Category Archives: grief

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.

Widows: A Problem or A Calling?

 

My friend Ferree, from WidowsChristianPlace.com, posted One Widows Story: Widowhood Is Not A Mere Problem To Solve an article written by Lynda, one of Ferree’s Facebook friends.

The article tells the story about Lynda reading The Undistracted Widow, Living For God After Losing Your Husband by Carol W. Cornish. The book shed new light on being a widow – it is not a problem, but a calling. 

Wow! I understand that Joe’s timeline ended and mine did not, however I would have never used the word “calling” to describe being a widow. Calling is what happens to men and women who become pastors.

I was intrigued by the concept, and used my Amazon gift card from last Christmas to order the book. (Yes, it is mid-April and I still have an Amazon gift card from last Christmas.)

Appendix 2

Once it arrived I looked at the table of contents and was intrigued by Appendix 2 – The Local Church and Its Widows. Ms. Cornish nails the topic and opened my eyes to a different way of seeing churches (more on that later).

I’ve since started reading from the beginning and a full review of The Undistracted Widow will be published once I finish it.

A Nun Named Maria

Are you a nun named Maria?

Me neither.

Then we are not a problems to be solved.

For some reason we were called to be widows, called for such a time as this. Now how are we going to glorify God in this season of our lives?

And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Esther 4:14

(ESV)

 

 

 

Thoughts and a Story About Life – Finale – Lemons Into Lemonade

Lemons Into Lemonade

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

God is excellent at making lemonade out of lemons. There is nothing that happens that He will not turn into good because He is God and that is what He does.

StrengthsFinder 2.0

Several years ago I took the StrengthsFinder 2.0 quiz. One of my strengths is Connectedness:

Description: “People who are especially talented in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.”

“Fortifying the bonds between yourself, the people you know, or even those you will never meet gives your life special meaning.”

“You consider various ways to initiate, nurture, and sustain the linkages between individuals and groups. You bring people together. You help them discover reasons to cooperate and support one another.”

Had vs For

Did the particular bad event such as cancer, divorce or job loss have to happen – no.

Did the event happen for a reason – yes.

What Reason?

What good could possibly come out of brain cancer?  I do not know.  It is God’s job to know what good will come from such an evil diagnosis.

When

When will He make lemonade out of an illness, divorce, or unemployment? I do not know.

It is God’s job to know when something good will happen.

Not Permitted To Know

There are some things we are not permitted to know. We try to be God all the time, but we are not. He never designed us to know and understand everything that He does.

This is where faith comes in. It painful and frustrating waiting for Him take a bad situation and make something good out of it. I get that, been there done that (and not just with Joe’s passing).

We want it now but all things happen in His time.

Waiting

Faith is what gets us through the waiting period. It is painful and frustrating waiting for Him to take a bad situation and make something good out of it.

Sometimes we do not see the good or His presence until we look back over the past. Then we see God’s handiwork woven throughout the tough days, weeks, months or years.

We might not see His handiwork until we get to heaven.

I have faith we will know the answers to “what” and “when” but only when God decides to reveal them.

In the meantime He will give us the strength to persevere one day at a time and HIs strength is often times found when we are still before Him.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

thinbutterfly

10-10-2011_3by5Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She encourages widows and educates society about grief and life as a widow by sharing her widowhood adventures. A graduate of Kent State University with a degree in communications, she has used her skills in the banking, collections, outdoor products and social media industries. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer. You can view her photographs at OgleOhio.com.

Thoughts and Stories About Life – Part 3 – The Dash

The Dash

I believe God is with us in between the time of our birth and death – the “dash” phase of life. Only He knows the length of the “dash.”

During our life He lets us make choices because that is how we learn and grow. He is with us when we make the bad choices and when we do He lets us suffer the consequences of our actions.

He also celebrates with us in the good times and He is with us as we go through our day. Even doing the mundane tasks of laundry, dishes, and scrubbing the toilet bowl. Where do you think the reminder to get more toilet cleaner comes from?

We Are Not Puppets

He will not force us to do his will day in and day out as that would mean we are His puppets. If we were his puppets, life would be perfect because God would be pulling the strings.

His will for all of us is to become a person who shines His light into this dark, dreary and depressing world. A person whom other people want to emulate because they see us living like Jesus and serving others. God’s will for us is not tied to specific job, house or person.

He will grow us into the person He wants us to be no matter what decisions we make regarding our lives.

The Only Words I’ve Heard

I’ve only heard His voice once and that was the morning the Holy Spirit whispered “widow’s website” into my ear just as I was starting to wake up.

That’s it folks. That is the only time I heard directly from God via the Holy Spirit.

And don’t tell me to be still, listen and pray – because I did and still do.

I did not have to follow through on those words, that decision was up to me. It still took me awhile to create this site but I eventually did it. If I did not create JoyReturns, God would have that decision to grow me.

However, both He and I are glad I did create this blog.

Other Decisions

These are just 3 of the many, many decisions I’ve made in life.

  • I made the decision to move to Texas because Penney’s wanted nothing to do with me and only gave me 4 hours work for one week. Then they had the nerve to get mad because I decided not to come back to Ohio. If God was a puppet master, He would have forced them to hire me.
  • I made the decision to move back to Ohio because the Fed’s were closing savings and loans every Friday, EDS had a huge layoff and Frito Lay had a huge layoff all of which flooded the Texas job market. If God was a puppet master, I would have easily found a new job.
  • I made the decision to date and marry Joe. When  I did, God knew when I would become a widow. If he was a puppet master He would have stopped the wedding, or He would have prevented Joe from moving to heaven.

But He never interferred.

Was He with me during those times – yes. He was there to comfort me, to guide me but never to manipulate me.

You Too

He will be there for you as well no matter what circumstances are happening in your life. Make no mistake, He will not manipulate you or the people in your life.

The only thing that can grow when you are a puppet is your nose, your character can not.

God is in the character building business.

So make those decisions in this “dash” phase of life with all the confidence in knowing that God is with you and will use those decisions to make you more like Him.

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Matthew 1:23

thinbutterfly

10-10-2011_3by5

Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She encourages widows and educates society about grief and life as a widow by sharing her widowhood adventures. A graduate of Kent State University with a degree in communications, she has used her skills in the banking, collections, outdoor products and social media industries. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer. You can view her photographs at OgleOhio.com.

Some Thoughts on Life – Part 2 – Predestination

This week I am running a series of thoughts that were inspired by an article my dear friend Gabriana sent me. The article even caused me to remember yesterday’s story.

I read the article and words freely flowed and turned into blog posts. I considered putting everything into one long post but thought that might be a bit much, so I decided to turn them into bite size nuggets.

Here is today’s thought.

Predestination

I believe in predestination.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:16

He knew when Joe would be born and when he would move to heaven. God knows the same information about each one of us and the generations coming after us.

Neither Joe nor I could have prevented his passing.

The only thing we are able to do is control the quality of our mental, physical and spiritual health while we are here on earth.

thinbutterfly

10-10-2011_3by5Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She encourages widows and educates society about grief and life as a widow by sharing her widowhood adventures. A graduate of Kent State University with a degree in communications, she has used her skills in the banking, collections, outdoor products and social media industries. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer. You can view her photographs at OgleOhio.com.

Thoughts and A Story About Life – Part 1 – Foretelling the Future?

My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.

Billy Graham

New, Grander Home

It is funny (strange) how life works out. Joe and I started house hunting in March of 1999 and did not sign the contract on our house until the first weekend in July.

Every Saturday we went out with our realtor and every Sunday Joe and I went to open houses. There were plenty of houses I saw that would have made a nice home but Joe felt we would be settling if we bought any of them.

When we moved into this house, he asked if someday I would like to move to a bigger, newer, nicer house. I told him no. If he wanted a bigger, grander new house then he was moving in with another Mrs. Kearns, because this one was staying put right here.

Well, on March 29th, 2008 he moved into a grand and glorious new house in heaven with his Mom, Grandmother Kearns, Great-Grandmother Kearns etc…

and here I sit, staying put in my 1100 sq ft ranch like I said I was going to do.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
John 14:2
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thinbutterfly

10-10-2011_3by5Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She encourages widows and educates society about grief and life as a widow by sharing her widowhood adventures. A graduate of Kent State University with a degree in communications, she has used her skills in the banking, collections, outdoor products and social media industries. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer. You can view her photographs at OgleOhio.com, her photography blog because one blog is not enough.

Coming tomorrow: Predestination

Weekend Wisdom: Bacon

Every Thursday night there is a Five Minute Friday chat on Twitter (#fmfparty). During the chat Kate Motaung reveals the word prompt everyone is to write on for five minutes and then publish. I usually check what the word is on Friday and see if I can come up with a post. This year my brain has struggled to come up with posts so my participation in the group has not been what I want.

Last week’s word for the final Five Minute Friday of Write31Days was BACON (click to read all the Bacon posts from different bloggers).

It was my intention to work that prompt into my 31 Days of Tricks to Scare Away the Grief Monster, however my brain was so fried from all the writing I was unable to see, through all the grease, how to work it into my series.

So I skipped the word prompt again.

Then this past week I was given a new Christmas decoration and I now have someone to pet.

Here is a picture, which is worth a thousand words er laughs.

So without further adieu, I give you Santa Bacon.

Santa Bacon

Here is Eartha Kitt’s original version of Santa Baby.

Enjoy!

Oh, and my goal for next Halloween is to be able to fit into this dress.

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