Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

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The Day the Angels Came to Adele’s Yard Sale

The Day the Angels Came to Adele’s Yard Sale!

       My friend Adele, a young 40 year old, had                            been out of work for a long time. She had been praying for guidance constantly, and felt led to have a yard sale to let go of many of her “treasures”. Having been married before, but recently returned home after a divorce, Adele was now living with her mother, and had an apartment full of things in their small home.  So she had quite a lot of things to “let go of”—many beautiful treasures from her marriage.

     As it turned out, every weekend that she tried to have her sale, it rained! Lots of rain! She had already postponed her sale twice, and felt unable to do so again. So Friday night, she had friends come over and put up tables, then carried a a treasure of items out of the house and under the carport! Everything looked ready, and great!
     Of course, during the night it began raining! It poured! Adele ran outside and hung tarps the best she could, and covered the tables with plastic! What a mess! “Dear Lord, was that really you telling me to do this?” I imagine she must have felt!
     The next morning, several friends, including my husband and I, showed up to help with the sale, which was supposed to start at 7am, but at 7am, it was raining too hard to even put a sign in the yard—much less anywhere else in town!  By 8:00 am, it looked like there was going to be a flood!      
So the three of us present,

 my husband had left to try
 to post signs around town,
 joined hands and began 
praying right there in the
 carport. “Dear Lord,
 if this was truly your plan, then we need your help! We need the rain to stop, so we can put up signs so people know the sale is back here where they can’t even see it from the street!  And we need you to send your angels please to motivate people to get out on this rainy Saturday morning and come to Adele’s sale. Please send your angels to whisper in their ears, awaken them, and make them want to come to this yard sale! Thank you Dear Lord, for all your many blessings, in Jesus Christ’s name we pray. Amen”  While in some ways, this seemed like a very selfish prayer to me, I was actually praying it for Adele, so it was my wanting blessings for her. The following verse from the Bible kept running through my head as we prayed:                         Matthew 18:20             

New International Version (©1984)
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
New Living Translation (©2007)
For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
English Standard Version (©2001)
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I kid you not, by 8:10 am, it stopped raining—completely! The rain cut off like a turning off a faucet in the kitchen sink!  I couldn’t believe it, I’m such a believer and a doubter! We scurried to get signs out! By 8:45am—we had a carport full of shoppers who kept coming steadily all morning!  I was collecting the money in a hurry! “Thank you God. You must have wanted this for Adele, and I stand in awe, forgive me my doubting! “
   But that is not all…surrounding the carport were many pretty flowers tended by Adele’s mother! There was one huge, absolutely stunning tropical plant in full bloom that caught everyone’s attention. We could have sold it ten times over! But of course it was the pride and joy of Adele’s Mom. When Mom came out to help at one point, someone asked her what the plant was…”It’s an angel trumpet plant,” she said!  I got chills…which continued as we asked her to name the others surrounding the sale area. There were several angel wing begonias, in fact there was a huge one at every corner, and several others in between! There was a beautiful vine growing up a trellis as well, of course, it was an angel trumpet vine! She stated emphatically that she had not planned to surround the carport with angel plants…hadn’t even realized she had..but we all knew it wasn’t an accident, we knew the angels were surrounding us for sure, and helping Adele and her Mom!
    For the crowning touch, just as we were finishing up, about 12:30 pm, a lady came in with a sweatshirt on that said something like “Living God Ministry”. We welcomed her like the others, and she commenced to preach us a mini sermon! Right there in the carport!  She told us she’d felt led to come to see us, and to tell us God sent her! She said all this while holding a small angel figurine in her hands and waving it around in the air! We were astounded, and received her testimony with great thanks! We gave her the angel, in hopes she would remember the day she joined the angels and us as we followed God’s lead.
     The sale was very successful, and very helpful to Adele. But most of all, the experience left a lasting impression on those of us who helped—the feeling of being surrounded, protected, and led by angels! 


Royal Red Divas in the Neighborhood!

      Royal Red Divas in the Neighborhood!

My Red Hat group “The Royal Red Divas”  gathered in my neighborhood last night, and what a grand time we had!   We had a Taco Salad feast with all the homemade toppings and desserts 20 women can bring together! Then there was wine, sodas…many toasts to be made !  Laura graciously opened her lovely home to us, and  as I said I would in my last entry, I climbed up her steps and into her house for the first time in about 8 months,  due to my weakened muscles from taking my statin drug for 12 years! As I entered the house, many cheered for me, and I threw my hand up in the air celebrating my own victory! More about that later! 
            The whole neighborhood has to take notice as many of us live on this street to begin with, but you can’t have 20 or more women dressed in Red or Purple hats, and the opposite colored clothes, or pink and lavender for those under age 50!  I not only brought the lemon pound cake my HUSBAND, baker and teacher extraordinaire, made, but the guacamole topping that my daughter the pink hatter made!  I am the Queen, and I have a plaque given to me by a very smart Red Hatter friend, that proclaims “The Queen Does Not Cook!” This sign hangs in my kitchen proudly. Actually, I’m such a poor cook, its a wonder that no one in my family as grafitied under the saying, “and aren’t we so GLAD! ”   LOL

         Just in case the neighbors don’t pay us enough attention, I always bring the kazoos, our official instrument, red and purple of course! Last night we planned to serenade a member and neighbor who’d had outpatient surgery yesterday.  But she must have found out we were coming, because she ran away and spent the night at her son’s house far, far away from us!  We were only going to sing our love to Darling! 
          Besides eating and drinking , we had two birthday girls to celebrate! We have started a tradition of toasting and roasting our members with birthdays each month!  What hilarity and laughter ensues! Very quickly the lines to the potties are long!   It reminds me of the saying that ” I laughed so hard, tears ran down my legs!” LOL (only red hatters would be this irreverent!  For Julie, one toast I  loved went:

      “I raise a toast to Jiving Jester Julie, and lying, stealing, cheating and drinking!”
          (gasps all around…is she calling Julie a liar? a thief? a cheat?…apparently…no respect for a 73 year old in this group!)
        ” If you’re going to lie-lie for your friend.
         “If you’re going to steal—steal someone’s heart!”
         “If you’re going to cheat–cheat sadness and death!”
         “And, if you’re going to drink, drink with me!”
            author unknown
We had wonderful jokes and memories at the expense of both of our beautiful birthday girls, both of whom happened to be 73 this month! We range in age in our group from age 30, to 84! And our 84 year old is our wildest femme fatale, whom we all fear will run off with our husbands! LOL

We also had the pleasure of administering our  Oath of Membership  to Angel, our newest member and pink hatter at only 45 or there abouts.  I love our oath, and the poem our society started with, and thought I’d share them with you!
     We all stand, and place our right hands on the brim of our hats and repeat after the Queen….
” I do lightheartedly swear, on my lovely red (or pink) hat,
That being of somewhat sound mind,
And desiring to have more fun in the prime of my life,
I will uphold the ideals of the Red Hat Society…just as soon as I can figure out what they are, and if I can remember them when I do!

I promise, swear, and take oath that I will regularly practice having fun…laughing…smiling…playing…
and that I will dress outrageously, without care, in my full regalia of red hat and purple dress, and bling and boa,  (or pink and lavender of course!) whenever we get together!

So help me, I know I can and will do this, with the love, laughter, and role modeling of you, my cherished Red Hat Sisters!”   
It’s moving and celebratory and hilarious all at the same time and we cheer with congratulations and support for our new member!

I can’t imagine it , 🙂 but some of you may have heard all you want about red hatters! I’ll include some pictures and the poem “Warning” separately.   But if you want to know about joining or starting a group of Red Hatters, just let me know  and I’ll tell you all I know.  Have a great day!    

Helen, Queen of Perpetual Joy and Popcorn Peach Pie



Founding of our chapter of The Red Hat Society

         We’ve lived here for about 8 years now. I believe that during that time, 10 of us still live here who lived here when we moved in! That is actually very remarkable! Several of us women started a Red Hat Society chapter called the Royal Red Divas! The Red Hat Society is a national women’s group based on the idea of remembering/learning again to play and enjoy life after 50! We dress in red hats and purple outfits, and sometimes wear lots of bling or even boas! Younger women can and do belong and they are called pink hatters who wear lavender clothes until they reduate at age 50! Our group has been meeting monthly now for almost 8 years. Its how I got to know a lot of my neighbors, although not all our members are from this neighborhood by any means! But in thinking about the stability of our cul-de-sac, I realize that we had 5 Red Hat members who lived on the street behind us just 8 years ago, and now there are none from that street, one died and was buried in her Red Hat Regalia, as I want to be, and the other four all moved away! We miss them terribly.

         Our Royal Divas are meeting across the street this coming Monday night, and I am so excited about it! I miss this group of fun loving women when we are not together, and I flat out enjoy them when we are together…telling jokes, dancing, laughing, visiting, seeing shows, whatever we want to do! I haven’t told you I don’t think, but I am somewhat handicapped. I have a serious heart condition which keeps me from walking very far at all, so I use a wheelchair to go outside or to a store, etc. I will tell you more in another chapter, but I had gone backwards last January, and growing increasingly weaker and falling often, was no longer able to go into friends’ s homes or drive, or hardly even get my own shower and bath rituals! It was frightening and humbling even more than I had already experienced. But I have recovered some of my health lately, and last week my physical therapist took me over to my neighbor’s house and taught me how to climb the 5 steps up to her porch and get into her house! She and her husband were there cheering me on! Now you know why I am so excited to go to Red Hat on Monday. Its a major outing for me and I can hardly wait.

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Our Diverse Neighborhood Keeps Life Interesting

        I live on a cul-de-sac. Maybe that makes it easier for us to get together and talk to each other, I’m sure it does. We live in the suburbs of a moderate sized Southern city and are a diverse group including 16 houses that include blacks, whites, and Hispanics, retired seniors, middle aged, and very young- just starting out. There are  14 children aged  2  to 11, I believe, and yet several houses with only retired couples ,or young couples starting out without children. At least two houses have adult children living back at home after the recession cost them their jobs. Three have parents or grandparents living with them. We are Republicans and Democrats, we have professionals and blue collar workers, Christians and not,  but we don’t seem to be as polarized as our country right now before election time. We still seem to be able to enjoy each others’ company, cooperate, and do what’s best for our community, except for the one.

      Now don’t get me wrong, we let our views be known, and there are some heated debates, but perhaps because we are mostly concerned with who won the college football game (NCSU, Carolina, Maryland, or Duke, all are represented on our street! ),  who is celebrating a milestone, and/or who is grieving or sick– we still get along.  Well, its not utopia, we do have some problems…there’s a guy down the street who has convinced the homeowners association board that he just has friendly, not for money, poker games, when a lot of us know he plays for money, sells and serves dinner and drinks, twice a week, from 7pm to 2 or 3am.  He has a gun and knows how to use it, and generally makes his living on our little street whether we want him to or not and which is strictly against the HOA rules!  Thank heavens I don’t live right next door to him, and truly, I feel sorry for the ones who do, although they seem to be coping okay, one is having a hard time. Not being able to be comfortable in your own home for fear of your neighbor is very sad! 
      We actually have 4 of the 16 homes on our street that include an adult who majored in psychology on the college or graduate level, including one PhD.  Perhaps that’s why we get along? We always kid that we should have group therapy in the street. We practically do. On any given pretty day or evening you’ll find a bunch of us standing around out front on the street, well, me in the wheelchair, just chatting and sharing, and feeling like we belong. That’s such a good place to be. 

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The American Neighborhood Still Exists in 2012

The American Neighborhood Still Exists, 2012

As I gaze out my window, thinking how pretty it looks , but knowing how hot and humid it is, I’m enjoying just watching my neighbors working in their gardens and yards. I’ll change their names to protect the innocent, and the not so innocent!
There’s Darling, age 84, who can work rings around me! She is pruning her roses, and shrubs! Her lawn and garden always look immaculate, because she has never ending energy and drive and works hard at it! She also loves it, shares her plants and flowers willingly, and loves to laugh, flirt, and visit as she works.
Across the street, is our newest neighbor Dee, who travels for work up to 5 days a week, and yet can be seen planting, trimming, and weeding here on Saturday afternoon. Her husband and mine are cutting the grass! We had the most fun at Dee’s house one evening recently as she showed me a flower/weed that had popped up in her newly planted hostas. It looks like its going to bloom, and it looks like something I should know, but neither of us could identify it! So, we called our neighbor Laura who is the world’s best gardener and flower identifier, and it made me feel better that she didn’t know either! LOL Since I see Dee outside, I’m going to run over there and see if the flower has bloomed, to see if we know what it is now!
That’s the kind of thing that makes a community, sharing in your joys (Oh, come look at my gorgeous blooming autumn clematis!) and your conundrums, your emergencies and sorrows. We have done it all, and I thought I’d blog about it, and show that the American neighborhood still exists. Come join me and we’ll see where this leads.
Of course, there are a lot of other things that go on here other than gardening that bring joy, sorrow and closeness to our neighborhood. Much I don’t know for sure! But it never ceases to amaze me how caring most people are, and how helpful.