If You Want to Visit the Dordogne

May 24, 2018
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

Getting Practical “It’s on my bucket list,” several of you responded after you saw my photos on Facebook and Instagram and read last week’s blog, “Not Quite Solo Travel in the Dordogne.” However, most of you are not ready to do what I did—fly alone to France and spend a week or two by yourself. What are your options? Find a tour; Spend a week or …

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Not Quite Solo Travel in the Dordogne

May 17, 2018
Dordogne River

If there is any place in the world that I want to see, if I want to go badly enough, I can make it happen! Last month I checked a driving trip through the Dordogne, Vézère and Lot river valleys of southwestern France off the top of my bucket list—a trip Lev and I first planned in 1990 and one I thought I would never make …

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Life’s a Beach … but What Kind of Beach?

May 10, 2018

This whole, long process of publication—from the time the Baylor University Press offered me a contract for RECLAIMING JOY almost a year ago—has been a nonstop education for me. Who would think it would take so long to birth a book? Delivery date is September 14, with a book launch at Baylor. That’s a very long pregnancy. Cover design did not take quite so long, …

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Live Well, Look Good, TRAVEL LIGHT, III

May 3, 2018
woman with luggage

Widows often find ourselves encumbered by too much baggage. We were accustomed to husbands who carried more than their share. I had more practice than many, for throughout our marriage I occasionally traveled alone or with friends. Then, as Lev’s health declined, I became the partner with major responsibility for the baggage. I was responsible not only for our suitcases but also for much of …

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Live Well, LOOK GOOD, Travel Light, II

April 26, 2018
My mother-in-law at my age

In August 2011—almost 17 months after Lev’s death—I took my first big step in traveling alone, as a widow. I flew to London, then took the train to Edinburgh, another first for me. On my arrival, I walked into a pre-dinner reception at the hotel to meet 40 strangers who would be my travel companions on the Royal Scotsman for the next week. Only four …

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LIVE WELL, Look Good, Travel Light

April 19, 2018
Ella at Roman ruins, Bordeaux

We all want to live well, though each of us—at different periods in our lives—defines living well differently. My friends and I resist the idea that we might be old—“I don’t feel old!”—but as a long-ago newspaper reporter, I know too well if I get hit by a car when I am crossing the street, the headline will read, “Elderly woman hit by car.” Many …

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Oh, Jane, Where Were You When I Needed You?

April 12, 2018
book cover

A couple of months ago, I met my very successful young author-cousin for lunch. Susan came into the bistro, sat down, propped her chin on her clasped hands and asked, “Do you realize how extraordinary it is to have your first book published when you are 77?” “Yes.” But I didn’t know that in advance. I decided to write the book I needed but could …

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Commemorating Death, Hoping for Resurrection

April 5, 2018
Church at Horseshoe Bay

For the past nine years—ten Easters now—I have observed the anniversary of Lev’s death in the midst of Easter anticipation and celebration. This is a time of year when the church calendar overrides those dates in April when Lev died and was buried…and when I assumed the unwanted role of widow. I can never say never, for last spring I surprised myself by my dread …

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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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Peace Leads to Joy

December 24, 2017
Tiny Tiny

Meditations for Advent: 4. Moving Toward Joy On this fourth Sunday of Advent, as people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus, our destination—JOY!—is in view. We can see the top of the mountain we have climbed. Looking back, we can see how far we’ve come. At least I hope you have moved toward joy these past weeks. That has been my goal—to share …

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