Tag Archives: joy

Happy 9th Birthday JoyReturns!

Most headings are song titles or words from songs. Click on them to be taken to YouTube videos.

Nine years ago today I published my first post.

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.

Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

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.

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling

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.

Headed For The Future

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.

Thank You

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.)

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

How to Find More Joy

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:

Scatter Joy. 

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!).

About Kindness

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. 

Dali Lama

Who else is up for being kind so you are scattering and gathering joy this year?


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 managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and an amateur photographer.

Christmas Music For The Grieving

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. 


(Disclosure: All links are non-affiliate.)



christmas signatureBio: 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 working as a call center team leader, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer.


52 Bible Verses For A Joy Filled Year – Week 4

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.

May you overflow with hope this week.

Weekend Wisdom: Bacon

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.

Santa Bacon

Here is Eartha Kitt’s original version of Santa Baby.


Oh, and my goal for next Halloween is to be able to fit into this dress.

What To Do In Ohio During November – It Is Not What You Think

Some people like to snuggle and watch movies during November in Ohio. Others like to head to one of the area malls and get a head start on holiday shopping. There are those that prefer to curl up on the couch underneath a homemade afghan with a good book and a cup of hot tea.

However there are a few people, a rare breed who prefer to go to the lake and not to just sit and be still before the Lord but..


to waterski.


Yes, it was that warm yesterday.

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

And I did praise him as I sat there at Chippewa Lake taking in what should be the last 70 degree day for many months.

So if water skiing season is over where you live, come to Ohio.


10-10-2011_3by5Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She encourages widows and educates society about grief and life as a widow by sharing her widowhood adventures. A graduate of Kent State University with a degree in communications, she has used her skills in the banking, collections, outdoor products and social media industries. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer.You can view her photographs at OgleOhio.com her photography blog because two blogs are better than one.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Well happy Wednesday folks. I’ve received the Sunshine Blogger Award from Joan at MarltonTrainer.com and Art4All. If you have a creative blog, click on the Art4All link and leave a comment for Joan. She is putting together a directory of creative blogs. You Rock Joan!

I first met Joan during the Write31Days challenge when she did the ever popular 31 Days to a Better Butt series. Don’t worry she is a personal trainer so you are in good hands.

Now to answer Joan’s questions.

What do you enjoy the most about blogging? Connecting to readers and other bloggers. It is the modern day form of having pen pals. I have friends in Germany, Spain, Illinois, New Mexico, and Alabama just to name a few.

Have you been or aspire to be published? Have not been published but I have an idea, I think. We’ll see what comes from it.

What makes you happy  joyful? My backyard view as I feel connected to God there, full moons because I love to try and photograph them,  rainbows because they are God’s promise to His children (there were a lot of them after Joe passed in 2008) sunsets and photography.

100_0422 - Copy

Supermoon 2012

Supermoon 2012

"Mr. Roy G. Biv"

Summer Night

What is your scariest moment? I’ve been through a lot of scary moments in the past 7 1/2 years but I think the scariest will be when, if, when I go out on a first date again.

What upcoming movie or TV show are you looking forward to most? I read books instead of watching TV. As for movies, they are usually not in the budget. However, there is a Biblical one coming out in January that looks interesting.

Which season is your favorite? Spring – New Beginnings, New Life.

Do you enjoy the holidays and if so which do you like the most? I hate the chaos of Christmas but LOVE spending time with Joe’s family. Mom and I celebrate New Year’s Day together.

Are you more of a homebody or a person that goes out? More of a homebody but I need to change that since I am in job search mode.

Would you consider yourself an Introvert or an Extrovert?  There is introvert, ambivert (middle of the road) and extrovert.  I am 1/2 way between Introvert and Ambivert. I do not mind talking to people on the phone, which most introverts hate.

What is your favorite animal and why? – Golden Retriever. Why? Lots of smiles and unconditional love.

Rommie Kearns 8/5/2002 - 7/31/2015

Rommie Kearns
8/5/2002 – 7/31/2015

My Nominations

If you are a blogger and would like to receive the Sunshine Blogger Award, please comment below, answer the same questions on your blog, and link back to this post. I have not read a lot of blogs lately but am working on resolving that issue.

Thanks again Joan for the award.


Just had to post this too and if you do Joan’s exercises – you will look good in these clothes.

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