Category Archives: grief

10th Birthday!

When my first blog post went live 10 years ago today, I was not sure JoyReturns would be around to celebrate 1 year let alone ten. In fact, I was skeptical it would last six months.

Well, here we are 10 years later. Pretty good for someone who always thought her writing stunk because of it’s casual tone. God gifted me with the ability to write informally because He knew I would become a blogger. Writing about grief does not need to be done in a formal, stuffy manner like CEO’s, lawyers and other business professionals.

JoyReturns started as a way to provide encouragement to widows that their joy would return and to support them as they journeyed through grief. The best way for me to do help them was to share my adventures as I worked through grief, unemployment and whatever else came my way. Hopefully, not only would my readers be encouraged by my journey but they would get a laugh or two.

Also, I hoped sharing my adventures would show society widows do move forward with life and that we are not scary creatures with cooties.

God used my words to reach people in 165 countries and I was privileged to hear from widows about how they found the inspiration to move forward with building a new life. Other people reached out about how I gave them a better understanding of widowhood and how to help their friends and/or family members that were suddenly widowed.

So thank you God for how you have used JoyReturns so I could accomplish my vision

 “…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 & Devotions – edited by Arthur Bennett

In 10 years the world has drastically changed. I do not understand the world and will not try to figure it out but simply turn it over to God. He is still on His throne and still in charge – Hallelujah!

Last year, I was planning on a big blowout of a party. However, with all the insanity of 2020 carrying over into 2021, it will just be a quiet night with a Dairy Queen Blizzard.

What does the future hold for JoyReturns, that remains to be seen. God whispered in my year “widow’s website” early one morning, so I am praying for God’s guidance. Nothing I thought of last year, newsletter, podcast, printables etc seemed right.

I will republish older posts in addition to Weekend Wisdom and new content.

Whatever comes our way this year, God willing I will still be pursuing my vision of being both the salt of the earth and a blessing to all.

Thank you my dear friends for coming on this journey with me. Your friendship these past 10 years means more than you know.

Have a joy-filled day and remember:

For his anger lasts only a moment,

    but his favor lasts a lifetime;

Rainbow Over Woods Behind House – June 2008 (photo by Michele Kearns)

weeping may stay for the night,

    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5 (New International Version)

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com.

“Help Me Make The Music Of The Night”

Twenty-Seven years ago tonight, Joe and I danced to The Music of the Night from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.

We saw the The Phantom of the Opera in 1992 in Toronto, Canada. He loved it even though his taste in music was not musical theater but Def Leppard, AC/DC, and Depeche Mode.

I decided that the music for our bridal dance had to be something different, something other than a mushy pop love song. So I selected The Music of The Night. Joe loved the idea.

Tonight I will be enjoying an Oreo Cheesecake Blizzard from Dairy Queen as my quiet celebration of a wonderful, joyous event that happened 27 years ago.

Sarah Brightman as Christine and Michael Crawford as the Phantom (Andrew Lloyd Webber Musicals YouTube Channel)

You alone can make my song take flight.

The Music of the Night by Andrew Lloyd Webber / Charles Hart / Richard Stilgoe
June 19th, 1993

For 14 3/4 years we made each other’s song take flight as we helped each other make our own music of the night.

Thank you my dear Joe for the honor of being your wife.

I will always love you.

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

None Like Him – Jen Wilkin – My Review

We think of God as human.

We put limitations on what God can and can not do.

However, limitations apply to us mere mortals and not to God.

In None Like Him, 10 ways God is different from us (and why that is a good thing), Jen Wilkin explains the attributes God possesses that we do not.

They are:

  • Infinite – The God of No Limits
  • Incomprehensible – The God of Infinite Mystery
  • Self-Existent – The God of Infinite Creativity
  • Self-Sufficient – The God of Infinite Provision
  • Eternal –The God of Infinite Days
  • Immutable – The God of Infinite Sameness
  • Omnipresent – The God of Infinite Place
  • Omniscient – The God of Infinite Knowledge
  • Omnipotent – The God of Infinite Power
  • Sovereign – The God of Infinite Rule

Wilkin explains each attribute in it’s own chapter after starting out with an introduction on becoming a God-fearing woman based on Psalm 111:10.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

Psalm 111:10
Jen Wilkin
None Like Him
10 Ways God Is Different From Us
(and why that is a good thing)

pg 11

She points out that this does not mean we are to be women cowering in fear but women of reverence and awe of our God.

IncomprehensibleThe God of Infinite Mystery

Last Sunday’s Weekend Wisdom came from chapter two which is about the incomprehensibility of God.

Because God is infinite, he is incomprehensible, unable to be fully known. Because humans are finite, we are able to be fully known. And the implications of our knowability should change the way we live.

Jen Wilkin
None Like Him
10 Ways God Is Different From Us
(and why that is a good thing)

pg 35

People go through life claiming they know all about God, how He operates and why He does what He does. There is just too much about God for us to fully and easily comprehend.

However, Wilkin points out that while we are not able to fully know God, He has permitted us to know some things about Him. Think about that fact. Then give thanks and worship Him with awe and reverence.

I’ve often said God does not tell us all there is to know about Him in the Bible, but He tells us what we need to know about Him and how to live this life well.

My Favorite Chapter

Chapter 4 in which Wilkin explains why God is self-sufficient and we are not is my favorite. I hate the term self-sufficiency and have for as long as I can remember but more on that in another blog post.

Our God is self-sufficient, needed by all, needful of nothing. Certainly not us.

Jen Wilkin
None Like Him
10 Ways God is Different From Us
(and why that’s a good thing)
pg 59

At the end of each chapter you will find Bible verses for meditation, questions for reflection and space to write a prayer. (I tried to get pictures of this but they would not load properly.)

I highly recommend None Like Him as it explains the ways God is different in a clear and concise manner. It is a book desperately needed for such a time as this. Our world needs to be reminded that God is God and humans are not God.

However God loves us anyway.

That should make anyone stop and give thanks with awe and reverence.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She also does not think or pray like you normal people. Michele is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

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