40 Days of Positivity: Congratulations

If you are able and would like to join with our youth in Baltimore in celebrating, you are welcome to come to the Chapel on Wednesday, April 18 from 4:15 until 5:00 p.m. Mr. Shawn will be hosting a small reception.  We will have certificates for all of our participants.  If you would like me to email one to you, please reply to me with your request.

If you cannot join us in person, please pause wherever you are and offer a moment of gratitude to God for yourself and for all of our BCC family!  I will be in BWI Airport, most likely, at that time – but please know that I will be expressing my gratitude with intention.

Keep up the positive actions and positive thoughts!
I will be sending more emails of encouragement.  Remember, you may opt out from receiving them whenever you wish.

May the beauty and promise of the butterfly inspire us to embrace change with courage, joy and gratitude!
God’s Blessings to you,
Stacey

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Impact

Our final week brings us to the fourth core value of BCC:

Aim for Impact.  In other words, we are striving to make a difference.

I invite you to look back over your calendar of these last few weeks.
Does any one action stand out for you?  Spirtual
Where were you most challenged?
How have you grown?
What will you do now?

Imagine with me the cumulative effect of all of our positive actions and thoughts blessed by God’s grace.  Thank you!

May God multiply our impact for the good of young people and their families in our communities and in our world.

With hope –
Stacey

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Be Thankful

This week our focus is on gratitude.

I have been reading a book recommended to me by two of our colleagues –  The Gratitude Diaries:  How A Year Looking On The Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan.
The above quote is from the book.

We are nearing the end of our 40 day commitment and I recommend that each of us begins to plan how we will continue to focus on positive actions and thoughts.  I am going to pursue some type of gratitude journal because I know that I need some type of structure in order to keep focused.

Whatever you decide, let’s continue to support one another in positive actions.  I am grateful for each of you and this opportunity we have to work together for a common purpose of enriching communities, one family at a time.

Thank you, God!

In gratitude,
Stacey

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Empathy

It is important to remember that feeling empathy and compassion for others and our selves leads to action if we are to have an impact.

I offer this prayer from a Native American tradition:

Oh, Great Spirit,
Help me to remain calm and strong
in the face of all that comes toward me.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
Help me seek pure thoughts and act
with the intention of helping others.
Help me find compassion
without empathy overwhelming me.
-Great Spirit Prayer

We hold you in our prayers and compassionate intentions.
On behalf of the Spiritual Life Team
-Stacey

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Halfway to 40

You are halfway to the goal of 40 days of positive actions and thoughts.  Keep up the great effort!

This past Sunday I preached at my home church and shared about our 40 day effort in living with a commitment to positive actions and thoughts.  I am learning so much myself each day and I appreciate each one of you who have taken the pledge of positivity.

From the Christian tradition, I would like to share a portion of the scripture lesson we used on Sunday in worship:

If anything is excellent and
if anything is admirable,
focus your thoughts on these things:
all that is true,
all that is holy,
all that is just,
all that is pure,
all that is lovely,
and all that is worthy of praise.
Practice these things …
The God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9, Common English Bible

I am grateful that we have today – another opportunity for kindness and for positive actions and thoughts embodying our core values of safety and integrity.  More to come …

Peace to you this day as you strive to be kind to yourself and kind to others
-Stacey

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Be Honest

As we close out our week with an emphasis on our second BCC core value, integrity, I would like to share a prayer attributed to the Cherokee tradition:

Oh, Great Spirit,
Help me always to speak the truth quietly,

to listen with an open mind when others speak,
and to remember the peace that may be found in silence.

Continue to be kind to yourself and to others.  These 40 days are going by quickly.  I encourage us all to be intentional each day to make positive actions and positive thoughts our way of living and being.
May a sense of God’s peace be with you and may we share it with one another.
Rev. Stacey

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Centering Moments: Gratitude

Our positive action focus this week:
show gratitude.
Thank you is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. Alice Walker
Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. Henri Frederic Amiel
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Ward
Each day this week let us look for ways to show our gratitude to God and to one another. Don’t forget to do something kind for yourself in gratitude for the gift of your life and the unique person you are.
I believe deeply that gratitude is an essential component of positive living. Gratitude is healing and transforming. It cannot be imposed; gratitude can be nurtured and modeled. Gratitude makes us more fully who God created each of us to be. It brings us
perspective.
Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision
for tomorrow. Melody Beattie
The Bible records countless expressions of gratitude – too many to number – as well as the teaching from God that we are to give thanks in all circumstances.
I would like to share a personal note of gratitude to each of you through a verse of scripture. This is an expression of gratitude from the early church leader, Paul, to his mentee and teammate, Timothy:
I am grateful to God … when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. (2 Timothy 1:3, New Revised Standard Version).
Please know that I pray for our BCC team every night and every day. Our Spiritual Life team is here to support all of you – we keep you in our prayers and we give thanks for you daily. Please call on us if we can provide spiritual support for you personally
and for the young people and their families with whom you work. Shawn, Randy and I are grateful to God for the opportunity to serve.
Join with us in gratitude:
Thank you, God, for this beautiful day!
Gratefully yours,
Stacey
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Centering Moments: Be Safe

At BCC, we are committed to the value of safety first and foremost. Safety is our mindset.

We always can do more to be safe and to ensure the safety of others. The more we live with a mindset of safety, the more we see opportunities to be pro-active. Safety is a basic human need. We all need to feel safe at a certain level in order to be productive.

It is imperative for us to remember that safety is necessary for a therapeutic environment (for clients as well as caregivers and support persons). The first stage of healing from trauma is safety: safety in body and spirit, safety in place and safety inter-personally.

For many of us, our various faith traditions and practices help provide us with a sense of safety.

I would like to share some selected scripture verses in the Jewish and Christian traditions. Please read on if you would like these resources. Positive regards to all.

The most ancient God is a place of safety; the eternal arms are a support. (Deuteronomy 33:27)

My God is my rock, in whom I find protection. God is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. God is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. (2 Samuel 22:3)

I will lie down and fall asleep in peace because you alone, God, let me live in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. God is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. (Psalm 18:2)

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. (Psalm 16:9)

These verses give us comforting images of God that help us feel safe and secure in a trusting relationship with God. As appropriate, I encourage you to discuss these and other helpful images and experiences of God for creating a sense of safety.

May we work together with God’s blessing to be safe and to increase the safety of others.

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January Inspiration

Happy New Year!
Yes, I know it is the last day of the first month of the new year yet it is our first Centering Moment email of 2018.
I wanted to share a brief message of hope for all of us.

The picture above was drawn by one of our Caminos youth a couple of years ago when we were sharing in a Bible study on the theme of hope. The youth were asked to draw a picture of a symbol of hope for them. They inspired the staff with their pictures and,
more importantly, their incredible faith.

We experienced a renewal of hope on January 15 when we celebrated the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A group of BCC youth and staff participated in a Day of Service by volunteering at Glen Mar United Methodist Church. BCC hosted volunteers in
Baltimore with the same event and also received donations in WV from a community groupin honor of the holiday.

Here is a quote from Dr. King to inspire us as we move into the new year:

“If you can’t fly, then run.

If you can’t run, then walk.

If you can’t walk, then crawl, but

whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

I am grateful to keep moving forward with each of you and our entire BCC team in fulfilling our purpose of “enriching
communities, one family at a time.”

With hope and gratitude,

Rev. Stacey

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“Freely we have received, freely give”

On Monday, January 15th, our nation celebrated one of the most influential leaders in our country’s history, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the spirit of his efforts to serve others and to unite our country with love, equality, and justice, a few of our youth spent a portion of the day doing their part to make a difference in someone’s life.

Glen Mar UMC, located in Ellicott City, hosted its annual “Day of Service”, in which hundreds of youth and adults participated in a variety of community service projects that impacted youth in our local community and children around the world. Six of our male teenagers decided to take the opportunity to participate in the day of service and soon realized the joy of giving. “I didn’t know that so many people wanted to help others. It felt good being able to help”, said one youth. Our youth spent the majority of their time weighing and packaging rice packets that will be sent to families around the world, assembled health care kits, and made spiritual bracelets.

On MLK Day, our youth were able to see the value of giving, the value of caring, and the value of their greatness. As Dr. King once said, “everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.”

– Mr. Shawn Elbert, Spiritual Life Coordinator

 

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