Living Learning Loving Losing

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Living Learning Loving Losing
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Living, learning, loving and losing, what else is there and what else really matters?

It seems like these four words could sum up life … and/or at least be a pretty good road map for a good and rich life.

We live and do the best we can with what we know, we learn or we die, learning keeps us alive and is the breath of life. Loving, what else really makes life worth living but loving, having the ability and the capacity to both give love and to receive love? And losing where so often it is in losing that we learn our biggest lessons. The lessons that both mold us and stay with us.

Living, learning, loving and losing might also be periods of our life or seasons of life. The periods and seasons that can and may overlap too.

So I guess my questions to you my readers are what are you living for, what is defining your life right now?

And what are you learning? What is adding to your growth and development and bringing the necessary oxygen to your life?

Loving probably the greatest gift of them all, what are you loving? Who are you loving and what and who is loving you?

Losing is probably the one that we try and run from the most but the truth is losing is about living, learning and loving and making room for what is about to come next …

Each experience comes down to, what will we do with it? How will we perceive it? Will we see it for what it is or try and make more or less of it? In the end will we take and appreciate the gifts and leave the rest behind?

Happy living, learning, loving and losing, as each affords us new and different life experience, challenges and riches.

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

Left Behind

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Left Behind
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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No one wants to be that person, the one who gets left behind. Sooner or later we all have that experience and it never feels good. Whether we are left by choice, by divorce or by death, being left behind is hard and it is a scary feeling.

We build our lives with others, we have friends, we have families and we have our pets. When they leave and we are left behind we feel that void. That special place they once held now is an open space.

Our bichon Chipper is grieving his sister Happy who passed over just a few weeks ago. We have never heard such deep intense cries from him in all our seven years with him.

Every time when of our children grew up and left home, we almost immediately replaced them with a furry baby. Each dog has held our heart much like our young children once did, today we grieve Happy. It drives home again, that feeling of being left.

Yet with Happy is was a soft pain and loss because we have so many happy memories with her. She was just so easy to care for and to love. It was natural.

“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.” – Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

From day one my husband Brian and I acknowledged that one of us would be “widowed” again, one of us would know that feeling again … that feeling of being left behind. We do everything in our power to honor all the time that we share together by living our best life and living it as centered and honest as possible.

So many people live within us… we remember … we grieve… we rejoice …we are better for having known them and loved them …

Each of us finds that day when we move past the loss … past the grief … and truly celebrate what once was and what was once shared. We learn once again that life is for the living and that we must live it!

“If you focus on what you left behind, you will never see what lies ahead.” – Gusteau, Ratatouille

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

Does Not Come With Instructions

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Does Not Come With Instructions
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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None of our relationships come with “instructions” we just wing it. We live and we learn. Some things work with some people and somethings don’t. Just like with our children each child grows and develops differently. Every child has different needs and different personalities.

What I have learned with most people is that the ones who are most happy are also the same ones that are most appreciative and thankful. It doesn’t matter how much or how little they have, or how much or little they have been given, they appreciate it all, and are grateful and therefore happy.

The unhappy among us are also the ones who never appreciate anything or anyone and have a sense of entitlement. How can you be happy? When you feel like the world owes you? When your focus is on what you didn’t get or don’t have rather than what you do have and what was given to you?

When we learn to appreciate everything even the most difficult situations, even the most painful loses and turn them around to see the lessons learned we can move from hurt, pain and loss to an attitude of gratitude for having experienced them. We are alive, we feel, we learn and we live.

And if our relationships came with “instructions” would we read them? Even want them? Today, as I write this, I look out my window to green grass, sunshine, bunny rabbits running around and little birds that are chirping. How could I not be thankful and appreciative and therefore happy to be alive.

There isn’t a little book of “instructions” we live and we learn … and our life is truly happier when we learn to appreciate it all.

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

20 Things I Learned From 20 Years of Marriage

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20 Things I Learned From 20 Years of Marriage
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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1) Commitment is key
2) With the right partner all things are possible
3) Most things aren’t worth arguing over
4) Loyalty matters
5) Your partner must feel that they come first
6) Falling in and out of love to some degree is normal
7) Always choose love and it is a choice
8) Kids and money really are the stressors
9) Not every day is going to go your way and that is okay
10) Check in multiple times during the day
11) Choose wisely, make big decisions together
12) There is a time to come together and a time to give each other space
13) Set goals and work together to achieve them
14) Always make the time for fun and laughter
15) Do as many things together as you both enjoy
16) Share a common vision, gratitude and willingness to learn and grow
17) Support each other’s dreams and goals, show up and be present
18) Compliment and appreciate each other frequently
19) Make love, lots and lots of love
20) Talk to one another and really listen and hear one another

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

If You Break It

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If You Break It
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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How many times have we read a sign in a store that reads, “If you break it, you bought it” I think the same can be said for our relationships.

Each and every single day I hear from people who are suffering a broken relationship. Where my general rule of thumb is that it takes two, it takes two people to create a relationship and it takes two people for a relationship to succeed and/or fail.

But what about the person who single-handedly decides a relationship is over? In my view the person who ends it without input or agreement from the other side, now fully owns the outcome. If they can live with the outcome and their decision so be it, but if not, then they are the ones tasked with making the effort to re-build it. They broke it, they bought it, and they own it.

One of the things we learn in visiting a ”china shop” is to be careful, and why? Because broken china can seldom be repaired to its former condition before the breakage, broken china is often replaced with new china.

The relationships that are long term and that we care about will test us, we grow together or we grow apart. Often a long term relationship is based on love but also includes acceptance and tolerance. A relationship that breaks down many times comes down to what we are willing to accept and tolerate.

Not every single person is supposed to remain in our lives; some come and go and some stay with us. In family we want it to work out and many times we will tolerate and accept things from family that we would never tolerate and accept in others. Some families remain close some just don’t.

A few days ago our son came home from work and shared with me that he ran into his former fourth grade teacher. His teacher asked him about his twin sister since he had both of them in his class and knew them well. Our son told him that they aren’t close and really have no real relationship. He is a twin and as the mother that raised them both it makes me sad. We always thought it was so special that they were twins and had each other like a built in best friend. But what surprised me most was his teachers answer. He said, “My sister and I never got along either.”

I have a hard time believing that families that suffer with estrangement are ever truly happy and healthy even for those that made the decision to estrange. How could you NOT think about “mom” on Mother’s Day or “dad” on Father’s Day or on their birthdays or on holidays?

Same goes for the parents, I don’t know of any mothers or fathers who don’t think about their children on their birthdays and on holidays. I don’t think it could be humanly possible to NOT remember the day that you brought a life, another living person into the world. This fact alone makes it hard to accept estrangement as any “norm” or normal behavior.

This July I will have been estranged from my oldest daughter for nineteen years. In my view she was young and foolish. She made decisions that were life altering and affected many others in hurtful and negative ways. She was just a kid and just shy of the age of eighteen. What makes it baffling isn’t what she did at eighteen but all that she has continued to do to keep it going. She is committed to her anger and to her narrative a narrative that many immature teens go through but most grow up and grow away from.

Like my many followers, friends and sisters and brothers who struggle with and suffer in estrangement, it is like any loss and grief with the many stages from denial to acceptance. I don’t believe that there is any stage that you are over it or 100% healed from it nor do I believe that estrangement has any winners. To deny your parents is to deny facets of your own life and who you are and what made you and where you come from. This is to live a lie.

My husband was the first to bring that line to my attention “they are living a lie” think about that? If you deny your parents and your roots, what does that say about the life that you are leading? And what stories now go along with that lie to justify living in such an abnormal way?

Things change. I suffered through shock and my heart was shattered when my child left home. I was completely broken. I never saw it coming. I didn’t think I could go on. I honestly believed I gave her everything any child could want or need. I beat myself up. I would have done anything for a different outcome.

Then I started to heal. I saw how easily I was to manipulate after her dad died. I became stronger. I went to work for several nonprofits that supported kids, many that were truly disadvantaged kids. I began to see clearly just how much I had spoiled my child.

But I still and for more than a decade I held out hope, I thought for sure she would mature, grow up and life would show her just how much she had. When she had her first child I was devastated not to be included but I also thought great now she will see what it means to have a child, to raise a child to be a mother. Sadly that didn’t happen.

Life is long life is challenging and life is filled with many decisions. I have always tried to live my life with the thought that yes I will stumble, I may fail and I may fall but I do my best to try not to do things that I can’t come back from or recover from.

And I do believe that if you break it, you bought it and you now own it …

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Broken china may not ever be able to come back together in its original form but many beautiful mosaic pieces have been made from the broken pieces. Beautiful jewelry and all kinds of beautiful newly created artworks can come back together and create something truly beautiful, different and unique from what was once broken and shattered.

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

Pay Attention

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Pay Attention
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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So often we miss the clues because we just aren’t paying attention. When we tune in we learn and we see and our communications are clearer and easier.

Everything living and alive communicates with us, nature talks to us and our pets and animals speak to us and yes humans speak both verbally and nonverbally. Our actions and what we do say so much more about us than our words do.

Last week my dog Happy came into my office, she gave me a lengthy stare just before climbing up on an over-sized chair in my office. She continued to stare at me as she peed on that chair. Her urine was rusty brown. She was telling me that she wasn’t well. A trip to the vet would confirm that she needed surgery again to have stones removed. I could have easily missed her “speak” to me. But I was engaged with her and I was paying attention.

Much is revealed to us when we do pay attention. So much communication happens not by what we say but by what we do what we see and what we witness.

Our dogs are the best teachers of non-verbal communications and some of their communications that would easily be dismissed if we didn’t pay attention to them. A bark and a scratch on the backdoor aren’t just a bark and a scratch but rather a communication that she needs to go out. A bark in the kitchen by the water bowl says so clearly. “The water bowl is empty.” And a scratch and a whine mid-kitchen say, “I want a treat or more to eat.”

“I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our paths for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.” Maria Gibbs

When we pay attention to our dogs, our pets, to people and to all living things they communicate so clearly with us. All living things communicate with us if we are open and receptive to hearing and understanding them.

Pay attention … the rewards are amazing …

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

The Cupcake Kids

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The Cupcake Kids
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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How did we ever survive our youth and young adult years without “safe zones” and all the support of so many mental health care providers and college professors encouraging us to be weak and even weaker? Wow!

Youth and young adults that are rewarded by being upset and sad at the outcome of our Presidential election and to ease the blow how about a cup of cocoa or some playdough and a “cry in” and “hug out?”

What part about babying these young people prepares them for real life experiences? Real losses like when your dad dies or you lose your job or an innocent accident or any other outcome that you find to go against how you believe it should be?

The reason I take offense to “safe zones” is because it is artificial and not real life. Life can be a pretty unsafe place. Wouldn’t a better lesson be how to survive and even thrive in the world as the world is and work toward the changes that you want to see?

If the election results didn’t go the way that you think they should have gone, wouldn’t a better use of your time be to rally and to involve yourself more in the political process and work harder for the cause?

When I was young we were encouraged to write to our government officials and to communicate our case and our concerns in a succinct and polite manner. I remember writing to several political leaders throughout the years beginning when I was in middle school. And every single time I received a response.

Where I believe in everyone’s right to protest, what is the end game? What do they expect the outcome to be? How does blocking the streets from foot traffic and shoppers on Black Friday on the Magnificent Mile do anything to save lives on the south side of Chicago streets or any other inner city streets for that matter?

I think back where was my “safe space” when I was in the sixth grade and my parents divorced? Or when I was 23 and widowed with a 2-year old daughter?

There are no safe spaces for life altering events. How about teaching our young people that out of the struggle we so often find a deeper sense of enlightenment? My own personal loses taught me much, they taught me about life and about value and about being a strong woman and a survivor.

We are all trying to survive with what we have and what we know, creating artificial safe spaces inhibits growth and development. I think back about my grandparents who survived the great depressions and being immigrants from Italy, they were far too busy working and raising their seven children to fawn over “safe spaces” they had an old-fashioned work ethic that cured most things that ailed them. Keeping busy and being productive was their way of living life.

I can’t imagine either one of my grandparents ever supporting the new “cupcake kids” and encouraging weakness. They would have told them that life isn’t always going to go your way but accepting defeat with your heads held high builds character. And when you do get your way, you truly appreciate it all the more because you know first-hand what it feels like to be defeated.

Winning may feel good but in losing we are afforded an opportunity to go deeper to reflect and to think and to learn. We shouldn’t be getting in the way of the “cupcake kids” experiencing all that life offers with the good and the bad and the happy and the sad. In the end avoiding the lessons that real life affords us only does us a greater disservice.

Sure we all want the “happy ever after” and to feel “safe” but the reality is that we create our own happiness or lack of it and “safety” isn’t measured by any artificial means that someone else creates but rather how we handle and how we manage our life and living in it as it unfolds in front of us …

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