Symbols of Strength


This morning was a tough one for Miss Mandi.

I didn’t want to get out of bed at all. It was SO comfortable and I was so sleepy and I just really did not want to use the effort to move my body even one centimeter.

My alarms are going off one after the other as I lay there dreading the morning and the cold. Meanwhile, Leben is screaming downstairs, desperate already for his morning breakfast and the hope of a nice walk.

The only thing that got me up this morning was concern that the neighbors would hate me for my barking puppy at 7 in the morning.

This morning I took 20 minutes to get out of bed. This is a small victory– some mornings, it takes me two hours.

After a long and arduous eight o’clock hour, I gave up on thinking that this morning would be productive. I sat down and welcomed my puppy into my lap, petting him for a nice quiet half hour. Moments like these, I am so thankful that I have him.

Today I decided I needed a little boost in order to get myself out the door. In choosing my outfit, I selected several of my favorite rings and happily arranged them on my fingers.

I get asked about my rings rather frequently. I tend to wear a few at a time, and they all have a story and an origin. I’m happy to share some of these stories with you today.

All of the rings I chose today bring me joy and remind me of strength.


This first ring has a lovely story. It symbolizes for me the entirety of my long stay in Austria, the lessons I learned there, the positive messages I received, and the strength I gained.

This ring also has special significance for me because it represents pure growth. It reminds me of the person that I once was, and how over time I have bloomed outward. I have grown away from my weaknesses.


This beautiful swirl ring reminds me of the loving support system that holds me up no matter what is happening.

It assures me that others in this wide world love me and are wishing all the best for me.

I received this lovely symbol from my best friend Bethany on the occasion of my graduation from high school. It represents that huge milestone that I successfully met.

I look at this ring and remember that time goes forward no matter what, and that this too shall pass.


This thicker wrap ring bears a symbol found in Ghanian folk culture, noting the connection between humans and mother earth.

I received this ring after my trip to Ghana from my best friend Sawyer. She knew I was saddened that I had not found a suitable ring in the country for myself, and purchased this so that I would have a lovely reminder of my travels.

This reminds me of the power within me to overcome my fears. The power that I have to surpass my own expectations, be spontaneous, and take risks. I am reminded that I have faced my biggest fears and I have won.

This ring reminds me that I have “roughed it” and I not only survived, but was revived by the experience. I can survive anything.


This simple Celtic knot was purchased in Scotland at the beginning of my first trip there. I was tagging along with my best friend Morgan on her dream trip, and I had no idea what joy was about to fall upon me.

This last ring reminds me why I believe in fairy tales. It represents the presence of positive energy in the world and in my life– the undeniable goodness of the divine.

When I look at this ring, it reminds me that I have experienced incredibly happy moments, and that I will again experience similar moments.

While all my rings today are nostalgic in nature, this one sends a message of hope for the future.


Seeing these rings in classes when I reach down to my backpack brings me a little smile.

I am taken once more out of the prison of my mind and into the open air of the real world.

Wearing these rings is one of many little rituals I engage in to feel more grounded– and that is a true blessing.

On a morning like this one, little encouragements mean the world. My rings are therefore symbols of strength.


No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. — The Buddha


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