Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

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On the Fifth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me, Five Golden Rings!

Five Golden Rings bring to mind so many images and feelings, with angels’ halos high on that list. Today however, on this 5th day of Christmas, I’m thinking of my loved ones and designing a bracelet of rings for the women/girls in my immediate family, which happen to be five right now! 

The new Pandora charms–the essence collection–has inspired these thoughts in me. (Let me make it clear, unfortunately, I have no financial relationship with Pandora, these are just my thoughts!) The very word essence captures my imagination. We have given Pandora charms to our daughters for several occasions in recent years. We gave Ali one that represented the birthstone of her new baby to add to her collection . For Christmas, we gave Annie a gingerbread man with a beating heart! Many of you know that Annie has entered culinary school this year to become a pastry chef. Just before Christmas she and her baking partner won a blue ribbon for their first ever gingerbread house entered into a charity auction! Besides that, Annie thinks the gingerbread man represents the “perfect man” since he is warm, sweet and full of heart!

     Pandora’s new “essence” collection inspires me to think of what characteristics I would want to inspire my daughters and granddaughters, and even myself to believe in and continue to strengthen over the years. It just so happens that you can get these charms as “rings”, rings that fit on a golden bracelet–another ring in itself.  So, I think I’ll design one bracelet with five golden rings that I would give as gifts to my daughters Ali, and Annie, and to my granddaughters Katy and Evelyn Noel, and one for me, which could become Annie’s daughter’s, or even for a great-grandchild–five golden rings! Immediately, I know I can’t do this…choose only five?!  I’ll try, but there are so many more “essences” –afterall, we are complex women!

   The first golden ring charm I will choose for us is Faith. Faith in God has always been important to me, although I have grown to be a liberal Christian. Even though I grew up Methodist, my Mom had grown up Catholic. And although she had left that church, it influenced her greatly and she passed along much to us. I am a strong believer in prayer, in angels, and in the fact that God created this world far beyond our understanding! I pray  that my children and grandchildren will feel the strength and power of Faith in life everlasting that I feel. It is a wonderful support system in times of joy and stress, and will stand them well if they lean on God. For this essence, Pandora has chosen amethyst, a lavender stone that represents metaphysical qualities like belief and trust. My hope is that we will see this stone and be reminded to offer a prayer for the world, and our friends, family,  and enemies as well. Pray unceasingly. Pandora faith charm








     The second golden ring of inspiration I’m choosing for my family, is Love of course. God gave us Love! God said it was the greatest gift, the reason He gives us eternal life, because He loves us! As much as I’d like to see each person in my family find a soul mate to be their companion in this life, LOVE is so much more! If we loved more than we lusted…for power, for money, for property….we’d never have wars but Peace! When we love our friends and family that love fills us with Joy, Passion for life, and Compassion. So we’ve picked up other essences to think of with Love! When you look at this charm my daughters and grands, I hope you will remember how much I love you, how much I feel loved by you, and how much joy that has brought to my life!  (One note, I don’t think we  have to love everyone– some choose poorly, like an abusive parent…we need to hold them responsible, even cut ties with them. They decided against love themselves, you must protect yourself.) I’m choosing a vibrant red ruby, Annie’s birthstone, to surround this ring, red for the passionate  Love of life, God, family, friends, …Pandora love charm

     The third golden ring on this inspirational bracelet I’m dreaming of,, has  a lovely clear blue aquamarine stone as well, Ali’s and my birthstone. Blue for fresh air, water, HEALTH! I would like to inspire you to choose healthy pursuits and habits. I have been unhealthy more than healthy in my lifetime. In fact, when I look back over my life, I was really only healthy during my young adult years, my 20’s and early 30’s! As a child, I was born with an undeveloped digestive system, spent a long time in the hospital myself as an infant, and lived five whole years eating only soy milk and bananas…all I could tolerate! The doctor who worked to help my mother discover this, Dr. Carolyn McCue of Richmond, Virginia, saved my life, and therefore saved yours! “Thank you God”, and “why Lord?”, both  come to mind.  An automobile accident dampened my adolescent health. But swimming, which we had always done, brought it back bit by bit. Unfortunately, this brief interlude brought aging, poor choices, burning the candle at three ends, and lead to an abrupt halt to full and independent  living at age 50, exactly as had happened with my Mom, with my first heart attack and the discovery of disabling cardiovascular disease. Thanks to a loving husband and family, we adjusted and I got to go on, Thanks to God also and first of course, but why me Lord? I don’t understand, and I don’t believe I was blessed when someone else wasn’t…perhaps fate? You know how I struggle with these issues dear God! 

Pandora Health charm 


   The fourth stone I’ll choose for this Christmas golden ring, will be golden yellow… yellow like the sun, full of Energy but representing COURAGE, because I know you will need it to live this life to your best! God made you strong, gave you many gifts, you have the courage to use these gifts…the responsibility! My grandson would say that the yellow light would stream out as if from  a light saber….protecting, defending, using the Force of God  to protect yourself and your loved ones if necessary. I wish us all the courage to be the best we can be, to live life with verve and elan. Draw up this golden light when you need it to heal you, to energize  you, to provide a light for your path. God provides the light, prayer is your key.Pandora courage charm

    The fifth golden ring on this golden bracelet I’m designing, in my imagination,  for myself, my daughters and granddaughers…five of us right now, might surprise those who’ve known me for years. On this ring, I’ll choose a beautiful clear emerald, my sister’s birthstone, and will have it represent PROSPERITY. Most who know me know I have never believed in having money. I came of age in the 1960’s after all, so I identified with the flower children and embraced the sharing way of life and ideals. I was a teacher, but a community activist, and an elder in my church!  As I have aged, I realized that it is true what they say…having money is not evil, but how you use your money, what you allow it to do to you, that’s where you have to be so careful! Knowing us as a family, I now trust that we will not run amuck! I believe as you become prosperous, you WILL use your money for good. More of us who will be good to others need to have more money,   helpful, community oriented, pull others up kinds of people help our world…please Lord, fund us and guide us to be able to be helpful financially to our families and to others! Pandora prosperity charm

Five golden rings, surrounding a golden charm bracelet, for five women! May it remind, inspire, and encourage each of us to pray, love, practice health, act with courage, and to be prosperous and use our money to help others. The ideals are enough, but the golden rings of Christmas’s fifth day are lovely. Merry Christmas my family and friends.




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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Tragic Deaths in Connecticut of Young Children and Educators, Where Were the Angels?

     Today in the United States, in a small northeastern state,Connecticut, a terrible event took place. A deranged gunman (he’d have to be deranged in my mind, to do what he did!) killed his mother at home, then apparently proceeded to the elementary school where she was a teacher, and shot and killed 20 children, ages 5 -10, and six adults! He then killed himself before the police could even get to him! 
       Like almost everyone I talked to, I was in shock at the horror of this–at the pain for these parents who sent their children off to school this morning never dreaming they’d seen and hugged them for the last time! 
      I found myself overwhelmed with emotion and had to turn off the television news at one point, afraid I would have a heart attack if I watched more! I cried, but nothing like those mothers, fathers, and siblings did I’m sure! But what surprised me was how angry I got! I was angry at the angels and God! I thought, “Where were you!?  Why didn’t you protect those children?!!  Here I am writing, advocating on your behalf, and now …do you exist or not?!  Good Lord, how could you have let this happen?”  The Lord will have to forgive me, well, I hope he will, because he designed me!  I was mad and I was taking it out on Him and the angels! 
    There was a selfish side to this, it certainly made my experiences look trite I thought, or maybe false, if these children, and others could be so brutally murdered at such a young age! 
    We all know that many people don’t believe in angels anyway. For that matter, many people don’t believe in God. I do, and I still do of course, but I dont’ understand! Not that we were meant to. We know God is awesome, that his abilities to create are so beyond our knowledge and even our ability to imagine! 
    In looking for help coping with my emotions, I did many things! I called my daughter and talked to my own five year old grandson. It was irrational, but I just had to know he and Katy,age one, were all right! Of course they were, and it helped calm me. I wished I could hug them. I talked to good friends and family, in the neighborhood, on facebook, and on the phone! Sharing relieved some of the stress and I began to regain my perspective.  But I knew the parents of the kids couldn’t do that so easily. I knew it would  be months, years even, before they regained any perspective probably. I wondered if I should continue posting the angel stories I believed in so much, and want to share with you. It seemed almost mean to say, my angel saved me, if the angels didn’t save those innocent little children! I’ve always thought it is wrong to say, “But for the grace of God, I would be dead from that car accident!” or whatever befalls us. If we are alive by the grace of God, then that implies that those who die in automobile accidents, fires, bombs, whatever, don’t receive the Grace of God! I do NOT believe that!  If the angels saved me and my daughter, why would they do that and not save those precious children!? Why? 

      I know lots of the reasons Christians, Jews, and other people of faith, explain tragedy. My first introduction to some of this thinking came about 1981 when Rabbi Harold Kushner first came out with his now famous book (and still available) When Bad Things Happen to Good People”.  That book was very influential for me at that time as I was searching. My mother had died recently, we had moved out of state, I had become an elder in my church, and as a counselor, I also led workshops among other things, for women seeking a stronger relationship with God through prayer. Some people say God sends us to fulfill a certain role in this world, to be the homeless drunk sitting on the corner, to be the child who dies young. The idea is that it is supposed to teach the rest of us a lesson in sympathy, charity, protectiveness…who knows?  Some experts even say that we volunteer to serve God by accepting these tragic roles, we just forget during the birthing process. That’s actually a pretty  interesting concept to put some thought and study into.  
    There is another common “expert” concept that I have often read, and that is that at the moment of impact, the moment we die, we do not feel pain. I have read time and time again that our soul, our life energy, is immediately surrounded by white light, and angels of such intense and pure love, that we cannot imagine. On a day like today, that is at least a little comforting. If you have ever read The Shack by William Paul Young, you know the all encompassing love I’m talking about! I had never felt so loved as I did by my angels and God when I finished reading that book! 

      On facebook today, a police officer from Memphis, Tennessee posted a very  interesting poster and comment. He told us that his coworker, a woman police officer, died this morning also, violently, about an hour before the children. He said she was a nurturing soul, and he  wondered if she’d been called home to
be there for the children, to welcome them, to hug them, and to help them feel safe.Wow, that’s pretty powerful stuff!                 
 Who knows, only God.
     As great as all of these ideas are, and I do believe they, or parts of each, are true,  but most scientists would not believe! They want proof! Who can prove an intanagible belief? No one, but you know what? That no longer bothers me. For I believe, I have faith beyond measure, and I know what I experience is true. I just don’t know why it doesn’t happen to everyone! And it pains me–my heart aches for all the children and the adults killed today! When I get to heaven, I’m going to ask God,”why”, first thing!  (I talk a good story, I’m sure I’d be quaking in my boots, all meek and mild, at first!)
     What am I saying? Only that today has been a tragic day in the United States! I am so glad to see our President Obama  trying to bring the country together to console these families. Nothing and no one can help them tonight of course, but he helped me, and I am thankful.  Have I lost my faith in God, heaven’s no!  Have I lost my faith in angels, not even that, although it shook and quaked this morning!  I do not understand, but I am not meant to, we live in God’s design, according to His plan. I am a living example of that myself. Doctors at Duke University Medical Center said I could not live more than 5 years or so with the condition of my heart. It will have been 14 years soon! God’s time, God’s plan. Do you believe it? I’d like to know. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.