TEENS: LEADING THE WAY Taking a stand against violence, dating, abuse & bullying
LEADING LADY: Rev. Donna Hill
Behind-the-scenes look at her special role as a pastorâ€™s wife
CHIC on the CHEAP
Even in a recession, your home can be beautiful
Editor-in-Chief Deborah Leaner Managing Editor Laura Jackson
Advertising, Marketing & Sales Regenia Mapson
Executive Administrative Director Sherry Blue Stefanie Flood
Contributing Writer Corliss Billups
Writers Stefanie Flood Tracey L. Harding Marilyn L. Davis-Harding Ann-Marie Harris Laura Jackson
Art Director Angela Hendrix Bell
Photographers Angela Singleton Veree Young
Proofreaders Desiree James Tarka Strachan
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CONTENTS ON THE COVER Leading Lady 18 Rev. Donna Hill gives a behind-the-scenes look at her special role as a pastor’s wife.
FEATURES Image 7 God’s The gospel group God’s Image shares advice with teens on standing strong in the gospel music industry
Tools for Your Teen 8 Successful Youth Development Coach Nicki Sanders offer tips for parents from her Teen Toolbox
the Way 10 Leading Teens take a stand against violence, dating abuse and bullying
26 Women of Faith
2009 Women of Faith conference speaker, Stephen Arterburn, reveals the keys to true transformation.
Up from the Streets 12 Straight Young orators describe their experience with violence and make a call for change
DEPARTMENTS COMMUNITY WATCH
After the Flood
Hurricane Katrina victim finds passion in mentoring Maryland teens
Community Resources A list of organizations and nonprofits that assists youth and teens
Clutter Control CAUTION: Pile Ahead Clear out the congestion in your home by organizing those stacks of personal papers
Making Education a Priority Get set for a successful year with these back-to-school tips
on the Cheap 24 Chic Recession proof the look and feel of your home!
Framing My Story The Story Behind M.E.L.L. Niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks out for the future of the unborn
14 Mama Said: Mother’s Wit & Wisdom What Girls Should Know About Dating and Relationships
25 Art of Hospitality
A Harvest of Souls Make your home a place of evangelism this fall
31 32 33
Celebrate Fall 2009 Teen Survey Reveals... Back to School Lesson for Parents
Standing In The Storm In her new BFA column, author Marilyn L. Davis Hardy shares thoughts from her upcoming book on how to prepare for marriage Beauty for Ashes FALL 2009 •
From the Editor-In-Chief’s Desk
Thou hast heard my voice; hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.
Lamentations 3:56 (KJV)
Breathing, or the act of inhaling and exhaling air into your lungs, seems to be unconscious, but the moment something or someone takes your breath away, this simple act becomes more important than ever. To talk to and listen to someone who survived one of the most devastating storms in history, Ms. Wanda Kennedy, a Katrina survivor, and now a dance instructor at Crossland High School located in Prince George’s County, MD, she knows exactly what it means to count every breath as a blessing, and after reading her story, I’m sure you will too. The featured article, “Leading Lady,” spotlights Reverend Donna Hill who gives us a rare glimpse into the life of one of Maryland’s favorite first ladies. Enter the world of Reverend Hill as
she shares her mission to help heal hurts, heartaches and hang ups. The most formative years in a person’s life is also a very tumultuous and confusing time – the teen years. Nikki Sanders, a Youth Development Coach, has outlined some important tools to help parents and their teens navigate through the challenges and will help clear the path for both parent and teen to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’ Our sincere hope is that this issue provides encouragement to anyone and everyone who reads it! Enjoy and be forever blessed!
Beauty for Ashes FALL 2009 •
In His Image
by Laura Jackson
The group God’s Image shares advice with teens on
reading the Bible. When you put Christ first, every-
standing strong in the gospel music industry
thing else will fall into place.
If you don’t stay
focused, everything will fall apart. Remember to After 10 years in gospel music, the members of
seek Him first every day.
God’s Image have plenty to share with teens about surviving and succeeding
Remember your music is a
in a challenging industry.
If you focus on
reaching the saved and GI consists of four mem-
especially the unsaved, you
won’t stray off and forget
The members, who have grown up together, sing
Build mad skillz: The mem-
and dance as well as play
bers of GI have been to
and write music. Perform-
ing in such venues as the
In addition to
Verizon Center, the World
getting an education, aspir-
ing artists should focus on
getting out and network-
shared the stage with Mary Mary, Trin-i-tee 5:7, Tye Tribbett and GA, Shirley
gospel and R&B greats.
The group God’s Image shares advice with teens on standing strong in the gospel music industry
Their mission is to reach as many people through their music as God allows
ing to find the right music label. Education plus hard work
equals success. Take pride in who you are in Christ: Be yourself and
let God lead.
and see people become saved, healed, delivered, and closer to Christ (Mark 16:15-18).
Get support: Find people who believe in you and will invest in your music. You can put a couple of
Earlier this year, the four member group spoke to
singles together in a studio, but today most labels
teens and young adults during a gospel music con-
are looking for a full CD. Find a quality producer.
ference at the King’s Dominion amusement park in
Reach out and find the best manager for you.
They shared this advice with
young artists who want to break into the gospel
Image counts: Your CD packaging and other mate-
rials are important. Get the best picture you can to make sure nothing hinders anyone from listening to
Stay focused: The enemy tries to make you so busy
your product. Focus on quality. The front of your
that you forget to spend time with God or neglect
CD should be on point.. ◊
for Your TEEN
Youth Development Coach Nicki Sanders offers tips for parents from her Teen Toolbox
As a youth development coach, Nicki Sanders knows how to get inside the world of teenagers. She watches their TV shows and stays on top of the latest media stars and hip-hop artists to create relevant messages that capture to today’s young people. But Sanders’ mission to reach youth is more than just a job. As the busy single mother of a 16year-old daughter, she looks for ways to relate, reach out and stay connected. So she often talks to her daughter while they’re riding in the car. She also sends her daughter text messages, emails letters and watches MTV with her teen. These and other strategies can help parents maintain close relationships so they can teach their young adults how to think and navigate in the world, she said. “Teens want security and safety,” says Sanders, founder of the Teen Toolbox life skills program. “Don’t hover, but show you care.” With a master’s degree in social work, Sanders speaks to youth throughout Prince George’s County, Maryland, to help them tap into their unique skills and strengths. The biggest problem for teens today, she says, is that no one seems to expect very much from them.
“We’re shocked when we see a teenager who’s doing well or who isn’t an underage parent,” said Sanders. “Those challenges aren’t everybody’s reality. When teens have someone to guide and support them, they succeed.” Here she offers advice to parents on helping teens manage three major areas of life. CAREERS Teens have dreams for the future, says Sanders. “My daughter loves fashion,” says Sanders. “That’s her passion.” Instead of squashing their goals, adults should take time to show young people how to bring those visions to life. How? Be positive. “If your teen loves to cook, show encouragement,” says Sanders. “Don’t diminish their dream.” Keep talking and motivating. Find out what your child enjoys doing and show how that interest can become a life-sustaining career. Compliment your teen on unique skills and provide opportunities to shine. Urge your teen to look for ways to give back and help others. Even when a teen seems unfocused, don’t give up. “If you keep working with them, your advice will slowly start to sink in,” says Sanders.
Beauty for Ashes FALL 2009 •
FEATURE RELATIONSHIPS When singers Chris Brown and Riana made headlines recently over allegations of dating abuse, Sanders sought out teens’ opinions. “I’m the conversation starter,” said Sanders. She uses these situations to give teens good advice about dating, relationships and sex. Here’s her advice on broaching these subjects with youth. [continued from page 8]
Hang in there. Don’t expect your teen to figure out for himself how he can reach his career goals. Provide guidance and support. SELF ESTEEM Young people can spend a lot of time criticizing themselves because they think they don’t measure up to others’ standards. Parents can offset negative attitudes by helping teens appreciate their own uniqueness. Keep the positive comments coming. “That outfit looks cute on you: You made a good choice when you bought that shirt.; How did you feel when you wore that outfit?” Sanders uses comments like these to encourage and inspire her daughter’s love for fashion design. “After a while, people starting complimenting her outfits,” said Sanders. “They thought she was spending a lot more money for her clothes.” Teach youth how to accept differences. Sanders points out that she and her female relatives are all smart and beautiful even though they don’t look the same. Even she and her daughter have totally different body types. “Accept yourself for who you are,” she says. Use good taste. Sanders says she often stands out when she goes in certain neighborhoods because of the way she’s dressed. “I tell girls that it’s okay to dress professionally and be yourself. You don’t have to look like everybody else.”
Be open. “Your teen should be able to tell you anything because some subjects are serious as life and death,” she says. Be willing to hear what you don’t want to hear. Be honest and respectful. Even if you’re shocked, stay calm! Remember, safety first. “I told my daughter that she should call me immediately if she’s out somewhere and she needs to come home,” said Sanders. “Even if she’s some place she shouldn’t have been, we’ll deal with the situation once she gets home.” Focus on self respect. Remind your teen that he or she matters to you. Talk about accountability. Help create a vision board with motivational words and pictures. Sanders challenged her daughter to research three inspiring women. Her daughter chose Erykah Badu, Tyra Banks and deceased singer Aaliyah. “She chose those women because she admired their uniqueness, class and positive messages,” said Sanders. Sanders then discussed how her daughter could develop similar qualities. Despite the challenges teens face today, Sanders remains hopeful. “I see great potential,” she says. “Even though they make mistakes, they’ll be fine.” To reach Sanders, founder of the Teen Toolbox life skills program, go to www.theteentoolbox.com or e-mail email@example.com. ◊
Beauty for Ashes FALL 2009 •
Leading the Way
Teens take a stand against violence, dating, abuse and bullying By Laura Jackson Youth coordinator TaQuilla Spaine says parents often have naïve views about teens and crime. “Parents think it won’t happen to their children because their kids are in church, their kids don’t wear revealing clothing and they drop their kids off at activities and pick them up afterward,” said Spaine, who works with the organization Teens Against Assaults and Violence. “But they don’t know that kids can sneak out after you drop them off. And teens often rely on a code of silence to protect each other.” TAVA, an organization that includes several teens from Bowie High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, focuses on getting the word out to teens and young adults that victimization is real—and that young people don’t have to suffer alone. TAVA is part of Community Advocates for Family and Youth, a victim assistance agency that empowers and educates P.G. County residents as they seek healing and resolution to crime and violence. CAFY was one of 32 nationwide organizations-and the only nonprofit in Maryland--to receive a grant to develop the TAVA program. More than 170 groups competed for the grant. Although area youth have participated in CAFY’s court education program in the past, the TAVA program gave CAFY organizers a chance to develop a youthled group. According to CAFY, people between the ages of 12-17 are more likely to be the victim of violent crimes than persons past their mid-20’s. “Teens can experience bullying or assaults because of the jackets or sneakers they’re wearing,” said CAFY CEO Arleen
Joelle. “They also can face dating assaults.” TAVA is open to young people between the ages of 13 and 21. As members of the core team, nine Bowie High students and one student from Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC, developed the group’s goals and projects. They have used fashion shows, basketball tournaments and other events to raise awareness about teen dating violence, bullying and sexual abuse. Several TAVA members said they knew of friends or fellow students who had been raped, shot or otherwise victimized in the community. “If you’ve been hurt or abused, you can come out,” said Bowie resident Monique Miller, 16. “People can help you.” Avery Jones, also 16, said that participating in TAVA helped the teens learn self defense and gave them opportunities to hear encouraging advice. Sixteen-year-old co-leader Ayinde Akinbinu said he hoped the fashion shows would spread the word about TAVA and attract more volunteers and participants. Beauty for Ashes SFALL 2009 •
“We need people who are committed to the goal and who understand that this isn’t a game,” said Akinbinu, also of Bowie. “We take [teen victimization] seriously. If you’re out in the community and you hear some people say they’ve been hurt, you can recommend a nonprofit organization that can help them.” Parents can help by fostering relationships that encourages teens to share everything that’s happening in their lives, said Spaine. Even while their children are young, parents can express interest in what their children are doing and prepare young people for life experiences they might encounter as teens. “Open communication has to come from both sides,” she said. “Sometime a mom is working and trying to catch up with things around the house, so her daughter is out doing her own thing,” said Spaine. “But teens don’t take the first step by saying, ‘Hey, mom, this is what’s going on.’” [continued on page 34]
FRAMING MY STORY
The Story Behind M.E.L.L. A former teen mom shares why she reaches out to other young mothers By Tammia Amoroso
I gave birth to my first child at the age of 18. Struggling as a single parent raising a male child, I faced many obstacles. Even though I had the support of my family, I didnâ€™t develop the proper parenting skills to provide for his emotional needs and didnâ€™t have access to the necessary resources needed to raise my son to be a young man and prepare him for the world ahead. The relationships I engaged in after he was born were less than positive, and without the proper guidance I subjected myself and son to years of emotional, mental and eventually physical abuse. Shortly after the demise of my husband, my son became a victim of the streets. As a result of his actions, he is currently serving a 35-year sentence at the Maryland Department of Corrections. Depressed and feeling like my world was falling apart, I decided to take a step back and re-examine my life. I wondered what I could have done differently in raising my
son. Could I have been a better parent? As I raise my younger son, there are many parental skills I perform differently as a older parent than when I was an 18-year-old teenager. I want to teach teen parents the correct choices to make in their lives and the lives of their children. With the proper guidance, education and support, my vision is to provide teen parents with the opportunity to become positive role models and provide a better future for their children. The work of this organization is dedicated to my son Mell. Tammie Amoroso is the founder of Mentor, Encourage Lift and Love, and organization that provides mentoring and support to teen moms. Contact her at: www.mentorencourageliftandlove.org.
Beauty for Ashes FALL 2009 â€˘
Ages 11 to 16
Have you talked about unintended pregnancy? Teens tend to be careless about contraception and often allow themselves to get caught up in sexual activity without thinking about consequences. Discuss myths such as “you can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex.” Has she thought about what she would do if she were to become pregnant? What are your feelings about sex before marriage? Talk about it before she puts herself in a situation that could lead to teen pregnancy.
Does she know the dating danger signs? Manipulation, verbal put-downs, pushes, slaps or isolation from peers and family are all signs of abuse. In a recent survey of children between the ages of 11 and 14, a quarter of the respondents said they had been called names, harassed or ridiculed by a romantic partner by phone calls or text messages, often between midnight and 5 a.m. when parents are sleeping. Further, adolescents are often embarrassed to admit what’s happening. Teach your daughter to come to you immediately if she feels threatened or afraid.
Does she know how to say no? Saying such words as, “I don’t know,” or demonstrating lack of confidence could invite a boy to push and pressure her for more than she intends. She should say no clearly and firmly.
Ages 17 to Adult Have you talked about the realities of marriage? Marriage isn’t just about white dresses and lace. Spend some time talking about the qualities that promote healthy marriages, such as good communication, love, respect, and unselfishness. Point her to age-appropriate material that teaches good principles about marriage.
Are you still talking about dating/domestic violence? Keep an eye on your daughter’s relationships and watch for changes in her behavior. Has she become withdrawn or quiet? Has she isolated herself from friends and family? Encourage open communication with your daughter at every age.
Does she know how to R-E-S-P-E-C-T herself? A young woman doesn’t have to pursue a man, sleep around or otherwise devalue herself to get or keep a man. Remind her that she’s a jewel! If she truly understands how valuable she really is, she’ll have a correct view of herself -- and others will treat her accordingly.
Caution: Pileups Ahead
Clear out the congestion in your home by organizing those stacks of personal papers By Cynthia J. B. Cotton In organizing people’s homes, offices and personal papers, I often come across a massive amount of papers on the desk or floor or stuffed in a drawer or shoebox. The lack of an organizational system creates an environment that can harm your mental and physical health. When you don’t organize your personal papers, the resulting state of confusion creates a domino effect. You begin to feel stressed and overwhelmed, which in turn could lead to emotional problems. One of my clients, for example, expressed it best when she said, “I feel weighed down. I have no peace of mind, and as a result I became depressed.” Clutter also can trigger allergies or cause such physical ailments as headaches, asthma or bronchitis.. The key to maintaining your personal papers is spending a few hours per week opening mail, reviewing your budget, paying your bills and filing your personal papers when you finish. You’ll need file folders, labels, markers, a two-drawer filing cabinet and a few hours per week to maintain your organized system. Use these four steps to get your personal papers organized: 1. Gather all your personal papers: bank statements, utility statements, mortgage statements, car statements, and so on. [continued on page 34]
Beauty for ASHES sFALL 2009
also incorporated church-wide readings such as “The Purpose-Driven Life” to transform the lives of his members. Recently, our ministry experienced the most powerful inspired vision to date. My husband called all the leaders of the church to a 30-day fast, then preached on the nine biblical fasts for nine straight Sundays, then had the entire congregation do a corporate fast for two weeks. What an awesome spiritual journey! So many members, including myself, were blessed by this experience, and I don’t believe that “the Chapel” will ever be the same. Each Sunday, people came to the altar to seek God’s face for direction, deliverance, and destiny.
God’s way of training their children, so we added a lecture series on Fridays called “Caring for Kids God’s Way.” This program is available every Friday night with fun activities provided for our children and youth downstairs in the gymnasium. Now this is what I call cultivating wholeness, and I’m so proud of the way God is using our ministry as an instrument.
...the Word of God provides you truth and liberation
Currently we have transitioned from the fast into a program called “Celebrate Recovery,” under the leadership of our Counseling Ministry, of which I serve as director. The goal of the program is to heal hurts, break habits, and release hang-ups via support groups. My husband and I desire total healing for our people and didn’t want just the common groups that deal with alcohol or drugs. We wanted our members and the entire community to experience a Cancer Support Group, a Grief & Loss Group, a Financial Recovery Group, a Separated/Divorced Group, and even a Married to An Unattender Support Group.
Leading Others to the Word A servant is one who helps others, and a leader is one who guides others, and I have found that as a Christian counselor, you cannot counsel others without the Word. I’ve had people come to me who’ve experienced counseling before, but when they come to Christian counseling, they get healed! They state, “I used to go to somebody for years, but it wasn’t until I experienced the power of Christian counseling that I received my breakthrough.” So I quickly learned that other types of counseling might offer you advice, medications, or opinions, but the Word of God provides you truth and libera-
tion. To God be the Glory! [continued from page 14]
We also wanted parents to learn more about
I preached a message back in June of 2005. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a first Sunday and the title of the message was “Let a Man Examine Himself.” This was a tough message for me because as a servant leader, you never want to feel like you’re chastising anybody even though God called you to not sugarcoat the Word! But, through obedience and trust, God walked me through that message, gave me every word, had me take off from work for two or three days, had me in prophetic incubation, indwelling me with that message. The subject matter dealt with demonic forces, witches, witchcraft, and the Jezebel spirit. Do you really think I wanted to challenge those types of spirits so openly? I definitely had my concerns, but I stayed focused and obedient. I remember feeling like I was physically standing there, but somebody else was speaking through me. It was an experience I’ll never forget. Even when preparing the message, He had me going to the library. I’d never gone to the library to research material for my message; indeed, He really prepared me. And with all the time I needed to prepare the message, I still had reservations, but knew I had to do what He told me to do. Today, I’m glad I was obedient. God used me that Sunday to reverse a demonic curse that had been placed on the womb of another reverend and her husband. God’s power came through me like a mighty rushing wind and the couple was slain in the spirit by the power of God. It was a powerful experience to see God move in the sanctuary the way he did that day. I truly believe that if I had not been an obedient servant leader that day, we all would have missed our blessings, including the birth of my now 2-year-old godson, who is the product of
the reversed curse.
Caring for the Flock and Caring for Home I’ll be honest with you – it’s not easy balancing both at times, but God is a sustainer. Faith, endurance, hope, and trust are the keys! My husband and I have one teenage son, and times have definitely changed from when we were teenagers ourselves. We have family prayer every morning before my son leaves for school and we cherish that time together. One of us may still be sleepy or have anxiety from rushing to leave on time, but we wouldn’t trade this daily morning prayer for anything. In addition, as husband and wife, we’ve made a conscious decision to keep peace in our home. We believe your home should be your sanctuary. We play gospel music in our home while we are away at work. If ever we have disagreements, we take a drive to a nearby park and discuss the situation in the car so that negative conversation cannot linger in our home. We also understand that sacrifice is a major part of servant leadership. We know we can’t get away when we want to, can’t take a vacation when we want to, and can’t do certain things when we want to because of the church calendar. So, yes, self-sacrifice comes with the territory, but we often look at the life of Jesus when we get weary. He’s the ultimate example of Servant Leadership, and we strive to be more like Jesus every day. ◊
CHIC on CHEAP
Your home is one of your biggest investments. Whether you own or rent, your space has a huge impact on your life. During this time of economic downturn, the look and feel of your home should comfort, soothe and welcome you and your loved ones.
You don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars! A great way to create the home you desire is to “use what you have.” Carefully refurbishing and re-freshening the look of items currently in your home might require a little more time but a lot less money. If you don’t have enough time, get some help from your creative (and noncreative) friends and family members. You can barter and swap to find the help you need. More on this technique in a future issue. Here are some ideas to get you started: 1. Re-cover your current throw pillows in a fabric from an old favorite blouse or dress. 2. Take an old canvas picture and cover it with “batting” and a favorite fabric to create a new headboard or decorative wall panel. You hang the canvas on the wall like a picture at the head of the bed. You can even use fabric from a colorful sheet. 3. Create a coordinated look in your dining room with two matching colorful tablecloths (rectangular shape). Cut one tablecloth down the middle length wise, fold the edges twice and hot-glue them to create a finished edge. Use the same method to create a “no-sew” rod pocket to hang the curtains. Use the other tablecloth as a table cover or to re-cover the seat of your current dining chairs. This will give your old furniture and space a totally new look. 4. Give a new look to old curtains by adding a band of fabric to the top, the middle or the bottom. You can
Even in a recession, your home can be beautiful if you use what you have By Charisse Holder, CID TRANSFORMATIONS, LLC
apply the new fabric directly onto the old curtain with a hot glue gun. This will give an updated look to your current treatments. 5. Many uses for spray paint: a. A can of white matte spray paint does wonders for an old wood lamp or accessories from a garage sale find. b. Need a silver mirror? Spray paint the old one in your storage closet. c. Searching for a centerpiece? Prune some branches from your tree in the fall and spray paint them white. Put them in a glass container with small river rocks in the bottom. The look is simple and chic! d. Collect your old mismatched frames and spray paint them one color. This creates uniformity and produces a beautiful collection of pictures for your wall or shelf display. e. Update an old chandelier. Perhaps try a silver or a black-wrought iron look with a touch of gold. The results will amaze you. Go ahead, you can do it! These are fantastic, easy and inexpensive ways to use what you have to create the desired look and feel of your home. ◊ Charisse Holder is the owner of TRANSFORMATIONS, LLC. Their mission is to transform lives through decor, inspiration and outreach. Decor Consultation appointments at (301) 938-9510.
Beauty for Ashes FALL 2009 •
The Art of Hospitality: Make your home a place of evangelism this fall
By Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock
A home, from a biblical perspective, serves as a place of refuge and a center for evangelism.
tality. Hospitality, then, is not an event; it is genuine concern for another’s well-being.
The church of the 21st century has cultivated highly sophisticated procedures and tools for evangelism – training sessions, videos, seminars, manuals, and methodology books. However, as you study scripture you find that the home, not the church, served as the center for evangelism in the early expansion of Christianity.
Our homes become centers for evangelism when we dedicate them to the Lord. Here are just a few ways to reach the lost through hospitality:
Vonette Bright, who along with her husband, Bill, founded Campus Crusade for Christ in 1951, encourages Christian women to use their homes as a center for evangelism. Writing in the Joy of Hospitality, she explains how hospitality can build bridges to those who need Christ: Hospitality is more than entertaining. It is expecting God to do great things through you as you reach out to touch the lives of others. It is focusing our relationships, especially the greatest relationship of all -- walking and talking with the Lord Jesus Christ. True hospitality doesn’t wear us out or make us feel pressured; lifesharing is not entertaining in our own strength. It flows from a heart of love for others. Christ’s love, which doesn’t come from our self-effort, is a work of the Holy Sprit in our lives. The love of Christ is what draws people to God. This love transforms a party or other event into true hospi-
• Bonnie Bishop recently purchased her first home, which expanded her opportunity for hospitality. Her first experience was hosting a Bible study social not quite one week after moving in. The décor was more stacked boxes than anything else, but the evening was definitely a success. • A pastor’s wife, Becky Ellsworth, invites unchurched neighbors for dessert, and her children bring home their public-school friends. She candidly says, “I can’t say that we often sit down and share the gospel, but our lives are centered on Christ and we don’t hide that.” • Elizabeth Gilbert invites several members of her sons’ chess club to their home for a fun tournament and cookout. Gary cooked up the hamburgers and developed a nice tract for chess players, which was given to each one before they left the event. She seeks to have a good supply of tracts available for anyone who comes to the door. • Taking advantage of the Christmas season, Tracie Priske invites friends
and neighbors to her home to bake and address Christmas cards. This event serves as a fun way to fellowship and share Christ with others. • Jason and Heather Lanker invite their unsaved neighbors over for dinner about once every two weeks. The conversation is sometimes geared toward Christianity, and they have the opportunity to share their faith with them. Christian Patty Morse says, “Truly people do not care what you know until they know how much you care. Our greatest commodity in this world is our time, and our greatest possessions are those we have in our homes. To share both with a heart of love and compassion is the ultimate springboard for sharing the greatest gift of all – Christ!” Families can share the gift of Christ through dinner fellowships, luncheons, teas, craft parties, children’s events, coffee chats, open houses, and walks with neighbors. The necessary ingredient is a selfless, loving heart in which the love of God has been shed abroad (Rom. 5:5) and in which God has placed the burden for the lost. ◊ Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock are the authors of Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others. Excerpted with permission from Crossway Books.
2009 Women of Faith conference speaker reaveals the keys to true transformation By Ann-Marie Harris
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:22-24 NKJV
• after you ate a delicious meal, you went into the bathroom to throw up? • you’ve been trying for years to lose weight but your diet spins out of control? • you have a successful husband or wife, but you no longer love your spouse? • you’ve given everything in your marriage but you still feel rejected? • you put on a good face for the public, but you’re really lonely and afraid? • you don’t feel loved? “People do things to avoid pain such as overeating, controlling others, or acting out of fear,” says author and speaker Steve Arterburn. In search of relief and comfort, Arterburn, founder of the 13-year-old Women of Faith conference series, explains that we begin a perilous downward spiral. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2 Beauty for Ashes FALL 2009 •
ignoring or trying to take away pain and embrace it?” To do so, Arterburn offers several questions that may uncover our masks: • Why am I so angry? • What am I missing? • What are my unmet expectations? • What do I need vs. want? • What do I need vs. what others want from me? • What am I learning? Once you dig deep enough, look for the 3 j’s: • jewel: What is the lesson you need to learn? • Jesus: Where is the Lord in your circumstance? • joke: Where is the ‘joke’ in your situation? Ouch! Stephen Arterburn, Founder Women of Faith Conference
Women of Faith Conference encourages women of all ages to grow in faith and spiritual maturity through a relationship with Jesus Christ and an understanding of God’s grace. Arterburn presented his views during the 2009 conference, A Grand New Day, which took place in Washington, D.C. as well as other cities. Arterburn suggests that learning scripture in and of itself doesn’t transform the believer inasmuch as it doesn’t change one’s circumstance. “True transformation occurs when you can see things from God’s perspective,” he said. He continued, “when we leave behind what we want, and ask what desires does God want for me, we experience transformation.” “What if,” Arterburn continued, “we stop
Our pain often hides deep within because we layer it with busyness: work, hobbies, care giving, and even ministry may mask true feelings. But the pain never really leaves; instead, you just cover it up. “What if instead of keeping the peace, you decide to make peace? When things go wrong, we oftentimes try to please,” said Arterburn. “Now’s the time to stop ‘keeping the peace’ and mix things up in order to ‘make the peace!’” How? Begin by being honest with yourself and honest with God about the secrets in your heart. Once you get down to the root of anger or pain, making peace requires dealing with the conflict. If you avoid conflict, or don’t know how to manage it, you can be at a loss. But in order to move forward, to move past just simply venting, resolving conflict is at the heart of making peace. [continued from page 34]
Beauty for Ashes FALL 2009 •
Look Before You
One day as I sat in my office in the church where I worked, Crissy, a member of the church, knocked on the door to talk about her relationship with a young man whom she was dating. They were talking seriously about getting married. After my initial congratulations, I wanted to know about the plans and preparation for the endeavor—when, where, what’s his name, how long before the nuptials, and so on. The bride-to-be excitedly shared all the details and eventually told me that the spouse-to-be lived in another state. Even so, she wanted to learn about becoming a “wife” from a Christian perspective, and she came into my office to ask my “wisdom” (as she put it). At the time of this encounter, I had personally experienced widowhood and remarriage, and I felt honored that this young woman had sought me out for this type of advice. As a result of our talks about being a Christian wife, we both concluded that our conversations could easily develop into the starting point for women (and men) to get a better understanding about what marriage could and should be. When they decided to move to the next phase of their plan, I gave the couple premarital counseling. The young woman sug-
In her new BFA column, author Marilyn L. Davis Hardy shares thoughts from her upcoming book on how to prepare for marriage
gested that I use the wisdom shared in our conversations and the successive counseling sessions to help other women and couples understand the responsibility and commitment they would face in a Christian marriage. That inspired me to write my upcoming book, “Before You Say ‘I do,’ Make Sure You Can…” As an ordained minister, I joyfully perform wedding ceremonies and give my blessing to prospective brides and grooms. However, I offer great caution to couples who want to rush to get on with the wedding. The time to talk about expectations, priorities, behaviors and reasons for marriage occurs BEFORE you make your vows. Couples open to learning what makes a marriage work and compromising out of value and respect for the other’s point of view will adjust to their relationship much better than those who approach marriage with a set marriage “script.” In an era when many marriages seem to face tests and trials over the simplest things -and when divorce seems to offer a ready answer -- single women and men should take precious moments to truly understand the commitment and challenges they might face after they’ve exchanged “I do’s” because marriage, from the Christian perspective, is for a lifetime. [continued from page 34]
Beauty for Ashes FALL 2009 •
HAPPENINGS Celebrate Fall Nothing says fall like color tours, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, nature centers, and hayrides. Here are some local happenings found at About.com:
Abundance of Color Mount Vernon: The 500-acre estate of George Washington and his family is located in Mount Vernon, Virginia, along the shores of the Potomac River. . Great Falls National Park: Fifty-foot cliffs overlook the Potomac River. C & O Canal National Historic Park: The park starts in Georgetown and stretches along the canal for 13 miles to Great Falls Park. Harpers Ferry National Park: This Historic Civil War site is about an hourâ€™s drive from Washington, DC, in the nearby mountains on the border of West Virginia.
Black Hill Regional Park: Beautiful regional site in Boyds, Maryland. Burke Lake Park: Enjoy foliage and a 218-acre lake in Fairfax, Virginia.
Local Farms Pick your own apples, pumpkins, berries, vegetables and more. Enjoy these great orchards in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. Many of these farms host seasonal activities for children. Butler's Orchard 22200 Davis Mill Rd., Germantown, Maryland (301) 972-3299
Rock Creek Park: Washington, DCâ€™s, largest park stretches 30 miles from Montgomery County, Maryland, to downtown.
Homestead Farm 15600 Sugarland Rd., Poolesville, Maryland (301) 977-3761
U.S. National Arboretum: A living museum displaying 446 acres of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants in the heart of Washington, DC.
Larrliand Farms 2415 Woodbine Rd., Woodbine, Maryland (301) 854-6110
Seneca Creek State Park: State Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland, with a 90-acre lake.
Rock Hill Orchard 28600 Ridge Rd., Mount Airy, Maryland (301) 831-7427
Cunningham Falls State Park: Located in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland, this park features a 78-foot cascading waterfall.
Sharp's at Waterford Farm 4003 Jennings Chapel Rd., Brookeville, Maryland (410) 489-2572
2009 Teen Survey Reveals: Teens Likelier to Get Drunk, Use Marijuana, Smoke Cigarettes If They See A Parent Drunk Compared to teens who have not seen their parent(s) drunk, those who have are more than twice as likely to get drunk in a typical month, and three times likelier to use marijuana and smoke cigarettes. This statistic is in accordance to the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIV: Teens and Parents, the 14th annual backto-school survey conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. The CASA survey found that 51 percent of 17-year olds have seen one or both of their parents drunk and 34 percent of 12- to 17-year olds have seen one or both of their parents drunk. Teen drinking behavior is strongly associated with how teens believe their fathers feel about their drinking. Compared to teens who believe their father is against their drinking, teens who believe their father is okay with their drinking are two and a half times likelier to get drunk in a typical month. The survey found that five percent of 12- to 15-year old girls and nine percent of 12- to 15-year old boys say their fathers are okay with their drinking. Thirteen percent of 16- and 17-year old girls and 20 percent of 16- and 17year old boys say their fathers are okay with their drinking. “Some Moms’ and Dads’ behavior and attitudes make them parent enablers—parents who send their 12- to 17-year olds a message that it’s okay to smoke, drink, get drunk and use illegal drugs like marijuana,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA’s chairman and founder and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “Teens’ behavior is strongly associated with their parents’ behavior and expectations, so parents who expect their children to drink and use drugs will have children who drink and use drugs.” For more on the study, go to www.casacolumbia.org.
Back to School Lesson
With the start of a new school year, Janna Zuber of Mitchellville, Maryland, wants to remind parents about the dangers of inhalant abuse. Many young people know how to abuse permanent markers, cans of whipped cream and about a thousand other substances thanks to the Internet and their peers, said Zuber, whose son, Justin, died seven years ago from inhaling air freshener. By the 7th grade, one out of five children already will have experimented with products they consider harmless, she said. That’s why she’s vigilant about informing parents and others about the dangers of inhalant abuse.
Learn About Inhalant Abuse
“I need to do this because I just didn’t know,” said Zuber. According to published reports, in 2002 Justin Zuber was found unconscious in the bathroom of his dorm room at a Philadelphia boarding school. A plastic bag was around his head, and a can of air freshener was nearby. Police initially thought his death was a suicide, said Janna Zuber. She suspects that one of Justin’s friends might have introduced him to inhalants.
do stupid things.” Parents should teach their children, even those who are very young, the importance of caring for their bodies. These suggestions can help.
“He had good grades and huge plans for his life,” said Zuber, who often speaks to youth about avoiding inhalants. “Parents can’t afford to say this will never happen to their children. Even good kids
Discuss the dangers of sniffing or inhaling products. Encourage your children to breathe in fresh air. “Inhaling anything that alters your mind or body in any way isn’t healthy or safe,” said Zuber. ◊
Beauty for Ashes FALL 2009 •
Set a good example for your children. Don’t behave irresponsibly. Talk about the importance of health, exercise and good nutrition. Teach children to honor their bodies.
BEAUTY FOR ASHES LEADING THE WAY
Teens Against Assault and Violence This youth-led organization, part of Community Advocates for Family and Youth, raises awareness about bullying, dating violence, sexual abuse and other forms of victimization that teens and young adults can face. For more information about upcoming events or weekly rap sessions, call Arleen Joell or TaQuilla Spaine at (301) 390-4092. ◊
Waking up tomorrow completely healed is idealistic, but not real. Dealing with pain takes small steps. One day you might take ownership of feelings and stop pretending the hurt isn’t there. Another day, when you realize that people don’t always mean what they say, or say what they mean, you can adjust expectations. Forgiving others might not be the only thing requirement. Forgiving yourself also can be a priority.
[continued from page 27]
[continued from page 10]
CAUTION: PILE AHEAD
Gaining confidence in who you are in Christ won’t always change other people, but it will change you. You can let go of the past, all the while taking new ground.
[continued from page 16]
2. Get file folders. Label each file folder with the name for each statement. When you label the file folder you should include the year (for example, bank 2009).
What if, instead of letting pain give birth to anger, you allow it to bear a different fruit—wisdom? ◊ ______________________________________
3. File the statement in the folder. 4. You also should include in your filing system a file folder for projects and solicitation. The folder for solicitations is for items that might interest you and you plan to follow up. You should have no more than five solicitations in the folder. Spending a few hours a week will help you maintain your personal papers. If you receive your monthly statements through e-bills, you can use the same steps to organize and maintain your personal papers online. Create a folder with the company name and the year and save the e-bill in the folder. If you pay your bills over the phone and receive confirmation through e-mail, save the e-mail confirmation in the folder. ◊ ______________________________________________ Cynthia J. B. Cotton is founder of C & C Mobil Organizer, LLC. Contact her at (301) 643-4392.
LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP [continued from page 30]
In Matthew 19:3-12, a discussion arose between the disciples and Jesus about marriage for a “lifetime.” The disciples expressed skepticism about the goal of “oneness,” saying such an ideal seems too hard, too much trouble, too out of keeping with common sense, and perhaps not even possible. Jesus agreed that it’s hard to be ‘one’ with another. However, he responded, “Not everyone can accept this Word… but the one who can accept this should accept it for the lifetime.” ◊ ______________________________________________ For more information on the book Before You Say ‘I do,’ Make Sure You Can…, a couple’s guide/inventory to understanding commitment in a Christian-based marriage, call (301) 218-1857 ______________________________________
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BEAUTY FOR ASHES A CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION [continued from page 23]
To launch the Celebrate Recovery program, Hill wrote a proposal for a support-group ministry in 2005. She also attended classes at Howard University, where she trained under a professor who structured his class like a support group. Later, when she learned about Celebrate Recovery, she and a team of about 80 volunteers from her church attended a seminar in Virginia. They also attended a CR program in Columbia, Maryland. Although CR is similar to classic 12-step programs, the ministry is based on biblical principles and deals with all types of habits, hurts and hang-ups. Several New Chapel participants note that the CR ministry addresses the entire person rather than just the addiction. Available every Friday night, New Chapel’s CR ministry begins with an hour of praise and worship before participants break out into different support groups. For men, the church offers groups on substance or alcohol abuse as well as issues related to marital separation or divorce. Women can attend sessions on cancer support, marital separation/divorce or alcohol and substance abuse. Another session encourages women who are married to men who don’t attend church. Single-sex groups give participants freedom to talk openly, said Hill. Hill chose the support group topics after researching county statistics. Cancer, HIV/AIDS and domestic violence are among the major issues in the African American community, she said. “Statistics don’t lie,” she added. “Everybody is going through something.” Unfortunately, cost, stigma and/or religious beliefs keep many people from getting the help they need, she said.
Earlier this year, the CR program celebrated its first anniversary with a cardboard ministry ceremony. As part of the event, a man carrying a piece of cardboard stepped onto the stage. The front of the cardboard read, “Drowning in alcohol.” The back of the sign revealed his victorious testimony: “Saved by the blood.” One by one, other facilitators and participants stepped forward with their own cardboard signs, silent proof of their growth and faith: “My battle was with food. Now I am fed by the word.” “Battled the great C -- cancer. Victorious with the greater C -- Christ.” New Chapel’s Celebrate Recovery ministry offers several free support groups on Fridays from 7 p.m. to 9:30 pm. Participants must purchase a workbook. The church is located at 5601 Old Branch Ave. For information, call (301) 899-0877. ◊
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