The School Yard Bully

Everyone of us know this kid.  In fact, every childhood memory you have includes that one kid in your school you grew up in, everyone knew was the school yard bully.  You know the type; the one who threatened to beat you to a pulp if you didn’t hand over your lunch money or the one who promised to tell the entire school you still sleep with a teddy bear if you didn’t do their homework for them!  Bullies!!

cns-0903BullyBacklash - Journalist John Strausbaugh argues bullying can be a good thing in his book Sissy Nation: How America Became a Culture of Wimps and Stoopits. Wth story by Kelly Roesler for Canwest Life Package (Photo by Julie Oliver/Ottawa Citizen).

OTTAWA, ON. Aug 26, 2008 Photo illustration for story about standing up to bullies. Photo by Julie Oliver, Ottawa Citizen, Canwest News Services. Can be used with Meagan Fitzpatrick (Canwest) story. CNS-BULLYING

My story is a bit different just because I was born a bit different.  Instantly I was singled out as the one others chose to pick on.  Thankfully it didn’t last that long due to a teacher by the name of Mr. Jenkins.  In the 4th grade he made a major difference in my life and I am very grateful for his insight, wisdom and concern.

However, not every child is blessed to have a Mr. Jenkins in their life.  There are kids, it may be some of you that are reading this right now or it may be your children that are going through being bullied on a regular basis, that daily deal with being pushed around because they are different than the other kids on the playground.  I will admit that some of the most damaging experiences happen in the formative years of our youth and if they are not properly dealt with can linger for years to come.

This is why I speak consistently into the lives of students.  I know the feelings that come with being picked on, misunderstood, singled out – the list can go on and on.  This is also why I recently formed a non-profit called ThumbUp Foundation so that I and others like me, can help families and children/youth that are born with disabilities, overcome the stigma of being different.  TUF has been formed to educate, assist and motivate those that experience the pain of being singled out just because of a birth defect.

Many of you know my story and you know that the path to overcoming whatever may be stopping someone, is the path I call attitude.  “Your attitude determines your direction and direction is more important than speed.”  I can’t control others perception of me but I can control how I perceive what I have been “handed” in my life.  The problem arises when there is no one to help guide and direct that attitude in the direction of success.  This is one of the primary purposes of the ThumbUp Foundation.  This foundation exists to help others overcome their differences and we do it by supporting families, by educating and training those affected, and by providing resources that inspire and motivate.

This is why I am not afraid to ask for your help.  1 out of every 1200 births are affected by the condition I was born with, which is called Amniotic Band Syndrome.  I want you to be a part of this opportunity that is going to make a huge difference in the lives of those affected by Amniotic Band Syndrome.  There is needs to be a source of positive reinforcement available in this age that is filled with more than just school yard antics.  We have students and teenagers that are cyber bullied, threatened and forgotten all because they may be somewhat different than the rest.  If you would like to be a part of this world-changing endeavor please follow the link below to learn more.  No gift is too small.  I am so thankful for those that have already helped by donating to this worthy cause which is going to help get the message of ThumbUp Foundation out there.

Thanks much and make sure to follow the link below.






Can You Make A Difference?

ThumbUp Foundation is gaining momentum as we continue moving forward in the establishment of this great foundation.  If you haven’t heard about TUF then I encourage you to read these posts that have already been written describing what ThumbUp Foundation is and what this organization is designed to accomplish.


Many have shown interest in what ThumbUp Foundation will be providing and for that we are extremely grateful.  We need your help!  As we set out to further establish this foundation we are looking to raise funds in order to establish:

  • Website development and maintenance
  • Promotional material geared toward raising awareness and funds necessary to fully form this needed foundation
  • Social Media/Print campaign to enlist others interested in helping ThumbUp Foundation fulfill its purpose
  • Video production describing the purpose and function of TUF

ThumbUp Foundation Inc is a California non-profit so any donation will be considered tax deductible.

Below is our gofundme link providing more information on how you can help make a difference! Would you consider donating today?  Thanks so much for your consideration.  Please click the link below to learn how you can be a part of this great opportunity to help others become the overcomer they were born to become.


ThumbUp Foundation Update

It has been a few crazy busy weeks around the Sargent household and as a result I have not spent much time here on my blog.  A lot of things have happened since last we spoke and I wanted to let everyone know what is going on with my ThumbUp Foundation.

Having been born with a defect, result of a condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome, I have seen the need to help families, children and youth that may be facing something similar.  Over the last few years I have been privileged to meet many individuals affected by ABS or families that have children/youth dealing with this condition.  This has been a very rewarding experience, allowing me to see the need to help others overcome and deal with whatever condition Amniotic Band Syndrome may have caused.  This is the ultimate reason we have started this foundation and I believe great things are in store for ThumbUp and those we will be able to help.

I wanted you to see the final mock ups of our logo design and badge icon that will be the identifying markers for this great cause.  Many have already asked how they might be able to get involved or help support this non-profit and that information will be made available soon.  Very soon we will be able to point you toward our website where information concerning involvement and support will be made available.  For now, keep checking in and follow us on the various social media options listed below.

Thanks so much for your support and interest.  Great things are ahead!





Follow ThumbUp Foundation:


Twitter: @ThumbUpOrg

Instagram: @thumbupfoundation

Creating A Vision Statement For Your Marriage

This is a guest post by Steve Andrus.  Steven is the Marriage and Family Pastor at Woodlawn Church ( in Columbia, MS and a National Certified Counselor by the National Board of Certified Counselors. To learn more about Steve please visit his website. You can also follow him on Twitter.

I thought I would pass out. Things began to get blurry and a trickle of sweat ran down my face. Our third minister had just said some nice things about us and we still had one to go. I lost count of the number of songs but it felt like a Kenny G and Michael Bolton concert. We were married in the 90’s.

Creating A Vision Statement (4)

It was time to recite our vows and I wasn’t sure I would be able to get the words out. My mouth was dry and my knees felt weak. I wish I could say it was because I was so in love with the girl holding my sweaty hands. It had more to do with our marathon ceremony. I’m sure we broke some sort of record.

I can’t remember our vows. They were probably traditional. Apparently they worked because Kristen is still around.

Wedding vows can be the most stressful part of the ceremony. Some couples choose to write their own. I’ve always thought that was a huge risk. Romantic, but risky. Remembering the ring is enough to overwhelm the average groom. Asking him to write and recite his own vows can be catastrophic.

Wedding vows are like a verbal contract and the internet is replete with vows gone viral…grooms passing out…brides tripping over their dress. Maybe it’s the fear of commitment. Or maybe we hold our breath hoping the air in our lungs will keep us upright.

Whatever it is, marriage ceremonies tend to get interesting at the vows.

One thing I’ve never seen is a couple reading or reciting a marriage vision statement. That’s usually how corporations, churches, and other organizations begin. They need a statement to keep them on track.

While a vision statement doesn’t sound romantic it can be an important factor in having a healthy marriage. Maybe this is why so many marriages get off course. They hit walls or tough times and lack a plan. A vision statement can get you pointed back in the right direction.

Here are three components to assist you in writing a vision statement for your marriage:

  1. Values.

Identify three to five personal core values. You can discover your values by asking questions like…

What role does spirituality play in your marriage? How will you discipline your children? What family traditions are important to you? Are you committed to making your marriage last even if it involves marriage counseling?

  1. Goals.

Clarify your personal, couple, and family goals for one to five years. Your goals should be realistic and clear. Some goals might include becoming debt free, having a child, or children, within a certain amount of time, buying a home, dating once a week, etc.

  1. Words.

If I were to ask you to describe your relationship today in one word, what would it be? What about one year from now? Who do you hope to be as a couple in ten or twenty years?

If a word, or words, doesn’t come to mind quickly it may be that you need to nurture your intimate knowledge of each other.  Click here for more info on creating intimacy in marriage.

I recently began mountain biking. It’s much different than road cycling, which I’ve done for a few years now. To road cycle you pretty much get on and pedal. It’s rare that a tree leaps out of nowhere and attempts to dismount you. That happens often mountain biking.

There’s one hill on some local trails that I have trouble climbing. It’s steep and the gravel is loose. I’m learning that climbing a hill requires just the right amount of balance. Too much weight in the front and your back tire loses traction. Too much in the back and your front tire comes off the ground.

One of the most vital elements of a good climb is momentum. If you lose it, you will go down. And once lost, it’s difficult to regain.

Writing a vision statement for your marriage can help you maintain forward momentum. It doesn’t take a lot of time and can keep you moving in the right direction.

There are plenty of things that will try to knock your marriage off balance, but keep moving forward. Create momentum.

Thanks for reading. I know your time is valuable. If you found this post helpful please like or share it via the links above.


Meet Steve Andrus

Steven is the Marriage and Family Pastor at Woodlawn Church ( in Columbia, MS and a National Certified Counselor by the National Board of Certified Counselors.

He is passionate about helping individuals, couples, and families rediscover hope through the counseling process. He obtained his Masters Degree in Marriage & Family Counseling from Mississippi College and continues his professional education by attending workshops and seminars on subjects such as trauma, parenting, couples therapy, grief, depression, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

From 2006 to 2008 he and his family served as missionaries in West Africa. He makes regular trips overseas speaking on leadership, emotional health, and spiritual growth. His experiences overseas have provided him with a broad worldview and allows him to counsel with various cultures and nationalities.

Steven speaks on marriage and family issues weekly and is available for workshops, conferences, and seminars. He and his wife Kristen enjoy speaking at marriage retreats and offer a fun and informative format.

His office is located in Columbia, MS and he is also available for counseling nationally and internationally via Skype and FaceTime.

Steven lives with his wife Kristen and their two children in Columbia, MS.


Last week I wrote a post about a special need ThumbUp Foundation was getting involved in concerning a young man that recently lost his left arm in a tragic accident. I wanted to give a quick shout out to those that have already contributed to help Saydou secure the prosthetic that he is in need of. If you haven’t read the story about Saydou and how he came to lose his arm, please read this post. Thank you for your willingness to partner with ThumbUp Foundation to make this a possibility.  If you would still like to contribute you can do so by sending your donation to:

ThumbUp Foundation

PO Box 300160

Escondido, CA. 92030

Please make the check payable to ThumbUp Foundation (Memo: Saydou)  If you have any questions you may call ThumbUp Foundation at #442-777-3192.

Here is a picture of Saydou before he had the accident that took his left arm.  As you can see this kid is full of life.  Let’s be a part of making that smile stay on his face.  Thanks again for your willingness to help.

Saydou 3