Joy was definitely unconfined even when we stumbled on blistered feet across the parking at 2 a.m. to the local pancake house. We needed to refuel for the walk back to the dorms. I miss those plate-size pancakes smothered in blueberries and drowned in maple syrup then washed down with endless cups of coffee.
Now at 2 a.m. you might find me stumbling on bunion feet to the bathroom. 😀
Have a great weekend and may your joy be unconfined whether you are dancing or just walking around the block.
We will rejoice and be glad that our Holy, Gracious and Loving Heavenly Father blessed us with another day filled with His new mercies.
We will rejoice and be glad during the hardest of days that friends show up with pans of lasagna, boxes of Kleenex, and are willing to just sit and let us cry, vent and beat the couch pillows as we grieve.
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5 English Standard Version (ESV)
Now go tell your friends and family that you love them. Put down the phone, turn off the television, take off the headphones and spend time together rejoicing, being glad and enjoying each others company as you celebrate life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.