happy

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 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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“Option A Is Not Available”

May 25, 2017
Option B-Sheryl Sandberg

A few weeks after her husband died suddenly and unexpectedly in Mexico two years ago, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was confronted with an upcoming father-child event at her young son’s school. She discussed her options with a good friend. “We came up with a plan for someone to fill in for Dave. I cried to Phil, ‘But I want Dave.’ He put his arm around …

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English Gardens in South Texas?

May 11, 2017
garden

Last week for the first time I was on Nantucket off-season—to celebrate daffodils, one of the first signs of spring on the island. While South Texas is already experiencing summer, with the temperature occasionally reaching 90 and spring flowers past their prime, Nantucket is at the very beginning of springtime, with bulbs and fruit trees and forsythia in full bloom. I will return at the …

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Resolved: To Schedule Priorities

February 2, 2017
Scheduling priorities

A friend who traveled this road many years before I did said, “I am a better person because I lost my husband. I am kinder, nicer, sweeter. I have my priorities in order. I know what matters.” I had to agree. “Yes, you are. And so am I.” As she had, I re-ordered my priorities after Lev’s death. I asked myself the question: How do …

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Resolved: To Bury, Burn, Dig Out

January 5, 2017
Time to Bury

Wiser, more gifted writers than I have been busy making their New Year’s Resolutions, and I am learning from them. My original list of Resolutions, posted here last week, is inadequate. Maria Shriver, who continually delights and challenges me with her weekly Sunday Paper, has done it again. On New Year’s Day she wrote, “I’ve Been Thinking.” “Yesterday, I wrote down all of the things …

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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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Never Tell a New Widow to Relax

August 18, 2016
Relaxed

I have just returned home after two months on Nantucket—my happy place, the place where I completely relax, where even writing a weekly blog slips to the bottom of my list of priorities. It took me four years to get to this place—literally and physically—and so I keep going back. If I were wiser, I could create this mental space anywhere; but telling me to …

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Mothers and Daughters

August 4, 2016
Mirror, mirror on the wall

After my husband died, I worried about my future. I had been robbed of the most significant person in my life. And every holiday, every major life event where Lev was absent was a new robbery, new bereavement. The losses kept coming, and our family was not prepared. Nobody warned us that death was only the first loss. When I did not fall apart immediately …

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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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