Author Archives: Michele Kearns

What I Would Tell My Younger Self

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This post is inspired by Holley Gerth’s Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely for which I was blessed to be a member of her book launch team.

In chapter 5 Holley talks about if she could go back to her elementary school, she would look into her younger self’s eyes and tell her

“You’re going to be okay. Actually, you’re going to be quite wonderful.”

That got me to thinking what would I tell my younger self if I could go back to elementary school.

Now you have to be very, very, very careful what you tell young children as they are very, very, very, impressionable. I know. I was very impressionable and had words said to me that should not be said to anyone of any age.

I am going to put a different twist on Holley’s idea and say what I would tell myself at the following turning points in life:

  • elementary school self
  • 18-year-old self the night before graduation
  • 22-year-old self the night before college graduation
  • the night before my wedding self
  • the returning to work self the first day back after Joe’s passing.

My Elementary School Self

What I would tell myself the night before I start first grade. This is the most difficult because I would not want to freak my young self out, but there is an important life-changing, life-shaping event that will happen in a year. I need to instill confidence in her and not destroy her self-esteem.

  • Never forget Jesus loves you.
  • Love everyone
  • Be Kind to everyone
  • Pray
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“Honky Tonk Woman”

Oh, and 1 + 1 = 2 not 11.

My 18-Year-Old Self 

The night before my high school graduation I would say:

  • Don’t give up the flute. Take lessons in college. Start a hobby career as a flute player for weddings, cocktail parties, and other social events. Keep track of your clients and stay in touch with them during the holiday season. This is called networking and you will be ahead of the rest of society if you develop good networking skills now.
  • Change Your Major. Instead of setting your sites on being a teacher, major in Library Science with a minor in creative writing. Make sure you do not lose your conversational writing tone.
  • Stop being a people pleaser. Instead, live to please God.

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My 22-Year-Old Self

The night before my college graduation I would tell myself:

  • Stay grounded in the Bible. It will always be your manual for living fully and loving bravely.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. You need to be grounded in gratitude as it will help you get through life.
  • Learn how to apply makeup and keep up with the trends. Teaching people how to apply makeup is a vital skill now and in the future. If you work in retail, push to get into the makeup department.

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The Night Before My Wedding Self

I would say:

Love, Live, Laugh, Dance, Hold Hands, Snuggle, Kiss A Lot

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You waited a long time for marriage – cherish it.

  • Keep doing small things for him. It’s the small things that matter, like making Tuna Casserole.
  • Live by Elizabeth Barret Browning’s How Do I l Love Thee poem:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

 

My Newly Widowed Self

Here is what you need to do to thrive:

  • Write, write, and write. No one but you has to see what you write – not yet anyway. Hone your writing skills but keep the conversational tone.
  • Get some career counseling. Start and figure out what you would do if you were laid off.
  • Go back to school. I know the thought of term papers makes you want to puke but go back to school anyway.
  • Trust God. I know it is easier said and done, especially when times are tough but you have to do it.  He really IS your shepherd.
  • Keep praying and keep writing in a gratitude journal. This will help keep your mind focused on God and what is right in your life.
  • Get Back to photography, and reading. You enjoyed these hobbies before you got married, now get back to doing them again.
  • Eliminate the word “survive” and “okay” from your vocabulary. Focus on thriving instead. Surviving means treading water and okay means mediocre. You need to thrive and not survive.
  • But most of all:

BE KIND

Life is not going to get any easier. As a kid, you always knew life would be a struggle and your gut instinct was right. So no matter how hard life gets be kind to others as you are not walking in their shoes and don’t know what battle they are facing. Being kind will help keep your heart from hardening.

Remember no matter how hard the rest of your life will get:

Life is beautiful2

 

Now It’s Your Turn

That’s the advice I would give myself throughout different turning points in my life.

What advice would you give yourself?

 

Hands Photo by Shelby Deeter on Unsplash

All other photos by Michele Kearns

52 Bible Verses for a Joy Filled Year – Week 42

Good Sunday Morning!

Hope this finds you well and enjoying a hot beverage or a cool beverage depending upon your climate.

This weeks verse is about everybody’s favorite thing to do – wait.

Yes, I hate it too. I’ve been waiting 5 1/2 months for a change to happen and the change is scheduled to happen today. unless I’ve done something stupid prior to today. (I’m putting this post to bed on Tuesday night.) More on the change next week.

This change does not mean I am soaring with the eagles – yet.  Right now I am rising with the robins.

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So I am not done waiting on the Lord to do more things in my life because even though it is no longer full moon, the werewolf is still tearing down the front door.

May God show us how He is using this verse in our lives this week.

 

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Robin Photo: Michele Kearns

Full Moon Photo: Michele Kearns

Eagle Photo by Rachel Pfuetzner on Unsplash

52 Bible Verses for a Joy Filled Year – Week 41

Wow! Week 41 already. Hopefully these verses have helped you find more joy and peace as you see how God is working in your life. I have been feeling especially peaceful the past week, not sure why. I keep telling myself to trust the feeling and don’t be convinced that the other shoe is going to drop.

So here is this week’s verse. It is a verse I’ve focused on before and need to focus on again as what thought was an anthill is now a mountain.

This picture of Galveston Bay was taken in 2009 when I was there for a wedding.

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Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely by Holley Gerth

Let’s be the HEROINES in our own wild, imperfect, glorious stories. Never the understudy for someone else’s. 

Holley Gerth

Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely

Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely is a collection of stories from Holley Gerth’s life packed with encouragement. This is Holley’s best book yet because of how vulnerable she is in sharing personal stories.

Every chapter beings with a powerful quote from other author’s such as Madeline L’Engle, Ann Voskamp, Kaitlyn Bouchillon and the late Kara Tippetts. Then Holley tells a story about a certain time in her life. Events from childhood to college to marriage through the present are told in a conversational tone with faith,  wisdom, and encouragement being woven throughout.

You will read stories about, a paddleboat, bone in a chicken, infertility, and depression among others.

Time Machine

Her stories transported me back in time to my childhood and while I didn’t have a paddleboat,  I had a saucer sled. My friends and I had plenty of fun with that saucer sled during the summer when using it with a piece of rope and a chestnut tree.

Holley’s words show you how you have already lived fully and love bravely, what you need to do now is figure out how to get back the fierceness you had that got lost in the business of everyday life.

Never Too Late

While all the quotes Holley chose to begin the chapters are excellent and contain their own wisdom, it is the quote at the beginning of the epilogue that spoke to me the most:

It’s never too late for a happily ever after.

Lovelle Gerth-Myers

Holley’s daughter

Lovelle is right. It really is never too late for a new beginning. The story Holley shares about Lovelle’s adoption proves it.

Holley’s book gives you the support and encouragement to get out there and live fully and love bravely. Whether you are widowed, divorced, or just feeling lost, this book is for you. Because you are already a fiercehearted woman, a heroine of your own God-ordained story,  you just don’t realize it yet.

Remember, your happily ever after is waiting.

Fiercehearted Manifesto

Here is what Holley wrote about fiercehearted women on a plane one day that became the inspiration for her book.

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Disclosure: It is a blessing to be on Holley’s book launch team and be a part of a wonderful team of women. You too will be blessed by reading Fiercehearted. After you do, go out and fully and bravely live and love so you too can say “it’s never too late for a happily ever after.”

FYI: I had a hard time writing this review because of all the words and phrases running through my head. I finally decided the words belong to several posts and not just one. So there will be more posts based on the subjects in Fiercehearted.

Wednesday Wisdom: Fiercehearted

Yesterday was release day for Holley Gerth’s new book Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely.  As a member of the Fiercehearted Warrior Launch Team, I got to read Holley’s book before launch day.

As usual, there are a lot of notes in the margins, sticky notes, and highlighter. I plan on doing a more in-depth review later this week but thought I would share some of my favorite quotes with you in case you are in need of a mid-week pick me up.

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“It’s a brave thing to stay fully alive in all your living.” 

 

“I thought if I could just be successful enough, I would become someone else. But you can’t grow into someone new. You can only grow into more of you.” 

 

“The Lord Restores.”

 

“Because friendship is really all about helping each other become who God intends for us to be tomorrow.”

 

“Whatever this world may do, we’re going to keep being courageous.” 

 

“Let’s make this

our declaration: 

instead of trying to have it ALL TOGETHER, 

we will dare to do

real, messy, imperfect

life all together

 

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Full review coming Friday 10/6. 

 

Write 31 Days 2017

Well, since it is October 1st and I have not made up my mind about a topic for Write 31 Days, neither JoyReturns nor OgleOhio (photo-blog) will participate.

I will attempt to publish more this month as I need to get back into the swing of writing but the desire for Write 31 Days is non existent this year. My desire for most things is non existent this year. Life has once again been very rough all year and I’m mentally and physically worn out.

So I will set my sights on Write 31 for 2018.

My October

I am starting another round of Sara Borgetede’s Faithful Finish Lines Fitness Program. Becky of So Very Blessed website has joined Sara in running the program. Faithful Finish Lines lasts for 7 weeks with each week focusing on a particular aspect of faith, fitness and food such as no sugar week and food journal week (ugh! hate those weeks).

As for fitness, I will be doing a 30 day plank challenge and a legs up against the wall challenge. 

For the faith part I will be using Sara’s 30 Days of Praising God in the Storms of Life and as of October 3rd I will be participating in the Fiercehearted Bible Study with Holley Gerth. There will be a book review on Tuesday when Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely releases.

So that is what I have planned for October.

Have a joy filled week and see you Tuesday.

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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 by seizing new opportunities. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used her skills while working as a call center team leader, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer.

 

 

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