The Kindness Of A Stranger

By Patti Shene

img_20170127_094046-1I set out to do my grocery shopping at the Safeway, located twenty miles away, with the coupon book I had received in the mail tucked away in my purse. The federal government paid their employees twice a month, so every payday, this chore had become routine.

It’s hard to say why I would make the poor choice that I did, but for some unknown reason, when I left my vehicle to go inside, I had only the coupon book and my checkbook in hand. I was soon to regret that I didn’t have those items tucked safely in my purse.

After a good forty-five minutes of shopping, occasionally matching my purchases to the coupons in the book, I pulled into line at the cash register behind three other shoppers. It wasn’t until I started looking over the items in my basket to tear out the appropriate coupons that I realized I had no coupons.

Worse than that, no checkbook. Had I left it in the car? No. I knew I had cradled both items in my palm only a few minutes ago. I must have laid them down somewhere, but where? Probably next to an item I contemplated purchasing, but which one? Thoroughly rattled, I couldn’t even recall which aisle I had shopped in last.

The first act of kindness I encountered that day occurred at the Customer Service counter. When I asked if the checkbook had been turned in, the clerk told me it had not, but he immediately offered words of comfort. He told me to go on home and assured me the store staff would do everything they could to locate the missing checkbook. He also informed me there was no need to return my groceries to the shelves, as I had planned to do, since I had no way to pay for them. He cashed out my items, had me sign the receipt, and told me I could settle the bill the next day. I found that quite amazing since I was not very well known in that store!

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Still shaken, I made the drive home fraught with anxiety, mentally condemning myself. How could I have been so careless? So stupid? What would my husband say? Would my checkbook fall into the hands of someone who was smart enough to exploit my carelessness and write a bunch of checks against my account?

The second act of kindness I witnessed occurred about thirty seconds after I pulled into my driveway. I exited my vehicle to see a car pull up behind me. A lady emerged from the passenger side, and to my shocked surprise, presented me with my checkbook!

“We found it sitting on a shelf at Safeway,” she explained. “We could imagine what you were going through, and when we saw your address inside, we thought we would just bring it to you.”

I’ll always be grateful to the store personnel who were so understanding and trusting, and to that family. They could have simply called, but they took the time out of their busy day to make a forty mile round trip to extend a kindness.

It always brightens our day to receive an act of kindness from a friend or family member. Kindness shown by a stranger radiates unexpected sunshine and restores our faith in our fellow man.


headshot-final-1Patti Shene enjoys reading and writing, but most of all, she feels called to encourage others. She promotes the work of published and unpublished writers on her two blogs Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer, found on her website (www.pattishene.com).

She hosts a weekly radio show, Step Into the Light, on Blog Talk Radio, where she interviews guests who share their stories of ways they inspire others to make the journey from a dark time in their lives back to light.

“Friend”  Patti on her personal Facebook page at http://ow.ly/jKVE308q9dK

“Like” her Step Into the Light page at  http://ow.ly/pBVH308q8x4 and “follow” her on Twitter at http://ow.ly/9JY9308q8Iv

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Small Acts of Kindness: MOPS: Mothers of Preschoolers

december2016daycareBy Julie Arduini

It was an organization that made me feel important and normal. At meetings I was encouraged that my toddler would not graduate in diapers or with a pacifier. As a new mom, we were given refreshments that weren’t first touched by our child’s sticky fingers. We heard powerful speakers who challenged and grew us as wives and moms. We even made crafts that perked up our home and often made life more efficient. I was a MOPS—Mothers of Preschoolers fan before I even realized the extent they were available to their moms, and more than once this organization met me in my deepest valley.

In 2001, they were the first to bring meals for a week after I miscarried. It was such a blessing because I was hurting in every way. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, but I had a small child to care for. Those meals, their cards, and most of all, their prayers carried me through that horrific first week. It was a dear friend and fellow MOPS mom who met with me to let me grieve. It was a gift of her time and love I will never forget.

By 2003, we had a baby daughter and she was chronically ill. Things were so critical at one point that we nearly lost her due to doctor error. My local MOPS chapter came with meals once again. They let me cry and vent. When some suggested we take legal matters, they didn’t push when we felt that wasn’t what God wanted us to do. And when they sat me down to tell me the doctor’s practice was an upcoming speaker for a meeting, they begged me to stay home. Yet, when I felt again, God wanted me to be there, it was a beautiful moment of public forgiveness we all got to be a part of.

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Once we recovered, we then learned we were moving to a state where we knew no one. MOPS was the key ingredient to why I was able to make the move. I made sure there was a chapter in our new area. When I reached out and let them know I was moving there, they called me every week to see how the move was going. My husband was already in Ohio, but I was back in New York trying to sell our house. I was taking care of a sick baby and homeschooling our son. My dad passed away. Those calls from my new MOPS home was a lifeline for me. When I finally made the move to Ohio, they met me the first day there with flowers and meals. There were meals for a week, as well as cards and greetings. They continued to reach out as we got used to the area and placed our daughter with specialists and therapies.

MOPS was the one constant in my life when everything else felt out of control. Although I have now “aged out” with my kids long out of pre school age, I was honored to serve as a mentor mom and remain a cheerleader for the moms I stay in contact with.

If you are a mom with a newborn through kindergarten age child or children, I hope you visit http://mops.org and find a group near you. As the website states, check out the grassroots movement that believes moms are world influencers.

 Click to Tweet: MOPS was the one constant in my life when everything else felt out of control. https://ctt.ec/OL0ef+ @JenHWrites


december2016daycareJulie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Goodreads, and Amazon. Check out her monthly newsletter here.


Entangled: Surrendering the Past

Book #2, Surrendering Time Series

entangledfinal“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives. 

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link:  Amazon (Kindle and Print):  http://www.amazon.com/Entangled-Surrendering-Past-Time/dp/0692713476/

Entangled is book #2. Although it can standalone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Entrusted-Surrendering-Present-Time/dp/0692709177/

Small Acts of Kindness: “Big Ups To this Dad And All The Dads Out There”

Once again, I share a wonderful post I found on the Kindness Blog. Enjoy!

man-on-airplane…on my flight back to Georgia I saw this man, who was a stranger to this woman, offer to help her because she was pregnant and alone on the flight and her son was upset and fussy.

He did not complain, he just told her that he was a DAD, and wanted to help her so she could rest.

This MAN walked the aisle most of the flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta comforting this woman’s son as if he was his own…

I was in tears…not because he was white and she was black…but because it showed me today that there are still GOOD people out there in a world full of turmoil.

Big UPS to this DAD and all the DADS out there…you are the real MVPS!”

#REALMENTAKEACTION

Another Chapter in Ecuador

Here’s a great way to help people. Another small act of kindness..

Betty Thomason Owens

One of your resolutions this year may be to help others. To look beyond yourself and your family’s needs to help meet the needs of others, is not only good for you, but also for your children. You’re training them to care for others — to love their neighbors as themselves. boy-1299084_1280

Just in case you’re looking for ways to help others in 2017, I know somebody. Actually, I know a few somebodies. Of course, you never have to look far to find someone in need. Or, to find a worthy ministry or agency that helps meet those needs. I encourage you to help in your own neighborhood whenever possible.

hiking-1220297_1280But if you’re looking for something a bit more exotic…I definitely know a guy…

There’s a young man in Ecuador who treks into the Amazon jungle loaded down with … bath soap. Yes, you read that right. Seth McDonald has…

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Every YES Involves a NO

By Ellen Andersen

So, how are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions now, one week into the year? If you are like many of us, frustration has set in.  Several years ago, I read a devotion by Glynnis Whitwer that I believe goes perfectly with this time of year. I’ve adapted it for today’s post. See what you think.

Maybe you are already behind on your read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan.  Are the numbers on the scale increasing, rather than decreasing?  Did that goal to reduce television watching stop when your favorite show started again?

While we love to set goals, living them out is infinitely more challenging. That’s because every time we set a goal for ourselves, a more appealing alternative is presented.  Just when you decide to diet, someone brings you a plate of brownies they “baked just for you.”  As soon as you decide to get up early and pray, the cold weather makes it much more appealing to stay in bed.  And that decision to stop gossiping gets challenged when some interesting news about your boss finds its way to your inbox.

Every good intention will be met with a challenge at some point. Without a plan, most of us will abandon those intentions, telling ourselves we knew we couldn’t  _________ (fill in the blank) anyway.

This happens because we overlook the fact that every “yes” we say, requires a “no” to something else. Without that understanding, we operate outside of how life works, and underestimate the cost of achieving our goals.

Here’s an example of what I mean. When you say “yes” to reading your Bible every day, you have to say “no” to the morning news or your favorite novel.  If you say “yes” to teaching a small group of women, you’ll need to say “no” to your favorite Tuesday night tv show, plus free time to prepare.

There will always be a sacrifice of something when we desire to move forward in an area of our lives. Goals are exciting.  Possibility of change is alluring.  Sacrifice is hard, but worth it in the big picture of our lives.  In fact, it’s the road Jesus called His followers to walk daily.

The resolutions you set at the beginning of the year have great value if they help you grow into a more disciplined, mature follower of Christ. However, if you feel like you’ve reached a plateau, or hit a dead end, perhaps it’s time to evaluate if you’ve said enough “no’s.”

This year, let’s remove the “New Year’s” label, and reevaluate the goals we’ve set. Let’s recommit to them and consider what we’ll have to sacrifice to make them happen.

I particularly like Glynnis’ statement that “every ‘yes’ requires a ‘no’ [to something else]” I’d never thought about that before. So each New Year’s Resolution requires a sacrifice on our part.

I want to spend my time more intentionally this year. More specifically, I want to focus on preparing for Bible study, and reading.  That means I’ll need to remember those things and focus on them when I have free time, instead of wasting it on mindless activities like computer games.

What are your goals for this year? What will you need to give up in order to achieve them?  Let’s get the conversation going.

2017: The Year to be Thankful

thanks-1804597_960_720By Jennifer Hallmark

2017 is just beginning and it’s time for a fresh start and with me, a new focus. In December, I always pray about a focal point for the next year. A thought or scripture to wrap my mind around so when life gets hard, I can remember and not lose heart. This year, my focus is to be thankful.

Just pure simple gratitude.

And being thankful can tie right in with Small Acts of Kindness. When I am thankful and content with who I am and what I have, I can be a blessing to others. One way to show my gratitude is to be intentional when it comes to the people I met each day, whether in person or online.

Have you ever been overwhelmed by gratefulness over an act of kindness by a friend, family member, or organization? Have your children or spouse done something so sweet you just have to share? I have openings on this blog page, Small Acts of Kindness, scattered throughout the rest of this year which usually post every Monday.

Just drop me a line if you’re interested and we’ll share your thoughts with others. You might inspire someone to follow your lead.

So this year, why don’t you join me in esteeming others more highly than myself and see what we can do to change the world around us?

One Small Act of Kindness at a time…

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