Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October is _____________ month.

It seems like every month is National "something" month!  It's either Breast Cancer awareness, or some kind of "_____________  history month" (fill in your favorite nationality here).  I just heard online, from Facebook (so it must be true, right?) that this is also National Anti-bullying month.   While I think we go overboard on special days and months (Talk like a pirate day was last month), this is one I thing that needs to be talked about.
At the school where I work we have been talking about bullying and, in fact, will have an anti-bullying assembly this week.  Some kids are not even aware of it at school, but some are keenly aware because they have been the victim of it OR the perpetrator of it.  It's been going on as long as I can remember.  I was one of those kids that was "teased" (bullied?) in school. In some ways it's not a big deal because, well, we've all endured it.  But in other ways it's a huge deal because of what it has caused in people's lives.
We've heard a lot about it in recent months... kids who are bullied on social media networks, at school, through text messaging, etc.  and then end up attempting suicide or actually succeed in taking their own lives. It's truly a tragedy when this happens.
In doing some training in this area over the past few months I saw that, it's not just kids that are bullied, it can be anyone!  I saw a clip (again, from Facebook) about a news reported that got an email from a viewer criticizing her for her weight.  This is a form of bullying!
Bullying not only happens in the school and online.  It happens in the church.  My husband and I were bullied big time!  People hungry for power and control use words and actions to belittle someone else.  They spread gossip, they criticize instead of offering help!  Think of the results of such words and actions.  In our case in led to the demise of a church.  And now there are people still without a church because of this!
Think of the results of teasing/bullying someone in school for being, in any way at all, different... in the case of some we've heard of in the news and those we know personally.... death by suicide.

"Bullying may be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally. Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.
Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus defines bullying as when a person is
"exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons". He defines negative action as "when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways"."
I'm seeing bullying in this upcoming election!  I saw evidence of this in watching Vice President Joe Biden treating Paul Ryan with contempt, laughing, and interrupting (82 times!) him.  He was just a bully!  I don't like bullies!  To quote Captain America, "I don't want to kill anyone. I don't like bullies; I don't care where they're from."  
My answer to all of this.... bullying at school, on the job, in a Presidential race, in a church... just "be nice!!"
Think about your words before you say them.  Think what will be true, kind AND necessary.  Let your words pass those three tests before they come out of your mouth or before you click "enter" on the computer!  Think how your words, and actions could affect someone else!  Stop the bullying, wherever you find it!!  Here's a link to find out how to help  
What if we just all treated each other with kindness, love and respect?  That could make a world of difference for someone!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Well that's over!  I had an evaluation today.  Nothing like having your supervisor observing your "performance"... no matter what you do!
When I play the piano I always feel a little more nervous when there are other pianists listening, and especially piano teachers, music teachers, etc.  It's un-nerving just knowing they know music and know every little mistake I make.  The same felt true today as I was observed teaching my French class.  I am such a new teacher and I have SO much to learn!  As nerve-wracking as this was (and I'm so glad this one is over) I look forward to learning what I need to do to improve!  I want to be a good teacher!
How thankful I am that the Lord keeps working in me and with me, making me and teaching me to be all HE wants me to be.  His observation and evaluation of me is only to help me, change me and make me like Jesus.  I want to be all HE wants me to be.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Be Still My Soul

A Message from Jim Newman:
A saying we often hear is that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I think we might
agree we could add a third one: Change! As much as we might enjoy the comfort of sameness and security in our lives, we can't escape the inevitability of change. It's going to happen. Some changes are good, even quite enjoyable and exciting, but others bring fear and feelings of insecurity. Your focus and perspective can make all the difference how you weather the changes that come your way.  I love the change of seasons, though not quite as much here in California. In the Northeast where I was raised I found great joy as each new season arrived. The winter was always enjoyable because of the first snowfalls, fires in the fireplace, and, of course, the celebration of Christmas. But as the cold grey days lingered on I would eagerly anticipate the arrival of spring with all of its newness, gentle colors, warmer weather and new growth. Summer
meant the end of school and the time of vacations, summer camp, though, at times boredom. So my favorite season is and always has been autumn. I loved the startup of school and seeing all my old friends again. The cool, crisp weather with the brilliant fall colors and falling leaves are still one of my favorite things in life. The fun of raking up the leaves and jumping in them was fun, too. I can still hear the crunching of the dry leaves as I would take walks in the woods, picking up acorns as I went.  There are some changes which are not at first very enjoyable. The loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult and dreaded things in life. It brings
way too many changes, along with all the uncertainty and fear of what might lay ahead. We've had way too many of those changes this past year or so!  Here at the church we are in the midst of another type of change. We find ourselves in the process of searching for a new pastor after the retirement of our much loved pastor, Tom Elson. As someone has said, "We may not know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future!" As we go through this time together we don't go through it alone. The Lord will not leave us or abandon us. He gives us hope as we wait upon Him. This time can be as exciting, beautiful and fresh as the autumn if we keep our eyes on the Lord and trust in Him.  As we go through this season of change, whether it be in your personal life, or together as a part of our church, the words of an old, familiar hymn;  "Be Still  My Soul," continue to bring comfort and hope to our troubled hearts.

  "Be still, my soul! The Lord is on thy side;  Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide; In every change He faithful will remain. 
Be still, my soul! Thy best, thy heavenly Friend thro' thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still my soul! Thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past. 
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last. 
Be still, my soul! The waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul! The hour is hastening on when we shall be forever with the Lord, 
when disappointment, grief and fear are gone. Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored. 
Be still, my soul! When change and tears are past, all safe and blessed we shall meet at last."