was until one day it was as if I saw flowers for the first time. It was as if I noticed the sun was shining. I was okay I survived and I was happy again.

After that I had this crazy idea that my grief was over that the worst was behind me. Then I lost my family over sexual abuse and this time I was angry. Angry because it didn’t have to be this way, but eventually I worked my way through it. Again I read everything I could get my hands on and I talked with many social workers and with therapists that knew so much more than what I knew. It helped.

When estrangement happened I fell down and I fell hard, it all but did me in, I never saw it coming and was so invested in my daughter. I literally wanted to die. I couldn’t imagine going on without her and somewhere in my mind was “haven’t I lost enough, anything God but please not her!” For a long period of time I lost my faith in God. Up until this point God was always my saving grace. Now I was alone. I was not only hurt but humiliated, who does this? What kind of child has so much success at home and then one day declares that it was horrible for them?

Thank God for my husband and for my closest friends. They literally helped me to save myself. I thought I was going crazy but they had been there and they too thought that she was happy, doing well and set up for success.

After about the tenth year more and more articles and support groups about adult children estranging started popping up all over the place. It was happening all across the world! I have been blessed to have met and made friends with some amazing people, other mothers and fathers who also were in the midst of adult children that estrange.

There are two days in my life that my heart was most loving and most forgiving. One was on October 10th when God blessed me with a beautiful healthy baby girl. The second day was February 22, when my first husband died. It was in that birth and that death that I was closest to my heart and humbled to where I forgave everyone, everything.

Death and loss is supposed to teach us to appreciate the here and the now and to cherish our family and our friends for the time that we have together here on earth. Today as a mature woman in my mid-50’s I no longer view my experiences as losses but I see how each was a divine gift that molded me and helped me to mature and grew my heart larger than I could ever imagined.

It didn’t happen overnight, it was a process, and it was a long road with many up and down days. My writing has not only helped me but I have touched thousands of people’s lives by sharing my experiences. I met people that I connected with because we experienced similar things in life.

Not a day goes by when I don’t hear from someone who is experiencing a loss through death or through estrangement. I don’t have any magic cures, all I know is that I can share what I learned along the way 1) you are not alone and 2) you will survive, if I can, you can too.

Grief Can Be a Gift … we may not see it that way when in the midst of heartache and loss but over time, we learn so much about life, about love and about ourselves. We learn above all what our hearts are really made up of and how strong we really are …

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

My new book Along The Way includes over 220 articles, blogs and essays about what I learned from my experiences relating to love, loss, death, joy, estrangement and more http://www.createspace.com/5737976 and available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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Count Your Blessings Come As They May

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Count Your Blessings Come As They May
By Bernadette A Moyer

This title comes from a song by country music artist Pat Green, how true, “count your blessings come as they may.” It is that time of year again with harvest season and so many big holidays ahead. I begin to reflect on all that I am most thankful. There is always something to be thankful for and always a good reason to reflect. We are coming down to the last few months of the year.

In 1992 we were so very thankful for the merging of our two families. My husband had a half a family with himself and infant twins and I had a half a family with my then 11 year old daughter. We all took a huge sigh of relief that God blessed us and that we found each other. We were well supported by our friends, family and work community. Friends who stated it was a “marriage made in heaven, by heaven.”

Now we have more than 23 years later and we are so very thankful for all the abundance we have enjoyed and created all these years together. Several years ago before I had the big career jobs I was feeling overwhelmed with the endless work generated from raising three children, having a family and keeping a home. When I shared this with my mentor she said, “Be thankful you have a kitchen floor to scrub.” I have done my best to try and remember that. Some people don’t have a kitchen floor to scrub or enough food to eat. There is always going to be something that we can appreciate and be thankful for in our life.

I am fortunate to have good health, my home, my family and friends and abundance of choices that we enjoy. As the years pass by I appreciate my husband more and more as he has been a steady and loving force in my life for 23 harvest seasons. Our son says that he is most thankful for, “cool friends, great parents and God who watches over me.”

When we choose to “count our blessings” we concentrate on all the good things in our life instead of the negative ones. Count your gains instead of your losses.

To bless, to consecrate and declare sacred catches God’s ear and we believe pleases our Father that we choose to carry His blessings into this world.

Whatever burden you carry there is also a lesson to be learned, one of my favorite Lou Holtz quotes, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it is the way you carry it.” I remind myself to take the time to look back, stand in the moment and look to the future for all that you have and will have in this lifetime.

Each season brings the wonder of what could and what will happen next, we live in hope. With change comes chance and new opportunities. Counting my blessings …come as they may …

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road … unless you fail to make the turn.” ~ author unknown
Happy Harvest Season!

Bernadette on Facebookat http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
New book! Along The Way on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
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Seeing the Face of God in People

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Seeing the Face of God in People
By Bernadette A Moyer

Several years ago I had a colleague share with me that his choice was to “see the face of God in people” a powerful statement I thought way back then and I still think so today.

How often is it that the way we view someone determines how they become to us? I am reminded of my first supervisor when I was in my mid-twenties and selling real estate, she saw the best in me. She had such a high opinion of you that you never wanted to let her down. She inspired me to be the best I could be and as a result, even though I was the youngest agent in my office I was consistently in the top 25% of salespeople. I did well under her direction. She became a friend, a mentor and like another mother to me.

My next supervisor was just as positive and he encouraged calculated risk. If you made an error on the job he applauded the effort and created teaching opportunities from the experience. This guy was the most educated and always saw potential in people; he knew how to manage both strengths and weakness. He lifted me up and taught me so many valuable skills. He is a true visionary and knows how to bring out the best in all people, places and events. He has made significant and positive life changes for his family, his peers and in his community. Although I couldn’t tell you his religious beliefs, I witnessed his actions and his ability to “see the face of God in people.”

Another supervisor was my worst professional experience to date. He was viewed by many as both arrogant and ignorant. His inner circle, his own team seldom if ever corrected him and yet they openly acknowledged his false assumptions. I never felt valued by him and since I was acquired rather than hired by him it was a losing battle. There was never a person I introduced him to that had something nice to say about him and most commented on the “ick” they felt by his presence. Within months of his arrival I brushed off my resume and secured letters of recommendation. I knew our time together was limited.

It is my natural inclination to trust and to see the best in people. I believe that God lives in most people and that if and when we can see the “face of God in people” we help to bring that out in them. I believe we can also create the reverse if we want to demonize a person and choose to see them as evil then we create that reality too. If perception is reality for most of us then how we perceive another person becomes our own reality.

Most people say, “Life is short” but my husband often says, “Life is long.” I think he is right, life can be long and full of all kinds of joy, sorrow, loss and gain.

My family of origin was a critical one with an opinion about everyone and everything. I look back and see how unhealthy of an environment that was to grow up in. If you weren’t just like them you weren’t embraced by them. I witnessed this same kind of judgement in organized religions and political groups. If you oppose their views then somehow you are less to them. If you have to make another person look bad, tear them down and if you have to make them out to be evil and the devil, what does that say about you?

It is my belief that when you are speaking ill of another it has much more to do with you and how you feel about yourself than it does about the person you are speaking poorly about. Granted not all people are good, some truly are evil. Some people come into your life for a period of time and then their time is up. Most often we can reflect on the teachings of all our relationships, both the ones that stay with us and the ones that end.

Love and hate are both a choice, we decide how we view ourselves, the people in our lives and in our world. Perhaps if we saw “the face of God in people” this would become our perception, our reality and our world.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
New book! ALONG THE WAY at http://createspace.com/5737976

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In The Moment

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In The Moment
By Bernadette A. Moyer

It has become increasingly more difficult to live in the moment as we become more and more involved in “social media” and often at the expense of being present in the very moment in time where we find ourselves. I am just as guilty as the next person often thinking about what is yet to come at the cost of what is here and now.

When we stand in the moment, take it all in and are completely present in the here and the now it is then that we are living a fully conscious life.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Forever is composed of nows.” Emily Dickenson

“You can’t go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have is … now. Jay Asher

It seems like life is filled with moments that threaded together become our very one and unique life. When we can be present in the moment and fully aware of where we are we can then engage with all of our senses. Real joy is derived from being there and being truly present in time.

Yesterday I presided over a wedding and I can honestly say the bride was there, she was fully aware and engaged, she was in the moment, in her moment. It can be so easy for a bride who has much on her mind to just go through the mechanics of the wedding ceremony and later communicate it was all a “blur” or “I can’t remember.” I saw her eyes, I saw her face, and I saw her presence. And in that space of time, I saw her joy.

Today we enter a new season and when we reflect upon our summer past and fall ahead and we know that all we really have for certain is today.

To live in the moment, we have to be willing to let go of the past and put aside what comes next so that we may be fully engaged in now. Our love and our joy come from our awareness of right here and right now. Time waits for no one, we don’t get it back.

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu

Enjoy every moment by being present, fully engaged and aware, and therefore living a conscious life!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
New book! ALONG THE WAY available at http://www.createspace.com/5737976

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I Am a Writer …

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I Am a Writer …
By Bernadette A Moyer

I am a writer that is what I do! Everything for me is a story, a story to be shared. I am however, mindful that not everyone in my life shares that sentiment. Some people value their privacy and prefer NOT to be written about and I am aware of this fact of life.

My greatest sense of accomplishment comes from writing and having those written words connect to others and I find the highest value in those connections. Australia is a place I have never been and yet my books have not only reached that destination but received a reaction so strong that a written book review was created for my book on the popular site amazon.com. To this writer that is my paycheck.

I receive e-mails, letters and messages about my books and my written words. I have written about death, estrangement and about abuse. Three almost taboo subjects and all have profoundly influenced and affected my life. They say “write about what you know” and I do. I can easily communicate about death, estrangement and abuse, all timeless subjects as it appears they won’t be going away any time soon. It has been through my ability to write that I have been approached to communicate my experiences and others have found comfort. For this writer that is my paycheck.

Pain shared is pain divided and in my ability to share with others they have found comfort and connected with me. I value these people some I meet face to face and others online. Either way, these people, they matter to me. It is not uncommon for a complete stranger to write to me and say, “My thirty one year old son just died in a car accident and his wife and my grandchildren are grieving. I read your article titled, “A Parent Dies.” Can you tell me about your book, Angel Stacey? And your angel dolls? “Then they share their own pain, grief and heartaches with me.

I have insight and some wisdom much of it born of my own pain and my own grief. In some small way I know this person and I know their pain and their grief. Other people may look at my life as heartache but I have been able to turn it around and see the gifts and blessings and God’s presence in those gifts, blessings and life lessons. I know what I am supposed to do with my experiences and so I write, I share and I seek knowledge.

Connections
Seeking to connect, we lives our lives
Hoping to resurrect, that which to survive
A simple touch, an act of kindness
Comforting hugs, embraces become timeless
Threads of sameness, attraction
Somewhere seeking, someone lacking
Upon a moments present, our actions suspend
We reach out and together, we connect

I am a writer, that is me, that is what I do. When my writing touches someone and helps them and makes even the slightest difference in their life it connects them to me. They inspire me to keep writing the same way I have managed to inspire them to keep going. And if my best writing is born of pain whether through death, estrangement or abuse experiences, and then later in our mutual sharing and healing, I’ll take it. That is my paycheck.

I am a writer … my next story is already written, soon to be posted. It is about the 9 year old kid who recently sat next to me in business class on our flight back to Baltimore. There is a story you see, for this writer, just about everywhere I go …

“Like” Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
New book! ALONG THE WAY available at http://www.createspace.com/5737976

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Forbearance … My New Favorite Word

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Forbearance … My New Favorite Word
By Bernadette A Moyer

Forbearance is my new favorite word and not one that we hear used very often today. According to the dictionary; forbearance means patience, restraint, tolerance and in a legal agreement to stop payments or debts for a period of time.

Over the weekend I watched a Hallmark movie set in the 1940’s where this word was used by the main character as she sat at the Thanksgiving dinner table. She thanked everyone for their “forbearance.” This character was accepted by a family and married in a prearranged wedding when she was pregnant with another man’s baby. Her father sent her away. It was intended to punish her but what she found was true love and forgiveness and in her own words, forbearance.

“Ye great sinners, and yet great saints who need great forbearance.” Last year I received a handwritten letter asking me to “try and suspend judgement” in regard to the actions of someone who affected my life. Sounds like forbearance to me. It came from a very wise old Christian woman.

Today with rapid information we make rapid judgements. We have instant news and some of it is faulty. Some time ago, it was posted online that Jon Bon Jovi died and this turned out to be false information as he is still very much alive. Penn State’s Former Coach Joe Paterno was reported “dead” before his actual passing. We don’t read much in print anymore since the daily paper seems to be more like day old news. The internet is faster and more current. But did we lose something in our attempt for faster is better? Have we lost a certain degree of accuracy?

We judge people, we think we know. The news reports a story and we have already decided who is guilty. Who amongst us wants to be judged without all the facts? Yet it happens every single day. Our ego tells us “we know” and so we judge all the while never allowing for the “suspension of judgement.” Forbearance is my new favorite word and more than that it will be something I try to practice.

Patience, self-control, tolerance, restraint, forbearance, who among us doesn’t need more of this in our daily life? Forbearance, I just love the sound of it!

“Like” Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
My new book ALONG THE WAY http://createspace.com/5737976

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Why We Love House of Cards

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Why We Love House of Cards
By Bernadette A Moyer

In case you haven’t heard, House of Cards is an original Netflix series with 13 episodes each year that began in 2013. To date there are 36 episodes and the next season of 13 is due to drop in February of 2016.

It is billed as an “American Drama Series.” They write “In the U.S. version offers a look behind the scenes of the greed and corruption in American politics.”

For me it starts with the writing really great writing and really great lines and House of Cards has them. They make you wonder “does this stuff really happen in Washington D.C.?” And then I find myself answering with “I bet it does” this series may be a political drama but I suspect that some of the story lines ring true.

Once I started I couldn’t stop watching it. It was a marathon of 36 episodes that left me hungry for much more.

Then there is the personal connection since it is filmed in and around Baltimore City. As of this writing my son has been called as an “extra” for three separate occasions and just last week his father joined in as an “extra” too. He worked for 14 hours. Now they both are touting their new title as a “paid actor” I just laugh out loud. They are in it but I am the only one to date that has viewed all 36 episodes!

Who doesn’t like Kevin Spacey? I think he is great in just about everything that he does and his character Frank Underwood (initials FU) is that love to hate him character. He is cool and aloof but you sense his emotional breakdowns amongst all his manipulative and well-constructed moves. Robin Wright is perfectly polished and attractive but don’t let her pretty face fool you she can cut to the quick just like every other political wannabe on the show.

The older I get the less of an attention span that I have and yet House of Cards held my attention through all 36 episodes. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in 2016 but for now all I can say is that if you haven’t watched you might just want to get caught up.

And by the way who knew that Netflix was putting out such great new original programming, I feel like I have shown up late to this party, but at least I can say I have arrived there.

Like Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
And check out her newest book ALONG THE WAY at http://createspace.com/5737976

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