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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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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 Be Healthy

January 19, 2017
Bartlett Farm truck

Most New Year’s Resolutions are goals to change. This year most of mine are not. As I prepare to officially enter the “fourth stage of life,” that period from 76 until death (a depressing subject I prefer to ignore), I am spending more time than usual evaluating where I am and where I want to be. I want to become more proactive in cultivating habits …

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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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Autumn Anxiety Is Real

September 22, 2016

The Huffington Post headline proclaims, “Autumn Anxiety Is Real, And Treatable.” Huh? I never knew that the onset of shorter days could trigger a definable anxiety disorder. Until Lev died, I never paid much attention to the length of days, the hours of sunlight. Unlike most parts of the country, in South Texas fall holds the promise of a break in the heat, when we …

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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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Bumps in the Road

June 23, 2016
brick sidewalk

Here on Nantucket for the summer, my great fear when I’m alone on the streets after dark is not the perceived threat of someone lurking in a dark corner ready to assault me or snatch my purse. It’s the fear of stumbling on the old brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets. Ancient tree roots push up the bricks and make the sidewalks treacherous for those who …

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Don’t Worry; Be Happy

December 6, 2015
Be anxious for nothing. Ph. 4:6

Key 8: Don’t be anxious; instead, be thankful when you pray. The lyrics of the 1988 song Don’t worry; be happy seem trite, but the song writer’s advice was about the same as the Apostle Paul’s 2000 years ago. I don’t know many chronic worriers who are happy, do you? Speaking from personal experience almost seven years into this role of widow, I will admit that saying my …

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Complaining Won’t Change Things

November 15, 2015
Philippians 2:14

Key 5: Do all things without grumbling or complaining. When I read the Apostle Paul’s admonition, memories of my great-aunt flash before me. She was the original grumbler and complainer, choosing to remain a spinster rather than marry a man who wore the uniform of a New Orleans streetcar conductor. On every trip back to New Orleans during my childhood, we made an obligatory visit. …

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