Sushi for one

I am continuing to do everything wrong... I'm supposed to post this on September 1... I will be doing something on Saturday which will preclude me from coming here, I think. So, I'm posting now.

I have always been as honest as I possibly can when I recommend a book. I take this duty as seriously as I take my Christianity.

This month's FIRST is really, really, really GOOD. I'm thrilled to present you with a first class romance that is as halarious as it is sweet and tender. It goes beyond the fluffy stuff that we have become immune to and is a shining jewel in the crown Camy Tang wears (given to her by our Lord, I'm quite sure). Her talent to take sassy up to the point of sarcasm and it come out truly laugh out loud is quite the most refreshing kind of talent I've seen this year. If this book doesn't win some kind of award, I'll be surprised. Tell you what. I give it FIVE star out of FIVE. The only book this year that got FIVE stars was Waking Lazarus by T.L. Hines (bless his heart. Pray for him because he has a very slow growing lymphoma. He's got to make a decision about his treatment.)

Back to Tang's riveting romance. Who knew? Asians eat as much and as often as Baptists. Although, they don't do the casserole as well as Baptists.

Well... here is the first chapter. I don't think you'll want to stop at the first chapter, though. I do promise you it has an extremely satisfying ending and quite a heart rending meeting with Jesus. It will be something you won't forget for a very long time.

It is September 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:

and her book:

Sushi for One?

(Zondervan, September 1, 2007)


Camy Tang is a member of FIRST and is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.

Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One is her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) comes out in February 2008!

Visit her at her website.


Chapter 1

Eat and leave. Thats all she had to do.

If Grandma didn t kill her first for being late.

Lex Sakai raced through the open doorway to the Chinese restaurant and was immediately immersed in conversation, babies wails, clashing perfumes, and stale sesame oil. She tripped over the threshold and almost turned her ankle. Stupid pumps. Man, she hated wearing heels.

Her cousin Chester sat behind a small table next to the open doorway.

"Hey Chester."

"Oooh, you're late. Grandma isn't going to be happy. Sign over here." He gestured to the guestbook that was almost drowned in the pink lace glued to the edges.

"What do I do with this?" Lex dropped the Babies R Us box on the table.

Chester grabbed the box and flipped it behind him with the air of a man who'd been doing this for too long and wanted out from behind the frilly welcome table.

Lex understood how he felt. So many of their cousins were having babies, and there were several mixed Chinese-Japanese marriages in the family. Therefore, most cousins opted for these hugenot to mention tiringtraditional Chinese Red Egg and Ginger parties to present their newborns, even though the majority of the family was Japanese American.

Lex bent to scrawl her name in the guestbook. Her new sheath dress sliced into her abs, while the fabric strained across her back muscles. Trish had convinced her to buy the dress, and it actually gave her sporty silhouette some curves, but its fitted design prevented movement. She shouldve worn her old loosefitting dress instead. She finished signing the book and looked back to Chester. Hows the food? The only thing worthwhile about these noisy events. Lex would rather be at the beach.

They havent even started serving.

Great. Thatll put Grandma in a good mood.

Chester grimaced, then gestured toward the far corner where there was a scarlet-draped wall and a huge gold dragon wall-hanging. Grandmas over there.

Thanks. Yeah, Chester knew the drill, same as Lex. She had to go over to say hello as soon as she got to the party before Grandma saw her, anywayor Grandma would be peeved and stick Lex on her Ignore List until after Christmas.

Lex turned, then stopped. Poor Chester. He looked completely forlornnot to mention too bulkybehind that silly table. Of all her cousins, he always had a smile and a joke for her. Do you want to go sit down? I can man the table for you for a while. As long as you dont forget to bring me some food. She winked at him.

Chester flashed his toothy grin, and the weary lines around his face expanded into his normal laugh lines. I appreciate that, but dont worry about me.

Are you sure?

Yeah. My sisters going to bring me somethingshes got all the kids at her table, so shell have plenty for me. But thanks, Lex.

Youd do the same for me.

Lex wiggled in between the round tables and inadvertently jammed her toe into the protruding metal leg of a chair. To accommodate the hefty size of Lexs extended family, the restaurant had loaded the room with tables and chairs so it resembled a game of Tetris. Once bodies sat in the chairs, a chopstick could barely squeeze through. And while Lex prided herself on her athletic 18-percent body fat, she wasnt a chopstick.

The Chinese waiters picked that exact moment to start serving the food.

Clad in black pants and white button-down shirts, they filed from behind the ornate screen covering the doorway to the kitchen, huge round platters held high above their heads. They slid through the crowded room like salmonhow the heck did they do that?while it took all the effort Lex had to push her way through the five inches between an aunty and uncles
chairs. Like birds of prey, the waiters descended on her as if they knew she couldnt escape.

Lex dodged one skinny waiter with plates of fatty pork and thumb-sized braised octopus. Another waiter almost gouged her eye out with his platter. She ducked and shoved at chairs, earning scathing glances from various uncles and aunties.

Finally, Lex exploded from the sea of tables into the open area by the dragon wall-hanging. She felt like shed escaped from quicksand. Grandma stood and swayed in front of the horrifying golden dragon, holding her newest great-granddaughter, the star of the party. The babys face glowed as red as the fabric covering the wall. Probably scared of the dragons green buggy eyes only twelve inches away. Strange, Grandma seemed to be favoring her right hip.

Hi, Grandma.

Lex! Hi sweetie. Youre a little late.

Translation: Youd better have a good excuse.

Lex thought about lying, but aside from the fact that she couldnt lie to save her life, Grandmas eyes were keener than a snipers. Im sorry. I was playing grass volleyball and lost track of time.

The carefully lined red lips curved down. You play sports too much. How are you going to attract a man when youre always sweating?

Like she was now? Thank goodness for the fruity body spritz she had marinated herself in before she got out of her car.

Thats a pretty dress, Lex. New, isnt it?

How did she do that? With as many grandchildren as she had, Grandma never failed to notice clothes, whereas Lex barely registered that she wasnt naked. Thanks. Trish picked it out.

Its so much nicer than that ugly floppy thing you wore to your cousins wedding.

Lex gritted her teeth. Respect your grandmother. Do not open your mouth about something like showing up in a polkadotted bikini.

Actually, Lex, Im glad you look so ladylike this time. I have a friends son I want you to meet

Oh, no. Not again. Does he speak English?

Grandma drew herself to her full height, which looked a little silly because Lex still towered over her. Of course he does.


Yes. Lex, your attitude


Now why should that make a difference?

Lex widened innocent eyes. Religious differences account for a lot of divorces.

Im not asking you to marry him, just to meet him.

Liar. I appreciate how much you care about me, but Ill find my own dates, thanks. Lex smiled like she held a knife blade in her teeth. When Grandma got pushy like this, Lex had more backbone than the other cousins.

I wouldnt be so concerned, but you dont date at all

Not going there. Is this Chesters niece? Lexs voice rose an octave as she tickled the babys Pillsbury-Doughboy stomach. The baby screamed on. Hey there, cutie, youre so big, betcha having fun, is Grandma showing you off, well, you just look pretty as a picture, are you enjoying your Red Egg and Ginger party? Okay, Grandma, I have to sit down. Bye.

Before Grandma could say another word, Lex whisked away into the throng of milling relatives. Phase one, accomplished. Grandmother engaged. Retreat commencing before more nagging words like dating and marriage sullied the air.

Next to find her cousinsand best friendsTrish, Venus, and Jenn, who were saving a seat for her. She headed toward the back where all the other unmarried cousins sat as far away from Grandma as physically possible.

Their table was scrunched into the corner against towering stacks of unused chairslike the restaurant could even hold more chairs. Lex! Trish flapped her raised hand so hard, Lex expected it to fly off at any moment. Next to her, Venus lounged, as gorgeous as always and looking bored, while Jennifer sat quietly on her other side, twirling a lock of her long straight hair. On either side of them 

Hey, wheres my seat?

Venuss wide almond eyes sent a sincere apology. We failed you, babe. We had a seat saved next to Jenn, but then . . . She pointed to where the back of a portly auntys chair had rammed up against their table. We had to remove the chair, and by then, the rest were filled.

Traitors. You should have shoved somebody under the table.

Venus grinned evilly. Youd fit under there, Lex.

Trish whapped Venus in the arm. Be nice.

A few of the other cousins looked at them strangely, but they got that a lot. The four of them became close when they shared an apartment during college, but even more so when they all became Christian. No one else understood their flaws, foibles, and faith.

Lex had to find someplace to sit. At the very least, she wanted to snarf some overpriced, high calorie, high cholesterol food at this torturous party.

She scanned the sea of black heads, gray heads, dyed heads, small childrens heads with upside-down ricebowl haircuts, and teenager heads with highlighting and funky colors.

There. A table with an empty chair. Her cousin Bobby, his wife, his mother-in-law, and his brood. Sixcount em, six little people under the age of five.

Lex didnt object to kids. She liked them. She enjoyed coaching her girls volleyball club team. But these were Bobbys kids. The 911 operators knew them by name. The local cops drew straws on who would have to go to their house when they got a call.

However, it might not be so bad to sit with Bobby and family. Kids ate less than adults, meaning more food for Lex.

Hi, Bobby. This seat taken?

No, go ahead and sit. Bobbys moon-face nodded toward the empty chair.

Lex smiled at his nervous wife, who wrestled with an infant making intermittent screeching noises. Is that  Oh great. Boxed yourself in now. Name a name, any name. Uh  Kyle?

The beleaguered moms smile darted in and out of her grimace as she tried to keep the flailing baby from squirming into a face-plant on the floor. Yes, this is Kylie. Can you believe shes so big? One of her sons lifted a fork. No, sweetheart, put the food down!

The deep-fried missile sailed across the table, trailing a tail of vegetables and sticky sauce. Lex had protected her face from volleyballs slammed at eighty miles an hour, but shed never dodged multi-shots of food. She swatted away a flying net of lemony shredded lettuce, but a bullet of sauce-soaked fried chicken nailed her right in the chest.

Yuck. Well, good thing she could washoops, no, she hadnt worn her normal cotton dress. This was the new silk one. The one with the price tag that made her gasp, but also made her look like she actually had a waist instead of a plank for a torso. The dress with the dry-clean only tag.

Oh! Im sorry, Lex. Bad boy. Look what you did. Bobbys wife leaned across the table with a napkin held out, still clutching her baby whose foot was dragging through the chow mein platter.

The little boy sitting next to Lex shouted in laughter. Which wouldnt have been so bad if he hadnt had a mouth full of chewed bok choy in garlic sauce.

Regurgitated cabbage rained on Lexs chest, dampening the sunny lemon chicken. The child pointed at the pattern on her dress and squealed as if he had created a Vermeer. The other children laughed with him.

Hey boys! Thats not nice. Bobby glared at his sons, but otherwise didnt stop shoveling salt-and-pepper shrimp into his mouth.

Lex scrubbed at the mess, but the slimy sauces refused to transfer from her dress onto the polyester napkin, instead clinging to the blue silk like mucus. Oh man, disgustamundo. Lexs stomach gurgled. Why was every other part of her athletes body strong except for her stomach?

She needed to clean herself up. Lex wrestled herself out of the chair and bumped an older man sitting behind her. Sorry. The violent motion made the nausea swell, then recede. Dont be silly. Stop being a wimp. But her already sensitive stomach had dropped the call with her head.

Breathe. In. Out. No, not through your nose. Dont look at that boys drippy nose. Turn away from the drooling baby.

She needed fresh air in her face. She didnt care how rude it was, she was leaving now.

There you are, Lex.

What in the world was Grandma doing at the far end of the restaurant? This was supposed to be a safe haven. Why would Grandma take a rare venture from the other side where the more important family members sat?

My goodness, Lex! What happened to you?

I sat next to Bobbys kids.

Grandmas powdered face scrunched into a grimace. Here, let me go to the restroom with you. The bright eyes strayed again to the mess on the front of her dress. She gasped.

Oh, no, what else? What is it? Lex asked.

You never wear nice clothes. You always wear that hideous black thing.

Weve already been over this

I never noticed that you have no bosom. No wonder you cant get a guy.

Lexs jaw felt like a loose hinge. The breath stuck in her chest until she forced a painful cough. Grandma!

Out of the corner of her eye, Lex could see heads swivel. Grandmas voice carried better than a soccer commentator at the World Cup.

Grandma bent closer to peer at Lexs chest. Lex jumped backward, but the chair behind her wouldnt let her move very far.

Grandma straightened with a frighteningly excited look on her face. I know what Ill do.

God, now would be a good time for a waiter to brain her with a serving platter.

Grandmother gave a gleeful smile and clapped her hands. Yes, its perfect. Ill pay for breast implants for you!

) Camy Tang
Used by permission of Zondervan

A funny thing

I have been discussing some things on forums for several years, went through the transition to the new forums and it is such a great place to study the Bible, bounce thoughts off brothers and sisters in Christ. I had to be so very careful which discussions I entered because some of them went into phaser blast mode where no one would learn anything.

Now, it seems that everyone has an agenda.

Why is that?

Why can't everyone have patience with their siblings in Christ? I do not understand where some people get their interpretations, either. I know we are reading the same Book, but I do not think we are reading the Whole Book and taking into consideration the Whole of Scripture. That must be the case and why we have such a time agreeing.

Some want just the OT without the inconvenience of obeying the commands of Jesus-all 1001 of them.
Some want just the warm fuzzy God, who will let everyone into Heaven just because He is so good and loving.
Some insist that only a very few will get into Heaven because God predestined them.
Some do not know what the resurrection means.
Some do not believe in the Triune God, even though Jesus speaks of the Triune.
Some are content with half-truths.
Some are content with half-lies.
Some would judge rather than love.

I find it very exhausting.

Come Lord Jesus, come quickly and settle this unsettlement.

Bullying is the silent epidemic

This is the last in the three part series on a worldwide probelm

By Gina Burgess
Lifestyles Editor
Behavior that offends or harms someone is a broad definition of workplace bullying. Mary tells Sandra that Betty is sleeping with the boss, when in fact the rumor isn’t true. Spreading gossip or rumors is one type of indirect bullying. When a vicious rumor is spread with the intent to get a person fired, that is defined as an intent to harm, but few would call that a criminal act worthy of jail time. According to Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, workplace bullying is "the repeated mistreatment of one employee targeted by one or more employees with a malicious mix of humiliation, intimidation and sabotage of performance."

Court cases involving disability, ethnic and gender discrimination, and sexual harassment have had such reasonable success as to cause laws to be enacted to make them criminal acts if proven. However, statistics show that bullying happens more often that verbal abuse or sexual harassment, although, when examined closely, those things are forms of bullying. It also is three times as prevalent as illegal discrimination and 1,600 times as prevalent as violence at work. Those same studies show one in 10,000 employees are victims of violence in the workplace, but, in this country, one in six employees are victims of bullying at work. A British study shows one in three employees suffer workplace bullying.

The problems revealed in these studies are that bullying usually takes place within company policy guidelines and between the lines of legal activity according to a report by Gary Nami of Workplace Bullying Institute, and by Tim Field of Bully That kind of bullying seems trivial when each incident stands alone and out of context, and the problem is there is rarely grounds for dismissal or disciplinary action.

Field was in computer systems support and development. when he was bullied out of his job, he was a customer services manager in 1994, and was the first to identify the sociopathic serial bully in the workplace. "Most organizations have a serial bully. It never ceases to amaze me how one person’s divisive, disordered, dysfunctional behavior can permeate the entire organization like a cancer," said Field. "I estimate one person in thirty is a serial bully."

On his website located at, Field describes in depth the serial bully characteristics. Some of those include,
- convincing, practiced liar who will make up anything to fit the moment, excelling in deception
- can be vile and vicious in private but innocent and charming in public
- has plenty of glib, fine words, but no substance; mostly superficial
- pours out what people want to hear
- cannot be trusted, fails to fulfill commitments
- refuses to be specific and does not give straight answers
- adept at creating conflict, thrives on conflict
- quick to belittle, undermine, and discredit anyone who calls the bully to account
- knows-it-all, arrogant and haughty
- spiritually dead while professing some religious belief or affiliation
- mean, and petty, stingy and financially untrustworthy
- greedy, selfish and an emotional vampire
- convinced of their own superiority and qualities of leadership but exhibits qualities exactly opposite of leadership including immaturity, impulsiveness, aggression, manipulation, distrust and deceitfulness Field goes on to say that the serial bully in the workplace is "more likely to know what they are doing but elects to switch off the moral and ethical considerations by which normal people (live by).

If you are the victim of bullying, the first thing to combat it is to recognize it for what it is, says Gary Nami founder of the Workplace Bullying, too often a bullied person will fall into the trap of believing what the bully is saying is true.

Field says there is usually a grain of truth in the bully’s attack which seems to give it credibility.
After recognizing the bully, you must understand what is going on. It is not about you, it is all about control. Criticisms and allegations are a projection of the bully’s failings. The bully is trying to project guilt, shame, and fear which are known tactics of control. It is how all abusers—sex abusers, child abusers, verbal abusers, etc.—gain control over their victims and silence them.

The next step, Field advises, is to find out everything about bullying.
There are a plethora of websites and books about the subject. Naivety about the bully and the tactics is your greatest enemy, not the bully himself.

Only after you arm yourself can you then take action. Document, document, document, says both Nami and Field. Keeping a log or journal about each incident will build the case. Incidents alone can be explained away. But, Field says, the pattern is what is important because it reveals intent.

Keep copies of important documentation in a safe place not at work, because it can and will be stolen, and possibly used against you. Carry a note pad and pen at all times, recording what the bully says and does. Make sure you take minutes of all meetings. The bully is expert at deception and can twist what you say into the appearance of damaging evidence. You will be accused of unprofessionalism and a few other things when you do this. Expect it, and don’t let it deter you from your mission.

The bully thrives on playing people against each other. Expect the bully’s boss to disbelieve you and to deny the truth of the evidence you’ve gathered, because it is highly likely the bully has already enlisted support in getting rid of you, Field notes. This is why it is crucial, he says, to be professional and not emotional when presenting your case.

Nami calls it the silent epidemic. He conducted an online survey with a question about employer’s responses when informed about the workplace bully.

"...In light of extant internal anti-harassment and anti-violence policies the response of employers is puzzling. Respondents described the lack of support. Targets who reported the abusive misconduct to the bully’s manager and asked for relief elicited positive, helpful responses in only 18 percent of cases. In 42 percent of incidents, the boss actually compounded the problem; in 40 percent of cases, the boss did nothing which is not a neutral response after specific help was requested. Human Resources and anti-discrimination officers were similarly unhelpful with only 17 percent taking positive steps to stop the bullying."

Pointing out to the bully’s superior that what you’ve presented is merely the tip of the iceberg of wrongdoing by the bully, and there is most likely financial misappropriation and incompetence, breaches of regulations, health and safety, codes of practice and the like may provoke an investigation.

Build yourself a network of support because bullies love to isolate and attack. Expect your co-workers to melt away for differing reasons, most will disassociate themselves because they fear for their job, others just do not like conflict.

Bullying is torture at school

By Gina Burgess
Lifestyles Editor
"For two years 13 year-old Johnny was a human plaything for some of his classmates. The teenagers badgered him for money, forced him to swallow weeds and drink milk laced with detergent, beat him up in the restroom, and tied a string around his neck, leading him around as a ‘pet’. When interrogated about the bullying, they said they pursued their victim because it was fun," said Dan Olweus, of the Research Centre for Health Promotion at the University of Bergen, Norway.

The quote was part of an article published in a Norwegian newspaper in 1993. Bullying among school children has been going on for centuries, but it was only in the 1980s that it became a phenomenon of study among social psychologists in Europe. In the 1990s it gained worldwide attention.

More recent headlines read like disturbing case studies from a child behavior psychology book.
- A 14-year-old kept a journal in which he fantasized about killing his bullies, and may be expelled from school – Phil Luciano, Peoria Journal Star, June 3, 2007
- A video of a 14-year-old being beaten up was posted online – Joe Oliver, Belfast Telegraph, June 17, 2007.
- A judge allegedly abused his office to ensure that his legal case against a football player who had hazed his son would be heard and heard promptly – Mary Pat Gallagher, New Jersey Law Journal, May 14, 2007.
- Ben Vodden, 11 years old, hanged himself December 12, 2006 after being bullied on his school bus for months – David Lowe for The Sun in West Sussex, England.
- 250 students staged a walk-out after three bullies who inflicted a slashed wound requiring stitches were punished with a two-day suspension in Waiuku, New Zealand – R. L. Tang, Blogger News Network.
These examples characterize the many ramifications which stem from bullying.

There are many different forms of bullying which has been described as aggressive behavior toward another with intent of malice and "involves an imbalance of strength," according to a Department of Health and Human Services report.

There is no one single cause of bullying, the report states. There are numerous factors involved which include family, peers, school environment, and individual personality characteristics.

Regular bullying behavior usually comes from an individual who is easily frustrated, who is impulsive, hot tempered and demonstrates a dominant personality trait. The bully also exhibits a lack of empathy, has problems with authority and following rules, and "views violence in a positive light."

Physical bullying tendency is found more often in boys than in girls, but girl bullies exhibit more indirect bullying tactics that include exclusion tactics, teasing, lying, spreading rumors and gossip.

The family factors that are more common in bullies than their non-bullying peers include a lack of warmth from parents and a lack of interest in the child’s activities; parents who do not set down limits in their children’s behavior; lack of supervision; punishments that do not fit the misbehavior, often more harsh than called for; parents who are bullies themselves.

The DHHS report dispels the myths revolving around bullying. Bullies are not socially isolated, or loners. They generally have an easier time of making friends than non-bullies report having. They surround themselves with friends who view violence as a positive and how support their bullying.
Bullies usually have average or above average self-esteem.

Research has brought to light some disturbing facts. Children who are bullies are more likely to own guns for risky reasons such as to frighten someone rather than for hunting rabbits. Also boys who bully are more likely to have a criminal conviction by age 24 than their non-bully peers.

It is no secret that upper classmen look forward to the influx of freshmen so they can do to them what was done to themselves. Pearl River Central, however, has squashed much of that behavior with the Freshman Academy program.

"The Freshman Academy has eliminated much of the bullying during the first few days of school," Dr. Elizabeth Yankay (pronounced Yank-eye), the Freshman Academy administrator and assistant principal at PRC, said when asked about the problem of bullying at PRC. "Since freshmen have their own courtyard and classes that are segregated from upper classmen, the upper classmen do not have the opportunity to intimidate the ‘new kids on the block.’"

"Prior to Freshmen Academy, each new school year, there would be stories of how boys would be sent into the girls restrooms, upper classmen playing tricks on incoming freshmen, and older students trying to put younger students into the trash barrels," she added. "This has not occurred since the initiation of the Freshman Academy."

On the first day of school at PRC, Principal Loren Harris discusses appropriate behaviors and then Don Criswell, the security officer at the high school, discusses the legal ramifications of specific behaviors like fighting and bullying. In the classrooms, teachers will again visit the expected behaviors which are outlined in the student handbook, Yankay said.

Another tool which helps is the ASAP meetings (Advising Students About Possibilities). Pope explained, "Character education is highlighted. Meetings will be held each week, and about 16 students by grade are assigned to a teacher advisor each. The ASAP team develops topics for discussion in the group including harassment, bullying and the like.

"I have found that students who display bullying tactics usually have a reason for needing to bully someone. We try to determine what the cause is and then work toward eliminating the cause from the child’s life, or helping the child to deal with the cause so that he/she does not feel the need to bully," Yankay said.
She added that the faculty and staff have professional development sessions through the Department of Education and by the campus security officers which provide information on how to recognize and deal with bullying and harassment.

Bullying is a growing concern

By Gina Burgess
Lifestyles Editor

A six year old girl is walking home from school. The street is deserted and there are no other children at play close by. Suddenly an older girl stops her bicycle in front of the little girl. She grabs the little one’s chin and slaps her face leaving a redden hand print on her little cheek. The older girl then verbally abuses the child and slaps her again, threatening the child with more of the same treatment if the older girl sees her walking down her block again.

The child’s parents are concerned, but don’t have a recourse because they don’t know the older girl’s name or where she lives and the incident didn’t happen on school grounds.

Bullying like this is more prevalent than most people realize.

Dr. Ken Druck, the founder of Families Helping Families program, worked with families at Columbine High School and Santana High School and other families who have had tragedies. He describes bullying as having two faces: physical bullying and social bullying. Other researchers from around the world agree with him.
The US National Center for Education Statistics breaks the two different categories into direct and indirect bullying. The center goes on to define direct bullying as pushing, shoving, poking, throwing things, slapping, punching, biting, pulling hair, grabbing, kicking and the like. Indirect bullying, or social aggression, is characterized by isolating a victim with various techniques such as forming cliques to ostracize a person, rejection of former friends, bullying others who desire to socialize with the victim, deriding manner of dress or ethnic background, religion or disability. Other forms of indirect bullying are also delineated as spreading false rumors and gossip, name calling, manipulation, reminding of past failures, as well as taunting which is different from teasing because it has a malicious intent to harm.

Mona O’Moore, PhD of the Anti-Bullying Center, Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland says the growing body of research indicates bullying victims faced with many risks.

"Whether child or adult, those who are persistently subjected to abusive behavior are at risk of stress related illness which can sometimes lead to suicide. Individuals who bully others now risk judicial correction and conviction in courts," O’Moore said.

"Furthermore, passive bystanders in any bullying situation also risk suffering from anxiety that is brought on by the shame and guilt so often felt at not being able to intervene or defend a victim."

Bullying is a problem that knows no cultural or county boundaries. It is as prevalent in Ireland and England as it is in Canada and the U.S.

It is a behavioral problem that affects the lives of thousands.

O’Moore points out the humiliation, fear, social isolation and loss of self-esteem results in absenteeism from school, deteriorating grades, personality changes, depression, illness and even suicide.

Unfortunately, it is often called horseplay, or just a game, O’Moore warns, but the roughhousing can lead to brutal physical attacks.

In this day of advanced technology a new term has come into play:
cyberbullying. In an article by Chris Page, a BBC news producer, he made the point that one in 10 students admit to sending a harassing e-mail or text message according to a survey of school children in England. It is difficult to stop these cyberbullies because of the anonymous nature of the Internet.

"People often think bullying just involves the bully and the victim, but the bystanders can make a big difference, particularly if they’re in an Internet chatroom," Children’s Commissioner of England Al Ansley-Green said.

Closer to home, the has researched the laws regarding bullying in school. Not every state has an anti-bullying law. gives Mississippi a C for its law.
The website states, "It is the belief of many experts that conflict resolution and peer mediation is not appropriate for a bully vs. victim situations, especially after the bullying has occurred." Confronting the bully is akin to coming face to face with one’s rapist, the explanation continues. The usual response in situations such as this, the victims will try to save themselves from further retaliation by assuming some of the fault. The site cite incidents such as abused wives being confronted with their abuse in front of their abusing husbands, "many times she even feels the beating she received for burning dinner was justified."
"Mississippi’s policy rarely mentions the word bullying and the code is not an anti-bullying law, but Mississippi gets a C for having a well written policy as well as a clear code to punish bullies who intimidate or use threats against other students," says.

That little girl’s parents told her to walk with her head up high and shoulders back. Told her to not stop walking when someone stopped in her path, but to walk around the person, and told her to be on the look out for the older girl at school and report what she did to a teacher or the principal.

One week after the incident, the little girl spied the bigger girl on
the school playground. She marched up to her and accused her of the dastardly deed in front of the girl’s circle of friends. She also told her what her parents would do if it ever happened again. The six year old was never bothered again on her walk home.
Gina Burgess
Lifestyles Editor
601-798-4766 ext. 117

More than a door part 3

God justifies a person on their faith alone. Anyone who believes God, and believes Jesus died for and took care of our sins, is justified from that instant. That can be anytime between the first instant of understanding to the instant before physical death.

Sanctification is not the same thing as justification. And justification is not cleansing. Sanctification is a process. Justification is something that happens in an instant and is permanent.

Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it (The Bride, the Church Body) with the washing of water by the word, Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. LITV
Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 1899 Douay-Reims Bible
Eph 5:26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it with the bathing of the water in the saying, Eph 5:27 that he might present it to himself the assembly in glory, not having spot or wrinkle, or any of such things, but that it may be holy and unblemished. Young's Literal Translation

Sanctify is to make holy. And Cleanse is to make clean from stains and dirt or
1b) in a moral sense
1b1) to free from defilement of sin and from faults
1b2) to purify from wickedness
1b3) to free from guilt of sin, to purify
1b4) to consecrate by cleansing or purifying
1b5) to consecrate, dedicate Please note the bold definition.

We're not saying that any Christian is sinless, or that any Christian would never commit another sin. The cleansing and purging of sin is an ongoing process. It is not a one time thing.

However, I do believe that Christians do sin less and less as they mature in Christ.

Please note in the verses above the use of the word "washing" along with the phrase "in the Word". The word Paul uses is Loutron which means bathing, bath, or the act of bathing.

The root word is Louo which means to wash a dead person or to cleanse blood from a wound.

Therefore the sanctification and the cleansing comes from bathing in the Word.

And Rhema means that which is spoken by a living voice, or a thing spoken of as in a matter of narration, or of a command, or a dispute, or a matter of law.

Jesus is the Word, John tells us that. And God's Word is the Bible. Christians do sin. As they learn more about God's and Jesus's character through the written Word, or commands, the Christian is continually washed in the Word, and by the Word.

This washing by the Word cleans the world's filth that accumulates on a Christian's feet as he traverses this place which is not Home. It is a continual process. Remember in John 13 when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples?

Peter was horrified that his Master would do such a lowly servant's service as wash his feet. Then Jesus told him that if Peter didn't allow Him to do it, then he could never have a place with Jesus. He goes on to explain that a person who has been completely bathed (leloumenos) the entire body, only a part needs washing--the dirty part that touches the earth, the feet. He told Peter that one day he would understand the whole of what He was teaching with this act. It was not the removal of the physical dirt from the feet. Jesus describes here exactly what I am talking about.

There is a difference between the first baptism of the Holy Spirit which is a complete cleansing which is the absolute justification, and the continual washing required to keep the world's filth from influencing the Christian's mind. Justification is what get us into Heaven. But God's work does not stop there and it never truly stopped at the cross.

Do you recognize there is such a thing as a Carnal Christian?

Yes! A person is changed, has a new, circumcised heart when he is saved. But, if a person is not taught, does not read the Bible, does not immerse himself in godly things, then he remains a Carnal Christian. Paul calls the Corinthians carnal Christians. He tells them they should be eating meat, but they are still subsisting on milk. He is talking about those Christians, for they absolutely are Christians and Paul recognizes this, have not matured in Christ.

A Christian absolutely cannot mature in Christ, does not look like his Father in Heaven if he does not know what that looks like. The only way for him to know what that looks like is if he studies in in God's Word. The act of studying/reading God's Word is not what sanctifies. Get this, please.

The True Blue Christian does not have false hopes that his pious acts will move mountains. The only way a person would know this is if they read all Jesus miracles and see where Jesus said time and again, "Go in peace, your faith has healed you." I'll let you have the last word. I don't know any other way to explain it, so I'm done here. God bless and keep you and I pray that you will never let a day go by that you do not pick up God's Word and hide it in your heart.

Satan takes a personal interest in each and every Christian's weaknesses. He has a list and is checking it twice. When he can entice a Christian into his web, then he has spoiled the witness and that makes him happy.

When the Christian takes those darts to God, that makes Satan mad and he picks up the assault firing more and bigger fiery darts. Which is why we are commanded to put on the full armor of God.

Being forgiven at the foot of the Cross is just the beginning of the journey. Being forgiven at the foot of the Cross is only the threshhold of the Door into Heaven.

Whether Jesus says, "Well done My good and faithful servant," is ALL about how the Christian lives.
Whether Jesus says, "Depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity," is ALL about what happens at the Cross.

More than a door part 2

Now, the sacrifice that Jesus made willingly of His life was to satisfy the Law. It paid for all the sins ever to be committed, from Adam until the end of time.

Hebrews 9 explains it in detail. The sacrificial blood of goats and bulls was only the shadow of Jesus' sacrifice. Here, see this... 9:14 by how much more the blood of Christ (who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God), will purify your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God!

From verse 14 through 23, the Hebrews author describes the reason for sacrifices. Then in verse 24 Heb 9:24 For Christ did not enter into the Holy of Holies made by hands, types of the true things, but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf, Not so that He should offer Himself over and over, but once and for all as a Testimony in the Heavenly Court of Law that the Law was satisfied, once and for all.

Before that happened, no human soul could enter into God's presence. It was a matter of Law, not Grace. Heb 10:12 But He, offering but one sacrifice for sins, "sat down" in perpetuity "at the right hand" of God,

Until Jesus sat down at the right hand of God, we could not enter God's presence. Jesus resurrection was the single sign that all debt had been paid. If there was just one sin that had not been paid for, Jesus would have remained locked in the grave.

His resurrection was the victory over death AND over sin. Because the wages of sin IS death. Jesus was raised FOR our justification. Look up the different translations and then look at the original Greek.

Jesus was raised for the perfecting and completing of our justification. Sanctification and justification are two different things, very closely related, but they are two different things.

When Jesus was buried, He took the punishment or the consequence of our sins upon Himself. He was locked in prison, just as those OT saints were locked in Paradise with no way out until The Door opened in Heaven giving them their way into God's presence.

It is the resurrection of Jesus that proves we are not justified by our own works. It is the resurrection that proves God was satisfied... proves remission of sin... proves salvation is through Jesus and only Jesus because only Jesus is the First Fruit of the First Resurrection. Jesus was raised from the dead in His glorified body. Unlike Lazarus who died again. Unlike Enoch and Elijah who did not again walk the earth. Unlike Moses who's foot first touched the promised land when he was TRANSFIGURED that night.

We are justified because He was raised. Justified, declared righteous, sacrifice accepted. We are sanctified because He died on the cross. Sancified, purified, made holy by His blood, for without blood there is no remission of sins, but without perfect blood there is no purification. Again, Hebrews 9. Justification is a one time act. Sanctification is a continuing process because we are human. Eph 5:26 that He might sanctify it, cleansing it by the washing of the water in the Word,

If you do not read the Bible and hide His Word in your heart every day, then God has no foundation in your heart with which to build the sanctification.

God did not pour manna into the Israelites bowls during the night. They had to wake up every morning and gather the manna for the day's food. They had to participate in their own feeding.

That directly relates to sanctification. We must work at it. God planned our good works that we should do at the very foundation of the world. It is by our good works that we glorify God.

Mat 5:16 So let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father in Heaven. Of course the works do not get us into Heaven.

Eph 2:9-10 not of works, that not anyone should boast for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before prepared that we should walk in them.

Without the resurrection, there would have been no eternal life, for death would still have the sting. Without the resurrection, the Holy Spirit that would not dwell within us. It would have remained as it did in the Old Testament times. Without the resurrection there would have been no salvation with glorified bodies because there would have been no firstfruit.

Rom 8:23 And not only so, but also we ourselves having the firstfruit of the Spirit, also we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly expecting adoption, the redemption of our body;

The Cross and The Resurrection are of such equal and great importance that the two make the fulfillment of One Promise. You cannot have one without the other for the redemption of our souls.

He most certainly does perfect His work by sanctifying those who participate with Him in the process. Those who do not particpate in it with Him find an empty Spiritual bone. Their plate is never full and they find themselves starving. When God says we have only to open our mouths and He will fill them up.

Psa 81:10 I am Jehovah your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. It is participating with Him in the work He does in us that brings Him glory.

Eze 2:8 But you, son of man, hear what I am saying to you. Do not be like that rebellious house of rebellion. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving to you.

It is precisely the reading of our Bibles, the study of His Word, the prayer and the listening to Him that changes us into being more like Christ. A person who was lost and then believes and then Jesus saves, absolutely is a new creation in Christ... a new man.

But, the New Man must put off the Old ways. That can't happen unless a person works at it with Jesus. Certainly there are some drug addicts that walk away from that life as soon as they become a Christian, but how many of those stay out of that life if they do not replace that old way with the New Way?

But a Christian does not fight the fight alone. We are commanded to put on the whole armor of God. Eph 6. That is an active part we must play.

Listen, the General of the army doesn't go out and put the clothes on his soldiers, does he? Of course not, the General provides the clothes and the soldier dresses himself. This is precisely what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 6.

We are made powerful in the LORD, with that same power that raised Jesus from the dead. We have to put on the belt of Truth. Our hearts are protected with the breastplate of righteousness, and we have the boots of peace, and the shield of faith to ward off the fiery darts from Satan, and the helmet of salvation and the Sword which is the Word of God. All of that is to be set in place and covered in prayer. The equipment is provided, but we must put it on. This is the process of sanctification. We are being sanctified because we are being perfected. Eph 4:12. That is the Greek verb which is an ongoing state.

I hope I have shown you how sanctification is an ongoing process. One day we will be like Him.

1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it was not yet revealed what we shall be. But we know that if He is revealed, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.

Jesus changes the old man into the new man who becomes a brand new creation. But, it is like the story Jesus tells of the man who had many demons and those demons were banished from him. The man had a clean, and freshly swept heart. Then the demon, seeing that nothing had come in, came back into the man and brought all his friends, so the man was worse off than before.

Of course this would not happen to a True Believer because we have the Holy Spirit as a seal upon our hearts Who protects us from any demon invasion and from Satan.

However, if this man has no knowledge of the Bible, where is the foundation of comfort and wisdom that God can call to the man's mind in times of trials and tribulations which are common to man? If this man who is washed by the blood and completely cleansed does nothing to gain a greater understanding of his Redeemer, then how will he know His voice? How can he tell the difference between Satan's whisper and God's still small voice?

Rom 6:5 For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the resurrection,
The metamorphasis of the old man into the New Creation is exactly that. The Holy Spirit enters and dwells within, changing the old man exactly as a caterpillar metamorphs into a butterfly. Something old and ugly changing into something beautiful. Another example is the planted seed. The plant cannot grow unless the seed dies and is planted. The metamorphsis is God's doing and God's creation.

More Than a Door

If you come here from and you have been following the discussion titled the same as this post, then this will be a repeat for you. I'm sorry. However, I have noticed how many do not seem to understand the difference between sanctification and justification, a topic I have studied for more than five years now, off and on.

I won't post the whole discussion, and I'll only post my part of it.

More than a Door...

Well, it is tempting to say, 'If you don't move away from the door, other people can't get in!' But, that isn't the case because the Cross is not the door. Jesus is the door. Joh 10:7 Then Jesus again said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you that I am the door of the sheep. Joh 10:8 All who came before Me are thieves and plunderers, but the sheep did not hear them. Joh 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in, and will go out, and will find pasture.

The key here is that Jesus was not the door before He rose from the dead. Matthew 27:51 And, behold! The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And the earth quaked, and the rocks were sheared, Mat 27:52 and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep arose, Mat 27:53 and coming out of the tomb after His resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. Rom 4:25 God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God. The point is that Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, but that was to satisfy the Law. When God raised Jesus from the dead, that is when we moved from the Law (which had no strength to change a person’ s character or heart) to Grace (which is a higher standard of living). Do not confuse entrance into God's physical presence with relationship. Jesus became the Door into the Father's presence when He rose from the dead. When Jesus died on the cross, the first part of God's plan was fulfilled. Payment. When Jesus rose from the dead, the second part of God's plan was fulfilled. The sting of sin AND death were plucked and were no longer a threat to the believers in Jesus and what He did. 1 Corinthians 15 Through Jesus, the OT saints were escorted into the Throne Room of Heaven. Before Jesus rose from the dead, there were no human souls in the Father's presence. They were in Paradise, to be sure. They were with Abraham and all other OT saints. Luke 16 When Jesus rose from the dead, He lead Captivity Captive, opened the Door to Heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father. Those who's graves were opened and walked the earth AFTER Jesus's resurrection, went with Him to Heaven into the Presence of God. He was the Door, He is the Door and He will be our Door. He is the great I AM.

They were not free to go into God's presence the second Jesus died on the cross. The Father did not invite them to come into Heaven before Jesus got there. Jesus brought them into the Father's presence. No one could go into His presence until they had been changed as Jesus was changed into His glorified body. He was the first fruits of the resurrection. No one was changed until He was. No one ever had a glorfied body before Jesus did. 1Co 15:50 And I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 1Co 15:51 Behold, I speak a mystery to you: we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed. There is still a mystery surrounding that.

Oh, not what the glorified body can do. We'll eat and drink and think and be there. No beaming up, Scotty, but we'll be instantly transported. And we won't look the same as we do here. No one recognized Jesus until He spoke or told them who He was. It is an exciting thing to look forward to, eh? Paul goes on to say, 1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

1Co 15:54 But when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality, then will take place the Word that has been written, "Death was swallowed up in victory." Isa. 25:8 Isa 25:7 And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering which covers all people, and the veil that is woven over all nations. Isa 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory! And the Lord Jehovah will wipe away tears from all faces. And He shall reprove the reproach of His people from all the earth; for Jehovah has spoken. Yes, the veil was rent in twain, but death still held reign until Jesus rose from the dead.

That is the second part of the whole plan. Jesus had to be raised. The same power that raised Jesus, saved us from God's wrath. That same power, thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen and Amen. If Jesus had never been raised from the dead, our sins would have been paid for, but we would still be constricted and restricted by the Law. The power of the law is weak and it doesn't change hearts as Jesus does. Only Jesus' resurrection brought victory over sin AND death. See?

The ripping of the veil is not the invitation from God into Heaven. The ripping of the veil is physical. It was a Spiritual symbol in a physical manifestation, a physical sign to humans that we have direct access to God. But more directly, it was a destruction of the Jewish worship and ceremonial practices. It was a signal that the Shechinah was no longer in the Temple. Look at Zech 11:10 & 12 and Hosea 5:14.

God answers prayers

As my daughter said yesterday, "God answers prayers."

Today was probably the most stressful day I've had in a long time.

The hospital should never have released Mom until all the ducks were in a row. Today I found out that the home health that was supposed to come give Mom her shot couldn't because a doctor had to sign off on the orders. She didn't have a regular doctor here in P-town.

So... I busily set to work to find her a doctor so she could get her shot. (We won't even go into the 14 syringes that cost $900, and come to find out she only needs 7 of them. That was just a minor rumple in the carpet.) I called every physician in Picayune that had a phone number and who was not a specialist.

Everyone turned me down flat. Not one doctor would consent to see Mom today. My first question was, "Are you taking new patients?" If the answer was yes, then I told them the problem. I did not get hung up on, but I got told...

"He's not taking Medicare patients."
"She's not taking any new patients. Is it urgent?"
When I said it was. She said, "I'm sorry. Try Dr. ......"
I exhausted the boxes in the yellow pages with one phone call. Went through the bold print and landed on the tiny print. That doctor was on vacation and wouldn't be back until next week. Sigh...

Then one nurse said she would talk to the doctor about Mom.
I waited...
No phone call.

I called back.

"Oh, yes, I talked to him and he said she would have go to the doctor she saw in the hospital. He couldn't take her on."

I lost my cool. I told her to give him a message. Please tell him that if my Mom dies, it's all on his head.

Oh, yes.

I said it.

Then the home health called back and said the cardiologist would not sign off on it because he just read her EKG. It must be all about money, and not life.

Anyhoot... Michelle at the home health called the hospital and ran them through the wringer over letting Mom go with out having this settled. The hospital called all apologetic and got it all straightened out. So I called the doctor that was on vacation and set up an appointment for Mom to see him on Thursday.

Monday we go get her thyroid scanned. Evidently, this goiter on her thyroid is most likely causing the atrial fibrillation. Take care of the goiter and we take care of the AF... maybe. It is good news.

It's been a bad day, then a good day and now I'm really tired.

The Hospital

I am breaking a cardinal rule here and posting my Sunday column on Wednesday night on my blog. But, I figure the 6 people who come here are the ones I would really love to have praying for my Mom.

08-12-07 The Hospital
Nothing like getting to know a place up close and personal, is there?
Tuesday was voting day. Mom and I are very patriotic and take our responsibility personally. I had to go to work early that day because it was the first day of school for some and I wanted to get first hand experience at it. It’s been too many years to count since I’ve had a first day at school, college doesn’t count.

So I got my pictures and swung by home to get Mom to go vote really quick then on to work. Just another day.

Mom wasn’t feeling well. We went to Urgent Care since she didn’t have a local physician, yet. Dr. Stephanie Harper took one look at her EKG and called the ambulance, then called Highland to let them know she was on her way.

A lovely lady took all Mom’s information and then I caught up with Mom in the hall of the Emergency Room. The hospital was very busy Tuesday morning.

Beth took Mom under her wing and took such good care of her. Then Dr. Danielson stopped by to take another look at her EKG. Things in her chest had calmed down by that time. She was feeling pretty good by then.

Someone came out of one of the ER rooms and moseyed down the hall. When she came back she told me,
“Go to Hattiesburg. They are really good there in Hattiesburg.”
“For heart troubles?” I asked.
“Oh, no. Hip replacements. I’ve had three.”

More blood work and then finally Dr. Barton comes around. He’s adamant that Mom will visit here a while.
“How long ‘a while’?” I asked.
“A couple of days probably. We’ll need to run these tests and then get her on medication.”

Atrial Fibrillation is when the upper heart muscles are just sitting there like quivering jelly and the lower muscles are pumping like crazy. That is my definition, not Dr. Barton’s or Dr. Danielson’s. They both used most excellent hand motions that better describe the condition than my words, but maybe you get the picture. It is something that is not an unusual condition in the elderly. Which reminds me that once someone called Dad 'elderly', just before he died and he took great exception to that. I think, the term is more in the eye of the beholder than in the beheld.

Anyhoot... I wanted everyone to know that the nurses and doctors at our little hospital here in Picayune are most conscientious and dedicated and Johnny-on-the-spot.

Mom got up and moved around a bit, and the nurse monitoring her heart functions was right there asking if she was all right.
At first Mom was puzzled, “Well, yes. I’m fine.”
Then as Mom got finished with other morning things, the nurse was back again asking if she was all right.
“Well, yes. I’m fine. I was just brushing my teeth.”
“You heart monitor is saying that your heart is racing, so I wanted to make sure.”

Mom is getting better care there than ever at home. I do not serve her breakfast in bed, or any meal in bed. For that matter, I don’t make up her bed, either. She may not want to come home tomorrow.

I do not want to have anything wrong with me like Atrial Fibrillation, but gee… it would be nice to have breakfast served to me in bed. And someone could bring me a cherry limeade from Sonic, don’t forget the lime slice and the cherry, please.

Bad Idea

I'm doing everything wrong. I'm more than a week late for the FIRST thing and I'm not posting the first chapter. I'm incredibly sorry, but I've been taking care of my Mom.

I want you to click on the title of this post and check out Bad Idea. It is a very different kind of book written from the point of view of a fresh out of high school on his way to college young man.

It is disturbing in some ways, but it explores some things that teens face today and I strongly recommend every parent of a teen to read this book. Then let your teen read it. Then discuss it. It just might save some heart aches, and I guarantee you'll do more than chuckle. In places it is hysterical. You won't be sorry.