Lessons I Learned As A Teenager

Life Is

A Life Journal By Judith Rivers-Moore

Being Chosen - At Various Ages In My Life ...

As children, we often hear stories of people being “chosen” to make a conquest or to take on a challenge, and take a life changing opportunity. Sometimes this can have a good, adequate, amazing or horrific outcome. Being chosen or following a nudge to do something can lead to a historic opportunity or a great invention. One never knows, with nudges because they are often in control of someone beside yourself.

Our doubts and fears of being USED, lead us to be very skeptical and careful about what we will commit to. After all, there are those who love to delegate their problems, and those who look for worker bees that rob us (worker bees) of our energy nectar to do their bidding. So much has to do with how gullible we are to think we can make a difference, or how brave we are to cross a line in the sand, or smart enough to reach for more.

My brief stories will example will how “Being Chosen” can bring a variety of feelings into your life and others. From guilt to resentment, positive outcomes and life changing consequences that play a major role in our growing and becoming the people we are.


Chosen To Sing

When I was 16 and at the end of my junior year of high school, my parents decided they would move us back to Kentucky from Los Angeles. It was a wait and see thing for me and I told my music director, he could not count on me for the next fall which was my senior year. I loved being in the Whittier High School choir and had been chosen for the school’s acapella choir at the beginning of my junior year.

I could not read music, yet the director counted on me for perfect pitch to start the group wherever we performed. Considering this was a school of over 3,000 and a choir of 80, it was a distinct responsibility.

Saying goodbye to everyone at school that June was difficult, and by the end of August my parents said we were staying in California. In the fall I showed up in the music choir class. My former teacher said, “what are you doing here, we thought you were moving back East. I wish I had known before sending out the notices for the Acapella Choir for the year. I already notified a girl as your replacement.” I just said, yes, I understand, I was just told we were not going. I loved the experience and let it go, just happy I could be in the main choir.


A few day later in the week Mr Morton, the choir teacher said he wanted to speak with me after class. He stated he had let the lead soprano go and put me back in the acapella choir. Would I change my class schedule to accommodate this. I was overwhelmed with hurt and guilt for the other girl, anger at Mr. Morton, pride at his need for me … yet a concern of how I could ever be comfortable talking to the girl I replaced again. I went ahead with the commitment. I told the girl how sorry I was that this had happened, I did not know he was going to do this, but felt insecure the rest of the year with the girl he moved out of the position. I knew how I would have felt if the shoe was on the other foot. Being chosen over another was a complicated situation for me and I still feel guilty, even tho that decision was not in my control.


Chosen To Date Or Marry

Men do not realize what they are saying to a woman sometimes. Some will go over a mental or verbal checklist as they look and speak with you during a date. “Qualifications For My Needs and Desires”, seems to be a priority for the hunter to hunt. Many men have said to me, “Well I was 25 or 27 and finding a wife was something next on my list.” It took me years to decide, it was not important to meet someone elses list. I understand NOW many women make a list of what they want in a man, deciding they want to choose … for a change.

Marriage and Relationship is more than a job, which answering to a list of requirements can make you feel. The main thing I found when enjoying a man’s company was all about their actions toward me. Respect, trust building actions, and dedication to time with me. Love is an action word, and a very strong VERB.

Leaving a 31 year marriage left me feeling very ugly, not very intelligent and uneducated for a better career. I said I would never marry again and was surprised when men would ask me out on dates. Within an 8 year time of being single, there were five men that asked me to marry them. I turned them all away and they went on searching for their perfect list matching partner.

The healing of my spirit came from two older men I would occasionally go out to dinner with. They continually spoke endearingly of their now passed away wives. I learned from them that a man could truly love a woman. I will be eternally grateful for Frank and John. They did not want another marriage, they were dear friends. Their love for those dear wives was real and shared with me.

Years down the road, I reacquainted with a man I had known from choir years before. It was always a “Hi, how are you, have a great week…. Type of knowing one another. Not really knowing one another. We rarely had a date because I was so busy building my business. We’ve always had fun together and have a harmony in voice as well as open discussion of our attitudes on most things.


After awhile, he asked me to marry him. I said no five times over a five year span of time. He kept saying, I’m not going anywhere. He continued to ask for dates and through his persistence, he proved his love, loyalty and gave action to his words.  He never mentioned a list, yet he would occasionally say, “It was wonderful how we meet on so many levels and how much he enjoyed being with me.” His choosing to be with me no matter how, proved his determination to love me, challenge me, support my needs, listen to me, and most of all love me through my ups and downs. I felt the same … I was and am there for him. This is a good solid marriage and commitment.


Chosen To Lead My Community

In the l980’s MADD opened a chapter in our Sonoma County because two of my closest friends lost a child to drunk drives two years apart. Though I was working full time, had church commitments and a home to take care of, I volunteered to go out evenings once a week and be a public speaker at various organizations around our community for MADD. I chose to do this plus type up a few letters after work for them.

By the end of MADD’s second year, they needed to replace their officers. There were so few of us they believed I was the only one they felt could handle the job. But neither of the officers worked a full time job as I did. The chapter would fold, if I did not step forward and be the president for awhile. So many were in court cases, some not well, and many still grieving losses was the reality of our membership.


With much reluctance I walked across the line and said yes. The first weeks were a nightmare of learning what was in the files and coming to grips with the fact, we had no money. In spite of the lack of money, the past president was pushing me to take my vacation time and go to a MADD President’s Conference being held in Orlando Florida. I even had to use my own savings for the flight and conference fees..


The subject of the MADD Conference was “Turning Lemons Into Lemonade” taught by the Disney World Marketing Team. Gaining positive publicity for your organization in a non-accepting world. These were all MADD organizations across the nation seeking to change laws in their community, move people into responsible drinking and driving habits with many in the process of grieving their losses.. While I did not make one friend, I was like a sponge with all the learning.

I knew I was not the president my chapter wanted, yet I was better than nothing so the chapter would not die. The gavel was handed over in late June. The conference was behind me and a CHP Public Affairs came to my first meeting as president. He asked to show us a video from Newport Beach High School regarding a safe graduation party. The only one of its kind. It showed only the event and none of the how to do it. Officer Mede said he wanted help from MADD. I explained our situation and stated to Officer Mede with our membership or funds there was no way we could assist at this time.

I went to bed that night with many regrets and awoke around 2: am to sit and write on a scratch pad the possibilities of doing a safe graduation party. The words that kept coming back were community involvement, service clubs and teamwork between the various police departments and the business community. I went back to bed and the next morning looked at my scribblings. They began to make sense. Where the realization came from, I cannot say, yet there it was. It needed to be an independent group supported with insurance for safety and funded by many parents and organizations and bring the community into a strong belief, “That for the safety of their children we all needed to jump aboard.


I knew nothing about forming a nonprofit, even tho I had gone to church for years (a non-profit) and volunteered for MADD, a newly formed non-profit. I asked a friend and lawyer Carl for an appointment. I entered his office and the first words he said were, “Judy I am a criminal lawyer, why are you here? We both laughed for a moment of two and I politely told him of my concerns on how to file for a non profit. He explained and told me it would cost around $500 to file the proper papers with Sacramento I flinched, MADD did not have that money, nor did it look like they would. So I thanked him and he had his secretary send me the papers to fill out.


I contacted the past president of MADD and it was recommended we gain whatever information and permission that was needed to take action on this type of project. We were told that MADD National could back with their blanket insurance policy for events and gave us the national ok. My reasoning to the board was this made positive publicity for the local chapter and would lead to positive public awareness.

The board approved that we do an item auction for the public’s financial support. We began letting people know with publicity on our MADD fundraiser. It was not yet time to go public with an announcement for a Graduation Program. I called officer Mede for a meeting at my home. I just told him I had an idea and would like to discuss it with him.


We met with Ellen Draper who worked with teens through the County Orinda Center. John, Ellen and I in my front room hammered out details of the possibilities. John would speak at service clubs and look for financial support. Ellen would work through the teens and county officials and I would type up the general guidelines and settle the legal aspects.  All of a sudden I was wearing two hats of two different non-profits and holding down an 8 hour a day job. Both non profits were very important and struggling.

During the two years I was president and Officer Mede worked the Public Affairs office, we began the Project Graduation with 4 schools the first year and it moved to various counties around us in the 2nd year. We wrote the safe and sober party guidelnes and mailed them off to many schools, including MADD national. Within 5 years, most high schools in the nation were planning graduation parties. We began the Responsibility Hospitality program for serving alcohol for bartenders and caterers and servers. The CHP under John created a film and crash program for campus display. The chapter had seven court cases go through and they helped countless people. Our funds began to grow with increased donations.


Now in 2018, 33 years later, the grad night parties are still going strong. The laws have changed over drinking and driving to the point a first offender in California is fined close to $10,000 plus lawyer fees. There is no longer an attitude to backdoor the alcohol related drivers in the jail systems. Bartenders, caterers and servers are trained in responsible hospitality, and the films plus crashed vehicles are still being shown on high school campuses.


A Little Help From My Brother As A Teen

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Fulfilling Their Predictions Of Me

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