Rise Above It

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Rise Above It
By Bernadette A. Moyer

rise

As a kid growing up this was one of many mantra’s that my mother tried to teach us, “rise above it” and she meant whatever “it “was.

Every single one of us has “stuff” things that aren’t perfect about us or perfect in our lives. No one is perfect and no one has a perfect life. Part of the challenge in life is how we handle ourselves and our situations at any given time.

We are always afforded the choice to “rise above it” and with every choice in doing so we gain confidence in ourselves and are able to love, nurture, grow and gain in the process.

We can go low or we can rise up … each and every response creates a different set of consequences. We are only ever responsible for our own actions. What other people do is always all about themselves.

Rise above it! Rise above it! Rise above it! When we do this our life, our world, our self-esteem and our self-worth all rise too.

Remember not one of us is perfect and yet when we make the choice to rise about it we become perfectly attuned and at peace.

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

Books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

My Name is Brandon

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My Name is Brandon
This is me ….

by Bernadette Moyer and Brandon Sahm

The words below are from our son Brandon not a single word was edited. As a point of reference, just before the holidays this year, I told his father, my husband that I wish I could write about this but out of respect for Brandon it wasn’t my story to share. Oddly, two days later, he called me from yet another hospital crisis admission stay and asked me if I would help him write his story. There is so much more I could say here but I am choosing to keep it in my heart, at least for now.

He was always different but I chose to see the best of him and often chalked it up to him being an artist and an actor. Looking back with hindsight and 20/20 vision he was extremely well supported and loved or he most probably would not have had the successes that he did achieve. His birth mother died when he was born, I got him when he was 87 days old along with his twin sister. His natural father and I raised them together.

After what we lived through these past two years I no longer have that luxury of seeing him how I viewed him before this all began two years ago. I have loved him dearly and deeply. Today I know that I must let go… as difficult as that is for me. I am no longer the answer …it is so much more than what I am built to manage. I just want him happy and to be his best, however he decides to define it.

(You might want to grab a tissue…)

His words, his story, from his own handwritten journal and by his request …

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My Name is Brandon Sahm. I’m an Eagle Scout, a high school graduate, and a young adult who has recently been diagnosed with Autism and mental illness. But before you say anything I want you to know it wasn’t always like this. It’s just the last two years was like going through hell which it was. At 24 I lost my job at Yo Lavie, a frozen yogurt store one that I worked at for 3 ½ years. It was hard because it was a job I worked hard at and one I got on my own. Three-hundred job applications later I started working again at Texas Roadhouse. It was also around that time that I got my driver’s license. However, the job would be very short lived, after seeing the struggle of keeping up in a fast-paced environment my boss decided to let me go. I was devastated, and instead of going straight home to tell my parents I decided (and this was out of anger) to get drunk.

By the summer of 2016 my jump from hospital to hospital began. It started at Franklin Square in Essex. I wasn’t really fond with the care looking back because the groups didn’t talk much about their problems and did nothing but arts and crafts. Also it felt more like a place for people on drugs.

In August of 2016 after fighting with my parents out of impulse and anger, I attempted to end my life and commit suicide. It was raining when it happened. What stopped me was contemplation, I was halfway over the bridge on 695 when I stopped and got down. Soon after that the police came and took me to Saint Joseph Medical Center. There the groups were more active and the staff did care about the patients. After my lengthy stay and release I was an outpatient for 30 days. It was my mother who took me to all those daily appointments. I had many hospitals stays all kinds of diagnosis and according to my mom “more pills than any human body should ever consume” time and time again I called a crisis team and was picked up and readmitted. It wouldn’t take long before I would return for the holidays. On January 13, 2017 I was discharged again with a diagnosis of mental illness and Autism.

I was surprised to hear the word Autism but at the same time I had a sense of clarity and everything I did socially made sense. Because growing up I didn’t have many friends yet I excelled academically. As I said I became an Eagle Scout, made National Honor Society, graduated from high school all before the diagnosis. But of all the people that would tease me, my sister was the biggest bully yet. I remember every year she would make me lie about our report cards, and make me buy food for her at the mall. So at 18 when she left and changed schools I felt free for the first time. It was also our fights that made me think about suicide for the first time. And at that time when I told my mom, she said, “I had no idea.”

Sometimes when I think of suicide I think of how easy it must be to end the pain because to me I’ve always felt like a burden to my family. But now I see I have much to live for and now every time I pass by that bridge I think to myself, “wow I could have end it all but I didn’t.”

Back to the hospitals the next stay would be in Sheppard Pratt. I was there because I had a fight with my dad physically and realized I needed more help especially with my anger. I was there for almost two months and then sent to Harbor House.

I would be coming back to the house a few times including the holiday season. When I left back in December of 2017 I ran away because of the Christmas season, missing my parents, struggling mentally to accept what I can’t change. I hated myself even more for letting it happen, so much my desire for death was intensified. So I ended up spending Christmas in the hospital again and a Christmas day visit from my parents.

I still count myself lucky and grateful to have parents like them. I’m not much for writing but it is helping me express how I feel and it’s therapeutic, just like my art or any form of art for that matter. There are so many things that can influence us and make us into who we are, we just have to embrace it. My mom is like my best friend, we’re thick as thieves and she’s also my cheerleader. She’s known for her writing many of which I enjoy reading. What makes my mom special is that she has always been there for me, even when my sister and I were babies. The same goes for my dad, he could have easily left me and my sister up for adoption but he didn’t. My dad is a hard worker, a quality I picked up from him. He also introduced me to classic rock which I still enjoy today. My dad and I may argue sometimes but he is still my dad and I love him for raising us.

One of my fondest memories is being in boy scouts. One of those memories includes summer camps and getting to spend time with my dad.

(PLEASE keep Brandon and our entire family in your prayers as we continue to stumble through all of this)

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

What To Believe

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What To Believe
By Bernadette A. Moyer

believe

What to believe … in a world full of division, opinions, varied motivations, self-interest and more, it becomes more and more challenging to know the truth tellers from the false narratives. That is why it is so important to know who you are and to be true to yourself.

The older I become the more I am convinced that people believe what they want to believe regardless of their sources or any investment in searching for the absolute truth. Simply put if it fits their narrative, it becomes their truth.

If we say it, it must be true, right? Wrong? I guess it depends on who is saying it and what is motivating them. There are always many sides to every story and many ways to view a single act or many acts.

I was thinking about old sayings like “God helps those who help themselves” and how important trust and honesty is to the richness and depth of any real relationship. Relationships can only go deep if they are rooted in trust and honesty.

What we believe becomes our truth and our reality. If we believe we will succeed in life, we will. If we believe we will fail in life, we will. Our minds truly are the computer system for our bodies, what goes in is what comes out.

In 2017, I evaluated my life, my work, my friends and my family. I drew closer the ones that enriched my life. I pulled back and away from people and from places that didn’t add anything positive. It was more than therapeutic.

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I learned how much I value my own company, how easy my life unfolds when it does so naturally. I spent less time trying to “rescue” others and more time becoming a better person. In all this re-evaluation has served me well. I feel great. One of the great lessons recently learned was understanding that someone else’s anger, upsets and disappointments is about them and has zero to do with me.

Even the most negative things in life, can be turned around and into something positive, it we want it. Each one of us is capable of turning a negative into a positive. Each one of us decides to be happy or sad or mad or glad.

My marriage and my inner circle of friends are richer, more loving and more supportive than ever. My career and my business has refreshed and renewed itself with many new additions and the excitement that naturally follows good works.

I believe that 2018 will be a banner year both personally and professionally and I know that because with the right amount of efforts, my continued support group and with the hand of God on my back, the sky truly is the limit … ASK, BELIEVE, RECEIVE … it works!

Oh what to believe … believe in all that is good and plant those good “seeds” in a rich environment with the proper water and light and watch them grow.

Here is to a fabulous, fantastic, loving, rich, healthy and abundant year filled with love and peace for all of us!

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

Along The Way and Another Way by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Understanding

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Understanding
By Bernadette A. Moyer

understanding

Understanding as a noun is defined as the ability to understand something: comprehension and are synonymous with comprehension, grasp, and mastery.

When used as an adjective sympathetically aware of other people feelings: tolerant and forgiving. Synonyms are compassionate, sympathetic, sensitive, considerate, tender, kind, thoughtful, tolerant, patient, forbearing, lenient, merciful, forgiving, humane, approachable, supportive and perceptive. Understanding is also defined as having insight and good judgement.

So after reading all that, who would not want to have more understanding?

There is no question we are living in a time of fear, anger and judgements and I have to question if that serves any of us well?

I never had any hatred toward my parents, not ever, and that didn’t mean they didn’t do things that I didn’t like. I might have had an occasion to be disappointed in them but I always tried to understand them. This served me well in never having to carry the burdens of anger and judgements and hatred.

Some of my father’s behaviors were questionable to me, so I tried harder to understand him. I could never have at age18 entered into the service during the Korean War like he did. I could and would never know what it feels like to have an enemy shoot at me and want to kill me all the while living in a foreign country. And yet as a teenager, this was my father’s reality. As a child, just a little boy he experienced the death of his seven year old brother. Again he lived through an experience that I never had but always tried to understand how that formed him and his life and contributed to making him the man that he was and that I knew and loved.

My mother was more of a mystery to me. She had what appeared to be a large loving family with six siblings and parents that loved each other and worked hard for their family. She was intelligent and highly educated. The mystery for me was why a woman who appeared to have so much going for her also had a history with men that were abusive to her. I still don’t understand it yet I know that it is true. What happened to her? I truly can’t answer that but I always tried to understand her. For me it was harder to love her because as much as I tried, I didn’t really understand her.

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Today there are so many adult children that have decided to judge their parents so harshly; I witness it every single day in my support group. For me the take away is so clear, these kids have absolutely no desire to understand their parents and what formed them. And it is so sad, because they too will one day require understanding. We all do.

Prayer of Saint Francis Lyrics

Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury pardon
Where there is doubt faith
Where there is despair hope
Where there is darkness light
And where there is sadness joy
Oh divine grant that I may
Not seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life
Amen

Today I pray for a world and for a life that includes more and more understanding and less and less criticism and judgement.

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

Along The Way and Another Way books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Our Greatest Gift

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Our Greatest Gift
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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It is that time of year when we think about all the gifts we will give and also those that we wish to receive. Yet for most mature adult our greatest gift won’t be wrapped in tissue and colorful holiday wrap or tied up in a bow. Our greatest gift will be the gift of our heart.

Who we share our hearts with and who shares their heart with us truly is and always will be our greatest gift!

As I was preparing for this year’s Christmas card list and pulling out decorations I discovered our Christmas cards from last year. The one card that captured my attention was a small blue card with snow flakes and the outside read, “It’s Christmas AND ALL MY HEART TRULY WANTS IS EVERYTHING I ALREADY HAVE WITH YOU. Honestly I didn’t remember it. It was from 2016 and as I opened it and read the inside it stated, “THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING WE SHARE – AND MOST OF ALL THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME the gift of your heart AND FOR TAKING SUCH GOOD CARE OF MINE.” Love Brian.

It was from my husband. It didn’t say wife on the outside or make mention of from your husband. It was a simple card, yet beautiful with a simple beautiful message.

As I processed that message throughout the day, all I could think was how giving and receiving love truly is our greatest gift. And because it is so valuable and truly great, that is why we are so fractured and broken when our love is rebuked or disrespected or even if it is taken for granted and unappreciated.

The capacity to give love is what we were born to do, it is our core, without our heart we don’t live and nothing in life has a beat. We know enough about love to know that you either have it or you create it. We are capable of loving many people and many places and many things in our lifetime. The ones that love us right back offer us the most incredible love.

We can still love without it being returned, we can love from a distance, from that quiet place in our hearts. Giving love is our greatest gift. It doesn’t have to be returned to us. Giving is for the giver.

How many people can we share that thought with, “thank you for giving me the gift of your heart and for taking such good care of mine” this Christmas and holiday season that is my wish for all of you to give and to be given love.

Cherish the love that you receive and give as much love as you are capable of giving, as the gift of giving and receiving love is our greatest gift of all!

Merry Christmas, with heartfelt love and Happy New Year 2018! God Bless us all …

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

Along The Way and Another Way books available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

“Didn’t you notice me?” He asked.

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“Didn’t you notice me?” He asked.
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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It was 1976 and I was just seventeen years old as I was running up the stairs in our Allentown house. I was in a hurry and anxious to talk to my mother, I swiftly ran past a three year old little boy named Brenden, who caught my attention when he said so confidently and so clearly ”didn’t you notice me?”

He was calling me out. Brenden was a child that I often babysat along with his older sister Ariane and three other siblings. I liked the name Ariane so much that I named my own daughter after her. They were the children of a Baptist minister and his wife; they were friends of my mother and our family. The kids were all adorable and each child was confident and proud.

It is more than 40 years later and I will never forget that day and that a three year old said what needed to be said, he stopped me in my tracks when he asked me “didn’t you notice me?” I felt awful and I made sure he knew that I not only noticed him but appreciated seeing him again. I apologized for attempting to run past him. All he wanted was acknowledgement. I never intended to “not notice him” but clearly my actions said otherwise.

I read much more than I could ever write and I see posts that I read but never comment on although they often strike a chord with me. Every single day sometimes multiple times in a day I hear from or read about families that are broken and relationships that have ended. More and more families have estranged family members. There are family members that have decided not to acknowledge other family members.

Often during the holiday season the wounds, hurts and heartaches resurface with greater intensity. Everyone wants that Norman Rockwell like Christmas and yet few families really experience it. Someone is hurting, someone is missing, and many things in the family are different. Mom and dad have adult children that not only don’t “notice” them but literally want nothing to do with them. Overall the parents are bewildered and the adult children feel justified.

In just about every single case, the narrative is pretty much the same the adult children say they were “abused” it was mental abuse, or verbal abuse or physical abuse or all three. They all had “terrible childhoods” and now mom and dad must pay. They must pay by “no contact” or by not being accepted and noticed. It is an intolerant response.

Most all of the parents I have spoken with declare that they loved their kids and did the best they knew how, they did their best with what they had and what they knew at that time. Many parents never saw it coming and most of the adult kids seem to think little or nothing of it. Bad parents must be erased, period.

What you learn though in life is that it is never ever that simple. Relationships are complex and complicated. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. The longer you are in any relationship the wider the range of experiences you will share.

Like Brenden, a small child, I used to take it all in and onto myself; I used to be willing to accept the feelings and the responsibilities that went along when someone, anyone decided to cut me out of their life.

Then one day I woke up and accepted that I am human, sometimes I do great and other times not so much, but at the end of the day I am only responsible for my actions. I take 100% responsibilty for the things I do and the things I say, how other people treat me is about them, it was and is never about me.

The way we treat other people says so much about us, it is never about the other person, our actions, our decisions are all ours. We own them. Just like our feelings and our emotions, they belong to us. Simply put, your anger is your problem.

When I woke up to it I realized that absolutely nothing other people do is because of me, it is always because of them. People do what they do and people create their narrative often so they may justify their own behaviors and all their own decisions and actions.

What kind of son or daughter looks good when they have cut mom and dad out of their lives? Zero and none at all and so it is determined that mom and dad must be the “bad” ones because it surely isn’t going to be their adult children.

The same thinking can be applied to marriages that break apart or most any other relationships that end, someone is declared “right” and someone else is declared the “wrong” one. That’s just what we do, a couple decides to divorce and we want to know who is at fault? Yet again it isn’t that simple.

Relationships succeed or fail because of what both sides do; both parties contribute to the success or to the failure. The success is because of both people as is the failure. It is never ever just one sided. I always try my best to live by the golden rule, treat other people in the way that you, yourself would want to be treated. If you wouldn’t want something done to you, you probably shouldn’t do that same thing to anyone else.

We beat ourselves up when relationships don’t turn out like we think they should, we might be better served if we just accept that we have done our best, acknowledge our own portion and learn the lessons that each and every relationship can teach us.

At the end of the day and at the end of this life, we ask ourselves about what do we need and what do we want. For most all of us that answer will be peace and to be acknowledged that we were here and that we mattered.

As we age, we learn that we can come to peace after we did everything we can to right our wrongs and to trust that with God comes the entire acknowledgement that we will ever need.

You can’t fix someone else, you can only be the best person that you can be, it has been said that if you can’t fix it, it probably wasn’t your problem in the first place.

“Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past, let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” John F. Kennedy

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

Along The Way and Another Way on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

The Nurture in Nature

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The Nurture in Nature
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Just returned from a long weekend in Niagara Falls, New York and words nor photographs will ever do justice to the splendor and natural beauty of The Falls. It was my first trip there and hopefully not my last. It was nature at its best. The sounds and the look of waterfalls doing what they do naturally just a beautiful scene to take in, it almost took my breath away.

Minutes before you reach the falls to view, you hear them with that soft and calming sound of rushing waters. Then when you arrive you aren’t sure where to look first and what area to walk down first. There are people there just like you admiring it, taking it in and shooting photos and videos.

There is so much here to love, first it is a FREE National Park and on the day that we first arrived we received FREE holiday parking in their lot. The Falls are mesmerizing and they exude energy. There is incredible life, a life force that comes with the raging waterfalls. Each different time of day brings a different back drop with daylight one look and then in being backlit with colored lights at night. During our weekend stay we visited three times and I could have easily returned for many more visits. It doesn’t get old.

I was overcome with peace and also with pride. These waterfalls made me aware of just how small I am in a world with natural wonders and with the life force of this energy found in nature. I was also proud to live in a country that showcases its natural beauty so beautifully.

The trip to the waterfalls at Niagara Falls once again drove home for me just how much nurturing can be found in nature. So much life was happening right there and right then. The good news is that it didn’t include; television, radio, news, games or any other distraction that we face in life it was just simple Mother Nature at her best most beautiful self.

I am reminded again that all we really need to maintain our peace is a trip outdoors whether it is Niagara Falls, the ocean, the mountains, a lake or park, a garden or backyard trees and landscaping, Mother Nature is always there with arms wide open and willing to share all her many splendors. She nurtures us so completely in being honest and true and completely natural.

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

Along The Way and Another Way by Bernadette A. Moyer available on Amazon and Barnes& Noble