Tag Archives: Christmas

JoyReturns on WCTV in Wadsworth

My friend Katherine Miracle has a show on WCTV which serves Wadsworth, Ohio. It is called Your Miracle Resource. She is the founder and CEO of Miracle Resources, a marketing firm in Akron, Ohio.

In a recent episode of Your Miracle Resource she was seeking information about what not to say to grieving people during the holiday.

I reached out to her with some advice. She wanted me to appear on her show. Since my job is Virtual Logistics, I was already scheduled for overtime the day of filming.

Instead, I wrote this post to go into more detail about the holiday grief tips I shared with Katherine. Here is the link to her show.

Your Miracle Resource – Dealing With Grief

My Holiday Tips

Take a plate of cookies to a widow along with the recipe.

Easy Heath Bar Cookies – BEFORE I Took A Bite!

I rarely bake anymore. However, if someone was kind enough to bring me a few cookies they baked along with the recipe it might inspire me to get out the cookie sheet. Plus it would warm my heart that during this busy time of year someone thought of me.

It might only be baking but it gets you trying something new and life after the loss of a spouse is filled with doing new things, so you might as well start somewhere.

Currently, this will be the only thing I bake to take on Christmas Day. It’s quick and easy and was given to me by a dear friend.

Send a grieving person a Christmas card so they know you are thinking about them.

Christmas can be a lonely time for widows and other grieving people. The focus is on kids and their toys. There are lots of lonely, grieving people who feel invisible and getting a simple card in the snail mail will brighten their day.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Bah Humbug!

Keep the Christmas music low when a grieving person is around. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas takes on a whole new meaning after the passing of a loved one.

My first Christmas after Joe’s passing, I was in a locally owned grocery store and heard this song as I went down the chip aisle. Then as I am walking down the baking aisle, it came over the loud speaker again. Finally as I walked up the dish soap aisle and headed for the check out line, yet another dead singer was crooning it over the loudspeaker. Three times in the 30 – 45 minutes from the time I entered the store until I left. After barely making it home, I laid down on the couch and had a meltdown.

Let my heart be light? Nope! Troubles miles away? Nope!

So lower the music and let the grieving person and other guests can focus on and enjoy conversation.

Invite A Grieving Person To Your Holiday Party

But do not expect them to stay the whole time. There comes a point during the festivities where it is just too much merriment for the widow. The length of time they can handle the merriment will vary because each widow is unique. It is alright for the widow to leave early. Just appreciate the time and effort it took for her to step outside her comfort zone and attend.

Speak about their deceased loved one.

My favorite picture of Rommie and Joe

It is alright to speak about the deceased loved one. We want to know they are not forgotten. It comforts us to know that people remember him. Society wants widows and other grieving people to put there loved in the ground, walk away from the grave, and act like the deceased never even existed.

So think and speak fondly of the deceased.

Do Not Quote Any Bible Verse or Get Theological

This is simple. If you look in the mirror and see Billy Graham staring back at you, then go ahead and use Bible verses and theology to comfort someone. However, when you look in the mirror you will not see Billy or even Franklin Graham staring back at you -so zip it.

Do Not Say “If you need anything, let me know.”

Raking the bottom of the River Kearns in my backyard.

By saying this you are placing the burden on the widow or other grieving person to wrack there brain about how you can help them. They have enough on their plate.

You have a house and know what tasks need done everyday and the tasks associated with the different seasons so just call a grieving person up and ask “Who is shoveling your driveway this winter?” or “Who is raking your leaves this fall?”

Go to GriefShare.org

The GriefShare program helped me immensely after Joe’s passing. It is Christ-centered, Biblically based program by Church Initiative. I looked forward to Monday nights. Those nights were more important to me than church on Sunday. Those Monday meetings became my rock, my foundation for the week because I was with other people who were grieving.

While we all lost different loved ones and the causes of their passing were different, we all knew the pain of grief and supported one another. The conversations we had after viewing a different video every week for 13 weeks left us uplifted and encouraged that grief was survivable and our joy would return.

Final Thoughts

This is not the entire list of advice for helping grieving people but it is a good starting point. Below are links to additional blog pages where you will find links to books, websites, articles, music and recipes.

May all this information help you this Christmas season whether someone you know is grieving or you yourself are grieving.

Merry Christmas and God Bless you.

Additional Resources:

Holiday Helps

Joy-Filled Recipes

Contact: michele.kearns@joyreturns.com

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 OgleOhio.com

A Christmas Eve Wish

May your Christmas Eve be filled with peace, comfort and joy whether you are surrounded with family and friends or spending a quiet night at home. At some time tonight take a few moments and ponder this verse from “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”  (Sarah McLachlan’s version from her Wintersong CD )

 

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How silently, how silently 

The wondrous gift is given! 

So God imparts to human hearts

The blessings of His heaven. 

No ear may hear His coming, 

But in this world of sin, 

Where meek souls will receive him still, 

The dear Christ enters in. 

Holiday Post: Decorating The Corner Cupboard

I have been lax in posting about the decorating that went on a couple weeks ago after resurrecting Elvis. So here is an update.

Corner Cupboard

There is a corner cupboard in my living room and an old railroad lantern sits on top of it. The lantern came from Dad’s estate and the cupboard came from Mom’s family. Over the years the top was decorated with poinsettias, a fibre optic snowman, and a fiber optic angel. This year’s theme is Rustic Christmas and the lantern became the center of the display.

Nothing says rustic like Spanish Moss, also nothing says mess like Spanish Moss.

A Mess Of Spanish Moss

A Mess Of Spanish Moss

Once I got the Spanish Moss into place on the edge of the corner cupboard, I added in a touch of artificial snow. Then added 2 Santa’s I got when Mom cleaned out her basement. I also have a vase of green, yellow, orange with a touch of burgundy next to the lantern. This vase is affectionately known as “Uncle Odie” as it came from his estate.

 

Work In Progress

Work In Progress

Getting “Uncle Odie” in the Christmas mood required wrapping him in Christmas paper. Then I found a red candle I wanted to put in him but had to figure out how to get it to fit.  I found a travel mug and it fits inside “Uncle Odie” with the candle nestled inside the top of the travel mug lid.

"Uncle Odie" All Wrapped Up

“Uncle Odie” All Wrapped Up

For the finishing touch I added some ornaments with Christmas scenes I also got from Mom’s house.They bring out the colors in the wrapping paper and go nicely with the Santa’s.

Here are pictures of the corner cupboard in all it’s rustic glory. All items are what I had on hand or got from Mom. Nothing was purchased for this project.

Corner Cupboard Rustic Christmas

Corner Cupboard Rustic Christmas

Rustic Christmas Part 2

Rustic Christmas Part 2

Also check out a scenic Christmas picture on OgleOhio.com, my photography blog.

Holiday Post: The Effects of Elvis’ Resurrection

It twas’ the night before Thanksgiving when all through the house Michele was spinning like the Tazmanian Devil.

How It All Began

It started when I went to the basement looking for more artificial snow. There were several trash bags filled with various decorations.

The first bag was Halloween decorations.

The second bag was stuffed animals. I pulled out one of the animals and it was a Christmas duck Joe bought when we were first married. He thought it was cute and he knew I was a sucker for stuffed animals.

You would think I would name the duck Donald but upon looking at him I said “That’s Elvis because of his curled lip.”

"Can you curl your lip like this?"

“Can you curl your lip like this?”

Pressing either Elvis’ hand or his hat resulted in him quacking We Wish You A Merry Christmas followed by Jingle Bells and ending with Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Both Joe and I enjoyed Elvis’ concerts until he started serenading us in the middle of the night.

Elvis has a short in him that causes him to start singing whenever he feels like it. At first we thought he would settle down but Elvis kept up the middle of the night concerts. Joe then started taking out one battery before bed and we would sleep peacefully through the night.

Gone And Forgotten

When we moved from our apartment to our house, Elvis got packed away and forgotten about until last Wednesday. I was tickled pink to find him and located 2 double A batteries. Elvis started singing again once I pressed his left hand.

Taz

All of a sudden it was as if I was injected with the spirit of the Tazmanian Devil. I tore through this house decorating for Christmas. During the next 5 hours I ran up and down the steps about 20 times bringing various decorations up from the basement. Then I climbed up and down the step stool about 20 times making sure everything was just right as I decorated the top of the corner cupboard.

Ideas for what I could do kept flashing in and out of my head faster than the speed of these twinkling lights. 

Philosophy

It has been 10 years since I decorated this much. Even before Joe’s passing our philosophy was “Why bother decorating? No one is going to come see us.” So the events of last Wednesday took me completely by surprise.

More Than Normal

My house is not completely decorated but there are more Christmas decorations out than normal and all because of Elvis the Christmas duck. He is sitting in the living room chair which is decorated with a throw with angels, stars, harps and reindeer my sister sent Joe and me about 18 years ago.

Elvis sleeps during the night now but he randomly quacks during the day.

Thank You, Thank You Very Much

Thank you God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and Elvis for injecting me with the energy of Taz and bringing some of the spirit of Christmas back into this house.

"Thank You for reading this blog post - You've been a fantastic audience."

“Thank You for reading this blog post – You’ve been a fantastic audience.”

Stay tuned as there will be more posts about what I did to decorate this year as well as thoughts on thriving through the holidays and more updates about the Faithful Finish Lines program.

P.S. – Your eyes are not deceiving you, it is snowing on JoyReturns.  Wordpress activates the snow machine every year for about one month.  I LOVE this type of snow.  Enjoy!

Rommie’s Favorite Christmas Present

Hopefully everyone had a joy filled Christmas yesterday

I enjoyed lots of fun, food and laughter with Joe’s family.  I am so blessed they still want to spend time with me even though Joe is not around. So many widows find their in-laws turning their back once the husband has passed.

Since it was late last night when I got home, Rommie opened her presents this morning.  I managed to get a picture of her with  her favorite present.  It remains her favorite year after year – tissue paper!

She even finds it more fun than tennis balls and carrying around my stinky tennis shoe!

 

It's Tissue Paper!

It’s Tissue Paper!

 

"Take That You Dirty Rotten Tissue Paper!"

“Take That You Dirty Rotten Tissue Paper!”

 

Coming tomorrow – quotes for 2014

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