And Then We Die …

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And Then We Die …
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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But have we truly lived? We all know that death is a definite, no one escapes it! If I live to be 100, I will only have known and experienced 100 summers and 100 Christmas holidays. It doesn’t seem like that is a whole lot so I have tried my best to live as full of a life as I can live.

When I was widowed at just 23 years old, I learned how quickly and unexpectedly life can be taken away. Through the years I have encountered people who when they learn this fact say, “oh I am sorry.” But for me it was a huge gift. It drove home for me how precious life is and that I wanted to get the full experience out of every single day and every single experience. I learned NOT to take anything for granted, our time here is not a given and it is limited.

I learned to appreciate the here and the now. My husband was also left at just 32 years old, when his wife Stacey unexpectedly died. Together we are mature beyond our years and often associate with people that are much older than us. Our peer group never really got it. Why would they? When I was 23 and declared a “widow” my peers were immersed in living while I was trying to comprehend death.

This “gift” has strengthened my faith in God, my understanding of life and of death. Initially when it first happened I couldn’t understand it. Then one of my older work associates stated, “Find a tree and visit that tree. Visit it in the spring and the summer and then again in the fall and the winter. That is life and that is death.” I learned this almost 30 years ago and it has been the view of life that I have come to understand. We are living and then we die just like that tree I visited in every season and every stage of its life.

When my first husband Randy died I had the following poem, Comes the Dawn, read at his funeral in 1983. I still live by it today. He was the one who shared it with me and it wasn’t that long before his passing that he shared it. Although his death was accidental and unexpected, I have often thought to have shared this with me, he might have known he was coming close to the end of his life and it was his way of saying good-bye.

Comes the Dawn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security

And you begin to understand that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head held high and your eyes wide open

With the grace of a man, not the grief of a child
You learn to build your roads
On today, because tomorrows ground
Is uncertain for plans

And futures have a way of going down in mid-flight
After a while you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden and decorate
Your own soul, instead of waiting
For someone else to bring you flowers

And you learn that you really can endure
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and learn … and you learn
With every good-bye you learn

(Author Unknown)

Through the years, people have told me, “Your life is so interesting!” Some of it is by design and some of it is purely by life circumstances. However, I can and do appreciate it all. I do my best to squeeze every moment of life out of this life, this life that God has given to me.

As much as we know that death is coming nothing really prepares us for it, or for the loss of the people that we eventually lose to death. My mother was famous for saying, “We live in hope and we die in despair.” I don’t know how I will die but I do know that I do live in hope. I hope and I pray for love, for health, for understanding, for compassion amongst other things and I hope and I pray that when my time ends here on earth I will know that I have lived fully and with few if any regrets.

And as much as I know that I want to live, and to live for as long as I can, and with as much zest and exuberance as I can, I also know “and then we die.”

So let us all live and live fully and with no regrets …

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

Books by Bernadette on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Not My Canoe Not My People

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Not My Canoe Not My People
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Sometimes in life we find ourselves in someone else’s canoe or with people that are “not our people.” We know when we are with “our people” it is when the relationship is easy and natural and we feel connected. We also know when we are in someone else’s canoe and that we don’t belong there.

There are people in this world looking for us and they want us to be a part of their lives; they are inherently our people. Forced relationships whether through tolerance or life circumstance seldom if ever offer us a real and lasting connection.

Are we helping or are we getting in the way and enabling? When we jump into someone else’s canoe, even if we think it is to help them, are we helping them or are we enabling them? And quite possibly we might just be hurting them by not allowing them to learn and to grow and to steer their own course.

Confidence comes from life experiences and from making choices that propel us forward. When we make the choices that are best for us, we alone know that. There is so much value that comes from owning our stuff, learning from it, growing and building upon what works for us.

Giving our power away, allowing others, any others, the control over our lives does nothing to help us grow up, or mature and learn. If anything it may contribute to our lack of confidence and our ability to forge our own path.

Parents often straddle a fine line of helping their children versus enabling when they do not allow their children to experience the consequences of their own actions. As a mother I have often been guilty of this, taking responsibility for my children’s action when they alone should have understand the consequences and felt the outcome of their choices.

You can’t protect someone from themselves, and it is okay when things don’t go the way we want or when people don’t get us, or want to be with us and support us, it may just be that they aren’t “our people.” In the natural course of life in the natural order we find “our people” and they find us!

This starts with trusting the universe … trusting in a God source … trusting that we already have inside of us, everything that we need to maneuver our own canoe and chart our own unique life course …

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

Books by Bernadette available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Living in Balance

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Living in Balance
By Bernadette A. Moyer

Healing Crystals Love

Healing Crystals Love Chakra Affirmation

From enjoying a hearty slice of chocolate cake to a fierce 500 plus calorie workout, striving for and living in balance is always the challenge. Finding the perfect balance of work and play can at times elude us. I truly believe that peace and love of life are a direct result of our achieving that balance. That perfect balance when we are achieving and contributing and when we are having fun and unwinding.

It is important to have a meaningful existence in our work and within our role in our family and in our community, just as fun and recreation are also necessary for a balanced and meaningful life.

Sometimes we fling from excessive work and being up and on to excessive play where we have freedom and free time. Often anxiety is born in too much time or as my grandmother was famous for sharing “idle time is a devils workshop.”

We have a need and a want, a desire to be needed but we also crave that alone time where we can recharge and retreat. We can give too much and come up empty or we don’t give enough and end up feeling unfulfilled.

It can be like our diet when we overindulge or when we starve ourselves; neither extreme is viewed as healthy. A life of leisure without any responsibilities or commitments can make us feel hollow and empty. Being valued is important.

Identifying all the pieces that are necessary to achieve balance is the first step. We come to the understanding that our social life, our purpose in life, our nutritional life, intellectual life, emotional life and physical life must all be in balance for us to live our best life.

We know better than anyone when our life is out of balance and what the side effects and suffering that come about as a result. Today I strive for balance more than ever. I see that place where grace and gratitude come together to help me in all the pieces of life.

Take stock … are you living in balance? If not what are the side effects? What do you need to do to reach that balance? I truly believe that the single best things we can do to live a long and happy life is maintaining balance in our life. That just right amount of work and play and diet and exercise and filling our soul and our brains with healthy thoughts and prayers helps everyone and anyone achieve a better balanced life!

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

All books by Bernadette on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Glory Be To God

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Glory Be To God
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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God is good! God is great! I am so very thankful for my faith in God, I have lived long enough to know, that for me, without my faith in God, I may not have survived. And not only have I survived, but I thrived and often in the face of much adversity.

If you are not a God person or a faith filled person, this blog may not be for you and so be it. As a writer I have opened myself up to both compliment and criticism, I have been chastised by some who are angered by my faith and I have been blessed by those that concur with me. I hold no harm to non-believers and I fully appreciate that not everyone has faith nor believes in a God. But I do have faith and for me God has always been an integral part of my life.

God was with me when things went my way and when they came easily to me He was also there with me and for me when I struggled. I was lucky that I never felt alone as I had faith and I had God.

I can also see where many people are turned off by faith and religion and yes a God. When people that protest to be faith-filled and yet act in unloving and uncaring ways, I too have struggled with what some religious have done in the name of God, things that no man should do to any others. So I understand when people are hesitant and skeptical. I get it.

All I can do is speak from my heart and from my own experiences. I learned about God as a child but I didn’t fully appreciate His value in my life until I struggled as a fully matured adult. God was there for me! He is with us when we shine on our very best days and also with us when we feel the darkness of defeat and hurts and loses.

As my life matures I am more and more convinced that I am not alone, there is a force that lives deep within me, a higher power, a conscience and a voice that comes from God. For me there is no other way, it works!

When faced with situations and with people that act in ungodly ways, I do my best to try and see the face of God in them. We may never fully appreciate what others are going through and what is happening in their lives but when we have faith and when we have God, we know that everything here on earth is a blessing.

Even the darkest days and the darkest moments can be turned around to find their blessings! We are alive, we are here, we are breathing and until we take our last breath it is not over.

Earlier today I watched two people in public pray together in public before they ate their lunch. A simple act and yet one that we don’t witness often these days, prayers for their meal that they were about to share together, it meant something to them and to me as I passed by their table.

For some people God seems to have lost fashion here in America and yet I personally can’t imagine living my own life without the presence of God. Life is tough enough and having faith and having God just makes it so much less difficult for me.

Glory be to God! It’s Sunday and I am happy and blessed and filled with faith and love for God above. It sounds so simple and for me it truly is … live and let God in … and you just may find if you haven’t already that life is sweeter and lovely and better with faith, hope and yes God.

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

Books by Bernadette are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Two Words – “Autistic Behaviors”

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Two Words – “Autistic Behaviors”
By Bernadette A. Moyer

 

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Our son is different and we always knew it. At home and in familiar places he is fun loving and easy to be around. Yet many times and throughout his 24 years there was a cause for pause, it could have been an anger issue or how easily he was to sway or seem out of it. It could have been the impulsive literally not looking at traffic before he would dodge across the busy street times. Sometimes it was a simple goofy thing that he said.

At the top of his game he would achieve National Junior Honor Society all through middle school and become an Eagle Scout when he turned 18 and a few years later pass the ASVAB and join the United States Navy. He would successfully help run a yogurt shop at the local mall for more than three years until they closed.

But there was always something off, in his words, “why can’t I be normal?” and most recently his declaration of “I always knew that I had something.”

Were we living in denial as his parents when we witnessed his lack of a desire for a driver’s license, his inability to relate to most people his age, his immature temper tantrums and high anxiety? We may have missed it but so did many others. Shouldn’t his teachers have said something? Did they know but were being politically correct when they called about his behaviors but never went “there” there as in “autistic behaviors?” And what about the times we took him to be a therapist and a psychiatrist and they concluded with “he is a very likeable guy.”

I wanted to scream out loud with YES! yes very likeable but could you dig a little deeper! But I didn’t and went along as we continued along with so many of his issues and cries for help. He is an artist and an actor and quite dramatic so we talked to him and continued to counsel him and support him.

According to his therapist he is “very well supported” or he might never have had the many achievements he did achieve. Earlier this year his job of more than 3 and a half years ended abruptly when the shop closed their doors for good, within days this would send him into a severe depression and to the hospital. In the six months that followed he would spend two more hospital stays of five nights each. After the first stay he was diagnosed with “severe depression” and for me it just didn’t square. I knew it was more than that.

At home he was up early and doing things, he always ate with a healthy appetite between the first and second hospital stay he went to two art fairs, the movies, out to lunch, out to breakfast to the mall and sang in a talent contest, he went to the gym, to an Orioles baseball game, he swam and interacted with my husband, his best friend, me our two dogs and our neighbors. Severe depression? It just didn’t add up and two weeks after that diagnosis he ended up back in the hospital.

This time would be different. Because he is a legal adult they never bothered to ask us, his parents about him. It was frustrating. But then a social worker called me and asked if he could talk about our son. I said, “get your pen and paper because I have a lot to say.” With that my voice quivered and I began to cry. It was time to put it all out there, there was no room for shame, the only way he could receive the care he needed was to get an accurate diagnosis.

For the record, before writing this blog I asked his permission to write it and to share it and he was eager to have me do so.

When you have a child that you love so much, it is so hard to watch them struggle and what is even harder is to see kids in school that not only don’t want to be his friend but take joy in teasing him and making fun of him. It breaks your heart.

He was asked when he first thought about suicide and his answer was devastating to us his parents, he replied with, “when my twin sister was mocking me and taunting me and saying and doing things to make me feel bad about myself, I wanted to jump off the bridge in our neighborhood.” We always knew they bickered and that there was a rub but we never knew the depth of his desire to end their relationship nor did we fully understand why.

Things that many young people take for granted he has struggled with, things like eye contact and proper communication, dating skills and passing his driving test. Yet in one day and after 15 failed attempts he would finally secure that driver’s license and the same day secure a new job.

The job wouldn’t last though and within a few weeks he would be fired. More failure for a young guy that would take it so personally and send him in a tailspin and to the hospital. He wanted to quit he wanted to give up he wanted to end his struggles. This time the doctors and his psychiatric team would go deeper and do more tests and acknowledge his impulse disorder, his anxiety and there it was the big one, “autistic behaviors.”

Many times through the years I would think it was “high performing Asperger syndrome” even though today they don’t use that term. Today everything falls on the autism spectrum. When his father and I read his papers there it was “autistic behavior” and my husband immediately said, “you were right!” I knew we all knew. All I felt in that moment was relief. He would have his answers he would receive therapy and medication and we would help him to grow the support team around him.

In the short run, we would lower our expectations on him moving out and stop putting any pressure on him to get a job, we would help him to go back to school. Today we are all more hopeful and healthier as a result of the honest analysis and diagnosis.

Our son is a great young man with a lot to offer this world. I enjoy spending time with him. He is painting more and has started to keep a journal. He has forged a strong relationship with a neighbor who also suffers with depression. He has goals that he wants to achieve in learning to develop more relationships. Recently he has secured a fully funded college scholarship and wants to be a Vet Tech.

What I know for sure is that with proper treatment and the right team supporting him, he is once again on his way and he will decide, now armed with much knowledge what his future will look like, and God willing we will be there with him cheering him on, all along the way.

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