One Last Time: The Amalfi Coast

October 24, 2019
from Villa Rufolo

After four cruise stops and two lengthier stays along the Amalfi coast, you would think I had seen enough of southern Italy. But how can one grow tired of the most beautiful place on earth? I jumped at the opportunity to plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip with friends. Recently retired, they wanted to travel; and I knew that I had at least one more trip on …

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When Bad Things Happen to Good People

September 26, 2019
daybreak

Today I pray the Serenity Prayer for friends whom I hold close to my heart: May God grant you the wisdom to understand and evaluate all the doctors say, to ask the questions that need to be asked and to make the decisions that need to be made. May God grant you the courage to go forward with your usual optimism and faith, even if …

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Chugging Across the Canadian Rockies

September 19, 2019
Train at Jasper Station

This was not the trip of our dreams… Riding the train across the Canadian Rockies, staying at the legendary mountain resorts in Banff and Lake Louise was one of trips Lev and I often talked about but never did. Accepting the fact that my days of driving trips are over was hard. Do I abandon my dreams or join a tour group? I decided to …

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Beauty Leads to Serenity, Peace and Joy

May 9, 2019
living room view

I have always loved beautiful things—who doesn’t?—but beauty was not essential to my happiness until I was widowed. Perhaps because of the drudgery involved in settling the estate and learning Lev’s business after his death, I desperately needed to be in light-filled, tranquil, soothing space to fill the emptiness and mitigate my pain. I describe those early months of grief in Reclaiming Joy: There was …

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Men: Don’t Do This to Your Wives

May 2, 2019
Ella in file room

Everyone—all the banks, all the media—seems to have waked up at the same time to the fact that women outlive men and almost all will have to be responsible for their own financial affairs at some point in their lives. There’s not a week when I don’t see another story about it. It’s not just the Wall Street Journal or Brown Brothers Harriman’s Women and …

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Throwback Thursday: Remembering Sri Lanka

April 25, 2019
Indian Ocean 1/1/05

The Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka reminded me of the two weeks I spent there as part of a construction team one year after the 2004 tsunami. As I wrote in Reclaiming Joy, “the people’s serenity as they faced the future without loved ones, without homes, and without other possessions awed me.” I was the cook and travel guide for a group from First …

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For Easter Joy, Thank You, God

April 21, 2019
Easter joy--a prayer

For surrounding me with your grace; for granting me the years with Lev; for hearing my prayers for discernment; for equipping me with courage to face the future; for leading me to contentment and purpose; for lifting my eyes from myself to reclaim joy; for protecting and unifying my family. for love that overcomes fear, thank you, God. For teaching me to encourage and nurture …

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Day 28. On Your Journey to Easter Joy, Be Generous

April 20, 2019

The Philippians, in spite of their poverty, had sent gifts to Paul in prison that satisfied his needs. He wrote to thank them for their generosity and assured them:  …my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NRSV Retreat to your quiet place and prepare your heart and mind to allow Scripture to …

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Day 27. On Your Journey to Easter Joy, Enjoy an Abundant Life

April 19, 2019

[Paul wrote] I have been paid in full and have more than enough. Philippians 4:18a NRSV Retreat to your quiet place and prepare your heart and mind to allow Scripture to speak to you as you continue on your journey to joy today. Start with Scripture. Today, read Philippians 4:14–18a from your favorite translation of the Bible or from the epigraph printed at the top …

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Day 26. On Your Journey to Easter Joy, Accept

April 18, 2019

…I have learned to be content with whatever I have…I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11b, 13 NRSV Retreat to your quiet place and prepare your heart and mind to allow Scripture to speak to you as you continue on your journey to joy today. Start with Scripture. Today, read Philippians 4:10–13, a sentence at a time, from your favorite …

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