Author Archives: Michele Kearns

Lesson From A “Love Note”

Yes, you read the title right – I got a “love note.” It has been over a decade since my last one from Joe.

However, this is one I NEVER want to get again.

Last week I found a “love note” from my city taped to my door. The note stated I had 15 days to replace my broken sidewalk.

HUH!

I am not able to pull that kind of money out of thin air. Who do you think I am Jeff Bezos? Warren Buffet? President Trump?

My neighbor is a contractor and last evening we discussed the situation as they got a “love note” too. There’s is in better shape than mine and they still got a “love note.” He will fix theirs and the 3 broken spots on my sidewalk.

So all is under control.

The Lesson

Check with your city and see who is responsible for the sidewalk.

Your Homework

Then save up thousands of dollars in a sidewalk fund so if / when you have to replace it, the money is there – especially if you happen to be a one-income widow when a “love note” is taped to your front door.

Section replaced by gas company 16 years ago.

By the way, they even used red tape. 😀

Hey!, wait a minute…what’s my city doing using my hard-earned tax dollars to buy colored tape? Plain old grey duct tape should be sufficient and cheaper.

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, and a lover of history, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

Dear America – I. Believe. In. You.

This post is part of the I.Believe. In. You. series where I write about things I believe in. (Readers, God, Jesus, and Santa)

The inspiration for this post comes from:

  • watching 4 hours of angry Democrats saying “This Country Sucks!” (Those are not there exact words but they easily could have been.)
  • Rush Limbaugh’s recent rant about how the left is anti-American and wants to rip this country to shreds. (I take my cell phone and sit on the deck or the front steps and listen to the replay on the app after work.)

Dear America,

I. Believe. In. You.

Galveston Bay

Despite being made up of flawed humans, you are the most unique and exceptional country on earth.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:23

There is no other country like you. God has richly blessed you.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

Psalm 33:12
ESV

Your founding was a political event but it brings out the patriotism in all citizens.

I believe the founding fathers knew what they were doing when they wrote your Declaration of Independence and Constitution, which are not out of date.

I also believe they knew what they were doing when they set up the Electoral College so the voice of us citizens in fly-over country would be heard. (Hmmm..not sure Ohio counts as fly-over country.)

I believe in the faith the founding fathers had and lived.

Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.

Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

Psalm 35:1-3
KJV
Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience To God; The Roll of Christianity in the American Revolution
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr./ PH.D.

I believe the prayers they prayed for you at the founding are still being answered by God today.

…look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give.

Reverend Jacob Duché
Rector of Christ Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
September 7, 1774, 9 o’clock a.m.
First Prayer of the Continental Congress, 1774
Office of the Chaplain, United States House of Representatives

Opportunity Works

You are the land of opportunity for those who are willing to work for it, those who understand that you get what you get only when you are bold enough go for it.

A land where anything is possible, where anyone can be elected President not just some career politician in Washington D. C. who is out of touch with the reality of his constituent’s everyday life.

You are a land who welcomes immigrants seeking a better life and believe America is the best place to build that life. People like my great, great grandfather Augustus who immigrated from Germany through the port of Baltimore, Maryland.

“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

Theodore Roosevelt
President of the United States of America
1901 -1909

You are made up of unique and exceptional people who get up and live their ordinary lives every day because they know:

Faithfully showing up in the seemly mundane ordinary IS EXTRAORDINARY.

Kaitlyn Bouchillon

We The People

Just as the church consists of people and not a building, you too, America are made up of people young and old, rich and poor, the employed and the unemployed, the fat and happy and the skinny and miserable.

People whose careers are:

  • trash men
  • waitresses
  • politicians
  • bus drivers
  • contractors
  • seamstresses
  • dairy farmers
  • talk show hosts
  • gas station clerks
  • call center representatives
  • stay at home moms and dads
  • butchers, bakers and candlestick makers

It takes all these people and so many more to make and keep this country the greatest one on earth.

Either Chiniak or Kodiak, AK 1952
Taken by my father while he was in the Navy.

I. Believe. In. You., America!

Therefore, I commit to pray for you at 7:14 a.m. and 7:14 p.m. every day in hopes that God will answer all my prayers for you now and for centuries to come.

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14
English Standard Version (ESV)

Betsy Ross Flag / Wikipedia

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, and a lover of history, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

Joy To The World!

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

Psalm 47:1
New International Version (NIV)

You are invited to join me in the clapping and shouting that I’ve done the past few days.

About 5 years ago, JoyReturns had been read in 115 countries according to the map in my WordPress analytics.

If someone in a country read this blog, then the country was light blue. The more people in a country that read a blog, the darker the blue. If no one has read the blog, then the country was white.

Just for grins, I decided to access my stats and get an updated count on the countries JoyReturns has reached. I expected the number to be between 115 -125.

Well God pulled a fast one on me.

JoyReturns has reached 161 countries.

The ideas, opinions, thoughts, and adventures of this unexpected widow have been read by people in 161 countries. Not bad for someone who always thought her conversational writing stunk.

I have not promoted JoyReturns on any social media platform for years. The fact that this blog has reached an additional 46 countries is the work of God.

Where JoyReturns Is Not

According to the WordPress map, these are the places where JoyReturns has NOT been read (click on the links to learn more about them):

Thank You

First, I would like to thank God for whispering the words “Widow’s Website” in my ear early one morning in late 2010. I wrote the words to blog posts and you saw that they were read in countries where they needed to be read.

Second, my humble thanks to J.T. O’Donnell of Work It Daily for her guidance and coaching on how to start a blog and for being my first subscriber.

Third, Thank you to my readers for your support over the years. Many wonderful relationship were made here and I cherish everyone of them. It is a pleasure to read blogs about other people’s adventures whether they be the good, the bad or the ugly because we all have something to learn from one another’s lives.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I thank you Joe. Every moment, from the first time I dispatched a service call to you to our last moment as man and wife, was an integral part of making me the woman I am today.

I thank you for loving me, for your kindness, for your faith in me and for the joy you brought to my life. It was an honor and a privilege being your wife for 14 3/4 years.

You still and always will have a piece of my heart. But I have done what you wished and moved forward with life.

I look forward to the day when we will see each other in heaven.

Future of JoyReturns

JoyReturns future is in God’s loving and capable hands. Only He knows the plan for this blog. However, my goal today is the same as when I started blogging:

 “…That henceforth I may be the salt of the earth and a blessing to all.”

(Regeneration prayer from The Valley Of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers )

I hope by sharing my adventures as I rebuild my life they provide support and encouragement for widows and educate society about grief, joy, and the realities of widowhood. If so, then with God’s help I am accomplishing my goal.

Time to Celebrate

Now I am off to celebrate reaching 161 countries and my Dad’s birthday at Dairy Queen. Dad, Joe, Rommie and numerous other relatives are celebrating his birthday with him in heaven.

Final Thought

Remember –

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5 NLT

No matter what country you live in. 😀

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 the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

Suicide Help

I felt the need to republish this link after something happened recently.

It is not my story to tell, so I will not be sharing the details.

Here is the link to Pastor Adam Hamilton’s sermon

Like a Broken Vessel: The Gospel and Suicide.

He is pastor at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.

Resources:

  • National Suicide Hotline:  1-800-273-8255

If you or a loved one need help, please reach out. We are all in this life together and each person is a cherished son or daughter of God.

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.

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
« Older Entries Recent Entries »