Ronda Rich

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RONDA RICH: Righteous marrying into the renegades

THE DIXIE DIVA: Southerners have a history of refusing to back down

My husband comes from a family of gentility and civility – neither of which have ever been ascribed to my Appalachian kinfolk.

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RONDA RICH: Southerners love nicknames

THE DIXIE DIVA: Nicknames are a show of affection

For some reason, Southerners, more than any other region, love nicknames. It’s really a show of affection when we care enough to bestow a nickname rather than call a person by his Christian name.

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RONDA RICH: When Mama planned on dying

THE DIXIE DIVA: Home-going to heaven was always on her mind

For at least 20 years, maybe 25, Mama planned her home-going to heaven. Not a week – and sometimes not a day – went by when she did not use her impending date with mortality in some way.

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RONDA RICH: It goes by so quickly

THE DIXIE DIVA: A friend of mine died at 94 and even he was not ready to go

It makes me reflective, even sad, to think of the periods of time I wished would hurry by and leave just a memory if it needed to leave anything behind at all.

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RONDA RICH: Remembering those who have passed

THE DIXIE DIVA: Looking ahead first requires looking back

When the New Year arrives every year, I, like most, look forward to the next 12 months filled with promise, opportunity, and a chance to reform from bad habits.

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RONDA RICH: O, Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches

THE DIXIE DIVA: Basking in the glow of Christmas

My love for Christmas trees continues. We have one in the bay window of the kitchen, one in the foyer at the bottom of the staircase, and one in our bedroom.

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RONDA RICH: It's hard to quit your raisin'

THE DIXIE DIVA: I admit I love to go barefoot

I have a story to tell and it requires that I own up to the fact that when I’m home, I’m barefoot in summertime and socks only in winter.

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RONDA RICH: Memories in the ashes

THE DIXIE DIVA: Things can be replaced, but not what those things represent

We stood in the charred remains of a life that once was – my sister and I – and said not a word. What was there to say?

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RONDA RICH: The legacy of Don Light

THE DIXIE DIVA: Don Light taught of you keep going, you will get the yes you are looking for

While Don Light leaves behind an admirable reputation, he leaves a legacy to those of us touched by his wisdom.

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RONDA RICH: When a man finds his destiny

THE DIXIE DIVA: I still shake my head in wonderment and marvel at the amazement of Gods plan

Inexplicably, destiny finds him. It threw itself into his path, tackled him, and when he stopped wrestling against the mighty force, saw he was staring right smack into the eye of what God had destined for him all along.

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RONDA RICH: Special friendship something to be thankful for

THE DIXIE DIVA: Great traditions are not planned, they are born

It started accidentally. Some good ideas and memorable moments are like that. They aren’t planned. They’re born, bringing with them an ability to nudge a way naturally into our lives and become a tradition.

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RONDA RICH: A rumor gets a life of its own

THE DIXIE DIVA: Nothing moves as fast as a rumor

A planned memorial service for a guy gets plenty memorable.

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RONDA RICH: Teachers also can learn at Bible School

THE DIXIE DIVA: Volunteering for VBS can be a learning experience

In the kitchen and dining room, we saw women who unselfishly put aside their own work and prepared food all day for 200 children.

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RONDA RICH: There's wealth in being poor

THE DIXIE DIVA: Poverty gives you a place to go -- up

My people, as I have long said, were raised up on hard times in the Appalachian foothills. I don’t know that I had a grandparent who ever saw the sum of $500 at one time or even held a hundred dollar bill in hand

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RONDA RICH: When time melts away

THE DIXIE DIVA: Memories bind us together later in life

Southerners are always buoyed by a sense of place and the stories that unfold there. For us – the pretty redhead girl and me – it was summer Sunday afternoons.