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Saturday, September 26, 2015

October is National Bullying Prevention Month: Use Zippy's Club to Celebrate and Educate

Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month? What better way to raise awareness of bullying prevention than with character education. Zippy’s Club was designed to help children recognize and overcome the negativity of bullying. But it’s more than just a book about bullying.

Zippy’s Club offers hope for those who are different and going through difficult situations. It encourages us to become a better person, and even gives us a helpful guide. Zippy’s Club opens the lines of communication with families about bullying, differences, kindness, how to treat others, and to celebrate the gift of life. Below is a resource guide to help use Zippy’s Club effectively.

Rules for Zippy’s Club:
Be kind
Kindness and compassion have the ability to make a tremendous difference in our lives. Even if we disagree on different things, we can still be kind. Some people mistake kindness for weakness. However, we need to show others the power of kindness.

Treat others the way you want to be treated
This one is so hard. We all have a tendency to want to treat others the way they treat us, but we need to remember that the ones who treat us the worst, need our kindness the most. Being mean to others hurts us as well.

No bullying
We should all strive to be the type of person who lifts others up, instead of knocking them down. Regardless of how we are treated, we need to understand that we never have the right to treat anyone else badly. The only way someone else can hurt us is if we allow them to. Cruel words cannot hurt us unless we believe them.

Also, we tend to think that bullying comes from someone else in our life, when, in fact, we are the biggest bully in our lives. At some point, we have all talked negatively to ourselves. Some of the things we say to ourselves, we would never say to anyone else. We need to all be our own best friend.

Always do your best
We don’t know what we are capable of until we try. Good work ethics, encouragement, and discipline are priceless. The only limits we have in life are the ones we believe. We all need to dream big, and live beyond our preconceived limits.

Follow your heart
It’s easy to get with the wrong crowd, and end up doing things we wouldn’t normally do. Peer pressure is hard to overcome. That’s why it is so important for children to understand the consequences of their actions. While we all have the freedom of choice, we are not free from our choices. Just because someone else does something wrong, doesn’t make it right or mean that we should do it, too.

Look for the best in everything and everyone
Positive thinking is one of the greatest things we can learn in our lives. If we train our minds to see the best in everything and everyone, we will be able to overcome the hardships of life. Bad things are going to happen to us all. We can decide to be a victim of our circumstances or an overcomer.

Celebrate your differences
Differences are often perceived as something horrible and terrifying because we simply don’t understand them. Education and openness about differences change our perception. Once we realize that we are all unique, and our uniqueness should be celebrated not discriminated, differences are no longer fearful.

Celebrate your gift of life
It is so easy to get discouraged and get into the routine of complaining about everything. However, it is possible to break the complaining cycle by learning gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal is the absolute best way to develop an attitude of gratitude.

Be happy
Happiness is a choice. Everything in our life doesn’t have to be perfect to have a good day. We can choose to be happy, regardless of our situation. Also if we omit the words “have to” from our vocabulary and replace them with “get to”, we will change how we view situations.

Ideas for incorporating Zippy’s Club into the classroom/home:
·       Start each morning with the pledge and the theme song for Zippy’s Club.
·       Focus on one of the club rules each week, and incorporate it into the lessons or daily activities.
·       When there is free time, work on acting out the Zippy’s Club play. Role playing is very effective in helping children understand the different feelings associated with bullying. 
·       Write in a gratitude journal each day.
·       Encourage children to make an anti-bulling poster.
·       Show children how to be kind. Help them make a thank you card for a soldier, police officer, firefighter, someone who is sick, etc.
·       Teach them the benefits of positive thinking.
·       Be creative and come up with other ideas to help children “be the best that they can be”. 
Today, October 3, 2015, the e-book, Zippy’s Club, is available for a free download on Amazon. Link:

Sign up for my free e-mail list here and I will send you coloring sheets, and Zippy’s masks to help you celebrate National Bullying Prevention Month. If we put forth the effort, imagine all the ways we can help our children. Just because they don’t mention being bullied or show signs of it doesn’t mean it is not affecting them. My parents never knew I had been bullied either. That is why I provide the resources and strive to help. As a little girl, I often wished someone would help me, without having to admit that I was being bullied.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Scars and Stares: How to Overcome Living With Scars

People stare at me. Some drop my change in horror and others pity me. But the rude questions and comments are by far the hardest to endure. One person asked me how I could love a God that had done this to me. A stranger told me that if her baby was like me and had Amniotic Band Syndrome, she would abort it. Moments like these are hard to endure. I’ve lashed out with anger, and shot daggers out my eyes. I’ve had my heart blessed numerous times, and cried many tears because of the cruelty of others. But at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what other people think of me. It’s how I view myself that matters.

For so many years, I hid my scars. I didn’t want anyone to stare at me, question me, or even know about my differences. Somewhere along the way, a sense of shame had overcome me. When I looked in the mirror, all I could see was scars. I expected people to stare at me and I watched for those stares. Then the most amazing thing happened to me.

God helped me to overcome my scars. Accept them. Love them. And, finally, embrace them.

It happened the moment I realized that I could have died. Some babies don’t survive the attack of the amniotic bands. But I was spared for a reason. God gave me my scars for a purpose. Acceptance is a powerful gift. Now my scars no longer have the ability to hurt me.

People are always going to stare at me, but I’ve stopped looking for those stares. It doesn’t matter to me. Let them stare. I truly hope, while I have their undivided attention that I can give them a glimpse of my Lord. When people ask me numerous questions, I desire to tell them about my wonderful God and how good He is to me. When strangers approach me, I hope that I can give them a glimpse of the person underneath the scars. In God’s eyes we are all the same, and He loves us.

I can’t change the behavior of others. Regardless of what I do, I can’t stop someone was staring at me or lashing out with cruel words. I can, however, choose how I react to it. Kindness is a universal language. Perhaps it will have no influence on the person treating me badly, but it will have a profound effect on me.

We should all learn to accept and embrace our own differences and uniqueness as a gift from God. Outwardly we might have a different appearance, or different gifts, but our spirit is the same. We are like God because He lives in us.  And we need to love ourselves—always.

We need to treat others the way we want to be treated. I’ve had people call me disabled to my face and say things like, ‘It’s really great that you can do that with your disability’. At first it was extremely hard for me. Now I know if someone treats me badly, it is a reflection of them not me. And instead of getting mad at them, I should pray for them.

So how do I wish people would treat me? What do I want them to know about living with scars caused by Amniotic Band Syndrome?

Honestly, I wish that more people would look beyond my scars and see me. Underneath the scars is someone who loves God, family, friends, and life. My life has been filled with pain, but also the overcoming of it. I am not a victim, but an overcomer. Some days I feel overwhelmed by trying to adapt to this world, but so grateful for my beautiful life. Sometimes I cry through my workouts, but I don’t complain. I pray every day because I couldn’t make it without my Lord, and I want to thank Him for always helping me. Given the choice, I wouldn’t trade my scars for anything in this world. They have taught me through my weakness that God is my strength. Regardless of the battle, giving up is never an option. I am capable of so much more than I ever realized. Being scarred has taught me about kindness and compassion, and how to treat other people.

When people look at me, I hope that they see a window to God. Through my life, overcoming the struggles and pain, I hope to shine a light to Him. I desire to reflect His goodness and help others who are struggling. In all reality, I am an ambassador for God. Through my life, hope, and faith, I desire to give others a glimpse of my wonderful God. And maybe, just maybe they will give their heart to Him as well.

When I reflect on all He has blessed me to overcome and all of the amazing blessings He has given me, I know that there is absolutely nothing missing in my life. I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. God formed me exactly how He wanted me to be, and I am satisfied with being me. My friends, I pray that you will accept your own scars, love them, and embrace them. Without my scars, none of these wonderful opportunities would have been possible. 

May God bless you,

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The 4 Step Process to Overcoming Our Trials

The moment adversity strikes, my first thought is to just give up. Whether I embrace the negative thought or dismiss it immediately is entirely up to me. It took me awhile to realize I have that option. Just because I have a negative thought doesn’t mean it is true.

A few days ago, I had a bad day.  My foot had been hurting on and off for a few days. As my son and I went for our evening walk, the pain intensified and I could barely walk home. He held my hand and coached me along the way.

I was very discouraged! It’s so hard to struggle with something every single day. All I wanted to do was walk with my son, and my body prevented me. And that’s when the negative thoughts bombarded me and the pity party began. As the tears fell, I welcomed them and embraced my pitiful thoughts.

In anger and heartache, I thought: Give up what? What are you going to give up? Your life? Are you just going to go to bed, pull the covers over your head and accept defeat? Are you going to allow the devil to take away the enjoyment of your life? After a few minutes, the tears slowed down and my head cleared. Suddenly, it didn’t seem as overwhelming.  My tears changed from self-pity to acceptance, and I was able to ask God to help me through it so I could help someone else.

In every moment of my life, I believe there is a lesson to be learned. Instead of trying to be strong, and pushing my thoughts aside, I decided to become aware of them and the process of overcoming my struggle.

Below is my four step process.
1.      Give myself permission to cry about it.
2.      Realize nothing is ever as bad as it seems
3.      Embrace my purpose
4.      Reestablish my thoughts and find hope

The first step for me is always the tears. I give myself permission to cry about it. After all, God understands my tears. Regardless of our strength, faith, or courage, we will all have moments of weakness, doubt, and fear. If we just constantly push them aside, then we can’t move forward. When I come to the end of my strength, and let God know that I’m weak, I am surrounded by His strength. When I struggle, I am given an opportunity to increase my faith. Because once He brings me through this trial, it will create another memory of faith through victory for me. When I’m afraid and He gives me the courage to do it anyway, my courage multiplies with the overcoming of the fear.

When something happens to us, the devil uses it as an opportunity to attack. In a vulnerable state, we are more apt to believe the lie of our enemy. However, if we can shift our thoughts and find humor through the trial we more equipped to handle it. After my tears stopped, I asked my husband if he could give me a piggyback ride for 5,000 steps, so I could get in my steps for the day. Then I decided that I probably just need new running shoes. I mean new shoes always make me feel better. Through the laughs, I realized nothing is ever as bad as it initially seems.

Still going through the process, I searched for inspiring quotes and scriptures. The bad thoughts were still swirling in my mind and I wanted to change the direction of my thoughts. It was then that I discovered this quote, sent to me by one of my friends.
It reminded me of my purpose. Without trials to overcome, I wouldn’t be able to help others through their heartaches.

And God blessed me to take a trip down memory lane. We have been through so many trials. He has never let me down or left me. Regardless of the battle, He always helps me overcome it and grow during the process. When I establish my thoughts, the devil can’t do anything with me. Instead of being mad at the situation or pain, God blessed me to become grateful for the trial and that He would allow me to suffer for Him. I might have started the process weak and wounded, but when God intervened my soul rejoiced and my spirit was renewed.

When God moves in my heart, I feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof. He is a mighty God! Nothing is too big for Him. He might not always answer my prayers according to my will, but He always gives me exactly what I need. And for that I am so incredibly grateful!

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 KJV

Do you have something to add? Please leave me a comment if you enjoy reading my blogs. We all need encouragement.

May God bless you,


Monday, September 7, 2015

Spending Time With God: Why I Go To Church

Lately, I’ve heard so many excuses for not attending church. Videos and quotes as to why people shouldn’t go to church have gone viral.  When I see these lies, it breaks my heart. The devil tries to justify not serving God, but he doesn’t share the whole truth. He doesn’t know the peace, love, and joy that come from attending church and serving God.

So let me share with you, why I go to church.

Every Sunday morning, the devil tries to convince me to stay home as well. My body usually hurts all over and I’m so sleepy. Right away a million excuses flood my mind and the list of reasons for me to stay home is abundant. However, there is a still small voice inside of me that encourages me to go, and I know that if I put forth an effort God will bless me. So I fight through the pain and negativity and make my way to the Lord’s house.

The moment I open the door and walk inside, love surrounds me. Hugs and smiles greet me and my spirit is instantly lifted. No one looks down upon me because we’ve all struggled just to get there and overcome the same enemy. We are not on opposing sides of the war, but on the same side.

When the church begins to sing, peace fills my troubled soul. Just as a mother comforts her child, I feel comforted and soothed. My heart hears the words and feels the melody and my soul burns within. And it doesn’t end with the songs. Scriptures and words of wisdom from God are spoken and it is always exactly what I need. 

With tears, prayer request are given to the church. And then we all join together in prayer. Not just for ourselves, but for others. God understands our tears and listens to the groaning of our hearts. It is a beautiful gift to hear the church pray.

Testimonies are shared and God blesses us to help one another. Someone else has already been through the battle we are encountering. When they share their faith, wisdom, and victory it strengthens us and hope fills our soul. Suddenly, we believe that we can overcome our battle as well.

Words can’t even express my joy for my sweet little Sunday school class. Each child is so precious and I’m truly honored to be their teacher. I love seeing them every Sunday; reading them the scriptures, singing with them, and watching them learn about our Lord.

After Sunday school is over, I get to hear my daddy preach. It’s not only the words spoken, but the power behind the words that I love so much. The gospel speaks to my soul. It cuts out all of the foolishness of the world. It reminds me that in myself I am nothing, but my Lord is everything, and He is in control. The word of God renews me, and gives me the strength to keep going. It makes me want to be a better person and serve my God with my whole heart.

No earthly feeling can compare to helping someone to the Lord. It’s a great honor to pray with a lost soul, and hear them confess their salvation. It pleases God when I am obedient to Him, and serve Him by serving others. When the world gives us a million reasons for not going to church and serving the Lord, we need to think of the one reason why we should. God loves us. He sent His son to die for us. And He wants to help us. He desires to comfort us and sooth our troubled hearts. God loves each sinner, regardless of the sin. And He wants us to enjoy our salvation.

Does going to church make my life easier? No! But it teaches me how to overcome the enemy and enjoy every aspect of my life. As long as there is breath in my body, I pray that I will use it to praise my Lord and serve Him.

I sin. I fail and come short every day of my life. My life is not perfect and neither am I. But my Lord is forgiving, merciful, and long suffering with grace for every need. He knows all about my faults and failures and He loves me anyway. We should follow His example, and love others as He has loved us. The ones, who treat us the worst, need our love and prayers the most. 

Why do you go to church?
May God bless you!

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra