Introducing Ella’s Debut Book

Reclaiming Joy: a primer for widows

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Chapter 1. Coronavirus Cooking. The End.

May 7, 2020
beef taco with picante cream

Last night was my fiftieth dinner in Dallas—a record I hope I never break. After seven long weeks in almost complete isolation, I am ready to get home. I have cleaned out the refrigerator and organized my papers, including a fat file full of new recipes and menus. What have I accomplished? What have I learned? I said at the beginning that we each need …

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130 Meals and Still Counting

May 2, 2020
Sheet-Pan Sausage

If you are in Texas or another state that is opening up again, perhaps you have mixed feelings like I do. While I love the concept of dining out with family and friends, I have no confidence that it’s safe. To the contrary, I think May might turn out to be the riskiest month of all. I am looking forward to getting home to my …

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100 Home-Cooked Meals and Still Counting

April 22, 2020
chalupa compuesto con pollo

Today is Day 35 of mostly sheltering in place on the 15th floor of a large apartment complex in Dallas. Even with four takeout meals, I have prepared more than 100 meals at home alone in the kitchen. On Wednesday, March 18, I flew to Dallas with my son in time for takeout Whataburgers for lunch. The trunk of my daughter-in-law’s car was stuffed with …

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Coronavirus Cooking—Winners and Losers

April 18, 2020
sausage with red cabbage

Home Alone in the Kitchen Friday was Day 30 of making do with what I have to cook three meals a day. A few meals have been memorable, a few have been miserable failures and most are simply nothing worth mentioning. Nutrition, flavor and easy cleanup all matter. My favorite meal is the easiest: Italian sausage with Trader Joe’s frozen sweet potato fries, success guaranteed, …

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Alone and Anxious or Depressed?

April 15, 2020

You aren’t the only one. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, The Struggle to Cope With Depression, reports than “more than one-third of Americans say the pandemic is having ‘a serious impact’ on their mental health,” citing a March 25 survey from the American Psychiatric Association. Anxiety is through the roof, and crisis lines across the country have had a surge in calls. …

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Thank you, God

April 9, 2020
Sunlight breaks through

Thank you, God, for the gift of senses, for the joy we feel from what we see, hear, taste, smell, touch. But as always you give us free will. We can choose beauty or we can choose ugliness. At this time, oh God, may we choose the good and the beautiful, individually, as your people, and as a nation. In Jesus’ name, Amen. My memoir, …

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An Improbable Romance

April 7, 2020

After the wedding, my new in-laws and our best man visited over drinks back at the motel. They agreed that I was a nice girl, but they gave the marriage six months. They were wrong. It was a “death-do-us-part” marriage, lasting 46 years, three months, three weeks and one day. We were an unlikely pair. I had a summer job at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times …

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Searching for a Sanctuary

April 5, 2020
home office as sanctuary

Today I needed a sanctuary, a place to withdraw from the clutter on every available surface in my living room and kitchen, from the unmade bed and the pile of dirty towels. When I had to move without notice from a water-damaged condo to a rented apartment February year ago, I turned the wee-tiny third bedroom into office space that I have seldom used. I …

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Making Do With Leftovers

April 1, 2020
Preparing barbecue brisket

I cooked up a storm in Week 1 of sheltering in place in Dallas. Most of the time I was waking up every day deciding what to cook. When it was time to restock a week later, stay-at-home rules were in place and it was obvious things were going to get worse before they got better. I took inventory of food on hand, went through …

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Powerless and Needing Power

March 29, 2020
Dr. George Mason

Are you as confused as I am about the day and the date? It’s all a blur and there is nothing to mark the passage of time except by the increasing daily numbers of coronavirus cases. People don’t go to work or school on weekdays; we don’t go out on Saturday night. Whether your Sunday included worship or brunch or pro sports on TV, there …

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