57 Things I Learned in My 57 Years

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57 Things I Learned in My 57 Years
By Bernadette A. Moyer

mepic

1) My life and my happiness is my responsibility, period.

2) Kids will come and kids will go, build a life that is meaningful long after their departure.

3) Don’t take it personally, nothing other people do is because of you, it is because of them.

4) Gather as much information as you can and then make informed decisions.

5) Pick the guy who believes in you, supports you, loves you and thinks you are beautiful.

6) Bad boys are just that, bad.

7) Trust few but always trust in your own inner voice.

8) Every single day is a blessing.

9) Nothing lasts forever, this too shall pass.

10) People will come into your life and people will leave your life, let them.

11) You are beautiful just the way you are, believe it! No one knows your heart like you do.

12) Work hard, go that extra mile but play hard too.

13) Nature offers peace every single day and in every single season.

14) Animals have incredible souls and are capable of the most love and loyalty.

15) Writers write.

16) Estrangement is strange. It isn’t normal and there are no winners.

17) Trust someone the first time they reveal themselves to you.

18) Marriage requires ongoing efforts and commitment grounded in genuine love and care.

19) Surround yourself with people, places and things that you love. Create your own beautiful life.

20) I was a shy kid that stuttered; today I could debate with the best. Where you start is just a start.

21) Never ever give up on yourself.

22) Campy as it sounds, “Into each life, some rain must fall.”

23) Learn from it and then get over it!

24) Beauty exists everywhere and so does ugliness.

25) Good people can and do make bad mistakes.

26) You are not defined by one person, one experience or single life event.

27) Everything that seems bad really can be turned around and into something good.

28) Be a life-long learner. There is always something new to learn.

29) Gratitude is an attitude.

30) Life goes on …

31) God is good. In an ever changing world God is my salvation.

32) Family is so much more than blood; it is the people that love, support and see the best in you.

33) Girlfriend time is always time well spent.

34) Stress less. Pray more and worry less.

35) Eat the good foods and exercise. Life is about balance.

36) Make love, lots and lots of love.

37) Negative people are just that, negative.

38) Take the time to get to know yourself and always be your own best friend.

39) There is a big difference between being alone and being lonely.

40) Peace is always possible.

41) Stability doesn’t have to be boring.

42) Make something build something bake something create more. Just do it.

43) Build on a solid foundation.

44) Embrace change. Don’t fight it be open to new things, new people and new experiences.

45) Painful lessons are lasting lessons.

46) Pretty comes and pretty goes but being nice will last forever.

47) Share as much as possible but don’t allow yourself to be taken for granted.

48) Hatred and anger doesn’t look good on anyone. Not ever.

49) Forgive but don’t forget.

50) Not everything ends with “happy ever after” but that doesn’t mean your happiness has to end.

51) Give back! Every single person has something to offer.

52) Never wrestle with a pig, because you will both get dirty and the pig likes it.

53) We all have a birth date and a death date, no one gets out alive. Enjoy everything in between.

54) Getting old is a gift, cherish it.

55) Wisdom is born with age.

56) Breathe. Take long deep breathes.

57) Most things can be cured with a long hot bubble bath, a cup of tea or a glass of wine and a big warm embracing hug!

BONUS!

#58 Just because someone said it, doesn’t make it true.

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

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Simple Pleasures

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Simple Pleasures
By Bernadette A. Moyer

peaches

Simple pleasures, what are yours?

Just a few of mine include:

• That bowl of fresh peaches sitting on the kitchen counter
• My first cup of coffee in the morning
• Snuggling with my two pooches
• Watching my husband drive up after a long work day
• The look and smells of a freshly cut lawn
• Driving top down on a quiet country road with the music blaring
• Sunsets
• Sunrise
• The innocence of small children
• A clean house
• A clean desk
• Quiet time at home
• Lunch with a friend
• Writing a new blog
• The subtle seasonal changes
• Sitting on the beach
• Praying to God
• Good friends
• Happy people
• My roses opening and in full bloom
• A new book or magazine waiting to be read
• Rabbits running through the yard
• A road trip
• A live concert
• A baseball game
• Long meaningful conversations
• Fresh new paper and stationary
• Birthdays
• Holidays
• Cooking dinner
• Baking treats
• The smell of fresh laundry
• Long lazy weekends
• A tall glass of ice water

And I seriously could go on and on …

What are your simple pleasures? Gratitude is an attitude!

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

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Take Out The Trash

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Take Out The Trash
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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One of the best feelings after a vacation is that feeling of rejuvenation. The desire to go again and to start anew is exactly what any great getaway can accomplish. This happens if we are willing to allow it.

Sometimes we get there to a newer and healthier place simply by cleaning up, clearing out and removing the trash.

After a very relaxing and loving anniversary trip, I returned home ready to go again. That first day I cleaned out my house, restocked our pantry, did laundry, brought our pool back to life, bathed the dogs, caught upon all our correspondence, made a home cooked dinner and went out for a sweet treat with my husband. I spent time brushing the dogs, walking them, talking to them, feeding them and just handing out with them.

It was a rewarding and full day and I exceeded my step count by more than 30% without ever going to the gym. Cleaning and clearing away is always good therapy. I’ve heard it stated that “cleaning house is a great therapeutic way to regain peace and order” and I truly believe it.

Sometimes we hang on to things, items, thoughts, ideas, people and more that really would be best if we discarded them and literally “took out the trash.”

With each day and with each week and with each month and year we are afforded the opportunity to clean up, clear out and begin again. But we can only start fresh and start new when we are willing to discard that which no longer contributes to our health, growth, wellness and happiness.

Cleaning is great therapy! Got clothes that are still good but you don’t wear? Donate them to someone who can use them. How about household items that are taking up space and never to be used again? Donate them or trash them.

Need a new interior design? Start by cleaning what you have and move the furniture around before buying new. If there is value in what you have use it if and if not it may be time to discard it. Take out the trash and make room for what is yet to come.

Never feel bad about leaving people that just don’t do anything to make your life healthy and happy. Some people truly can and will drain the life out of you, but only if you allow it. Take out the trash and make room for the goodness that awaits you.

Life is so precious! And life is far too precious to be surrounded by anything or anyone that hates you, hurts you, disrespects you, denigrates you, and steals your joy or your peace and happiness.

If you want to change your life, if you want to be happier and healthier, it starts with the desire to identify that which no longer works and discard it. Forget your past, forgive yourself and begin again. The easiest and best way to have a fresh start and begin again simply starts with the willingness to take out the trash.

Merriam-Webster defines “trash” as things that are no longer useful or wanted. Synonyms are garbage, refuse, waste, junk and debris.

We can let hate, animosity, anger eat away at us or we can let it go and begin again. It starts with our desire to be better and feel better.

Take out the trash!

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

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The Lost Child

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The Lost Child
By Bernadette A. Moyer

lost child

My grandmother on my father’s side, (my nana) lost a son (Jimmy) when he was just seven years old and just weeks after his first Holy Communion. She never got over it. It was an unexpected illness that quickly took his life. I imagine that a part of her died too. She talked about him all the time. She cried about him often.

I was just a little kid that visited her and I knew very little about death way back then, but I sensed enough to know and witness her heartbreak, sadness and uneasiness. She was tormented by her loss. It showed itself in her verbal and consciousness and stream of thoughts and words. Her actions showed intense grief. Today I can’t help but wonder how different her life might have been if Jimmy had not died so young.

The lost child changed her; it changed how she related to everyone including the remaining family members. How did it affect her marriage? How did it affect her relationships with her remaining four children? How much of the way that she was determined how her children became? Really we can never know but I think a reasonable person could agree that everything and everyone in that family was altered as a result of such a loss, like the loss of a child.

We can lose a child to death, to estrangement and to mental illness, where there maybe different types of loss, losing a child brings a wide range of emotions with it. We lose a piece of our hopes and our dreams. We lose a piece of ourselves and a part of our futures.

Mothers put so much of their own wellness on how their children are doing; they want their kids to be healthy and happy. I’ve read somewhere that “a mother can only be as happy as her saddest child.” I sure hope that isn’t true, but I do appreciate the thought.

I’ve never known the death of a child, thank God, but I have known losing a child. My first child was lost to me through estrangement on July 4, 1998. This year marked 19 years, she has been gone longer than I had her. For me she is a lost child. I too grieved her intensely and often talked about her too. I think that we talk about our lost children so that we can somehow keep them alive. It is all so unnatural for any parent to lose a child, regardless of the type of loss and a loss is a loss.

I changed. Initially my world was forced into an upside down position. Everything that I once held so near and dear in my own life like being a mother was shattered. I had to look at myself, I had to look at her and I was forced to look at everything. Being a mother meant everything to me, perhaps more than it should. I was consumed with grief. I went through all the stages from denial to acceptance. It felt like a death to me. A death of my child and a death of a part of myself, today I am different, very different. I see from a broader perspective from more of a life experienced, my head learned much, my heart initially shrank but then as the years passed by my heart grew larger with more acceptance and a greater understanding. Funny how that can happen, but it did.

Remember when the best stories ended with the phrase; “and they lived happily ever after”? After you experience enough life you soon realize that not everything ends with “happy ever after” but that does not mean that your happiness has to end.

You find new and different things that make you happy; you learn over and over again that true and sustained happiness comes from within.

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

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Managing Expectations
By Bernadette A. Moyer

expectations

Whether it is business or personal we have expectations on how things should go and how they should be handled. Often our expectations do not match up to what we experience. Then we are left with what to do? How to handle it?

I have high standards both professionally and personally and many times I have been disappointed.

Over the weekend we visited our insurance provided automotive center for repairs and/or estimate of our vehicle. It was hit from behind in an accident. It turns out that the vehicle had to be totaled. When we arrived in the office no one was at the front desk. We could hear people that worked there, we could hear them arguing and we heard one of them drop the “f” bomb. This is a place of business. They were loud and unprofessional.

When our adjuster returned with our paperwork in hand, he started talking to another customer who arrived after us. It seemed rude to me and it delayed our business transaction. From the very beginning our expectations were not met. We were told to track the progress by using a website and our claim number. This was the same site we used to schedule the appointment with the adjuster. We were also told that if the car was “totaled” we could receive our check that same day.

The website was never updated even after the car was in their possession for 5 days. There was no way we would receive a check “that same day.” Several times my husband called to inquire and the adjuster always responded with “I will call you back.” He never did. We would go through a weekend and total of 5 days before we received the adjuster’s findings.

When in business and you state how the system should work and then it doesn’t, you can’t act surprised when the consumer is not happy. Of course they send me the “how did we do” internet survey and all I could do was communicate our experience.

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Last month a friend referred a pool guy so I contacted him. His estimate wasn’t any less than the larger company that we were intending on using but we figured the referral would help insure that we would be taken care of. The owner never met us as we sent photos of the job through text messages and he arrived at a price and sent an e-mail. We agreed to the work and scheduled it.

The day before I was surprised that he said he was sending one of his guys and that it should be about an hour or 90 minutes. Again I was expecting to meet the owner and the guy I was referred to and so I was slightly disappointed. The guy he sent was here for hours and seemed to be wrestling with the job. I was never comfortable spending so much money over a thousand dollars before the pool opened and we could be sure it was working properly.

Well less than three weeks later another area of the pool filtration system is leaking and leaking heavily. It wasn’t doing this when we closed the pool. When I expressed my concern and my upset the owner response “we didn’t break it and I honored the quote even when my guy was there longer than the hour or so” Wow! I never accused him of “breaking” it but did state that it was working when it was closed. And the amount of time was never an issue until I originally asked how long it would take?

So in both stories, what happened? We had as set of expectations and they were not met, it didn’t go like we thought it should go. Then I say to myself? It will never be okay with me to go to a business and wait in an office and hear someone working there curse and use the “f” word. And if you are in business don’t say things about how it will be handled and then not deliver.

Now about the pool guy again my expectations were not met as I would never receive a referral from a friend in any business that I was in and not meet the customer myself. I just wouldn’t and it would not matter the size or dollar amount of the job.

All relationships are like that where we have to manage our expectations. A friend was telling me about a recent break up and as I was listening to her all I could think was that she had a certain amount of expectations that were not being met. Things didn’t go the way that she thought that they would and should go. She is a high achiever and big giver and extends herself a lot.

I think when you have high standards and when you give a lot and extend yourself a lot it is easy to be disappointed. It falls back to “that is not how I would have done it or handled it.”

So what should the pool guy have said? How about I am sorry you have a leak and let me take a look at it and see what it will require to fix it. Instead he was defensive and escalated the upset instead of diffusing it.

The longer you live the more you realize that lowering expectations is what you do for yourself to keep yourself happy. Whether it is a business or personal relationship we all have a certain degree of expectations. In business I always revert to “you vote with your dollar” we all work hard for our money and if a job isn’t being done the way that we think it should be then we can go elsewhere.

I had to go to our credit union recently and the girl who handled our business had to do several tasks for us. They all required paperwork from the credit union and she handled it well. I made sure I got her name and I ended our transactions by stating “I appreciate you.” In a world where customer service is on the decline I do my best to acknowledge people that do a good job.

You don’t experience 25 years with a partner in marriage without learning to manage your expectations. Sometimes they will be met sometimes they will be exceeded and yes there are times when they will fall short. Every once in a while I allow myself the opportunity to vent and blow a fuse on the things that I am not happy about. I think it is healthy. How could another person know how we think and feel about things unless we can share them? That means we have to be willing to take the good with the bad.

There are always deal breakers though when it is not just about managing our expectations but comes down to what we are willing to accept and what we are not willing to accept …

It is always nice when our expectations are met and even nicer when they are exceeded but sadly often our expectations will come up short. Managing our expectations goes a long way to maintaining our happiness …

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

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Free To Love
By Bernadette A. Moyer

free love

We are free to love …

Free to love as much and as many people, places and things as we like. I love so much. Love can flow freely and does not depend on any outsider’s action. Love can be one-sided. There are all kinds of love. The marital or relationship love, the friendship love, the parental love, the love of things we do like travel and the love of the arts, movies, music and more. We are free to love as much as we like, there is an endless buffet of opportunities to love.

My first real exposure to love, real love the kind that you give and give without any expectations came when I first became a mother. I knew then that I had never truly known real love before even though I was married for two years before my daughter arrived. It was the purest most selfless love where all you want is what is best for that child. Your giving knows no bounds.

Then many years later and now after being in a 25-year union with my husband I know the depth of love both in giving and in receiving. It is a mature love that developed and grew over decades. We know each other so well. You don’t spend 25 years living with someone without having a wide range of life experiences both good and bad. We have a passionate relationship and that translates to fights that were just as fierce as our expressions of love.

Our happy life depends on surrounding ourselves with as much love as possible. Surround yourself with people that you love and that love you right back. Surround yourself with things you love and go to places that you love. Grow love with your own goodness and giving. We are free to love. The same energy that goes into hating and hurting people can be used to love them.

waste love

You can love from a distance you can love anonymously. You can love without being loved in return.

Give your love away … it is freeing and generous and good and it costs us nothing.

We are free to love …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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Holes in Our Hearts

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Holes in Our Hearts
By Bernadette A. Moyer

love

Most all of us have them; a place in our heart that wasn’t filled or filled enough or a loss that came later in life that created a void and left a hole in our heart. It may be an easy to see void like the lack of a father or mother or of a love relationship that ended or one that is harder to identify but lives deep within.

The longest relationship we will ever have is with ourselves and that is why we must practice self-love.

We fill the holes and the voids in our hearts, sometimes we fill them with healthy good choices and other times with people and things that may not be the best for us. When we overeat, or drink heavily or self-medicate, we can look inward to see that we are trying to fill a void.

The drinking, overeating and drug use usually is the symptom of a greater void and loss. What causes us to have a hole in our hearts or a void? For many of us there will be a different answer. What didn’t we get in our childhood? Who didn’t love us or who loved us too much? We all have our reasons. What hurts came later that left us feeling that we are off or have an unmet need.

When it comes to parenting I have always believed that we parent by one of two choices either the example of the parenting we learned and received as a child or by the holes and voids left from our own parents that we don’t want to bestow upon our children. Most of us are aware of what is missing in our lives, the choices of what to fill those voids can help us to learn and to grow or they can hurt us and keep us from maturing.

Little girls first fall in love with their fathers and if they have a loving relationship with dad, they are much more likely to find loving relationships later in life. A little girl who was raised without their father often looks for love from men that are unavailable to her. Simply put if dad was absent and gone and a “zero” she grows up and finds what is familiar to her. A “zero” father figure often translates into a “zero” boyfriend, husband etc.

Other father figures can and do fill the holes left by an absent father but only if the child is open and willing and receptive. You can’t miss what you never had. Medical studies show that it takes 6-months to a year for a child to bond and connect to mom and dad. A child who never connected to a “mother” or “father” figure in infancy may feel a void but it will be for the figure and not necessarily for the birth parent that they never fully bonded with or knew. (Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman)

When we learn to put ourselves first, we can learn to fill our own voids and the holes in our hearts with acceptance and unconditional love. Our belief system may need to be adjusted or changed.

“Imagine living a whole new way of life … a life where you are free to be who you really are. You no longer rule your life according to what other people may think about you.” The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz

It takes maturity and some time and the willingness for introspection for us to know ourselves. It takes quiet and the willingness to look inward. When we understand who we are, what is right for us and can identify where our holes are then we can make the choice to fill our own voids with good choices.

Healthy choices would not include overeating or excessive drinking or doing drugs but allowing our soul to speak to us and help us to decipher what we are lacking from within. It is possible to heal from our holes in our hearts but first we have to be willing to identify what caused them and how do we want to fill them to be our best and happiest and whole self …

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