Inspiration

The Journey to Easter Joy

March 14, 2019
journey to Easter Joy

Though the observance of Ash Wednesday, Lent and Holy Week was not part of my faith tradition growing up, today even Baptists mark the journey to the cross and on to the empty tomb. For me, this period on the church calendar marks the approach to the anniversary of Lev’s death. I look past Good Friday and death to the joy of Easter. I want …

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Banishing the Ghosts of Christmas Past

November 30, 2018
Ghosts of Christmas Past

Lev relished the persona of being gruff and grumpy, and he welcomed the grandchildren’s nickname for him—Grumps. Come Christmas, he played the role to the hilt when they were around, going around muttering, “Bah! Humbug!” like Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. As choreographer of our Christmas rituals and traditions, I encouraged him, setting the stage with Dickens-themed Holiday decorations. We remember the story: …

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What About Those Who Are Not Religious?

August 18, 2018
book and Bible

“Faith plays a big role in this book. What advice do you have for women who do not have a strong spiritual life?”   The executive editor of Women and Wealth Magazine raised the question when she interviewed me a few weeks ago on Nantucket. It’s a fair question. Does Reclaiming Joy have a place beyond the Christian book market? My answer to the second …

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Does the Entry Say “Welcome”?

August 5, 2018
First Congregational Church

Last week I decided to take a self-guided walking tour of Nantucket’s historic churches, something I haven’t done since my first extended visit in 2014. As I paused to study the front of the churches—Baptist, Episcopal, Unitarian, Quaker, Catholic, Methodist and Congregational—I found myself examining them through landscape architect Gordon Hayward’s eyes. Do the entries say “welcome”? Is it easy to identify the main entry? …

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Who Is the Adult in the Room?

July 8, 2018
Philippians 4:8

The old Washington political cliché has taken on new meaning and new life recently, generally referring to character and behavior rather than policy decisions. But the term has resonated with me in a totally nonpolitical way. I often find myself in situations where a tiny voice in my head reminds me, “Be the adult in the room.” Somehow, that message is more effective in curbing …

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Home Alone: With Whom Do I Celebrate?

June 28, 2018
Rejoice with those who rejoice

As a new widow, I had to accept and acknowledge my limitations and embrace my new role if I was to reclaim joy. I did not like my new status—widow—neither the circumstances that made me a widow nor the images the word conjured up. I envisioned sad, lonely old ladies, living on their memories, dependent on others to take care of them. That was not …

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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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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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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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