family

Seeking Joy While Sheltering in Place

March 22, 2020
Dallas skyline

Bad is stronger than good, but good can prevail if we know what we’re up against. When I posted the Wall Street Journal essay, Say No to Negativity, on my Facebook page the end of December, I had no idea how prophetic it would, how intentional I would need to be to stay positive while I shelter in place alone during this Covid-19 pandemic: The …

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Maturity Brings Wisdom

December 22, 2019
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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Love Overcomes Fear

December 8, 2019
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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One Last Time: The Amalfi Coast

October 24, 2019
from Villa Rufolo

After four cruise stops and two lengthier stays along the Amalfi coast, you would think I had seen enough of southern Italy. But how can one grow tired of the most beautiful place on earth? I jumped at the opportunity to plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip with friends. Recently retired, they wanted to travel; and I knew that I had at least one more trip on …

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How Do I Make 2019 Better?

January 3, 2019
The clock strikes 12

That’s the question I will try to answer in four speeches this month—Resolved: To Reclaim Joy in 2019. I know the answer—that’s what my memoir is all about—and 2018 was hardly joyless. However, I let the publication and media attention surrounding Reclaiming Joy to take over my life. I want 2019 to be better. I first wrote formal New Year’s Resolutions at the end of …

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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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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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Ready to Party?

November 15, 2018
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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Back Home Alone in the Kitchen

September 18, 2018
Celebrating Joy

I don’t know about you; but when I am tired and stressed, I eat—preferably carbs. And between staying in a hotel for four nights, the stress of giving a speech at my Baylor book launch September 14, parties and lots of quality time with family and friends, I ate whatever I could lay my hands on, including a dinner plate-sized nine-layer chocolate cake with whipped …

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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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