If You Break It

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If You Break It
By Bernadette A. Moyer

broken-china

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 …

bracelet

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
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You Might Not Be Rewarded

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You Might Not Be Rewarded
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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Do it for yourself! Do the right things and do them for yourself! Sounds simple, right?

How often do we do things and just expect to be rewarded? Then when we aren’t? Maybe the real rewards have nothing to do with what lives outside but rather what lives within us?

Love to love. Just for the sake of loving.

Give for giving. Just for the sake of giving.

Do for doing. Just for the sake of doing.

Work for working. Just for the sake of working.

Contribute for contributing. Just for the sake of contributing.

And the list goes on …

Do what is right and do it for you …

Let the only reward that you concern yourself with come from within and don’t think about rewards that may or may not ever come from outside of you.

Disappointment is rooted in expectations that are not met. The only disappointments we should ever entertain are the ones that we hold for ourselves, they become the meter for our soul, our character and they define us.

When we do the right things and when we do them for the right reason … we achieve peace and love from within.

When we have love and peace from within we have already achieved our greatest God given rewards.

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

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After The Hope is Gone So Often Goes The Love

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After The Hope is Gone So Often Goes The Love
By Bernadette A. Moyer

brokenhearts

One of my colleagues Renate Dundys-Marrello wrote a piece about losing hope after estrangement takes place. How it happens that by clinging onto hope we only continue to hurt ourselves. Her article chronicled the stage when we finally come to acceptance and are ready to stop hoping. For days I thought about the journey that she has walked and the one that we have shared and shared with far too many mothers and fathers.

Think about a break up? The relationship has ended and you just can’t and won’t accept it. You keep hoping for another outcome yet day after day, month after month and year after year it never happens.

Eventually you have to let go and even when it is your child, your own flesh and blood you have to accept it, that it is over and that no amount of hoping will change the outcome. And when you do and not long after you finally give up hope you will lose your ability to love that person the same way again. The heart that you once had for them has changed, maybe one day you can grow a new heart but after the hope leaves and we accept the loss our hearts are forever changed.

It happens in just about every relationship that has ended so why would we think that it wouldn’t happen to us after so much time without any relationship with our own adult child?

Sadly we will lose that loving feeling. We have learned how to live without them and they in turn have learned how to live their lives without including us. Life goes on… it’s a different life. It is a life as a parent that we never envisioned but it now belongs to us, like it or not.

I think the longer estrangement takes root the less likely for any true and meaningful relationship. It would take a miracle, an awful lot of effort, hard work and a true desire for reconciliation and determination to face all facets of it; the good, the bad and the ugly.

Love can be so fragile; it can easily be destroyed and worn away. That is why when we find love we need to cherish it and protect it. We also need to understand that we are only one side of any relationship and if the other side declares that the relationship and that we are unworthy we need to accept it. Hard as that may be at times; the letting go and letting go in love is the ultimate act of grace.

What are we longing for? I don’t believe that any parent that has raised and invested in their children is ever going to easily accept estrangement. For those of us who were present and actually did the work it just feels so wrong. Yet for many of us estrangement forces us to live in a way that we never believed could and would happen.

lovelost

Like the quote above, we don’t miss what we have already had and shared what we do miss is the future and the possibilities that will never be realized. There is nothing harder than surviving a broken heart and there is no greater loss than to have lost a child.

Tin Man by Miranda Lambert
Lyrics by songwriters Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Jon Randall

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
You don’t know how lucky you are
You shouldn’t spend your whole life wishin
For something bound to fall apart
Every time you’re feeling empty
Better thank your lucky stars
If you ever felt one breaking
You’d never want a heart

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
You don’t know how lucky you are
I’ve been on the road that you’re on
It didn’t get me very far
You ain’t missing nothing
‘Cause love is so damn hard
Take it from me darling
You don’t want a heart

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
I’m glad we talked this out
You can take mine if you want it
It’s in pieces now
By the way there Mr. Tin Man
If you don’t mind the scars
You give me your armor
And you can have my heart

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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The Traveling Blueberry Pie

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The Traveling Blueberry Pie, Thanks Café Hon!
By Bernadette A. Moyer

blueberry pie

I won! I won! I won a blueberry pie from Café Hon. Denise Whiting (the owner) was so excited when she called to tell me. It was a Facebook contest and I was the lucky “like” number to win it.

Café’ Hon is located in Baltimore City and in one of my favorite city neighborhoods Hampden. There is a real sense of community there and the houses remind me of the row houses from where I grew up In Allentown, Pennsylvania. There are lots of brick houses with large front porches. It is a community where residents walk to school to their places of worship to the grocery stores and to restaurants and small boutique businesses.

At Christmastime people from all over flock to 36th Street to view the entire street of beautifully well-lit decorated houses. The shops in the area are typically owned by individual shopkeepers, truly small unique retail and restaurants with their own unique offerings. There is a “Hon” Festival (it’s a Baltimore thing) that takes place every summer. Remember mom’s beehive hairdo, lots of that and more …

Anyway back to the pie. It was Lent and I was failing miserable at keeping with my giving up sweets and then comes this pie. So what to do with it? At first I thought about donating it to a shelter but it seemed kind of rude not to go get it and I hadn’t been in the area for a while so I wanted to revisit it. I thought about having lunch there to show my appreciation but I was alone and then thought I will wait and return with my husband. We have eaten there in the past and it was always good home style food.

Many years ago when I was a Realtor I had two neighboring properties with multi-family units inside listed and it was nice to see they had been renovated. And nice to see how clean all the streets were.

I picked up the pie myself and it was beautifully wrapped and waiting for me with my name on it. The restaurant was as welcoming and charming as I remembered. You can’t miss it as it has a big pink flamingo just outside. My husband likes their meatloaf platter and I love the French fries with gravy and the crab soup. If you are interested check them out Café Hon at 1002W. 36th Street Baltimore Maryland 21211 or by phone 410 243-1230 and website cafehon.com

So now what to do with this pie …

I decided to stop at the store and pick up some to-go containers as I was going to cut it up and share it with as many people as I could. The next day I was having lunch with a Priest friend to celebrate his 45th birthday and of course I showed up with his slice of blueberry pie. Then I dropped off a slice for an elderly female friend who doesn’t get out much and lives in a high rise. I sent my husband to work with a slice for himself and an extra piece to give to a favorite co-worker. Our son had one or two pieces and I enjoyed a slice myself. So the pie went to several locations and was enjoyed by many. It truly was a traveling pie!

Thanks Denise Whiting and Café Hon! We will be back soon for some good home style food …

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

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Free To Love

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Free To Love
By Bernadette A. Moyer

free love

We are free to love …

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

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

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

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

waste love

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

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

We are free to love …

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

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Holes in Our Hearts
By Bernadette A. Moyer

love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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Enjoying Life!

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Enjoying Life!
By Bernadette A. Moyer

enjoy-life-now-this-is-not-a-rehearsal

“So what have you been up to?” This question was from someone that I ran into at the grocery store, someone I have not seen in about ten years. And even before I could think about it I responded with “enjoying my life!” Then I almost started to feel guilty and started rattling off a series of ongoing projects that keep me busy but I quickly doubled back to actually “I am enjoying my life more and more these days!”

Earlier in the day, I had just run some errands with my son who is always so appreciative of all that we do for him and with him. I am starting a new series of blogs and spent time with the dogs, downloaded a new recipe I plan to try and accepted a friend’s request to help proofread her latest book project. Next week when I have jury duty I will busy myself with her new book. So what have I been up to? Lots of stuff, lots of fun and rewarding stuff like the little things in life but doing them with much more enjoyment.

My husband and I are at the age where we appreciate everything more and we are genuinely happy. We talk about our aging and even when our lives end. He says, “I want my face to be the last thing you see when you die.” I know he doesn’t want me to ever die and leave him but we know that isn’t how life works. What he is telling me yet again is that I can count on him; he will be there for me until my time comes unless of course he goes first. We are blessed and we know it. Our marriage has survived so much and all the struggles and all the trials and tribulations made us stronger and more appreciative of each other and more in love.

greg-adams-quote-weve-been-carrying-on-having-fun-enjoying-life

It is all about how we look at things, we can complain about having to scrub the kitchen floor or we can be thankful we have a kitchen floor to scrub. It is all about how we choose to see things. It is also about what we surround ourselves with and who we engage.

There are a lot of things we just don’t care about anymore, mainly what other people do and say. We know who we are and we know what we are made of, what other people think and say isn’t a concern of ours. There is something so freeing about not giving your power away and not allowing others to judge. Happiness comes from within and when we are doing what makes us happy it is so easy to enjoy life.

We can complain about aging and our aching back or this ailment or that one or we can remember that life is limited and so we must decide how we want to spend it. “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” Unknown Author

It doesn’t take much to make us happy we are easily amused and laugh more and more each day. Again it’s a choice. So what have I been up to? I have been up to the best possible things on earth and the most simplistic ones too. Enjoying my life more and more each and every single day because only God knows how many days we will have here in this lifetime to enjoy. Have fun! Do what makes you happy and surround yourself with people that you love and that love you too!

If this is what you get in older age, we will take it …

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