Another Year

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Another Year
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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My husband just celebrated his birthday a few days ago and in less than a month I will celebrate mine, God willing. And I truly mean “God willing” since not one of us knows when that actual date of ending life will arrive we just know that it is a foregone conclusion.

There are so many gifts that come with age; the first being wisdom. Wisdom that comes from years of living life and wisdom that comes from learning life lessons.

With each year we become more grateful not just grateful for what we have now but grateful for all that we endured and survived. My parents’ generation was famous for sayings like “youth is wasted on the young.” When you get older you can appreciate a statement like that one more and more.

We celebrated his birthday with a weekend chock full of events and activities and his children remembered him and that was all he needed, he was happy and indeed celebrated a happy birthday.

Another year becomes another chance to do and to see and to learn and to grow. Another year translates to endless possibilities and the magic that is yet to unfold.

Above all else we are just so thankful and so grateful and so truly appreciative, we are here, we are together and we share so much love …

Thank you God for this year and for the chance and the hopes that a new year can and will bring our way.

It just sounds so simple and yet so magnificent … another year … God willing!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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57 Things I Learned in My 57 Years

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

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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

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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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It’s Not Just a Ham Sandwich

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It’s Not Just a Ham Sandwich
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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It’s not just a ham sandwich, it is a memory, a memory that I share with my father. My father loved a good deli sandwich with freshly cut meats and cheeses. He has been gone from this world for more than a handful of years now. He left the home I lived in when I was just a child in the sixth grade when my parents divorced. As a teenager I visited him often.

He taught me how to make and eat the best ham sandwich and all these years later that ham sandwich brings me memories of him. It was a sandwich made on the freshest white bread with deli cut ham and white American cheese and sliced tomatoes with lettuce and mayonnaise and of course salt and pepper on the tomatoes. I remember summer tomatoes on this sandwich and I remember sitting side by side with him while we chatted and ate our sandwiches together.

Like all people my dad had a good side and a not so good side, he had a dark side but he could also be the most charming man. I could remember his temper or his darkest moments but I always chose to see the best in him. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t see the bad stuff; it doesn’t mean that I liked it but he was my father and the only father that I ever knew and loved. Much of his darkness was tied to his alcoholism, a disease that he managed to stay dry from for the last 30 or 40 years of his life.

I could focus on the negative, he did a lot of crappy things when he was married to my mother but just like that ham sandwich that I so enjoyed I would rather remember the good in him. He was a small town guy from a tiny town in Pennsylvania, he was Irish and Catholic. He was one of five children one brother died as a child at the age of 7 and another sister as a young woman from alcoholism. He entered the United States Army as a teenager and served two terms in Korea. He was injured in the service and honorably discharged with a purple heart. This injury caused him to have epileptic seizures.

Women loved him and boy did he love women! He married twice first my mother with whom he had five daughters and later his second wife that he had two more girls and finally a son. He was a carpenter by trade, built a few houses and worked in the engineering department of the same hospital where my daughter was born. Dad worked there for about 25 years before he retired.

His soul was that of an artist, he could draw and paint and build things, he worked with his hands, and dad taught me to love country music. He loved music by Johnny Cash and the Highwaymen.

So today for lunch I had the best ham sandwich…but it really was so much more than that … it was about my father and me, it was about loving and respecting him as my father. It was about knowing that he wasn’t a perfect man, he had challenges and he had struggles but he cared about the people in his life and he lived by a code. No one had to tell him when he screwed up because he already knew.

When you really love someone you love them imperfections and all, if I wanted to, I could make a case as to why he didn’t deserve my love, but that isn’t how I was built or who I am. Maybe I learned it from dad; if you want to be forgiven you must also be forgiving.

Thinking of you dad! May you be resting in eternal peace, I pray.

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

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Just Because …

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Just Because…
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Just because you know me
Doesn’t mean that you really, really know me
Just because you see me smile
Doesn’t mean that I am always, always happy

Just because you see me cry
Doesn’t mean that I am always, always sad
Just because you cut me
Doesn’t mean that I bleed, because of you

Just because I am a survivor
Doesn’t mean that I have not known weakness
Just because I love you
Doesn’t mean that I don’t see both, the good and the bad

Just because I am living
Doesn’t mean that I am not dying
Just because I am here today
Doesn’t mean that I couldn’t be gone tomorrow

Just because…

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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No Trust – No Relationship

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No Trust – No Relationship
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Think about it? You might tolerate someone that you don’t trust but you won’t be close to them. A lack of trust equals a lack of closeness and the ability to form truly close interpersonal relationships.

I know people that worked through their trust issues in marriages and in family relationships but it took time, it took maturity, it took forgiveness, it took ownership and most of all it took the ability and the desire to fix and to attempt to repair what was broken.

Because of all my writings I hear from parents around the world, parents who had adult child estrange themselves for whatever reasons and the number one take away when that adult child makes an attempt to come back is “guard your heart” and “I could never trust them again.”

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When we hurt others and when we are truly sorry most people will forgive us and if the relationship is important and meaningful, they may try to repair it. But when you have someone in your life that not only hurt you but shows no true sense of remorse, it is virtually impossible to have a relationship with them. You may decide to tolerate them but there is no true closeness and no real relationship.

Every single one of us has done something in our life that we regret and are sorry for and about, and if we want to be forgiven and to be acknowledged and accepted we must start by 1) owning what we did and 2) try to right any of our wrongs.

Sometimes it is worth the time and the effort to work on repairing and in other relationships it may just be healthier and better to let sleeping dogs lay. Some people just don’t deserve another chance. Some people do.

In my lifetime, I have forgiven everyone, everything and I didn’t do it for them or because I wanted to have a relationship with them, I did it for myself, I did it so I wasn’t stuck and burdened with that kind of garbage. I have also owned my stuff, what did I do wrong? What could I have done better? Sometimes ownership is all it takes.

My husband and I have been together for over 24 years now soon to be 25years, in that length of time we have hurt each other, we have done things to one another that required true forgiveness.

“It takes seconds to destroy what it takes years to build.” Lou Holtz

Forgiveness that was always followed by our truest sense of sorrow, sorrow over our hurts toward one another and our willingness to put our ego aside and humble ourselves enough to not only be sorry but willing to accept the consequences of our actions and work toward rebuilding those hurts.

Anyone in a long term relationship or marriage knows that inevitably we will hurt our partners either knowingly or unknowingly but the desire to work through it is greater than the need to be right. The greater goal and the greater good are always to get through it together and remember than there is no “I” in “we.”

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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What about Brandon?

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What about Brandon?
By Bernadette A Moyer

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Brandon was born into trauma with a birth mother who died just after he came into this world. He arrived 8-weeks pre-mature and with a twin sister. We met when he was 87 days old and along with his father and twin sister we immediately connected, soon after we would become family. I was happy to assume the role of “mother” and later “wife” to his father.

As a little boy he was kind, sweet and polite. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. In some ways he was easy, and yet he had some quirks. When he was a little boy he would literally shriek when it was time to get his hair cut. You would have thought that he was being tortured. It didn’t last. Later as an adult he would initiate his own timetable and keep up with his haircuts on his own.

There was never a child care center or a school when I wasn’t called at some point to come and get him because he was acting out in inappropriate ways. This was from age 3 all the way through high school and beyond.

When he was tested for “early detection for failure” he ranked average and above in intelligence and barely on the charts socially. He always suffered socially. As his mother I couldn’t see it. We easily got along. I found him easy to love. I accepted him as he was and encouraged him to succeed. Brandon always, always did whatever he wanted to do.

In elementary school he was retained, the decision was made to keep him together with his twin, he was not failing. This would be a decision that as his parents we would later regret. All through middle school he would achieve National Junior Honor Society and make the Gifted and Talented Art program. After he achieved honor society he would declare, “well I’m not doing that again, it was a lot of work” and he never again was an “honor student.” It would be his decision.

Throughout the years we would go through periods of calm bookended by one of his “odd behaviors” that would result in calls from his teachers. One time he pulled the fire alarm, he said he wanted to “make sure it worked.” Or something or someone in class would rub him the wrong way and he would have a melt-down, his melt-downs would show themselves in immature behaviors with dramatic language and tears. He would push things too far and then when he was faced with the consequences of his behaviors he would try to plead and say he was sorry. He was impulsive and he would act in immature ways. He knowingly or unknowingly caused a lot of stress in the family. There would be periods of time when he would seem to be okay and then another dramatic immature outburst. The outbursts were always when he wasn’t getting his way.

In elementary school he had a bad bike accident where he broke three bones. Many years later he disclosed that he saw something on an extreme bike show and wanted to try it and therefore it caused the accident. We thought it was a simple accident and were just so thankful he had his bike helmet on at the time.

His twin sister would come home and share with us his odd behaviors and melt downs at school or we would hear about them from his teachers and the school Principal. I connected him with a friend who was a drama teacher and he was in a play at one of the local theaters. His father was the driving steady force in helping him to achieve Eagle Scout.

In high school he became a Red-Cross certified life guard and also a kitchen aid and worked with me at a youth retreat house. He got along with most everyone except his twin sister who worked alongside of him. According to him, he never got along with his sister. He has some quirks seemed to be off in a world of his own and talked to himself incessantly. It wasn’t normal talk either but very dramatic talk although I could never make out what he was saying and when I questioned him he would dismiss me.

Before high school and after numerous phone calls from his teachers I pushed for him to be seen by a mental health doctor who after meeting with him declared; “he is a very likeable guy!” Well I already knew that and bit my tongue when I really wanted to say “could you dig a little deeper?” But I was not the biological mom and was sure I would be viewed as the problem.

It took a lot of support and coaching to get him to do anything tied to achievement. His demeanor was like that of Eeyore and he was slow in motion, everything was on Brandon’s time or Brandon’s way or you could expect a melt-down. I had suspected for years that he was on the autism spectrum with Asperberger’s he didn’t have many friends maybe one or two and no girlfriends. He is a healthy good looking guy and any girl that became interested in him lasted about a minute. Once he opened his mouth and said things that most people couldn’t relate to or showed zero interest in others, relationships never formed for him.

After high school he studied and passed the ASVAB and entered into the Navy. He lasted 5-weeks there before he had a melt-down and was sent home. I will never forget the day he was sworn in and how much I cried. I never thought this was the right place for him but was being a supportive mother. I wrote to him every single day. I will also never forget picking him up at the airport when the Navy released him, and how he ran right into my arms. He always ran right into my arms. (tears streaming now) When he was in pre-k they always had him at the front of the line at dismissal and with the teacher holding his hand and every day they would tell him not to run across the parking lot and yet everyday as soon as he saw me he would run to me. He was always so happy to see me and of course I was thrilled to see him too. Along with his teacher I would tell him not to run and yet he never listened.

He tried college a few times but never really seemed committed to making it work. It appeared to be something he was doing to “please” us and make us “proud” in his words. I would tell him over and over don’t do it for us, do it for you. He was floundering and really seemed to have no direction and no real passion. He said he wanted to be an “actor” but did nothing to make it happen. He is an artist and I believe is a very talented artist.

The longest stretch of success for him was working full time for over 3 and ½ years in a yogurt store at our local mall. He not only secured the job on his own but was very good at it right up until they closed their doors. A year ago he was working and he seemed happy and fine.

On the day that he lost his job, he posted disturbing video on social media and the police came to our house looking for him. When they found him they took him to a hospital and a psychiatrist would declare him “dramatic” and send him home to us within hours. That was in January and he wouldn’t have another episode until July. From July until October he literally spent between 2 and 3-months in the hospital and in a psych unit. The more “help” he has received the worse off he has been. Not only do they have him heavily medicated but in groups of therapy. He uses language like “I’m having a relapse.” He is not a drug addict or an alcoholic. He never once tried drugs and infrequently drank a beer. He is like a child and very trusting and vulnerable.

Several hospital stays would declare him “depressed” or “severe depression” yet this was not how he presented himself at home. At home he was happy, pleasant and easy to be around. He had a healthy appetite, went to the movies, to events, drew and painted interacted with our dogs, our neighbors his friend Eric and his father and me. Just like when he went to school, I never saw those out-bursts, he didn’t do that at home. I would hear about it, I believed it but I never witnessed it.

Every parent of an adult child has to let go at some point, you have to trust that you did all that you could and that ultimately it is their life. It is their life and therefore it is their choice.

Right now Brandon is back in the hospital and I am sad and angry. I don’t think that since they have been “helping” him that he has gotten better, he actually is more emotional, less stable, more dependent less independent. He lives in a locked down unit with mentally ill patients, I agree with the doctor yes, he is mentally ill but I also believe that the environment is making him sicker and sicker. The medication is not working as he cries more and has more melt downs, he is overly sensitive. Everything you say he turns into a dramatic episode for attention. He has been manipulating everyone.

The hospital and the doctor and social workers are enablers. First they say they don’t want to admit him and then he gets his way and they keep him for two and three weeks at a time. The last time he went in he posted a video on social media right from the admission waiting area and he was calm and seemed to enjoy posting what we was doing and that he was being admitted?

He is a talented artist reduced to painting bird houses and sitting around all day eating a poor and unhealthy hospital diet. Even a healthy person would be depressed in that environment. “Idle time is a devils workshop.”

The social workers in the hospital promised his housing, a group home, they tied him to social programs for money and for food assistance. They are making a fortune off his hospital stays and keeping him heavily medicated. He is worse off than he has ever been under their care and with their “help.”

Last week yet another social worker called me (this must be the 6th or 7th one) and she left me a phone message from a “crisis unit” and stated “he is enjoying himself and having a really good time here. Call me back to chat” she sounded like a high school cheerleader. I say to myself it must be me? How does a person in a “crisis unit” have a really good time and enjoy themselves?

What will happen to Brandon? Do they have the right diagnosis and the right prescription for success for him? Does he want to get better? What does he want? What is the end game?

I’ve talked with so many mental health care providers and read so much, the guy that made the most sense said “read about personality disorders” I really believe it’s a “personality disorder” he said. And yet today that is NOT what he is being treated for a personality disorder is NOT treated with medication but rather with therapy and requires a specialist for personality disorders.

A broken arm or leg would be so much easier, we could tell if it was healing and on the mend, we could see if what the doctor did was working. Sadly the care now being received will have no real marker for what success looks like. I know Brandon probably better than anyone, Brandon will get better if and when he wants to get better and Brandon’s life will look exactly like how and what Brandon is willing to accept for his life.

I never count him out though and am reminded of a summer at the beach. We were up at the boardwalk and he was off playing games. The game he played most had a prize of a $50 bill. I told him to stop wasting his money and only a fool parts with so much money playing those games. As I sat basking in the sun he showed back up and snapped a $50 bill in my face saying “say hello to a fool!”

He is nobody’s fool and if and when he is determined he will do exactly as he pleases just as he has always done. I just hope and pray that he is determined to get up and live.

Today I pray, I pray for Brandon … I miss him and I love him and I want all the best for him and I know that like he has always done, Brandon will continue to do as he alone chooses to do …

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