Taking Responsibility – Making Time

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Taking Responsibility – Making Time
By Bernadette A. Moyer

 

taking

Today our son achieved his weight loss goal. He lost 50 pounds in six months, six months almost to the day. He has taken responsibility for his health and his life. He set a goal for himself and he achieved it. There was no trick, gimmick or special pill; it was all diet and exercise. He had to change his habits and how he thought and he had to make an effort.

When we change our thinking, we change our lives.

We take time and we make the effort for people and for things that are important to us. If our health is a priority we make the time and the effort to achieve good health. The same can be said about all of our relationships including the one we have with ourselves.

We show people we care about them by taking time out of our lives to spend time with them. How we treat ourselves also says a lot about who and what we are all about.

Recently my husband and I were talking to a salesperson and in that casual conversation he shared that he was recently divorced. He said that it was the result of neglect. The marriage died due to a lack of effort. As we drove home my husband and I continued the conversation that most relationships will die without any real effort. It takes work and it takes effort to make a marriage work long term.

A good marriage takes work and it takes effort, it is pretty plain and simple, there are no gimmicks or special secrets. We agreed that we work really hard at making our relationship a priority. Taking responsibility and making time for the things that matter to us is what we do to feed out hearts and our souls and to live our own best life.

Here is to taking responsibility and for making time … for all the people, places and things that make us happy and whole.

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

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

If You Break It

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If You Break It
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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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Who Cares

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Who Cares
By Bernadette A. Moyer

care

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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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

hope-sun

(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

The Teller of the Story

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The Teller of the Story
By Bernadette A. Moyer

STORYTELLERS_Jones_Week1.001

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

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