JoyReturns 1st Annual Virtual Conference

How to chase the mid-winter blues bye-bye?

Attend a conference, your own conference. I wish I could say this was my idea but I stole it from Chris Brogan.   

Here are a compilation of my favorite Ted and Tedx Talks.

None pertain to joy but if you act upon the ideas in these talks you will find or create joy in your life or the lives of others. Every speech pertains to you no matter what age or what nasty life event you have or are experiencing.

There is a break after every session so you can review notes or rewind to rewatch part of a speech. So grab a pen and notebook and start the conference when your schedule permits.

One day we will all gather in a warm location, wearing bikini’s and speedo’s and sipping tropical drinks with umbrellas in them and listen to speakers live and not via Memorex (Does that even still exist?).

Hungry? Here are some recipes for your conference:

Cherry Cheesecake Tarts: How To Get Out Of The Doghouse

Easy Heath Bar Cookies

Feta, Beans and Champagne – Oh My!


Opening Prayer: How Great Thou Art by Elvis | Jordainaires | Imperials

How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek


Small Ripples Make Big Waves by Abby Kohut


The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown


5 Ways to Listen Better by Julian Treasure


Connected, but Alone by Sherry Turkle


The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain


How To Sleep by Jessa Gamble


Should you live for your resume…or your eulogy? by David Brooks


Closing Remarks: A Pep Talk by Kid President

Music by the BeeGee’sYou Should Be Dancing.  You will understand why I picked this song after you watch Kid President’s pep talk.


Recommended Reading: 

Start With Why, How Great Leaders Inspire Action – Simon Sinek

Daring Greatly – Brene Brown

Connected by Erin Davis (a nice compliment to Sherry Turkle’s speech.)

Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome – Robby Novak and Brad Montague

The Impact Equation, Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?  by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Official Conference Quote: 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

(emphasis mine)

Official Conference Poem: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Official Conference Scripture: 

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

I hope you enjoyed attending the JoyReturns 1st Annual Virtual Conference.

Please let me know what you thought about the speakers. Who would you like to see next year?

Disclaimer: None of these links are affiliate links, so I do not earn any money when you click on them. I have not been paid by anyone for posting links to the talks or the books.


1 Word For 2015 + 3 Supporting Words

In The Past

“Storm The Bastille” was my 2012 mantra and Elvis’ Steamroller Blues was my theme song. That year I was featured in Cleveland Business Connects (CBC) Magazine.

I do not remember what I chose for 2013’s mantra but 2014’s was God Is Faithful. It was based on a Fret Buster quote from Roy Lessin.

1 Word Or 3 Words

However, this year I decided to pick 1 word as my focus for the year. Numerous people use 1 word to define a New Year instead of a resolution.

Others like Chris Brogan use 3 Words as their focus for the year.

After I picked my word, I was unsure how to apply it to my life. I knew I must do this word, this year – but how? Then I came up with an idea, 1 word supported by 3 words. (Finding different ways to do or look at things is one of my strengths.)

My Word

My word for 2015 is –


I decided on this word because I am sick of just surviving.

It’s been 6 3/4 years since Joe moved to heaven and 5 3/4 since being downsized out of my bank job. The time for survival is over. It is time to thrive.

My 3 Words

The three words that support thrive are:

Intentional – Simplify – Trust

Intentional – I have my friend Jeff Nischwitz to thank for this word. He used it in a blog post and I believe in one of his Daily Wake-Up Calls.

The word stuck with me and means:

Intentional in my actions, words and thoughts.

  • Actions means doing things every day that will change me – devotions, exercise, clean eating and developing an offline network of accomplished people who will help lift me up to their level. (I have a very strong online network.)
  • Thoughts means eliminating negative self talk (NST). I am an expert at NST and that must stop.
  • Words – Best summed up with this verse:

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

Ephesians 4:29 (The Message)


This means :

  • Clean out inbox and unsubscribe from newsletters that are not benefitting me.
  • Clean out house and have a garage sale or just donate to charity.
  • Clean out people who are not willing to help me thrive. People who say “Don’t worry, be happy!” People who just want me staying at home praying to God so He will drop a care package of cash, food, clothes, etc on my doorstep. (Yes, these people really do exist.)


According to Merriam-Webster (m-w.com) trust means:

assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

I need to trust:

  • God – He was faithful to me last year, just as He has been ever since I was born.
  • Me – Trust in my ability to make decisions and know God love me and will be with me whether I make good or bad decisions.

Final Thoughts

Enough about words, now it is time for lights, camera, action!

Oh and just for kicks, I might resurrect Elvis’ version of Steamroller Blues as my theme song.  😉

What is your word, words or mantra for 2015?



31 Days of Joy: Day 6 – In Celebration of My 1,000th Post

It’s party time as today is post # 1,000!  Here is a brief history of JoyReturns and it takes more than 5 minutes to write.

Early One Morning

“Widow’s Website.”  Those are the words I heard whispered in my ear as I was waking up one morning. I had not even opened my eyes yet. Now I have not been a morning person every since the moment of conception. (Mom will testify to this fact.) There is no way I could put an intelligent thought like “widows website” together early in the morning.

Once I heard those words, I opened my eyes and said “Huh? Are you crazy God? I do not know anything about websites. Joe did not teach me that before he passed.”  Then I did what any good Christian does – I blew God off.

Oh, but God does not stand for being blown off. He will accomplish His will even if He has to drag you kicking and screaming through the muck and mire. He kept after me. Till one day I decided to Google “widow’s website.” I was disgusted by what I found.  The sites were 3D – dark, dreary and depressing. One person purposely made the site dark as the light had gone out of this person’s life. Most sites were very “woe is me.” I wondered how these sites could lift people up. I knew I had to do something.

To The Rescue

At the time I was co-facilitating a GriefShare support group and their tagline is “From Mourning To Joy”, which is based on Psalm 30:5

“Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.”

I knew my site had to be cheery looking, my posts had to encourage other widows and educate those not grieving about grief and what widowhood is like, so JoyReturns seemed like a good name, after all my joy returned.

But I still hesitated launching a blog because I had no confidence in my writing skills .I have always written like I talk and thought that was a sucky way to write. The only acceptable way to write was with a formal and business tone like my friend Jeff Nischwitz. But he is a former attorney so you would expect him to be formal in his writing. (f.y.i. I toyed with the idea of law school but banging my head against my dorm room wall one quarter while attempting to write a non-legal brief, killed that idea.)

Launch Date: January 13th, 2011

That was the day I was attending a job search seminar and knew I needed something on my business card besides my name, phone number and title. So I ordered business cards from Vistaprint a week before the seminar and listed my blog JoyReturns.

Now I HAD to go live.

I signed up for my site on WordPress and my first post went live at 3:15 p.m. on January 13th, 2011. I have not looked back since. After the first post went live, I got ready to go to the seminar. My adrenaline was through the roof. At the seminar I gladly passed out those business cards and a lot of people were impressed but the topic freaked out people as well.

Oh well, too bad.

That night I told Jeff I had launched the blog and he asked me if I was outside my comfort zone. Now I wanted to say “Well duh!, I’ve been outside my comfort zone since March 29th, 2008 when Joe passed.”  But I did not. I simply said “Yes.” Jeff said “Good!”

He is right, you can not learn and grow unless you are outside your comfort zone.

My Blogging Experience

I have met many wonderful people through blogging. Some of whom have become near and dear friends.

My blog has opened the eyes of people who had little or no experience with grief or widows. Then one day I got an email from a woman in the mid-west who not only became a widow at a young age but then became unemployed just like me. And just like me she searched the web for help and found nothing but 3D websites. However, in among those 3D sites was a little one called JoyReturns and she fell in love with it. There were days she got out of bed just to read what I had written.

I am happy to report that her joy returned and so did a new job.

Where My Blogging Help Came From

It was the Holy Spirit that whispered “widows website” in my ear that morning. This site would not exist without God’s help. He was true to his word and equipped me to blog and put good people in my path that helped me – J.T. O’Donnell, and Chris Brogan, plus wonderful blogs such as Copyblogger and Problogger. I’ve learned a lot but know I have a lot more to learn.

One Blog Is Not Enough

I had so much fun blogging I decided to launch another one, this one would be my photography and the focus would be Ohio. On January 13th, 2013 OgleOhio was born. Publishing consistently on OgleOhio has been my greatest weakness but I am upping the game this month as it too is part of the 31 Days of 5 Minute Freewrite challenge. Only it is 31 days of Autumn in Ohio pictures.

To The Next 1,000!

So here’s to the next 1,000 posts.  May people learn about joy, grief and widowhood through my me and my adventures.

I do have plans for this site but would like to get my income stabilized first. My seasonal job should be ending this month if the past is any indication.

I leave you with a link to my second most popular post – a story about how God used a little book to get me out of my grief funk after Dad #1 passed – Garlic, Grief and Hemorrhoids.