Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

2015–A Brand New Year–and Lots of New Blogging Ideas!



A new year always seems kind of like a blank slate to me–exciting, challenging–just waiting to be written upon! I am so happy that I love to write. It is something I’ve enjoyed all my life–literally, since I was a young girl. I still own the little desk that was my mother’s when she was a child, and then mine when I was a child. It is a small, cherry, slant top desk that fit perfectly in the dormer window space in the bedroom I shared with my sister. It fit right under the window, and allowed me a bird’s-eye view of the trees and the sky. I loved it! I did as much daydreaming there as I  did writing. I hope to give my desk to one of my grandchildren soon. Mom was born in 1918 and used that desk as a child– using it mostly in the 1920’s.   I used it in the 1950’s the most.  Now it’s 2015. If her family owned it before, it’s already 100 years old, even if it was bought new for Mom (I doubt it, she was one of seven children), it’s likely to be 95 years old from what she said about when she used it! Wow!  It’s a symbol for me. A symbol of my love of writing, I have a picture of it etched sharply in my brain! 

My enjoyment of writing has been a godsend as well, because as many of you know, I am disabled with severe heart disease. I used to work as a psychologist, master’s level, taught seminars, volunteered  for PTA, church, Women’s Center, etc. I was only 50 when the disease took me right out of my life as I knew it! So after a long struggle to function and to find a new identity, I am finally living again. I am writing, although I have not quite given myself the label “writer” yet…maybe soon! LOL  I am a gardener–using my wheelchair and adapting normal tasks–by that I mean crawling around on the ground and playing in the dirt to raise beautiful flowers! I am a red hatter which is a woman over 50 who has learned to PLAY again! And most of all, most FUN of all, I am a grandmother! My three little munchkins, aged 1, 3, and 7 keep us highly entertained! My daughters and husband are golden to me, allowing me to grow as I choose.  I am 65, soon to be 66! My doctors said I might not live past 55! What a gift! Life! Now to see what I can do with it! LOL



Writing in 2014 was an amazing adventure! I was so thrilled to enter and complete the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge! I have been enjoying researching my family tree for about three or four years I think, so I had lots of colorful ancestors to write about!   Now I have 52 stories, and more I want to write! For instance I want to find out more about the Jamestown and Mayflower ancestors. I am writing these stories for family, for my legacy to some degree.  But I love having other researchers  comment and become involved with me.  I love to share, and I love to learn from you, and brainstorm with you! .  Thank you for your interactions this past year!   I’m hoping both my current cousins and siblings and my future grandchildren will know more about their roots than I ever knew before this work! It makes history come alive!  That was my grandparent sailing in that little boat for all those weeks to come to Jamestown, Virginia!  Wow–I never knew! I want to organize them and decide  if the blog is enough of a presentation, or if I want to  perhaps organize some into a book for children or perhaps a coffee table book for some. Who knows. I’m very open to suggestions if you’d like to pass some along! 

I’m going to start my blogging year with a series which will explore some mysteries that I have noticed as I have developed my family tree. That will start in the next day or two, so you’ll soon know what I’m talking about! 


Some of you know, but not all, that perhaps my greatest accomplishment last year, along with starting the genealogical focus of my  blog, was that I wrote a rough draft of a novel!  LOL Yes I did–I wrote a novel during the month of November!  I had heard about NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month for years.  This was the year! The novel is in its beginning stages, has to be severely edited, shaped and shined! LOL It is a story “inspired by” a true story of a very dysfunctional family–a story of secrets, abuse and love gone very wrong! I haven’t the faintest idea how to get it published, or to self publish it, or what…but I have friends who are experienced in this field, so I am hoping for lots of good advice! I am a long way from those decisions anyway. I haven’t even looked at the story since November 30! Now its time to pull it out and get to work! Scary, exciting, challenging….so many emotions tied up in that work! I actually have published a few things over the years.  A chapter in a book about heart disease, an article about interpersonal communication, an article about family in a historical society journal, a newspaper article or two. We’ll see.  The year seems in focus to me, but what comes to mind…the old saying…”Want to hear God laugh? Make your own plans!” LOL We will see what life brings, I will enjoy what I am given!

Wishing you all the best  year you can possibly have in 2015!  Thanks again for joining me, it makes the journey so much more fun! Helen





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How Can We Help Prevent Child Abuse?

How do I prevent child abuse in my own home, and help others do the same?!

I found the website below while researching child abuse, and thought I’d share it with you. Its exactly what I’d like to say to any concerned person, so I decided to quote them for your information. Hope you enjoy, and feel you can get help if you need it. I will put a list of local and national help numbers on the next post. Perhaps  you can print them out and keep them in a private place so you know what to do.  Wishing you the best that life has to offer, which is a lot better than abuse!

Helen Holshouser



You Can Help !!

You Have What it needs to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect if you may:

1) Volunteer little of your time and money: Get involved with organizations working to prevent child abuse. Try to support families with emotional or financial problems. You can do more than what you think you could. You can make a change in the right direction.

2) Discipline your children thoughtfully: Never discipline your child when you are upset. Give yourself time to calm down.

Let’s remember that discipline is meant to teach a child and not a way of revenge.

Use privileges to encourage good behavior and time-outs to help your child regain control.

3) Examine your behavior: Abuse is not just physical. Both words and actions could inflict deep, lasting mental wounds.

Be a nurturing parent. Use your actions to show children and other adults that conflicts can be settled without hitting or yelling and that effective talking and listening can make a difference.

4) Educate yourself and others: Help educate others in your community about Child Abuse and Neglect.

Simple support for children and parents can be the best way to prevent Child Abuse.

After-school activities, parent education classes, mentoring programs, and respite care are some of the many ways to keep children safe from harm. Be a voice in support of these efforts in your community. Remember, any small effort can make a step towards the right way.

5)Teach children their rights: When children are taught they are special and have the right to be safe, they are less likely to think abuse is their fault, and more likely to report an offender. Encourage you children to view the www.be-free.info site. It contains helpful information.

6) Support prevention programs: Too often, intervention occurs only after abuse is reported.

Parent education, community centers, respite care services, and abuse treatment programs help to protect children by addressing circumstances that places families at risk for Child Abuse and Neglect.

7) Know what Child Abuse is: Child Abuse and Neglect takes more than one form. There are four main types of child maltreatment: physical abuse, physical or emotional neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Often more than one type of abuse or neglect occurs within families. Some types of maltreatment, such as emotional abuse, are much harder to substantiate than others like is the case with physical abuse.

Children can also be emotionally abused when they are rejected, berated, or continuously isolated. Refer to description of child abuse in this site.

8) Know the signs: Unexplained injuries aren’t the only signs of abuse.

Fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, secrecy, and hostility are often signs of family problems and may indicate a child is being neglected or physically, sexually, or emotionally abused.

9) Understand the causes: Most parents don’t hurt or neglect their children intentionally. Many were themselves abused or neglected. Very young or inexperienced parents might not know how to take care of their babies or what they can reasonably expect from children at different stages of development. Circumstances that places families under extraordinary stress—for instance, poverty, divorce, sickness, disability—sometimes take their toll in child maltreatment. Parents who abuse alcohol or other drugs are more likely to abuse or neglect their children.

Report Abuse: If you witness a child being harmed or see evidence of Abuse, or if a child tells you about abuse, make a report to the proper authorities in your country.

When talking to a child about Abuse, listen carefully, assure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling an adult, and affirm that he or she is not responsible for what happened.

11) Invest in Kids. Encourage leaders in the community to be supportive of children and families.

Ask employers to provide family-friendly work environments. Ask your local and national lawmakers to support legislation to better protect our children and to improve their lives.

12) Strengthen the fabric of your community: Know your neighbors’ names and the names of their children, and make sure they know yours. Give stressed parents a break by offering to watch their children. Volunteer. If you like interacting with children, great, but you do not have to volunteer directly with kids to contribute to prevention. All activities that strengthen communities, such as service to civic clubs and participation on boards and committees, ultimately contribute to the well-being of children.

Give your used clothing, furniture and toys for use to poor families. This can help relieve the stress of financial burdens that parents sometimes take out on their kids.

13) Be ready in an emergency: We’ve all have heard about the screaming-child-in-the-supermarket in UK whom was killed by another 2 children. Most parents take the typical tantrum in stride. But what if you witness the scene in the supermarket or anywhere else would you believe a child is being, or is about to be, physically or verbally abused? Responding in these circumstances technically moves beyond prevention to intervention, and intervention is best handled by professionals. Still, if you find yourself in a situation where you believe a child is being or will be abused at that moment, there are steps you can take. Bellow are examples of what you can do:

Talk to the adult to get their attention away from the child. Be friendly.

Say something like, “Children can really wear you out, can’t they?” or “My child has done the same thing.”

Ask if you could help in any way—could you carry some packages? Play with an older child so the baby can be fed or changed? Call someone on your cell phone?

If you see a child alone in a public place—for example, unattended in a grocery cart—stay if you can with the child until the parent returns.

 Finally—and most important if you are a parent—remember that prevention, like most positive things, begins at home. Take time to re-evaluate your parenting skills. Be honest with yourself—are you yelling at your children a lot or hitting them? Do you enjoy being a parent at least most of the time? If you could benefit from some help with parenting, seek it—getting help when you need it is an essential part of being a good parent. Talk to a professional that you trust; take a parenting class; read a book about child development.


Retrieved from

The Be-Free Team. 2012. You Can Help. 

(If this link doesn’t take you directly to the website, copy and paste it in your address bar.

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Staying Safe While Preparing to Leave the Abusive Situation


This is an excellent resource for legal information regarding Domestic Violence. I am reprinting one of the pages from  this  website so that you can see the important messages they have for you to consider. I highly recommend this resource. The url is given again at the end of this post.   Helen

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

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Staying Safe

·         UPDATED April 26, 2011


Getting Ready to Leave


No one deserves to be abused. If you are in an abusive relationship, and you feel that you are ready to leave the abuser, here are some tips to help keep you as safe as possible when preparing to leave.

Following these suggestions (often known as a safety plan) can’t guarantee your safety, but it could help make you safer. However, it is important that you create a safety plan that is right for you. Not all of these suggestions will work for everyone, and some could even place you in greater danger. You have to do what you think is best to keep yourself and your children safe.

·         Getting ready to leave
·         After you’ve left

                                       Getting ready to leave

·         Make a plan for how you are going to leave, including where you’re going to go, and how to cover your tracks. Make one plan for if you have time to prepare to leave the home. Make another plan for if you have to leave the home in a hurry.

·         If you can, keep any evidence of the physical abuse and take it with you when you leave. Make sure to keep this evidence in a safe place that the abuser will not find – this may mean that you have to keep it in a locked drawer at work or with a trusted family member. If the abuser finds it, you could be in more danger. Such evidence of physical abuse might include:

·     Pictures you have pictures of bruises or other injuries. If possible, try to have these pictures dated;

·     Torn or bloody clothing;

·     Household objects that the abuser damaged or broke during a violent episode;

·     Pictures that show your home destroyed or messed up after violence happened;

·     Any records you have from doctors or the police that document the abuse;

·     Whenever you are hurt, go to a doctor or to an emergency room as soon as possible if you can. Tell them what happened. Ask them to make a record of your visit and of what happened to you. Be sure to get a copy of the record.

·     A journal that you may have kept with details about the abuse, which could help prove the abuse in court.

·     Anything else you think could help show that you’ve been abused.

·         Get a bag together that you can easily grab when you leave. Some things to include in the bag are:

·     Spare car keys;

·     Your driver’s license;

·     A list of your credit cards so that you can track any activity on them;

·     Your checkbook;

·     Money;

·     Phone numbers for friends, relatives, doctors, schools, taxi services, and your local domestic violence organization;

·     A change of clothing for you and your children;

·     Any medication that you or your children usually take;

·     Copies of your children’s birth certificates, social security cards, school records and immunizations;

·     Copies of legal documents for you and the abuser, such as social security cards, passports, green cards, medical records, insurance information, birth certificates, marriage license, wills, welfare identification information and copies of any court orders (such as your protection order or custody order);

·     Copies of financial documents for you and the abuser, such as pay stubs, bank account information, a list of credit cards you hold by yourself or together with the abuser;

·     Any evidence you’ve been collecting to show that you’ve been abused; and

·     A few things you want to keep, like photographs, jewelry or other personal items.

·         Hide this bag somewhere the abuser will not find it. Try to keep it at a trusted friend or neighbor’s house. Avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members, or mutual friends, as the abuser might be more likely to find it there. If you’re in an emergency and need to get out right away, don’t worry about gathering these things. While they’re helpful to have, getting out safely should come first.

·         Hide an extra set of car keys in a place you can get to easily in case the abuser takes the car keys to prevent you from leaving.

·         Try to set money aside. If the abuser controls the household money, this might mean that you can only save a few dollars per week; the most important thing is that you save whatever amount you can that will not tip off the abuser and put you in further danger. You can ask trusted friends or family members to hold money for you so that the abuser cannot find it and/or use it.

·         If you are not employed, try to get job skills by taking classes at a community college or a vocational school if you can. This will help you to get a job either before or after you leave so that you won’t need to be financially dependent on the abuser.

·         Getting a protective order can be an important part of a safety plan when preparing to leave. Even if you get a protective order, you should still take other safety planning steps to keep yourself and your children safe. A legal protective order is not always enough to keep you safe. Locate your state in our Know the Laws section to find out more information about getting a protective order.

·         Leave when the abuser will least expect it. This will give you more time to get away before the abuser realizes that you are gone.

·         If you have time to call the police before leaving, you can ask the police to escort you out of the house as you leave. You can also ask them to be “on call” while you’re leaving, in case you need help.





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Taking your children with you

·         If you plan on taking your children with you when you leave, it is generally best to talk to a lawyer who specializes in domestic violence and custody issues beforehand to make sure that you are not in danger of violating any court custody order you may have or any criminal parental kidnapping laws. This is especially true if you want to leave the state with the children. Read more about this under the Parental Kidnapping section of our website and/or go to our Finding a Lawyer page for a list of free and paid legal services.

·         If you are considering leaving without your children, please talk to a lawyer who specializes in custody before doing this. Leaving your children with an abuser may negatively affect your chances of getting custody of them in court later on. Go to our Finding a Lawyer page for a list of free and paid legal services.


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After you’ve left

If you are fleeing to a confidential location and you fear that the abuser will come look for you, you might want to create a false trail AFTER you leave.

·         You could call motels, real estate agencies, schools etc. in a town at least six hours away from where you plan to go.

·         Ask them questions that will require them to call you back. Give them your old phone number (the number at the home you shared with the abuser, not the number to the place you are going).

However, do NOT make these phone calls before you leave. If anyone calls you back while you are still with the abuser, or if the abuser is able to check your phone to see what numbers you have called, the abuser would be tipped off that you are preparing to leave, which could put you in great danger.

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Retrieved from: 

About WomensLaw.org |Support Us |Privacy Policy |Terms and Conditions |What’s New On This Site
© 2008 National Network to End Domestic Violence, Inc. All rights reserved.



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What Should I Do if I am Attacked, Slapped, Punched, or if my Child is?

What should I do if I am attacked, slapped, punched, or if my child is?

Call 911, don’t talk yourself out of it saying you don’t want to hurt your husband, wife, or partner, ruin his reputation, or embarrass your children! If you are scared, trust yourself!  Leave, protect yourself and your children!


Hi, this is Helen talking. If you feel you or your children are in danger, leave the house if you can, and go to a neighbor’s or a friends or family members and call the police. If needed scream, take your children and run, whatever it takes to be safe.

When someone is out of control, angry, is not the time to try to reason with them, just leave if you can. Think about it ahead of time if possible, like right now.
 What if…
You got yourself one of those remote car starters that had an alarm on it! They make your car horn honk, the lights flash, and a loud alarm sound. It will surely make someone call the police. If it costs too much for you, try to find a way to raise or borrow the money—your own and your child’s life just might depend on it! Dealerships can order them.

Don’t hesitate, just grab your kids and leave. Don’t talk, you can explain later. Think how to be safe. Shelters and those kinds of  places will help you rebuild your life. Better to have a life, than your child’s Wii system, they’ll be sad, but alive!

If you have no car, or can’t ever afford the remote key fob to set off an alarm, there are many less expensive things out there. There are stun guns, pepper gels sprays, steel batons, back up cell phones for when he grabs and destroys yours, and even personal alarms you can carry or wear. There are gadgets that hang around your neck and are alarms, easy to set off. You  can go to the library and do a search, search Google or Yahoo for “Self Protection”.  One  web address I found where you can order self protection items is http://www.tbotech.com When you make a purchase, consider  having them sent somewhere else so that your husband/wife won’t know you ordered them. Once they come however, you must keep them with you at all times, on you, or within reach.