children

You Don’t Have to Be Home Alone on the Holidays

November 23, 2018
December anniversary dinner

How do you handle life’s transitions as the older generations age and the young ones grow up and marry? How do you maintain family connections, especially those time-honored holiday traditions and rituals? The aggrieved, widowed sister wrote Carolyn Hax, Washington Post advice columnist: Our extended family—siblings and kids—has always gathered at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last week I got a text from my sister saying she …

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Taking Time for Joy

November 8, 2018
Dallas Arboretum

The unseasonably cool, gray, wet weather in October left me feeling like Mrs. Noah aboard the Ark; and shorter days added to my growing dissatisfaction. I had a mild case of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which has plagued me each fall since Lev’s death. With too little light, I struggle to be happy. This fall I had my garden plans—indeed, I had removed the dead …

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Have Books, Will Travel

October 20, 2018
Have Books Will Travel

My fingers are itching to return to writing about various themes of widowhood—grief, relationships, faith, learning to live life as a single, aging and reclaiming joy day by day. Ironically, though, the demands of publishing and marketing Reclaiming Joy require more time than I have hours in my day. I have more to write about than ever because of the feedback from those who read …

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A Letter to My Fellow Widows

September 11, 2018
letter to widows

After the publication of my memoir, Reclaiming Joy, started generating attention on social media, I began to hear from people who found their way to this website. They shared their loss—or their friend’s or mother’s loss—and asked, “Will your book help?” I can’t make any promises, but perhaps the letter I wrote back in 2014 when I first began to plan a book—now the introduction to …

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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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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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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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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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We Are All Bereaved

November 9, 2017
Flags at half-staff

All the flags are flying at half-staff this week, and we are all in mourning. Not just for those massacred in Sutherland Springs but for our own loss. When a gunman invades a church and cold-bloodedly sprays everyone with bullets, we all feel robbed of our safety. There but for the grace of God go I. There is no safe or sacred place, no sanctuary …

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