Writing in the Long Form

August 23, 2018
writers bookshelf

Three weeks from today, I will be sitting at a table in the Waco Convention Center autographing copies of my memoir, Reclaiming Joy: A Primer for Widows, for the very first time; and I will have my book to add to my bookshelf. How naive I was when I started! Earlier this week I scrolled through my old blogs just to be sure I don’t repeat myself …

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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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Have Books, Will Travel

July 31, 2018

Reclaiming Joy goes on sale in 45 days! After so many years of writing, I find it hard to believe that it’s actually happening. With big events scheduled in Waco and Corpus Christi and media attention beginning to trickle in (one media interview this week and two more in a couple of weeks), several friends have asked when and if I would be available to …

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Time to Think About Your Summer Garden

July 25, 2018
Nantucket garden

Gardening is a joy I reclaimed after Lev’s death; and since I started coming to Nantucket, I have sought to transform my South Texas garden to a traditional New England or English cottage garden. Each summer I look for new ideas—new ways to garden at home. When we are holed up in our air-conditioned homes and the temperature outside hovers near 100 degrees, thinking about …

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Figuring Out Finances After Loss

July 15, 2018
woman with spreadsheet

Though my memoir, Reclaiming Joy, addresses all aspects of grief—emotional, physical, social, spiritual and financial—I rarely blog about the financial challenges we face when we find ourselves suddenly single, whether by death or divorce. However, the headline of a recent Next Avenue post caught my eye: Picking Up the Financial Pieces After Divorce Younger divorced women repeatedly tell me that I describe them when I …

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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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reclaiming joy in lower case

June 21, 2018
large island t-shirt

In many ways, my memoir, Reclaiming Joy, is a love letter to Nantucket, for this is where I first experienced sustained joy after Lev’s death, which I described in last week’s blog. Though I know intellectually that I had many moments of joy even in the midst of the thick fog of grief, my memories of the pain and anxiety are much more vivid. Sheryl …

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I’ve Come Full Circle on Nantucket

June 14, 2018
Sunday-Nantucket waterfront

My life has come full circle in the past five years, and it’s appropriate that I end this period of life where I began it—on Nantucket. My first visit as a widow was in August 2013—four days at the end of a small-ship cruise along the coast of Maine. I originally planned to spend a week, but I was afraid to be completely alone for …

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