Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Weekend Wisdom: Joyful Noise

Since life has been still, quiet these past few months, I decided to remind everyone that we are to be noisy. There is a time for stillness but also I time to let ‘er rip!

While this picture of the cardinals was not taken recently, it has been cold enough that frost advisories, freeze warnings and snow combined with rain have been in the forecast.

So no matter what the weather in your area – be joyful in a noisy way today and always!

9:12 UpdateSpecial Bulletin: Check out OgleOhio for a picture taken this morning.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100
New International Version

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

Thankfulness – Adelaide Anne Proctor

Happy Thanksgiving my dear readers! May you find a reason to give thanks even if you are grieving or working through another nasty life event.


Here is a poem I found from A Sacrifice of Praise, Second Edition, An Anthology of Christian Poetry in English from Caedmon to the Mid-Twentieth Century; Edited by James H. Trott.

May you have a joy-filled Thanksgiving with family and friends.


My God, I thank thee who hast made

The earth so bright;

So full of splendour and of joy,

Beauty and light;

So many glorious things are here,

Noble and right!


I thank thee, too, that thou hast made

Joy to abound;

So many gentle thoughts and deeds

Circling us round,

That on earth darkest spot of earth

Some love is found.


I thank thee more that all our joy

Is touched with pain;

That shadows fall on brightest hours;

That thorns remain;

So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,

And not our chain.


For though who knowest, Lord, how soo

Our weak heart clings,

Hast given us joys, tender and true,

Yet all with wings,

So that we see, gleaming on high,

Diviner things!


I thank thee, Lord, that though hast kept

The best in store;

We have enough, yet not too much

To long for more:

A yearning for a deeper peace,

Not known before.


I thank thee, Lord, that here our souls,

Though amply blest

Can never find, although they seek,

A perfect rest –

Nor ever shall, until they lean

On Jesus’ breast.


Adelaide Anne Proctor

(1825 – 1864)


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 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.


Not For Widows Only – Black Friday Book Recommendations for Holiday 2015

I wanted to get my book recommendations up early so you have time to review them and plan what one(s) you want to purchase this holiday season. I recommend these books not only for widows but anyone looking to improve their life.

These books

  • were not written for widows, but everything the author’s say apply to widows.
  • require a pen, hi-liter, and journal for note taking.

I’ve also shared some video so you can get to know the author a little better.

Enjoy and all of these book links are non-affiliate – meaning I do not get anything in return except undying love and gratitude.

“My Little Buddy”

Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief Martha Whitmore Hickman – Just get this book or give it to someone grieving. It helped me tremendously. It is not geared towards any one denomination and the meditations are short, easy reads.

Northeast Ohio Authors

UnMask: Let Go of Who You’re Suppose To Be and Unleash Your True Leader.  Jeff Nischwitz – This book will challenge the way you think, which for widows is good. Now that your life circumstances have changed, you need to rethink what you are going to do with life and who you are person and professional. Jeff asks the tough questions and his question will rattle around your head until you answer them.

Chapter 7 Exponential Believing (The Possibilities Leader) is the game changer for widows. This sentence really spoke to me.

“You are defined by what you believe is possible, and most people are narrowly or exclusively focused on limits and perceptions of possibilities.” (Kindle location 2358)

You have a new life ahead of you, filled with unlimited possibilities so take the blinders of what you believe is possible.  I also liked Chapter 13 Silencing the Stories in Your Head (The Debunking Leader). We all have stories in our head that need to come out and be closely examined so we can move forward through grief.

I read this on my Kindle, but books tend to get lost on Kindles. So I will be buying the paperback and doing a re-read with pen, hiliter and a journal by my side. Highly recommend you do the same.

The one suggestion I have is not to read this book until you’ve made it through the first year of grief. Jeff is a former attorney so his style of writing is formal and professional. I know what my brain was like during the first year and doubt I could have handled reading this book during that time but that is just me.

30 Perfect Days, Finding Abundance in Ordinary LifeClaudia J Taller (Home)

Interwoven throughout Claudia’s quest to experience 30 perfect days is the story of her marriage – a marriage of ups and downs. There is nothing wrong with this, but for someone fresh in their grief it may not set well. Therefore I recommend this book for seasoned widows only. Widows who are 5 years out from the start of their adventure. Widows who remember that marriage is all about good and bad times.

Claudia does an excellent job of taking you with her through her quest and includes thought provoking question at the end of every chapter.

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Transformation by Appreciation –  Lisa Ryan (Grategy.com Home Page)

No holiday season would be complete without recommending any one of Lisa Ryan’s books on gratitude. I know it is hard to be grateful when grieving but we are called to be thankful in all circumstances. Lisa’s book will give you practical tips and show you have to be more grateful. There is video of Lisa on her home page. I also have several other books by Lisa and have enjoyed each one.

She is a nationally recognized expert on gratitude and you can sign up to receive her weekly gratitude email on her home page.

Nationally Recognized Authors 

All The Places To Go…How Will You Know? God has placed before you an open door. What will you do?  – John Ortberg

Yes, this is a book inspired by Dr. Seuss. It is about going through open doors and as a widow,you now have a lot of open doors to choose from. His book is reassuring in that no matter what door you decided to go through God will use your decision to grow you into a person who reflects His light into the world. God also does use closed doors and bad decisions because He works all things out for good.

Let’s All Be Brave: Living Life With Everything You Have Annie Downs –  You have a new life ahead of you, one you may did not ever anticipate having, but here it is. It takes being brave to move forward through grief and start a new life. Go after your dream. Don’t spend your life waiting to live – life the good life now. God supplies all your needs, now get out there and craft your new life.

When I am feeling down, weary and wiped out this is the speech I listen to because even I need a pep talk about being brave.

The Encouragement Project (EBook Shorts) 21 Heart-to-Heart ways to Show You Care Holley Gerth (Website Home Page)  – Another book I would classify as a “just get it book.” I wish I had this in a spiral bound edition to keep on my desk. It is filled with lots of ideas for what you can pray, say and do for anyone who needs encouragement.

You can not go wrong with any book written by Holley, I’ve read several of her books this year and find each one to be very caring, nurturing and uplifting.

Final Thoughts

These are my recommendations for this holiday season. I hope you will purchase at least one for yourself or a friend.

Have a blessed holiday season and I will see you for 1 more post next week before my holiday break.

Don’t forget to check the Holiday Helps 2015 page for articles and websites to get you or a grieving loved one through this season. It was updated on 11/16 and will continue to be updated as I come across more resources for you.

Weekend Wisdom: Thanks

Saying thank you is more than good manners.  It is good spirituality. 

Alfred Painter

One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind. 

Malayan Proverb

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses. 


I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.  

G.K. Chesterton

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.

Edward Sandford Martin

How To Not Be The Same Person 2 Months From Now

Now that all the pies are baked and the turkey is ready for the oven, it is time to give thanks.  However, some of you may believe you have nothing for which to be grateful.

I know some of you are working your way through the grief of:

  • loss of loved one
  • unemployment
  • the holiday season
  • all of the above

Gratitude still has a place even in those awful circumstances. I know it is tough as I have gone through all of the above separately and at the same time.

Not Home Alone

For those of you going through unemployment, you are not alone.  I am right there with you as I am unemployed once again.

On November 13th, my job as a loan officer, teller and collector ended.


The credit union and I were simply no longer a fit for one another and fit is the number one thing potential employers look at in a candidate.  Seeing you working at their company is more important than your ability or experience.

So while I am not thankful for being unemployed, I am thankful for the opportunity unemployment brings, along with the blessings bestowed upon me since unemployment began.


One of the ways I am working on keeping my mood up is a gratitude journal.  No matter what the cause of your grief, a gratitude journal will help you shift your focus. Your journal does not have to be anything fancy.  It can be something as simple as a legal pad.  This is something I wish I had done during my first year of widowhood.

“For Your Eyes Only”

Grab a cup of tea or coffee and write down 5 things you are thankful for every morning.  It is alright to write the same thing for different days. There does not need to be any rhyme or reason for that which you are thankful.  This journal is for your eyes only.

Doing your writing first thing in the morning will help you face the day with the right mindset.  Keep writing and you will slowly but surely beat back the grief monster. You will be taking a little chunk out of him with every gratitude statement. The grief monster does not want you grateful he wants you wallowing in self-pity.

There does not need to be any rhyme or reason for that which you are thankful.  This journal is for your eyes only.

Two Months From Now

My friend Lisa Ryan’s favorite quote is:

“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach

I understand why it is Lisa’s favorite quote. Sarah is right.  You will not be the same person when you consciously give thanks every day because your mind is focusing on gratitude and not grief.

Michele’s Gratitude Journal

Here is a page from my journal.

I am grateful for:

  •  My friend Lisa Ryan
  • God’s Faithfulness
  • Chocolate
  • Rommie
  • My Car

 Your Turn

 So write in a gratitude journal as a way to work through this holiday season no matter what is causing you grief and continue through the cold bleak month of January.

Who knows, by keeping a journal you just might find that Spring comes early.

“40 Days of Joy” Series Is Back This Christmas Season

I was not going to do anything special for Christmas this year since I am back to working full-time.  However, I decided to run the 2013 edition of “40 Days of Joy” after feeling that was the direction the Holy Spirit was leading me. Normally “40 Days” runs from Thanksgiving Eve through New Year’s Day. Then I looked at the calendar and did the math.  Hold your horses folks.  There are not 40 days starting with Thanksgiving Eve and ending with New Years Day.  There are – 36!

Yes, that is right – just 36 days. So I am going to add 4 to make it 40 and run the series from Saturday November 23rd through Thursday January 1st 2014.

What You Can Expect From This Year’s Edition

The posts from 11/23 through 11/26 will focus on holiday recipes.  The remainder of the series will be posts, quotes from my motivational speaker friends, recipes and possibly even some craft ideas and/or poetry.  All designed to add a little “comfort and joy” to your season.  


Remember, despite being a widow – you do have a lot to be grateful for, even though you do not feel as though you do.

If you are not a widow or grieving stop on by anyway as you can always do with a little joy this hectic time of year. 

"Joy To The World"

“Joy To The World”

Merry June 25th!

Yes, 6 months from today is Christmas.

Now if you became a widow since last Christmas, I know you are dreading this one.

However, you have a chance to plan for the big day. Planning is key to surviving the holidays.

3 Ideas

Here are 3 simple ideas to keep in mind.

  • 1 – Acknowledge Christmas is 6 months from today.
  • 2 – Take comfort in knowing you only have to do what you have the strength to do during the holidays.
  • 3 – Start brainstorming what you might want to do this season.  You do not have to keep the same traditions, starting new ones are perfectly acceptable.

There Is Still Plenty Of Time

You do not have to make any final decisions today or anytime soon.

You simply need to slowly start coming to terms with that the holiday season will come again even though your spouse now resides in heaven.

And that is enough for now.

God bless the recent widows with comfort and joy. 

Coming July 25th,  “A Resource For Help With Christmas.”

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