Welcome Tornado Season! – A Life Update

Happy Spring!

I wish I had an action-packed life update for you but alas…it has just been work (virtual call center), eat, and sleep since January.

Oh wait, I forgot about going from tornado sirens to snow to sun and green grass in about 16 hours.

I finished work one day in April, grabbed an apple from the fridge and went to sit on the porch and eat my apple before working overtime. I opened the door and was met with tornado sirens. (I highly recommend tornado sirens as a great late afternoon pick-me-up.) 😉

I flew back to my spare bedroom office and advised everyone in the chat I was out due to the sirens and then ran outside on the back deck to see what was going on. This picture was taken before the rain started.

What I learned from watching the Facebook live from one of the local TV stations is if the National Weather Service sees rotation on the radar they are going to issue a Tornado Warning, even if all is well on the ground. And all was well on the ground, no wind, rain, lightning or thunder.

When the rain came it was a gentle rain. I have video of the storm and a bird comes flying across the screen. There was also a lot of birds chirping in the video. I can’t get the video to upload to my blog or I would show it to you.

Then the next morning I work up to this:

Yep – snow.

Then in the afternoon, this was the scene:

Welcome to Northeast Ohio where Mother Nature’s hormones are extremely out of whack.

Book Launch

The highlight of the year so far was being on Christie Purifoy’s book launch team for her new book Placemaker, Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty and Peace. What made it so special was feeling as though we were a group of girlfriends getting together for a book club, even though we met on Facebook. The atmosphere was warm and cozy which made this launch team experience one of the best.

Bible Study

The church that I am a member of is doing the Bible Study, Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing the Will of God by Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King. When I found out about this, I thought “You could blog your way through this book.”

Yes, similar to the movie Julie and Julia where Julie Powell blogs about cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I need to make up my mind quickly if I am going to do this as we are already on week 3 or 4. It would mean a blog post per week for 26 weeks or I could write the posts and publish one a day the month of October in memory of the now defunct Write 31 Days.

I am through chapter 4 and have some conflicted thoughts I am mulling over.

The Soundtrack of My Spring

Here are some of the musical tracks I’ve been enjoying:

Still Rolling Stones by Lauren Daigle from her CD Look Up Child – play this every morning.

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by J.S. Bach (Organist Unknown)

Symphony Number 5 in C minor Op 67 by Beethoven (West–Eastern Divan Orchestra Daniel Barenboim, conductor)

Rhapsody in Blue – George Gershwin (Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic Orchestra)

Hallelujah Chorus – London Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus, John Pritchard – I play this at the end of long, hard work days.

Stomp – Brothers Johnson – This is how I start my weekend.

Alexa played Symphony #5 and immediately went into Rhapsody in Blue which really caught my attention. I never thought putting those back to back on a playlist. Guess my Echo Dot is good for something – we have a love/hate relationship.

And speaking of playlist…I am working on creating 2 playlists on Spotify. One is entitled Cardio and the other is Inspirational. I will let you know when the lists go live.

See You In September

Well, that’s all that is new and noteworthy in my life. See you in September with another life update that hopefully will not involve tornado sirens.

I leave you with a picture of the golden retriever statue Joe bought in 2004 that I dressed up for Easter. Joe and Rommie are up their in heaven shaking their heads in disbelief. 😀

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, co-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. She is also an amateur photographer.

He Is Risen!

Just like the daffodils that burst forth from the ground back in the woods, so Jesus Christ burst forth from the grave proving that you and I will also rise up one day.

He is RISEN, Indeed!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, 
    and all that is within me, 
    bless his holy name! 
Bless the Lord, O my soul, 
    and forget not all his benefits, 
who forgives all your iniquity, 
    who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the pit, 
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 
who satisfies you with good 
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 

Psalm 103 1:5

Never Forget His Love For You

May you always remember why Jesus endured wearing this crown of thorns as he was nailed to the cross.

He Loves You.

The blood He shed washed your sins as white as snow.

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.

A Review of Placemaker by Christie Purifoy

Today we are celebrating a the release of Christie Purify’s new book Placemaker; Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace.

Being a part of her book launch team is one of the best experiences ever because it feels like a group of best friends gathering on a Saturday afternoon each curled up on couch with a cup of tea.

Scattered throughout this review are bits of my story and the pictures of the current trees in my life.

I first fell in love with Christie’s writing when I read Roots and Sky; A Journey Home in Four Seasons. Her writing is warm, gentle and makes you feel right at home.

In Placemaker, Christie eloquently weaves her story with the story of the trees she and her family encountered in every place they lived from Texas, to Chicago, IL, to Florida and finally to an old red brick farmhouse called Maplehurst in Pennsylvania. A story filled with the beauty and peace of each place despite the challenges encountered.

The day Placemaker arrived at my place.

The book is also about community and belonging, about opening your homes to family and friends even though you just moved in, and it’s about cultivating beauty, comfort and peace whether you are walking though a season of abundance or though a wilderness season.

Definition

What is a Placemaker? It is someone who willingly sinks their roots deep, even though they might be there for a short time.

Making and tending good and beautiful places is not a dishonorable retreat. It is a holy pursuit.

Christie Purifoy
Placemaker; Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace

Trees?

Trees first came to mean something special to Christie because of the cover of The Magician’s Nephew one of the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. However, the cover of her copy is not all about trees but somehow they were what she remembered. Guess God was preparing her to write this book even as a child.

Then she discovered that trees spread their roots down and out and feed off one another. They are a community serving one another.

We are to be like trees, sink our roots deep and serve our neighbors.

Sinking roots deep is what Joe and I did when we moved here. We developed wonderful relationships with our neighbors and we have been there walking each other through a garden or wilderness. While there are a few other reasons, my neighbors are the main reason I have never moved – and have no intention of moving.

The trees know waht we struggle to accept; it is right and good to love my neighbor as myself.

Christie Purifoy
Placemaker; Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace

A Life of Trees

At first I found myself jealous of how she was able to tell her and her family’s story through the trees that inhabited every place they lived.

Then I remembered, well duh! You can tell your life story through experiences with trees starting with the chestnut tree of your childhood and ending with
the maple tree on my tree lawn and the trees in the woods behind this house.

The tree lawn maple

A Wilderness of Discontent

Like all stories, Christie’s contains chapters about grief, loss and walking through her wilderness season in Florida. A season of running out of dreams, not feeling appreciated, and making new friends at church but they all live on the other side of the city.

Like winter, the wilderness is always a promise. God leads us in and, one way or another, he leads us out again. Or, if he doesn’t lead us out, he does something almost more miraculous: he plants trees in the desert, and he causes rivers to flow there.

Christie Purifoy
Placemaker; Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace

Yes, God lead Christie out of the wilderness in Florida to a tree-lined driveway in Pennsylvania.

My Wilderness

In April 2018 I was writing my 10 Year A Widow series, about the lessons learned since Joe’s passing, I was overcome with tiredness. It was as if someone stuck a straw in me and sucked all the life and energy out of me. It’s what led to reduced blogging and…reduced placemaking. I gave up and this house looks like I’ve given up on it and life in general.

Until now.

Thank you Christie for reminding me of the importance of placemaking and that it is a holy endeavor. Your book is nourishment my soul desperately needs.

My Favorite Chapter

Rainbow Over Woods Behind House – June 2008 (about 2 1/2 months after Joe’s passing)

In the chapter titled Rainbow Eucalyptus and Roses, A Place For Those Who Mourn, Christie writes about her brother-in-law Shawn Campbell’s passing off the shores of Oahu. It is a beautiful, eloquent tribute to Shawn.

You will need tissues.

However, after reading about the last event in that chapter, you will be saying “Only God.” Because only God could have planned and carried out that tree event. It has Romans 8:28 written all over it.


28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[a for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28
New Living Bible (NLT)

The Placemaker Effect

Christie’s book will inspire you and cause you to reflect upon not only how you can be a placemaker but how where you live changes you.

So if you are looking for a place to be deeply rooted in peace, start by sinking your roots deep into reading Placemaker.

Thank You, Christie

Thank you, Christie for writing a beautiful, uplifting book. I pray it will encourage those walking through a wilderness and inspire those in a garden season to sink their roots deep and wide where ever God has placed them.

I leave you with one final quote, that sums up why this world needs us to be placemakers.

With God’s help, we can pick up the pieces of an old and dying world, and we can make them new. We can make a place where beauty and peace can take root, flourish, and grow.

Christie Purifoy
Placemaker; Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace

Additional Resources

Roots and Sky; A Journey Home in Four Seasons – Christie’s first book.

Out of the Ordinary Podcast Christie does with good friend Lisa Jo Baker

ChristiePurifoy.com – A Spacious Place – Christie’s blog

The Legal Pad: All links on this post are non-affiliate links. I am a member of the Placemaker book launch team and received a free copy of Christie’s book in advance of today’s release date. However, the one I pre-ordered on July 3rd, 2018 arrives today. 😀

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.

Sundae Sermon

Here is a quote from Christie Purifoy’s new book, Placemaker; Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace, that releases this Tuesday 12 March.

This sermon will give you something to think about and it is sweet like a sundae because it is shorter than the sermon your pastor will preach today. 😉

Woods in late winter.
Tree in right foreground is a black walnut


When we felled the trees,
did we lose forever those places
capable of touching the very depths of our
God-given capacity for wonder?
Or can we remake such places today?


Christie Purifoy
Placemaker; Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace

releases Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The Legal Stuff: I am on Christie’s book launch team and received a free copy in advance of release date. However, I did pre-order the book on Amazon, 3 July 2018.

The Void in Church Ministry

My friend, fellow blogger, and former widow Ferree Hardy wrote a wonderful article for her blog Widows Christian Place titled Why Don’t Churches Do Widows Ministry?

In her article, Ferree discusses three important events where God has considered widows his “special interest group”

  • When the Law of Israel Was Given
  • The Birth of Christ
  • The Beginning of the Church

Over the years I’ve seen numerous comments on other blogs about how the church is not there for the widow and/or her children once the husband was buried.

So I hope you will click on this link and read Ferree’s article. May God bless and speak to you through Ferree’s words.

Disclaimer: Churches means the body of Christ from Bangor, ME to San Diego, CA and from Anchorage, AK to Key West, FL and all points in between.

Church Photo by Einar Storsul on Unsplash

The Only Resource for “Discovering Love Online” (review)

Preparing Yourself For The Adventure

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and enter the world of online dating but have heard horror stories from friends and family that would cause Stephen King to have nightmares. Plus you do not know where to begin as there are so many dating sites your head spins like a merry-go-round.

Discovering Love Online: Love May Be Closer Than You Think: (Find the Love of Your Life Through Online Dating) by [Miller, Chuck]

Then Discovering Love Online, Love May Be Closer Than You Think by Chuck Miller is the practical resource you need in preparing for an enjoyable, successful adventure. In addition to his online dating experience, which led to him find his current wife Deb, Chuck was a singles ministry director for a number of years. His book is not only based on experience but a lot of research as well.

Chuck takes the guesswork out of what to do and where to begin. He does this by assuming you know nothing so he covers the basics, including grooming, manners, first impressions, and where to go on dates among numerous other topics.

He has a Master of Divinity degree so his Christian faith is mentioned throughout the book. Miller explains how his beliefs apply to dating and why his conservative values will help you when it comes time to meet someone in person.

While the book is filled with advice about online dating, it is also filled with age-old adages that are still true.

Where Do I Begin?

You begin at the very beginning with the age-old adage:

“Know Thy Self.”

Socrates

Because how can you know what to look for in a spouse if you do not know who you are, what you like and what your goals are in life. Part of this process may include personality assessments and even considering the advantages and disadvantages of staying single. There is nothing wrong with staying single as God designed everyone differently.

Part of the process of knowing yourself is determining your list of non-negotiables. These are items that are deal makers or breakers.

For example, potential non-negotiables could include: faith, whether someone is an animal lover, the political party they are affiliated with, are they a smoker or a drinker, and do they believe in tipping the pizza driver well.

This is just a partial list what could be non-negotiables. Your list of non-negotiable items will be different from anyone else’s since we are all unique individuals.

Paid vs Free

Another age-old adage that is still true today is:

You get what you pay for.

Chuck provides a brief summary and pros and cons, starting with Chemistry and ending with Zoosk, to help you determine which one is right for you. He does recommend choosing a paid site because people on those sites tend to be looking for long-term relationships.

Without passing judgment, the clientele on paid services tend to be more earnest in their efforts and more thorough and accurate in creating their profiles. I’ve experienced it first hand and so have many others seeking love online.

Chuck Miller
Discovering Love Online, Love May Be Closer Than You Think
pg 47


This is the person with whom you hope to spend the rest of your life.

Honesty Is The Best Policy

Once you’ve chosen a site, Chuck even tells you how to set up a winning profile. This includes what information to share and what not to share, photograph advice, answering questionnaires, and storytelling advice for your profile summary.

It is true today as it ever has been:

Honesty is the best policy.

There is no room for embellishment or flat out lying in your profile. It will come back to haunt you at some point in time. Be honest in who you are and what you do.

Also, he mentions that incomplete profiles are also not acceptable. Photo’s need to be there and be current, profile questions answered and basic information filled in.

Your dating profile is your online dating resume. You may wince and groan, but it is true. “Interviews” are granted based on the information contained in your profile. So if you do not want to end up in the shred pile, fill out your profile completely.

Not Just For Scouts

Chuck admits there are risks involved in meeting people you met online and encourages you to be extremely careful selecting people to meet offline.

However, he acknowledges these risks apply to people you are introduced to by friends, family or that you meet in the produce section or any other public place.

He also gives you tips on what to look for to determine a possible unsavory character whether they intend to take your money, cause physical or emotional harm.

So whether you choose online dating or meeting someone the old fashioned way –

Be Prepared.

Be prepared for anything. Have friends or family at the same coffee shop if you choose to meet there. You can never be too careful.

The Tip of the Iceberg

This is just a tiny bit of advice covered in Discovering Love Online. This book will help prepare you to find that special someone with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.

Chuck did a wonderful job combining his faith, age-old adages, and advice in his book. I highly recommend this book if you or anyone you know are considering online dating. If you have any questions, his information is listed below.

Doubting Thomas?

Still not sure if this book is for you? Then check out The Do’s and Don’t of Successful Online Dating –  FREE through Valentine’s Day. It is a 38-page Kindle booklet that will help jump-start your search, give you an idea of the author’s writing style and information that you will find in Discovering Love Online. $2.99 through Valentine’s Day (Kindle).

Additional Resources

Website: Discovering Love Online

Propeller Cap, LLC | Independent Publishing With A Unique Spin

Blog: Discovering Love Online

Chuck’s Amazon Author’s page

The Legal Stuff

Author’s Note: Chuck Miller and I met when he attended GriefShare after his first wife’s death. I’ve seen him go from mourning to joy and that joy includes finding his current wife Deb (an absolute sweetheart) via online dating.

Disclaimer: I purchased the Kindle version and was given a free autographed copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All links are non-affiliate.

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