Friday, September 24, 2010

Average Girl

I wrote this awhile ago---no time to write something new this week....
I want to dedicate this to Mrs. D and all those who encourage young people! Little did she know I'd remember her remark over 25 years later! Think about that, don't hesitate to say something nice to a child or teenager! You may never know the difference it will make in their life!



Photo: Me @ 15 years old. Are we having fun yet? I'm at Disney World with my sis and her boyfriend here--- really!

Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

I’ve heard that the Native Americans when they killed a buffalo would use every part of it and not much, if anything was wasted. I think that God does this with our lives and the seemingly “wasted” or “useless” parts, sometimes even very painful parts, can become useful lessons to us and others. After all the Bible does say, All things work together for the good of those who love Him.... Romans 8:28. It doesn’t say, some things but all. So with these things in mind, I’d like to share with you some of my experiences dating while I was in high school. There are many things I regret and I’m thankful for God’s forgiveness and I hope I can keep young girls from making the mistakes I did but I also hope they’ll be inspired to guard their purity and imitate the things I did right.

In high school I was in Band. I want to tell you about some “band guys”. The first “band guy” I want to tell you about is: Christian, his real name! Christian wasted no time asking me out. School had not even started and we were at “Band camp”. It was my first year in band and I was a sophomore. Christian was a senior and he played the tuba. He was a Baptist and he said to me “My name’s Christian and that’s what I am…a “born again” Christian!” Do we use that term too loosely? Are we taking “the Lord’s name in vain”? Then I said to Christian, “I’m a Christian too.” [I thought I was because I believed in Christ and went to church but I had not realized my sin and asked for Christ’s forgiveness] We Presbyterians [what I was] don’t use that term “born again” that much, though, too fanatical sounding! But isn’t that the term Jesus uses? “You must be born again…” John 3:7

Christian liked to “make out”. I thought it was OK too, no one told me otherwise. I wish someone had. My dad had said when I was about 11 or 12 “don’t let anyone make you do anything.” Something like that, anyways, I knew what he meant: “Wait until you get married.” But, WHERE to “draw the line”- I had no clue! I think my dad saw that I inherited he and Mom’s good looks. The gifts God gives can be used for good or for evil; I’ve tried using my looks for my own selfish reasons; to be popular or to have a boyfriend. This is not fulfilling. It is better to imitate the godly and beautiful women in the Bible like Sarah and Esther, among others. God has created many beautiful people but it’s only that “inner beauty” which glorifies God that counts. (1Peter 3:3-4, Prov.31:30). As my grandma used to say, “Pretty is as pretty does.”

Dad wasn’t too happy about me having a “boyfriend”, it was the first one that he knew about. But he didn’t have to worry long because Christian broke up with me in a few weeks…I think he found someone else. This guy was a real heart breaker, he must have been cute. Uh…well…no… Christian was just “average” looking. He was just a “sweet talker.” I got no explanation…just dumped. Why? Could it be that I’m not pretty enough? I thought it must be my personality, or lack thereof. I was too quiet or too dumb? What!? I finally realized something: Christian had a string of girlfriends; he was called “the heart-throb of the band”. The first one, that I knew about, was Christine, a pretty blonde, she also played flute. Her and Christian “went steady” for a long time. Then there was Cathleen [she played flute and then was also a flag, like me] who he went out with for a while. Cathleen told me that Christine, who was not a “Christian” and never claimed to be, had pressured Christian and pressured Christian to have sex with her. This reminds me of how Delilah did Samson in the book of Judges chapter 16, in order to find out his weakness. Christian had finally given in, much like Samson. [he lost his virginity to Christine] When Cathleen was telling me this I didn’t think to ask her what happened when SHE went out with Christian [also for a long time –and after Christine]. Cathleen could have been called “the heartthrob of the band” also! She also wasn’t very attractive. I mean, she wasn’t ugly; she was just average looking. According to some standards, though, she was overweight. I considered myself overweight because I compared myself to overly thin models in magazines. But I actually was not overweight. Did Christian break up with me because I wasn’t as pretty as Christine or Cathleen? No…I began to think it was because I didn’t DO what they did…

After Cathleen went out with Christian for a long time, she started dating William, he played the trombone, was in the honor society, on the year book staff and he had a car AND a motorcycle! He was much better looking than Christian. “You’re doing better Cathleen,” I thought. He was a junior. Cathleen was a sophomore like me and she was in my English class. That Spring [‘82] Cathleen and William were going to go to the Jr./Senior Prom. But they had a fight and Cathleen didn’t want to go with him. This is where I enter the picture, to complete the “love triangle”. How do I get involved in these messes? By being insecure and just wanting a boyfriend, that’s how! I guess in the heat of Cathleen and William’s argument William said, “I’ll just ask Susan to the Prom then.” Why was I never was told what this argument was about?
So, Cathleen said, “I’ll ask her for you!”
We discussed it in English class; “Do you want to go to the Prom with William?” she asked me.
“You don’t care if I do?” I said.
“No” she said. William had already ordered Cathleen’s corsage and it was yellow, so I had to get a yellow dress to match it.




I already knew the horn section had been talking about me. I think that’s why William picked me. And I was, “clueless”…perfect! I was told by one of them that they had voted and picked me, out of all the girls in band, as the one with the best back side. They probably had a list of other girls with the best…. The one who told me this, also tried impressing me with his knowledge: he said my Sassoon jeans logo [the “OK” sign] was the hooker’s signal in Europe. Then he tried complementing me by saying I’d make a good hooker! That was not a complement! It wasn’t even true- how could I make a good hooker? I wouldn’t know what to do. I was a virgin. Weren’t all the girls in high school? Since I was insecure I liked this attention, however at the same time, I was also disappointed that no boys seemed to like me because of who I was on the inside.

William and I “went steady” for a short while. But I was beginning to realize something: It seemed I was being used. Cathleen would tell me everything about my dates with William! He was telling her to make her jealous! Some man at Denny’s where William and I went after a movie complimented William on his date, saying I was “pretty”. William told Cathleen and Cathleen told me in English class on Monday. When I broke up with William he said, “I was going to break up with you soon anyways.” That was especially mean because I didn’t realize why until later. I thought, “Gee William, what did I do?”



It was OK, because William’s mom made up for that mean comment later. She called me about a month or so after that. She was inviting me to a surprise party for William’s birthday. I told her the whole story: she said to take whatever Cathleen said “with a grain of salt”. She said William still liked me. I told her “I don’t think so…he’s still stuck on Cathleen.” I will NEVER forget what she said next,
“Susan! You have more class in your little pinky than Cathleen has in her whole body!” Thanks, Mrs. D! You see, mom’s DON’T like those “Delilah” girls who take away their son’s innocence! Did I go to William’s party? No! He could have his easy- average girl! Rachel Scott who was martyred at Columbine High School in 1999 had written on the back cover of her journal [which got a bullet hole in it] “I WON’T BE LABELED AS AVERAGE!” She wasn’t. She had class.



D.C. Talk (back in the day) sang about the kind of girl they were looking for : “Well, I’m looking for a girl who’s virtuous. ‘Cause God’s laid it on my heart to search for this…The kinda girl you meet behind the doors of the church, God will bring her to me so I don’t have to search…‘Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, A woman who fears the Lord she ain’t playin’…” [“That kinda Girl” from the “Free at Last” album].

There’s one more “band guy” I want to tell you about. I do have one good example: Mike. He was new to Band and our school when I was in the 11th grade. I was a flag to start off with this year, then a rifle. I should have stuck with flute or flag though- I was a lousy rifle! We were always reminded of how many points they take off our score when I dropped my rifle at competition. I couldn’t take the stress! I was always trying to get my grades up too, but I didn’t learn to work in middle school and it was hard trying to develop good study habits this late in my schooling. I wanted to get good grades but I lacked the discipline to do it. I was a “good girl” and never tried drugs, so I reached for the rocky road ice cream instead! I put on about 5-10 pounds, which is horrible when you’re already an insecure teen! One night we were leaving band practice and Mike wanted to talk to me. “Here we go again,” I probably thought. “Now what does he want?” It seems the trombone section (some of the same guys were in it) was still enamored with me (at least certain parts of me). Mike said “Don’t wear those shorts again…I don’t want to hear them talking like that about you anymore…I won’t even repeat it.” It was because of those few pounds; my shorts [already pretty short] were now way too short! I was impressed and thanked him. I got rid of those shorts. This is how guys should behave.

One night I received some “flack” for my good reputation. It was Halloween and the band was in a parade and we had to dress up. My friend, Liz [a rifle like me], was going to be the Devil. I didn’t know what to be, the whole “Halloween thing” made me uncomfortable. I wasn’t a Christian yet, but I THOUGHT I was and I was actually a great actress! So I decided to be an angel. I should have just put a “kick me” sign on my back! Liz thought this was great: she said it just fit both our personalities and she was going to be opposite me in formation in the parade. Well, that evening after the parade a few guys joked, “It’s time for our virgin sacrifice!” and indicated I was it.

I hope I’ve inspired you to not be average. Be extraordinary. Here is a song that goes with this, written by three extraordinary sisters who make up the band Barlow Girl:













"Average Girl"

So what I'm not your average girl
I don't meet the standards of this world
Chasing after boys is not my thing
See I'm waiting for a wedding ring

No more dating
I'm just waiting
Like sleeping beauty
My prince will come for me
No more dating I'm just waiting
'Cause God is writing my love story

Boys are bad that's certainly not true
'Cause God's preparing one for you
If you get tired waiting till he comes
Gods arms are the perfect place to run

Sleep that's the only thing
For me 'cause when I sleep Gods
Preparing one for me


Recommended reading:
I Kissed Dating Good-bye by Joshua Harris
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chains

Well, school has started, Sarah’s gone to the Dominican Republic. Ian, Claire and Lydia’s soccer has started with Bob coaching Lydia’s team which has her friend, Brooke on it. Ian also decided to do cross-country at Peach County High. Claire started piano with a great teacher I found through a friend. Lydia and I went to sell cookie dough a couple of weeks ago for her school and found a great, also Christian guitar player who will give Ian and Lydia lessons on Mondays (they don’t have school on Mondays in Peach County) Needless to say I haven’t had much time to blog!

I have been writing, though, about my brother’s and addictions (theirs, mine, ours). It’s called, “Chains” and I’d like to share that with you. I think I can probably add to this (blog) once a month, we will see…

Here is my speech for 5th graders in the C.H.A.M.P.S.(Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety) program.It is similar to the DARE program. Officer Lundy wants me to come and share this with them in a couple weeks! I can’t wait (but I am also nervous- pray for me- this is a long speech and I want to memorize it mostly)



CHAINS

I want to talk to you today about addiction. Do you know what that means? Addiction is being abnormally dependent on something that is mentally or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs)
When you are addicted to a substance or maybe something you do all the time, it means you have an abnormally strong craving for that substance or behavior.

At the HBO Addiction Project site it says that over 23 million Americans suffer from some sort of addiction…

You can be addicted to a lot of things…good or bad…My father-in-law was addicted to alcohol for many years, now he’s not had a drink for over 34 years, but you could not get him to give up his coffee, daily work-out or books…he’s exchanged bad habits which caused him to become addicted for good habits that free him. I’ve been addicted to many things; I couldn’t lose my extra “baby-weight” for years because I was addicted to sweets! It wasn’t until 2007- 2008 after my doctor really got on my case and said I was going to be diabetic that I finally started to slowly lose the weight…I lost 40lbs. But, you know what? The holidays came and we were driving down to Fla. to see my husband Bob’s family and there was a Russell Stover’s Candy Outlet! Do you like chocolate? I love chocolate! All this chocolate and so cheap! I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! Well, I gained back 10 lbs, at least I didn’t gain it all back and the next Spring and Summer came, I lost it again, but then when the holidays came, it came back again. So now I’m on this yo-yo thing- when I give up some sugar- I can lose the weight- but when I start on it again, I’ll gain it back…This is a merry-go round I want to get off!




I have a cat named Po, after the Kung Foo Panda and Po was addicted to the canned cat food I gave him every day, he’d wait at the door for me to come feed it to him, then he’d dig in and not let any of my other cats have any! Then, he got very fat! Just like the Kung Foo Panda! I took him to the vet because I thought he had worms, his little tummy was so bloated. The vet said, he did not have worms but that I should wean him (gradually) off the wet food----boy was that a hard thing to do! I’d shut him in the basement, as soon as I opened the door he’d bolt out, so I had to shut him in the basement bathroom. He did eventually slim down and I started letting him have the canned food again. But guess who’s always jumping up on the box by the door, looking in the window? Jumping on my car when I come into the garage, as if demanding his wet food? You guessed it- Po!

Paul, the apostle said in the Bible “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

Have you heard of Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash or Marilyn Monroe? What do they all have in common?
They were all addicted…

I Googled “famous people who died from drugs or alcohol”
There are many lists like this and you can try, if you are allowed on the computer to google them yourself. On Wikipedia there was a list so long….20 people and that was just those whose last name started with an A! And these are just the famous, how many more just “average” people die from drugs and alcohol everyday!?







Judy Garlan (PICTURED) 1922–1969 from “The Wizard of Oz” 47 years old

Jimi Hendrix 1942–1970 famous guitarist & musician- 28 years old!

Michael Jackson 1958–2009 50 years old

Janis Joplin 1943–1970 Musician -Heroin overdose. ONLY 27 years old!




Heath Ledger (PICTURED) 1979–2008 Actor in “The Dark Night”, “A Knight’s Tale”, “Ten Things I Hate About You” ETC 28 years old!























Norma Mortenson, aka Marilyn Monroe (PICTURED) 1926–1962 Actress "probable suicide" 36 years old!! Why was this famous woman who seemed to have “everything” so sad?
I have feelings too. I am still human. All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent. Marilyn Monroe
The thing I want more than anything else? I want to have children. I used to feel for every child I had, I would adopt another. Marilyn Monroe
She also said being who she was, was a heavy load to carry, especially when one is “tired, hurt and bewildered.”




Elvis Presley (PICTURED)- Prescription drug abuse severely compromised his health, and he died suddenly in 1977 at the age of 42.

River Phoenix 1970–1993 Actor Heroin and cocaine overdose. He was the oldest sibling of actors Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix Liberty Phoenix and Summer Phoenix.
River Phoenix's brother Joaquin Phoenix (he's still alive)played Johnny Cash in the movie "Walk the Line".








Well here’s three people I bet you haven’t heard of: Paul Hewitt, Tim Hewitt and Mark Hewitt - they are my brothers….They all died as a result of their different/various addictions.


Paul with Mom when he had Hodgkins Disease (cancer of the lymph nodes) 1982



My brother, Paul was a very outgoing and fun loving. He was a successful business-man and once worked for Georgia Fronteiere who owned the Los Angeles Rams. He got into trouble because of an addiction he had and he went to jail, then to prison. He died of a heart attack in prison in 2002. He was just 45… …







Tim holding Teddy- 1990






















Tim was my oldest brother.There were seven of us and I am the youngest. Tim knew all about trees and all kinds of plants, he was so smart he was put ahead in school. But it’s not what you have, what “gift” you’ve been given, but it’s what you do with the “gift” God gives you! Jesus tells a story about this called, “The Parable of the Talents” (Matthew 25). Tim had a landscaping business. He loved motorcycles. He started on drugs very young, as a teen, and got in trouble at school for selling them. He went through various periods, some when he seemed to be doing really well. I think he tried/wanted to get off drugs. But the chains had him bound. My Mom and Dad met a friend of his, who gave them his card…it said “Sobriety isn’t for Sissy’s” Sobriety is not drinking, his friend was, no doubt involved in Alcoholics Anonymous or perhaps Narcotics Anonymous - where Tim had gone on occasion. I believe he was “reaching out” for help…but it was too late for Tim. He died the day after my birthday in 2005 from heroine addiction, he was 53. It was too late for Tim but it’s not too late for you guys.


Mark and his girlfriend, Linda (early 70s)



















Now let me tell you about my brother, Mark: I have five brothers! They are all very different! Mark loved to read. He wasn’t “into” dogs, cats and other animals like Paul and Tim who always had a few pets. He was a quiet man. This earned him the nick-name, “Undercover brother”. Mark had a degree in Psychology from California State University but he was unable to find a job in his field, he was also very smart and put ahead in school. But Mark had BiPolar Disorder- it’s a condition that makes you go back and forth from being in a sort of “high” and happy mood to being very very depressed (sad). He used alcohol quite a bit, but wasn’t really into the hard drugs like Tim. This is often called "Self- medicating" and would sometimes ease the symptoms of Bi Polar but in the long run it worsens it. In young people, Alcohol often leads to the more dangerous drug use and just alcohol can be as deadly as drugs, as you’ll learn from my brother Mark’s story….The Bible says in the book of Proverbs;

Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is lead stray by it is not wise. Proverbs 20:1

Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaints?
Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
Those who linger over wine,
who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup,
when it goes down smoothly!
In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange sights
and your mind imagine confusing things.
You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
lying on top of the rigging.
"They hit me," you will say, "but I'm not hurt!
They beat me, but I don't feel it!
When will I wake up
so I can find another drink?"
Proverbs 23: 29-35

Now Mark was able to hold down a job as a security officer, however, he was homeless as a result of his various problems. He lived (slept) in his car, was the member of a health club where he showered. In April of  2006 just six months after Tim died, Mark had a heart attack at a hospital where he was being treated for depression. He was 52….I write a Christmas letter, usually every year and it usually has a theme, some main point..In 2008 I wrote about my brothers and the hope we have in Christ and I believe they (each of my brothers), eventually turned to God. So I wrote…
Paul was imprisoned…now he is free.
Tim was battling his addictions…now he is at peace.
Mark was homeless …now he is home.
The were all chained and now they’re free!





Now I want to tell you more about Johnny Cash! I’ve always liked Johnny Cash. I used to listen to the funny song called, “A Boy named Sue” when I was young, but I wasn’t that much “into” Country Music. Recently while reading more about him I’ve become a great Johnny Cash fan. He is one who overcame his addictions (broke free of his chains) instead of dying from them but he did not do this alone. His help came from God and the people who loved him:

Johnny Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) quit using drugs in 1968, after a spiritual epiphany in a cave in Tennessee, when he attempted to commit suicide while under the heavy influence of drugs. He descended deeper into the cave, trying to lose himself and "just die", when he passed out on the floor. He reported to be exhausted and feeling at the end of his rope when he felt God's presence in his heart and managed to struggle out of the cave (despite the exhaustion) by following a faint light and slight breeze. To him, it was his own rebirth. June Carter (who was to later become his wife) and her parents moved into Cash's mansion for a month to help him conquer his addiction.

In 1980, Cash became the Country Music’s Hall of Fame’s youngest living inductee at age forty-eight.

The song I think I like the most by Johnny is called, “Man in Black” In which he said he wore black on behalf of the poor and beaten down, (Like my brother, Mark) on behalf of "the prisoner who has long paid for his crime"(Like my brother, Paul), and on behalf of those who have been betrayed by age or drugs. (Like my brother Tim) he also wore it because of War, 'in mournin' for the lives that could have been.'
The song goes on to say; I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me……

I cried the first time I watched and heard the video of a song called Hurt sung by Johnny Cash because it reminded me of the pain my brother Tim’s death caused in my whole family- it caused arguments, sadness and yes…hurt! (It was written by the band called “Nine Inch Nails”) IT IS CONSIDERED Johnny Cash’s EPITAPH which is a message on a grave stone- because Johnny died shortly after recording it.
It goes:
I hurt myself today to see if I still feel- I focus on the pain, the only thing that's real- the needle tears a hole the old familiar sting- try to kill it all away but I remember everything- what have I become? my sweetest friend- everyone I know goes away in the end- you could have it all my empire of dirt
I will let you down I will make you hurt
I wear my crown of thorns on my liar's chair full of broken thoughts I cannot repair beneath the stain of time the feeling disappears you are someone else, I am still right here- ----
The last line of the song is:
If I could start again a million miles away I would keep myself I would find a way….

You see, Children, even though Johnny Cash got off the drugs and had many, many years of a happy life…he still regretted having caused the pain and hurt his addiction had caused.
What I’ve discovered about most of those who’ve been freed from their “chains of addiction” is that they’ve come to the end of themselves and turned to God for help. This is what Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Steps are all about! Each step is a principal from the Bible, only it’s reworded. You can read about my journey with the 12 Steps right here.

You must Choose (Make a decision):
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days…Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I looked up “Chains” in the Bible.
In the Bible (Old Testament) when you worked for the King (like Joseph or Daniel), he often put a chain of gold around your neck…In the New Testament Jesus says he came to set the captives free…In the end of the Bible (Revelation) Satan (the Devil) is chained and then thrown in the fiery pit! Don’t get locked up in the Devil’s chains! Choose the gold chain of the KING….



Abraham Lincoln gave a famous speech called The Gettysburg Address, it was delivered by Lincoln during the Civil War, on November 19, 1863 at the dedication of the Solder’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania…He talks of the men who fought and died, they were so young! They died honorably…How much more would these people who died from their addictions want their dishonorable deaths to be remembered for something? What would they say to you children, if they could stand before you here today?

Abraham Lincoln said….”that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain (without a purpose) -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” It’s often said that the American soldier died for our freedom and it is true…Lets consider and learn from those who died from drugs and alcohol and not become entangled in the chains they were in and let’s have another, “birth of freedom”



And Johnny also sang:
I have been ungrateful, I've been unwise.
Restless from the cradle, now I realize.
It's so hard to see the rainbow through glasses dark as these. Maybe I'll be able from now on, on my knees.

Oh I am weak. Oh I know I am vain.
Take this weight from me, Let my spirit be unchained.

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces. (Psalm 107:13)

 After my speech I said this: Tamara Lowe's One Minute Sermon



Begin your journey to freedom today, by focusing on One Thing !