reclaiming joy

Looking Backward, Looking Forward

December 28, 2017
looking both ways

My Christmas push is over, and I have the gift of three weeks to spend reflecting on this past year and planning the next. New Year’s Resolutions are fairly new for me. For 46 years, life revolved around husband and children, and I felt little need to set life goals and priorities. Importantly, Lev assumed so many responsibilities—business, finance, insurance, cars—and was always willing to …

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Maturity Brings Wisdom

December 17, 2017
Philippians 3:13-14

 Meditations for Advent: 3. Moving Toward Joy The third stage of our journey toward joy is more difficult than what has gone before. Last week we focused on practical things we can do to strengthen our relationships. In Philippians 3, the Apostle Paul calls on us to examine ourselves, to use our discouragement and grief to mature and grow with purpose and joy—to move forward …

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Unity Strengthens Relationships

December 10, 2017
Philippians 2:3, 4

Meditations for Advent: 2. Moving Toward Joy On this second Sunday of Advent, we turn to Philippians 2 for directions for the next stage of our journey toward the joy the angels sang about. Last week, at the beginning of our journey, the Apostle Paul’s letter of joy and encouragement led us from grace to gratitude, then discernment and courage and—with realistic expectations—on to joy …

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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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Hope for the Holidays

October 20, 2017
Christmas decor

…or would today’s blog be more appropriately titled, “Help! It’s the Holidays”? When Holiday promotions start showing up in the stores, when the days grow shorter, when daylight savings time ends, I am again reminded that I am approaching the time of year when I struggle to find joy. If you have experienced loss in the past year, if the Holidays this year will be …

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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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