Reflecting on my Words for 2020

Welcome to the end of 2020!

A year that even author Stephen King could not dream up.

There were four words I used as a guide this year were believe, abide, stand and bloom. They were appropriate given all the fecal matter the oscillating unit threw on us. (polite way of saying “$hit hits the fan”)

Here is how believe, abide and stand impacted my life this year.


Believe played the biggest role this year in my prayer life. My belief in the power of prayer grew stronger than ever this year. Mostly because I prayed more often and with great passion.

I prayed for the Holy Spirit to whip through this country like a white tornado, the health and well-being of my friends (includes co-workers and church members) family, and wisdom and safety for the President, Vice-President, The House, The Senate and The Supreme Court, among other things.

I believe, no I know God will answer my prayers in His time and in His way.


Abide comes from John 15 where Jesus states He is the true vine.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:4-5

Devotionals, books, sermons and prayer were what I did in order to remain attached to the vine. Abiding kept me grounded and in order to get through a year like 2020 you have to be grounded. John 15 kept popping up in newsletters and on social media through out the year. Guess that was God’s way of making sure I did not forget to abide.


Stand pertained to my foundation.These three things were the foundation for life this year:

The Bible, The Declaration of Independence, and The Constitution

and in that order.

The Bible is the cornerstone of life. It is the foundation on which the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were based. The founding fathers knew Biblical principles would be easy for citizens to abide by. No seminary degree is necessary to understand

17 Thou shalt not kill.

18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery.

19 Neither shalt thou steal.

20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Deuteronomy 5:17-20 (KJV)

The Bible is the how-to-manual for living life. The Declaration and The Constitution are the documents for living life in America.

These three will be the foundation I stand on for the rest of my life.


Bloom was the biggest challenge. During this year of shutdowns and mask mandates I found it hard to personally bloom because I was associating bloom with my career. While I am thankfully still employed, I did not make any decision that would help my career take off. Wait a minute…faithfully showing up for work every day helps me bloom because management knows there are no attendance issues with me.

And now that I think about it, believe, abide and stand all helped me bloom in my faith. Hmmm…guess I really did bloom this year after all.

JoyReturns also bloomed this year.

I posted 156 blogs posts this year. More than the past 2 years, ever since March of 2018 when I was working on the series – 10 Years A Widow. It was then that I felt someone stick a straw in my right shoulder and suck the life out of me. That is when I decided to quit but one very loyal and caring reader suggested I pop in every now and then to let everyone know how I was doing. Posting quarterly updates seemed reasonable.

Then late last year, I noticed there would not be 1,550 posts total at the end of 2019. I developed a plan for not only reaching 1,550 posts but reaching 1,700 posts total by 2020’s end. Well I surpassed by goal of 1,700 posts. Today’s post is number 1,710 since JoyReturns’ January 2011inception.

Now add in 4 5 more countries discovering JoyReturns and the total is 165 166 countries (as of yesterday) so I can say without a doubt, this blog bloomed.

And it was all thanks to God. I wrote the words and the Holy Spirit spread them far and wide. The most recent country JoyReturns reached was Armenia. Welcome!

I just show up and write what is on my mind and hit publish. God does the rest, always has and always will.

Headed For The Future

So hit the road 2020! Take your murder hornets (and everything else you dished out this year) and SCRAM!

Now it is on to 2021! I pray this will be the year all Americans bloom both personally and professionally.

I have chosen my word for 2021 and if you read the gospel of Luke in the New Living Translation Bible, you will find my word. You will know it when you find it and you will agree with my choice.

My word will be revealed in the January 4th post.

See you then!

Have a safe and fun New Year’s Eve and God Bless 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. 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 OgleOhio.com.