Category Archives: Faith

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.

Remarriage: An Eye Opening Perspective

One of the books I’ve given grieving people is Healing After Loss; Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman. My copy was given to me by Joe’s Aunt at his wake. You read one page per day of this little book.

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The devotions are not geared towards any religion. There are quotes from authors, scriptures from the Bible and proverbs from other religions. After each quote, there are thoughts from the author and then at the end a one-sentence thought/prayer. I enjoyed reading this book and my copy is now in 2 pieces. It fell apart at April 17th, which is the day I started reading it.

Time For A Re-Read 

Since this year is the 10th anniversary of his passing and our 25th wedding anniversary, I decided to read this book again. Now for some reason January – March is much neglected. I do not know why and I’m kind of wishing I did not have this brilliant idea to read through it again because God showed me a different perspective on remarriage.

Today’s devotional is very brief but powerful and deals with the hole left behind by a loved one’s passing.

The quote is:

It is the nature of grace always to fill spaces that have been empty.

Goethe

Whitmore-Hickman’s thought is:

Not that we can’t tell the difference. Not that we are being disloyal. But if life gives us something else to do with all those impulses toward the one no longer with us, how can we not be grateful? It’s like an extra inheritance -a blessing even- from the one we have lost, going to someone else who needs what we have to give. So we are refreshed by the memory of the loved one, and at the same time offering a gift, creating a new relationship.

The thought/prayer is:

Keep me on the lookout for someone who needs me now. 

Ouch! God.

So the love and commitment I gave Joe in our marriage, needs to be given to someone else, a new relationship, with a new man. I never thought of remarriage that way until today.

Remarriage scares me. I am afraid I would get hitched to a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde type of person. He is sweet and loving until we are pronounced husband and wife. Plus, blending two households is a lot of work. Houses would have to be sold and a new one bought. He would have to get along with Joe’s family as well as mine, then I would have to get along with his family.  UGH!  Too much work, too much stress.

Yes, I know if the right person came along, all the work would be worth it.

Other Relationships

This devotional can be applied to any relationship and not just the loss of a spouse. If you lost a daughter, as Whitmore-Hickman did, then you find an opportunity to “mother” another child. Whether it is through a mentoring program such as Kid’s Hope, teaching Sunday School, or spending more time with the single neighbor lady’s child.

But obviously, I see this from the perspective of a widow and remarriage.

Still Recommend? 

It’s almost 10 years since I first read this book. I loved it then and I still love it and still recommend it. My suggestion is when you give this to someone, keep a copy for yourself and read it together. You could email each other daily or meet weekly to discuss the devotions. I know the grieving person would appreciate having someone walk through the devotional journey with him/her.

 

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 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 red roses and golden retrievers and an amateur photographer.

 

 

52 Bible Verses for a Joy Filled Year – Week 52

Welcome to the last week of 52 Bible Verses for a Joy Filled Year series!!!!!!!!!

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed reading this series and taking the challenge of applying the verse to your life each week. I pray God has shown you how each verse works in your life.

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Here is the final verse and what a beautiful one –

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore…For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. 

Revelation 7:16-17 

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Thank you for taking this 52-week journey with me. Hopefully, God has shown you how at least some of these verses apply to your life.

 

christmas 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 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.

52 Bible Verses for a Joy Filled Year – Week 51

Welcome to the next to the last week of 52 Bible Verses for a Joy-Filled Year. This weeks verse pertains to forgiveness, something a lot of us grapple with doing.

Forgiveness is not about the other person, forgiveness is about you. It is about removing ill will from your heart so there is room for God’s blessings. You can not receive His blessings with hatred, evil, and anger clogging up the arteries of your heart.

So forgiveothers…then go live a blessed life.

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And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Mark 11:25

ESV 

 

 

christmas 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 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.

52 Bible Verses for a Joy Filled Year – Week 50

It’s week 50 and we are in the home stretch of this series.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 4:19 

God does supply all our needs. He recently supplied me with a roof over my head thanks to the bank and I working out an arrangement regarding my mortgage. Now, hopefully,   He keeps that need fulfilled by keeping me employed at my current job. It would be nice if He also supplied a second income.

These pictures were taken 18 months ago. God supplied the birds need for food by having people give them bread. (not sure this is the best diet for them.)

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He also supplied the Canadian goose’s need for food with an ample supply of fish in the park’s pond.

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So too, will He supply all our needs here in this world and in heaven through Christ Jesus.

 

christmas 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 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.

52 Bible Verses for a Joy Filled Year – Week 48

Hopefully, you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are now preparing for Advent. I was blessed to spend the day with Mom and we had a terrific turkey dinner at Denny’s Restaurant. It’s just the two of us so why bother cooking?

I do not have much to say about this weeks verse. As always, may God show us how this verse applies to our lives this week.

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You will show me the way of life,
    granting me the joy of your presence and
the pleasures of living with you forever.

Psalm 16:11

(NLT)

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May you experience the joy of His presence this advent as you prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

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“Manger Set”

 

 

 

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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 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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