2022-23 Newsletters

January 2023 - What do New Year's resolutions actually mean?
 

“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Romans 14:12

What do New Year's resolutions actually mean? Over the years and in the many different settings, I have practiced and I have seen many different forms of New Year's resolutions. For many, it's a time to restart a goal, a do-over of past failures, a new beginning, or a new way of thinking. It can be a time to get organized, a time to focus on our mental health care, or a time to just do better. But what if as Christians, we have this idea of New Year's resolutions all wrong? As I evaluate our western idea of resolutions, I have noticed that the trend or norm in our culture is to focus on individual health, wealth, and personal happiness. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get in shape, eat healthier, improve your finances, and be happy. These are all good things. But, have we ever considered a resolution that is truly lasting in terms of eternity? A resolution that, for the Christian, is truly fulfilling for the heart, mind, body, and soul?

As I studied this idea a bit more, I asked myself, did others in biblical times or do others in different cultures have this idea of New Year's resolutions or is this concept a purely western one? I was surprised to learn that for centuries Jewish believers have had a concept of New Year's resolutions, but it differs in a profound way from our own and I believe we can really learn from this. Their word for it is Cheshbon Ha’Nefesh ( מנוחת הנפש ) and it means to account for the soul, to have peace of mind, and to start the new year without past emotional burdens, especially as it relates to relationship with others and relationship with God. It is a call in the New Year to assess our behavior towards God and others. When we do this and improve upon it, we find that many other things fall into place such as improved relationships with family, friends, our community, and even with oneself. The overflow also improves overall wellness, generosity, and joy. 

What would our New Year look like if we took an account of our soul and re-evaluated our priorities by what God says is important? What if we forgave and sought forgiveness? What if we engaged more in community? Where is your treasure this year? “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” Matthew 6:21. 

Today, I implore you to ask yourself where your treasure is and how can you engage in Chesbon Ha’ Nefesh (מנוחת הנפש)? I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome!

-Leandra Couasnon, MSW, LISW

 

Past Newsletters

Last month, we discussed the benefits of intentional self-care and emphasized how physical, social, mental/emotional, and spiritual care can prevent a concern from rising into a crisis. 

This month, we'd like to continue with this theme of self-care but as it pertains to the season. Fall is a beautiful time where we can marvel at the way God has set into motion the changing of the season and how creation graciously responds. The vibrant colors, the winter preparations, the migrations, the cozy sweaters, and all things pumpkin spice. 

While all these fall descriptions may elicit warm feelings, for many the fall and upcoming winter season brings sadness, isolation, fatigue, other intense emotions, or even clinical depression. As the days grow colder and shorter sending us inside, it's important that we lean into this change and enter into this new season intentionally. We cannot ignore the changes we feel, but we can do something about them. In the same way God is preparing the earth for winter and rest, he too invites us to do the same and prepare! Here are some ways you can prepare:

-Stay connected: While it may be easier to stay warmly bundled inside, scrolling through your social media of choice or binge watching shows, these actions are actually highly isolating. Instead, get together with family and friends. Be cozy inside together playing games, watching a movie, creating a craft, decorating the home, making a meal, or reading a book together. The key is togetherness.  

-Get outside: I know it’s chilly, but did you know that fresh cold air can be invigorating and energizing to the body? If you can, stay active and allow your body to experience the change in weather and temperature. This allows our bodies to adjust just as the rest of nature is adjusting around us. Take a brisk walk or enjoy other fall activities like a pumpkin patch and apple picking. Engage your children in a nature scavenger hunt and see if they can spot that squirrel storing their food for winter. 

-Be mindful and rest: All things require balance. Time to be with and time to be alone, time to move and time to be still. While it's important to stay connected and get outside, it is equally important to rest. To rest may mean to literally close your eyes and sleep, to unplug, to meditate on a positive word, to listen to soft music while stretching, or to be still and ponder. It means something different to everyone. In this season, I encourage you to reset your compass and open the Word of God and search all the ways Jesus either rested or went off to a quiet place to be with His Father. In doing so, he mindfully rested in His Father’s restorative embrace. I implore you to follow the Lord’s example and observe a restful sabbath.

-Communicate: Like I mentioned above, the season doesn’t always make us feel the warm fuzzies. For various reasons, it can cause us to feel intense emotions. It is okay to not feel okay. What is important is that we let someone else know when we aren’t feeling okay. You are worth the time it takes to call a trusted person, pastor, family member, or friend to talk about your feelings and to be encouraged. Your MCS family is always here for you to provide support. If you, or someone you know are having thoughts of harm, please text 988 for free and confidential support 24/7 or click this link for more information https://www.ohiospf.org/.  

Lastly, let me share one of my favorite verses with you from 1 John 3:20 CEV: “But even if we don’t feel at ease, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.” Remember, there is nothing too big for God. With every season’s change is an invitation to draw nearer to the One who set it all in motion.

Leandra CouasnonMy name is Leandra Torres Couasnon and I am Madison Christian School’s new Licensed Independent Social Worker. I will be working alongside MCS’s Intervention Team and their Clinical Counselor. My role will be to provide school-wide social, emotional, and behavioral support for our students as needed. In addition to this, my goal for this year is to bolster parent communication, coordinate with community resources to meet the needs of our students, and engage our students in the classroom by providing opportunities to learn about topics such as effective communication and emotional self-regulation.

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and graduated with my Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University in 2009. I have worked in many different settings such as mental health clinics, hospitals, county support centers, hospice, and with the department of veteran’s affairs. 

I love hiking, backpacking, and all things outdoors. My husband is an Air Force Veteran and IT Specialist and we have two children attending MCS. We couldn’t be happier to be a part of this community!

I am especially excited to be here at MCS because I believe that we have a unique blessing and opportunity in the lives of our students. We are all here with a common goal to disciple and educate our children for eternity. If we teach our students “wisdom’s ways” it will lead them down straight paths (Proverbs 4:11). Please allow me to come alongside you this year and utilize the gifts and talents God has given me to support you and your child!

If you or your student want to learn more about the services I provide, have a question or a concern, or would just like to meet me, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can contact me by calling the school at 614-497-3456 and asking to speak with me, or email me at [email protected]. Your confidentiality is of utmost importance so please do not include any personal or sensitive information when emailing.

Mrs. De La Cruz
 
Hi, everyone!

My name is Mrs. De La Cruz, and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. My job is to provide mental and emotional health support for students as needed. This means supporting students in the development of healthy thinking and emotional self-regulation, either individually, in groups, or in classroom settings.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” I believe God cares about our mental and emotional health and provides us opportunities to grow healthy and strong in these areas.

Sometimes counseling looks like figuring out how to navigate a mental or emotional concern. Other times, it’s simply having a space to problem-solve or talk something through. If you or your student want to learn more about the services I provide, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can contact me by calling the school and asking to speak with me, or email me at [email protected] to arrange a call (please do not include personal/sensitive information via email).