Small Acts of Kindness: Peacemakers

“Peace begins with a smile..”
― Mother Teresa


Small Acts of Kindness: Do Something Daily

I found this great prayer about kindness…

“Forgive me, most gracious Lord and Father, if this day I have done or said anything to increase the pain of the world. Pardon the unkind word, the impatient gesture, the hard and selfish deed, the failure to show sympathy and kindly help where I had the opportunity, but missed it; and enable me so to live that I may daily do something to lessen the tide of human sorrow, and add to the sum of human happiness.” F.B. Meyer [England, 1847-1929]

Favorite Friday Fiction: Don’t Look Back by Lynette Eason

By Ellen Andersen

I enjoy reading suspense novels. There’s something about getting into a fictional world that’s wrapped up in drama that pulls me in and, in this case, wouldn’t let me go.  Details woven throughout this riveting story ratchet up the tension in each scene. The characters were compelling, and with the twists and turns in the plot I couldn’t put the book down, even after having read for hours.

Don't Look Back Bookcover

Don’t Look Back

Twelve years ago, forensic anthropologist Jamie Cash survived a brutal kidnapping, torture, and rape. After years of therapy, she has made a life for herself–though one that is haunted by memories of her terrifying past. She finally lets herself get close to a man, FBI agent Dakota Richards, when signs start appearing that point to one frightening fact–her attacker is back and ready to finish the job he started all those year ago. Can she escape his grasp a second time? And will she ever be able to let down her guard enough to find true love?


A Lesson in Love – Support Your Local Author

Support is so important. A small act of kindness 🙂

Betty Thomason Owens

Hello, Thursday Morning, and all those who happen by today.  Most of our part of the country received a blast of Arctic air this week, along with snow. If you were snowed in, I hope you enjoyed your time off.

I poured myself an extra cup of coffee and enjoyed the view. I don’t mind snow, as long as I don’t have to get out in it.

I’ve been thinking about writers this week. Most writers work hard and make very little. A few hit it big and make a name for themselves. Some end up working it as a job, others as a hobby.

If you’re a writer, you know the loneliness of pursuing the craft. Sometimes, a writer’s own family doesn’t realize how much “blood, sweat, and tears” goes into the work they do. And when the work is done, and the book is out there–its creator is…

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Today I Choose

By Jennifer Hallmark

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NKJV

Today I choose to be kind to myself.

Today I choose to be positive and think of the good in my life, not concentrating on the bad that calls so loudly…

Today I choose to enjoy all of my life, not just the parts that I call good…

Today I will write, love, laugh and be…my concentration will not be on doing…

Today I will be thankful for all the people in my life…people placed by a God who loves and cares for me…

Today I remember the people who have gone on to be with the Lord who influenced my life and I am grateful…

Today I will slow down and take time to enjoy the beauty of nature that God freely bestows on us daily, regardless of season…

Today I will tell people that I love them because I don’t know what tomorrow holds…

Today I will look for people to encourage, for there are people all around me who need to be uplifted…

Today I will not worry about what people think but meditate on what God thinks of me…

Today I will let the minor problems and inconveniences go and give the major ones to God…

Today I will remember the price that Jesus paid so that I could have abundant, eternal life, the price of His own life…

Today I will stop, listen and learn whatever God is trying to teach me through whatever means He is using…

Today I will ask God to help me display the fruit of His Spirit toward all the people I meet…

Today I choose to love myself as God loves me and not belittle myself any more…

Today I choose to live…

Click to tweet: Choice: Today I will tell people that I love them because I don’t know what tomorrow hold. #kindnessmatters #smallactsofkindness

Favorite Friday Fiction: Murder at the Courthouse by A.H. Gabhart

Hi! As you might have guessed, I love to read. Some of my favorite genres are Southern fiction, speculative, fantasy, and mysteries. Murder at the Courthouse by A.H. Gabhart combines a murder mystery with small town USA. I thought the characters were well-developed and the plot good. I’ll probably read more of her books in the future…

Click to tweet: Murder at the Courthouse by A.H. Gabhart combines a murder mystery with small town USA. #Favorite Friday Fiction #FridayReads

Murder at the Courthouse

After a few years as a police officer in Columbus, Michael Keane has no trouble relaxing into the far less stressful job of deputy sheriff in his small hometown. After all, nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky. Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. Everyone in town is a little uneasy. Still, no one is terribly worried–after all the man was a stranger–until one of their own is murdered right on Main Street.

As Michael works to solve the case it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs.

Bringing with her a knack for creating settings you want to visit and an uncanny ability to bring characters to life, A. H. Gabhart pens a whodunit that will keep readers guessing.

Digital Coupons: Click and Save

By Jennifer Hallmark

First published on the Inspired Prompt Blog

Extreme couponing. I tried it. Bought the special notebook, fixed all the tabs inside, and purchased a newspaper. According to the instructor (yes, I even went to a class), the money would soon be rolling in.

Except that was the only newspaper I ever bought. By the time I clipped all the coupons and filled my notebook, I was confused. And you don’t even want to know about the shopping trip with me stumbling all through Publix.

It didn’t work.

Now I’m not saying it won’t work, because people have proven it does. It just didn’t work for me. So I put my notebook in a drawer and whispered a prayer. “God, if I’m going to save money, there has to be an easier way.”

Cue the angelic choir.

Did you know your smart phone can carry digital coupons?  I’m no expert at this but I can tell you how it works with the stores that I clip them from. You can add what you want and when the coupon expires, it disappears. Most stores probably work in similar ways. Just get out your smart phone and let’s start collecting coupons and saving money.

The area I live in is very rural so I do most of my shopping in the small town of Moulton, fifteen miles away. The stores I use for couponing are Dollar General, CVS, and Gateway Foodland. I also use Publix digital coupons, but it’s about 35 miles away. Let’s start with the one I use most.

Dollar General-go to their website and sign up. Then you can go to digital coupons. You can look through the available coupons and add what you want to your phone. When I get an email with their new ad, I go to the coupon section and add more. At the moment, I have 292 coupons. Any time I’m shopping I can look through my coupons and add them to my list. If I’m in a hurry, I still enter my phone number in the payment terminal before I check out so it will look over my coupons for me. I’ve saved $99.43 so far using these coupons.

Gateway Foodland & PublixI do the same thing. Make an account, add coupons, then start saving. I have 190 coupons loaded at Foodland and close to that at Publix. And new coupons come each Wednesday to my email.

CVSThis one is a little different. I signed up for their extra care card since I purchase my prescriptions here. I add their deals from the app on my phone. I also get extra care bucks back (I have to spend at CVS) when I fill so many prescriptions and at different times get coupons for a percentage off certain items.

Ibotta-With this app, you first find offers on the app. Before you shop, add offers on products by completing simple tasks. Buy the products you selected at any participating store. Keep the receipt. Redeem your offers by taking a photo of your receipt. (You can scan the Wal-Mart barcode) They match the items you bought to the offers you selected and give you the cash. Your cash back will be deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours. I’m still undecided about this because it is time-consuming. But I cashed out for the first time and had it put on a $50 Walmart gift card. I enjoyed spending it. 🙂

I love couponing this way. Wednesday is usually the day I sit down, add all my coupons, and make my list. I can have everything added in thirty minutes or less and make my list for shopping.

Click to tweet: Did you know your smart phone can carry digital coupons? Find out more. #Savings #coupons

One more tip of a way I save money. I have the Wal-Mart app on my phone and I’m signed up for Savings Catcher. Again, I first created an account. I scan each receipt as I get them and they search for all the stores in the area for a lower price. Say, if Foodland has milk cheaper in their ads, Wal-Mart loads the difference on an e-shopping card. So far, I’ve saved over $50 from price compare.

Hooray! I can chunk the notebook, put my scissors away, and rid myself of the headache. Also, I could buy extra items to donate to a food bank or other charity and still save. I wonder what people will think up next?

It Doesn’t Take Much To Make a Difference

Toward the end of 2015, Jennifer asked if I’d be interested in writing for Small Acts of Kindness. I agreed and have enjoyed it ever since. It makes me step back and take notice of positive things I see or experience that I might otherwise overlook and take for granted. It also challenges me to move out of my comfort zone to reach out toward someone offering a kindness to them in some way.

I met up with someone a while ago to talk about something that had been on my mind. As we talked, they told me they’d been struggling lately and felt alone in it. Even though I knew no details, it was clear this person needed someone to come alongside them. God put it on my heart to pray for them daily and to send them a message of encouragement about once a week for several months.

It was simply a note to let them know they weren’t alone and that I was praying for them. IMG_1980 Sometimes I’d include a Bible verse, sometimes not. It was a simple gesture, but I’ve since learned that it made a difference and helped them through a tough time. Several months later, this person gave me a big hug. No words were said, but none were needed. We both knew it was because the encouragement meant so much. It didn’t take much, yet it meant a lot.
It may not seem significant to us, but even a small act of kindness can make a difference to someone else.

Favorite Friday Fiction: Quo Vadis by Henryk Sinkiewicz

Happy New Year! I’m starting off this year on Favorite Friday Fiction with a classic, Quo Vadis.  It’s a historical Biblical fiction of sorts dealing with the persecution of early Christians in Rome.

The book has unsurpassed details of that period of time and won the author a Nobel Prize in literature in 1905. A little long and hard to read at times, the story to me is worth reading.

Click to tweet: A classic read about the early Christians in Rome. #historical #fiction

Quo Vadis

Quo VadisRome during the reign of Nero was a glorious place for the emperor and his court; there were grand feasts, tournaments for poets, and exciting games and circuses filling the days and nights. The pageantry and pretentious displays of excess were sufficient to cloy the senses of participants as well as to offend the sensitive.

Petronius, a generous and noble Roman, a man of the world much in favor at the court of Nero, is intrigued by a strange tale related by his nephew Marcus Vinitius of his encounter with a mysterious young woman called Ligia with whom Vinitius falls madly in love. Ligia, a captured King’s daughter and a one-time hostage of Rome, is now a foster child of a noble Roman household. She is also a Christian.

The setting of the narrative was prepared with utmost care. Henryk Sienkiewicz visited the Roman settings many times and was thoroughly educated in the historical background. As an attempt to create the spirit of antiquity, the novel met with unanimous acclaim, which earned the Nobel Prize in literature for the author in 1905. As a vision of ancient Rome and early Christianity it has not yet been surpassed, almost a century later.

Saving Money is My Super Power

By Amanda Hardin

I save money.

What’s your super power?

Are you picturing me with a red cape with a dollar sign on it? That’s me. A stay-at-home mother of three and with only one income things can be a bit tight. I’ve had sixteen years however, to perfect my money-saving skills.

I learned early on that babies only need a few items so pick what makes life a little easier. How about giving an item multiple uses like a changing pad on a dresser? Clothing swaps with family and friends have caused me to buy very little new clothing for my young children.

When I do have to purchase an outfit or two, we hit yard sales and thrift stores. I also shop seasonal clearances and buy for the following year (presents are also great to buy at this time). When the kids grow out of things, they go to the back of the closet for trading or thrifting.

The cheapest way to feed babies is to breast feed, but if you can’t, formula companies send out coupons monthly. This is great because depending on the type of formula the baby needs, it can be a small fortune. For my little ones in school, we pack snacks and lunches which can cost fifteen dollars or more per child each week if purchased from the school. I also like to use money savings apps like Wal-Mart savings catcher or Ibotta. Both give back money as gift cards which I save for Christmas.

Smoothies, detox

And how about the refrigerator? I save many things like orange and lemon peels for homemade cleaners and freeze chicken and vegetable scraps for broth. Freezing overripe fruits are wonderful for smoothies or fruit water. The best tip is to just eat clean from the start. Encourage water and fresh fruit when the children are young and save yourself the cost of expensive juices, sodas, and snacks later. Both your body and wallet will thank you for it.

The biggest food-related tip to save money is to eat at home instead of out. Ninety-eight percent of the time we cook at home. I meal plan so I have a game plan for those busy nights I’m tempted to hit the drive-thru. Sales and coupons play a big part in meal planning and I even hit a couple of stores a week. My super busy schedule makes planning my day and meals a must. I created a planner tailored perfectly for me at half of what it would have cost me to buy one.

Back to health, I forgo the expensive gym membership and hit the park and run for the cost of a decent pair of sneakers.  There are a lot of free apps out there to keep you knowledgeable and motivated. Some of my favorites are C25K,   Zombie’s Run!,and Google Fit.

The best thing we’ve done for our wallet has had a huge impact on our spirit. We celebrate Christmas on less money and instead focus on giving to others through food and toy drives, and serving at church or soup kitchens. This can be difficult when your kid comes home telling you what the other kids received for Christmas, but it is truly worth it.

For entertainment, we enjoy Redbox or just a simple game night (they get board games for Christmas). When we do go out, we opt for free local events and local and state parks like our local wildlife refuge. Fall is also a great time to hang out by a bonfire and drink cocoa. The library is a great source of entertainment from because you can rent movies, books, audio books, buy seriously discounted book, participate in the summer reading programs, book clubs, and a slew of other things.

For the home, I love to hang clothes out on the line in the fresh summer air. There is something quite therapeutic about being in the sun with a fresh breeze blowing that doesn’t make it seem like a chore, plus it can save a ton on electricity. And before we call an expert, we go to YouTube to make sure we can’t do repairs ourselves.

Click to tweet: The biggest life-changing money-saving decision we made was to live a debt-free life. #Savings #2018

We created a zero-based budget and live on only what we make. Learning to save money has benefited my family in more ways than we could count. We find creative ways to spend time together and it has given us a healthier life style.

So, what about it? Is saving money going to be your super power in 2018?

With reading being a passion since childhood, Amanda Hardin knew creating stories was what she was meant to do.  That comes hard being a stay-at-home mom of three. In other words, she is a housekeeper, chef, event planner, teacher, chauffeur, domestic engineer and household COO and CFO.  A job she has made easier by creating her own budgeting forms and daily planner.

She is a member of the Lawrence County Writer’s Guild.  She loves hiking, firearms, and running.  She has completed the Stoney Lonesome 5k Mud Run twice and is preparing to do the 2018 Warrior Dash.  In her spare time, she likes to read. Two of her favorite authors are James Rollins and Dean Koontz. She enjoys sharing some of her favorite childhood books with her children.