Tag Archives: death

52 Bible Verses for a Joy Filled, Positive Year – Week 33

It is important for us to remember a couple of facts  while trudging through a winter or desert of life:

  • God loves us
  • NOTHING will separate us from his love


May you and I remember that this week and always.



Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, not height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Romans 8:38 – 39



Ocean Photo by Stefanus Martanto Setyo Husodo on Unsplash

Height Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash



31 Days of Joy: Day 2 – Joy In Death

(Authors Note: My late husband Joe was a private person. Out of respect for this fact, family members are referred to generically in my posts.)

“In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning.”

It is 2:58 a.m. and my money brain is keeping me from sleeping. So I decided to get up and write my post while drinking some chamomile tea. My brain is running through a list of things to do (e.g. scrub the tub, dust and run the sweeper, and obtain more freelance writing or office work).  Oh and the death in Joe’s family does not help all the chatter going on in my brain but at least my blood pressure is down after getting the phone call from Joe’s brother last night.

I decided to write about joy for a month and death gets thrown my way.  Yee Haw!

There is joy in this death as the person is now alive and well in heaven. I have no doubt this person heard the words “Well done, good and faithful servant” upon arriving at the pearly gates. Was this person perfect? Joe’s relative was human therefore she was not perfect. None of us humans are perfect.

There is joy in the fact my relationship with this relative was good. Could it have been better?  Yes. The last time I saw her was at Joe’s funeral and we occasionally exchanged Christmas cards since then.

Even though we were not close, I can say she was a patient person because her hobby was quilling. (video link) She embellished mine and Joe’s wedding invitation with purple and pink flowers with yellow centers and green leaves. Then she put the invitation in a lovely gold shadow box frame. Joe and I treasured her gift because we knew how much work she put into it.

Rest In Peace dear relative. You brought joy to the world in your own unique way.

We all bring joy to the world.

So go forth and spread your joy today.

The world needs it. 


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)

Humor Is A Sign Of Superiority

“Once upon a midnight dreary as I pondered weak and weary”

Edgar Allan Poe

As I write this post, it is not midnight but 9 p.m.  But I did come across a quotation I found interesting and after some pondering, decided to share it with you.

“Humor is an affirmation of dignity, a declaration of man’s superiority to all that befalls him.”

Romain Gary

My Interpretation

God gave us humor as a positive tool for use in dealing with the curve balls life  throws our way.  It is a sign of our superiority over death, illness, and other nasty life events, because finding humor in a situation is like finding the silver lining behind a black cloud.

It is also a sign that God deems us worthy of victory over evil when it enters our life.


Now I can hear some of you saying “There is no humor in death.”  You are right death is not funny.  Joe’s death was not funny.  However, our family gathered at Joe’s brother’s house for dinner the day of the funeral and everyone sat around the dining room table remembering Joe and the funny antics he did during his life.  There was a lot of humor and laughter and as a result, our healing from grief started that night.

So even in our darkest hour, there was humor.  If there had not been humor that night, death would have killed us too.

My Prayer

Thank you gracious heavenly father for creating humor and giving us the ability to laugh, even in our darkest hour.  May everyone of us realize  humor is a sign that you consider us worthy – worthy of victory even when we are weak and weary.  In Jesus name – Amen.

May you be blessed with lots of humor and laughter this weekend, whether times are good or bad. 

(Author’s note:  This post was inspired by Barbara Ann Kipfer’s “8,789 Words of Wisdom.”  On page 457 I found the statement “Humor is an affirmation of dignity.” and decided to research that statement.)

Sudden – “That Which Has Come Stealthily”

Merriam-Webster.com defines sudden as:

1 a : happening or coming unexpectedly <a sudden shower>

Wiktionary.org lists the etymology of the word as:

From Middle English sodain, from Anglo-Norman sodein, from Old French sodainsubdain (“immediate, sudden”), from Vulgar Latin *subitānus (“sudden”), from Latin subitaneus (“sudden”), from subitus (“sudden”, literally, “that which has come stealthily”), originally the past participle of subire (“to come or go stealthily”), from sub (“under”) + ire (“go”).

“That Which Has Come Stealthily”

  •  A 2 a.m. phone call from the highway patrol.
  • Someone collapses because of a stroke while at dinner with their spouse.
  • A wife comes home from work and presses the answering machine button and listens to a message from the rehab doctor stating her spouse “has taken sick” and she needs to get in there right away. (been there, done that, it sucks.)

Those are 3 very different circumstances all with one thing in common – suddenness.

 No Warning Shot

There was no warning Thursday night when I last saw Joe alive and well, that the next morning blood vessels at the base of his brain would rupture causing a stroke. I kicked myself for days wondering what I missed that Thursday night.   Then I talked to the staff in the rehab unit and they confirmed I missed nothing.  He was fine when they brought him his breakfast and 1 ½ hours later they could not wake him.

They had no warning either:

  • There was no flashing neon sign above his bed at breakfast.
  • No one fired a warning shot across the bow of the nurse’s station.
  • There was no robot rolling around the rehab floor yelling “Danger Will Robinson.”

The staff of the rehab unit was stunned.

Out Of Nowhere

Joe’s stroke lived up to the etymology – “that which has come stealthily.”  It burst from out of nowhere. It was not there one second and there the next.

So while I am unable to relate to another person’s circumstances, I can relate to “that which has come stealthily” feeling.

My Wish

May you never experience suddenness.  If you do, God will give you the strength and you will become a better person for dealing with it.

My Death Sentence

Note – I debated over whether or not to publish this post due to how the information effected me.  However, I decided to take a chance since this blog is about my adventures through widowhood and beyond.

Shock & Awe

After Joe died I went to my doctor for a physical.  Once she found out about Joe, she said the odds of my becoming ill and dying within two years were great.

She did not say how great and I was too shocked and chicken to ask but I definitely got the impression it was greater than 50%, maybe more like 80%.  Talk about shock and awe! 

This was just what I wanted to hear at a young age.

I knew that sometimes spouses died close together, as in the case of my Great-Grandpa and Great Grandma Evans.  However, they had been married for 50 years  Joe and I were only married 14 years.

The First Two Years

So for the first two years I lived with that knowledge in the back of my head.  Sometimes it crept into the front and then I would have to find a way to push to the back.

The best way to pushed it into the back was to tell myself once Joe got to heaven, if God told him that I would be joining him within 2 years Joe would throw a temper tantrum.  He would tell God off.  Joe was insistent that I go on with life and that meant dating and remarrying.  There is no way he would tolerate me dying young.   

Besides, Joe would also not want me to leave our daughter, Rommie (a golden retriever) without a parent.

When It Weighed The Most

It was tough enough working through grief, but having that thought running around in my mind complicated my grief recovery.

It especially weighed me down after I got laid off.  I figured since it had not been two years yet, maybe I was not going to find a job because I am going to be dead by the second anniversary.

Then I would once again remind myself that Joe would not tolerate my dying young. 

The 2nd Anniversary

Needless to say, once the second anniversary of his passing got here, I was elated.  I had beaten the odds and was still alive!   Yahoo!  My mind felt a lot freer and clearer. 

My Doctor

Still keeps a close eye on me as she knows I have been under stress not only due to Joe’s passing but also because of the stress of my previous job and then being laid off.

God willing I will continue to be healthy and live a long life here on earth torturing my relatives!  Just kidding – I love my family and when I say my family, I also mean Joe’s family.  Even though Joe is gone, they are and always will be family.  

Seeing Blessings In Death

Hidden in every death is at least one blessing.   If you keep an open mind, you will eventually see the blessing.

Read on and you will see the blessing I found in Joe’s death.

Our Last Night Together

Joe was rehabbing after back surgery and doing well.  He called me at work on Thursday and asked that I go buy a DVD player for him and his roommate.  After I got to the hospital, he had me wheel him around the rehab department looking for the best TV and TV cart. He was his old techie self, trying to make things work and definitely on his “A” game. 

Once we got everything set up, he told me to leave as it was a rainy March night with the temperature hovering around 32 degrees.  He was concerned about me getting home before the roads froze.  So I left.  I called him upon my safe arrival home. 

That was our last conversation.

The next day he was gone.

The Blessing I Discovered

It took me months before I figured out a blessing relating to Joe’s passing.

Then one day I “saw the light” thanks to the proverbial “light bulb” turning on over my head.

My last memory of Joe could have been of him in extreme pain.  Instead, God healed Joe of his pain and left me and his family with a few days where Joe was extremely happy, upbeat and healthy.

Thank you God for that blessing.

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