Friday, November 19, 2010

A deliberately wasted life- (Henry) Charles Bukowski

"The demon of intemperance ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and of generosity." Lincoln's Temperance Address, Springfield, Illinois, February 22, 1842.

“Charles Bukowski, the alcoholic and womanizing US author, used blunt prose to write about society's downtrodden”

With all due respect to my father in law –to each his own….I was curious when he mentioned this poet Charles Bukowski and a book called “Love is a Mad Dog from Hell” My first thought was, “God is love and this man probably knows nothing of God or love” and I was right! (It happens once in a while :-) I researched and read some about him.

This verse reminds me of Bukowski: In the last days….men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3: 2-5

To me, there is just so much to read! And stuff I haven’t even got to yet! (Some Shakespeare, Milton, Plato, Homer etc) My daughter (Sarah) said recently, “I’m only going to read classics” with that she read “Ana Karina”. It seems a crime to waste my time (hey, that rhymes, I should be a poet!) on authors like Bukowski. I think I’m done with this guy.

Sometimes I just ponder: Some people are so talented/ or beautiful that they are successful in their “art” despite their deep deep emotional, spiritual, physical and mental problems! Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon (although my brother Chris would most likely disagree- he was messed up! “The Beatles are bigger than Jesus” WRONG!), Janis Joplin, Jimmi Hendrix ….the list goes on and on…..But what could they have been? Had they surrendered to Christ and been healed? I believe in the case of Michael and Elvis (from what I’ve heard) they are in heaven! They received Christ’s salvation for eternity- but here on earth, they did NOT seek Him first (I think they sought man's approval first) and achieve the abundant life God wants for us right NOW. We can have the abundant life He wants to give us! John 10:10

Especially pathetic (so so sad!) is a video of Bukowski and his wife on YouTube; “Bukowski, gets pissed” (no, don’t waste your time watching it)…
After listening to that and his poem, “Bluebird” on my Father-in-law’s facebook I left this comment: Listened to some of him today…so so sad! God is Love- Bukowski is a dog from Hell- I’m sorry but there’s no blue bird inside of him…a vulture? A raven, maybe but not a blue bird! (in my/our flesh dwells no good thing) IMHO

This man should encourage a whole lot of writers! He encourages me! Well, if he can get published...Why shouldn’t I? People should just write! (If they feel so led) It’s bound to be better than this drunks work!
“Not their fault? whose fault? mine?…but the shame of a deliberately wasted life among so many deliberately wasted lives is” Yeah, Amen Hank (short for Henry)
Any one of my deceased brothers, especially, Tim or Mark could write better than him- “God made a lot of poets but not a lot of poetry” I wish I had some of what they wrote! But some whore probably took them.(Please excuse my language it is in reference to one of Bukowski's poems)

Some times I think it so ironic. The photos of Marilyn every where! John Lennon’s music and don’t get me wrong- I do love most of it! They are household words! But do you ever wonder “where” they are? They just may be burning in Hell as we here on earth idolize them! I don’t know where they are- but it’s just a thought to ponder….

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Jesus (Matthew 16:26)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Peter Marshall and To Drink or not to Drink?

The Bible is not against drinking. The Bible only teaches to “not be drunk with wine which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” Eph.4:18. Jesus turned the water into wine. Some fundamentalists teach that the wine back then had little or no alcoholic content but then why would Paul have to say not to get drunk? But I chose to totally abstain from it so as not to put “a stumbling block or obstacle” (Rom.14:13) in anyone’s way especially because this has been a problem in both our families.

There’s a great sermon by Peter Marshall called, “Mr. Jones Meet The Master” which is also about drinking (at least it starts out that way). If you still don’t know who Peter Marshall is, let me tell you: He emigrated from Scotland in 1927. He studied here to become a minister (Presbyterian). His first pastorate was right here in Georgia! (Atlanta). Here he met Catherine; she was attending Agnes Scott College. At the age of 35 he became the pastor of the historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. (this was Lincoln’s church). He then later became chaplain of the Senate until his death from a heart attack at the age of 46. (1949). His wife Catherine Marshall (she wrote the book “Christy” which the TV series was based on) then became a writer: first editing his sermons (the book is called “Mr. Jones, Meet the Master” with that sermon in it, among others). Then writing the story of her husband’s life; “A Man Called Peter”. This is the book that I got from my parents many years ago, it had been my Grandma Hewitt’s. My grandmother was also Scottish and Presbyterian, of course. She died when I was 5 years old. I had seen this book on our bookshelf when I was a child and I thought it was a book about the apostle Peter. In 1999 I finally read this book which set off a chain reaction; I believe I’ve about read every thing Peter and Catherine ever wrote! (the nonfiction at least!) Bob even found me a copy of “Mr. Jones, Meet the Master” on E-bay which is signed by her!

Mr. Jones Meet the Master…
In this sermon (“Mr. Jones Meet the Master”) Peter Marshall starts out at a dinner in Washington “attended by many men prominent in government and business” and refers to himself in the 2nd person as “the minister” (I think it’s cool-I may try that some time- “Mom” that’s me!). “Mr. Jones-immediately to the minister’s left-was a big name in steel. He was-quite obviously-greatly enjoying the champagne.”. “And then, suddenly noticing the still untouched glass before the minister’s place- ‘Say, you haven’t touched yours…why not?’”

The minister asks him if he really wants to know, because it may take him a little while to answer, or if he was just making conversation. Mr. Jones says, “Say, now you do have my curiosity aroused. I’m asking because I’d really like to know. Everybody I know drinks. What objection could there possibly be to a little champagne?”

So the minister tells him of the “steady stream of people who need help” coming to his study at the church. He continues “Their lives are all messed up, and I guess you’d be surprised to know how often liquor is involved in the mess.” “They look at me across my desk, and calmly…usually these days, without any sense of guilt or conviction of sin at all…tell me things awful enough to rock a man on his heels.” He says he doesn’t have to delve very deep into any of these stories to find that liquor in some form has “aided and abetted this moral chaos.” “I believe it’s one of the most potent weapons the Devil has in America today.” “I can’t say it would be any sin for me to drink that glass of champagne. No, but I know I shall not be able to speak with authority on that whole question, unless I myself have absolutely refused to compromise. That’s the reason why I won’t touch it.” Later in the conversation Mr. Jones says, “Say, though, if you really think things in this country are that bad, what’s the answer?”

The minister answers; “There’s only one answer that I know of –God…People like you and me becoming personally acquainted with Him. When a man cultivates a personal relationship with the Chief, there’s no life too much of a mess for Him to straighten out-and keep straightened out-no problem He can’t handle.”

Mr. Jones replies, “I’m a hard-boiled sinner, parson, but somehow I’d like to hear more. How about having lunch with me sometime- say Tuesday?”.
“The minister pulled his little engagement calendar out of his breast pocket…
‘Tuesday?’… ‘Tuesday it is.’ So began a series of events that led a big business man to Christ-that utterly and completely changed his life.” Yes! I love it-that is how someone becomes a Christian! It’s not by getting baptized. It doesn’t come from us exploring other religions, although that’s perfectly O.K., one does not become a Christian until he is “born again” (John 3:5).

Friday, October 22, 2010

An Unquiet Mind

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty. 2 Cor 4:2

Well, whew, it’s been busy over here at the Seven Story House. We once again have had some toddlers running around…such fun! They’re the one year old and two year old sons of a friend- a joy and a challenge, as probably all children are- I know mine were and are!

I’ve had many ideas of what to write here swarming around in my head and I have a limited amount of time to write….I’ve decided to write about why (the swarm in my head) that is…I think it’s because I’m BiPolar and have what Kay Redfield Jamison PHD, calls, “An Unquiet Mind”.

I’ve always just been straightforward in my writing, I don’t beat around the bush, I call a spade, a spade. I love Joyce Meyer (who is also straightforward) and I listen to her CDs about everyday, when I’m driving around to pick up my kids or working out in my basement. A few months ago, she sent an offer in the mail of a DVD of her testimony; it’s about her being sexually, verbally, mentally and physically abused by her dad. I highly recommend this DVD or any of her materials! In this offer came an usual book mark- it was transparent- made of plastic – you could SEE through it- and it says, THE POWER OF TRANSPARENCY- at the bottom is a verse from the book of Revelation, “They overcame him (the enemy) by…the word of their testimony….” (12:11) Just as Joyce does and Kay, I’m hoping my testimony will help someone else. I once spoke with a Christian singer who had shared that God healed him of BiPolar and he was able to go off medication--- well, I just hope and pray no BiPolar person hears this, goes off his medication and dies! I said, it was fine how this man shared HIS testimony, but he should add that God doesn’t heal everyone the same way and perhaps he could say he met a woman in Warner Robins Georgia who was healed through medication. I feel as though, instead of being “out of control”, not sleeping etc. my “Unquiet Mind” is “harnessed”, so to speak and I can better use this controlled “fire” to glorify God! I hope and pray so! I’m so happy that I’m not what I was when untreated! I'm glad I can say as Lewis Carroll (“Alice in Wonderland”) said, “I can't go back to yesterday - because I was a different person then.” Sleeping well is really great too! “He gives His beloved sleep” Ps. 127

Kay Redfield Jamison says, “I have no idea what the long- term effects of discussing such issues so openly will be on my personal and professional life, but, whatever the consequences, they are bound to be better than continuing to be silent. I’m tired of hiding, tired of misspent and knotted energies, tired of hypocrisy, and tired of acting as though I have something to hide. One is what one is, and the dishonesty of hiding behind a degree, or a title, or any manner or collection of words, is still exactly that: dishonest.”

Father, cleanse me from twisted thinking and deceptive ways so that I will come to love truth and reflect it in my thoughts, in my actions and in my words. Give me the courage to speak the truth, the selflessness to relinquish concern about pleasing people. But let me speak truth only in love. Catherine Marshall and Leonard LeSourd, “My Personal Prayer Diary”

Lord, as Your light of understanding penetrates my unconsciousness , I am discovering how much “acceptance” of dishonesty has crept on me unawares. I have not always been vigilant against deception, in fact, have sometimes condoned it in others when I saw my own desires mirrored in them.
Thank-you Lord, for making it clear that it is only as I stand firmly for open honesty in my personal life shall I be free to confront dishonesty wherever I find it. Catherine Marshall and Leonard LeSourd, “My Personal Prayer Diary”

'But I don't want to go among mad people,' said Alice. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the cat. 'We're all mad here.'
Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland"

Here is my most recent post about Bipolar Disorder: Monsters

My first book is finally out! Get it on Amazon here:   The Seven Story Tree

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


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)


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 !

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Are You Pursuing?

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…Psalm 42:1-2

I was sharing something at our small group once about how I dealt with a certain situation. We were doing a series by Andy Stanley called “Take It to the Limit” about having “margins” in your life, as opposed to spending all your money, using all your time etc. We were on the session titled “A Time to Run” about “fleeing sexual immorality”. I shared that once (a long time ago…at different church than where we are now) I was uncomfortable with a man at church that kept winking at me and how I dealt with that. After praying about it (I also actually talked to an older Christian woman about it too) I decided to simply avoid eye contact with him. I didn’t have to do this for a long time, like never look at him ever again, but for a while and when I started to acknowledge him again, he stopped the winking and the uncomfortable feeling I had around him went away. Now what I didn’t share is that I enjoyed this affirmation from a good-looking man. He also seemed a very serious Christian and I don’t know that he meant anything bad by his winking at all, perhaps it was nothing. It was just me. God seems to always be reminding me to not desire the praise of man, over His praise. Not long after this incident I was reading, A.W. Tozer’s, The Pursuit of God, and as I read it (esp. the part I’ll quote later) I felt God’s love and approval and wept and I was so thankful to God for the unique ways He shows me His love!

Reading my Mom’s old prayer journals have made me think it would be beneficial for all Christians to keep such a prayer/spiritual journal. Also it seems to show me what really matters when it all boils down…what really matters when it’s all said and done…what really matters after we’re gone…Mom wasn’t perfect…far from it….she would drive me nuts with her criticisms…we argued politics…House-keeping....raising kids….bed time…too much sugar….spankings….ETC. I often felt she was jealous…insecure…prideful…So am I and so have I been. Hopefully, as Christians we recognize these things and learn how to have less of these negative traits and grow more Christ-like as we age. Mom kept reading her Bible and praying- so she kept growing til the end. And I’m happy to say that in her last years Mom and I declared a truce and enjoyed and even closer relationship than we ever had before. When I read her journals, I can see that she was trying so hard to please God and He knew that and He honored that… Like, for instance an entry of my Mom’s I shared yesterday (her birthday) “Father God I praise Your Holy Name. I know that You are God. Fill me with Your Spirit. May I trust You more. Make me obedient to Your will Lord. I cannot do it alone. My body is so weak that I fall by the wayside. And yet Lord, I feel that in many ways I am stronger than I feel. Thank-you for this time alone, may it become a more regular time spent alone with You & Your Word.” Mom 8-18-82

In chapter 8 of A.W. Tozer’s, The Pursuit of God, titled Restoring the Creator-Creature Relation, after Tozer talks about Eli and his sons and how they failed in honoring God and how that resulted in their tragic end (I Samuel 2 & 4), Tozer says, “Now over and against this set almost any Bible character who honestly tried to glorify God in his earthly walk. See how God winked at weakness and over looked failures as He poured on His servants grace and blessing untold. Let it be Abraham, Jacob, David, Daniel, Elijah or whom you will; honor followed honor as harvest the seed. The man of God (or woman of God) set his (or her) heart to exalt God above all; God accepted his (or her) intention as fact and acted accordingly. Not perfection, but holy intention made all the difference.”

How about you? Whose “wink” are you seeking? I pray we’d have this “holy intention” Lord…Let us seek to honor You above all else…..Amen

2015- I'm so excited!  My first book is out! It's called, The Seven Story Tree; A Book of Poetry

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pray about Everything!

Well, my kids are back to school, except Teddy, my college student at UGA, is home for a week as his lease ended for last year’s apartment and his lease for the new apartment doesn’t start until next week. Sarah, 23, has a month (until September 7th) before she leaves for the Dominican Republic- for the nine month G.A.P. program with Score International This is kinda like Bible/language School and she'll also be working in a clinic (She is a nurse). She is going to be fluent in Spanish when she returns home next May!

Lately God has been stressing to me the importance of prayer, especially, in every little detail of my life, and I mean “little”! Like change at Taco Bell! This was my status on Monday: !...I paid $15 for $5 worth of food at Taco Bell...I was in the drive thru, gave her a 20 and she gave me back a 5! Went in, had to wait while they counted the drawer and they said it came out right! This girl is stowing her extra cash somewhere?

My “new” status is: Been thinking it over; like I should have on Monday…“Did I really give her a ten?”; we went to Kohls, but didn’t buy anything….we went to Old Navy- but we went over the amount I took out of the ATM for Lydia’s clothes- so I used my debit card…then the horrible truth dawned on me! The haircut! I used a 20 to pay for Lydia’s haircut and it was $9.95! I need to apologize to a lot of people…
Had I “paused for prayer” I might have realized I DID give her a 10 and NOT a 20…I forgot these great verses; “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20 Had I not “lost it” then, I would not have to “eat crow” like I do now…having blabbed about it on facebook and to the Taco Bell Company(on their website) ETC. It makes me think of a poster I used to have with a little mouse eating on it, it said, “Lord, may my words always be sweet…for tomorrow I may have to eat them!”

I “lost” something else on Monday; God’s precious peace, “which passes all understanding” and comes as the result of prayer! It says in Philippians: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Ch 4, verses 6 & 7. And what does it say about WHAT or WHEN in the Bible? Paul says here, “in all things” (BIG things & little things) and in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, he says, “pray without ceasing”. Oh, that I had heeded my own status Sunday! Which was, Psalm 55:17: Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.

I have a collection of books about prayer: some I’ve read, some I’ve not. Awhile ago I read, “With Christ in the School of Prayer” by Andrew Murray. I’ve found a beautiful old copy too (first addition perhaps? No date in it!) It has Easter Lilies on the cover. I’ve read, “Adventures in Prayer” by Catherine Marshall, “Praying is Dangerous Business” (a sermon) by Peter Marshall, “How to Pray” by R.A. Torey and some others. I bought a big book of seven E.M. Bounds books on Prayer in 1998 (when I had four little children and was home-schooling). Now, with more time I hope to really read it (I have skimmed it). But good books do us no good, unless we read them and do them! “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 I have a Mother’s Prayer Journal and last fall I got a “My Daily Prayer Journal” from Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. I’ve been using the latter just about every day. Recently I was blessed to find an unused, “My Personal Prayer Diary” by Catherine Marshall and Leonard Lesourd. Thanks to the great people at
Gottwals Books

I have many stories about answered prayer, but I want to share one recent one with you: On the morning of Friday July 23rd my family and I were going to head to a friend’s wedding in Jacksonville Fla. We were to take two vehicles: our Honda accord and my son, Teddy’s civic- these are both kinda old and lately Bob and Teddy have had to put alot time into them! But Teddy had just drove his car up to N.Y. and Pennsylvania to visit his friends, so, we thought, Jacksonville Fla. would be a breeze! I usually always gather up our five children to pray before we leave on a long trip like this. We used to do this while driving out, when we were all in the van together, but since we were traveling in separate cars we do it differently. Teddy had had a problem coming home from up north and thought it was his battery, so he bought a new one…Bob thought it was something else (he had checked it before Teddy left) but he didn’t know what…he was right (Father knows best!). It takes about 4 hours to get to Jacksonville from here, the wedding started at 6:30 pm….We wanted to leave about 10 am--- time to check into the hotel, relax, unwind, get ready for the wedding and arrive early. (This is very unusual for us though!) But Bob and Teddy couldn’t get Teddy’s car going! I usually say a little prayer with Bob before he leaves for work in the morning- Saturday mornings we have more time- I started this because of having a hard time with homeschooling Lydia and Claire in Ga Cyber Academy last year! Why does it always seem to be “a last resort” when it should be the first one! After that I would pray again when I had my quiet time and with Claire and Lyd before starting school! Well, that Friday, I hadn’t prayed with Bob, myself or the kids! It looked like we might not be able to go, or just some of us in one car? Or just Bob and I? Sarah’s car doesn’t have AC, so no one wanted to ride 4 hours to Fla. in that! Bob’s truck was also out of the question: no AC and no room! So, at last, I said, “I might as well have my quiet time while Bob’s trying to figure this out.” In “My Personal Prayer Diary” by Catherine Marshall and Leonard Lesourd, they have, the date; July 23rd, God’s word to me; which was: “But the Lord answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: for Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41-42” Then they have a “Prayer-meditation;” “Master, recently I have neglected talking with You in prayer and sitting at Your feet to listen, giving busyness and preoccupation with the pots and pans of life as my excuse….I know that You have been trying to get my attention through a series of minor mishaps as life has gone awry when I do not look to You….Forgive me. Help me now, along with Mary, to choose ‘the good part’- the best dish.” Then there’s blank space at the bottom for “My prayer requests” and “God’s answers” Well, I repented, then and there! This prayer diary published in 1979 by two dead people who still speak (Hebrews 11: 4) was/is obviously inspired by the Great Author, Himself! So, then I prayed and went down the two floors to the garage and said to Bob and Teddy, “Let’s pray”. We did, before that I had started a load of laundry thinking, “We’re probably going to be here awhile” That was at 12 pm. Bob had just decided that some of us: Sarah, Me, Ian & Lydia had just better start out, “we can catch up with you when we get it going and we won’t ALL be late” But then unexplainably? Teddy’s car started! We were headed out at about 12:40 pm! The wet laundry sat in the washer until we came home on Sunday- all because we finally prayed! We gathered in a circle in the (cool) basement and thanked God we could finally leave! God is Awesome!

I am reading L.M. Montgomery’s series of books about Anne of Green Gables to Lydia- they’re about a feisty redhead in 19th century Canada. It just so happened that Monday night I read in “Anne of Avonlea” about Anne talking with one of her students (she’s a “school ma’am” in a one room school) and he says, “Ever since you and I had that talk about praying going home from Sunday School, that day, teacher…when you said we ought to pray about all our difficulties…I’ve prayed every night that God would give me enough grace to enable me to eat every bit of my porridge in the mornings…” The little boys prayers are answered! He eats his porridge and grows up big and strong. You see, Anne’s right we should always pray about our porridge, old cars…and Taco Bell :- )

Sometimes I like to end with a song, this one from Ginny Owens comes to mind, it’s called, “Own Me” This is my prayer- perhaps it’s yours also:
Got a stack of books so I could learn how to live;
Many are left half-read covered by the cobwebs on my shelf.
And I got a list of laws growing longer everyday;
If I keep pluggin' away, maybe one day I'll perfect myself.
Oh, but all of my labor seems to be in vain;
And all of my laws just cause me more pain;
So I fall before You in all of my shame;
Ready and willing to be changed

Own me, take all that I am,
and heal me with the blood of the Lamb.
Mold me with Your gracious hand;
Break me till I'm only Yours-
Own me

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Seven Story House

Photo: December 2000

The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. Proverbs 14: 1

July 2011- I just noticed that this post is the anniversary of our moving in date! How appropriate! This was our 9 year anniversary, as we moved in on July 21st 2001- This year is our 10th!

My old website was called, "I Love to Tell the Story" and I used to say I'd call my first book that but since that time (2002) I’ve leaned more towards calling my book, “The Seven Story House” for numerous reasons; the first being; our last name is “Story” and there are seven of us! We also went through many trials and tribulations building this house we now live in and we're not done yet!

Seven is an awesome number in the Bible and in my life! I’m the seventh child. Bob and I’s anniversary is June 7th. Our first child (Sarah) was born in 1987 . We were just 20 and 24 years old then!
I was 19 when Bob and I were married. Back then I wore a size seven dress, size seven shoe and size seven ring! When I started (immediately) having babies that ended, however!

"It is possible to over-interpret biblical numerology, but it's hard to miss the number seven. It tells us that God is perfect, His word is faultless, and He wants to bring fullness of blessings to our lives--seven days a week." David Jeremiah

Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous judgments. Psalm 119:164

Then there’s also the many references to our “house” in the Bible and how we are to “build” it:
Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1

Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Proverbs 24:3-4

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock…Matthew 7:24

In R.A. Torrey’s book, "How to Obtain Fullness of Power" he speaks of a seven story house with a basement. Our seven story house also has a basement! Torrey’s seven story house, however, is in 2 Peter 1:5-8: But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith (basement) virtue(1), to virtue knowledge(2), to knowledge self-control(3), to self-control perseverance(4), to perseverance godliness(5), to godliness brotherly kindness(6), and to brotherly kindness love(7). For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Torrey is saying that the Word of God has the power to build us up and we need not to neglect it!

Then there’s still the all-important “Story” of the Gospel: All Jesus did that day was tell stories—a long storytelling afternoon. His storytelling fulfilled the prophecy: I will open my mouth and tell stories; I will bring out into the open things hidden since the world's first day.
Matthew 13:33-35 The Message

My first book is now out! You may purchase it on Amazon here: "The Seven Story Tree"

Well, yesterday we finished painting Lydia’s room and that morning we relocated a raccoon I had caught in our trap- that was an interesting adventure- perhaps I’ll write more about that another time!

Photo: May 2011