Apostle Paul

Really? I’m an author?

October 13, 2017
Ella at desk

With a contract for RECLAIMING JOY, I can now legitimately call myself an author with a forthcoming book. Those words have very specific meaning in the publishing world, and I have to pinch myself to make sure I haven’t dreamed it. After having an unfinished manuscript hanging over my head for more than three years, I am not quite sure what I do next. I …

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The Winters of Our Lives

August 24, 2017
winter

What a surprise! What a blessing! And what a learning experience for me. Last month on Nantucket, I led a conversation on moving from discouragement and loss to joy during four Tuesday afternoons of Porchtime at the Parsonage. Our small group turned to the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians for inspiration and practical advice as we admitted our own struggles and shared our efforts …

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The Parable of Two Sons

August 3, 2017
mother and son

Once there were two elderly, affluent widows whose oldest sons served as executors of their fathers’ wills and as trustees responsible for managing their mothers’ finances. Each son was the mature, responsible, oldest child in his family. Both women lived for decades after their husbands’ deaths. One widow complained, “I can’t buy a new outfit without asking my son’s permission.” The other widow happily traveled …

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Porchtime at the Parsonage

June 29, 2017
parsonage porch

When I visualize my mother, the first image that always comes to mind is of her with her worn Bible across her knees, index cards and pencil at hand, preparing her Sunday School lesson. Her old King James Version was falling apart, the spine of its cheap leatherette cover peeling off, pages spilling out. But she treasured it because it had belonged to her beloved …

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No Regrets!

May 18, 2017
the road to hell

Don’t I wish? Good intentions may not lead to hell, but they can lead to a life of regrets—if only and what if. With age, I have acquired enough experience to know that I am happiest when I seek to live life without regrets, without all the “should haves”—all the times I procrastinated until it was too late—pricking my conscience. My cousin in Alabama taught …

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Lessons Learned in Widowhood

April 20, 2017
I-press-on

Grace is the bottomless well of God’s unconditional love, mercy, forgiveness and pardon. It is the gift of unmerited favor. Those of us who receive His grace are bound to extend the same grace to others. And in the giving and receiving of grace, we find inner peace and peace with others. In our despair, we cannot imagine that life will ever be good again. …

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God, the Celestial Bellhop

March 30, 2017
prayer meme Matthew 5:44

“Try not to pray against anyone, so that you do not destroy what you are building, and make your prayer loathsome.” – Evagrios the Solitary Recently, a New Testament scholar/professor/preacher friend posted this quote—without explanation—on his Facebook page. While I had never heard of Evagrios, knowing my friend as I did, I guessed correctly that he was one of those early mystics of the Church, who …

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Resolved: To Count My Blessings

January 12, 2017
Philippians 4:6

In my grief after Lev’s death, I could not imagine that life would ever be good again. I moved from despair when I started living in gratitude mode—counting my blessings, continually saying thank you, God. Only then was I able to find joy in my memories of the past and—eventually—in my anticipation of the future. I began to take time before lunch every day to …

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12 Keys to Reclaiming Joy

October 6, 2016
1 Ph 1-92 Ph 1-103 Ph 2.24 Ph 2-45 Ph 2-146  Ph 2-29Advent wreath illuminated by candlelight8  Ph 4-69 Ph 4-810 Ph 4-1111 Ph 4-1312 Ph 4-18

Weekly Meditations to Prepare Your Heart for the Holidays paraphrased from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi With wisdom and discernment, grow in love for others. 1:9 “Love…Knowledge…Discernment” Be sincere and blameless, approving all that is excellent. 1:10 “Sincere…Blameless…Excellent” Seek unity and a shared purpose. 2:2 “Family Unity Matters” Look out for others’ best interests, not only your own. 2:4 “De Tocqueville’s Advice for Widows” Do all things without grumbling …

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Easter Hope: Celebrating Resurrection

March 24, 2016
Horseshoe Bay

Part 1: The Spiritual Aspect of Grief Lev was buried on Maundy Thursday, seven years ago. It seems like yesterday…and a lifetime ago. The approach of Easter is much more a reminder to me of his death/my loss than the calendar date, April 7. While I have written often about those sinkholes called holidays, Easter is not a sinkhole for me, for the resurrection story …

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