life

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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Live Well, LOOK GOOD, Travel Light, II

April 26, 2018
My mother-in-law at my age

In August 2011—almost 17 months after Lev’s death—I took my first big step in traveling alone, as a widow. I flew to London, then took the train to Edinburgh, another first for me. On my arrival, I walked into a pre-dinner reception at the hotel to meet 40 strangers who would be my travel companions on the Royal Scotsman for the next week. Only four …

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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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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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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 …

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Solo Travel: Analyzing Risks

October 6, 2017
Ring of Kerry

While in Dublin recently, I had my third wakeup call—another reminder that we take certain risks when we travel alone. Ireland was a typical trip for me. I hopscotched across the U.S., visiting a cousin in New Orleans, stopping for a few days in Dallas, attending a program at Colonial Williamsburg and spending time with a cousin who lives nearby before I flew to Shannon. …

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Return From Neverland

August 17, 2017
Lest We Forget

Like Wendy Darling in Peter Pan, I realize I cannot remain forever on my personal Neverland island of Nantucket. For two months I didn’t turn on television. I paid scant attention to the headlines of the newspapers for sale in the pharmacy. America seemed very remote. With decidedly mixed feelings, I packed my bags and returned home to the real world last week. Those first …

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Porchtime at the Parsonage

June 29, 2017
parsonage porch

When I visualize my mother, the first image that always comes to mind is of her with her worn Bible across her knees, index cards and pencil at hand, preparing her Sunday School lesson. Her old King James Version was falling apart, the spine of its cheap leatherette cover peeling off, pages spilling out. But she treasured it because it had belonged to her beloved …

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Memory + Anticipation = Joy

June 8, 2017
Joy! Corpus Christi bayfront

Both heart and mind are overflowing in anticipation this week. My bags are on their way to Nantucket, and in just a few days I will be too. Already I am imagining moving into my summer home, debating where to go for lunch Saturday (fried clams or lobster roll?), worship the next day in my summer church, brunch with Nantucket friends and then—two days later—the …

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