Category Archives: Faith

Merry Christmas 2019

Yes, I know I should have picked a serious picture for my Christmas card. However, I was looking through old pictures this morning and stumbled upon this gem.

Rommie Kearns

Wishing you and your friends and family a very blessed and Merry Christmas as you gather to celebrate Jesus’s birthday

because Jesus is the reason for the season,

now and forever more.

Hallelujah and Amen!

Love Always,

Michele

JoyReturns on WCTV in Wadsworth

My friend Katherine Miracle has a show on WCTV which serves Wadsworth, Ohio. It is called Your Miracle Resource. She is the founder and CEO of Miracle Resources, a marketing firm in Akron, Ohio.

In a recent episode of Your Miracle Resource she was seeking information about what not to say to grieving people during the holiday.

I reached out to her with some advice. She wanted me to appear on her show. Since my job is Virtual Logistics, I was already scheduled for overtime the day of filming.

Instead, I wrote this post to go into more detail about the holiday grief tips I shared with Katherine. Here is the link to her show.

Your Miracle Resource – Dealing With Grief

My Holiday Tips

Take a plate of cookies to a widow along with the recipe.

Easy Heath Bar Cookies – BEFORE I Took A Bite!

I rarely bake anymore. However, if someone was kind enough to bring me a few cookies they baked along with the recipe it might inspire me to get out the cookie sheet. Plus it would warm my heart that during this busy time of year someone thought of me.

It might only be baking but it gets you trying something new and life after the loss of a spouse is filled with doing new things, so you might as well start somewhere.

Currently, this will be the only thing I bake to take on Christmas Day. It’s quick and easy and was given to me by a dear friend.

Send a grieving person a Christmas card so they know you are thinking about them.

Christmas can be a lonely time for widows and other grieving people. The focus is on kids and their toys. There are lots of lonely, grieving people who feel invisible and getting a simple card in the snail mail will brighten their day.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Bah Humbug!

Keep the Christmas music low when a grieving person is around. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas takes on a whole new meaning after the passing of a loved one.

My first Christmas after Joe’s passing, I was in a locally owned grocery store and heard this song as I went down the chip aisle. Then as I am walking down the baking aisle, it came over the loud speaker again. Finally as I walked up the dish soap aisle and headed for the check out line, yet another dead singer was crooning it over the loudspeaker. Three times in the 30 – 45 minutes from the time I entered the store until I left. After barely making it home, I laid down on the couch and had a meltdown.

Let my heart be light? Nope! Troubles miles away? Nope!

So lower the music and let the grieving person and other guests can focus on and enjoy conversation.

Invite A Grieving Person To Your Holiday Party

But do not expect them to stay the whole time. There comes a point during the festivities where it is just too much merriment for the widow. The length of time they can handle the merriment will vary because each widow is unique. It is alright for the widow to leave early. Just appreciate the time and effort it took for her to step outside her comfort zone and attend.

Speak about their deceased loved one.

My favorite picture of Rommie and Joe

It is alright to speak about the deceased loved one. We want to know they are not forgotten. It comforts us to know that people remember him. Society wants widows and other grieving people to put there loved in the ground, walk away from the grave, and act like the deceased never even existed.

So think and speak fondly of the deceased.

Do Not Quote Any Bible Verse or Get Theological

This is simple. If you look in the mirror and see Billy Graham staring back at you, then go ahead and use Bible verses and theology to comfort someone. However, when you look in the mirror you will not see Billy or even Franklin Graham staring back at you -so zip it.

Do Not Say “If you need anything, let me know.”

Raking the bottom of the River Kearns in my backyard.

By saying this you are placing the burden on the widow or other grieving person to wrack there brain about how you can help them. They have enough on their plate.

You have a house and know what tasks need done everyday and the tasks associated with the different seasons so just call a grieving person up and ask “Who is shoveling your driveway this winter?” or “Who is raking your leaves this fall?”

Go to GriefShare.org

The GriefShare program helped me immensely after Joe’s passing. It is Christ-centered, Biblically based program by Church Initiative. I looked forward to Monday nights. Those nights were more important to me than church on Sunday. Those Monday meetings became my rock, my foundation for the week because I was with other people who were grieving.

While we all lost different loved ones and the causes of their passing were different, we all knew the pain of grief and supported one another. The conversations we had after viewing a different video every week for 13 weeks left us uplifted and encouraged that grief was survivable and our joy would return.

Final Thoughts

This is not the entire list of advice for helping grieving people but it is a good starting point. Below are links to additional blog pages where you will find links to books, websites, articles, music and recipes.

May all this information help you this Christmas season whether someone you know is grieving or you yourself are grieving.

Merry Christmas and God Bless you.

Additional Resources:

Holiday Helps

Joy-Filled Recipes

Contact: michele.kearns@joyreturns.com

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

Holiday Helps

It is 2:43 a.m. this morning as I write this post. I woke up and could not get back to sleep so I decided to get out of bed, light a virtual fireplace, and do some work on this blog.

There is a new page on the menu – “Holiday Helps.” It is filled with various articles, websites, music and book recommendations to help you get through the holiday season. There is something on this page for everyone, whether you are grieving or just stressed out from all the chaos.

There is also a sub-page, “Joy Filled Recipes” that contains links to unhealthy but extremely delicious recipes.

I will add to the pages as I find more resources or recipes that you will enjoy.

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

Come Join The One Thousand Gifts Bible Study – Ann Voskamp

One Thousand Gifts Online Bible Study runs from November 18 – December 22nd and is presented by Faithgateway.com Won’t you join me by clicking this link?

I did not start Ann’s book until several years after it was released. I thought it was just another fluff piece of chick-flick type literature. However once I turned the first page, Ann’s words hit me hard. I realized this was definitely not going to be a fluff piece of work but was going to have a lot of weight and substance to it.

Ann makes me think, and think deeply which satisfies the introvert in me. Always looking inward to see how I can better myself. I’ve even had the pleasure of being on her book launch teams for The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into The Abundant Life and The Way of Abundance: A 60-Day Journey Into A Deeply Meaningful Life.

I can’t think of a better way to get through the Christmas season than to do this Bible study – especially since I am in retail. I need all the help and encouragement I can get.

This is my gratitude journal – well one of them. I have a smaller one on the side table in the living room that has over 800 entries.

These 2 pages in my red journal were completed this morning. Entries were also highlighted and washi taped because that’s just what I do – make my journal colorful.

I have been working on this book a long time and will admit to not being as diligent as I should be in writing down moments for which to be thankful. The color of the pen I use varies throughout my journal.

#1,000

You might be wondering what was #1,000 on my list well, it was a driver at work rescuing a lamb that was stuck on a fence.

The people he was delivering to were not home and the lamb had been there awhile. He unstuck him and the lamb immediately started eating some grass.

So rest assured, the Lamb of God is alive and well.

Quotes About Giving Thanks

The quote I have inside my journal.

Lest you think this being thankful and counting gifts is some New Age thing, it is not. I also have this reminder on my computer.

So are you asleep or are you truly woke to a thankful life filled with wonder and joy?

Please join me and many other wonderful people.

I look forward to giving thanks and counting the gifts God has given us with you this Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

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

Life, Death, Weather and Climate Change

When I attended GriefShare there were two videos dedicated to counting down the top 20 lessons one learns while going through grief. God’s sovereignty is their number one lesson and it is that lesson combined with a few things going on in this wild, wacky and wonderful world that inspired this post.

Life

Contrary to popular opinion, it does not take two to make a baby. It takes three – man, woman and God; a different type of Holy Trinity.

If God wants there to be a baby, then a couple will have a baby. Just think of how crowded the world would be if a man and a woman had a baby every time they made love. That does not happen because God does not want it to happen. He wants men and women to experience the pleasure of love making and not always have a baby.

When Joe and I married we decided to leave the decision about having children up to God. If He wanted us to have them then we would. However God knew our future, He knew the marriage would only last 14 3/4 years. So He decided we should not have children.

Instead, He blessed us with a golden fur child we named Rommie. We had some great times together as a family before Joe passed away. Rommie and I had some wonderful times together before she joined Joe in heaven 4 years ago. We were so thankful God brought her into our lives.

My favorite picture of Rommie and Joe

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:16
New International Version
(NIV)

He also knew you, the moment you would burst forth in this world and how your life was going to fit into the the grand plan He had set in place.

He knew your trials and tribulations, your highs and lows and your successes and failures. All this He knew long before you were born.

Not only did God know everything about you before creation, He LOVED and STILL LOVES you despite your shortcomings.

Death

Since He knew us and the moment of our birth, it also means He knows the exact moment we will move to heaven. We can not do anything to lengthen our lives.

There is nothing I could have done to stop Joe from moving to heaven. His move was predestined – just as the date of my move was written in stone before God created earth and heaven.

Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful servants.

Psalm 116:15
New International Version
(NIV)

Thy Will Be Done

So often we rage against God for thwarting our plans. We act as if we are in charge and God is our personal genie at our beck and call. He is to do as we say and not function according to His will.

But that is not the case.

There is a reason the Lord’s Prayer contains the line

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

It is because God is in control. His will is perfect and better than ours – always has been and always will be. Even Jesus knew His Father was in charge.

Our birth and death are not the only things God alone controls. He also reigns supreme over the climate and the weather.

Supermoon 2012

Weather

Weather is defined by m-w.com as:  “the state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness.”

I am writing this on a balmy October morn here in Northeast Ohio. Balmy is not a word we use to describe October weather. When this post publishes the state of the atmosphere will be fall-like and not balmy.

If I Ruled The World balmy weather would continue till January (need 6 weeks of 32 or below to keep the insect population under control).

But I do not control the weather. Temperatures will fall, as they normally do this time of year resulting in windows being closed and wearing long sleeve fleece tops instead of my silky sleeveless ones.

The falling temps will eventually result in scenic views such as:

AND

If humans could change the weather us Northeast Ohioans would turn a steering wheel and send all the Lake Effect Snow to Michigan. The folks at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) would turn a steering wheel and drive all hurricanes out to sea.

But we can’t send our snow to Michigan and hurricanes can’t be driven out to sea by humans. Only God can steer snow and hurricanes. He is exceptional at controlling the weather because He created it.

Galveston Bay 2009

24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Matthew 8:24-27
English Standard Version
(ESV)
Emphasis Mine

Climate Change

Climate is defined by m-w.com as: “the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation.”

Any climate change is a result of God, not man.

If God wants Ohio to be an arid zone, then He will change it. If he wants Texas to be covered in ice, then so be it. The climate is His and His alone to control.

Ever since God created the earth, it has gone through heating and cooling cycles. Cycles that last longer than our life span.

Nothing we do will stop Him from implementing His plan. He is weaving all our light and dark moments (both individually and collectively as humans) together and one day we will see His finished project.

The Only Climate We Can Change

“Downstream From Soda Dam” – October 1992 Santa Fe National Forest, Jemez Springs, NM

We can only change the climate of our hearts. How? Pray, Love God, and Love your neighbor.

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)

AND

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22: 37-40
English Standard Version
(ESV)

Under New Management – Not New Ownership

This world was created by God and given to us to manage. Have we managed it well – sometimes yes and sometimes no.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

Genesis 2:15
English Standard Version
(ESV)

Do we pollute the air more than we should – yes. Do we litter more than we should – yes. But God already knew how we would manage the world. He already knew about our use of petroleum, coal and natural gas and knew we would raise cows for our dairy and meat needs.

He knew because He gave us the knowledge and talent to be creative and invent technology that would help us thrive and prosper generation after generation.

Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
    you established the earth, and it endures.

Psalm 119:90
New International Version
(NIV)
Emphasis mine.

Quit trying to put yourself on the same level with God. We answer to Him, He does not answer to us. He owes us no explanation for anything that happens including earthquakes, hurricanes, lightning strikes, and untimely deaths.

The Bottom Line

We will be fine despite littering, polluting, farting cows and other things. The climate will continue to go through cycles and we will live the exact number of years God predetermined before creation.

Rainbow Over Neighborhood – June 2008 (photo by Michele Kearns)

So work on changing the climate of your heart, taking care of the planet and all of God’s creatures great and small but remember

God is in control.

Whether you like it or not,

He Has The Whole World In His Hands.

Either Chiniak or Kodiak, AK 1952
Taken by my Father while in the Navy.

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

The Legal Pad: All links are non-affiliate (just in case you could not read my writing).

Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God – A Widow Rekindles Her History Joy

Ever since Joe’s passing I’ve been rediscovering and/or reinventing who I am. The first step was upgrading from film to a DSLR camera, the next step was reading books, then came unemployment followed by LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and blogging. That is what widowhood is all about – moving forward with creating a new life while not forgetting the old one.

Now I am on to rekindling an old flame – history.

This summer I read Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God; The Role Of Christianity In The American Revolution by Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.

History always fascinated me and was my best subject in school. Once I got out in the working world, my love of history did not occupy much of my time. My interest was slowly been rekindled over the past few years but has intensified this summer. History brings me joy.

However, in school I do not recall getting much of an education about Christianity’s role in our founding. My teachers may have casually mentioned it. So I did some research on Amazon about Christianity and our founding. Dr. Stackhouse Jr’s book was one of the search results and I found the title intriguing.

His book is packed or should I say stacked with quotes from and information about the founding fathers and their faith. There is so much information I found this post hard to write because I want to include everything.

Here is my best shot at a general overview with some quotes scattered through out.

The title of the book comes from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson proposed seal for the United States, which is on page 98 and the book’s cover.

They Had A Dream

The founding fathers had a dream, a dream of a country where man was not under the rule of tyrannical leaders imposing taxes on it’s citizens. A country of the people, by the people and for the people where man was free to choose and create his own destiny.

They Had Faith

But bringing this dream to life was in going to be what most would say is an impossible dream. However our founders had the faith to know that nothing is impossible with God.

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Matthew 19:26
King James Version (KJV)

Their faith in God is the one thing that I quickly noticed when reading in the book. It was a strong faith, a passionate faith, a faith unlike what we see and experience today. These men KNEW their Bible and applied it to everyday life.

Our faith today is sterile, sanitized and bleached out. It’s too formal, to routine, to bland in fact it is down right too establishment-like. But that is a subject for another post.

#EarlyInfluencer

The Apostle Paul talks about submission to those in authority in Romans 13 as God put them there. It is generally interpreted as blind obedience to whoever is in authority.

However, Puritan minister Johnathan Mayhew (1720-1766) of the West Church in Boston gave a sermon on Romans 13 where he stated obedience to whoever is the ruler applies ONLY when the leader is being kind to his people. If he is imposing things, like taxes on tea, he is not being kind. Since he is not doing God’s will, we have a duty to rebel against the tyrant.

If it be our duty, for example, to obey our king, merely for this reason, that he rules for the public welfare, (which is the only argument the apostle makes use of) it follows, by a parity of reason, that when the turns tyrant, and makes his subjects his prey to devour and to destroy, instead of his charge to defend and cherish, we are bound to throw off our allegiance to him and to resist.

Johnathan Mayhew
Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH. D.
pg. 13

Mayhew’s sermon was given on the 51st anniversary of King Charles I’s execution after the English Civil war of the 1840’s.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (emphasis mine)

Matthew 22:37-39
King James Version (KJV)

Obviously imposing taxes or other nasty things on people is not loving your neighbor as you love yourself. Therefore we the people have the right to rebel against tyrannical rulers.

Preaching Politics

There were even sermons about politics preached from the pulpit in the pre-revolutionary war years. Sermons about God being almighty, powerful and the ultimate ruler. Understanding this puts into the power of kings and queens into perspective as they are mere mortals like the rest of us.

Knowing God is the almighty gave them courage to boldly proceed with the fighting for our right to be free from England and the tyrannical rule of King George III.

The Country’s One Foundation

American historian Henry F. May best explains the answer as to why Christianity played a role in our founding:

A great many people believed throughout the period that the religion of the Bible, understood best by simple people, was the safest foundation for all essential truths.

On the whole, various forms of Protestant Christianity served the emotional needs of most Americans better.

Henry F. May
American Historian and Margaret Byrne Professor Of History
University of California, Berkeley
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.
pg. 43

Christianity is about a loving God who wants a relationship with all of us because we are his children. However, we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He sent Jesus down to rescue us because God knew we would never be able to work our way up to heaven. Our good deeds towards others prove we are saved by God’s grace.

It is that simple. And that is how I like my religion – simple. No fancy, foo-foo, frilly religion for me. Foo-foo belongs on evening and wedding gowns. Life was hard back in the 1700’s and is still hard now, therefore religion needs to be simple.

Christianity And The Declaration

With Biblical principles so entrenched in people’s minds it only made sense to use them in the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…

The Declaration of Independence
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.
pg. 60

The words were discussed and discussed until everyone could agree upon them because:

The Declaration had to be acceptable to all of the American People “if Congress expected them to live by it and die for it.” wrote Rod Gragg.

Forged in Faith How Faith Shaped the Birth of the Nation 1607 – 1776 by Rod Gragg
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.
pg. 60

Dr. Stackhouse, Jr. points out that while Thomas Jefferson (writer of The Declaration) did not acknowledge a personal salvation experience, he agreed with Jesus’s teaching. He was also suspicious of religious institution and their leaders.

[Christ’s] system of morality was the most benevolent and sublime probably that ha sever been taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the antient philosophers.

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Joseph Priestly
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D
pg 62

Guess it is a good thing you are not alive today, Thomas. There are a lot of preachers and religious leaders that you would cause you to raise an eyebrow. (By the way, antient is an archaic variation of the world ancient per Merriam Webster.)

“But Wait, There’s More!”

There is more information in this book than I can cover in this blog post – freedom of speech, the Great Awakening, and separation of church and state (spoiler: it does not mean what you think it means) are just a few topics I did not cover.

There are also more quotes from other men such as Benjamin Franklin, Pastor William Sherwood, and George Washington.

I highly recommend Dr. Stackhouse, Jr’s book Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God; The Role Of Christianity In The American Revolution. It is only 102 pages but the wisdom and knowledge in those pages is vast and profound.

In fact, it would make a great election year Bible Study.

“And The World Will Be Better For This”

It took courage and guts to work tirelessly at fighting for our freedom from England and establishing this country. Their effort is something that we take for granted today.

The world is better because of the founding fathers and their “marching into hell for a heavenly cause.”

To them and to God I humbly and simply say:

Thank you.

The Legal Pad: All links in this post are non-affiliate links.

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

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.

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