serenity

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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What About Those Who Are Not Religious?

August 18, 2018
book and Bible

“Faith plays a big role in this book. What advice do you have for women who do not have a strong spiritual life?”   The executive editor of Women and Wealth Magazine raised the question when she interviewed me a few weeks ago on Nantucket. It’s a fair question. Does Reclaiming Joy have a place beyond the Christian book market? My answer to the second …

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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

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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Unity Strengthens Relationships

December 10, 2017
Philippians 2:3, 4

Meditations for Advent: 2. Moving Toward Joy On this second Sunday of Advent, we turn to Philippians 2 for directions for the next stage of our journey toward the joy the angels sang about. Last week, at the beginning of our journey, the Apostle Paul’s letter of joy and encouragement led us from grace to gratitude, then discernment and courage and—with realistic expectations—on to joy …

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What Are You Looking For?

July 6, 2017
Cheyenne Mountain

On a recent Sunday morning the minister asked the question, “What are you looking for?” So often my response is “something”…“anything”…“whatever will take away the emptiness, loneliness, pain and discouragement”…“whatever will fill the void and restore my joy.” How often I have felt what the Psalmist wrote: Oh, God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for …

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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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God, the Celestial Bellhop

March 30, 2017
prayer meme Matthew 5:44

“Try not to pray against anyone, so that you do not destroy what you are building, and make your prayer loathsome.” – Evagrios the Solitary Recently, a New Testament scholar/professor/preacher friend posted this quote—without explanation—on his Facebook page. While I had never heard of Evagrios, knowing my friend as I did, I guessed correctly that he was one of those early mystics of the Church, who …

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Complaining Won’t Change Things

November 15, 2015
Philippians 2:14

Key 5: Do all things without grumbling or complaining. When I read the Apostle Paul’s admonition, memories of my great-aunt flash before me. She was the original grumbler and complainer, choosing to remain a spinster rather than marry a man who wore the uniform of a New Orleans streetcar conductor. On every trip back to New Orleans during my childhood, we made an obligatory visit. …

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