Category Archives: Life

A Letter To My January 2020 Self

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

WELCOME TO 2021!

(Author’s Note:) I decided it would be fun to write a brief note to my January 2020 self. But first you need to know a little bit of information about Joe. He loved talk radio and would listen to Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh. The radio in his truck was permanently set to our main talk radio station.

Dear January 2020 Michele,

This is January 2021 Michele. I wanted to send you a note about your life in 2020. Obviously since I am writing to you from 2021, you will make it through another year. There is only a little bit of general information I can tell you because of potentially messing with history, although there are some aspects of 2020’s history I would change in a nano-second.

Remember when Joe said he did not listen much to Glenn Beck any more because Glenn was all gloom and doom and acting like the sky was falling?

Well…

Let’s just say when you get to heaven, you will have another reason for giving Joe a whopping since he did not listen to and act on what Glenn preached.

Don’t worry the sky does not fall. In fact that is the only thing that does not happen in 2020. However, the fecal matter will start hitting the oscillating unit this month and will increase in greater amounts with each passing month...day.

You will know when it starts.

Use what I have told you and every payday prepare accordingly. You do not want to ever again walk into a grocery store with only $5 for food.

Finally, remember the meaning of Immanuel – God. With. Us. He will be with you in 2020 as He always has been. It’s just not going to feel like it at times.

Love,

January 2021 Michele

P.S. Facepalm is going to be the emoji of the year.

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 is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com.

Reflecting on my Words for 2020

Welcome to the end of 2020!

A year that even author Stephen King could not dream up.

There were four words I used as a guide this year were believe, abide, stand and bloom. They were appropriate given all the fecal matter the oscillating unit threw on us. (polite way of saying “$hit hits the fan”)

Here is how believe, abide and stand impacted my life this year.

Believe

Believe played the biggest role this year in my prayer life. My belief in the power of prayer grew stronger than ever this year. Mostly because I prayed more often and with great passion.

I prayed for the Holy Spirit to whip through this country like a white tornado, the health and well-being of my friends (includes co-workers and church members) family, and wisdom and safety for the President, Vice-President, The House, The Senate and The Supreme Court, among other things.

I believe, no I know God will answer my prayers in His time and in His way.

Abide

Abide comes from John 15 where Jesus states He is the true vine.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:4-5

Devotionals, books, sermons and prayer were what I did in order to remain attached to the vine. Abiding kept me grounded and in order to get through a year like 2020 you have to be grounded. John 15 kept popping up in newsletters and on social media through out the year. Guess that was God’s way of making sure I did not forget to abide.

Stand

Stand pertained to my foundation.These three things were the foundation for life this year:

The Bible, The Declaration of Independence, and The Constitution

and in that order.

The Bible is the cornerstone of life. It is the foundation on which the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were based. The founding fathers knew Biblical principles would be easy for citizens to abide by. No seminary degree is necessary to understand

17 Thou shalt not kill.

18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery.

19 Neither shalt thou steal.

20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Deuteronomy 5:17-20 (KJV)

The Bible is the how-to-manual for living life. The Declaration and The Constitution are the documents for living life in America.

These three will be the foundation I stand on for the rest of my life.

Bloom

Bloom was the biggest challenge. During this year of shutdowns and mask mandates I found it hard to personally bloom because I was associating bloom with my career. While I am thankfully still employed, I did not make any decision that would help my career take off. Wait a minute…faithfully showing up for work every day helps me bloom because management knows there are no attendance issues with me.

And now that I think about it, believe, abide and stand all helped me bloom in my faith. Hmmm…guess I really did bloom this year after all.

JoyReturns also bloomed this year.

I posted 156 blogs posts this year. More than the past 2 years, ever since March of 2018 when I was working on the series – 10 Years A Widow. It was then that I felt someone stick a straw in my right shoulder and suck the life out of me. That is when I decided to quit but one very loyal and caring reader suggested I pop in every now and then to let everyone know how I was doing. Posting quarterly updates seemed reasonable.

Then late last year, I noticed there would not be 1,550 posts total at the end of 2019. I developed a plan for not only reaching 1,550 posts but reaching 1,700 posts total by 2020’s end. Well I surpassed by goal of 1,700 posts. Today’s post is number 1,710 since JoyReturns’ January 2011inception.

Now add in 4 5 more countries discovering JoyReturns and the total is 165 166 countries (as of yesterday) so I can say without a doubt, this blog bloomed.

And it was all thanks to God. I wrote the words and the Holy Spirit spread them far and wide. The most recent country JoyReturns reached was Armenia. Welcome!

I just show up and write what is on my mind and hit publish. God does the rest, always has and always will.

Headed For The Future

So hit the road 2020! Take your murder hornets (and everything else you dished out this year) and SCRAM!

Now it is on to 2021! I pray this will be the year all Americans bloom both personally and professionally.

I have chosen my word for 2021 and if you read the gospel of Luke in the New Living Translation Bible, you will find my word. You will know it when you find it and you will agree with my choice.

My word will be revealed in the January 4th post.

See you then!

Have a safe and fun New Year’s Eve and God Bless You!

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 is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com.

Pandemic Ponytail and Other Changes in 2020

Well 2020 is almost over. It’s been a year filled with one event after another. I pray 2021 is calmer.

As a result of this insane year, I found it necessary to make changes in my everyday life.

Changes I’ve Made This Year

Where I Shop

Shopping more at the Dollar Tree. There is one down the street and I will stop in there before my trip to the grocery store. I usually get rice, dried beans, canned goods, condiments, organizational supplies, and whatever else I find. Oh, I got these really cute lights for my pantry, just push the center to turn them on and off.

They run on 3 triple A batteries and supposedly last a long time. You do not have to take it off the wall to change the batteries, just unscrew the white part. They can also be hung on a hook.

Because of our mandatory mask mandate, I only go to a grocery store based here in Ohio once or twice a month. I can’t breath in masks and therefore have 10 minutes to get all my shopping done.

So Amazon Pantry gets a chunk of my paycheck and the grocery store headquartered in another state gets my meats, milk and produce order which I pick up at their curb.

Photography Blog

I did not get out and take any pictures for my photography blog, OgleOhio. Every time I went to a park, people were wearing masks. Everyone needs to understand that fresh air is always better for you than a mask. I would just drive on by, no sense in taking a chance on a possible confrontation since I do not wear a mask outdoors.

Decorating For Christmas

I’ve not been decorating much for Christmas in past years. Just a few things in my office and putting the handmade manager scene up on the china cabinet with a light angel on top of the cabinet. But this year I am breaking out the ceramic tree that belonged to Joe’s mother and also the wooden angel light given to us by his oldest brother.

This decorating brought me more joy this Christmas season. For years, I did not really care. I understood the meaning and gave thanks for Jesus’ birth but my overall excitement level was about a 3 on a scale of 1 -10, at least till Christmas Day when I was with Joe’s family. Having multiple kids running around means unlimited joy.

Unfollow

I have unfollowed numerous people and sites this year. One was my go to blogging resource and one of the others was my go to photography site, but when you tell the world the United States is a troll – bye-bye. Funny thing is, I do not miss them or any of the other sites and people I’ve stopped following.

Panera Picnics

When the weather permitted I would stop at Panera, get a salad and drink and head to the cemetery for a Panera Picnic with Joe. It’s been about 8 years since I spent a lot of time out there. My routine is to take a silk flower arrangement out about mid-March, put it in the vase and make sure the marker survived the winter. The only other time I would go out is after a nasty thunderstorm to make sure the wind did not blow the flower arrangement out of the vase. Finally in late October or early November I would take the flower arrangement out and make one final check of the marker before winter blew in.

However, this year I went out to the cemetery more because I know Joe does not care whether or not I wear a mask and neither do the other people coming out to check on their loved one’s grave. Spreading a blanket and enjoying Panera while breathing in the fresh air was wonderful. I also did some reading and writing there as well.

This tradition will continue next spring and summer as we will probably still be under a mandatory mask mandate.

Pandemic Ponytail

After 25 years of cutting, coloring and styling hair, my hairstylist now delivers mail. She realized that since the government shut her down once, they will do it again. She knew she would not survive another shutdown. So she switched careers.

I am proud of her for having the guts to change careers but I do miss her helping me keep my hair well coifed. Therefore my hair is now long and styled most days into what I call a Pandemic Ponytail.

It’s driving me nuts. I am ready to get my pinking shears and cut if off. Sounds like an excellent New Year’s Eve project. My hair is thick, dry and brittle so it falls out easily. Plus I have become extremely lazy at washing my hair.

Sometimes, I will wear it down like this:

So those are some changes I made this year due to the virus.

Next post will be on Thursday, 31 December when we will review how the words for the year – Believe, Abide, Stand and Bloom impacted my year – and look forward to 13 January 2021 when we celebrate 10 years of JoyReturns.

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 is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com.

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