Happy 4th Birthday JoyReturns!

It was 4 years ago today I published my first post. I was attending a job search seminar that night and needed something on my business card besides my name, email and phone number. An order was place from Vistaprint for cards with my blog name before I had this site up and running, that was motivation for getting the first post written.


The purpose of starting this blog was and is to:

  • share my adventures in hopes other widows will find support and encouragement
  • educate society about grief and life as a widow.
  • share my career transition story, since it was one year after Joe’s move to heaven that I got laid off from my collections job and other widows might be going through the same thing.

Never was this blog intended to make Joe out to be a god. He was not one, because he was human and therefore very imperfect. But now he resides with God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So I choose to remember the good in him and the memories we shared. There is a reason the following is engraved on our marker:

“Think of me, think of me fondly, when we’ve said goodbye.”


Now how to celebrate this milestone?

The ideal way would be to get a job.

However odds are a job offer will not be presented to me today – although miracles still do occur.

So I decided to celebrate with a post about my bucket list. It was after reading Ann Voskamp I decided the only item on my bucket list is:

to live fully right where I am (Northeast Ohio) by experiencing all the wonders God puts into my life every day.

There are days where the adventures are rough and rugged and there are days that are smooth sailing.

If God never takes me outside Northeast Ohio again, I shall be content with all I will experience day in and day out while living here. I know this to be true because a peace has come over me since making this decision.

Living Fully

Living fully means:

  • enjoying each moment, even when those moments are filled with the mundane, routine and boring tasks such as dusting, sweeping and laundry.
  • embracing all that happens including nasty life events. Embracing the nasty events does not mean you like them, but means you’ve accepted what happened. Once you accept it, then you can work on walking through the “valley of the shadow of death” because through is the only way out.
  • appreciating the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches in this life.
  • using the good dishes, lighting the candles, and putting the good tablecloth on the dining room table.
  • Saying thanks to God for all his blessings; writing them down and putting them in a clear jar or vase so so I will see them piling up day by day.

To Do List

Every day I know what I have to do. There is nothing else to remember. My life became simpler when I decided to live fully right where I am.

Thank You

Thank you dear readers for your companionship and your continued support of JoyReturns.

I thank my God for you every time I think of you;

Philippians 1:3 (GNT)

And I think of you fondly even though we’ve not said goodbye.


Stay with me as I continue to share stories about my various adventures and perhaps along the way those stories will show you how I am living fully every day.

Now off to the store to get an angel food cake and a can (or two) of cream cheese frosting – for what is a celebration without cake?     🙂





I Am A Griever

I am a griever.

I am a griever in the sense that I grieve when death strikes, but then move forward with life.

I believe in the power of grieving, in the power of crying and letting grief out instead of keeping it bottled up.

However, I do not believe in forever grieving a loved one’s passing.

Why would I grieve Joe’s move to heaven every day? That would be very selfish of me. He is in paradise and to grieve over that fact 24/7 six years later is wrong.

Special Occasions

Yes, there will be occasions where grief will surface, like when his niece gets married later this year. I will go to the cemetery with a silk flower arrangement in the wedding colors. I will have a few choice words for him as he should be here to give his niece a hug and to welcome his new nephew into the family.

After leaving the cemetery I will go to the wedding and reception and enjoy myself. It will be an example of joy and pain co-existing with joy winning the day.

How I Think Of Joe

When I think of Joe, I live out what is on our marker at the cemetery:

“Think of me, think of me fondly when we’ve said good bye.”

You musical theatre lovers will recognize the song “Think of Me” from “The Phantom of the Opera.”  It  was Joe’s favorite song and sung by the character Christine Daae.  It seemed appropriate to put the phrase on our marker.

Focus, Focus, Focus

My focus is on the positive – Joe is in heaven with God, Jesus, his brother, mother, father and the rest of the Kearns family who moved to heaven before Joe.

There will come a time when your focus will also be on the positive memories and the fact your loved one is in paradise – where there is no pain and suffering and life is grander and more beautiful than here.

2 Years

If it has been more than 2 years since your loved one’s move to heaven and you are still in an active grieving mode, I have one question for you – “Why?”

Think of him fondly while moving forward with your new and wonderful life.

It will not be easy but nothing worthwhile ever is and life here is still worthwhile.