happy

Beauty Leads to Serenity, Peace and Joy

May 9, 2019
living room view

I have always loved beautiful things—who doesn’t?—but beauty was not essential to my happiness until I was widowed. Perhaps because of the drudgery involved in settling the estate and learning Lev’s business after his death, I desperately needed to be in light-filled, tranquil, soothing space to fill the emptiness and mitigate my pain. I describe those early months of grief in Reclaiming Joy: There was …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

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, …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

Really? I’m an author?

October 13, 2017
Ella at desk

With a contract for RECLAIMING JOY, I can now legitimately call myself an author with a forthcoming book. Those words have very specific meaning in the publishing world, and I have to pinch myself to make sure I haven’t dreamed it. After having an unfinished manuscript hanging over my head for more than three years, I am not quite sure what I do next. I …

Continue reading

The Parable of Two Sons

August 3, 2017
mother and son

Once there were two elderly, affluent widows whose oldest sons served as executors of their fathers’ wills and as trustees responsible for managing their mothers’ finances. Each son was the mature, responsible, oldest child in his family. Both women lived for decades after their husbands’ deaths. One widow complained, “I can’t buy a new outfit without asking my son’s permission.” The other widow happily traveled …

Continue reading

“Option A Is Not Available”

May 25, 2017
Option B-Sheryl Sandberg

A few weeks after her husband died suddenly and unexpectedly in Mexico two years ago, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was confronted with an upcoming father-child event at her young son’s school. She discussed her options with a good friend. “We came up with a plan for someone to fill in for Dave. I cried to Phil, ‘But I want Dave.’ He put his arm around …

Continue reading

English Gardens in South Texas?

May 11, 2017
garden

Last week for the first time I was on Nantucket off-season—to celebrate daffodils, one of the first signs of spring on the island. While South Texas is already experiencing summer, with the temperature occasionally reaching 90 and spring flowers past their prime, Nantucket is at the very beginning of springtime, with bulbs and fruit trees and forsythia in full bloom. I will return at the …

Continue reading

Resolved: To Schedule Priorities

February 2, 2017
Scheduling priorities

A friend who traveled this road many years before I did said, “I am a better person because I lost my husband. I am kinder, nicer, sweeter. I have my priorities in order. I know what matters.” I had to agree. “Yes, you are. And so am I.” As she had, I re-ordered my priorities after Lev’s death. I asked myself the question: How do …

Continue reading

Resolved: To Bury, Burn, Dig Out

January 5, 2017
Time to Bury

Wiser, more gifted writers than I have been busy making their New Year’s Resolutions, and I am learning from them. My original list of Resolutions, posted here last week, is inadequate. Maria Shriver, who continually delights and challenges me with her weekly Sunday Paper, has done it again. On New Year’s Day she wrote, “I’ve Been Thinking.” “Yesterday, I wrote down all of the things …

Continue reading