Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.


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The Third Day of Christmas is About Three French Hens…translate…Three Young Grandchildren!

Liam and Katy dancing at GiGi's birthday party! March, 2013          Evie Orcutt, at birth, Dec.16,2013I have to admit, I know nothing about French hens, nor do I want to–even though I have a sister-in-law with fancy hens she loves and a good friend! (They’ll be so disappointed in me!) When I sing this happy song…not today…still have laryngitis with my pneumonia…I picture 3 feathery creatures running around noisily with abandon! That picture matches the circus our home becomes when the grandchildren start chasing each other around the house! Our third grandchild Evie, just born Dec. 16, will be joining that chase by next Christmas! The Squeals, the giggles…could there be a more delightful sound! ?  After 42 years of marriage, my husband still just looks at the sublime joy on my face as the noise level rises, and wonders “WHY? Why doesn’t she call a halt? Why doesn’t she calm them down?” Then he sees the joy I have observing them…what a rush!  The Twelve Days of Christmas…thank heavens…we have twelve whole days to celebrate the lives God gave us when he gave us his Son, and our very lives! 

  Evie and momma   Since our new Granddaughter has been born, my husband and I have been having private moments of joy and laughter at our oldest daughter Ali and her husband Greg”s expense I hate, and love, to admit! LOL  In between the extreme worry over our daughter’s difficult pregnancy, the preeclampsia that could have stolen her and the baby from us, in moments of levity, we start thinking of their lives from here on out– now that they have three–THREE children!  LOL.  Ali will be 40 in March, 2014, and just recovering from her third premature birth and c-section!  Greg is 42 already!  I just hope they stock up on Geritol!  Driving home from their house just before Christmas–exhausted but thrilled from our time with 2-year-old Katy and 6-year-old Liam, we start doing the math and comparing child development stages with “parental aging” — and wonder…

–early 40’s–children 6, 2, and newborn, Dec. 2013– home total chaos– no sleep– bottles, diapers, potty training, and PTA!  Poor Liam will be nine or ten before his parents come up for air!  

–mid 40’s–children 5, 7, and 11!  Greg the Park Ranger, Ali the former Evie and papa lovesmusician will be in full-on parenting mode…actually for the next 15 years at least– camping, church, scouts, sports, music lessons, and school of course!  Hope they’ve got their running shoes and pedometers ready!

 –almost 50– Liam will be 13 — a teenager– are you ready?  Your sweet, idolizing young boy you have now, might change.  He’ll be much smarter and cooler than you– and you will embarrass him with your mere existence!  Doors will SLAM on conversations…start your deep breathing exercises Now!

 –ten years from now–  Ali 50, Greg–52— Liam 16, and a new driver!  Katy being 12, and Evie 10, they’ll all be into a million activities!  Having another driver in the house can be helpful… and scary!  We were so happy when 16-year-old Ali began driving. She was responsible, and an excellent driver, so, we askd her to drive her eight year old sister to Vacation Bible School…and whoops (!), she takes out a neighbor’s mailbox while reaching for the Bible sliding off the dash!  Lord???  

—55 year old Ali, and 57-year-old Greg–oh my gracious– the girls, Katy 17 and Evie 15 will be dating!  Greg, a law enforcement officer as well, carries a gun!  Those could be scary years! 

—64– When Ali is our age, her children will be 24, 26, and 30!  Do we dare hope she and Greg will have three college graduates, gainfully employed…grandchildren of their own perhaps…and won’t want to sleep late, now that they can again?!  Yes! This is what we hope for them. “Please Lord, watch over their family and take them through all the years with health and Grace!  Amen” 


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On the first day of Christmas, 2013…

I came down with PNEUMONIA!   NOW God? I just rejoined your church– doesn’t that count for anything? We have a new baby Granddaughter–born 6  weeks prematurely on Dec. 16,–her Mom and Papa need my help with the 2 and 6 year olds!  It’s Christmas…You saved her life, and you saved her mother’s life, and I am thankful, and humbled! To be quite honest, I thought maybe I was the one leaving this earthly life just Christmas night!  But it seems you have decided to keep us all around for a bit, thank you! Don’t think I don’ t recognize how blessed we are…how you sacrificed your Son so we could have life abundantly and eternally! Thank You! But what is this then? I can live but not help? No….I’m sure that’s not it…The three of us get to live, but not my neighbor, who died this week? WHAT!?!

You know Lord, when I first got sick with my heart disease back in 1999, yes, almost 15 years ago now, You and I had quite a few talks about it….why….how….what now. Patience you said, learn patience…..and I tried, I really did. I prayed, talked with my minister, others prayed for me, I studied the Bible, lead a support group, wrote, researched, and life moved on. Differently than I had thought it might…but with the blessings of daughters entering adulthood and now the birth of three grandchildren. Now, I admit, I have shook my fists at heaven more than once and said “Patience, smachience! Enough already! I failed! You knew I was flawed when you made me, and yet yu gave me free choice? ”   The doctors said I couldn’t/wouldn’t live this long–apparently You had other plans.  The doctors said Ali and Greg couldn’t have a child without fertility help, but here’s Evie! I’m not bashing doctors–Lord you know what a blessing they’ve been to our family!  But okay there’s only one Lord!  And a blessing this life is! With all its trials and tribulations Lord!  Thank You for pneumonia, it made me stop and listen again, but…now… give me a hand will ya please Lord, so I can get back into things, please Lord? Patience?? really??? I’m not Job you know. Love you and thankful for life!


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The Spangler Family Reunion, Meadows of Dan, Patrick Co., Va.,July,2013

Spangler homestead, Meadows of Dan 

  Elegant, southern, and stately, this is the home of Debra Spangler Shelor, Rob Shelor and their two sons, Paul and Aaron.  It was the original home site of Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler and his wife Kittie Cockram Spangler, Debra’s grandparents. Before that, this land was a part of the original 13,000 acres of the “Langdale” plantation, owned by our Great, Great Grandfather James Steptoe Langhorne and his wife Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne. It was so incredible to walk on land that my family had been walking on for more than 100 years!  Spangler Reunion, Barn, best

Arriving at the Shelor home site, my husband Max and I were immediately swept up in more cousins than we could imagine! We quickly met the Patriarchs of the family-Harvie Langhorne Spangler, age 86, and Daniel Patrick “Pat” Spangler, age 79, shown here with wife Dorothy. They were full of energy and excitement for seeing all the  family. 

Spangler, Harvie, 2012  Spangler, Patrick and Dorothy, 2013

   

        We enjoyed having the opportunity to meet lots of people, like these, my cousins, Margie Spangler Cartwright and her sister Berniece Spangler Irvin who told me a lot about the family. They felt like long time friends! When we gathered under the tent, Margie introduced Max and me to her brother Wallace William Spangler and his wife Evelyn. We shared stories and laughter!   Margie, Wallace, and Berniece are the children of Tump’s sister Mary Josephine Spangler and Dudley Spangler.They are first cousins to Harvie and Pat. Margie, Wallace, and Berniece are Fannie Langhorne Spangler’s grandchildren, just like Harvie and Pat. All five of us are second cousins. 

Spangler reunion, Helen meets sisters Berniece and  L age 98Spangler Reunion, l to r, wife, brother and sister

       Harvie Langhorne Spangler         Spangler's left to right, Beverly Spangler Fariss , her husband and child, Harvie Spangler with microphone, next to daughter Debra Spangler Shelor and daughter            welcomed everyone to the reunion,  as did his daughter Beverly Spangler Fariss, first on the left, standing next to her nephew, Debra’s son Paul Shelor, with his daughter Autumn in his arms. Beside Harvie, in the black blouse, is Debra Spangler Shelor,  also Harvie’s daughter and the home owner of this lovely homestead. With Debra is her granddaughter Ivy, Paul’s daughter. Debra’s husband Rob and other son Aaron are not pictured here.                                                 

 

 

Spangler brothers Pat in red cap and Harvie  enjoy a private moment

 Above, brothers, Harvie and Pat Spangler take a private minute together.

 

Spangler reunion, view of tent Spangler reunion, gathering under the tent to watch and listen

 

Off and on showers, even downpours didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of this group!

 

     

      A call for all the grandchildren, greats, and great greats, of Wallace Wolford and Fannie Langhorne Spangler to come carry the flag and raise it brought out all generations!

spangler grandchildren carrying the flad to raise

Spangler's , grandchildren raise the flag

Having sung the Star Spangled Banner, and dodged another rain shower, each family spoke to the crowd and let us know what had happened in their family since the last reunion: births, deaths, marriages, achievements like college-it was great! Chuck Spangler acted as emcee and did a great job!

   Spangler , Chuck emcees at reunion    Spangler, Clockwise from left Mary, Cammi, Chuck, Bryce & Bailey at Mabry Mill along the Blue Ridge Parkway. (2)

In the picture on the right, Chuck Spangler’s family gathers at Mabry Mill . Clockwise from left: Mary his wife, Cammi, Chuck, Bryce & Bailey  along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Chuck is the gg grandson of Wallace and Fannie Langhorne Spangler. His great grandparents are Tump and Kittie Cockram Spangler.  His grandfather  Samuel Maurice Spangler, was the  firstborn  child of Tump and Kittie Cockram Spangler and  was married to Iris Texas Branscome Spangler. That also makes him my 4th cousin, and gives him about 15 other 4th cousins in my generational line of the Langhorne family. LOL, isn’t this fun!

The g grandson of Babe Spangler, George, was talking to the group and filling us in on Babe’s descendants. He reminded us that “Sweetie” ,his Aunt Grace Spangler is the only living child of Babe’s.  Sweetie will be 98 this year and still lives independently in Richmond, Va. He says Julie takes good care of her, and there is rarely a problem, except sometimes they have to yell at her to “get off the ladder Sweetie,and stop trying to clean out those gutters! ” LOL  Longevity and humor abound in this family!

There is so much more to tell you and to show you,but that will have to wait until the next post. The Spanglers are such a down to earth, normal family, yet they soar with  musical ability, intelligence,  and creativity as well. I can hardly wait to share the fun with you!