happiness

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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Home Alone on Nantucket

June 22, 2017
Welcome to my happy place

Hard to believe I have been in my new old house on Centre Street for 10 days. This morning I can finally say, “Home alone!” Home. Those first few days—indeed, every day until just this moment—this was a lovely but sterile rent house, not home. I have discovered here that I have an incredible nesting instinct. I could not sit at my desk and write …

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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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Nantucket, My Happy Place

June 16, 2016
Mom's happy place

Sanctuary: A sacred place, a safe haven. Nantucket. In my new role as widow, I first found joy that lasted more than a moment when I visited Nantucket in 2013. I discovered a serene, tranquil beauty here that caused my spirit to soar and led me to re-evaluate and ultimately re-purpose my life. I came back to this remote island a year later to see …

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Helen: My Role Model for Widowhood

May 26, 2016
Helen

I never guessed that Helen, my mother-in-law, would become my role model for widowhood. Lev’s dad was killed in a plane crash when Lev was only 13 and his mother 39. About 18 months later, Helen married Russell; and for more than 20 years, they enjoyed the good life together. Then, in her early 60s, she was widowed again. I recalled her announcement shortly after …

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Gratitude > Generosity > Joy

January 24, 2016
Key 12 Ph. 4:18

Key 12 to reclaiming joy: Be generous in sharing with others. Since October I have worked my way through the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, examining 12 keys to moving from grief to joy. These keys are not simply principles. Paul provides an order—a road map—for moving from discouragement to joy. His letter opens with his gratitude to the Philippians for their …

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Bloom Where You Are Planted

December 20, 2015
Philippians 4:11

Key 10: Be content, whatever your circumstances. A young friend dropped by to invite me to participate in a major fundraiser for the local hospital. When I thanked her for her involvement in the community, she said, “I had some difficulty when we first moved here, but someone advised me to bloom where I am planted.” As a college student I dreamed of going to …

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Sincere…Blameless…Excellent

October 25, 2015

Key 2: Be sincere and blameless, approving all that is excellent. Love, knowledge and discernment—the first key to reclaiming joy—are not an end in themselves. They are attributes that we need in order to make the best, wisest choices. As a new widow, operating in a fog, overwhelmed by all there was to do, I had to discern what required my best. How did I …

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Bouncing Back From Adversity

August 20, 2015

As I read about grief recovery, I continually see references to resilience: The ability to bounce back from adversity, loss, trauma. Resilience–or lack thereof–plays a huge role in happiness and depression. As Dominque Browning wrote in a New York Times article, “I’m Too Old for This”: “The key to life is resilience, and I’m old enough to make such a bald statement. We will always be knocked …

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