Happy 4th Birthday JoyReturns!

It was 4 years ago today I published my first post. I was attending a job search seminar that night and needed something on my business card besides my name, email and phone number. An order was place from Vistaprint for cards with my blog name before I had this site up and running, that was motivation for getting the first post written.


The purpose of starting this blog was and is to:

  • share my adventures in hopes other widows will find support and encouragement
  • educate society about grief and life as a widow.
  • share my career transition story, since it was one year after Joe’s move to heaven that I got laid off from my collections job and other widows might be going through the same thing.

Never was this blog intended to make Joe out to be a god. He was not one, because he was human and therefore very imperfect. But now he resides with God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So I choose to remember the good in him and the memories we shared. There is a reason the following is engraved on our marker:

“Think of me, think of me fondly, when we’ve said goodbye.”


Now how to celebrate this milestone?

The ideal way would be to get a job.

However odds are a job offer will not be presented to me today – although miracles still do occur.

So I decided to celebrate with a post about my bucket list. It was after reading Ann Voskamp I decided the only item on my bucket list is:

to live fully right where I am (Northeast Ohio) by experiencing all the wonders God puts into my life every day.

There are days where the adventures are rough and rugged and there are days that are smooth sailing.

If God never takes me outside Northeast Ohio again, I shall be content with all I will experience day in and day out while living here. I know this to be true because a peace has come over me since making this decision.

Living Fully

Living fully means:

  • enjoying each moment, even when those moments are filled with the mundane, routine and boring tasks such as dusting, sweeping and laundry.
  • embracing all that happens including nasty life events. Embracing the nasty events does not mean you like them, but means you’ve accepted what happened. Once you accept it, then you can work on walking through the “valley of the shadow of death” because through is the only way out.
  • appreciating the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches in this life.
  • using the good dishes, lighting the candles, and putting the good tablecloth on the dining room table.
  • Saying thanks to God for all his blessings; writing them down and putting them in a clear jar or vase so so I will see them piling up day by day.

To Do List

Every day I know what I have to do. There is nothing else to remember. My life became simpler when I decided to live fully right where I am.

Thank You

Thank you dear readers for your companionship and your continued support of JoyReturns.

I thank my God for you every time I think of you;

Philippians 1:3 (GNT)

And I think of you fondly even though we’ve not said goodbye.


Stay with me as I continue to share stories about my various adventures and perhaps along the way those stories will show you how I am living fully every day.

Now off to the store to get an angel food cake and a can (or two) of cream cheese frosting – for what is a celebration without cake?     🙂




5 thoughts on “Happy 4th Birthday JoyReturns!”

  1. Michele,
    Happy 4th Birthday to you and your blog! I wish I was there to chow on a piece of angel food cake with you. I love your thoughts on using the good dishes and keeping track of all to be thankful for in a glass jar where you can see the good pile up day after day. A blessing to know you!

    1. Thank you for your kind words and being a blessing in my life. It was your name I put in the blessing vase this morning. All God’s best to you.

  2. What a wonderfully clear mission statement, and how brilliantly executed.

    You’re absolutely right that what we remember is a choice. Nearly everyone who was ever close to me is dead, and these were typically chaps whose presence at a suburban dinner-table would engender concern. Definitely rough around the edges, and a typical celebration would begin with bootprints on the ceiling, and spiral down from there.

    But they would weep over a family whose lives they were too late to save, and then become the subcontractors for God’s statement, Vengeance is Mine. They were willing to die so that gentle people could sleep safe in their beds.

    Gotta love it. Gotta remember it, and not…well, not the time I was thrown through a second-floor window. After having been relieved of my shorts.

    But it was all in fun.

    I walk in the world for them, and try to say things that are true to their memory.

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