empty chair

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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Love Overcomes Fear

December 3, 2017
Philippians 1:27, 28

Meditations for Advent: 1. Moving Toward Joy Are you ready to celebrate Christmas? or is something missing this season? This has been a hard year on many fronts. Many have suffered grievous losses. Hope and peace and joy may seem very far away. That’s how I felt after Lev died. The very thought of the Holidays terrified me. To prepare my heart, I turned to …

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Ready to Party?

November 16, 2017
Dinner for 3

Tennyson may be right that “In the Spring a young man’s [and woman’s] fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”[1]; but in my stage of life, fall too often turns my mind to thoughts of loss. The shortened days depress me. While I thought nothing of going out after dark with Lev, nine autumns later I am still uncomfortably surprised by the darkness when I …

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Hope for the Holidays

October 20, 2017
Christmas decor

…or would today’s blog be more appropriately titled, “Help! It’s the Holidays”? When Holiday promotions start showing up in the stores, when the days grow shorter, when daylight savings time ends, I am again reminded that I am approaching the time of year when I struggle to find joy. If you have experienced loss in the past year, if the Holidays this year will be …

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Where’s Home?

June 1, 2017
google earth

What sort of images does home conjure up for you? Is it where you currently live or where you grew up? How much is it based on length of time and how much on your memories and the people you shared your home with? Home usually seems to mean “where I grew up, where my roots are, where my family lives.” When adults say “I’m …

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Lessons Learned in Widowhood

April 20, 2017
I-press-on

Grace is the bottomless well of God’s unconditional love, mercy, forgiveness and pardon. It is the gift of unmerited favor. Those of us who receive His grace are bound to extend the same grace to others. And in the giving and receiving of grace, we find inner peace and peace with others. In our despair, we cannot imagine that life will ever be good again. …

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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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A Christmas Decree

December 24, 2015
Christmas 2009

That first Christmas as a widow was a challenge, and I kept the decorations quiet—mostly green and white. Instead of putting the leaves in the table, as I did when there were 10 of us, I squeezed us all close together, avoiding an empty chair. And on Christmas morning, in anticipation of the family celebration, I issued a Christmas decree: Whereas, Grumps personified the spirit …

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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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A New Spin on Thanksgiving Dinner

November 20, 2015

Holidays are not easy when there is an empty chair at the table. Families must learn how to “do” Thanksgiving, and sometimes it seems easier to abandon traditions rather than be reminded of what (who) is missing. But in 2014, our family finally got it right. The Dallas clan came to Corpus Christi, and I had many joyful weeks anticipating and planning our time together. …

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