40 Days of Joy

Anniversary & Announcement

I’ve been toying with an idea and decided that today, the 14th anniversary of Joe’s passing, would be a good day to make my decision public:

40 Days of Joy will return this year starting on 22 November and ending on 31 December.

“Joy To You and Me”

For those of you new here, 40 Days of Joy was a series I ran for a few years where I shared, recipes, thoughts, scripture, and gift ideas that might bring a little ray of joy during a chaotic time of year. It is basically Weekend Wisdom on steroids.

I will be working on new projects for this year’s version and may drop some hints throughout the year.

A project like this is what Joe would want me to work on, especially during these unsettled times.

May you have a blessed day filled with lots of joy.

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. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele loves Jesus, books, history, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com.

40 Days of Joy

Unique Idea For First Christmas

Author’s Note: It’s 6/25 which means Christmas is only 6 months away, better get started on your Christmas shopping! Here’s an oldie but a goodie post that will give you some ideas to start working on. HoHoHo!





Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.

Psalm 71:3 (NIV)

I wanted to do something special and unique for Joe’s brother’s, niece’s and nephew the first Christmas after he passed.   I thought about it and just could not come up with anything and even asked God for help.  (You can go to God for help with anything from the serious to the mundane – that is why he is there.)

Well Duh!

Then one day it hit me…Joe was a movie fanatic so I did gift bags containing some of his favorite movies.  They liked the gifts a lot and it gave them a sense their brother and uncle’s personality.

“Welcome to the Rock”

They knew he liked bang-bang shoot ‘em up movies (“The Rock”), action-adventure movies (“Pirates of the Caribbean”), and science fiction movies (“Serenity”).  However, his family was unaware of his love for movies such as:

  • “Cats and Dogs” – Family Movie
  • “Miss Congeniality” – Chick Flick
  • “Shawshank Redemption” – “Drama”
  •  “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne and Maureen O’ Hara (his all-time favorite) 

Other Idea

I thought of this again tonight while out with friends, only this time I thought of different items but same idea.

A gift bag of:

  • CD’s
  • Books
  • Pictures

Also include a list of more cd and book titles enjoyed by your spouse or other loved one. This way they can purchase more once they finish reading or listening to their gift bag contents.

Still Another Idea

Make a list of favorite:

  • Poems
  • Bible Verses
  • Quotes – Inspirational or Movie Lines

You could pick out a particular quote or verse and frame it to give along with the list.  Do a different quote or verse for each recipient.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas.   If you are unable to do this for Christmas, do this for each family member’s birthday.


“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.”

Janice Maeditere

40 Days of Joy

Holiday Post: The Effects of Elvis’ Resurrection

It twas’ the night before Thanksgiving when all through the house Michele was spinning like the Tazmanian Devil.

How It All Began

It started when I went to the basement looking for more artificial snow. There were several trash bags filled with various decorations.

The first bag was Halloween decorations.

The second bag was stuffed animals. I pulled out one of the animals and it was a Christmas duck Joe bought when we were first married. He thought it was cute and he knew I was a sucker for stuffed animals.

You would think I would name the duck Donald but upon looking at him I said “That’s Elvis because of his curled lip.”

"Can you curl your lip like this?"
“Can you curl your lip like this?”

Pressing either Elvis’ hand or his hat resulted in him quacking We Wish You A Merry Christmas followed by Jingle Bells and ending with Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Both Joe and I enjoyed Elvis’ concerts until he started serenading us in the middle of the night.

Elvis has a short in him that causes him to start singing whenever he feels like it. At first we thought he would settle down but Elvis kept up the middle of the night concerts. Joe then started taking out one battery before bed and we would sleep peacefully through the night.

Gone And Forgotten

When we moved from our apartment to our house, Elvis got packed away and forgotten about until last Wednesday. I was tickled pink to find him and located 2 double A batteries. Elvis started singing again once I pressed his left hand.


All of a sudden it was as if I was injected with the spirit of the Tazmanian Devil. I tore through this house decorating for Christmas. During the next 5 hours I ran up and down the steps about 20 times bringing various decorations up from the basement. Then I climbed up and down the step stool about 20 times making sure everything was just right as I decorated the top of the corner cupboard.

Ideas for what I could do kept flashing in and out of my head faster than the speed of these twinkling lights. 


It has been 10 years since I decorated this much. Even before Joe’s passing our philosophy was “Why bother decorating? No one is going to come see us.” So the events of last Wednesday took me completely by surprise.

More Than Normal

My house is not completely decorated but there are more Christmas decorations out than normal and all because of Elvis the Christmas duck. He is sitting in the living room chair which is decorated with a throw with angels, stars, harps and reindeer my sister sent Joe and me about 18 years ago.

Elvis sleeps during the night now but he randomly quacks during the day.

Thank You, Thank You Very Much

Thank you God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and Elvis for injecting me with the energy of Taz and bringing some of the spirit of Christmas back into this house.

"Thank You for reading this blog post - You've been a fantastic audience."
“Thank You for reading this blog post – You’ve been a fantastic audience.”

Stay tuned as there will be more posts about what I did to decorate this year as well as thoughts on thriving through the holidays and more updates about the Faithful Finish Lines program.

P.S. – Your eyes are not deceiving you, it is snowing on JoyReturns.  Wordpress activates the snow machine every year for about one month.  I LOVE this type of snow.  Enjoy!