As God’s Chosen Ones, Put on Compassionate Hearts and Kindness (and New Windshields)

By Janell Butler Wojtowicz

fall-church-hill-crossesSince being widowed eight years ago, my mother, who lives on a limited income, has experienced many loving acts of kindness from people in her small-town Iowa church. They are a close-knit family of believers so I shouldn’t be surprised by their compassion; nevertheless, our gratefulness is abundant.

My brother and I live two and three hours away from Mom, so sometimes it’s not possible for us to be there in a timely manner to see to her needs. The practical kindnesses from her church have included fixing a garage door, minor household repairs, and checking her car battery. They’ve reached out with birthday cupcakes, holiday cookies, and fresh-from-the-garden produce. A couple takes her to concerts at a community college. When Mom broke her ankle, two ladies volunteered to stay overnight to keep an eye on her.

But one act of love still brings tears to my eyes. Mom, 84, recently put her house on the market to move into senior housing. She decided to take furniture and household items to the auction house to downsize and provide income. On the designated Saturday, my brother and I arrived to help church members who donated the use of a trailer, provided plenty of man-power, and brought cake and coffee to feed the helpers.

What they did not know, however, was that just days before the front windshield on my mother’s car had cracked and needed to be replaced. My brother checked her car insurance and found there was no glass coverage. I called my husband to asked about the cost. But before we could come up with a plan, the trailer had backed up to the garage to load items and we had to get back to work. A half hour later, with the loading complete, the pastor approached us and very quietly said, “We’ll take care of her windshield.”

I just about cried. (I did when I called my husband that night.)

A few days later, the auto glass company came to Mom’s house and replaced the windshield. The bill went to the church. It was a small act of kindness, but to our family it was huge.

I’m sure their acts of kindness to Mom and others in need will continue. After all, their compassion runs deep in their hearts as expressions of God’s love.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” – Col. 3:12


janell-butler-wojtowicz-2A native of Iowa, Janell Butler Wojtowicz released her debut novel, “Embracing Hope,” in November 2016.  She has spent over 30 years as a professional writer in higher education and Christian nonprofit public relations, and local government public information. In addition to writing fiction, she owns A Portrait in Words Freelance Service. Janell lives in New Brighton, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb, with her husband, Frank.


Embracing Hope

embracing_hope_coverUniversity dean Drew McKinley mourns his dead wife and still wears his wedding ring. Falling in love again is the last thing on his mind. Even as grad student Allison Bennett deals with financial hardships and academic challenges, she recognizes Drew’s unresolved grief from her own loss. Student senate president Chris Whitney carries around the secret burden of a dysfunctional family and a just-below-the surface temper.
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Small Acts of Kindness: 7 Ways to Teach Your Kids Respect and Kindness

By Chidinma

These days, with technology and access to information, teaching kids values is a hard job. I have found 7 ways to teach your kids respect and kindness; they seem to work for me, and they have a lasting impact on your child’s life.

#1. Do chores and work together

Assign tasks to each of your children and complete them working together. Often, you will hear kids fight, intervene and help them solve their troubles. When they learn to respect the work that every member of the family does, they also learn to respect outsiders.

Little Girl Washing A Window

Also, if they do well, reward them with something like a pancake breakfast, or ice cream. Respect leads to good things for them.

#2. Help out strangers

Even adults tend to ignore those people in need on our day-to-day. However, a fun and caring exercise for your kids is to teach them to respect everyone–no matter how and where they live.

To do this, give out Christmas presents to children in need, collect food, and volunteering at a soup kitchen or shelter. Start from an early age, and you’ll see how your kid grows up to care and value everyone.

#3. Say hello and thank you

Sometimes as parents we tend to let our children get by without saying hello, and thank you, but this is a mistake. Your kid should always say thank you, and they should always say hi to those around them.

It’s up to you to set the example, next time you get on the elevator say hi and goodbye as you leave. When you give your kid something, have him say the “magic words”, they’ll slowly get used to it.

#4. Stay calm and calm them down

Being angry and frustrated only worsens things, but the truth of the matter is that you are the adult, not them. Remain calm at all times, no matter how bad your kid’s tantrum is, or how rude he is being. If your child sees you calm, he/she will mimic that behavior.

Instead of reprimanding them, sit down, give them a glass of water, and calm them down. As he cools down, so will you, and then you can all talk about what went wrong.

#5. Set limits and stick to them

Limits are there for a reason. Have your kids always ask for permission before taking something that isn’t his, same when they want to play outside, when they want to get something to eat, when they want to bake with you, or when they want to have friends over.

No matter how much you love them, your children aren’t your friends, and they should respect that you are the authority. If they respect you, they will respect others when you are not looking.

#6. Have them keep a diary or a journal

To learn kindness and happiness, your kids need a space of their own, where they can complain, and talk about their fears and worries. Buy them a journal and have them write daily on it, by doing this, they’re liberating themselves from anger and frustration while getting in touch with their emotions.

Teenage girl making notes in her personal diary

#7. Recycle

Nothing more meaningful today than caring for our earth. Your kids are going to live in a world where doing their part matters.

Create fun recycling bins together and show them how to separate each item. While also explaining why it is important. Teach them that the earth is as valuable as they are. When you play outside, show them the impact that their recycling has on their favorite tree, or park.

Respect Yourself, Respect Each Other

Teaching respect and kindness is the best gift you can give your kids, as it is something no one can ever take away from them. What do you think? Do these tips work for you? Let me know if you have any other ones!


Chidinma is the founder of Fruitful Kitchen, a blog that shares delicious recipes and lifestyle tips. Most of her recipes help women with fertility issues, especially fibroids, PCOS, and Endometriosis. Sometimes, however, you will find other interesting recipes, as well as cooking tips and tricks there.

Surprise At A Car Repair Garage

I misjudged the entrance to the library so when I turned into the driveway I hit the curb and drove over it. No big deal, I figured. The car still ran fine so I thought nothing of it.  That afternoon, I went to a friend’s house and he saw a bulge in my right front tire.  He was concerned it might soon blow and cause an accident, so I called AAA for roadside assistance to put on my spare tire.

I figured I’d need a new tire since the sidewall had been damaged. I’d just gotten it nine months earlier.

The warranty was good for a year and I hadn’t driven too far. So I knew it’d still be good, but would likely be pro-rated and I’d have to pay 75% of the cost of a new tire, plus labor for mounting and balancing. I estimated the cost at about $100. A lot of money, but I had no choice if I was to be safe on the road. I found my warranty and tucked it in my purse.

The next day I automotive-repair-garagedrove to the nearest auto repair garage, Killian’s Auto Repair, less than five miles from my home. I’d been there several times before and the owner knows me by name.

I walked in and when Steve saw me he smiled and asked what he could do for me. I told him about the mishap I’d had the day before and gave him a copy of my warranty.  He said he’d have his guy take a look at it.

I took a seat, grabbed a cup of coffee, and watched the presidential inauguration with him. After about 45 minutes the car had a new tire and was ready to go. Steve handed me the keys.  I pulled out my checkbook and asked him how much I owed him.  He shook his head and waved his hand.

“Nothing.”

“Really?”

“Nope.”

I thought it would cost $100 and it was free! What a treat. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.  It made me smile that day, thankful for an unexpected blessing.

What surprises have you had that made you smile? Share it with us in the comments section.

Small Acts of Kindness: Elderly Woman Befriends a Lonely Young Woman

By Christine Lindsay

me-sarah-at-6As a young woman of twenty-one, I didn’t have many friends. That is, until an elderly woman toddled into my life on her old-fashioned pumps. Eighty-something-year-old Eva’s kindness turned my life around from sadness and loss, to new horizons of shining hope.

The year prior to my meeting Eva, I had moved 3000 miles to the Pacific west coast. Right after starting my new life I met Mr. Wrong. No surprises that I met a Mr. Wrong when I’d been looking for love in all the wrong places. Sadly though, this supposedly good Christian girl became pregnant out of wedlock. My short walk on the wild-side brought me to the place of heart-breaking decisions.

Growing up in a single-parent family, I never had a loving, attentive dad. While my mom is my hero, and I knew I would also make a good mom, I wanted a loving daddy for my baby. Though it crushed me in every way imaginable I made an adoption plan for my child.

During those long, lonely 9 months while I waited for the birth of my little one, and our soon-to-come separation, I prayed and wept, long and hard in the dark each night in my single apartment. My young life had come to a stand-still. I felt that once I gave up my baby, that in some ways life would end for me.

Also during those months, 80-year-old Eva phoned me on a regular basis. Eva’s phone-calls kept me going through the days and weeks when all I could think about was the loss of my virginity, the loss of the joys that should be mine as a 21-year-old, and most of all the soon-to-be loss of my first-born.

Up to this point I’d never thought much about having children. Getting married to some wonderful guy, yes. Having a great job, yes. But as I nurtured the baby in my womb, and held her on the night she was born, I wanted nothing more than to be a mother. I wanted with all my heart to raise my baby girl, but like any good mom, I put my baby’s needs first, and did the hardest thing in my life—I gave my baby Sarah up for adoption.

sarah-at-2-weeks-old

Sarah at two weeks old

Those next 12 months were the hardest. No longer was I a carefree girl, but a woman who had lost her first-born. Another woman would hold the honoring role, and have that precious title of “Mom” in little Sarah’s life.

As for me—was life over? It sure felt like it.

But Eva was still there, phoning me, and having me over to dinner on Sunday afternoons after church. She didn’t let me slide into the deep depression that dogged me, even though all I could think about was little Sarah. Instead, Eva briskly steered me into helping her teach the teenage girls’ Sunday school class. Eva corralled me into helping her with the youth. Eva encouraged me to go out that summer as a camp counsellor. My 80-something-year-old friend inspired me to live. She persuaded me to go to places that would stir life into this 21-year-old who felt as though life had passed me by.

One afternoon, on a bright spring Saturday, Eva phoned to have me meet her at a specific corner. Bemused by Eva’s mysterious invitation, I obeyed, and she lead me to a church where a wedding was underway. I didn’t know the bride, but Eva did. A beautiful young woman strolled up the aisle on her father’s arm, and it wasn’t until she passed my pew that I realized the bride was totally blind. The wedding attendees were overjoyed. Joy can come to those who don’t expect it.

Outside, after the ceremony, Eva said to me, “Now go, girl, and think on the good things. Think on things that are lovely and pure, and worthy of praise. Things that give hope.”

I did exactly what my elderly friend advised, and those new shining horizons did open up for me, just like she said.

chriss-kids

present day-Christine and kids, including birth-daughter Sarah


small-size-finding-sarah-finding-me-girl-1Finding Sarah Finding Me:

Sometimes it is only through giving up our hearts that we learn to trust the Lord.

Adoption. It’s something that touches one in three people today, a word that will conjure different emotions in those people touched by it. A word that might represent the greatest hope…the greatest question…the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, it’s a word that represents God’s immense love for his people.

Join birth mother Christine Lindsay as she shares the heartaches, hopes, and epiphanies of her journey to reunion with the daughter she gave up…and to understanding her true identity in Christ along the way.

Through her story and glimpses into the lives of other families in the adoption triad, readers will see the beauty of our broken families, broken hearts, and broken dreams when we entrust them to our loving God.

100 % of author royalties from this braided memoir on adoption will be donated to Global Aid Network Women and Children’s Initiative for the lift-time of the book.

For Free Read of Chapter 1 of Finding Sarah Finding Me, Click HERE


Irish-born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama. Christine’s fictional novels have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite as well as 2nd place in RWA’s Faith Hope and Love contest. This author’s non-fiction memoir Finding Sarah Finding Me is the true-life story that started this award-winning career in Christian fiction and non-fiction and her speaking ministry.

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