grief, Unemployment


Normally I do not publish on Mondays because I know people are hung over from the “weekend flu” but by Tuesday people are back to normal.

However, today is a special Monday because 3 years ago I hit the publish button and JoyReturns started spanning the globe. I believe the first stop after the United States was Germany.

Start Here

For those of you stopping by for the first time this week, here is the link to my “Start Here” page.  It contains links to other posts including one about the beginning of my journey. For you see, grief is a journey. It begins here on earth but does not stop until you walk through heaven’s gate and collapse in Jesus’ arms.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 

Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

Until it is my turn to walk though the pearly gates,  I will share my adventures through grief and widowhood with an expectant desire my blogging will:

  • encourage widows
  • educate society about grief and widowhood

And both will be done in my own unique way.

3 Lessons Learned From 3 Years Of Blogging

#3) Publishing Daily Is Easier Than Publishing Weekly

In the beginning, I published daily Monday – Friday. Then I started publishing uplifting quotes, poems and scripture on the weekends because that was a way of publishing daily without having to come up with 7 original posts per week.

Once I returned to work after unemployment, I decided to publish 1 post per week and keep “Weekend Wisdom.” This decision was made because  my brain was fried from learning a lot of new systems, policies and procedures as a loan officer at a credit union where 5 people carry out the day to day operations. (A good decision because I eventually became a teller and collector in addition to loan officer.)

Daily publishing is easier because I was constantly writing and looking for blog post ideas. Yes, daily posts meant the good ones quickly sank to the bottom of my feed.

Weekly publishing is harder because I tend to put off writing and slack on finding topics.  Unfortunately, weekly also means my worst content will be out there for 4 days before the Saturday edition of “Weekend Wisdom” starts to bury the post.

I am sticking with publishing weekly during my current unemployment stint and forcing myself to pay more attention to my writing and doing freelance research projects.

#2) You Can Help People

It is possible to help people through grief or any other nasty life event via a blog.  The testimonial from Valerie over to the right is proof.

In her first email to me she stated that she stumbled upon my blog and it was just what she needed – a cheery site that would help her through her grief journey and not drag her even further down like some “woe is me” sites she found.

That is exactly why 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) is part of my philosophy.

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as in fact you are doing.

Valerie emailed me several months ago to once again thank me for blogging and let me know her joy had returned. In addition to her joy, she also found a new job as she too dealt with unemployment after her husband’s passing. 

That is just one success story.  I have heard from others who are not grieving, that I changed their thinking about grief and taught them how to help widows.

#1) God Will Equip You

The main thing I’ve learned about blogging is God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.

I heard the words “widows website” in my head one morning, even before I had opened my eyes.  Now I thought God was nuts because Joe never taught me about websites before he passed.  However, thanks to WordPress I learned how to publish a post, change the header picture (the picture underneath the words JoyReturns) and review the basic blog statistics, among other things.

God also equipped me with a conversational writing style.  Ever since my school days, I thought my writing style stunk because it was not professional. The only style I saw as legitimate was a formal style found in the writings of a lawyer or businessman.

Well would you really want to read a grief support blog written by an attorney with a very cold, formal writing style?

Me neither.

Thank you God for equipping me to write this blog. I am glad I eventually listened to your call.

Speaking of Thank You

Thank you for reading JoyReturns whether are a new or have been here since the beginning. I appreciate you spending some of your precious time here reading about my thoughts and adventures.

God bless you and…

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 (NIV)


Goethe On Treating Man

Just a quickie little post today.

Treating Others

So how are you treating people today?  Are you helping, supporting and/or encouraging them?

Are you giving him/her a hand-out or are you teaching him/her to fish so they can become a productive, self-sufficient member of society?

Don’t make them earn the right for your help, instead help them out of the kindness of your heart because it is the right thing to do.


I found this quote from Goethe awhile back. Hope you enjoy it and believe it as much as I do.

“When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.” – Goethe



Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as in fact you are doing.


1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

40 Days of Joy

My 3 Words + 1

I read Chris Brogan’s blog and once he mentioned the 3 word challenge, I started thinking about my three words.  I could only think of one:


  •  Job Search – I already started on the streamlining the job search about 3 or 4 weeks ago.  My philosophy was a “leave no stone unturned” approach.  Heck, even the outplacement company I worked with had people getting quality jobs through newspaper ads.  While I came close to getting jobs with that approach, I have decided to abandon it.  So bye-bye:
    • Monster,
    • Careerbuilder,
    • Careerboard,
    • Simply Hired,
    • Indeed

I will stick with LinkedIn, LinkUp and Networking.

  • Email Streamlining – The email’s I receive from different sites has also been cleaned up. 
  • House Streamlining – Little by little this house is being streamlined.  It must be done as Joe was and I am a pack rat.
  • Spiritual Streamlining – Reading daily devotions, grief books, and leadership books.   
  • Physical Streamlining  – Exercising more and exploring different types of exercises.

That’s 2012 in one word.

Now for 2012 Chris Brogan Style (3 Words)

Joy. Pray. Give.


Be more joyful, smile more, do not let circumstances dictate my mood, and find more people, places, events and things enjoy.  Let my joy be evident when people see me, let joy show through this blog, let joy show in my new job. Use Black and Blue beads to help me see joy. 


Pray about everything and not just in the morning or at bedtime.  Send up prayers throughout the day, that means prayers of help and thanksgiving. Use a journal to keep track of my prayers. 


Give of myself and finances. Now this does not mean I have an endless supply of money to dish out to people.  The finances are for regular tithing, even though I do not have a lot what I have to give is mighty and powerful.

My time refers to my volunteer work which also was streamlined year so the focus can be finding a job.

Not How But Where

How did I decide on these three words?  The question should be where did I find these 3 words?  The answer is:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Be, Pray, and Give require doing.  Doing these will help me live out the philosophy of this blog:

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

“…Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Matthew 23:39

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)


“Joy is perfect acquiescence in God’s will because the soul delights in God Himself.”

H.W. Webb-Peploe

The End

This post marks the end of “40 Days of Joy” (which was extended one day because I ran the same video on 12/24 and 12/25).  Hopefully this series brought you some joy this past holiday season.  I know everyone’s circumstances are different but hopefully this series brought some joy to you. 

Thank you for following my blog and may you have a joy filled 2012.

(Not sure why there is a font issue again today.)