reclaiming joy

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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When Bad Things Happen to Good People

September 26, 2019
daybreak

Today I pray the Serenity Prayer for friends whom I hold close to my heart: May God grant you the wisdom to understand and evaluate all the doctors say, to ask the questions that need to be asked and to make the decisions that need to be made. May God grant you the courage to go forward with your usual optimism and faith, even if …

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Chugging Across the Canadian Rockies

September 19, 2019
Train at Jasper Station

This was not the trip of our dreams… Riding the train across the Canadian Rockies, staying at the legendary mountain resorts in Banff and Lake Louise was one of trips Lev and I often talked about but never did. Accepting the fact that my days of driving trips are over was hard. Do I abandon my dreams or join a tour group? I decided to …

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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 …

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Throwback Thursday: Remembering Sri Lanka

April 25, 2019
Indian Ocean 1/1/05

The Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka reminded me of the two weeks I spent there as part of a construction team one year after the 2004 tsunami. As I wrote in Reclaiming Joy, “the people’s serenity as they faced the future without loved ones, without homes, and without other possessions awed me.” I was the cook and travel guide for a group from First …

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The Journey to Easter Joy

March 14, 2019
journey to Easter Joy

Though the observance of Ash Wednesday, Lent and Holy Week was not part of my faith tradition growing up, today even Baptists mark the journey to the cross and on to the empty tomb. For me, this period on the church calendar marks the approach to the anniversary of Lev’s death. I look past Good Friday and death to the joy of Easter. I want …

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Home Alone in the Kitchen

March 9, 2019
cucumber finger sandwich

After three weeks of travel—eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in restaurants—I was glad to get home to my kitchen. The refrigerator was empty; the pantry shelves, bare. Without taking time to find recipes or make a grocery list, I headed to the store because I was committed to bring finger sandwiches to a meeting the next day. It’s been years since I’ve made finger sandwiches …

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What Is Your Travel Profile?

February 4, 2019
Travel Planning Tools

Lev and I always loved to travel. He was a travel agent when we married, and though the volume of summer travel business precluded our enjoying vacations in the early years of marriage, we still found many opportunities to enjoy the perks of being in that business. Lev planned our honeymoon—I don’t think I had any input—a glamorous trip to Mexico City in December 1962, …

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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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