Happy 12th birthday, my little love. I celebrate you today—and every day–here on Earth, knowing that you are alive in heaven.
I imagine you playing with so many of your friends and favorite teachers, eating cupcakes and pizza, and living a life more full than I can imagine.
I miss your kisses and snuggles, your hysterical belly laughter, and how you pestered your big sisters–and your daddy–without mercy.
I miss you. So much.
Life is not easy without you here…but as I promised you once, I won’t give up.
I will love openly, share generously, speak boldly, and walk bravely—toward a better, safer, and more compassionate world.
Do not worry. I am not alone. Many good people walk with me.
I keep all of your gifts close to my heart. I use them to heal our family and in service to others. Your gifts continue to prosper, making schools safer, providing for families with autism, and reminding others of God’s presence in their lives.
You continue to make your mark on this world—and the next. I am sure.
I still hear your sweet voice and feel your warm presence. I know that you are with me in all that I do.
My love for you is like yours for me. Always.
When you think of the word sponsor, what does it mean to you? In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, there are three different definitions for the word.
Now think of the word love. How would you define it? According to the dictionary, love is defined as:
As we near the end of #LoveSafety month, there is no better time to express our love for our sponsors. It is with their help that we are able to spread the word about school safety. But before we give them a big thank you, let’s take a trip down memory lane.
When Alissa and I founded Safe and Sound Schools, we didn’t know who would be there to support us. We didn’t know who would “take the responsibility” of helping us to spread the word about school safety. All we knew is that we couldn’t give up on our kids.
In Joey and Emilie’s memory, we made it our goal improve the safety of our schools to ensure all students and teachers feel safe in their school community.
One year and six months after we launched Safe and Sound Schools, we met NaviGate Prepared, a company using technology to assist K-12 schools in emergency preparedness and safety. During the 2014 America’s Safe Schools Week, ASSA ABLOY , a leading provider of door safety and security solutions, joined our family. In July 2015, the nation’s leading provider of visitor management software for K-12 schools, Raptor Technologies, united with us in our mission to keep students safe. Last year, in July 2016, we were fortunate to start a relationship with Status Solutions and in November 2016, H&H Medical Corporation also joined our family.
Each company/organization understood us, our loss, and our mission. There was “an affection based on benevolence and admiration that we had for each other.” They knew the work that needed to be done to ensure that no parent, family or community has to go through what we went through. In their own way, they each “assumed the responsibility” of keeping us safe by keeping our students and schools safe.
Their sponsorship and support has played a huge role in our ability to continue our mission. This is why we hope that you help us show some #SponsorLove to them every day. They make the work that we do possible. We hope that as our organization grows with more resources and programs, we find sponsors (or donors) like you committed to empowering communities about rethinking school safety.
P.S. To learn more about becoming a sponsor and being part of our Safe and Sound family, click here.
We asked Scarlett Lewis, mother of Jesse Lewis and founder of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation to share some reflections with us this month…
February is the month of love. When we think of love, we think about our families, friends, pets, flowers…the things that makes us smile. Love makes us feel good.
What’s more, you can choose love.
The first step is to begin to think about what you think about. Just be aware of the steady stream of thoughts going in and out of your mind. Research shows that in general, we have between 60 and 80,000 thoughts per day. The majority of these thoughts (70%) are angry, not productive and don’t serve us. Up to 90% of our thoughts are repetitive. They are the same thoughts we had yesterday, the day before, the week before, and sometimes even years before! We know that every thought we have impacts us on a cellular level and affects our general well-being. Knowing this, we realize the importance of choosing love!
Although we don’t often think about it, love is a conscious choice. We make this choice, or not, many times during the day. Every time we choose love, we benefit mentally by firing corresponding neurons in our brain, and releasing feel good neurochemicals. We benefit physically as well, by strengthening our immune system, lowering our blood pressure and improving heart health. Emotionally, we experience greater happiness, deeper meaning, and more satisfaction in our lives.
When you have a negative or angry thought, you can actually change it into a loving thought. A lot of times we use negative self talk. “I can’t believe how dumb I am.” “I am unattractive.” “I am unlovable.” Would you say these things to a friend? Of course not. You can change this negative self-talk to, “I will learn from my mistakes.” “My inner beauty is reflected on my outside as well.” and, “I am worthy of love.”
If you find yourself remembering something that made you angry in the past, ask yourself if it is worth negatively impacting your health or even empowering the person who might have made you angry? When we dredge up negatives from the past, our body responds as if it is happening right now. Our hearts beat quicker, our cheeks flush and we feel the same anger coming back. Stop there. Choose love. Take your power back and choose a different thought.
An easy shortcut to choosing love is to think of something you’re grateful for when you’re feeling angry or sad. It’s impossible to have a grateful thought and an angry thought at the same time.
Perhaps the best way to choose love is to do something for someone else. Research shows that doing for others promotes social connection and cultivates relationships. When we do something for someone else it counteracts depression, anger and anxiety. It increases our self-confidence and gives us a sense of purpose. In fact, studies have shown practicing compassion in action increases your lifespan. All the love and energy we give out, comes back to us, and the personal benefits are countless.
This is the perfect month to start choosing a loving thought over an angry thought. That is how the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement began. I found a message my six year old son, Jesse, had written on our kitchen chalkboard shortly before he was murdered in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He wrote, “Nurturing Healing Love.” I knew if his killer had been able to give–and receive love–that this tragedy would never have taken place.
At Jesse’s funeral, I told the congregation that I believed the whole tragedy started with an angry thought. And an angry thought can be changed. I asked everyone to “think about what they were thinking about,” and choose one loving thought over an angry thought every day.
Some of those in attendance told me that this one simple act has transformed their lives. Choosing to change just one angry thought into a loving thought a day, will help you feel better, will benefit those around you, and through the ripple effect will help make the world a safer, more peaceful and loving place.
Learn more about the life’s work of Scarlett Lewis and the movement that her son Jesse has inspired at jesselewischooselove.org!