Grief is a sacred journey

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Savoring the Solitude: A Writer’s Life

The day after Liz and David’s wedding, we cleaned-up, congratulated ourselves about how well everything had gone, and played a few rounds of disc golf. (I provided comic relief for the real players.)  Monday morning, Lauren Cottrell

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Talking Back: Essential Marriage Skills 101

Three-year-old David snuggled on our friend Jeanne Astor’s lap in an Ithaca clothing store. “What’s your daddy like?” a saucy saleswoman asked curly-topped David. “My daddy’s tough as nails,” David said with all the bravado he could

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Roadblocks and New Beginnings

I jump in my car, pull out of my driveway, and speed uphill—the direct route to town. At the top of the hill, the road is torn up and blocked. A relaxed, slow-paced country guy on the

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Sunshine on the Wedding: June 2013

We wake up to blue skies, our weather prayers answered. Friends arrive to do the set-up postponed by yesterday’s storm. Men roll up the sides of the reception tent to air out the sandy soil and then

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The Day before the Wedding: Chop, jive, and remember the missing

The morning before David and Liz’s wedding, Tropical Storm Andrea dumps six inches of rain on northeastern North Carolina. Water floods the drainage ditch, pours over the driveway, pounds the oak trees, and pools under the huge

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Gifts of the Heart: Volunteering at Hospice

The lights darken on viewing night for senior project documentaries created by Ithaca College Journalism majors. The well-done films cover topics from musicians to foreign language instruction for young children. I came to see the documentary about

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My Mother’s Rules: Good Grades and No Babies

Don’t get pregnant and get good grades. When I was in high school, these rules were unspoken, but I knew what mattered to Mom. After Dad died when I was fourteen, Mom worried about restarting her own

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Social Media for Authors: Jill Swenson interviews Elaine Mansfield

Jill Swenson of Swenson Book Development interviewed me about my use of social media to build an author’s platform. Here are her words followed by the interview. “Elaine Mansfield is a writer, blogger, and bereavement group facilitator

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The Cancer Survivor: Hope Lodge Hospitality House 2007

“Congratulations,” Mark said as I packed up my food in the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge kitchen. Mark was the caretaker of the hospitality house where I stayed while Vic had a stem cell transplant at Strong

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Dressing Up the Mother of the Groom

This body likes hiking boots and jeans. It digs deep wide holes for plants and spades out dandelion roots. It likes broad brimmed hats and Vic’s old broadcloth shirts instead of sunscreen. In winter, it pulls on

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