church

Love Overcomes Fear

December 3, 2017
Philippians 1:27, 28

Meditations for Advent: 1. Moving Toward Joy Are you ready to celebrate Christmas? or is something missing this season? This has been a hard year on many fronts. Many have suffered grievous losses. Hope and peace and joy may seem very far away. That’s how I felt after Lev died. The very thought of the Holidays terrified me. To prepare my heart, I turned to …

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Moving Toward Joy: Meditations for Advent

November 30, 2017
Good tidings of great joy

Introduction 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.[i] But she treasured it because it had belonged to her …

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Ready to Party?

November 16, 2017
Dinner for 3

Tennyson may be right that “In the Spring a young man’s [and woman’s] fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”[1]; but in my stage of life, fall too often turns my mind to thoughts of loss. The shortened days depress me. While I thought nothing of going out after dark with Lev, nine autumns later I am still uncomfortably surprised by the darkness when I …

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We Are All Bereaved

November 9, 2017
Flags at half-staff

All the flags are flying at half-staff this week, and we are all in mourning. Not just for those massacred in Sutherland Springs but for our own loss. When a gunman invades a church and cold-bloodedly sprays everyone with bullets, we all feel robbed of our safety. There but for the grace of God go I. There is no safe or sacred place, no sanctuary …

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Wanted: A Church to Call Home

October 26, 2017
Nantucket church steeple

The spiritual is one of the universal dimensions of grief, along with the physiological, psychological and social dimensions. What we believe—or don’t believe—affects how we grieve. I grew up seeing widows in the church, actively involved until very old age. I took for granted that the church would meet my spiritual and social needs when I was widowed; but as many other widows have found, …

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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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Return From Neverland

August 17, 2017
Lest We Forget

Like Wendy Darling in Peter Pan, I realize I cannot remain forever on my personal Neverland island of Nantucket. For two months I didn’t turn on television. I paid scant attention to the headlines of the newspapers for sale in the pharmacy. America seemed very remote. With decidedly mixed feelings, I packed my bags and returned home to the real world last week. Those first …

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Memory + Anticipation = Joy

June 8, 2017
Joy! Corpus Christi bayfront

Both heart and mind are overflowing in anticipation this week. My bags are on their way to Nantucket, and in just a few days I will be too. Already I am imagining moving into my summer home, debating where to go for lunch Saturday (fried clams or lobster roll?), worship the next day in my summer church, brunch with Nantucket friends and then—two days later—the …

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Celebrating God of Daffodil and Fun

May 4, 2017
Daffodils

After the merriment of the Daffodil Festival on Saturday, on Sunday morning I headed up the hill to the First Congregational Church, as is my custom when I am on Nantucket. This is the place where I reclaimed joy after Lev’s death. This is the place where I found peace. This is the place where my soul found its home. This time, though, I passed …

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