widows

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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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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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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“Will Your Book Help Me?”

September 23, 2018
STSCS library gift

With the publication of Reclaiming Joy: A Primer for Widows and the publicity surrounding it, I am hearing the question often, “Will your book help me?” The answer in most cases is YES. Near the back of the Bible, you will find a short letter—barely four pages in my version—from the Apostle Paul to the small, poor, discouraged, divided congregation at Philippi. Fourteen times Paul …

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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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