Category Archives: Joy

Happy 9th Birthday JoyReturns!

Most headings are song titles or words from songs. Click on them to be taken to YouTube videos.

Nine years ago today I published my first post.

Then I hit the shower and went to an evening seminar. I was excited to hand out business cards that included something other than my name, phone number, LinkedIn profile and areas of expertise. I had an accomplishment, something tangible to prove I was doing more besides job searching and volunteer work.

Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

When I started JoyReturns, so many websites were 3D – dark, dreary and depressing. Those sites keep a person stuck in grief, stuck in a “woe is me” attitude. I wanted to inspire, encourage, motivate widows to move forward through grief and build a new life because life is too short and precious to spend it stuck in grief’s muck.

I believed JoyReturns would not only help widows but would educate society about grief and life after a spouse’s passing. The best way to accomplish my goals was to share the story of my life after Joe, including the good, the bad, and the ugly as well as the joyful.

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling

About two years ago, I lost the desire to blog when putting together the “10 Years A Widow” series. It felt like someone stuck a straw in me and sucked all the life out. That is when I started publishing only a few times a year.

Then a few months ago two things happened to reignite my blogging. First I noticed I would finish this year a few posts shy of 1,550 and knew I could not let that happen. Secondly, either in November/December of last year Rush Limbaugh was talking about how he does not do social media as his radio show is what he does best. I told myself to listen and learn from Rush. Focus on what you do best – blogging.

God whispered “widow’s website” in my ear in mid to late 2010 so He called me to blog. He will equip me to do it and since this blog has been read in 161 countries according to WordPress’s map, He’s spread my words far and wide.

Headed For The Future

What type of posts and how often will I publish now that I am back? Starting this weekend you will find the return of Weekend Wisdom which will be uplifting poems, quotes, and scripture. There are about 6 weeks worth of wisdom already put to bed.

On Wednesdays, there will be a blog post about various topics. The general theme of the Wednesday posts was 52 ways to have a joy-filled life. I do have topics for the first quarter written, but not the blog posts.

I am working on a series that will hopefully provide joy and encouragement to get you through the election season. This series would start after the Democrat convention (losing party gets to have their convention first). Not sure how this series will work out if it will work out.

Finally, there will be spontaneous posts on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and/or Friday. These posts will be topics that unexpectedly pop into my brain and would make a good blog post. While I will be writing them in advance, you probably will not see them until April.

Thank You

The first 9 years would not have been possible without continued support for you my dear readers. So I humbly and gratefully say thank you. You are a blessing to me.

A Blessing To All

And so the journey begins through the next 9 adventurous years with a renewed interest in blogging and the desire to make JoyReturns the best it can be so that it is the salt of the earth and a blessing to all. (reading of the prayer “Regeneration” read below.)

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

Welcome To The Roaring 20's!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the Roaring 20’s!

That means one thing – The Charleston!

When you are grieving you need to establish an exercise routine. Whether it is practicing The Charleston or walking around the block.

Exercise helps boosts those endorphins which will hopefully help you feel at least a little better and maybe more likely to do other things that will move you through grief.

So here is a link to one of the many, many videos on how to do The Charleston dance from the 1920’s.

Enjoy!

May God bless you with health, prosperity, comfort and joy in 2020.

Next Post – January 13th – 9th Anniversary Post.

Another New Year’s Resource: How To Stop Procrastinating (Free Resource): Do that Hard Thing in the New Year by Ann Voskamp

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

Every Mile Mattered In 2019

It is December 28th and as I contemplate 2019, Nicole Nordeman’s Every Mile Mattered starts playing on my Windows Media Player. It is from the CD of the same name. I highly recommend it.

Every Mile Mattered is a good title for this post as every mile literally traveled by foot, in my car or figuratively day in and day out mattered.

My “Miles” In 2019

Mile #1

This year brought about a renewed interest in blogging, thanks to being only a few posts shy of 1,550. I could not let 2019 end without at least reaching that goal and preferably surpassing it, which I did. So I am heading into a new year and new decade well on my way to my 1, 700th blog post – the goal I will reach when 2020 is in the history books.

Mile #2

Jobwise I am still a virtual logistics representative and for the third year in a row, was part of Santa’s logistics team. I work, eat, sleep and attempt to keep the house clean – a very routine, predictable and somewhat boring life. This lifestyle has it’s advantages as you will see in Mile #5.

Mile #3

The end of the year still sees my marital status as single and I am fine with that status. My life became a train wreck a few years ago and it would not be fair to bring a man into this mess and expect him to help clean it up.

Mile #4

I discovered how much a local radio station LOVES to play Bob Seeger’s song Turn The Page. Every Friday during Lent I went to the local diner and as I was eating my shrimp basket, that song would play over the radio. Huh?! What are you trying to tell me God? Do I turn the page in the Bible or is it a page in life that I need to turn?

When I went to the diner after Lent, I would still hear Turn The Page. Even heard it on trips around town as I was running errands.

Well, I guess He was preparing me to turn the page and start blogging more but then again… He had a hand in Mile #5.

Mile #5

Because i have a routine, predictable, boring life I have this in my garage. This photo was snapped the day I bought it. My 2004 Pontiac Grand Am bit the dust after 4 1/2 years of driving like James Bond. So I had no choice but to buy a new vehicle.

Thank you boss for the $5 an hour pay raise last year. Otherwise I would be walking everywhere.

And of course, thank you God as your hand was visible that day. Thank you also for the wonderful people at the dealership and my friend who let me drive her brand new vehicle to the dealer.

My Miles During The Past Decade

As I contemplate the end of 2019, I find myself focusing on it being the end of a year and do not think much about this year also being the end of a decade.

I could go on about the miles I’ve experience during the last decade but I’d rather not. The career ups and downs, the finding out who true friends are not, the learning new rules of job searching are all things that are thankfully in the past – and I want to keep them there.

The biggest and best mile of the past decade was starting my blogging career by launching JoyReturns.

Let me explain how this got started for those of you new here (and I know there are a lot of you). One morning in the second half of 2010 I heard “Widows Website” whispered in my right ear just as I was starting to wake up.

Startled, I opened my eyes and looked up at the ceiling and said “Are you crazy?” “Joe did not teach me about websites before he died.”

So I did what any “good” Christian would do – I blew God off. However, He kept nagging at me and sometime later that year, I googled “widows website” and found lots of dark, dreary and depressing websites. I knew God had chosen me to create a website and it had to be cheery-looking, with uplifting content but also not shy away from the tough issues as they need to be addressed as well.

And so JoyReturns was born and started her travels through 161 countries (so far).

Here I Go

So here I go getting ready to turn the page on 2019 and face 2020 planning on traveling. I hope you will join me on this road trip and experience each and every mile as they all will matter.

It will also help if you brush up on how to do

Playlist

Nicole Nordeman / Every Mile Mattered

Bob Seeger’s Greatest Hits / Limited Edition

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

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

My Duet With Frank Sinatra And A Few Thousand Others

Author’s Note: Hopefully you enjoyed yesterday’s Extraordinary Women post from my friend Gabriana Marks. The series continues through out the month on Nosy Parker.

Once Upon A Time

Come Fly With Me not to the moon but back in time to 1987 as It Was A Very Good Year. The place is Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas. You are not only joining me but my date for the night, James.

He owned a limo company and chauffeured a couple to Reunion Arena for the Frank Sinatra concert. They had two extra tickets and would James like them? He called and told me of this opportunity and I said: “I’m changing clothes right now.”

No way was I about to turn down a chance to see Sinatra perform. My dad taught me about Jazz and Big Band music when I was young so I realized that Luck was being a Lady to James and me.

Frank and those of us in the audience were not Strangers In The Night just exchanging glances but we were sharing love the whole night through. Both James and I savored Sinatra’s singing and the overall experience as we knew this was a once in a life time event for us.

Throughout the concert people would shout “My Way” from various parts of the arena. The request came from our side, then after the next song a voice would shout “My Way” from the left end of the area, then another voice would shout from the right end of the arena and so on through out Frank’s concert.

Then came a time when a gentleman sitting down front said “My Way” Frank said “We had something else.” and “Your wish is my command.” The band started playing My Way….and the crowd went wild.

I never forgot Frank saying “We had something else.” and “Your wish is my command.” because I knew he hated singing My Way. However, he was there to give us a remarkable evening and that meant once again singing My Way.

As Time Goes By

Fast forward to November 2019. Every day I get up and stumble groggily through out the house preparing coffee and oatmeal and then get ready for work. Most days are very mundane and routine. They are indistinguishable from all the rest. Just another day getting yelled at by customers and delivery drivers. My way of life is not exciting.

However, on November 8th, 2019 I happen to find out it is the 50th anniversary of My Way, the 1969 album that forever changed Frank’s career. I about fell out of my chair when reviewing the tracks on the MP3 version as the last bonus track was My Way – Live at Reunion Arena, Dallas, TX, October 24th, 1987. After recovering from the shock of that magical night being recorded, I purchased the MP3 version of the 50th anniversary album.

Listening to that track brought back fabulous memories of that extraordinary night.

Grazie

As with anything else in life there are some thank you’s (grazie) that need to be said.

Thank you:

  • Paul Anka for writing the song
  • Frank for recording it and singing it that night
  • Don Costa for the wonderful arrangement
  • to whoever decided to record the concert at Reunion Arena

Finally, thank you God for orchestrating all the events in my life that lead up to James and me experiencing that wonderful night. Please give James a hug and a kiss from me as I know he resides in heaven with you.

Finale

Now I can say my clapping was recorded on a Frank Sinatra album. It is the little things that unexpectedly make you feel so young and bring joy to life.

If you want to hear my clapping – and some exceptional singing, please click here. You must get the MP3 version as the CD does not have the Reunion Arena concert on it.

May your life always be blessed with Doobee, Doobee Doo (Strangers In The Night) moments and remember The Best Is Yet To Come.

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

How to Find More Joy

When I decided on “Joy” as my word for the year, I planned on finding more joy in my life. God knows I could use it because I easily lose sight of joy while trying to keep from losing everything and living under a bridge.

However, God and my dear buddy Ralph Waldo Emerson changed my mind about how to apply “joy” to this year. How? God brought to mind one of my favorite quotes from Ralph:

Scatter Joy. 

It comes from this quote:

“There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

So I will spend a year scattering joy. Think of me as a flower girl scattering colorful, joy-filled flower petals around the world.

img_0830_cropped_blog

How?

How can you scatter joy if you do not find it in your life? That is quite simple and it involves the first runner-up for my 2018 One Word – Kind. 

I will scatter joy by being kind. 

If you are kind, you are scattering joy and gathering joy at the same time because joy fills your heart when you are kind. Scatter Joy to Gather Joy.

scatter_gather

Easy?

It will not be as easy as you think. I work in a call center and changes are coming. Those of you who work in call centers know how hard it is to be kind sometimes. You just have to grit your teeth, bite your tongue and smile.

Where?

Work – Most of my kind words, thoughts and deeds will be done at my virtual call center job because it is where I spend most of my time. That means I will be scattering joy to my customers in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

Social Media – However, the most challenging place to be kind is social media. My Twitter account is pretty much dead and I swore I was not going to use Facebook this year, at least not my personal page. Only my blog page and the Faithful Finish Lines Fitness group were going to be used. Now I feel as though I must use my personal page as well. UGH!

If there was a time machine I would go back to 2009 and tell my younger self “Don’t sign up for Facebook.” The noise pollution is deafening.

Around Town – The last place I will practice scattering joy is wherever my travels take me. Most of them will be throughout Northeast Ohio. So no flipping off people who tailgate or cut me off. No grumbling at the lousy shopping cart drivers at the grocery store who stop and block the aisles, or grumbling because I get a chatty checkout girl (just ring my groceries, please!).

About Kindness

The reason kindness is hard is we are thinking about ourselves most of the time and not of the other person. We must remember

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. 

Philo

And we must remember to be thankful we are not walking a mile or more in their shoes.

Be kind whenever it is possible. It is always possible. 

Dali Lama

Who else is up for being kind so you are scattering and gathering joy this year?

 

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 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 an amateur photographer.

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