children

It’s Not Too Late

July 7, 2016
Sunset at Galley Beach

Fairy tales can come true; it can happen to you… if you’re young at heart…   What were your dreams when you were young? When you married? With a bow to the realities of life, we can still make our dreams come true. I dreamed of owning a summer home in Santa Fe, where we vacationed with the children—an escape from Texas heat; of restoring …

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Happy Birthday to Me!

March 17, 2016

I have lived to see three-quarters of a century go by, for today is my 75th birthday. Unlike those special days I associate with Lev, this is not a sinkhole. Because my birthday falls during Texas Spring Break—with my children and their families on different school calendars, going in different directions—we don’t have a tradition of gathering every year. In many ways that is a …

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13 Ways to Prepare for Widowhood

February 11, 2016
until death do us part

Absolutely no one (except possibly fortune hunters who marry older men for their money) wants to consider the prospect of widowhood. We are all in denial. It as if by refusing to acknowledge the possibility, we shake our fists in the face of the gods. But the facts are undeniable: The most recent American Community Survey, published in 2014, estimates that there are almost twenty-five …

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Home Alone and (Almost) Ambulatory

January 17, 2016
leg propped on walker

Home alone. I managed to dodge my greatest fear for almost seven years—being sick at home by myself. Few widows want their children to physically care for them, but the alternatives seem worse to me—a stranger in my house who might rifle through my papers or steal small items, a rehab or extended care facility. I simply am not ready to be dependent! Actually, I …

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The Tradition of Santa Mouse

December 29, 2015
Santa Mouse

When I die, my children won’t fight over who gets the family silver. They will fight over Santa Mouse. That’s pretty typical in families. Good memories are more important than monetary value. In 1967 the Christmas theme of J.C. Penney’s children’s department was Santa Mouse—a picture book, pajamas and a huge stuffed mouse in the display window. Our first child was eight months  old. On Christmas Eve, in a …

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Memories of Christmas Past

December 3, 2015
Christmas 1967

To Grandmother’s House We Go In the early years of our marriage, we alternated between Lev’s parents in San Antonio and mine in Texarkana, a not completely satisfactory arrangement. Christmas in San Antonio was a very formal, adult affair, traipsing from open house to open house on Christmas Day. The tree was artificial, on a small table in the dining room, decorated by the housekeeper. …

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Home Alone at Christmastime

December 1, 2015
Christmas 2010

It’s always the same: a morning arrives in November, and my friend, as though officially inaugurating the Christmas time of year that exhilarates her imagination and fuels the blaze of her heart, announces: “It’s fruitcake weather!” Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” has always stirred my own Christmas memories, for Mama was also a fruitcake maker, mixing the mass of dough by hand in her well-scrubbed …

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Advent: A Season of Hope

November 29, 2015
Advent wreath Ph. 3:13

Key 7: Let go of the past; embrace the future. Throughout November I focused on gratitude. Now I want to turn my attention to hope and anticipation. It’s a natural progression, for the connection between gratitude and hope is strong. Without gratitude for the past and the present, we will have difficulty finding hope for the future. Advent can serve as our springboard. Today is …

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Reminders of Jean: Pumpkin Bread & Forgotten Cookies

November 24, 2015
Jean Storm

Jean Storm was one of the saints of First Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; wife of Lev’s long-time partner and friend-like-a-brother Ralph Storm; mother of Susan and Kathy; grandmother to Morgan, Sarah, Julia, David and Mary. And my friend. I counted myself blessed to be on the receiving end of the Storms’ generosity. Chief among Jean’s many gifts were her hospitality and her ministry to the …

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Family Unity Matters

November 1, 2015

Key 3: Seek unity and a shared purpose. Through the years I have heard the warning, “Be careful how you treat your children because they will pick your nursing home.” After Lev died, I needed my children desperately: Their blessings, their approval, and—most of all—their presence. I needed to feel needed. That surprised them. My daughter said later, “I never thought of you as a …

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