40 Days of Joy, grief, Unemployment

“40 Days Of Joy” Black Friday Book Shopping List

Here is your Black Friday Book Shopping List. There is something on it for everyone.

All links (blue) are non-affiliate links, which means I do not receive any compensation. They will take you directly to the author’s website.  The others can be found on Amazon.com


“Postcards from the Widows’ Path”  (Ferree Hardy) (widowschrisitanplace.com) –  I bought this book earlier this year and found myself having a hard time putting it down.  Each chapter begins with a postcard written by Naomi, Ruth, or Orpah. Then Ferree tells the tale of the three women, while weaving in her own experiences as a widow.  For example, in Chapter 5 she explains the 2 needs of widows – “kindness and rest.”  This chapter resonated with me the most. As a widow, these quickly became short in supply – especially “kindness.”

The book of Ruth affirms that God is with widows and cares for us even though at times it does not feel like it.

Thank you Ferree for this wonderful book.

“Healing After Loss, Daily Meditations on Working Through Grief”   (Martha Whitmore Hickman)

This is the book Joe’s Aunt, who is a nun, gave me at the funeral home.  April 17th, is the day I started reading it and the devotion for that day really spoke to me.  I began to have hope of surviving my grief journey.

“Through A Season of Grief, devotions for your journey from mourning to joy”   (Bill Dunn and Kathy Leonard)

A devotional based on GriefShare, a Biblically based world-wide grief support group.  I was a participant for a year and then co-facilitated the group for 4 years.  I have lots of sticky and handwritten notes in the margins.

“Finding Hope In Times of Grief”   (Preston and Glenda Parrish)

A moving story of how hope in Christ got Preston and Glenda through their son’s unexpected passing, and how they discovered Jesus is enough.  It is not just for parents whose child has moved to heaven as there are lessons for everyone in this book.

Thank you Preston and Glenda for sharing your story.

Job Seekers

“The Character of Leadership, An Ancient Model for a Quantum Age”  (Philip H. Eastman II) LeadershipAdvisors.com

The only book on leadership you will ever need.  Mr. Eastman’s model for leadership is based on 7 character elements. Read and put into practice this model and you will distinguish yourself from other employees once you land a job.  Use this model while volunteering during your career transition and you will stand out from other job seekers.  Don’t let the title fool you, it is a brief and easy read.  One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Mr. Eastman and can be found at the bottom of the link to his website.

“The challenges we face today are not economic, environmental, social, or legal; they are challenges of character and leadership.”

 “Careerealism, the smart approach to a satisfying career”  (J. T. O’Donnell )

Want a satisfying career? Start here.  J.T.’s methodology will help you figure out if you are on the right path or if you need to switch careers.  The book is great alone but better if used with Careerealism.com and/or CareerHMO.com


“Positive Living Day by Day” (Norman Vincent Peale) – Short one page devotions designed to lift your spirits. There is no year to the dates, so you can use this book every year.

“Positive Thinking Every Day” (Norman Vincent Peale)  – Inspirational one or two liners for every day.

November 17th – “Be bold, and mighty powers will come to your aid.”

How will you be bold today?  (Standing in line at Walmart for Black Friday deals does not count.)

“Choose Joy Because Happiness Isn’t Enough”  (Kay Warren)

This is a book I have marked up a lot with hi-liter, pen and sticky-notes.  It is very uplifting and heart-warming.  It affirms the thought I had of joy being a deeper emotion than happiness.

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.” 

(pg 31)

Here is scripture from the beginning of Chapter 6 “Believing Even In Darkness.” May it speak to you today and every day.  

“Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace. 

Luke 1:78-79 (“The Message” version)

There you have it, my list of books to buy for those on your shopping list. And remember to add one or more for yourself as well.


Do You Have The Guts To Become An Ally?

Since you are readers of a blog that discusses grief, widowhood and extended unemployment, then I know you have the guts to become an ally –

an ally to the unemployed.

My friend of many years,  J.T. O’Donnell, runs Careerealism.com and CareerHMO.com.  She launched the Job Search Accelerator Program (JSAP) last fall. It has helped many people get jobs.

However, it can not be given away for free.  So J.T. launched an Indiegogo fundraising campaign to give 100 people JSAP scholarships.  She needs your help to meet her goal.   This is the link to the Careerealism Ally article about the campaign and links to:




and Donna’s stories.   

Once you read about them, please go to Indiegogo site and give them and other unemployed people a helping hand.

It is tough being out of work.  I know and I vow to never turn my back on either a widow or unemployed person.  I will find a way to help, even if it is just an encouraging email.

You Are Next

In this economy, it can very easily be you in the unemployment line.

Wouldn’t you want someone to help you?

Then help someone else now because you reap what you sow in this life.  So go sow some good at Indiegogo.

I did a couple of weeks ago.


Don’t think that because you are in England, India, or elsewhere around the world you are exempt from helping.  There are plenty of people from all over the world that attend Office Hours daily.  Office Hours is an online chat where J.T. answers questions from those in the program.  Her advice applies no matter where you live.


Updated: Unemployment Is Harder Than Grief

(Author’s Note:  I am on a 2 week vacation to purge some frustration and restore my spirit.  In the meantime, I dusted off and breathed a little bit of new life into some older posts.)


Tom Rath and Jim Harter wrote a book titled “Wellbeing, The Five Essential Elements.” 

After using the code from the book and going to the website, it indicated that career’s significantly shape our wellbeing.  So much so that it takes less time to recover from the loss of a spouse than it does extended unemployment.

I concur.

Recovering From Grief

I was 18 months into my grief journey when I realized that I was 98% through grief.

The journey was painful and the 18 months seemed like 18 years.   However, I had access to a quality support program – “Griefshare.”  Those of us in the program could relate on some level to what each person was going through.  We were there to support each other.  The co-facilitators were available 24/7 if we needed them.

The Most Important Fact

There was a consensus about how to recover from grief.

It was going to take time, leaning on God, viewing the weekly videos, completing the workbook exercises and sharing out stories with each other.

I was confident grief would always be with me but would eventually be manageable.  It did become manageable but not as quickly or painlessly as I wanted.

While working through a grief journey was tough, it was not nearly as tough as being between jobs.

Recovering From Extended Unemployment                                                                      

There are more career counselors than one can shake a stick at, so that means there is NO consensus about what to do and how to do it. The only thing coaches have in common is they love doing a “Jack the Ripper” number on resumes.

One coach says your resume should look like this, a second coach says it must look like this and a third one says the heck with what coach #1 and #2 say – do it my way!

An Outplacement Agency Adventure

For example, while working with an outplacement agency, the counselors talked about having “white space” on my resume so it was easily readable.  After I got done, I looked at my resume and said to myself “Where’s the whitespace?”  All I saw was a lot of words.  The only “white space” was in the margins.  At least they got the party about my resume being accomplishment based right.

Back To Square One

So I went back to the drawing board and refined and tweaked my resume on my own.  I did not do a bad job.  However after attending a video seminar by JT O’Donnell of Careerealism.com and CareerHMO.com, my resume had plenty of white space. WhoooHooo!

I’m So Confused

Extended unemployment can also lead to career confusion.  One moment I was sure which path to take, the next moment I was scratching my head.

So I started taking career assessment tests.  Since Joe’s passing I had no idea who I was which made taking career tests even harder.  I knew what Joe and I liked to do, but was clueless about my personal interests as well as career interests.

“Even Now”

It is harder to keep motivated during extended unemployment.  I began to question my self-worth.  Do I have anything left to give society or am I all washed up?  Even now, there are days I still question my worth.

The 80%

Then there was the little tidbit of information my doctor told me.

Shortly after Joe died I went in for a check-up and the doctor told me my chance of becoming ill and dying with-in two years was great.  She did not say how great and I was too shocked and chicken to ask, but I got the impression it was at least 80% or better.  Talk about encouraging news.

It made sense a year later when I became unemployed why no one was calling me back for interviews, after all I was going to be dead by the second anniversary. This led to me having very little motivation for job hunting.

The good news is I have since made it passed the second, third, and now fourth year anniversaries of Joe’s passing.  Yes!

In His Time

I know extended unemployment will come to an end in God’s time, not mine.   No one in my family thought that with 13 ½ years of banking collections experience, including 7 years in management, that I would be unemployed for over two years.

Maybe I should have answered all those insurance sales ads I got once I put my resume on Careerbuilder.

#1 Career Tip

Michele’s career tip #1 – If you want to transition into insurance sales put your resume on Careerbuilder.  Companies will inundate you with interview requests.


Since this story was written, I updated my Careerbuilder resume.  It is now titled “Communications Manager/Social Media Strategist.”  I actually had a phone interview for a Social Media Analyst position.  Since I have no experience as an analyst for another company, I did not get an in-person interview.   However, no insurance companies have contacted me about becoming an agent since updating my resume – well at least not yet.                   😉