Small Acts of Kindness: The Words of a Friend

By Kathy Cheek

Through the kindness and support of a friend,
I was moved from discouragement to a place of renewed hope.

Anyone who writes knows there are more rejections, more closed doors, more difficult challenges than there are yeses and contracts.

Some of those rejections hurt more than others and sometimes it is hard to get back on the bicycle or horse, so to speak.

It is a lot more fun to share good news with friends and family than the times we are rejected, especially when everyone knows how much you wanted to hear yes. Not, we are declining…

So, recently when I was rejected by an agent and a publisher in the same week, I was feeling pretty down, until I received an email from a friend I would describe as soft spoken.

Well, she wasn’t soft spoken in this email. If you could be loud in an email, she was loud. She was loudly proclaiming her support of my writing and telling me not to give up in such a forceful encouraging way, I was moved from my place of discouragement to a place of renewed hope.

Her uplifting words made a difference and urged me on. She will never know how much her kindness and support meant to me in those days as I read her email over and over—finding the courage in her words to believe there is a plan and I need to keep working.

I want to live up to her challenge and not give up.

I also want to be the friend to others that she was to me, and I hope I can do that with kindness and support—as she did for me.


Kathy Cheek writes faith-filled devotions and is published in LifeWay’s Journey magazine and Mature Living, and also contributes to several devotional sites, including Thoughts About God, Christian Devotions, and CBN.com.

Her favorite subject to write about is the rich relationship God desires to have with us and the deep trust it takes to live it out. She and her husband of 33 years live in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and they have two daughters and one son-in-law who also reside in the Dallas area. You can read more of her devotions at www.kathycheek.com.

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Favorite Friday Fiction: Lightning on a Quiet Night by Donn Taylor

Lightning on a Quiet Night by Donn Taylor is an intense suspense book, the story of a small town in the South, 1948. An edge-of-your-seat read with wonderful twists and turns throughout.  A great book…

 

Lighting on a Quiet Night

Following a horrific murder, the town of Beneficent, Mississippi, population 479, tries desperately to hold onto its vain self-image. The young veteran Jack Davis holds that idyllic vision of the town and tries to share it with Lisa Kemper, newly arrived from Indiana. But she is repelled by everything in it.

While the sheriff tries to find the killer, Jack and Lisa’s contentious courtship reveals the town’s strange combination of astute perceptions and surprising blind spots. When they stumble onto shocking discovery about the town’s true nature, their love and the town’s vain self-image become the least of their worries.

Favorite Friday Fiction: DawnSinger by Janalyn Voigt

I read many genres but one of my favorite is fantasy. DawnSinger by Janalyn Voigt is a delight for anyone who enjoys fantastic characters, dragons, and journeys through exotic lands. This one is a winner in my book…

 

DawnSinger (Tales of Faeraven)

The High Queen is dying… At the royal summons, Shae mounts a wingabeast and soars through the air to the high hold of Faeraven, where all is not as it seems. Visions warn her of danger, and a dark soul touches hers in the night. When she encounters an attractive but disturbing musician, her wayward heart awakens. But then there is Kai, a guardian of Faeraven and of Shae. Secrets bind him to her, and her safety lies at the center of every decision he makes.

On a desperate journey fraught with peril and the unknown, they battle warlike garns, waevens, ferocious raptors, and the wraiths of their own regrets. Yet, they must endure the campaign long enough to release the DawnKing’and the salvation he offers’into a divided land. To prevail, each must learn that sometimes victory comes only through surrender.

 

Recognizing Blessings When You’re In Pain

By Ellen Andersen

I lost my balance last week and stuck my left arm out break my fall. It was 10:30 at night, so I took some Tylenol and went to bed, even though it hurt a lot.  The pain woke me up an hour before my alarm was to go off, so I knew I needed medical help. Not knowing how bad it was, I drove to the nearest urgent care center. urgent-care-sign-600x295[1]

I did break my fall so my head didn’t hit the floor, but I broke my left wrist as well. I’m left-handed too. Fortunately I eat with my right hand. Otherwise, it’d be even harder. You don’t realize how much you use both hands  until only one works.  I know first-hand.

Even something as basic as getting dressed involves two hands. I can’t cook, water the garden, or  drive (and that affects a LOT in life), until my wrist heals, which will take several weeks. I love my plants and flowers so I really hate that.

Thankfully, I have several people helping me. One of my neighbors brought dinner over the first week I injured myself.sinner Sharon made when I broke my wrist  She volunteered to drive when we went to the theater last week too. Another friend has driven me to church.

My parents have been shopping for me, as well as watering my plants and cleaning around the house. Pushing a vacuum with only one hand just doesn’t work. And forget about dragging a hose.Mom waters plants while I have the cast --broke my wrist

I don’t like having to depend on other people, and I’m glad it’s temporary. But it does give them the blessing of helping me out, It always feels good to give of yourself to someone. I truly am blessed to have such loving, supportive family and friends.

How have you been blessed by someone’s generosity when you needed it? Or perhaps you’ve had the privilege of helping someone else.  Share it here so we can all benefit from it.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Prodigal by Brennan Manning & Greg Garrett

The Prodigal: A Ragmuffin Story by Brennan Manning & Greg Garrett is another one of those books you can’t put down. The book evoked anger, pity, fear, and other emotions within the analogy and beautiful written words. Another good one…

The Prodigal

Jack Chisholm is “the people’s pastor.” He leads a devoted and growing megachurch, has several best-selling books, and a memorable slogan, “We have got to do better.” Jack knows how to preach, and he understands how to chastise people into performing. What he doesn’t know is anything about grace.

This year, when it comes time for the Christmas sermon, the congregation at Grace Cathedral will look to the pulpit, and Jack will not be there. Of course, they will have seen plenty of him already–on the news.

After an evening of debauchery that leads to an affair with his beautiful assistant, Jack Chisholm finds himself deserted with chilling swiftness. The church elders remove him from his own pulpit. His publisher withholds the royalties from his books. Worst of all, his wife disappears with their eight-year-old daughter.

But just as Jack is hitting bottom, hopeless and penniless, drinking his way to oblivion, who should appear but his long-estranged father, imploring his prodigal son: “Come home.”

A true companion piece to The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Prodigal illustrates the power of grace through the story of a broken man who finally saw Jesus not because he preached his greatest sermon or wrote his most powerful book, but because he failed miserably. Jack Chisholm lost everything–his church, his family, his respect, and his old way of believing–but he found grace. It’s the same grace that Brennan Manning devoted his life to sharing: profound in nature and coming from a God who loves us just as we are, and not as we should be.

Small Acts of Kindness: Love Your Neighbor

By Kathy Cheek

Jesus said to him,“ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’   ~ Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV

I learned a valuable lesson about being sensitive to the needs of lonely people while watching my husband one evening when a stranger walked into our yard. I was watering flowers on our front porch and Randy was doing yard work when an elderly woman he didn’t know or recognize from our neighborhood, approached him and asked if we had seen her missing cat. After my husband informed her we hadn’t seen the cat she described, the woman eagerly continued to speak with him, and kept talking for a very long time.

She told him she had been widowed eight years ago, and spoke of the life she shared with her husband that spanned half a century. She smiled and told of courting days, raising their family, and moving away from everyone she knew back east to follow his dream to live in the west. She told stories of their early years together and how they had weathered many storms together, but the storm she was weathering now was missing him.

She was lonely and God provided a listening ear. My husband stood there and patiently listened, although the mosquitoes were out and the sky was darkening and he wasn’t finished with his work. But he listened, and he could tell by her changed countenance that she walked back to her house with a lighter step and lighter heart.

Loving our neighbor as Jesus teaches should keep us attentive to the heavy hearts around us that are burdened by a depth of loneliness that we can help ease. Sometimes, all we have to do is provide a listening ear. All we have to do is care.


Kathy Cheek writes faith-filled devotions and is published in LifeWay’s Journey magazine and Mature Living, and also contributes to several devotional sites, including Thoughts About God, Christian Devotions, and CBN.com.

Her favorite subject to write about is the rich relationship God desires to have with us and the deep trust it takes to live it out. She and her husband of 33 years live in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and they have two daughters and one son-in-law who also reside in the Dallas area. You can read more of her devotions at www.kathycheek.com.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis is actually a series of seven fantasy books: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle. They are full of allegory and I love books with those subtle or sometimes not so subtle hidden meanings. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is probably the best-known but my personal favorites are The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle.

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children’s literature and is the author’s best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. Written by Lewis, illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and originally published in London between 1950 and 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, the stage, and film.

Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world. Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world, magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation in The Magician’s Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle.