Tag Archives: Ann Voskamp

Living With My One Broken Heart

In the new devotional book The Way of Abundance, a 60-Day Journey into a Deeply Meaningful Life,  Ann Voskamp asks at the end of the Day 4 Devotion,

  • How are you living with your one broken heart?
  • How is God asking you to step toward an abundant healing?

These are the first questions, I’ve been able to answer. The other 3 days left me sitting at my computer in a stupor saying “Duh! I don’t know.”

My One Broken Heart

How am I living with my one broken heart?


A heart that’s been broken more times than I can count in the last decade. First with Joe’s passing, then a year later being laid off due to a departmental reorganization, and then years of struggle rebuilding my career. So the answer to “how am I living wth my one broken heart? is:

  very messily

Life has been messy for the past few years. It’s what happens when every year is worse than the last one and you do not know what to do to improve your life. Fortunately, I have a job but as much as I love it, there are bills that can not be paid. Changes are coming soon which hopefully will mean a brighter future.

Abundant Healing

How is God asking me to step toward an abundant healing? The answer to that question is simple, painful and frustrating –

He is asking me to put my trust and hope Him.

Trust and hope are the two things that have slowly disintegrated in my life the last 4 or 5 years (I’ve lost track).


It is hard to trust and have hope in God when everybody else’s life is flourishing and yours is heading down the crapper, no matter how hard I pray,  how long I pray, or the wording of my prayers. But I am called to put my trust and hope (confidence in a future event) in God even if he changes my residence to the city’s sewers.

More Questions

So those are my answers to Ann’s questions. I will be blogging about questions to other devotions as well.


What are your answers to these two questions?


(Disclaimer: I am on Ann Voskamp’s book launch team and received a copy of some devotions for review.)



red-rose_signatureBio: 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, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer.

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 OgleOhio.com, her photography blog, because one blog is not enough.

How To Be Like An Ever Flowing Spring


Time for some Weekend Wisdom.

Here are a couple verses from Isaiah 58 that resonated with me as I was reading a devotion from Ann Voskamp’s one thousand gifts devotional.

Feed the hungry,

and help those in trouble.

Then  your light will shine out from the darkness,

and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

The Lord will guide you continually,

giving you water when you are dry

and restoring your strength.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like an ever-flowing spring.

Isaiah 58:10 – 11 (NLT)

Have a wonderful weekend and I will see you in the next week or two with a post about what I see as my perfect day.

Also check out the Northeast Ohio Authors page that went live today. It is a listing of books I’ve read and recommend written by some wonderful and amazing local authors.


Weekend Wisdom: Missing The Boat

One of the best writers and encouragers in the world is author Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to LIve Fully Right Where you Are.) I get her daily emails and this one REALLY spoke to me on Wednesday as I struggled with my lot in life (a child of God who is a widow in career transition recuperating from being rear ended).

May these words minister to you as they did me, whether you are struggling with grief, career transition, or any other nasty life event. I encourage you to click anywhere on these words and read the whole article. It will lift your spirits.

He sees you, hidden in Him, and you aren’t ever forgotten because God can’t forget those right in Him. You’ve never missed the boat when you’re holding onto the Cross.

So really — you’ve got to believe it for your 16 year-old-self and 56 year-old-self and for yourself right now: really, it’s all working out okay.

Remember, you will emerge from your dark situations and you will be alright because you are a child of God.


Happy 4th Birthday JoyReturns!

It was 4 years ago today I published my first post. I was attending a job search seminar that night and needed something on my business card besides my name, email and phone number. An order was place from Vistaprint for cards with my blog name before I had this site up and running, that was motivation for getting the first post written.


The purpose of starting this blog was and is to:

  • share my adventures in hopes other widows will find support and encouragement
  • educate society about grief and life as a widow.
  • share my career transition story, since it was one year after Joe’s move to heaven that I got laid off from my collections job and other widows might be going through the same thing.

Never was this blog intended to make Joe out to be a god. He was not one, because he was human and therefore very imperfect. But now he resides with God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So I choose to remember the good in him and the memories we shared. There is a reason the following is engraved on our marker:

“Think of me, think of me fondly, when we’ve said goodbye.”


Now how to celebrate this milestone?

The ideal way would be to get a job.

However odds are a job offer will not be presented to me today – although miracles still do occur.

So I decided to celebrate with a post about my bucket list. It was after reading Ann Voskamp I decided the only item on my bucket list is:

to live fully right where I am (Northeast Ohio) by experiencing all the wonders God puts into my life every day.

There are days where the adventures are rough and rugged and there are days that are smooth sailing.

If God never takes me outside Northeast Ohio again, I shall be content with all I will experience day in and day out while living here. I know this to be true because a peace has come over me since making this decision.

Living Fully

Living fully means:

  • enjoying each moment, even when those moments are filled with the mundane, routine and boring tasks such as dusting, sweeping and laundry.
  • embracing all that happens including nasty life events. Embracing the nasty events does not mean you like them, but means you’ve accepted what happened. Once you accept it, then you can work on walking through the “valley of the shadow of death” because through is the only way out.
  • appreciating the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches in this life.
  • using the good dishes, lighting the candles, and putting the good tablecloth on the dining room table.
  • Saying thanks to God for all his blessings; writing them down and putting them in a clear jar or vase so so I will see them piling up day by day.

To Do List

Every day I know what I have to do. There is nothing else to remember. My life became simpler when I decided to live fully right where I am.

Thank You

Thank you dear readers for your companionship and your continued support of JoyReturns.

I thank my God for you every time I think of you;

Philippians 1:3 (GNT)

And I think of you fondly even though we’ve not said goodbye.


Stay with me as I continue to share stories about my various adventures and perhaps along the way those stories will show you how I am living fully every day.

Now off to the store to get an angel food cake and a can (or two) of cream cheese frosting – for what is a celebration without cake?     🙂




Happy New Year! I Am New – Jason Gray

Happy New Year from Rommie and Me!

New Year’s Day is the Holy Trinity of new beginnings –  a New Year, a New Month and a New Day.

Here are Bible verses and a video to help you focus on being new and God doing new things in your life.

May you always see God at work in your life this year.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2nd Corinthians 5:17

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

Special thanks to Ann Voskamp for posting the video on her Facebook page last Sunday.

Black Friday: Michele’s Day Of Hibernation

Black Friday – a day in which I only leave the house to put out the trash.

I refuse to share the road with sleep deprived people who are driving under the influence of tryptophan. It is a time to stay safe by staying home and snuggling with Rommie while reading a good book such as One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

Earlier this week I bought kidney beans and tomato sauce to make chili. However, I forgot to defrost the hamburger and I am still stuffed from yesterday. Making chili does no longer seems like a good idea, even though it is freezing cold outside and the ground is covered with 2 inches of fresh snow.

My friend Renee sent home a baggie of white meat and I have left over Kraft Mac and Cheese in the fridge so I have all I need for dinner.

Today I will also study for my Business and Marketing Writing course I’ve been taking online since late October. Must always keep learning.

The holiday decorating I started on Wednesday will be finished today.There will be posts about what I’ve done. I did not plan on doing much decorating but then Elvis serenaded me.

Hopefully everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are still counting your blessings – I am.

Stay safe and warm.

Elvis and I will see you Monday for a holiday decorating post.