Joy was definitely unconfined even when we stumbled on blistered feet across the parking at 2 a.m. to the local pancake house. We needed to refuel for the walk back to the dorms. I miss those plate-size pancakes smothered in blueberries and drowned in maple syrup then washed down with endless cups of coffee.
Now at 2 a.m. you might find me stumbling on bunion feet to the bathroom. 😀
Have a great weekend and may your joy be unconfined whether you are dancing or just walking around the block.
Then I hit the shower and went to an evening seminar. I was excited to hand out business cards that included something other than my name, phone number, LinkedIn profile and areas of expertise. I had an accomplishment, something tangible to prove I was doing more besides job searching and volunteer work.
When I started JoyReturns, so many websites were 3D – dark, dreary and depressing. Those sites keep a person stuck in grief, stuck in a “woe is me” attitude. I wanted to inspire, encourage, motivate widows to move forward through grief and build a new life because life is too short and precious to spend it stuck in grief’s muck.
I believed JoyReturns would not only help widows but would educate society about grief and life after a spouse’s passing. The best way to accomplish my goals was to share the story of my life after Joe, including the good, the bad, and the ugly as well as the joyful.
About two years ago, I lost the desire to blog when putting together the “10 Years A Widow” series. It felt like someone stuck a straw in me and sucked all the life out. That is when I started publishing only a few times a year.
Then a few months ago two things happened to reignite my blogging. First I noticed I would finish this year a few posts shy of 1,550 and knew I could not let that happen. Secondly, either in November/December of last year Rush Limbaugh was talking about how he does not do social media as his radio show is what he does best. I told myself to listen and learn from Rush. Focus on what you do best – blogging.
God whispered “widow’s website” in my ear in mid to late 2010 so He called me to blog. He will equip me to do it and since this blog has been read in 161 countries according to WordPress’s map, He’s spread my words far and wide.
What type of posts and how often will I publish now that I am back? Starting this weekend you will find the return of Weekend Wisdom which will be uplifting poems, quotes, and scripture. There are about 6 weeks worth of wisdom already put to bed.
On Wednesdays, there will be a blog post about various topics. The general theme of the Wednesday posts was 52 ways to have a joy-filled life. I do have topics for the first quarter written, but not the blog posts.
I am working on a series that will hopefully provide joy and encouragement to get you through the election season. This series would start after the Democrat convention (losing party gets to have their convention first). Not sure how this series will work out if it will work out.
Finally, there will be spontaneous posts on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and/or Friday. These posts will be topics that unexpectedly pop into my brain and would make a good blog post. While I will be writing them in advance, you probably will not see them until April.
The first 9 years would not have been possible without continued support for you my dear readers. So I humbly and gratefully say thank you. You are a blessing to me.
A Blessing To All
And so the journey begins through the next 9 adventurous years with a renewed interest in blogging and the desire to make JoyReturns the best it can be so that it is the salt of the earth and a blessing to all. (reading of the prayer “Regeneration” read below.)
When I decided on “Joy” as my word for the year, I planned on finding more joy in my life. God knows I could use it because I easily lose sight of joy while trying to keep from losing everything and living under a bridge.
However, God and my dear buddy Ralph Waldo Emerson changed my mind about how to apply “joy” to this year. How? God brought to mind one of my favorite quotes from Ralph:
It comes from this quote:
“There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
So I will spend a year scattering joy. Think of me as a flower girl scattering colorful, joy-filled flower petals around the world.
How can you scatter joy if you do not find it in your life? That is quite simple and it involves the first runner-up for my 2018 One Word – Kind.
I will scatter joy by being kind.
If you are kind, you are scattering joy and gathering joy at the same time because joy fills your heart when you are kind. Scatter Joy to Gather Joy.
It will not be as easy as you think. I work in a call center and changes are coming. Those of you who work in call centers know how hard it is to be kind sometimes. You just have to grit your teeth, bite your tongue and smile.
Work – Most of my kind words, thoughts and deeds will be done at my virtual call center job because it is where I spend most of my time. That means I will be scattering joy to my customers in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.
Social Media – However, the most challenging place to be kind is social media. My Twitter account is pretty much dead and I swore I was not going to use Facebook this year, at least not my personal page. Only my blog page and the Faithful Finish Lines Fitness group were going to be used. Now I feel as though I must use my personal page as well. UGH!
If there was a time machine I would go back to 2009 and tell my younger self “Don’t sign up for Facebook.” The noise pollution is deafening.
Around Town – The last place I will practice scattering joy is wherever my travels take me. Most of them will be throughout Northeast Ohio. So no flipping off people who tailgate or cut me off. No grumbling at the lousy shopping cart drivers at the grocery store who stop and block the aisles, or grumbling because I get a chatty checkout girl (just ring my groceries, please!).
The reason kindness is hard is we are thinking about ourselves most of the time and not of the other person. We must remember
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
And we must remember to be thankful we are not walking a mile or more in their shoes.
Be kind whenever it is possible. It is always possible.
Who else is up for being kind so you are scattering and gathering joy this year?
Christmas music took on a new meaning for me after Joe’s passing in March 2008. It was something to be avoided. It no longer brought back memories of singing carols in church or when youth group went Christmas caroling. Even recent memories of Christmas services became a blurred memory.
Christmas is a time to chipper and sing joyously at the top of your lungs. I was anything but chipper that year. Especially when it comes to the “song-which-must-not-be-named.”
So this year I Googled Christmas music for the grieving and came upon Denny Burke’s wonderful article about Steven Curtis Chapman. After reading the article, I went to my Amazon music account and listened to some of Steven’s Christmas albums in order screen which ones would be least likely to induce a meltdown.
Here are the three I spent listening to. They are from least likely to most likely to produce a meltdown of Wicked Witch of the West proportions. (Of course, it is entirely possible that any Christmas music will reduce a grieving person to a puddle of tears.)
Christmas Hymns (2015). As the title indicates, there is nothing romantic on this album. Now if you spouses favorite Christmas hymn is on this album, then you might shed a few tears.
The Music of Christmas (1995). There is nothing romantic that will induce a meltdown of Wicked Witch of the West proportions. However, Going Home For Christmas is about a mother’s move to heaven. Precious Promise is a beautiful, tender song about Mary and Jesus’ birth and could cause some tears just depending on your mood.
Joy (2012)Recommended only if you have been a widow for at least 5 years. But be forewarned there is a romantic song entitled Christmas Kiss, that might send you over the edge. The song is definitely not for the newly grieving spouse.
These are my opinions. Every person and every grief is different. Please review the list of songs before deciding whether or not to purchase as you need to make sure the songs will not cause you to have a meltdown.
I will keep looking for Christmas music by other artists that are appropriate for grieving people.
In the meantime, please avoid the “song-which-must-not-be-named” – Have Your Self A Merry Little Christmas.
The verses used in this weekly series are from Norman Vincent Peale’s 52 Weeks To A Positive Life, which is a series of 52 cards. However, the card for week #4 is missing. So I found another Bible verse that is not in the cards.
This is one of my favorite verses and there is a magnetic book mark standing on my desk to keep this verse front and center in my mind. I find it very comforting and uplifting. Hopefully you do as well.
Every Thursday night there is a Five Minute Friday chat on Twitter (#fmfparty). During the chat Kate Motaung reveals the word prompt everyone is to write on for five minutes and then publish. I usually check what the word is on Friday and see if I can come up with a post. This year my brain has struggled to come up with posts so my participation in the group has not been what I want.
Last week’s word for the final Five Minute Friday of Write31Days was BACON (click to read all the Bacon posts from different bloggers).
It was my intention to work that prompt into my 31 Days of Tricks to Scare Away the Grief Monster, however my brain was so fried from all the writing I was unable to see, through all the grease, how to work it into my series.
So I skipped the word prompt again.
Then this past week I was given a new Christmas decoration and I now have someone to pet.
Here is a picture, which is worth a thousand words er laughs.
So without further adieu, I give you Santa Bacon.
Here is Eartha Kitt’s original version of Santa Baby.