Small Acts of Kindness: A Kind Word

A kind word can make anyone’s day better. Here’s a good thought from Proverbs 12:25 NIV.

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Favorite Friday Fiction: This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson

This Fine Life is a well-written novel which I thoroughly enjoyed and it also takes place in the late 1950’s. Everson has a way of blending  lovely descriptions with her use of the Southern dialect to make a story just right. You’ll love all of her books…

 

This Fine Life

It is the summer of 1959 and Mariette Puttnam has just graduated from boarding school. When she returns to her privileged life at home, she isn’t sure where life will take her. More schooling? A job? Marriage? Nothing feels right. How could she know that the answer is waiting for her within the narrow stairwell of her father’s apparel factory, exactly between the third and fourth floors? 

In this unique and tender story of an unlikely romance, popular author Eva Marie Everson takes readers on a journey through the heart of a young woman bound for the unknown. Readers will experience the joys of new love, the perseverance of true friendship, and the gift of forgiveness that comes from a truly fine life.

Unraveled by Jo Huddleston

Today, I’m spotlighting Unraveled, the newest release by author Jo Huddleston. Read on to find out all about it and if you leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win your own e-book copy…

 Unraveled

Alice loses herself in grief and can’t find her way back.

In 1954, twenty-six-year-old Alice Patterson undergoes a pregnancy loss that affects everything and everyone she touches. Emotionally and physically drained, she must come to terms with her traumatic loss or risk losing her husband, her best friend, and her sanity.

Her best friend JayNell and her husband Paul offer Alice support and comfort. She persists in her grieving, which hinders her healing. The doctor advises there is no normal recovery period for what Alice has undergone. Time is her best ally.

In her small southern Mississippi town, her church Sewing Circle’s new project triggers an unsettling setback to Alice’s recovery. Afterward, she succumbs to suspicions of Paul’s infidelity that causes her collapse, from which she may not recover.

Paul’s unspoken goal is that they will recapture the love they held for one another on their wedding day. He’s hopeful that the approaching spring season will bring a reawakening of the Alice he married, as it brings a newness to all living things.

Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071FP7QWW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1


Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author who writes novels inspired by her fascination with the 1950s and her love of her native American South. Novels in her endearing Caney Creek series, her West Virginia Mountains series, as well as her stand-alone release, Tidewater Summer, are sweet Southern romance novels.

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN). Visit Jo at her website (www.johuddleston.com) where you can sign up for her mailing list and read the first chapters of her novels and novellas.

Website and blog (Read novel first chapters here): http://www.johuddleston.com

Sign up for Jo’s mailing list: http://bit.ly/1ZFaZwG

Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2cfSroU

Facebook author page: http://bit.ly/2aqFEeT

Facebook personal page: http://on.fb.me/1Ubic69

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1QAPtFv

Inspirational blog: http://bit.ly/2gttKVr

BookBub Profile: http://bit.ly/2liB0G3


Excerpt from Unraveled

Tuesday, March 2, 1954—Talasia, Mississippi

Alice Patterson bolted upright in the bed and listened for what had awakened her. She heard nothing out of the ordinary. Only the hushed, even snores from her husband Paul’s side of the bed. The black hole in her recurring nightmares must have invaded her subliminal mind—again. She had awakened before she sank into its depths. Paul still slept. Obviously, she hadn’t screamed out this time.

She eased from beneath the covers, pushed her feet into house slippers, and grabbed her pink terry cloth robe lying across the foot of the bed. After stepping into the hall and pulling the door shut, she stuffed her arms into her robe and tied the sash around her waist. She knew her house, even in the night, and walked to the darkened bedroom next to hers and Paul’s.

Pale light from the street lamp outside huddled beyond the curtains covering the lone window. Standing in the middle of the room, she peered toward the baby bed, then her gaze focused on the rocking chair with the golden cushions padding its back and seat. She went to the small chest placed against the wall across the room and opened the music box sitting atop it. The tiny box played its shrill rendition of “Brahms’ Lullaby.”

Alice sat in the rocking chair and idly moved it with one foot grazing the hardwood floor, her arms empty. She remained there even after the music box played its last note. Blinding light burst from the hall and pierced the darkness of the room to reveal the baby bed. Empty.

Paul’s voice reached her through the night. “You all right?”

Would she ever be all right again? She turned toward the open door where her husband’s silhouette stood in dark contrast to the brightness behind him. “I couldn’t sleep.”

“It’ll be daylight soon. Come on back to bed. If you can’t sleep, at least you can rest your body. You need to conserve your energy to help regain your strength.”

Paul repeated what Dr. Stallings had told her before he released her from the hospital ten days ago. But what did she need her strength for? She no longer carried the baby they’d both dreamed of. Her body was now empty like her arms and the baby bed.

Small Acts of Kindness: To Be Loved

By Jennifer Slattery

She sat off to the side and in the back. She was an older woman, and though I suspect she knew a good number of others attending this conference, she chose to sit by herself. I wondered if perhaps she didn’t want to be there, or maybe she wanted to be left alone.

I thought briefly of approaching her, of thanking her for coming, but soon I was swept into conversations and greeting as other women filled the church.

I soon forgot about the woman entirely.

I wonder how often that’s happened to her? I wonder how often, though she sat on the outskirts, she longed for someone to approach and invite her in. Or at the very least, let her know they saw her.

And maybe, as she sat there, in a church auditorium, to know that God saw her. And loved her.

I hope, through my talk that day, she heard He indeed did. That He always had and always would. As I spoke of a God who pursues us, who heals us, and who longs to bring us to a place of incredible freedom, I looked her way to find her crying. My heart gave a squeeze, and for a moment, I lost my words as a desire to speak with her, to pray with her, swept over me.

Obviously, I couldn’t do that, but as soon as I finished, I hurried to where she sat, knelt beside her, hand on her shoulder, and handed her a business card. “Please, email me,” I said.

She nodded, and sometime later, I’m not sure exactly when, she slipped out.

I haven’t heard from her but with each Wholly Loved Conference, I meet other women just like her. Women who are hurting, who’ve replaced the truth of who they are in Christ with all the lies our broken world continually throws at them. Lies like, “You’re not good enough,” or “You’re a failure,” or, “You’re unlovable.” Though the lies are different for each one, the anecdote is the same—love. God’s love. To live it, to own it, to believe in it. To rest in it.

My prayer for these women echoes Paul’s spoken in Ephesians 3:20, that we may “have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, how deep [God’s] love is. May [we] experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (NLT, emphasis mine).

Made complete, by love.


Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.


Healing Love

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073R1MY1C?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35380240-healing-love

Favorite Friday Fiction: Rooms by James L. Rubart

My all-time favorite contemporary novel is Rooms by James L. Rubart. I found its message to be life-changing. The way Rubart weaves a supernatural feel into his down -to-earth stories will take your breath away. And that’s a good thing…

 

Rooms

On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.

Click to tweet: My all-time favorite contemporary novel is Rooms by James L. Rubart. #speculative #amreading

Small Acts of Kindness: Do Something

By Jennifer Hallmark

Acts of kindness. One reason I like sharing what others are doing to make the world a better place is to inspire others. Everyone can do something. From helping a neighbor to donating time and/or money to community projects, you have value inside of you to share with others.

I found this article on the top ten most amazing Christian charities. You can look over their sites for ways to volunteer and/or donate.

(1) Samaritan’s Purse

(2) Compassion International

(3) Lutheran World Relief

(4) Operation Blessing International

(5) Advancing Native Missions

(6) Children’s Hunger Fund

(7) The Salvation Army

(8) Catholic Relief Services

(9) Lifeline Christian Mission

(10) Food For The Poor

Click to tweet:  You have value inside of you to share with others. #kindnessmatters #compassion

Whether you look within your community or around the world, opportunities abound to help others. Here’s a good video by Matthew West that made me think.

Favorite Friday Fiction: Annabelle’s Ruth & Sutter’s Landing by Betty Thomason Owens

What’s better than our Favorite Friday Fiction book of the week? When I share two books, of course! Today I introduce Betty Thomason Owens, good friend and author extraordinaire. I loved Annabelle’s Ruth (The Kinsman Redeemer series book 1) when it released in 2015. And when book two, Sutter’s Landing, released in June of this year, I wasn’t disappointed. You’ll love these books set in the 1950’s…

Annabelle’s Ruth

“If you think you can come back here and throw yourself on my mercy, you are quite wrong.” 

After their husbands perish in a fishing boat accident, Connie Cross determines to follow her mother-in-law, Annabelle, from Southern California to Tennessee. Her misgivings begin as they cross the bridge over the muddy Mississippi River. In their new town, where living conditions are far below their previous expectations, they must set up a household and hunt for work to survive. Thanks to the kindness of Annabelle’s handsome, young cousin, life begins to settle down. But Connie has a secret that could uproot them once again.
 
Inspired by the Book of Ruth, Annabelle’s Ruth is a 1950’s era “Ruth” story, set in western Tennessee.  How will Connie adapt to her new life amid the cotton farms, racial tension, and culture shock? 

Sutter’s Landing

Still reeling from tragic losses, Connie and Annabelle Cross face life with their signature humor and grace, until fresh hope arrives on their doorstep.

In early spring of 1955, Annabelle Cross and her daughter-in-law, Connie have nearly made it through the first winter on their own. Then the skies open up as West Tennessee and much of the south endures one of the worst floods in history. As many of their neighbors endure losses due to the flooding, Annabelle and Connie sit tight on dry ground.

As spring gives way to summer, Annabelle begins to dread Connie’s upcoming marriage and removal to Sutter’s Landing. Though she’s happy to note the growing affection between Alton Wade and her daughter-in-law, their marriage means Annabelle will be on her own for the first time in her life.

Connie’s doubts increase when Alton’s bigoted brother Jensen uses every opportunity to drive a wedge between them. Is she doing the right thing? Did she move too quickly? Unexpected summer visitors and anticipation of a new neighbor provide diversion and open possibilities for both Annabelle and Connie.

Personal Care at a Pharmacy

By Ellen Andersen

I buy my medicine from an independently owned pharmacy called Mauldin Family Pharmacy, about 3 miles from my home. I’ve been going there for over five years now and know all the employees by name. They know me too.  When I walk in, they greet me specially, saying, “Hi Ellen. How are you doing today?”  When I’ve called ahead of time, they have my prescription and any over-the-counter meds I often buy there, set aside in a bag for me, often already rung up.

Last month I went to pick up some medication. When I arrived, they brought it out and when I went to pay, I discovered I didn’t have my credit card. But I was completely out and needed it that night.  I HAD to have it.  I talked to Deb about it and Tony, the pharmacist, overheard the conversation. He came to the front and said,

“Go ahead Ellen. We can give you what you need for the next couple days. I trust you.”

“Thanks Tony!” I said. I took the medicine and headed home.  I went back the next day to pay and pick up the rest of the prescription.

I’m sure that never would’ve happened at a chain pharmacy or anywhere in a big city, but because this is a small, family-owned place where I’ve been a customer for years, they were willing to trust me. It made a difference, giving me peace of mind as well as the medicine I needed.

What has someone done for you that was out of the ordinary or that you didn’t expect? Encourage someone by sharing it with us here.

 

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham

The first Friday of the month is when I share my best-loved classic fiction and Margery Allingham is one of my favorite authors. In her long series of literary detective fiction with universal uncle, Albert Campion, The Tiger in the Smoke is the most thrilling. It will keep you looking over your shoulder…

The Tiger in the Smoke

London, ‘the Smoke’ to Cockneys and the hipsters who appropriate their slang, is living up to its nickname: an unusual cold snap has combined with the fug from coal-fires to produce the ‘Great Smog’, blanketing the city in choking shadow. And lurking in those shadows is Jack Havoc, a killer with a particular fondness for knives. Havoc is by far the most dangerous villain that Albert Campion has ever encountered, and his startlingly realistic menace, combined with the light touch common to all the Campion novels, gives the book a modern feel, as it straddles a line between Golden Age detective fiction and contemporary psychological suspense.

 

Small Acts of Kindness: Good Samaritan

By Andrea Merrell

Sometimes we don’t realize how one tiny act of kindness can impact someone.

It was late one night during a writers’ conference as I headed back to my room—exhausted. I could hardly wait to slip into my PJs and eat that last piece of dark chocolate that was waiting for me.

Almost to my room, I noticed a young woman sitting on the floor a couple of doors down the hallway. The contents of her large bag were spread all around her. Thoughts raced through my mind as I approached her. Was she sick? Had she fallen? When I got closer, she looked up with a rueful smile.

“I can’t find my key,” she said, obviously as tired as I was.

My heart went out to her. “Are you sure it’s not in there?”

She shook her head. “No, I’ve been through everything. I might have left it in my room. Guess I’ll have to walk all the way down to the front desk to get another key.”

It was then I remembered the app on my phone that gave us access to the front desk. “Wait, let me text them and see if they can send someone up to let you in.”

The relief on her face almost made me cry. Sure enough, within a short time, someone from the office came to her rescue. She thanked me and called me a Good Samaritan.

“Well, I don’t know about that. Never been called a Good Samaritan before. I’m sure anyone who came by would have stopped to help,” I said.

She shook her head again and looked a little sad. “Actually, they wouldn’t. Two people already passed by without saying a word. You were the third and the one to stop.”

To say that I was blown away would be putting it mildly. It was hard to imagine anyone passing this woman by without offering to help. Once she was inside her room and all was well, I slipped into my own room, thankful that I had not been the third one to look the other way.

We all need help from time to time, whether it’s from a friend or a stranger. God never meant for us to walk this journey of life alone. In fact, the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NKJV) that two are better than one. The Message puts it this way: It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps. But if there’s no one to help, tough!

Be that Good Samaritan when you see someone in need. It can be the smallest, simplest acts of kindness that mean the most.


 

Andrea Merrell is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. She teaches workshops at writers’ conferences and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues.

Andrea is a graduate of Christian Communicators and a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards. She is the author of Murder of a Manuscript and Praying for the Prodigal. Her newest book, Marriage: Make It or Break It, is now available on Amazon. For more information visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com.


Marriage: Make It or Break It

Some say marriage is a dying institution. Others say, “Stop the bus and let me get off.” But Andrea Merrell—after forty-plus years of marriage—believes this God-ordained institution is one of His greatest gifts to men and women. Marriage: Make It or Break It is a result of a lifetime of trial and error, keen observation, and years of studying God’s Word. With her signature dash of humor, she takes a candid look at attitudes and behavior that can make or break a relationship, the difference in how men and women think and approach life, and the importance of honest communication. You’ll find danger signs, roadblocks to bypass, and Scriptures to personalize and pray on a daily basis.

This journey won’t be perfect, and the road is guaranteed to be full of potholes. But if you’re ready to learn a few truths that will make marriage strong—and a lot of things that will destroy it—buckle your seat belt and let’s get this bus moving.