Small Acts of Kindness: Lunch with a Friend

By Kathy Cheek

My friend and I hadn’t met for lunch in a long time since she had moved across town and was going to a new church. After we were seated and were sipping our iced tea, I asked “How are you doing?” and her “fine” didn’t sound fine at all.

When her voice started to tremble and tears welled up in her eyes I knew something was wrong and when she began to spell out a difficult situation in their family she also shared that she hadn’t told anyone because she was afraid of what others would think.

She admitted that holding it in and not talking to anyone seemed to just make the stress harder to bear. She finally realized she needed to be open and we talked about the fact that when we don’t share our burdens we end up adding burden to burden.

What do I mean by adding burden to burden?  The best way I know to describe it is when we have difficulty sharing our burden with others because we think it is too much for them to handle, we are adding a new burden to our already existing burden. This happens when we are reluctant to open up with people and talk about what we are going through, not wanting to impose our problems on others. When we keep it in and think it is too much to put on others, we are adding burden to burden.

God made His family to have that desire to come alongside hurting people and help them through the hard times. This is part of His plan to carry us through those difficult times and out of the valley. God goes with us and brings others along to walk the journey with us.  Pain is not a journey meant to be walked alone. We don’t have to walk alone when we let friends and family help us in our time of need.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Click to tweet: Small acts of kindness. Lunch with a friend. #smallactsofkindness #kindnessmatters

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

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

Kathy is thrilled to announce her book First Breath of Morning – A 90 Day Devotional is contracted to be published and will be out this fall! You will find info and a description of the book on her Book News page at Devotions from the Heart



Favorite Friday Fiction: Misstep by Deborah Dee Harper

Misstep by Deborah Dee Harper is a book I really enjoyed, laughing out loud at different parts of the book. Zany, believable characters and never knowing what is coming next made it another great read. Don’t miss this series. Book 2, Faux Pas, is good and I’m ready for Book 3. 🙂

Click to tweet: Misstep by Deborah Dee Harper. A laugh out loud fun read. #humor #FridayReads

Misstep (The Road’s End series book 1)

Winnie and Sadie are still fighting, and I’m still living in the strangest town on earth.

It’s December in Road’s End, Virginia, a tiny town long forgotten by anyone but its residents, where Colonel Hugh Foster and his wife, Melanie, have chosen to live—for better or worse. The jury’s still out on that one!

Road’s End is comprised entirely of senior citizens whose kids have grown and left for greener pastures. Hugh, Melanie, and Bristol (one of the few sane people in town) are faced with a crumbling church in desperate need of repair and renovation, a dwindling congregation of opinionated, ornery senior citizens, and a camel—yes, a camel. And if that’s not enough, the trio and the rest of the Road’s End residents, are soon mired in danger and intrigue when a group of gun-toting drug dealers arrive in town, bent on killing the church handyman, and conspiring to ruin the doggonedest record-breaking blizzard the town has ever seen.

Poor drug dealers.

Small Acts of Kindness: Mr. Priest’s Surprises

By David Parks

Early in January 1954, Mr. Guy Priest came to our house with a box of surprises.

Usually, I saw Mr. Priest when I was skidding my bike around on Teft Road or Baker Street.

“Hello, Mr. Priest!”


Instead of waving, he smiled and nodded. That’s because his hands were busy with two 5-gallon pails stuffed with gladiolas in full bloom. Mr. Priest cut these beauties from the garden behind his house on Baker Street, and he was delivering them to customers.

No flowers, but a box

This January day, however, Mr. Priest carried no flowers. Instead he brought a box of surprises. I needed surprises, because the doctor had sent me to bed for many days to allow some bones to mend.

Mr. Priest’s box was cardboard, like the box my new shoes came in from the store in Jackson. But a wrap of heavy white paper hid the J.C. Penny logo, and it was larger than my shoe box. Maybe it once held a pair of boots.

Each day a new surprise

On all four sides, from under the lid, numbered tags dangled on strings. Mr. Priest told me to pull tag #1. I pulled, and out came a tiny plastic car. He said tomorrow I should pull tag #2 and the next day #3. The number of tags equaled the number of days I had to stay in bed.

So each day I tugged at a new tag, and out came a new surprise — a toy compass, a magnifying glass, a pen, a 3×5 notepad, a plastic comb, a pocket mirror, a little tractor, etc.

Just a regular guy

His name really is Guy, and he was just a regular kind of guy, so my real surprise was Mr. Priest, himself.

I never guessed he could pick me out from the batch of kids playing tag on bikes. Yet here he was, standing beside my bed.

I never dreamed Mr. Priest might have once been a child himself. Yet his tags spoke the language of a 12-year-old. They glittered more brightly than the golden bells and pomegranates at the hem of Aaron’s robe.

I would not have picked Mr. Priest as our “Most Creative Neighbor.” We lived among merchants, missionaries, and college professors. Some told my parents how concerned they were for their injured child. Yet it took the imagination of a glad gardener to point a 12-year-old’s thoughts away from another long day in bed ─ toward today’s surprise.

That’s how I remember Mr. Priest, a regular guy with a box of surprises. Read the original post here.

Click to tweet: Kindness matters. Mr. Priest and his box full of surprises. #smallactsofkindness #kindness

Dave Parks began writing in 1957 as editor of the ReDit, his high school paper.

He edited books.

He edited professional papers, with permission to reference two.

He’s a member of  Word Weavers and the American Christian Fiction Writers

Favorite Friday Fiction: Out of the Frying Pan by Michelle Griep and Kelly Klepfer

Today’s favorite is by a duo of writers: Michelle Griep and Kelly Klepfer. Out of the Frying Pan is a cozy mystery with a touch of romance. I like a bit of comedy in my mysteries, especially if it involves dry wit.  Out of the Frying Pan has all of the above. So if you like cozy mysteries, you’ll love this one…

Click to tweet: Favorite friday fiction. Out of the Frying Pan by Michelle Griep and Kelly Klepfer. #Fridayreads #FavoriteFridayFiction

Out of the Frying Pan

When the chef of Sunset Paradise Retirement Village ends up dead, life for sisters Fern and Zula Hopkins is whipped into a froth. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective Jared Flynn. Should he be concerned about their safety or the criminal’s? 

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts—especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene. 

Before the snooping pair gain any headway with the case, it becomes crystal clear that the sisters share a mysterious secret that takes life from the frying pan and into the line of fire.

Roses For No Reason

Half a Dozen Red Roses

Photo courtesy of pixabay

By Ellen Andersen

It was an ordinary day at work. I’d been in and out of patients’ rooms, developing discharge plans for them when they left the hospital and returned home. In the middle of the day, someone came to the office and asked for me. When I answered, he came in with a bouquet of half a dozen red roses.


Shocked, I wondered what they were for. The card attached said they were from my boyfriend, Doug. It wasn’t Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t my birthday. It wasn’t an anniversary. Why in the world would he send me roses? I had no idea, and the card didn’t provide any clue either. It just said, Hi Ellen. Hope you’re having a good day. Love, Doug.

Doug was romantic, but he didn’t have a lot of money. I couldn’t figure out why he would just decide to send me roses. We’d been dating for about six months or so, but this was a lot.

“Wow! Is it your birthday?”

“No, I have no idea why he sent them.”

“Really? Is it your anniversary?”

“No. I really don’t know why he gave them to me.”

My husband’s never sent me roses”, my supervisor said. “You must be really special to him”

“I guess so…” I said, still puzzled.

The next time we saw each other, Doug asked me if I’d gotten them.

“Yes, I did. What made you do that?”

“I was just thinking about you and wanted to let you know”, he said.

“Wow. Thanks “I said. “That was really nice. It made me feel special. Everybody at work asked me why you’d sent them and I couldn’t tell them. It was funny because they didn’t believe me.” He just smiled.

It’s been nearly 20 years and I still have no idea why Doug sent flowers that day. But I think I’ll always remember it. It brightened my day and told me how much I meant to him.

Click to tweet: Small acts of kindess: Roses For No Reason by Ellen Andersen. #kindnessmatters #ValentinesDay

Favorite Friday Fiction: Still Waters by Lindsey P. Brackett

Still Waters by Lindsey P. Brackett is a good Southern fiction read set at Edisto Beach, South Carolina. I loved the way she combined the life of the South with the haunting beauty of the ocean. Her characters swept me into their lives and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. I highly recommend this book…

Click to tweet: Still Waters by Lindsey P. Brackett. A combination of Southern living and the haunting beauty of the beach. #FridayReads #amreading

Still Waters

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

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts Cora Anne with loss. At Still Waters 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.

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

Small Acts of Kindness: A Shout Out to My Writing Friends

By Jennifer Hallmark

“Friends are needed both for joy and for sorrow.” 
~ Yiddish Proverb

I’m a writer and I love writing. But it’s not always easy. Sometimes I struggle with disappointment, fear, tiredness, and apathy.  My friendship with other writers has kept me from changing my vocation.

I know that if I start down the “give up” road, I can call or Facebook message one of “these” friends and they’ll talk me off the ledge of quitting. They’ll share a story about a time they wanted to give up or remind me of the way I’ve grown over the years. We laugh and send emojis and before you know it, I’m ready to sit at the computer once again and start a story or blog post.

Some of my friends are authors, others are unpublished for the moment. I know editors, publishers, and agents. They get tired just like I do and I hope I can often encourage them in return.

Because we all need a little encouragement now and then. Thank you to all my writing friends. There are too many to name but you know who you are.

“If you want a friend, be a friend. “
~ English Proverb

Click to tweet: I’m a writer and I love writing. But it’s not always easy. My friendship with other writers has kept me from changing my vocation.  #amwriting #friendship

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

For my February classic favorite, I chose The Return of the King, the third book in the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R Tolkien. Over Christmas, I rewatched the three movies and decided to read The Return of the King once more.

An epic fantasy novel, it never disappoints as I once again enjoyed a world full of men, elves, dwarves, evil creatures, and, of course, hobbits.

Click to tweet: One of my favorite classic novels is The Return of the King. Here’s why… #amreading #Fridayreads

The Return of the King

The third volume in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic adventure THE LORD OF THE RINGS 

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

As the Shadow of Mordor grows across the land, the Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, has joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and takes part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by Orcs, escape into Fangorn Forest and there encounter the Ents. Gandalf has miraculously returned and defeated the evil wizard, Saruman. Sam has left his master for dead after a battle with the giant spider, Shelob; but Frodo is still alive—now in the foul hands of the Orcs. And all the while the armies of the Dark Lord are massing as the One Ring draws ever nearer to the Cracks of Doom.