A Different Kind of Beautiful

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A Different Kind of Beautiful
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and beautiful is defined differently by different people. As you age you learn that beauty really is more about how something is and feels rather than just how it looks on the surface.

Beauty is as beauty does is a phrase my mother often used when I was coming up. I have thought of that phrase often …

There will always be the obvious beauty as in a beautiful baby or young child, or the beauty in the flowers or the sun rise and sun sets. As we age what we perceive as beautiful often changes, it grows, we appreciate the rains and the storms and all of life’s imperfections more and more. We come to see that beauty really does exist everywhere and in every place and every person if we are open and receptive to seeing it. It’s there.

I have learned to look at my gray hair as “sparkles” and that it is a crown that I have earned from living life all these year. Just the thought of “sparkles” makes me smile!

Rainy days no longer depress me, today I embrace them and see their beauty just as much as a clear and sunny day, each day brings its own unique pleasures.

When I see people behave unattractively or in a poor way or with harsh phrases or judgements I seldom if ever allow it to make me view their targets in that light. But I do  view the person spewing as someone that needs more love. Someone that has their own wounds; and a wounded soul can be viewed in a beautiful light.

We can create more beauty and become more beautiful …

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

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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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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

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Take Out The Trash

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Take Out The Trash
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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One of the best feelings after a vacation is that feeling of rejuvenation. The desire to go again and to start anew is exactly what any great getaway can accomplish. This happens if we are willing to allow it.

Sometimes we get there to a newer and healthier place simply by cleaning up, clearing out and removing the trash.

After a very relaxing and loving anniversary trip, I returned home ready to go again. That first day I cleaned out my house, restocked our pantry, did laundry, brought our pool back to life, bathed the dogs, caught upon all our correspondence, made a home cooked dinner and went out for a sweet treat with my husband. I spent time brushing the dogs, walking them, talking to them, feeding them and just handing out with them.

It was a rewarding and full day and I exceeded my step count by more than 30% without ever going to the gym. Cleaning and clearing away is always good therapy. I’ve heard it stated that “cleaning house is a great therapeutic way to regain peace and order” and I truly believe it.

Sometimes we hang on to things, items, thoughts, ideas, people and more that really would be best if we discarded them and literally “took out the trash.”

With each day and with each week and with each month and year we are afforded the opportunity to clean up, clear out and begin again. But we can only start fresh and start new when we are willing to discard that which no longer contributes to our health, growth, wellness and happiness.

Cleaning is great therapy! Got clothes that are still good but you don’t wear? Donate them to someone who can use them. How about household items that are taking up space and never to be used again? Donate them or trash them.

Need a new interior design? Start by cleaning what you have and move the furniture around before buying new. If there is value in what you have use it if and if not it may be time to discard it. Take out the trash and make room for what is yet to come.

Never feel bad about leaving people that just don’t do anything to make your life healthy and happy. Some people truly can and will drain the life out of you, but only if you allow it. Take out the trash and make room for the goodness that awaits you.

Life is so precious! And life is far too precious to be surrounded by anything or anyone that hates you, hurts you, disrespects you, denigrates you, and steals your joy or your peace and happiness.

If you want to change your life, if you want to be happier and healthier, it starts with the desire to identify that which no longer works and discard it. Forget your past, forgive yourself and begin again. The easiest and best way to have a fresh start and begin again simply starts with the willingness to take out the trash.

Merriam-Webster defines “trash” as things that are no longer useful or wanted. Synonyms are garbage, refuse, waste, junk and debris.

We can let hate, animosity, anger eat away at us or we can let it go and begin again. It starts with our desire to be better and feel better.

Take out the trash!

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

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Judgement

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Judgement
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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We judge and we are judged and it is just a fact of life. Yet I always find it interesting and even remarkable how two different people can look at someone and one person sees only good and goodness and another person looks at that very same person and all they see is evil, darkness and all that is bad.

So who are they really seeing and judging?

ca. 2000 --- Keeping Score for the Team --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

“People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you.” Abraham Hicks

For years I had this quote by Mother Teresa hanging in my office it read; “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” It was a daily reminder for me to look at people through the lens of love rather than one of judgement.

Matthew 7 reads Judging Others ”Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

For me it translates into the Golden Rule … what you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself. Treat others the way in which you want to be treated.

There is a Sally Field quote that I like a lot and she says; “it took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.”

Think about that for a minute? If we allow the judgements of others that truly can be all over the map, depending on who they are and what motivates them and more, rather than in knowing our own true selves how confusing and even devastating that can be to ourselves. Know yourself!

If we live our lives, trying hard, doing the best that we can with what we have and what we know and with the willingness to learn and to grow and to make an effort to see people through loving eyes rather than one based in judgement just how healthy and happy not them but WE can be?

Lay down your judgements and amp up your love … to the happy and healthy life!

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Enablers

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Enablers
By Bernadette A. Moyer

"Hello, my name is Roberto, and I will be your enabler this evening."

There are all kinds of enablers some may be knowingly enabling and others unknowingly. My father was an alcoholic and my mother the classic enabler. It was a typical co-dependent relationship. I am sure she thought she was helping him. She was a registered nurse and in a “helping” profession. She loved him and supported him and stayed with him even when his behaviors dictated that she shouldn’t have.

As a parent I am sure we enabled some behaviors that we would not have accepted from any others. We loved our children and often thought we were helping them. If we had it we wanted to share what we had with them even after they became adults. This often showed itself in “arrested development” the more we did for them, the less they did for themselves. This often leads to resentment on their side and our side too.

There is often a fine line between helping and enabling. What I have learned as a parent is that as hard as it is to watch your child fall and fail you have to step back and let them pick themselves up. Trust that they will figure it out, it is part of learning and growing up. Once they learn to pick themselves up they start to build their own confidence and become successful in life.

I hear about “enablers” quite often in my estranged parents support group. This is usually a person or a family that supports the “victim” the “co-dependent” and helps them to go against their parents. The “enablers” support them in making decisions they might otherwise never have made without the assistance of these “enablers.”

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A friend’s daughter recently was married and mom and dad were not invited, to make matters worse the grandfather gave the bride away. The grandparents took the young daughter in and supported her in estranging from her mother and father. What were they thinking and why? These are life altering decisions that will last forever. Dad is not only feeling betrayed by his own daughter but by his father too. Would the grandparents want this to have been done to them?

What should they have said and done? How about go home and work it out, all teenagers and young adults have struggles with their parents, you only have one mother and father, we love you but you have to go home and work it out.

I experienced this twice now myself with both my teenage daughters who found women to take them in and go against mom and dad. And it was always over a boy. One woman I never met even though I asked to meet with her. She “enabled” the behaviors of a struggling teenager. This woman has now raised my grandson who recently turned 18, my grandson who has no real relationship with his birth mother and who never met his maternal grandmother. So who won here? And I am left to wonder what kind of woman involves herself in another woman’s family without even meeting them for yourself and making your own opinion? Who has a better life because of her “enabling?”

Second daughter returned home seven years later, she sees now in her own words that she was “young and dumb” she got used by people that “enabled” her poor teenage behaviors. She admits to being a “defiant teenager” sadly the “enablers” used her for their own gain.

I think a lot of “enabling” points back to ego, thinking they know better or are better. Today I don’t question the young teenager who naturally rebels against her parents as part of growing up but I do question the real and true motives of the people that have enabled them. What was in it for them?

Motives, agenda and egos all play a role in the type personality that enables, ask yourself what is your true motivation and agenda and what part does your ego play? Are you helping or are you hurting? If you are doing things to impact another family that you would not want anyone to do to your family that is probably a good litmus test.

If you really want to love others and help others, stop enabling and start trusting that the people that you think you are helping will figure it out for themselves, they will! And they will love you and appreciate you all the more for not stunting their growth and allowing them to develop into their own mature and successful selves!

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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…

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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.

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