Category Archives: Unemployment

A Golden Message From Heaven

Rommie stopped by last night to deliver a message to those of us who are struggling with various adversities. Rommie embraced life every day. She lived out Psalm 118:24

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

She rejoiced and was glad every day, despite having hip issues. Every day was a beautiful day to play ball, chase squirrels off her fence and bite skunks on the rear end.

So wherever you are and what ever skunk (grief, divorce, unemployment) is spraying you remember

Life is beautiful2

Rommie Kearns (8/5/2002 – 7/31/2015) 

May your day be filled with lots of love, hugs and sloppy wet kisses.

What a Widow Needs to Read – “The Broken Way” by Ann Voskamp

Author’s Note: I was blessed to be chosen as a member of The Broken Way: a daring path into the abundant life book launch team and receive a free copy of the book. I read the pdf version and then re-read it when the book arrived.Yes, I have a thing for sticky notes, which I try to coordinate to the colors used in the book cover.

Upon completing the launch team application, there was a box where I needed to type a reason why I should be on the team. I put something about recommending it as a resource for widows on my site.

So do I recommend it for widows – yes.

It will help you get through your grief by reminding you it is alright to grieve. This is something Jesus knew but society sees as a sign of weakness.

Great grief isn’t made to fit inside your body. It’s why your heart breaks. 

You will also learn that being the G.I.F.T (Give It Forward Today) to other broken people is the best way to mend your broken heart.


The third lesson you will learn is that like Esther, you were made for such a time as this.  God knows you are broken, God sees the best in you and God will use your brokenness in ways that will amaze you and in ways that will change the world. (I had no knowledge of blogging or websites when I heard “widow’s website” whispered in my ear early one morning.)


There are many more lessons you will learn as you travel down the broken path with Ann in this book.

So while yes this is a wonderful book for widows, it is also a wonderful book for everyone because we are all broken. I love The Broken Way because it shows you how to truly live an abundant life by giving. The more you give of yourself to the broken the more you abundance you receive.


I struggled to write this post because there is so much in this book. Every time I pick up it up and flip through it, something else jumps out at me. I could probably write a year’s worth of blog posts because of how deeply it speaks to my soul – my broken soul.


My prayer is that you will read and adopt a broken way lifestyle. There are many broken people who are waiting for someone such as you to step into their broken life in a time such as this.

You can order it by clicking here or on any of the other links in the post.


Thank You

Thank you Ann for writing a joy filled and thought provoking book and for being a wonderful inspiration to the world. Like Esther you were made for such a time as this.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She encourages widows and educates society by sharing her widowhood adventures. A graduate of Kent State University with a degree in communications, she has used her skills in the banking, collections, insurance, outdoor products and social media industries. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer. You can view her photographs at, her photography blog, because one blog is not enough.

Time Machines, Anywhere Doors and Invisibility Helmets – Oh My!

Linking with WordPress’ Daily Post prompt.  My local electronics store has started selling time machines, anywhere doors and invisibility helmets. Which one do I choose?

Well, I’m a widow so I already have an invisibility helmet according to most of society, so no need for that (trust me, invisibility stinks).

I would choose a time machine and go back to have a chat with my 17 year old self. Well it would not be a “chat” so much as giving her instructions. Hopefully she would obey in order to be better prepared to face widowhood and unemployment as well as life in general.

I would tell her,

“The devil tried to strangle you at birth with your umbilical cord, and he just tried again last year by wrapping your thyroid gland around your windpipe. Unfortunately, he is not done trying to strangle you.

I am unable to tell you how he will try again or when, but he will. In order to survive and thrive you will need the following:

  • your flute – turn it into a side business and keep in touch with your clients throughout the years. (networking)
  • your Bible –  read your Bible. Immerse yourself in God’s truth.
  • your writing – yes, you heard me right, your writing. Minor in writing in college. I know you hate your casual writing style but write anyway. Take all the writing courses you can.
  • your camera – yes my dear, you have an eye for photography. You do not see the world as “normal” people see it. Instead you see pictures everywhere because you look at life from all angles and viewpoints.

Finally, Love abundantly and without abandon, Live life to the fullest, Laugh loud and long and make Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How Do I Love Thee your poem for life and Storm The Bastille! your motto, even though you are not of French descent.”

That is what I would tell her.  For there are days where widowhood and unemployment feel like slow suffocation.

But then there are days where I feel like I have all the opportunity in the world laid out before my feet.

I just need to go seize it.


Now off to practice my flute so when the time comes to move to a nursing home, in a few decades, I can cruise around in an electric wheelchair serenading bed-ridden people.


(for the record, I am an American whose ancestors came from Germany and Scotland.)



It Morphed! – A Guest Post by Valerie S.

(Dear Readers: Today’s post is from Valerie S. who not only experienced the passing of her husband Chris several years ago but also experienced sudden unemployment. She found my website and became both a regular reader and most importantly, a dear friend. My Dear Grief, Your Armageddon’s Coming post, inspired her to write her own story. It is an honor to have permission to share it with you.)

It Morphed!

The Morphing Of A Pumpkin Patch

In 1969, instead of producing its familiar gourds, a pumpkin patch in town yielded a K-Mart store. A December or two later I was invited to go there with a friend and her family. With $32 of hard-earned babysitting money in my pocket, and a painful shin bruise courtesy of one of the brats I sat for, I was excited to go on my first ever Christmas shopping trip.

I can still remember standing at the register holding my breath and shaking as the items rang up. What gift would I put back if it rang over? Which of my twelve intended recipients would I disappoint? Fortunately my math was fine and I had remembered to include an amount for that mysterious thing called sales tax. The clerk had no idea the $31 and change I placed into her hand was the most money I had ever spent. It was a dizzying experience that left me feeling faint. That night, instead of sugar plums, I dreamt of the day I would be a lady who regularly shopped at K-Mart and spent $32 without batting an eye.

She’s The Lady

A few years later I became that lady. But instead of shopping at K-Mart, a good paying part-time job and access to the family car allowed me to shop at the largest regional mall in the country. As nice as K-Mart was, Randhurst was truly heaven on earth. Three department store anchors and dozens of specialty shops made Christmas shopping pure joy. I would often run into friends and family there and we’d show each other the treasures we’d found as we dined at one of the mall’s many food venues. While K-Mart remained my go-to place for items like gift wrap and tape, Randhurst was where I did my serious Christmas shopping.


The only thing I can say for sure about catching Christopher’s eye is the outfit I wore was purchased at Randhurst. A full-time job and my own car allowed me to shop there for most everything. My dream of shopping at K-Mart had long since been forgotten and another dream was coming true. Chris and I married and bought a house in the town I had lived in all my life. Simply by saying “I do” we became “dinks” (dual income no kids) and, quite unconsciously, did what dinks did – shopped at the nearby “super regional mall,” Woodfield. While we never, ever, stepped foot in K-Mart and rarely went to Randhurst, we did patronize local businesses and stores as much as possible.

Living In The Same Town

One day an acquaintance asked if I had ever been back to my high school. I laughed and said “Back to it? I pass by that prison every day!” She commented how nice it must be to live in the town you grew up in. I agreed it was. When main thoroughfares flooded I knew alternate routes. I knew the good restaurants and, more importantly, the bad ones. I knew a great many people. No, I never envisioned the downside that was to come.

Memories Of Us

One of the things that hit me hardest after Chris died was there was no place in town that didn’t hold memories of our life together. Just driving past stores, restaurants, or the park would send me into hysterics. Slowly I learned to hold it together in places like the grocery store, the bank, and the post office. It has taken every minute of the last three and a half years to get to the point where I finally feel like “myself” again. Now when I go to the auto parts store I am the teenage girl who used to go there, not Chris’s widow.

“Full Tilt”

2014 was my fourth Christmas without Chris and the first that I was both financially and emotionally able to go “full tilt” Christmas shopping. My inner teenage girl begged to go to Randhurst. I knew better, but went anyway. What was once heaven on earth is now, no thanks in great part to Woodfield, a mall dying a slow death. I purchased a couple items at the big box store and left. On the way home, calling heavily upon my marketing degree, I struggled to explain retail dynamics to the teenage girl. We both wept.

Back To K-Mart

Was there any place left that could bring the dreams of the young girl in line with the woman who lived those dreams? How about K-Mart? There are no Chris memories at K-Mart. You can relive that first shopping trip. Yes, K-Mart! Try K-Mart! Surely the last payday before Christmas would bring a huge crowd and much holiday cheer. I might have to park pretty far from the door. But that’s okay. No kid has kicked me in the shin so my leg doesn’t hurt and I can walk!

Not Alone

I was not alone when I went to K-Mart that Friday night. It was with me. It guided me to the parking space closest to the door. It counted twelve other cars in the lot. It made me look up and watch as a blaring ambulance passed by our Chinese restaurant, our bank, our strip mall, our other bank, our Wendy’s, our tire shop, our post office, our McDonald’s. It laughed. I cried. I went back home.

Morphing Into Super Aunt

It had morphed! No longer the constant companion, grief was now an opportunistic stalker lying in wait. Well, Grief, you won that round. Good one. Kudos to you. But if you can morph, so can I. And I already have. This middle-aged widow called upon her K-Mart/Randhurst training and, cheered on by that inner teenage girl, turned into Super Shopper who effortlessly zigged and zagged her way through the crowds at Woodfield and finished shopping in mere hours.

So there! Your efforts to sabotage my shopping ultimately failed! Loser! And I have no problem revealing my secret weapon to you, Grief, because you are powerless against it. Go ahead and try to get me again. I am Super Aunt and one hug from any one of my six nieces and nephews will squeeze you right out of me. And mind you, the two-year old squeezes the hardest and she will hunt you down if you ever make her Auntie Val sad. So, bring it on, Grief. I triple dog dare ya!


(The Triple Dog Dare from the movie A Christmas Story)

Weekend Wisdom: Rescued

One of my devotions this week was based on Psalm 18.

The following verses resonated with me.

May you find comfort and joy in these verses whether you are grieving, unemployed or going through another type of nasty life event.

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;

    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Weekend Wisdom: Be Not Offended

Here is a poem from the November 18th daily devotional in Streams In The Desert by L.B. Cowman; Edited by Jim Reimann. May it speak to your heart today and always.

Blessed is he whose faith is not offended

When all around his way

The power of God is working out deliverance

For others day by day;

Though in some prison dark his own soul does fail,

Till life itself be spent,

Yet still can trust His Father’s love and purpose

And rest therein content.


Blessed is he, who through long years of suffering

Not now from active toil,

Still shares by prayer and praise the work of others,

And thus “divides the spoil.”


Blessed are you, O child of God, who does suffer,

And cannot understand

The reason for your pain, yet will gladly leave

Thy life in His blest Hand.


Yes, blessed are you whose faith is “not offended”

By trials unexplained,

By mysteries unsolved, past understanding,

Until the goal is gained.

 Freda Hanbury Allen

The Legal Pad: Link is non-affiliate

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

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