The Lives We Touch

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The Lives We Touch
By Bernadette A. Moyer

lives

My Uncle Lou recently passed on, he was a doctor. He was a huge personality and he loved what he did and was good at it. There is no way to tell just how many lives he touched, how many people he made a difference to and just how many people will remember him now that he is gone.

His obituary states that he was a medical doctor for 61 years. What I remember is a man that truly was larger than life. He was a tremendous support to my mother, his sister. He was always giving; he always had something to offer and to give.

As a little girl I remember the many times he came to visit my grandmother, his mother and times we visited him and his family. These memories are from long ago, yet it is impossible not to think of them with his recent passing.

The only way we do justice to life is by living it to its fullest. He was 88 years old. If I live that long, I will have 30 more years ahead of me, there is nothing like a death to drive home for us just how numbered our days here are, there will be an ending one day.

But how many lives will we touch? Who will remember us upon our passing?

Many years ago a significant death in my life taught me “life is for the living, live it.” And today I would add, “Touch as many lives as you can, and be touched by as many lives too, because that is all that truly matters the most in life!”

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

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

Memory Lane

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Memory Lane
By Bernadette A. Moyer

memorylane

We all have them, our memories; we have memories of our childhood, our teenage years, our young adult years and more. We can think about them and sometimes we can visit the people and the places from another time.

Going home will always be Allentown, Pennsylvania for me. It is where I spent a large portion of my childhood and my teenage years as well as my young adult years. As a kid, I walked to school and to church, to many friends’ homes, to the library, the YMCA, to my guitar lessons downtown. I learned to drive there went to first concerts there and even married and had my only birthed child there.

The memories are powerful and numerous. My friend of over 40 years from our days as camp counselors still lives there. My father lived and died there. Again, the memories are many and they run the entire spectrum of happiness, joy, pain and losses. They run the entire spectrum of life.

When I go home to visit, I visit many significant landmarks, the place where I married, the church where my daughter was baptized, my first apartment, my favorite market, and favorite eateries and more.

It is always a fun trip down “memory lane” and yet there is also something so profound about where we started in life and where we end up. There is that distance between our beginnings and where we are today. And of course all the people, the places and the experiences we had along the way. Some remain and many do not stay.

I remember fun times of laughter with my sisters. Fun times with childhood friends. I remember my Confirmation in our neighborhood church. I remember the hospital where I was a volunteer candy striper and several years later, that same hospital where my daughter would come into this world. I remember so many things.

My parents were together there, and then they were not as a divorce would end their union. Just like life when people are so profound and significant in our lives and then they just are not at all present in our lives. We learn to adjust and to adapt; we learn to take our memories with us as we move away and as we move along.

I look back and I see so clearly the riches of the many experiences I have had, truly it has been like a buffet of choices of options of likes and dislikes. Overall, though, I know that it has all contributed to who I became and who I am today. I love my life, I love myself, and I love my journey, warts and all. It truly has been rich and long and wide. I am happy and I am grateful.

A trip down memory lane is always well worth the trip … I highly recommend the trip!

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

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

Check Yourself

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Check Yourself
By Bernadette A. Moyer

Man walking down road at sunset

Check yourself? What are you putting forth into the universe? Is it love, is it hatred? Thoughts become actions, what are you thinking about? Are they positive thoughts that are rooted in love or negative thoughts rooted in hate?

Earlier today I watched a documentary about kids with guns and kids age six and up that not only used a gun to commit murder but the days, weeks, months of thinking about it that lead up to the killing.

Then later I read a social media post that encouraged “open mindedness” and most posters were of the same mind set and then came an opposing view. This person was bullied, ganged up on and eventually left the group. They said “open minded” but what I witnessed was anything but that.

Today you can turn on any so called “news stations” I call them “editorial stations” and hear complete one sidedness regardless of any other view point.

Then I think about the mind of a child who doesn’t have the maturity and life experience to process all this and how they act out. Acting out often of anger and frustration because they can’t process what even a skilled adult would find difficult to process.

What can we do? We can check ourselves! What are we putting out into the universe with our own thoughts and actions? What verbal and nonverbal communications are we putting forth? You want more love in your life, be more loving, do you want more hurt and hatred? It all comes back to us.

nice

Our world will get better when we are better. If we continue to fight, to disagree, to hurt others, to spew hatred all we have done is to grow more hate. Remember when we learned that if you couldn’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?

In the climate we are living through today, I don’t think it is a bad idea to check ourselves? What are we putting out into the universe? Would we want that same thing to be put back upon us? I am not saying it will be easy, it is hard to love a hater, hard to love a difficult person, hard to love someone that we don’t like or agree with … it may be hard, but it isn’t impossible.

There is something good in everyone … we are all works in progress … try and focus on the good and what you can support and can love … check yourself … when you can respond to even the most difficult people and things in your life with love then you too will be rewarded with love.

A six year old boy wasn’t born to be a hater and a killer, I can’t imagine what formed him to become like that, but I do know that when we choose love, choose to respond with love, we are more likely to be met with love.

Check yourself and check your heart …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Delete Remove and Replace

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Delete Remove and Replace
By Bernadette A. Moyer

fill your life with love

Sometimes in life you have to know when it is time to delete and remove and replace something or someone. Not everything and everyone is intended to stay in our lives forever or how would we grow and learn?

Change is a given and a constant, everything changes, we change. As we mature and we age we become more and more aware of how much life is already in our rear view mirror and we do our best to look ahead at what is worthy of our time and attention.

Just like our bank accounts are not without limits either are our days here on earth. Everything has a beginning, and middle and an ending. Choose to fill your life with love!

Some people enter our lives just to teach us how we don’t want to be and how we don’t want to act. Relationships that end seldom come back to their original glory, someone that has chosen to delete you and remove you from their life, does so at the risk of being replaced.

When our first Bichon Happy died we were heartbroken and sad. She was with our family for thirteen years. After several months of grieving her death we got another Bichon named “Happy Again” our second Happy was cherished even more than her predecessor because we already knew what it felt like to have that hole in our hearts. We often comment that “Happy Again” was taken even better care of than our first Bichon Happy because of our first dog!

People that love and people that give do so freely and willingly but also know that it comes with a cost and risk of being hurt.

Sometimes we are forced to give up a relationship because it just is not healthy and respectful. A person who outwardly and publicly repeatedly dishonors and disrespects you must be deleted and removed from your life. You might think that you can bring them around, but someone, anyone including family members that cannot show you the basic respect that even a stranger would command, just can’t be allowed in and eventually will be replaced with others who show us common regard and respect.

“People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you.” Abraham Hicks

The way others treat us is always, always all about them. The way we respond is always our choice and all about us. Some people will need you to be the bad guy, so they can justify their words and actions. Let them, take the high road, be the best person you can be, move on, there are really good and great people in the world. Seek them out and don’t be afraid to make room for them by removing and replacing and deleting the people and the things in life that just are not healthy, have run their course and are no longer good for you.

Make wise choices, surround yourself with the best people and the most loving and loyal people and you are sure to thrive and live a much happier life. Don’t be afraid to delete, remove and replace and to make room for all that is good and loving.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
Another Way and Along The Way books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have

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The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have
By Bernadette A. Moyer

take-care-of-yourself

The longest relationship you will ever have is with yourself, and for me, it also includes God. The way we treat people and our honesty and dishonesty is something that only we can reconcile. So many of us are hugely invested in our parents, our children, our friends and our neighbors and where this is quite noble, the truth is that the sustainable relationship is the one we have with ourselves. Friends come and go, family comes together and drifts apart, parents age and die and children grow up and go on their way.

The biggest investment made should be where it will have staying power and last, and that is within our own self. When we look to others for our value, whether it is an employer, a parent, a child, a friend or any other we have given way to letting everyone else determine our value.

As a child who was born as raised Catholic, I learned many wonderful life lessons. I learned to live by the golden rule and to treat other people the way that I wanted to be treated. I learned the value in living for the greater good and about service above self. I watched both Catholic Priests and Catholic Nuns put everyone else above themselves.

I learned to believe I was going to hell if I didn’t honor the Catholic code for living. It is only recently that I have discovered that if and when you put everyone else above yourself you have basically taught people how to treat you. You have taught them that you deserve to be last.

Life is a journey and not a destination, each one of us is evolving as we age, and as we learn and grow. Just like a flower that comes back year after year, where it may be the same type of flower it never returns looking exactly like it did in its previous bloom.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs     

When we are young we have no way to fully comprehend how our decisions will impact us later in life. Like the teenager who decides to become a teen mom, they can never fully understand that life altering choice until they age.

Parents fret over their teenagers and young adult decisions, because unlike the teenager and the young adult a mature adult has a better understand of poor choices. The choice to walk away and not take advantage opportunities in education and employment among other opportunities means much more to that same adult, now grown, who does not have the advantage of a college degree or work experience.

Decisions made in anger and in haste seldom stand up in the test of time. Whether our parents were great parents, mediocre parents or even terrible parents, they are the parents that God gave to us. Every single adult knows the impact of their childhood both good and bad and the importance of their roots and their home. Even in the most highly dysfunctional families, social workers and mental health care providers work to restore the health of the first family or neonatal family. They get it that the parental relationships will impact a child’s life for the rest of their life. And that is whether they remain in their lives or not. Parents are forever and so are their children.

Life is long

Most people state “life is short” or “life is so short” but it was my husband who first shared the statement, “life is long’ with me. Life is long and it feels even longer when as a young person you make life altering decisions that impact your life in a negative way, for the rest of your life.

One of the fastest growing populations of people is estranged parents and adult children. This week alone I received 6 e-mails from across the country and from both men and women, fathers and mothers who are estranged from their adult children and grandchildren. The pain and heartache is insurmountable and almost every single case has set the same cycle up for the next generation.

Statistically it has been proven that once this pattern of family estrangement begins, it plays itself, over and over again in future generations.

The Support Group for Parents of Estranged Adult Children, if needed you can find it on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-Group-for-Parents-of-Estranged-Adult-Children

I have heard from parents, who had social services involve themselves and when it was deemed it was a troubled teenager, the rift between parent and child was broken beyond repair. I heard from a father who was arrested after his teen daughter claimed abuse. It didn’t take long for the investigation to uncover that the teen was angry. She was angry with dad, because he took the car away from her. So she got him back by slamming herself up against the car, getting a bruise, calling police, saying dad did this and when they saw her redness and bruise, he was immediately arrested.

Now dad sees how dangerous and without boundaries, his daughter is and in his anger and hurt he doesn’t want the teen back in the home. The teen daughter is limited in her ability to function without her parents support. The stage is now set for years of estrangement. The social workers once there and involved are long gone as they have moved on helping truly abused children. This family is left with the destruction and the aftermath.

Try Not to Make Mistakes that You Can’t Recover From

It wasn’t until one of my later career jobs that I was applauded for making any mistakes. My supervisor always saw the value in lessoned learned and in the ability to try. According to him, if you made a mistake, at least you were trying. For the effort you were applauded then came the dialogue about what went wrong and how to make it better. Everything was viewed as a learning opportunity and a chance for growth and development.

Some mistakes can’t ever be repaired, nor can you ever come back from them. Murder and rape are not actions that once crossed can be repaired. Where we want to live in a world of second chances and of reform, there are actions that can be taken that you can never take back.

When you put your life in someone else’s hands and when you no longer have the power over your own destiny in life you have all but ended your relationship with yourself. No one is going to know what you like, need or want in life better than you do. Advice is great and often it is free and perhaps in being free that is what it is worth, nothing. People often have their own agenda and their own idea.

Coming from a place of strength and of self-love and acceptance and contributing to our own success and investing in our own self allows us to be fully developed mature adults. We can’t get our value or devalue ourselves by what other people do or don’t do.

As parents, maybe we need to do better and teach our children that the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship you have with yourself. If you are not full-filled and you are angry, only you can do what is necessary to fix that inside of yourself.

Investing in our own self is not selfish but rather contributes to wellness and to the greater good. We all know that “hurt people, hurt people.” And most often when teens and young adults are lashing out at others, at their parents and at their friends, family and community, it is because they are hurt and troubled.

I can’t say it enough, the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship that you have with yourself. Invest in you, take care of you and do what is right. A pretty good measure for me has always been that if you wouldn’t want something done to you, you most probably shouldn’t be doing that same thing to someone else.

Peace, love and all good things …

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

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 …

Brandonpic

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