Small Acts of Kindness: Reflections of God’s Love

By Maria I. Morgan

It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. An unusual shape on an x-ray prompted me to head to my gynecologist. Sure enough, following an ultrasound, it was confirmed: I had two large fibroid tumors – one directly behind the other. Because of the size of the fibroids, laparoscopic surgery was out of the question. I was scheduled for an abdominal hysterectomy.

The information from my doctor and every other article I read listed the recovery time as eight weeks. I was definitely not looking forward to so much down time. My surgery was scheduled for a Wednesday with an expected release date of Friday. Although my husband would be with me through the surgery and the weekend, he had an important conference he had to attend the following week. I wasn’t sure how I would manage to take care of our pets or myself so soon after major surgery.

Riley to the rescue. Although our daughter, Riley, and her husband live 4 hours away from us, as soon as she found out about the operation, she offered to come and help. Because she had limited time off, I knew it was a sacrifice for her. This was just the beginning of several small acts of kindness that were big reflections of God’s love.

Surgery went really well and I was taken to my room by mid-afternoon. That’s when the adorable bouquet arrived: Doggy Houser, M. D. – beautiful white carnations in the shape of a puppy complete with stethoscope and doctor’s bag. And the miniature floral version looked just like our grand-dog, Ollie.

Another act of kindness from our daughter and son-in-law.

Over the days and weeks that followed, the acts of kindness continued like ripples on water. One of our neighbors took care of our pets while I was in the hospital. My husband and daughter cleaned the house for me and ran to the grocery store countless times to make sure I had everything I needed. Some sweet friends from church made meals ensuring we wouldn’t go hungry. And one friend sent cards of encouragement every week – for eight weeks. Just to let me know she was thinking about and praying for me. Wow!

Such a great reminder of what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s fitting to echo the words of the apostle Paul, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” (Philippians 1:3, KJV)

Each act of kindness – such a beautiful reflection of God’s love.

Click to tweet: Acts of kindness after surgery. A beautiful reflection of God’s love. #smallactsofkindness #compassion


Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational writer and speaker. She is the award-winning author of Louie’s BIG day! Regardless of the age of her audience, her goal is the same: to share God’s truths and make an eternal difference.

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*The 3rd book in the Louie the Lawnmower series, Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig,” will be releasing on Amazon soon!

Louie and the gang are fired up about the neighborhood yard competition. But when a sarcastic shovel arrives on the scene, hurtful words cause big problems. Will the newcomer succeed in intimidating Louie and his friends? Or will her plan backfire? Join Louie and the others and discover whose words win.

Enter to win: leave a comment below listing a character quality you’d like to see featured in a future Louie book, along with your email address, and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to receive a copy of “Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig.” (Open to U.S. residents only. Contest will run through Monday, November 6th. Winner will be contacted via email.)

Other books in the Louie the Lawnmower series:

Louie’s BIG day!

Louie & the Leaf Pile

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Favorite Friday Fiction: The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble

The Mermaid’s Sister is a different type book than I usually read but when I heard it won Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel for YA fiction and the Realm award for best Speculative fiction, I had to check it out. The book did not disappoint. It combines Speculative at its best with a coming-of-age story. Well worth the read…

Click to tweet: Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel for YA fiction. “The Mermaid’s Sister.” #FridayReads #amreading 

The Mermaid’s Sister

There is no cure for being who you really are…

In a cottage high atop Llanfair Mountain, sixteen-year-old Clara lives with her sister, Maren, and guardian Auntie. By day, they gather herbs for Auntie’s healing potions; by night, Auntie spins tales of faraway lands and wicked fairies. Clara’s favorite story tells of three orphaned infants—Clara, who was brought to Auntie by a stork; Maren, who arrived in a seashell; and their best friend, O’Neill, who was found beneath an apple tree.

One day, Clara discovers iridescent scales just beneath her sister’s skin: Maren is becoming a mermaid and must be taken to the sea or she will die. So Clara, O’Neill, and the mermaid-girl set out for the shore. But the trio encounters trouble around every bend. Ensnared by an evil troupe of traveling performers, Clara and O’Neill must find a way to save themselves and the ever-weakening Maren.

And always in the back of her mind, Clara wonders, if my sister is a mermaid, then what am I?

Small Acts of Kindness: Give Thanks in All Circumstances

 

By Lindsey P. Brackett

I passed a church sign today. Give thanks in all circumstances. I use that verse in my debut novel, and when my main character, who’s had her share of tragedy, reads it, she wonders if it’s possible, really, to always give thanks.

Two years ago, our Thanksgiving was marked by similar questions. Two years ago this time was when we first began to suspect something was wrong with our youngest daughter. When we first took her to a doctor and were told we weren’t crazy. When we first realized this might be the beginning of the end.

Or the end of the beginning.

During those first six weeks of tests and blood draws and hospital stays and tears cried until my throat was raw and my knees burned from the carpet at the alter, I could not give thanks. I could not find a way to see gratitude because I was blinded by fear.

And then one day, I did.

I stood in the cold hallway of a children’s hospital and watched a man, a father of a child much smaller than mine, ask the nurse for toothpaste. They had left with almost nothing and found themselves confined to the neurology floor of a place where people spoke in whispers and used words parents are not always equipped to understand.

He caught my eye, this man who shared my fear, and he smiled. I had dirty hair and red-rimmed eyes and hands that shook around my coffee; I had no smile for anyone.

But he had one for me.

I began to make a list, Ann Voskamp style. A daily list of random acts of gratitude, of ways I still felt loved even when they sent us home and the neurologist called two days later and had us come back.

Someone brought us dinner. Gift cards came in the mail. My editor gave grace on a deadline, and so many other mamas stepped in for our three other children. The day we went across the state line to the Birmingham specialist, my husband’s truck broke down. The receptionist at the mechanic shop drove us to our appointment—and she picked us up.

Give thanks in all circumstances. It’s the only way to live thanksgiving, really. We gather around these feast-filled tables one day out of every year, but in reality, we should give the same thanks over the bowl of soup or peanut butter sandwich that graces our plates the rest of the time.

If we can give thanks in the bounty, we must also give it in the meager. If we can give thanks for the new home, better car, bigger paycheck—then we must also give it for the diagnosis and the doctors and the anxiety. Eventually, grace always overcomes. Just watch and you’ll see.

Somewhere in those darkest moments, those worst of times, there will be goodness, there will be kindness, there will be faithfulness. Give thanks in all circumstances—perhaps, especially, in ones that bring us fear.

Click to tweet: Finding thankfulness in all circumstances. #SmallActsofKindness #KindnessMatters


Award-winning writer Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications including Thriving Family, Country Extra, HomeLife, Northeast Georgia Living, Splickety Magazine, Spark Magazine, and Southern Writers Magazine.

In both 2015 and 2017, she placed in the top ten for Southern Writers Magazine Best Short Fiction. Previously, Lindsey served as Editor of Web Content for the Splickety Publishing Group, and currently she is a general editor with Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books. In addition, she writes a popular column for several North Georgia newspapers.

Still Waters, influenced by her family ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry, is her debut novel. A story about the power of family and forgiveness, it’s been called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing.” A Georgia native, Lindsey makes her home—full of wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee—at the foothills of Appalachia with her patient husband and their four rowdy children.

Connect with her at www.lindseypbrackett.com, where she Just Writes Life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Instagram @lindseypbrackett, or on Twitter @lindsbrac.


Still Waters

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan—avoid her own past despite being waitlisted for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests—and her dispassionate mother insists—she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts her with loss. Here her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness—especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the Island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt over his father’s death.

When the family reunion brings to light Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her—and Edisto—from more desolation. Now she must choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Miracle Man by Buck Storm

Every once in a while I come across a writer who just mesmerizes me with his or her books, like The Miracle Man. Buck Storm is one such writer. His books are fun, moving, with a great story line, and quirky characters. I’ll buy all of his books…

Click to tweet: 2016 Selah Awards Finalist. “The Miracle Man.” #FridayReads #amreading 

The Miracle Man

2016 Selah Awards Finalist

Welcome to Paradise, a sleepy, backwater town in the mountains of Southeastern Arizona where police chief Luke Hollis is perfectly content to concentrate on nothing but issuing the occasional speeding ticket. Well that and working up the nerve to approach his dispatcher, Ruby Brooks, for a date. 

When an unexplained healing occurs during a service at the Mount Moriah Pentecostal Church of God, Hollis finds his simple belief system challenged and his life changed forever. Throw in a struggling minister, a world-class grifter, and a stranger with an unbelievable story of love and redemption and the stage is set for The Miracle Man. By the time it’s all over everyone involved will come face to face with a power that’s greater and more wonderful than any of them could have ever imagined.

 

Small Acts of Kindness:  Sometimes in Three’s

By Beth Ann Ziarnik

Only one day stood between me and the big party I would host Sunday afternoon at church. Standing in my kitchen, I wondered how I would ever be ready. I was also a little sad that Jim would not be with me for that special day. He had died just three years before. It seemed like yesterday.

But people were depending on me, so there was nothing to do but keep moving. I grabbed my coat, ready to head for my hair appointment, when the doorbell rang. The poor flower shop man had chased all over, trying to deliver the beautiful bouquet from Sue and Becky.

As I quickly placed the vase on my dining table, it hit me. My Jim couldn’t give me flowers to celebrate my first novel’s book launch but, through the kindness of these dear friends, God had made the impossible possible. I wept all the way to my salon appointment.

Back home, while working on preparations, I thought about the kindness of my friend Jackie. I’d been terribly sick Tuesday through Thursday, and didn’t have the strength to run errands on Friday. Jackie put everything aside to be my chauffeur.  We ordered the cake, bought fruits and veggies, and picked up other last minute items. If not for her, I would have had zero chance of being ready.

Now late Saturday afternoon, I faced preparing all those fruits and veggies, as well as frosting one-hundred-and-fifty star shaped cutout cookies in various sizes. Overwhelmed? Absolutely!

The phone rang, my sister Shelly calling to see how I was doing. I filled her in. “Get yourself over here and help me,” I pleaded, knowing perfectly well that wasn’t happening. She lived several states away.

“Funny thing you should say that,” she said. “I’m just crossing the border into Wisconsin. We’ll be there in a couple of hours.” We included her daughter Nicole, baby Addie, and three-year-old Eli.

Two days before, Shelly had felt such a strong urging to attend my book launch that she chanced driving hundreds of miles in the middle of January, ignoring the snow and frigid cold. Before bedtime, the fruits, veggies and cookies were ready. So were the boxes of decorations, prizes, paper goods, and everything else we’d need.

Three acts of kindness. I will never forget the special friends and family who heard from God’s heart and came to my rescue that Saturday before launch.

Click to tweet: Through the kindness of dear friends, God had made the impossible possible. #Kindnessmatters #smallactsofkindness


  An avid fan of romantic suspense fiction and a firm believer in small acts of kindness, Beth Ann Ziarnik combines both in her debut novel, Her Deadly Inheritance. Besides reading, she enjoys fun times with family and friends and working puzzles.

https://www.facebook.com/beth.ziarnik

https://bethziarnik.wordpress.com


Her Deadly Inheritance

First a runaway. Now running for her life. Won’t Jill Shepherd’s family be surprised when she returns to Grand Island, Michigan to end their lies and scheme to have her declared legally dead? But when Jill exposes the mastermind behind her intended death, her family’s deception may kill any chance she has of remaining alive. 

Clay Merrick may seem to be little more than a handy-man restoring homes, but when the former Special Forces operative tracks a brutal killer to Jill’s historic house under renovation, he has most of the evidence he needs to bring the killer to justice … until Jill gets in the way. 

When the killer sets sights on Jill as the next victim, it’s not just Clay’s mission on the line, but his heart.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson is an extremely well-written book of fairy-tale romance. It is rich in historical detail and makes it easy to imagine being right in the story. It’s listed as YA but I’d recommend it to anyone who likes transformed fairy-tales…

Click to tweet: Fairy-tale retelling at its best. “The Healer’s Apprentice.” #FridayReads #amreading 

The Healer’s Apprentice

In author Melanie Dickenson’s new book, a young healer’s apprentice named Rose believes she will never marry … until she meets Lord Hamlin, the future ruler of her village. Hamlin is everything she could ever want—kind, understanding, and a man of faith—but her low station and the fact he’s already betrothed to a mysterious woman makes their romance impossible.

As Lord Hamlin seeks to find the sorcerer who cursed his future bride, Rose’s life spins toward confusion. A creative retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale.

Small Acts of Kindness: Reaching Out in Friendship

By Ellen Andersen

Mom and Dad

I’m fortunate to have a close family.  And my mom is the best. She means the world to me and is more than just my mom. She’s a close friend and I treasure our relationship.

She means a lot to her friends as well. She’s been in a bowling league for many years now and has met a lot of people she wouldn’t otherwise know.

Mom describes one of the ladies on her team as amazing; they’ve been bowling together for about 12 years. Her name is Dolores and she has an average of about 128, despite the fact that she’s 87 years old and has macular degeneration, which clouds her vision. After her first throw, her teammates tell her which pins are left so she aims for them. She’s been bowling so long that even though she can’t see the pins well, she often picks up a spare.

Last Spring, she mentioned to Mom that she likes to walk but she can’t see obstacles in the road because of the macular degeneration. She’s afraid she’ll fall so she just walks up and down her driveway. Mom decided that just wasn’t right, so since she had some extra time, Mom asked Dolores if she’d like them to walk together. Dolores took her up on it right away. They’ve been walking every Monday ever since unless one of them has an appointment or the weather doesn’t cooperate.

They enjoy each other’s company and talk about their families, including Dolores’ kids and life with her husband before he passed away. He used to bowl in their league as well, so Mom knew him too. She describes him as a lovely man.

Having a friend to walk with once a week gives Dolores some variety in her days and she’s able to get out and enjoy the fresh air safely, without fear of falling. And the companionship and conversation increases her quality of life as well.

Mom

What may seem insignificant to us may mean a lot to someone else, and increase their joy. What have you experienced that has made a difference for you or someone else? Share it here.

Favorite Friday Fiction: Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard is a beautifully written allegory about a young woman named Much-Afraid and the Good Shepherd. This book speaks to me each time I read it, which has easily been a half-dozen times. I so relate to Much-Afraid and her long journey to the High Places. Better have a box of tissues handy when you read this book…

Click to tweet: Over two million copies sold. “Hinds’ Feet on High Places. #FridayReads #amreading

Hinds’ Feet on High Places Continue reading

Small Acts of Kindness: Front Porch Friends

By Kathy Cheek

I had finished watering the pots of flowers on my front porch and just sat down in one of the chairs by the small bistro table. A soft breeze carried the scent of flowers across the way and I noticed my neighbor had walked outside and was going to her mailbox for the day’s mail. I called out to her and asked if she wanted to join me sitting on the porch.

Joann walked towards me and said in a half question half statement, “You actually sit on your front porch?”

“Yes, I do.”

She joined me on the porch where we chatted a little while and then she had to leave to check on her mother at the nearby nursing home. It was good to catch up with my neighbor, even if it isn’t as often as we’d like.

Many of our visits are brief encounters as one of us pulls in or out of our driveway or find the other one doing yardwork, or me on my way back from a walk with my hair a mess. I am often a mess when Joann pulls in or out as she catches me sweaty doing yard work or returning from a long walk around the neighborhood.

But this time, we indulged ourselves and sat on my front porch. We weren’t the Waltons in the hills of Virginia with their big inviting front porch where their large family and various neighbors often gathered. Instead, we are – American suburbia… or, Dallas, Texas suburbia to be exact.

Joann travels often with her job and we rarely have time to visit, which means the opportunity to relax on the front porch was a big deal. I could tell she needed this relaxing reprieve more than I did. Travel and tending to her mother who had been back and forth between the nursing home and the hospital had her overextended with no relief in sight. She admitted she had been running on empty the last few weeks with another emergency with her mom.

I couldn’t do anything to change Joann’s hectic work schedule or control any of her mother’s medical emergencies. But I could offer her something that would help. I could offer her a place to relax for just a little while and to leisurely chat with a friend. Yes, Joann is my neighbor. I also consider her my friend—a front porch friend.

Click to tweet: Small Acts of Kindness Sitting on the front porch with friends. #kindnessmatters #kindness


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.