Kelly Balarie’s Battle Ready

I’ve been blessed once again to be on Kelly Balaire’s book launch team, this time for her second book Battle Ready; Train Your Mind, Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.

It is about time someone wrote this book. It is filled with practical tips and actionable items you can do. It is boot camp for your mind.

Kelly also has an arsenal of other weapons at iambattleready.com.

The Battlefield of Your Mind

The mind is where the greatest battles are fought. Battle Ready will:

  • help you change your thoughts so you can launch a counter-attack in the battle you are enduring (because we are all in some type of battle)
  • help you be proactive so you are prepared for the next siege the enemy unleashes on you.
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Kelly’s book on my physical battlefield.

 

Meant to be Beat Up

Battle Ready will have you dog-earing pages, using a pen, highlighter, coloring pencils and Post-It Notes. Some pages are even suitable for framing – with washi tape.

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The point being, this book is meant to be used.

It is not meant to be read and put on a shelf.

The Mindsets

Kelly writes about the 12 Warrior Mindsets:

Possibility, Identity, Sensitivity, Activity, Humility, Objectivity, Bounce-Back Ability, Simplicity, Eternity, Positivity, Intensity, and Impossibility.

Every mindset has verses, lists, quotes, and prayers to help you retrain your thoughts. They also have wise words from Kelly based on her experiences.

My Warrior Mindset

Have you been dealt a major blow – such as job loss or sewer backup?

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Be like me and live in Warrior Mindset number 7 – Bounce-Back Ability.

Bouncing back from sewer back up was not fun but it was easy compared to bouncing back into a full-time job that pays all the bills and lets me save for things such as a sweeper and car repairs.

My call center job feels repetitive at times and there are days I do not want to commute across the hall to work, but I keep doing it because people need my help.

I use my knowledge to tell them their package’s location, when they will be delivered and help them locate packages that went AWOL (Absent With Out Leave).

So I keep James 1:12 in mind as I march forward every day because not every call goes well. 

That is just the nature of call center work.

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Developing Your Battle Plan

Kelly even created a 90 day prayer journal for use in developing your own battle plan.

Every one of us is a unique individual fighting our own battles. So my battle plan will not look like yours.

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In Easy Reach

This book along with a few cherished others will be beside my Bible – I just need to figure out where I want to put this collection of books. Do they belong in my office, beside my bed, or beside the chair in the living room? That I am not sure.

The one thing I am sure of is Battle Ready is on my desk every day for easy reference.

And it belongs on your desk, next to your Bible as well so you are well equipped with the armor of God.

Thank you, Kelly, for creating a wonderful, arsenal of weapons.

Arsenal

The following is a list of weapons for your training, so you will live victoriously.

Battle Ready

Battle Ready Journal (90 Days) 

iambattleready.com

You Version Reading Plan

 

(Disclaimer: As part of Kelly’s book launch team, I received a free digital and hard copy of Battle Ready. All views are my own. All links are non-affiliate.)

 

red-rose_signatureBio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer. You can see her photographs at OgleOhio.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Battles

What battles am I trying to bounce back from:

working every day at a job that does not pay the bills but instead, keeps me in poverty.  Yes, it is challenging and I learn something new every day and I am blessed to be working but I want to pay my bills every month and have money left over for things such as a new sweeper, car repairs and other things that come up.

lack of desire, of motivation because I’ve been fighting the rebuilding a career battle for so long.

Fighting the societal battle of widows being crap, of being worthless, and of having cooties. The book of James gives the mandate to help widows and society says No!

Speaking of crap – here is my latest battle:

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Short-lived torrential downpours are too much for the city’s sewer system, so it backs up into my basement. The last thing I needed to be doing was buying towels yesterday at Big Lots to put down on the basement floor. They were $4.00 a piece but that is $20.00 that would be better spent elsewhere.

Here is the Bounce-Back Ability verse Kelly suggests for this Warrior Mindset:

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I’ve been repeating this verse while cleaning up today and will continue with all my other battles as well.

And so I will keep persevering through my trials to one day receive the crown of life the Lord has for me as it is much better than the crown of thorns this life gives me.

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Battle Ready will help me persevere and it will you as well.

We are all going through a battle, so, therefore, buy this book and a Bible too if you do not already have one. Use them both. Look up the verses Kelly uses throughout the book and read the entire chapter.

Well back to the basement, as another torrential downpour has started. I am adding dam building with towels as a skill on my resume.

 

The Silver Anniversary: One Date – Two Meanings

I was not going to write a 25th Anniversary post, but then I found out a little piece of information that caused me to change my mind.

25 years ago today Joe and I looked like this:

Young and in love.

Then 14 3/4 years later my heart was shattered when he moved to heaven.

His passing does not change the fact that today is the anniversary of our wedding. It does change how it will be celebrated.

There will be no big shindig at our house or a fancy schmanchy party center. Instead, I will go to Dairy Queen and have a Blizzard. Joe loved Dairy Queen ice cream cakes and since it is just me, there is no need for a cake.

While today is a quiet, bittersweet celebration of a joyous event for me, for my new friend and fellow blogger Joni, today is just bitter.

Six years ago Joni and her husband were in a car crash that took his life and left her a single parent.

One day, two completely different meanings for two different women.

So in honor of Joe and me marrying 25 years ago, please:

  • Visit Joni’s blog and leave her an encouraging comment.
  • Bow your head and say a prayer for Joni and her family.
  • Go to Dairy Queen, order a Blizzard or other ice cream treat.

 

Thank you and God bless you.

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Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer.

Sunday Sermon: Bianca Olthoff: From The Broken Place

I follow Q Ideas on YouTube. Bianca Olthoff is one of my favorite speakers. She hits a home run with this speech and I knew I had to share it.

I encourage you to watch and take what she says to heart.

Are you willing to speak encouraging, life-giving words to those in a broken place because as long as they are alive, God is not done and has a plan for them.

And He has a plan for you as well.

 

 

 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

John 8:32

NLT

 

I will share more of these videos that speak to my heart and hope that they speak to your heart as well.

 

 

 

Words for a Wednesday

Hello. Well, here is another post I did not intend on writing but when I got up this morning I knew I had to write a post. I feeeellllll good! today. When I get to feeling this good, look out world!

Weather Report

It is a sunny, tropical day here in Ohio.

Ummm…Michele….lying is a sin. Afterall I am sure everyone can smell the heat from the furnace.

Yes, that is right folks I said the “F” word – furnace. It is June and that means in Ohio we turn on the furnace to take the chill out of the morning air.

Instagram People You Should Follow

I am very selective about who I follow on Instagram. I have to know you or you have to be recommended by someone. If you are a man, I will NOT follow you.

These are the accounts whose words and pictures I find soothing and life-giving.

nikki.at.the.cottage. – Because there is no better way to start your day after turning off your 5 a.m. alarm than to look at the beautiful flower, garden or other nature post from a cottage in rural Suffolk. I know you are not supposed to turn on your social media as soon as you get up, but Nikki’s posts soothe the soul and are a beautiful way to start your day. Wonderful words accompany her pictures. I live the gardening life through her.

Maplehurst Gardens – I also live the gardening life through maplehurstgardens, the home of author Christie Purifoy and her family. Another gorgeous Instagram feed filled with flowers, trees, meadows and free-range chickens. It was her post this morning that changed how I feel about my backyard.

My backyard is overgrown due to being sidelined with multiple sinus issues, intestinal issues and strained lower back muscles the past two weeks. Christie said she and her family call overgrown grass and weeds a meadow.

There is power in words.

So now instead of a backyard, I have a meadow – Michele’s Meadow – which is half mowed.

Thank you, Christie, for changing my perspective.

kaitylyn_bouch (Kaitlyn Bouchillon). Author Kaitlyn Bouchillon’s posts usually speak to my heart and nourish my soul. However, she is currently visiting Israel and her first post from the Valley of Elah (where David slew Goliath) had a deep impact on me.

“We don’t need to cover up who we are with someone else’s armor. We can simply kneel down, live the story we’ve been given, trust His goodness, and believe He goes with us.

Let’s remember. And then let’s dare to run.”

Those are just her closing words. The rest of the post is just as wonderful. Well done Kaitlyn, well done.

Change in Devotional Routine

I am off today. So I decided to dig deep into Kelly Balarie’s new book Battle Ready instead of my devotional book on Proverbs. I will save that for tonight as I do not believe in screen time after 6 p.m. except on Tuesday and Wednesday nights since I am off on Wednesday and Thursdays. (I have a free copy of Kelly’s book on my Kindle.)

God is speaking to me through Kelly’s book as well also. This morning I finished Warrior Mind-Set 7 Bounce-Back Ability. (Warrior Mind-Set = Chapter)

These are some of the words I highlighted this morning:

Ten Secrets of Resiliency:

#8 – The truth is you’re moving from glory to glory.

Know this: you’ve come further than you give yourself credit for.

#9 Jesus suffered too, but that didn’t stop him.

A Foundational Truth that will put you back on Safe Ground:

The only thing Jesus proved is that He ultimately trusted the Father, even during hardship.

Resiliency is knowing whose you are so you don’t fall into the “proving” trap that only leaves you tired, weary, and all busted up.

Hopefully at least some of these words will speak to you as well. You can order Kelly’s book Battle Ready here.

Old Testament Verse of the Day

These verses also come from Warrior Mind-Set #7

“This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” (Psalm 91:2 NLT)

New Testament Verse of the Day

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to run errands I go.

Well, that is all for today. I am off to the store and library and maybe after I get done with those errands, it will be warm enough to finish mowing Michele’s Meadow. (It is only supposed to be 66 today and is currently 54.) If not, it will wait until tomorrow, when it is supposed to be 79 degrees.

(Disclaimer: All links are non-affiliate.)

 

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer.

My Life After Blogging

I told my new blogging buddy Lynn from Through Ink and Image that I would write posts periodically to let you know what trouble I’ve gotten into now that I am not blogging regularly.         😉

So here is the first installment.

How I Start My Day

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This is my main devotional for the year.  I will sometimes supplement it with another shorter one such as Ann Voskamp’s The Way of Abundance, A 60-Day Journey into a Deeply Meaningful Life

I read The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms as my main devotional last year so God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life: A Year of Daily Devotions in Proverbs seemed like the natural next step.

Natures Decorations

After a long cold Northeast Ohio winter, that ended in late April, the tulips behind my house finally bloomed.

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Then the lilac bush burst into bloom. Ah….

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This week the peonies I got from Mom’s house bloomed.

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There are more of them since I took these pictures and my house smells wonderful. I need to cut some more because eventually there will be a storm come through that will rip these beautiful flowers to shreds. It happens every year.

My Main Form of Exercise

This time of year mowing is how I get my exercise. I also do walk the different parks but mowing the gully and slope is my main workout.

This is the verse I keep shouting to myself as I mow.

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My Favorite Park

I took a short contemplative walk at Alderfer-Oenslager Wildlife Sanctuary a few weeks ago. It is my favorite park to visit. I sat and contemplated my life and asked God what I do to turn my career around, to finally have a job that pays the bills. But alas, no answers…as usual.

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The environmental center is part of the sanctuary. It is where my “buddies” and I rested after our walk.

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My “buddies.”

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Kelly Balarie Book Launch Team Member

The last thing I have going on is being a member of the Battle Ready launch team. I was on Kelly’s Fear Fighting launch team also. I was not going to do this but I got a couple messages from Kelly on Facebook and figured God was trying to tell me something.

Her book is wonderful. You can pre-order it here.

Here are a few quotes that really spoke to me and caused me to stop and think.

 

“Humility lets someone love you.”

 

“We’ve named fear humility and turned away from God’s best. No longer. Our aim is not to be understood by other people but to be in service to Jesus Christ, no matter the cost.” 

 

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“Do we fault our kid for getting an A? Do we mock one who has stepped out into foreign lands to save millions? Why do we stomp on our God-given dreams?”

 

That Is All Folks

The rest of my life is doing the everyday boldness of showing up for my virtual logistics job and helping lost drivers and people who have not received packages yet. There is also house cleaning and Bible Study. It is not a very glamorous life.

I am not sure when I will do my next update.

Until then:

24 ‘May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace.’

Numbers 6:24-26

(NLT)

Have a safe and fun summer,

labellesignatureBio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer. You can see her photographs at OgleOhio.com.

(Disclaimer: All links are non-affiliate.)

 

 

 

10 Years A Widow: It’s A Wrap

Today’s post is the end of the 10 Years A Widow series and the end of JoyReturns.

Hopefully, you found the series enlightening. Remember, these posts were based on my experiences during the past decade. Your experiences and lessons learned will be different because we are two unique individuals.

Over the years I hope you found joy here while reading about my adventures after Joe’s sudden passing. I pray you understand it is possible to move forward after the sudden passing of your spouse.

A special thank you to whoever posted 10 Years A Widow: Desperate Ways on Facebook which caused this blog to experience heavy traffic for 3 days. Wow!

The last 10 years have been filled with joy, hope, peace, grief, and challenges. I’ve planed a funeral, worked through grief, and co-facilitated a grief support group. There were also other friends and family deaths (12) along with births (5) and weddings (4). Fun and laughter prevailed at Memorial Day cookouts, family reunions, and Christmas dinners.

I’ve learned to write a resume and cover letter and LinkedIn profile, as well how to network. Speaking of new skills, a man from church taught me how to be a lumberjack when we took down the 3 pine trees in my backyard – now that is on the job training! Pine trees are soft and easy to take down. However, it took me weeks to bundle up the branches into piles 6 feet long x 4 foot high for the trash man.

Friends came into my life and friends left because they were only meant to be friends for a season. However, being on book launch teams and a part of Faithful Finish Lines led to meeting people who’ve become dear friends for more than just a season.

As you can see, life has been a roller coaster ride filled with plenty of hills, mountains, tunnels, dips, twists, and turns the past 10 years – just like yours.

Not sure what will happen in the next 10 years and I do not want to know.

I will take it as it comes.

1,500+ Posts

After 1, 500+ posts, I do not believe there is anything more to write. My days consist of work and housework. My social life is pretty much non-existent. Also, Rommie is living with Joe and therefore not hi-jacking my computer while I’m asleep and writing her own posts.

 

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Air “Yoda”

 

The original date for the last post was going to be 6/29 as 10 days after my 25th wedding anniversary seemed like a good date to stop blogging. But it has become clear over the past few weeks that the end needed to come sooner.

However, while I plan on this being the last blog post, God told me to start a “widows website” and He can tell me to return to it. 

Books, Books, and More Books

I will now tackle the stack of books I’ve been collecting over the years that need read. As you can see there are plenty of books to occupy my time.

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This is just a partial stack of books waiting for me. Yes, the stack of books meant I needed to refresh my highlighter supply as what I have was quickly running out of light.       😉

Where’s Michele? 

Even though I will not be blogging, you can still reach me via the form on the contact page, or you can email me. You can also check out OgleOhio, my photography blog, as I plan to post scenic views there every now and then.

Start Here

There is always the START HERE page for your to explore and I created a resources page filled with recommended books and websites dedicated to joy, getting through grief, and rebuilding a career. The resources page will be updated periodically.

Thank You

Thank You for your support, words of encouragement, sharing your story, but mostly for your friendship. It does not matter if you have been here a day or 10,000 days, you have impacted my life in a positive way.

Because of you, JoyReturns has reached a minimum of 115 countries. Yes, this little ol’ blog from Cleveland, OH reached places such as Mayotte, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Austrailia, Columbia, Canada and New Zealand. Here in the states, I know readers from Maine, New Hampshire, Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, and California have paid JoyReturns a visit.

I never dreamed my writing would reach the four corners of our world.

Thank You, J.T. O’Donnell, at WorkItDaily.com for encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone and add blogging to my list of skills.

Thank you, Joe, for your love during our 14 3/4 years of marriage. There would be no JoyReturns without you. I do love and miss you but you are better off in heaven where you are healthy and living with Jesus.

Thank you, God, for whispering the words “Widow’s Website” in my ear one morning. You kept pushing me to do this even though Joe never taught me about blogging and websites before he passed. You truly do equip those you call.

You also took a couple of nasty life events (death and unemployment) and turned them into good using this website, for which I am humbly grateful.

Final Thoughts

Remember:

Life is beautiful2

and

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Love and Joy Always,

capri48

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer.

10 Years A Widow: #1 Lesson I Learned

While I’ve learned a lot of lessons and had a multitude of experiences over the past 10 years, one lesson stands out as the most important. The one that I thought I would rank as number one was God being the one in charge, but it comes in at number two.

My number one lesson learned is:

 

Unemployment is worse than grief.

 

While I knew I would get through grief, I did not know that I would get through rebuilding a career.

At first, I had all the hope in the world, and then it started to fade like a rainbow after a summer storm.

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I keep doing what I need to do to help restore my soul and hope that God will do His part.

 

Blogging

I had high hopes when I started blogging that besides helping my readers, whether they were my fellow widows, people grieving other losses or non-grieving people, JoyReturns would have an impact on my career.

It has not.

What I found is taking the initiative to learn new technology means nothing to most career counselors and prospective employers. I say most because JoyReturns would not exist without the help of J.T. O’Donnell of WorkItDaily.com. She was my mentor, guide, and encourager through the startup process.

There is one counselor, an older gentleman, who does not give a hoot about me having a blog. It is no big deal. He has one too. I really wanted to reply “Well, for a man of  your advanced age, I think it is wonderful you learned new technology and use it to help people.” 

But I kept my mouth shut.

I was not sure how God would use JoyReturns to impact my career but was so full of joy at the prospect of HIm using it.

Your Greatest Lesson 

The greatest lesson you will learn if / when you become a widow will most likely be different from mine as we are different individuals living completely different lives. I pray your greatest lesson will be different because I would not wish unemployment/underemployment on my worst enemy.

Even if you become unemployed after being widowed, your job search may be shorter and more successful than mine – just depending on your skill set.

My Prayer of Hope

Just like grief, hope never leaves. I still cling to a thread of hope for a better life and keep coming back to these verses, from Numbers 6:24-26, from time to time.

May they speak to you as they speak to me. The video is the words set to music. If you attended church growing up you will probably recognize the song.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

 

 

Coming Monday, April 23rd, 10 Years A Widow: It’s A Wrap!

 

red-rose_signatureBio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer.

 

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