Life and Death

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Life and Death
By Bernadette A. Moyer

Well it’s not life and death, is it? That was my line which used to be my litmus test in every serious situation and most often it wasn’t life and death. So that was the first screen used to diffuse the situation.

Is it “life and death?”

Over the summer a longtime friend from my real estate days when we became Realtors and real estate partners in the mid-1980’s learned that she has breast cancer. Her decisions now are based on “life and death” as her first series of radiation and chemo did not rid her of the cancer. Now she is facing a double mastectomy.

The last time I saw her was at our beach property as she was going out on the dock and onto her family boat with her husband and adult children, their spouses and children. She was so happy. She told me about her new business that she owned and was operating. Every single year we receive their family Christmas cards complete with the entire family photo.

She was living the dream! Then one day she was literally stopped in her tracks now making life and death decisions. She is humbled, asking for help and for support and facing a serious next leg of her life journey.

A few days ago our Governor here is Maryland made statements stating that during all his chemo treatments for his cancer, how he was inspired and repeatedly listened to Tim McGraw’s song; Live Like You Were Dying.

“When that moment came that stopped me on a dime, And I spent most of the next days, Looking at the x-rays, And talking ‘bout the options, talking ‘bout sweet time” (Live Like You Were Dying, Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman)

I think most people, myself included, live like we have an endless amount of days ahead of us and yet we all have a limited time here. Unless of course death and an illness or other tragedy hit us and then we think about our “life and death” decisions.

Death is the ultimate teacher, the one that forces us to look at our own mortality. It is a chance to find our hearts and connect our souls … again.

“And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter. And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying. And he said one day I hope you get a chance to live like you were dying.” (Live Like You Were Dying)

Imagine if we all lived like we were dying and like it was our last days? How would we spend them? What have we put off that is important to us and yet we haven’t taken the time?

Who should we be more loving toward and who needs our forgiveness? I write about it often, my own mantra, “Life is for the living, live it!”

Please pray for my friend Lenore and all those facing life and death decisions …

NEW BOOKS! Along The Way and Another Way both on Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
http://www.bernadetteamoyer.wordpress.com

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Everyone Has “A Story”

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Everyone Has “A Story”
By Bernadette A. Moyer

Everyone has a story! We all do! They say, “Writers are observers of life.” Every few months if not every month I hear from someone that thinks they want to write and they have a “story.” They have a story to share. Usually it is about something they experienced and learned from and wish to share with other people.

I think we all crave a “connection” the ability to connect to others and find common ground and share. We are all more alike than not. That is probably why I have a hard time when people do things to others that they wouldn’t want done to themselves. But that is another story.

When I am approached my answer is always the same, “just write! Jump in and start!” For most of us our “story” is already written we just need to get it down and share it. Often times the hardest part is the jumping off point and just getting started. Most often I find after starting is just flows and takes on a life of its own. It is for me, a truly organic process.

I also ask the same question, “Who is your target market audience?” If you are writing for yourself that is a diary or a journal. If you are planning to write your story and you wish to share it with an audience, who is that audience? What group of people will read your written work? What do you wish to accomplish by writing and then sharing?

Most everyone can relate to someone else and their experiences. We are not alone. There isn’t something that has happened that someone else hasn’t already experienced but the difference might be how we handled it and what we learned from it. Can we now inspire another person with our writings and our story, our life experience?

I have also heard it said that you need to have a certain amount of life experiences that most often come with age, until you really have something to write about and that is worthy of sharing. I always encouraged my kids to write. Many times they would ask me, “But what should I write about?” I always had a list that I could just rattle off things like 1) what is feels like to be a twin 2) what it feels like to know that your birth mother died and you never got to know her? 3) What you had to do to become an Eagle Scout 4) baking your first cake 5) first dates and the list goes on and on.

We all have “a story” and we all have something we can share. Stephen King wrote a book years ago titled, On Writing that I found helpful. I also used to read books about marketing your story and your book. There is no greater high for a writer than to be read, to be understood and to have that reader connect. I have often said, “That is my paycheck” when someone reads me, gets me and can connect to me from something I have written and shared.

There is a lot of healing for many people in writing, I, myself included and everyone has their own form. I think of it as an art form, the way we express ourselves and how and what we share. Just like an artist with a painting. That art makes you feel something and it is an expression from the artist. Writing to me, is that same experience. It should make you feel something.

So here is to all the writers out there that have a story to share, my advice, just write! Jump in and just get started, you never know where it will lead until you write it! Write!

http://www.bernadetteamoyer.wordpress.com and http://www.bernadetteamoyer.com
New Book! Along The Way available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

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My Maryland!

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My Maryland!
By Bernadette A. Moyer

Some of the best things about Maryland is that we have it all here, literally known as “America in Miniature” because so much is here in our 10,460 square miles of land and water. We have the ocean and we have the horse farms and we have the best crab cakes you will ever eat.

Our state is diverse with ethnic groups of every origin. Maryland is also called the “Free State” because of Maryland’s long tradition of political freedom and religious tolerance. There is money here and part of Maryland is so close to Washington D.C. that many end up living here who are involved in politics.

Annapolis Maryland is the capital of Maryland and the county seat of Anne Arundel County. And Annapolis is known as “America’s Sailing Capital” and home to the United States Naval Academy.

Marylanders are proud of their home grown corn and tomatoes. The annual Preakness is held here in Baltimore for 140 years now and is the second leg of the Triple Crown after the Kentucky Derby and before the Belmont Stakes.

Baltimore City, Maryland is the home of the professional baseball team with the Baltimore Orioles and with professional football in the Baltimore Ravens; we have two state of the art stadiums with Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Stadium. Oriole Park recently won yet another award as the #1 baseball stadium in the league because of its design.

The Inner Harbor in Baltimore City continues to be a tourist destination with a water taxi system and paddle boats among other water vessels. The views from Harbor East include beautiful homes, walkways, docks, piers and boats.

Little Italy retains its “old world charm” with many fine Italian restaurants, pizzerias and bakery. The brick sidewalks and tight little streets are home to several Catholic Italian festivals every single year.

We are not without great theater and museums either with The Baltimore Lyric Opera House, The Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art. Currently the series VEEPS and House of Cards is being filmed here in Baltimore. Classics movies like Diner, Tin Men, Cry-Baby … And Justice For All and many more have been filmed here in Maryland.

Today there are currently 55 colleges and universities in the state of Maryland. Top ranking schools like University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, Towson University and Goucher College are not just home grown favorites but draw students from across the country and internationally.

We have really good hospitals here too with Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and others. People come from all over the world for Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Maryland has been home to many famous people like Cal Ripken Jr, Michael Phelps, Jada Pinkett Smith, Toni Braxton, David Hasselhoff, Edgar Allan Poe, Montell Williams, Linda Hamilton, Tom Clancy, Frank Zappa, Barry Levinson, John Waters, Frank Perdue and others.

But it really is about the everyday people that make Maryland so special, people that have that balance of pride and humility and most have a desire to succeed and to do better for themselves and their families.

My husband was born and raised here; he has lived in Baltimore City and now resides in Baltimore County. After 35 years he retired from the City of Baltimore. Like most native Marylanders he is proud of his home teams in the Orioles and Ravens and a huge fan of both teams. He is Maryland through and through.

Me, I am a transplant from Pennsylvania but have called Maryland “home” for over 32 years now. We are well travelled and we have flirted with moving out-of-state but truth is that my Maryland is our Maryland and we are happy here and then again why wouldn’t we be with a tagline like “America in Miniature” we believe that we have the best of all worlds and we have it all here in Maryland!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
NEW BOOK! Along The Way available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Photo by my friend, author, artist, photographer, beloved teacher and
fellow Marylander Rus VanWestervelt

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A Snap Shot

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A Snap Shot
By Bernadette A. Moyer

It’s that wonderful time of year again when all the trees are changing colors and the air is crisp and clean and you just want to enjoy the outdoors and take it all in before winter weather arrives.

I walked to our corner mailbox to drop a few letters inside and at the mailbox I looked across the street and witnessed one of the most beautiful orange leaves on a big tree that had turned colors. The sun was streaming through it. I wanted to capture the moment and grabbed for my cell phone as I stood there and clicked away at taking a few pictures.

At this same time a lady from our neighborhood walked by with her dog and said, “Oh wow taking a selfie at the mailbox for Happy and Chipper?” I laughed and waved her off as my husband had just appeared to pick me up since we were headed out together for the day.

Then I quickly turned to her and said, “No selfie actually look at that beautiful tree, that tree was what I was taking pictures of …”

Sometimes we see something and we think we know what we are seeing when in fact our snap shot view isn’t correct. We presume to know.

Recently we went on a trip out of town when my son sent me a picture of the house and front yard. I thought he was showing me that he cut the grass. My response was “good.” Little did he know that I missed the message, or did I know at the time he was showing me that the contractor we hired had come by and installed new hand rails.

I totally missed it. What my son was sharing was not at all the snap shot that I had in my mind. Sometimes we totally miss the picture and in doing so miss the message.
We are often so quick to glean our own conclusions that we totally miss what is actually happening. We think we see something that we totally missed and in our snap shot view we may get it wrong.

One of my favorite phrases is “suspend judgement” wait until we have the total picture before coming to any conclusions. What we think we see in a “snap shot” moment just may not be the complete and total picture, and it may not capture the entire story …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
NEW BOOK! Along The Way available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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Pictures Down

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Pictures Down
By Bernadette A. Moyer

Most people that know me know that I am a positive and upbeat person always seeking and striving for the truth and for the lessons that were to be learned. We learn so much about ourselves when we are faced with challenges and when things don’t go the way that we had hoped they would go. But that is life, isn’t it?

Facing change and facing our challenges help to show our character and sometimes our lack of character too.

Not everything is going to end with a happy ending but that doesn’t mean that our happiness has to end. When we are willing to take the “pictures down” and to dream another dream and to go off in a new direction our hearts and our souls have the chance to grow and to love again.

Parents often have the hardest time with “pictures down” as if in defiance keeping that lost person alive by showing their photos will change the outcome of their departure. It doesn’t. We can reflect on our past memories and we can hold near and dear the love that was shared.

In the beginning I used to overly cherish my pictures of people that left my life because that was what I had left to hang on to and to validate that they existed. The pictures served as the witness. But they also serve as a chain that keeps us tethered to our past.

A new husband or a new wife typically doesn’t want to start a fresh new marriage with pictures of the person who came before them. We can respect those people and appreciate who they were and what they represented but to be present in our lives and to be fully aware and able to embrace our future we take the pictures down.

When my first child left home so unexpectedly and without a normal transition I was so hurt and so angry and most of all so deeply disappointed. I remember taking a collage of photos with her pictures and smashing the glass against a chair. It shattered just like our relationship. It would be the love of my husband that would come behind me and clean it up. That single act is so meaningful to me in so many ways. He saved me and he helped me to save myself.

If pictures make you happy and bring you peace they should be up and around but when a relationship hurts you and has come to its own conclusion it may be time for you to take the pictures down.

I have other photos and I have other memories but the pictures are down and they are boxed and put away. The pictures that we keep up are the ones that make us happy and they make us smile, they make us feel good to have them around. Pictures down and I am fine and good and happy again.

What are you keeping up that really should be taken down? What are you holding onto that is getting in the way of what should come next?

Who or what are you keeping out of the frame that really should be in there?
Think about “pictures down” and all that could take that same place and space in your life …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
NEW BOOK! Along The Way available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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Homelessness and Poverty by Chance or by Choice

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Homelessness and Poverty by Chance or by Choice
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Our news is flooded right now by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many people have literally lost everything in losing all their worldly possessions and many have lost their homes. Surely they didn’t choose to have a natural disaster take their home and virtually render them homeless.

But what about a culture of people that exists in just about every inner city and is homeless? We learn that so much of the inner city homelessness can be traced back to alcohol and drug addictions and abuses and some of it stems from some form or combined forms of mental illness.

We have people in our cities that are living on the streets and they have no money, no food, no clothing and no shelter. Is it by their own doing or undoing? Or is it an inability to properly function due to a disease that may very well be beyond their control?

The very first time I witnessed homelessness I was in the sixth grade, only eleven or twelve years old when we went to see a show in New York City. A man was lying on the sidewalk with just one shoe and he appeared to be sleeping with people just walked right over him as though he wasn’t there and didn’t exist. I was from a small town in Pennsylvania and grew up on a farm; my eyes were wide by what I witnessed. Not only was he sleeping on the busy sidewalk but no one stopped, no one cared and no one seemed willing to help him. It left a lasting impression.

Most of us can’t imagine not having a home and we can’t imagine living in poverty and on the street without our basic needs being met. We think that it is as simple as a choice. We have always given to Paul’s Place, The Franciscan Center and Our Daily Bread, all located in Baltimore City that support homeless people with food, clothing and other services. Just one of this Center’s is supporting 500 people a day for a free hot meal. For some people this will be the only meal for the day. I was stunned to learn just how many individuals, men, women and children who are dependent on others to meet their basic human needs and require basic human services.

There was a time when I believed that to be truly homeless, a person must have burnt every single relationship from family to friends and beyond. But the reality for many is that it is a culture and a learned behavior that often passes from generation to generation. Getting up and getting out of poverty takes incredible strength, determination and courage and a support system of caring individuals. It takes courage to face a new and foreign way of life, one where they are willing and able to accept responsibility for themselves. This can be scary for some who never witnessed this modeled behavior.

What about the people who are struggling with a disability, a health issue and may never be in a position to work and afford to care for them and contribute to their family. Then there are the “working poor” people that have jobs yet it still does not translate into self-sufficiency.

The people that lost their homes to hurricane Sandy and to other natural disasters never anticipated that they could wake up one day and literally find themselves homeless. What would we do if a natural disaster destroyed our home, where would we go and who would help us out?

I have always viewed our country, the United States of America as a wealthy and “fat” country with so much abundance and with a true sense of generosity. There is no reason why we should have any single person, our brothers and our sisters should all have their basic needs met.

Most of us can pray and we can donate our time and our treasure to help those in need. As we approach the holiday season with Thanksgiving and Christmas and in the season of giving and gifting, let us not forget that many are doing without and that “To whom much has been given, much is expected.” Luke 12:48

Written 11/2/12

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
NEW BOOK! Along The Way available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Mind over Matter

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Mind over Matter
By Bernadette A. Moyer

If you don’t mind, it really doesn’t matter. It is amazing how freeing it is when you let go of what other people say and think about you. “What other people think about you is none of your business.” Paulo Coelho

What matters is what you think and feel and what you know about yourself. How we feel about ourselves shows itself in how we look, how we act and even how we react. There are many things in my life that I am most proud of and when I think of it, it isn’t about my achievements or my success but rather in all the times that I was true to myself.

I am most proud of the times when I stood up for myself and the times when I brushed off the actions and words of bullies and angry people; people that try and put their stuff on you. They want you to look bad so they can justify their own poor behaviors. It truly is mind over matter, if you don’t mind it really doesn’t matter!

During a three hour birthday celebration lunch just yesterday with my “other mother” who repeatedly told me how great I look and how beautiful I look and how happy I look, I had to smile and to laugh and to accept that I feel great! This woman has known me for over 20 years when I was her Real Estate agent. She is 80 years old and witnessed my life during some of the highest points and lowest ones too. Upon reflection, I know that I look good because I feel good because I have genuine peace in my heart and because I am surrounded by love.

The people in my circle are people that love and support me, period. I have cut out and I have deliberately cut off people and situations that cause undue drama and where I am no longer learning or growing or feeling good and happy. Life really is too short for other people’s sh –!

My most recent book Along The Way includes so many valuable lessons about life that I literally learned Along The Way, much of it was not so attractive and most of it came from the people that really should have been family and they should have been kind and loving. It just was not to be for me and for many years I struggled and I couldn’t accept it. I fought against the natural tide and the natural ebb and flow. Looking back I can see where this was a huge mistake and cost me much love and peace. I was looking for love and for acceptance in all the wrong places, looking for it outside of myself when it reality I have and I had everything I ever needed deep within myself, I always had God and a deep sense of faith. My life today is so good I want to get up and scream all about it!

I was getting in my own way of peace, love and happiness due to the unwarranted judgements of others, sad but true and truly a waste of time. I am so much bigger and better than that. For years I suffered in silence, feeling so much shame that related to my first family and later due to the untimely death of my husband, branding me a widow at 23 made me feel different than my peer group. Then later again feeling all the shame associated with abuse. I felt it so deeply and I initially took it all in and isolated myself. When the healing began I not only could speak about it but I wrote about it. This all helped me to heal. So did the thousands of connections I made with others by sharing my stories and my life experiences. Many of the most painful stories shared drew thousands of “likes” in just one platform; Facebook.

In one book Along The Way I bound all those lessons, the good, the bad, the happy and the sad. I am over it. I did the work. I grieved my losses and I moved on, parts of the book were written as far back as 1998. The entire book is past history and past lessons learned. Many people have shared with me how much my writings have helped them in their own life journey and for this I am eternally thankful.

Today I am in the midst of completing the next book titled; Another Way and it contains blogs, articles and essays that are happier and more fun and include more and different life lessons, experiences and observations. I have closed the door on all the hurtful stuff associated with my family of origin and opened the doors to much more love and peace and it shows on my face and in my heart.

Last week I turned 56 years old and I had another wonderful birthday celebrated in Las Vegas, Nevada. I have experienced so much Along The Way and today more than ever I know that there is Another Way … when things don’t go like you think they should, it really comes down to mind over matter and to seeking out a newer and better and Another Way … there is always Another Way …

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

New book! ALONG THE WAY available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

ANOTHER WAY coming out November 1, 2015

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