Category Archives: Relationships

Looking for angels? Gather your own angels like this …

Santa Barbara Angel Group. latest photo

www.santabarbaraseen.com / Photos By Priscilla. FROM LEFT, lower: Marilyn Gevirtz, Debby Davison Phelps, Anne Towbes, Rona Barrett. FROM LEFT, top: Anna Grotenhuis, Judi Weisbart, Lillian Carson, Margaret Wilkinson, Susan Tarlow, Betty Hatch, Lailan McGrath

Although Santa Barbara made headlines this week for a tragic shooting, it is normally a heavenly place.  No wonder so many Angels abound there.

17 years ago, my sweet sister met a new friend.  “I loved Betty instantly!” Anne says.  Betty wore a sparkling gold pin with her name, Betty Hatch, spelled out.  The pins are sold by an organization Betty started in Santa Barbara, the Council on Self Esteem.  (The idea behind the pins: If you meet someone wearing one, you can focus on what they’re saying and not on trying to remember their name.)

Anne offered to host a 60th birthday party for Betty.  Asked for a guest list, Betty said: “I like your friends.  Invite them.” Those guests became the nucleus of 12 women they’d come to call their Angel Group.  Each month, a different member hosts a luncheon.  Members talk in turn around the table about different issues.  “Over about 160 lunches, we’ve supported each other through death, illness, family crises and good times. We all do our darndest to make every luncheon,” Anne says.

Betty says, “Our Angel Group means we have 11 best friends to call on during sickness and health.  Believe me, we have.  We’ve supported one another during down times with love and action.  I’d like to see Angel groups formed everywhere, a worldwide network of Angels.”

The hostess decides on a theme.  Recently, the host was Judi Weisbart (mother of Macho; see my earlier column about a Lhasa Apso’s Buddhist Roots).  After the group gave updates, Judi asked them to mention something meaningful they own from their family.  Betty talked about “the beautiful silk scarves my mother left me which I wear most days.”  

You’ve met Betty and husband Stan before on this blog.  (See my column headlined “World’s Children Healthier Thanks to Chance Meeting With Israeli Exec“).  Betty is a dynamo in her own right.  For 28 years she ran an international model/talent agency and professional training school. Her most famous model, Cathy Ireland, still lives in Santa Barbara.

Having survived breast cancer, two strokes and other health challenges, Betty appreciates the messages of support the Angels often send each other.  In 2005, she received a favorite.  Numerous children were asked: What does love mean?  The elderly neighbor of a 4 year old boy had just lost his wife.  The child walked next door, climbed on the man’s lap and sat there.  After, the boy’s mother asked what he’d said to his neighbor. “Nothing,” he said.  “I just helped him cry.”

“Now that,” Betty says, “is love!”

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN

Many people intentionally form new circles of friends, as these angels did in Santa Barbara. Have you formed such a circle? Tell me about it. I’d love to hear more stories like this about the Godsigns that come when we’re intentional about reaching out in new ways.