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

Who Cares

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Who Cares
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Seldom does a day go by when my husband and I see something or hear about something and our united response is “nobody cares” or “people just don’t care anymore.” It is often in reference to old fashioned values like respect or concern.

We can’t begin to imagine raising kids in today’s climate. Where the political anger has spilled over into all areas of life and a little boy can “demand” that the Vice President of the United States must apologize for accidentally hitting him when he raised his arm.

Almost daily we witness behaviors that stun and even shock us. We see people that openly and willingly do things to others or say things about others that they would never want done to themselves and they do it for the entire world to see.

I see grandparents openly denigrate and disrespect political figures. This is the “norm” and the behaviors that many young people are subject to and witness and are sure to model later in life.

My husband and I also talk about how lucky we are to have each other and to care for one another. It is team work and based on love and respect and it wasn’t always that way either. We learned often through trial and error how to care for one another. We learned that we are better together than apart. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t experienced our share of issues either. We have.

The bottom line is that when you have found someone that cares; cares about you and cares about all the things and the people and the places that you care about that it is special and to be cherished.

At a time when our culture seems so self-absorbed … care and care often and see just how much goodness comes into your life as a result and watch who then comes forward and cares about you.

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

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Dear Moms …

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We are about to celebrate yet another Mother’s Day. For some of us our children will be here to celebrate with us. And for some of us our children will not be. Our adult children make that decision. Each year my adult son takes me out to lunch and a movie to celebrate Mother’s Day. It has become our tradition. Half the fun for me is witnessing his excitement in planning it and making it happen.

My husband always treats me special on Mother’s Day. I think the thought that he could have been left alone to raise newborn infant twins when his first wife unexpectedly died was terrifying for him. He has always appreciated me for stepping up and assuming the mother role and raising his twin children with him. Today we can’t imagine our lives any other way.

My oldest and I were extremely close when she was coming up; so many people thought we had the “ideal” mother – daughter relationship. I have the most vivid memories of her as a toddler and later as a young teenager. She was strikingly beautiful and just as intelligent. Often I sat in amazement at her spunk and spirit. My memories are mine and no one can take them away from me.

For some families the kids will come home to see mom and celebrate together with family. Some will travel to the cemetery and lay flowers in remembrance.

Today there are statistics that show that 1 in every 5 families has an estranged family member, many are the adult children who have mothers that will grieve their loss and the void left behind on Mother’s Day. Through the years and because of my writings I have heard from thousands and thousands of mom’s who suffer a broken heart because “John” or “Jane” decided that mom was just not worthy of any relationship. It is hard not to be angry when I hear such hurtful stories. It seems that many adult children have no love and no respect for the very person that gave them life.

But for all of us mom’s we can share in the knowledge that we were brave and filled with faith and trust in just becoming a mother. There is no greater task in life than the awesome responsibility of bringing another life into the world and then the depth of commitment that it takes to raise one until adulthood. My heart was never so filled with pure joy and genuine love as the day that I first became a mother.

Often we beat ourselves up or second guess ourselves when the truth is that for most all of us we did the best we could with what we had and what we knew at that time. Know that you did the best that you could have with what you had and what you knew at that time. Our parents were not perfect and neither are we nor are our adult children. Flowers, cards and gifts are often a big part of the Mother’s Day celebration.

If you are on the receiving end of acknowledgement this Mother’s Day know that giving is for the giver and although we may be the receiver, relish in knowing that your child thought of you and did so in a way that lets you know that he/she is capable of love and of giving.

If you are feeling the pain and the loss of an adult child who does not acknowledge you or appreciate you, just know that you are not alone. Allow yourself a few minutes alone to grieve it, let it out. Cry it out, shout it out, write it out, whatever it takes just release the grief so that you are freer and can cleanse some of the loss and heartache away. Know that it is normal to feel the grief and that you will always have a soft spot for your child no matter what they have said and done. Say a prayer for them and for yourself.

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Then do your best to pick yourself up and treat yourself with kindness and care. Whether you are acknowledged or not you deserve to be appreciated. Appreciate yourself! Take a walk or a long hot bubble bath. Buy your own flowers or candy. Go to lunch or dinner with a friend. Buy a new book and get lost in a story, treat yourself to a movie. Buy a new dress or new shoes. Take a day trip. Go to an event. Do something outwardly that shows that you are important and that you have value. You do have value, believe it!

We give others too much power over us; we allow their judgement to take center stage. The only person who truly knows you and your heart is you. Try not to get caught up in the negativity that your child has placed upon you. Estrangement is not an act of love or of kindness nor does it come from a caring person. We are not our children. We are not responsible for any of their adult decisions.

We gave them life. We gave them the ultimate gift. Celebrate! You deserve to be happy and you deserve to have peace and love. There are always people that can and will love you. Love yourself. Treat yourself well.

Always remember that you gave your child the greatest gift ever when you gave them life and you raised them, you deserve to be celebrated. If not celebrated by them then with others who can appreciate you and celebrate from within yourself.

Happy Mother’s Day with much love and peace,

Bernadette

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

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Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For by Renate Dundys-Marello

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Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For
by Renate Dundys-Marello

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(Every once in a while an author speaks to me in a way that I felt I could have written these words myself. This piece by Renate had that impact on me and with her permission I am reposting here on my site. Thanks Renate for sharing! – Bernadette A. Moyer)

In Renate’s words …

During the early days of estrangement you hope and dream that it had never happened. This is the denial stage when you still have the misguided notion that it is all a bad dream and you will just wake up one day and it will be back to family life as usual. That whatever they were upset about will be dealt with and you just go back to being a normal family; a family that goes through difficult times but manages to stick together and work things out. Blood is thicker than water and all those kinds of messages run through your mind as you struggle with the hardship of being shunned.

Then you get to the stage where the estrangement has been going on for long enough that you accept that it is real. Your child really has done this thing called estrangement. They have also cut ties with those members of the family that do not agree with them. You realize that this is a power struggle and they want above all else to be “right”. They drop anyone who suggests that compromise might be in order.

During this stage you start to ask all the harrowing “why” questions, that unfortunately resolve nothing. But you cling to hope. It is a desperate kind of hope.

Your hopes change to wishing for your estranging adult child to recognize the damage they are causing to the family and that they will somehow come to their senses and do what is necessary for the family to reconcile. You have these hopes that it is a “personal growth phase” they are going through and when they “grow up” they will realize how silly their behavior is. You hope that this Mother’s Day or this Christmas or this Birthday everything will be resolved. You send letters and then hope they will reply or hope they will open the door to communication.

During this stage you place all your hopes on the adult child that has estranged. You hope their hearts will soften, you hope they will care enough to make amends. You hope they will change.

And as you hope for change; and have your hopes demolished day in and day out by the continuing silence you come to realize that this hope is slowly destroying you. This hope causes you pain every morning and every evening when your hopes are once again unfulfilled. This hope keeps you stuck in wistful thinking and magical make believing. This hope takes power out of your hands and places that power into the hands of the very person(s) causing you to suffer.

This stage, I fear, was the longest and also the hardest part of the grieving journey for me. It kept me stuck in the past. It kept me repeating useless questions like:
• What made her turn out to be the kind of person who can do this?
• Why doesn’t she see that this is not the way to communicate and work things out?
• Why won’t she respond to my letters and my apologies?
• What did I do that was so horrible that deserves this kind of punishment?

Until finally I woke up one day and realized I was losing myself in useless hope. I was giving up my own power by placing all the hope for healing into the hands of the very person who caused the wound in the first place.

That was when I realized I had to change the direction of my hopefulness.

Instead of placing my hope outside myself and giving power to the estranger, I had to place hopefulness on my own shoulders and upon the actions I could take to regain peace in my life.

To live means to hope, but the hope needs to be about what I need and what I want to have a better life. That meant I had to become hopeful that I could and would survive this traumatic event. I had to build and then believe in the hope that regardless what my estranging daughter did or did not do I could create a meaningful life.

• I started to hope that I could heal
• I started to hope that I could create a different life than I expected but a good one none the less
• I started to hope that I could find joy and happiness again
• I started to hope that I could live an exciting and enthusiastic life even though…..
• I started to hope for new and rewarding friendships
• I started to hope that a future without what I had expected can still be good.

And as I started to place my hopes in what I could do for myself, I was able to start the long journey toward healing, toward reclaiming the right of every human, a full and rewarding life here and now in the present.

Hope placed in my abilities to change and transform was essential for me to recognize that just because the life that I dreamed of did not turn out, I still had dreams to pursue and challenges to be met and living to do.

And best of all, I started to realize that I deserved this!

Because I am worth it!

Renate Dundys Marrello
2014 – 04 – 19

Google Renate and read many more of her blogs and writings! or http://lifeisajourneyreflections.blogspot.ca/

Photo credits – as marked or unknown

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

The Teller of the Story

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The Teller of the Story
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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All writers are tellers of stories. Recently a friend shared her “immigrant book” where she writes and tells about family stories that originated in Italy. Her family history and roots are important to her and she writes about them and wants to share them.

Miranda Lambert has a new song called “The Keeper of the Flame” the lyrics;

I’m the keeper of the flame
The teller of the story
Keeper of the flame
For the ones that came before me

I think that is all that we have and can truly value; our stories. I also think that is why relationships that are broken are so hard to accept because we want to share our story and we want to keep the flame going.

In 1998 my oldest daughter estranged and I am holding so many stories that I want to share with her. Funny little stories that might not mean much to most people but they are part of our history. I want to tell her about the first time she tried broccoli. She was just two years old and she took a bite while in our small Texas kitchen. She walked from one room to another chewing on it and chewing on it and chewing on it and then returned to me in our kitchen and spit it out in my hand. She tried it and really gave it a good try but just didn’t like it!

I want to tell her about how she took her Beta fish to show and tell in kindergarten. How much spunk and attitude she showed as a little girl when someone didn’t say her name correctly. And so many other little stories … stories that are lost forever if not shared and told.

Today is the anniversary of my husband late wife’s death. It was 25 years ago. She left him with pre-mature infant twins a son and a daughter. He is the “keeper of the flame” as he alone has so many little stories about their very first few days and weeks of life. How they were as infants and how he was as a first time new father.

We all share our stories partly to connect and in part to keep the story alive and remembered. Our stories are important to us as they chronicle our lives. I think most parents have vivid recall of the early years of their children’s lives. The stories help to show us how unique and special they are and we are and our stories validate our life.

When we are the witness of the life of another person we automatically become “the teller of the story” and the “keeper of the flame” for them, we are part of their story and history. Broken relationships don’t allow for the sharing and telling of the story.

When we fail to share the flame becomes much harder to keep alive and keep burning.

In history where would we be without story tellers? And without those that were willing to write about them and document them and keep them alive and burning for the next generation?

Stories should be shared as they teach us about life about ourselves and about one another.

And because Miranda Lambert says it so well, more lyrics from her song Keeper of the Flame;

I’m walking in their footsteps
I’m singing their old songs
Somebody blazed this trail
I’m treadin’ on
I’m bent, but I’m not broken
I’m stronger than I feel
I’m made of flesh and bone
Not made of steel

When I’m drowning
When I’m fighting
When I’m screaming
When I’m hiding
When I’m losing
When I’m winning
I go back to
The beginning

Keeper of the flame
The teller of the story

Share your stories, tell your stories, write your stories because in the end that is all we really have … the stories are important and so are you and all the people in them!

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

When the Road Runs Out

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When the Road Runs Out
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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There is nothing like aging to fully comprehend how much road you have already run and that the road is not without an ending. There is a time when the road runs out for each and every one of us. We are born and we will die. It is a given that our life is not infinite but rather has a finite ending.

The older we become the more there is in the rear view mirror. And sadly the less there is up ahead the road that we are on. I’m in a really good place. Less stress and more love are the saving graces in my life today. It all points toward choices.

I owe so much to my husband Brian. He has been my rock and a steady loving partner for 25 years now. Without him, I would never have known true love and the importance of a long lasting committed marriage. I did not witness this growing up, he did. We have had our hurdles. Raising kids was probably the biggest challenge and due to our unique situation we did everything out of order. We had kids, bought the house and then got married. All three kids presented unique challenges and we are lucky to have survived them intact and stronger than ever.

What we are born into and what we experience in our formative years matters. Each child would know the loss of a birth parent. My husband and I would learn early what it meant to have children with a spouse who would never know them and die so young. Their road was cut short. Our lessons taught us to appreciate everyone and everything even more because you never know when you will run out of road.

It seems that it is important to us to have our affairs in order. We both know of each other’s final wishes. We have made peace with things that happened in our lives we accepted the outcomes.

As you travel the road of life, maturing and aging you know longer care about what other people are doing or what they say or think about you because you know yourself better than anyone else. You know that life is precious and that you want to spend it with the people that love you and bring out the best in you. You unhook yourself from people and from situations that are not healthy. You just don’t want to waste your time.

We are 57 years old and traveled on the road for 32 years before we began traveling the road together. Having a life partner that you get along with and genuinely love makes the road so much easier to maneuver. We can’t imagine it any other way.

We look back and we see that a tremendous amount of road has been covered. We have had so many life experiences, so many blessings and in every range of emotions. It has truly been rich.

We look forward and we see the road ahead that contains more travels and more love, God willing. I still make lists of the things we want to do and to achieve. And yes even purchases we still wish to make.

I began my road as an O’Connell girl and although that is where I started from, I could not be more pleased and proud of my road and all that I have become. I would hope that everyone feels that way. And that if you don’t then you should think about making a change and possibly choose another road.

They say that when you are young you read about who just got married and when you get older you read about who died. Our focus shifts, we become so much more aware of both our beginnings and our ending.

On this date 6 years ago, my mother ran out of road when her life unexpectedly ended. Her affairs were not in order. I pray that she has peace and I look forward to the day when we meet up again.

We all know that eventually in this lifetime, we will run out of road … and that is exactly why it is so important to do all the things that make you happy and spend your time with people that add joy to your life …

An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand

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