Category Archives: Life

A Joyful Surprise

While checking my stats on Saturday, I noticed a new country – Grenada. I checked my prior list of places JoyReturns has not reached and it was not on it. Apparently there are places on WordPress’ world map that are so small they do not show up.

With the addition of Grenada, my list of countries reached grew to 162. Then I decided to double check and wrote down a list of every country where WordPress said my blog was read. SURPRISE! There are more countries that are so small they do not appear on the world country map for 165 is the total of countries JoyReturns has reached. That is because readers from 4 new countries visited this blog.

They are:

I want to welcome all new countries and readers new and not so new from existing countries to my little corner of the internet.

But mostly I want to thank and praise God for spreading this blog around the world. It was His whisper in my right year just as I was waking up one morning saying “widows website” that got me into researching and taking a class on blogging. I did not want to do it but God kept nagging me. Now here we are less than 1 month from the 10th anniversary of JoyReturns and God is still proving His faithfulness because I was obedient and listened to His whisper.

May this blog be a blessing to all readers whatever your country of residence.

The Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

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.

Another Thrilling “Michele the Lumberjack” Adventure!

Yesterday was not the first time I played lumberjack and it will not be the last.

Northeast Oho got hit with 40 mph winds with gusts well over 40 mph too. Not only did I lose a strip of the awning over the deck but also at least 2 tree limbs snapped as well. I would say 3 since there was some debris in the road. Today’s lunch was spent cleaning up the road and taking down parts of the hanging branches. God will have to take the rest down, just PLEASE do not put them in the road. Let them fall on the tree lawn.

The tree is a maple that is about 30 – 40 foot tall. It was here decades before Joe and I and even before the previous owners.

I talked to my city about 8 years ago about taking it down but…that conversation did not go well.

Society in general is not fond of widows and shuns us because we have cooties. This means as a widow you are mostly on your own. There might be a few friends and neighbors around to help but you will be surprised by who is no longer a part of your life. Unfortunately, society diligently performing social distancing is an unfortunate part of widowhood.

In those circumstances where you realize you are on your own, you just get out the step ladder, the branch trimmer and take down what you can and leave the rest to our always faithful God.

And now off to add lumberjacking as a skill to my resume and LinkedIn profile.

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.

Labor Day Flood – A Stinky Post

Labor Day was quite interesting in Northeast Ohio and I can do without this type of interesting.

Down once more to the dungeon of my black despair

Down we plunge to the prison of my mind

Down that path into darkness deep as hell!

Sung by the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera

These lyrics sum up how I felt on Labor Day as my basement flooded again. However, when you get approximately 4 inches of rain, what else can you expect to happen? The storm sewers can’t handle that much rain.

I woke up Monday morning at 7 a.m. and immediately started grumbling about the darkness. Is it really suppose to be THIS dark at 7 a.m. already? I accessed the weather app on my phone and the first thing I see is “Special Weather Statement.” It called for winds over 40 mph and pea-sized hail in this severe storm. I looked at the radar and saw this big red blob moving into my area.

So I sprang out of bed and started making breakfast, getting dressed and checked who the supervisor was on duty as I expected to be in the basement before signing into work. Well I made into work on time and then the clouds burst open and the rain poured down like Niagara Falls.

Everything was well with the basement at break, but while fixing lunch I heard bubbling and knew instantly what had happened. I looked down the stairs and saw water everywhere. Upon going down the steps I found this in the laundry room.

Well the damage was done. Nothing I could do until the rain stopped. So I worked the rest of the day listening to the torrential rain. It was so bad the National Weather Service told people to stay home, if possible. Once it was over I called the insurance company and started the ball rolling on the cleanup.

Besides my basement being turned into a lake, the River Kearns made another appearance in the backyard. The drain opening installed by my neighbor, in his fence, is big but not big enough to handle this amount of water in the gully.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20200907_121444574.jpg
The River Kearns

The River Kearns has receded but the river bottom is still mushy.

Raking the riverbed on a prior encounter with the River Kearns

There is no correlation between the appearance of the River Kearns and my basement flooding.

This 5 second video was taken about 7:20ish on Monday morning before the deluge began. I did not use a light so you can get a feeling for the blackness. It was like this all of the day. The little bit of white you see in the video is one of the posts for the aluminum awing.

You should be seeing the woods behind my house along with the deck and the white post.

This storm gave me a 2-day break in my work week.

While the restoration company cleaned, I sorted through stuff and pitched a lot.

Trash

But it was emotionally overwhelming finding pictures of Joe and other loved ones who have moved to heaven. I had to walk away a couple of times to take a deep breath and regroup.

The drying out of the basement is almost complete thanks to two industrial strength dehumidifies and a half dozen or so industrial strength fans. Also anti-mold and fungal stuff has been sprayed twice.

A flooded basement is Just the next hurdle to jump. It is a good thing I was great at jumping hurdles in grade school as it prepared me to deal with all the different life situations I’ve encountered. Blessed that God is jumping life’s hurdles with me.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
—Deuteronomy 31:8

Coming Attraction: Thursday September 17 – Review of The Powerful Purpose of Introverts by Holley Gerth

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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