Monthly Archives: November 2013

Changing the World After Sandy Hook

On December 14, my world changed.  In a few hours, whatever innocence I had was lost.  I knew fear, real fear.  I knew sorrow, real sorrow.  I knew confusion and hurt and pain and grief and the soul stealing certainty that I was never really safe. I wanted to curl up at home with my family and stay there where I felt the safest and hide.  I didn’t.  Because I found something I thought was lost.  I found strength and compassion and love. I found HOPE.

My hope was to heal.   My Mom said this:

I don’t believe you ever heal from something as horrific as this.  Healing usually means returning to the previously “whole”state. and I do not think we will ever be whole again. There will always be a small piece missing.   I don’t think that anyone in Connecticut, or even our nation will be the same as we were “before’.  But I can become more.  What I can do is change my small part of the world, to share a little bit of the good, the pure, the love, the innocence that was such a part of the beautiful children and heroic adults that died.

She’s right.  So I am trying my best to heal as I stand up for others. I’ve practiced the #26 Acts of Kindness, but to me, its been more like 365 Days of kindness.  I have been trying every day to find something beautiful to be thankful for.

You can talk all you want about gun control, video games, mental illness and even bullying but not one of these were the sole cause of the death of 26 people. Yes, each of them have a place in tragedy.  I do not place blame on any one thing. I blame it on so much more.  I blame society.

We’ve become a nation full of people who care more about ourselves than taking care of each other.   Where the  “what’s in it for me” matters more than “how can I help?” We are worried more about fighting  to get to the top  then remembering to lift others up.  Then something like this happens are we all take a good look at ourselves and think, “Wow.  What have we become?”

Newtown, Connecticut, my neighboring town, was flooded with donations. People sent money, flowers, teddy bears, Christmas Trees and enough stuff to FILL buildings and storage units until the town had to gently say, “Enough, please, no more”.  Why did people send so much to a community that you can argue didn’t need anything other than their lost children and teachers back? Maybe it was because people wanted to show that they cared, and they were WITH Sandy Hook and  to  show their support.  I think every single thing sent was sent with a wish or a prayer for peace and love. But the harsh true is  a teddy bear isn’t going to do a thing  for the poor lost children of Sandy Hook.    Flowers die, candles snuff out,  food is eaten or goes bad and is thrown in the trash.  What is remembered is how people ACTED.

We became a nation of friends who took care of each other.  It was the little things that meant the most.  The extra warm hug extending for comfort, taking a few minutes out to give a sincere compliment over a nice haircut, a beautiful smile,or a great shirt. Helping an older person to the car with their groceries.  A smile across the room. Picking up a tab for the table next to you. Random “you are fabulous” letters stuck in lockers and on mirrors. Shoveling snow for others, cleaning a windshield, walking a shelter dog, being a neighbor and friend. Telling people you appreciate them. Doing  a siblings chores for no reason. Wiping tears from those who are weeping. Buying  a stranger a cup of coffee.  Saying “I love you,  often. Sitting at a lunch table with someone who normally sits alone.  Befriending the new kid.  Finding something wonderful and special in everyone you see, and letting them know. Being a friend. 

I plan to honor all those who were lost by honoring what they stood for: kindness, love, support, friendship and compassion.   I’m not going to do  26 Acts of Kindness. I will not count.  I will just do.  There is no beginning or end date. As my Mom said,

I hope I never “heal” but  continue to become something more,

something better, someone kinder and give more of myself.

I know that I am one person, and I cannot change the world by myself.  However, I am SURE that I can change MY PART of the world.    Just imagine if everyone made small changes around them. If every single person were to simply act as a friend to all they were near, think about what a different world we would be living in.

THAT is how to change the world.

Want to know more about me?  Read My Story !


I have waited forever to sing this song. I refused to sing it until I meant every word.  I sang it tonight – in front of my school and community.  I meant every word. I fought to be able to sing it. I am proud of myself for realizing I am worth fighting for.

I AM a Survivor. I AM a WARRIOR.


This is a story that I have never told
I gotta get this off my chest to let it go
I need to take back the light inside you stole
You’re a criminal
And you steal like you’re a pro
All the pain and the truth
I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I was broken and bruised

Now I’m a warrior
Now I’ve got thicker skin
I’m a warrior
I’m stronger than I’ve ever been
And my armor, is made of steel, you can’t get in
I’m a warrior
And you can never hurt me again

Out of the ashes, I’m burning like a fire
You can save your apologies, you’re nothing but a liar
I’ve got shame, I’ve got scars
That I will never show

I’m a survivor

In more ways than you know
Cause all the pain and the truth
I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I’m not broken or bruised

‘Cause now I’m a warrior
Now I’ve got thicker skin
I’m a warrior
I’m stronger than I’ve ever been
And my armor, is made of steel, you can’t get in
I’m a warrior
And you can never hurt me

There’s a part of me I can’t get back
A little girl grew up too fast
All it took was once, I’ll never be the same
Now I’m taking back my life today
Nothing left that you can say
Cause you were never gonna take the blame anyway

Now I’m a warrior
I’ve got thicker skin
I’m a warrior
I’m stronger than I’ve ever been

And my armor, is made of steel, you can’t get in
I’m a warrior
And you can never hurt me again
No oh, yeah, yeah
You can never hurt me again

Bullied Need More Than Magic

I have an online friend, another blogger, Tony.   Tony writes about a lot of things, including his amazing 200+ pound weight loss.  Truth be told Tony is a real inspiration to me.  Tony also helped me share My Story by writing something on CNN.  Tony stands up for a lot of people, especially bullied kids.  He wrote a CNN piece that ended up getting lots of help for a set of bullied twins. Or so he thought.

bully18n-2-webThe story is  about twins Ryan and Amber Suffern who go to school in North Carolina.  Ryan  wrote an early  letter to Santa asking for some help- he’d give up everything  for Christmas if Santa would just STOP THE BULLIES from  tormenting his sister.    His sister has a learning disability and she didn’t stick up for herself.   Once Tony saw the letter, he submitted it to CNN, they posted a story,  and it went viral.  Everyone wanted to talk to these kids when the cameras were on!   They got to meet Big Time Rush, and Santa came, and there was all kinds of attention.  Then, all the press went away, things quieted down and things were back to normal.  You’d think that the bullying would have ended, too, right?


Tony wrote about  how the twins were STILL being bullied, and how  their mom went to the school for help and she was told there was nothing they could do.  she said, YOU HAVE TO HELP MY KIDS, or I’ll have to pull them out and homeschool them. The school said, Well, maybe that is best.

That is SUCH CRAP.

This was Rocky Mountain Prep’s  their first responds to the bullying:

RMPrep Responds to Bullying

Posted on: September 16th, 2013

At Rocky Mount Prep, we became aware this morning of an incident affecting one of our students and addressed it immediately. Our administrators and teachers began working together during the day to ensure that we take care of these students and all of our students. Later this afternoon, we learned it had made national news. As school leadership, we want everyone to know that we take these types of allegations affecting our scholars very seriously. A significant portion of our Character Education program teaches positive Social-Emotional Learning strategies, including all forms of bullying—verbal, physical and social. Our school mission is to inspire our scholars to Learn With Passion, Lead With Confidence and Live With Character. These are not just words to us. We want them to learn how to be good citizens and good people. This is why we have invested heavily in proven curriculum and training to help them learn to treat others the way they want to be treated. Unfortunately, this does not always happen in our school or any other. We are hyper-vigilant at Rocky Mount Prep to prevent, intervene and protect our scholars from instances such as this. Our teachers and staff have received training to recognize and address these types of behaviors, and we are proud of the way they respond. We are saddened that this has taken place within our school family, and we can assure all of our parents, scholars and community that we will continue to do everything possible to provide them with a positive and safe learning environment. If you have any concerns or questions at any time, please contact me, Karen Bergman or any of our principals.

Doug Haynes


Rocky Mount Prep Charter School

But then, a boy rubbed pine needles in Ambers face, and the school won’t do anything?  Ryan is threatened to have his arm broken, and nothing is done?    This is the kind of things that make me SICK. That does NOT sound like a “provide them with a positive and safe learning environment”.

I wish I could go meet Ryan and Amber.  I wish I could give her a big hug,  I wish I could tell  Ryan “Great job!”  for sticking up for his sister, and for standing up to bullies.  I wish their Mom could meet my Mom, who gets what she’s going through and  would probably share her strength. (my Mom’s awesome that way!)   I wish I could help them. I feel helpless.  They have done everything right, and STILL they are bullied?  What good does it to to have “anti-bullying” programs and rules and  all that stuff if there is no follow up?  How are bullied kids supposed trust that they will be ok if stuff like this is going on?  I think that this school should be held criminally liable if they are aware of bullying and they do not stop it.

I want Ryan to be able to believe in Santa’s magic again, after a bully told him that Santa’s magic is over.

Ryan and Amber- Santa’s magic is very real. The main ingredient, and the most important part of magic is LOVE.  You are SURROUNDED by love. Your Mom has got your back and will fight for you.   Tony is there for you.   Thousands of people were there for you.  I an here for you.  Another ingredient is FAITH.   You know that you deserve better.  You DO.  And it WILL happen for you.  The next is PERSERVERANCE.  Things might be bad right now, but you know that you deserve better. FIGHT for it.  It WILL Happen.  The last ingredient is BRAVERY.  You both already have that, especially Ryan.  You stood up to the bullies.  You asked Santa for help.  You are both BRAVE.

I tell other kids who are dealing with bullies to #BeBrave and stand up to the bullies, to stand UP for themselves, and to STAND UP for others who have been bullied. You have done all three.  I know that your Mom will  do what she needs to do to make sure you are safe and will be in a place where you can fell wanted, accepted and happy.  I’m sorry you have to spend your magic wish on something like being safe and wanted, but I promise you, your wish will come true.