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

Two Chairs

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Two Chairs
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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When was the last time you really talked to someone? When was the last time you spoke from your heart? When was the last time you listened from your heart?

Anyone who has ever visited our home whether it was our beach house or our primary residence would find two rocking chairs on our front porch. We like the look and we think it says “welcome come sit and chat” but for us it also meant more than that.

My husband and I started our life together 25-years ago. We started by getting to know one another by sitting on two white chairs in a beachside bar/restaurant called The Red Pump located in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in Florida. At that time he was recently widowed and my husband had died 9 years earlier. We both had children from our deceased spouses and we were both aged 32. We had a lot to talk about.

We started our relationship by just talking and really listening. We shared our past history, we shared our heart breaks and we shared our dreams and our desire for what a happy future could like, we sat on those chairs for hours and hours. We sat there getting to know one another. I can’t remember much of last week but I can remember most all of those early long conversations.

For us two chairs represent taking the time to talk, taking the time to listen and above all else taking the time to get to know one another.

In a world that can be crazy busy and all consuming, we still believe that two chairs and the people that stop to sit in them and hold long heartfelt conversations, are two people that are choosing to spend time well spent and of immeasurable value.

Stop, sit and hold those heartfelt conversations … share … listen … it doesn’t have to be so complicated. The greatest gift we can ever give to another person is our time and our attention. The greatest gifts come from mutual sharing.

Here is to spending more time pausing for a nice long sit, genuine conversation and really talking and really listening and doing it all from the heart ….

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

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

The Lost Child

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The Lost Child
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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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
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Free To Love

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Free To Love
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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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.

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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
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

The Heart and Head Conflict of a Parent

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The Heart and Head Conflict of a Parent
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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My husband and I have often lead with our hearts, when in retrospect it might have been better to lead with our head. When it comes to raising children it can be a real challenge making decisions for our children when our heart is telling us one thing but our head is saying another.

It has been said that “bigger kids means bigger problems.” Our kids enjoyed a certain amount of success while under our care. When we made all the decisions they were all doing well and set for success. Each child looked and acted fit. Each child was encouraged to do their best and to lead with their own unique talents. We wanted them to be happy but we also wanted then to be successful in life. We knew that our job in being “in control” would end one day and they would transition from child to adult.

As I read through social media earlier today a friend wrote this statement:

“I feel that the toughest part about parenthood – once our kids are adults is that we lose control. We have no control any longer, like we did when they were under our watch as toddlers and teens. We lose control of the five W’s:
– Where they go/Where they live
– What they do
– Who they choose to be/Who’s attracted into their lives
– When we get to be together
– Why they want/do/pick/think/decide
We are forced to trust our babies to themselves, to others, and to the world … and that’s a LOT to ask of a parent. We hope we did our jobs okay when we did have control.

So now we want to, have to, and do … trust our precious beings to God and to the universe … and we pray for the best outcomes possible. While we sit here and watch. Out of control. Cheers to all of us parents. The most emotional, challenging — and rewarding — job on Earth.” S.S. 10/12/16

Only a seasoned parent with years and years of parenting under their belts could/would fully appreciate the quote above. Kids are so ready to call us “controlling” yet those “controls” often were what was necessary to avoid further hurts and conflicts.

As we become those “mature parents” with our own rich history in parenting, it doesn’t take much thought to think back to all the times we challenged our own parents as we also needed to transition from child to adult.

“A parents job is to give a kid what they need and not what they want.” Dr. R.

One of the hardest decisions any parent will make is in the letting go. We think we know what is best and even if we are right, they still need to learn and to grow and to see and experience it all for themselves. Even if we are “right” we don’t get to decide when our children are adults.

Prayers up for all the parents of adult children who are learning to let them go, and doing so with grace and love.

Prayers up for all the adult children that are exercising their adult status and making their own decisions.

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

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

5 Minutes with God

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5 Minutes with God
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Recently I read a blog about what the writer would say if they had 5 minutes alone and face-to-face with God. For several days I pondered this question. Funny thing for me, there wasn’t one thing that I could think of that I would say in those 5 minutes. There wasn’t one thing that I could think of to do or to say that I haven’t already said to God.

Not one single thing! I talk to God every single day, sometimes I tell him I am sorry and I ask for forgiveness, sometimes I ask if I am getting it right and doing His will. Other times I tell him I’m not getting this at all, please help me to understand. Many times, I thank Him for all my blessings!

My prayers aren’t that complicated either, same old tried and true, Our Father and plenty of Hail Mary’s. For me it doesn’t have to be so complicated. There is no question I have screwed up in my lifetime and I suspect that no one knows it better than God himself. Most of the time, I know that I am living true to God because I have been true to my own heart. A heart that I believe He gave to me. For most often I do get it right and I try hard as I can to make this gift of my life, count as much as it possibly can for the something good.

Another writer wrote about the meal they would have and all that they would do if they knew it was their last day here on earth. I didn’t have that “list” either since I already have the people I love closest to me and the ones who aren’t here anymore I have wished them well. I pretty much eat healthy and fresh and do the things that I enjoy. I have learned that this is it. This is my one life to be lived like it was our last day. There are no guarantees in tomorrow, so I take what I get today and try and make the best of it.

So if and when I get my 5 minutes alone with God, I’m pretty sure I know what I would say. It probably would go something like this, “Hi it’s me again. Sorry for all my screw ups, I tried and I’m still trying. I understand the lessons about this and that and I get it. As you know I’m still struggling with this one particular thing. Is this the time? The time that it is revealed to me, what I was supposed to learn and why it happened? And again I am sorry for the times I fell short and I truly appreciate all that you have given to me. And thank you for taking the time to see me.”

And in parting I would ask, just so I was clear “What will you have me do now? What do you want me to do next? Thanks again for seeing me, and for never forsaking me. Thank you God!”

Then I imagine that we would pray together, pray like we have so many times before. I have had many 5-minute sessions with God. I feel His presence in my life and I know that He sees me and loves me and it looking out for me. I know that I have been God blessed. And that doesn’t mean that everything has gone my way or that my life was easy. It actually means the opposite, I have struggled, I have hurt, I have been hurt and at times lost. Yet it was always God that took me back, God who embraced me, God who gave me the strength to carry on …

God is with me every single day, He lives in my heart. Where it might be nice to have that 5-minute face-to-face meeting with God, however, if by chance, we don’t, I know that I have already had it.

God be with you …

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

Regret

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Regret
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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One of my professors was famous for saying that “regret is the hardest pill to swallow.” That phrase has stayed with me for decades now and I do my very best to try and live a life that is free of regrets.

Yet most of us probably look back on a time when we may have made decisions that we later live to regret. Bold decisions made in youth and/or in haste seldom hold up over the test of time.

“Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.” Don Miguel Ruiz

We can’t change our past but we can learn from it and when possible we can make amends. To live a life without regrets is to live a life of peace.

No Regrets by Gary Allan (Songwriters: Jon Randall, Jamie Hanna and Gary Allan)
Well time and fate can’t be controlled
You play the hand that you’re dealt
And the dice that you rolled
And who am I to question God anyway

I remember so clearly way back in 1983 when I was leaving the gravesite where my first husband was just buried and I remember thinking; I would rather do and say something I may live to regret rather that regretting that I never did it or said it. I was so fortunate that when Randy died everything that needed to be said and done was so.

There is tremendous peace that comes from knowing we did and we said all that we could during any given life experience.

Simply doing our best is surely the best way to live without regrets!

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

New books! Another Way and Along The Way are a sold on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble