Joyful Life

It Is What It Is – Or Is It?

Well hello there, it’s me. I figured it would be good to end the month with a regular post instead of a brief Weekend Wisdom post. It’s been a productive few weeks just not in regard to this blog or my photo blog. While the weeks were filled with accomplishments, they also drained me of physical and mental energy. (It’s not that catchy thing-a-ma-jiggy; had that in February 2020.)

Now I better finish this post and get it scheduled before Dracula, Barnabas Collins or some other vampire comes and drains most of my energy again.

May you be filled with joy and energy today and every day.

Eliminate This Phrase

The phrase “It is what it is” irritates me worse than a pebble in my shoe.

I have always


that phrase.

It’s even more despicable than the phrase “next year.” If you are a fan of any Cleveland sports teams (especially football) you know the sickening feeling you get when speaking the words “next year” after a dismal season.


I could never put my finger on why I despised “It is what it is” so much. Then a couple weeks ago Kaitlyn Bouchillon wrote about it in her post Get Your Hopes Up. She too disliked the phrase but did not know why until It was pointed out by someone else that “It is what it is” leaves no room for hope.


That is why I hate it, my soul deep down knew there was no hope in “It is what it is.” No room for hope means you are permanently stuck in the valley of the shadow of death.

That is simply not true. Where there is God, there is hope. Even in life’s valleys.

So I challenge you and me to eliminate “It is what it is.” from your vocabulary. Then encourage others to find hope even in the deepest, darkest situations so they too never use or believe “It is what it is.”

My Prayer For You

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. Michele is also the amateur photographer behind the blog


The Psalm 23 Challenge

This week our Pastor challenged the congregation to recite Psalm 23 the last thing before falling asleep.   Personally, I hope it calms me down as right now I am wound up like the Tasmanian Devil!

Our History Together

Psalm 23 and I have a history.  Shortly after Joe passed, I was desperately searching for comfort and where better to go than Psalm 23 – or so I thought.

Upon reading ” The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” (that is what my NIV version states), I said “Yeah, right!”, closed my Bible and threw it on the floor.  It landed with a resounding “thud” that probably registered a 9.5 on the Richter scale. My maternal grandmother in heaven threw a major league temper tantrum because I threw my Bible.  God told her to take a “chill pill” as he understood why I did it.

The Here and Now

I will admit I have not paid much attention to Psalm 23 during the past 5 1/2 years.  So reciting this every night will be very interesting.  Maybe I can start to make peace with the psalm during this week and get back to appreciating it more.

Tonight as I fall asleep, listening to the waterfall sound on my kindle, I will recite Psalm 23.

Call To Action

Do the same thing.  Don’t remember the psalm?  Here it is, courtesy of It is the NIV version but differs from my NIV Bible.  Guess the NIV got a makeover.

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Extra Credit – Recite this first thing when you open your eyes in addition to just before falling asleep.

Extra, Extra Credit – Recite this during the day if the going gets tough.


A Peace That Surpasses All Understanding

A Peace That Surpasses All Understanding

That is what I have.

While it may not surpass all understanding, it certainly surpasses my understanding.

I am amazed at how calm and peaceful I feel since the election.  There have been a few moments of anxiousness here and there, but 95% of my mood has been calm, upbeat, positive and peaceful.

Now my mood is not because the person who won is the one I wanted to win – au contraire.

It is God fulfilling my prayer for peace and calmness even though I am one of the under-employed.

It is God giving me a hope for a better and brighter tomorrow despite my circumstances.

I am very grateful to God for giving me this peaceful, easy feeling.

The best way to explain my feeling is through Psalm 23.

Full Circle

Writing about Psalm 23 to describe my feeling means I have come full circle.

For it was a week or two after Joe’s passing I was in dire need of comfort.  So I picked up my Bible and turned to this Psalm.  I read the first sentence “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”  My response was “Yeah, right.”  Joe had moved to heaven – you had better believe I was in want.

I finished reading the Psalm but found no comfort there.  In fact I closed the Bible and tossed it on the floor where it landed with a resounding thud.  I could hear my maternal Grandmother in heaven throwing a hissy fit because I threw my Bible.

I could also hear God telling her:  “Oh Ethel, go take a chill pill.  She’s hurting.  I know tossing her Bible does not mean she rejects and disrespects me.  It is an expression of her pain and anguish.  She will be fine.  Just wait and see.”

See Grandma, God was right – as usual.

I have survived grief and will survive and prosper after under-employment.

 About Psalm 23

The notes in my NIV study Bible indicate Psalm 23 is a

“profession of joyful trust in the Lord as the good Shepherd-King.”

As of this past week, my trust in God has strengthened and more joy has filled my heart.   I still have moments of anxiety when thinking about my future but most of the time I have been very upbeat and joyful.

“The Lord Is My Shepherd, I shall not be in want.”

A shepherd guides his flock to good pasture.  So in time will God guide me to good pasture (fortune).  In fact, I can say He has guided me to good fortune – this blog.  It was one morning as I was waking up I heard “Widow’s Website” in my head.  Thank you God.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures”

I am content, feel secure and at peace with life which allows me to rest.  These also allow me to grow and flourish as the green grass does in my backyard.

“He restores my soul”

My spirit did get revived at church this past weekend.  I started losing faith in my fellow Americans this past week but God started restoring my faith with one simple act of kindness.

“He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”

God will guide me to security and prosperity.  Even though I work for a fellow human being, I will do my work as though I am working for God.  Doing so honor’s him and he is to be honored at all times.  Every blog post honor’s God.  Yes, even “Garlic, Grief and Hemmorhoids” honors Him.  It honors God’s sense of humor.   He does have a sense of humor,  otherwise we would have no laughter because we embody the traits of God.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

No matter what trouble lies ahead in my life, God is with me and will guide me to safety.   It may not feel like God is with me, but He is here 24/7, 365.  The rod and staff were weapons to fend off wild animals and sheep thieves.  They would be comforting because the best defense is a good offense.

“You prepare and table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

Even though I am surrounded by people who do not want the best for me, God will see to my needs.  He will make sure Rommie and I have food, shelter, heat and anything else we need.

“You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows”

Back in the olden days it was customary to anoint the honored banquet guest with oil according to my study Bible.  Well, I do anoint my head with a serum to make my hair smooth, sleek and straight.   But I know God has anointed me with his goodness which has resulted in numerous blessings in my life, too many to count.

“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. “

He will be with me now and forever more and one day I shall leave this temporary home and reside in heaven with God and Jesus.  Living in heaven where there is no more agony, pain and suffering, now that is a truly comforting thought which brings me peace.

May our gracious heavenly Father also bestow a peace that surpasses your understanding upon you and your family. 

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7