Joyful Life

May Memories

As May comes to a close, I decided to look back on some of the memories made this month.

The May Supermoon/Full Moon Lunar Eclipse. This is one of the before pictures. We had clouds throughout the night.

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

The air conditioner and/or the hot water heater went kaput last night. Oh, joy! Will keep you updated on this watery mess.

Sleeping with the windows open while securely snuggled in my comforter.

Enjoying a one-week vacation from work. God did a lot of regeneration of my mental health during this week. Thank you, God!

Spending time with family from out of town and out of state.

Lots of good local food, including cream sticks, ham sandwiches, pizza, and some Arby’s thrown in.

Capturing this photo of an American Yellow Warbler in the tree out front.

American Yellow Warbler

Changing this blog theme, I will not do that on a whim again. Not sure this is the permanent theme either.

Lilac’s blooming. This bush has been blooming since the 20th century as it was here when Joe and I bought the house.

Blooming Lilac

Made this discovery one day coming home from the grocery store. Never had a bird’s nest here before. They usually nest in the neighbors’ fence.

Discovering more YouTube channels that play Jazz, and Bossa Nova music. In a world gone mad, this music is great for chilling out.

Watching the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial on The Body Language Guy’s YouTube channel. He streamed it live, analyzed body language, and gave us tips. Only watched about 1 1/2 – 2 weeks of the trial.

First trip this year to the basement waiting out a tornado warning. Hopefully, it is the last one this year.

Well, that is all the memories for May. This might become a regular feature as it does me good to reflect on all that was accomplished in a month. Working from home is nice but it feels so routine.

I pray May was filled with joyful memories for you and your family.

See you next month.

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 the amateur photographer behind the blog


What We Need to Spend More Time Doing In 2021

You, me, and We The People need to dig deeper into God’s word this year. I’m not talking about just reading but meditating on what you read and praying more passionately and more often.

It is not just me that believes this but my friend and fellow blogger Sherline from Sherline’s Watchu Thinking Blog is also thinking this way.

I’ve been praying more often and with more passion than before and planned to continue doing so this year. When I saw Sherline’s post a few days ago it served as affirmation that prayer combined with a deeper dive into God’s word is most important for getting through 2021 for We The People.

Pray is the most powerful weapon on earth. We all have access to it, no password, thumbprint, or retinal scan needed to access it. Just pick up the Bible and start reading. Pray back to God the words or the sentiment of the passage you read.

If you feel intimidated, there are plenty of resources out there to help you along the way.

Here are a few from my bookshelf.

Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation, Find True Peace in Jesus – by Robert J. Morgan.

Biblical meditation is the powerful practice of pondering, personalizing, and practicing Scripture.

Robert J. Morgan – Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation, Find True Peace in Jesus – Introduction pg. X

Morgan states that even though we practice Biblical meditation, we will still “struggle with the shadows.” I can testify to the truth behind that statement. While I’ve upped my prayer practice, I still have anxious moments thinking about whether or not I am prepared for all this year will bring. When anxiety sets in, I immediately ask God to calm my fears and take deep breaths. Eventually I become calm again.

The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions edited by Arthur Bennet.

I have LOVED this book ever since I got it years ago. In fact, the copy you see in my picture is my second copy as the first one fell apart from so much use. Here are a few lines from my two favorite prayers:

The Valley of Vision – LORD, HIGH AND HOLY, MEEK AND LOWLY, Thou has brought me to the valley of vision, where I live the depth but see thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

pg xv


REGENERATION – O GOD OF THE HIGHEST HEAVEN, Occupy the throne of my heart, take full possession and reign supreme, lay low every rebel lust, let no vile passion resist thy holy war; manifest they mighty power, and make me thing for ever.

Pg 47

I know you too will find prayers and devotions that resonate with you as well. These two prayers are to be read at my funeral, providing we are allowed to have funerals when I die.

English Standard Version Study Bible – Crossway. I have several versions of the Bible other ta the ESV. I also have a New International Version (NIV) and a Living Bible (TLB). I like how different translations word verses. However, if I have to suddenly pack up and bug out in a hurry, it will be the NIV Study Bible that goes with me as it is smaller than my ESV.

So I encourage you to get one of these books or any other book you find that appeals to you start digging in God’s word and praying more this year.

I will be publishing other resources to help you get through whatever fecal matter is going to hit the oscillating unit this year.

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. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog

grief, Unemployment

My Theme For Lent – “Regeneration”

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and a lot of people give up something for Lent.  However, I do not believe in giving up something for Lent.

I believe in taking up something because Jesus took up the cross for us.

I believe we should take up something that draws us closer in our relationship with God.

I believe taking up something is more valuable and productive than giving up chocolate, coffee or vegetables for Lent.

Here are the things I will be doing during Lent to mentally, physically and spiritually regenerate.   


  • “The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions”  Arthur Bennett.  This book is wonderful but it is not a book you breeze through even in 40 days.  I will be studying “Section 10: A Weeks Shared Prayers.”  This section consists of 2 prayers a day one in the morning and one at night. This section will be studied every week through lent.
  • Regeneration” This is one of my favorite prayers from the book and will be studied around lunchtime.  It is posted on my bulletin board. It ends with what I desire:

“Help me to walk by thy side, lean on thy arm, hold converse with thee,

That henceforth I may be the salt of the earth and a blessing to all”

  • “Psalms of Comfort for the Weary” – This list can be found on  It is 31 days of Psalms. I was all over this when it came in my inbox the other day.  You are to write out the verse for the day. It is a good list and I recommend it for anyone struggling with grief, job search or any other nasty life event.

Quiet Time

More quiet time with God. We are not the best of friends lately due to my frustration with the job search. Maybe with more quiet time we can repair what’s broken – me!

Writing Daily

This is going to be tough.  It also does not mean you will find a post in your mail every day.  It just means I am going to force myself to write every day. When I was blogging daily I was more productive.

Once I went back to work in January 2013, it became too much and I switched to once a week.  Then I found myself slacking off on writing.

So this lent my goal is to write something that is worthy of being published once a day. Hopefully by doing this for 40 days, I will continue after Easter.


Once again I will read Kay Warren’s “Choose Joy Because Happiness Isn’t Enough.” This is a book I need to re-read once a year. I am not totally on board with her definition of Joy as it leaves no room for man to exercise the freewill God gives, at least the way I interpret her definition. Other than that it is a wonderful book and my copy is filled with sticky notes, yellow highlighter and notes in the margin.


At some point during Lent, I hope to get back to morning k-l-a-w’s with Rommie (yes, in my house there is one word that is not only spelled but spelled backwards.)

However the temperature needs to warm up considerably as my sinus’ get inflamed when I go for walks in cold weather. Then I have a sinus infection for a week.

Girly Things

It might be Lent but I still need time to press the play button on life.

  • Weekly Spa Nights – this is something I did on Sunday nights when Joe was alive. I got away from it after his passing because by the end of the day I was too tired to soak in the tub and do my nails. I do not know that I will paint my nails but I will at least be relaxing and reading a book.
  • Lipstick – One of my neighbors always made sure she had lipstick on when she went to get the mail. It was the finishing touch and made her look together. For lent, I will be like her.  Lip gloss during the day and lipstick at night.

So there is my agenda for Lent that I am praying will help regenerate me.


What will you take up instead of giving up in hopes of regenerating yourself?