Small Acts of Love

By Sherrie Giddens

I must admit, there are days, or even weeks, when I wonder if I am doing as much as I was created to do. I have read about people who dig wells in areas where water is not readily available. There are others who build tiny homes for those who have no homes. Some people gather up the leftover from families like mine, and feed the hungry. Then, there are those who clothe the naked and cold. There are foster parents who open their homes to children who have no home. There are also people who travel to the ends of the earth to share the Gospel.

I could go on and on. When I ask myself what I have done, I have no answers that would even stand up to this kind of love for humanity. I have said, from the time I can remember, I want to make a difference. My whole life, I have just wanted to make a difference. Ask me how and I would never be able to give you a concise answer.

Why? I have never been able to nail down a plan of any kind. I have no idea how or where to even begin. All I know is that this life was given to me as a gift and a blessing, and I know that when it is over, I want to have left behind gifts and blessings that have an impact on others.

To spend my life in a way that only serves me and mine, is not the way I want to live. But, I know that God puts us into the body in a way that is best for Him. If we were all eyes, there would be no feet. If we were all feet, there would be no ears.

There are a few causes that are near and dear to my heart. There is the Arthritis Foundation, and its programs for children with arthritis, along with the services it provides to others. There are the homeless who stand on corners, asking for help. Yes, I know they might use the money in a way that I would not like, but that isn’t my concern. If they say they are hungry, if they say they are in need, I am going to give them enough to get something to eat. The money is God’s anyway, He just lends it to me.  If they choose to spend it in other ways, that is there choice. There are the young and single moms who carried their babies to term and now are struggling to make it all work. If I could just make life easier for those who struggle, if I could make a difference, a real difference.

I do my best, and then I hope that my best is good enough. It isn’t digging a well, building a home, being a missionary, or changing the lives of those living in small villages on the other side of the world. It doesn’t even change the life of one person. But, it can make a difference in that one day, at that one moment, of that one person. I hope and pray that is enough. When I compare the love that Jesus showed to those around Him when he walked this earth, I hope and pray that I can show even a fraction of the love that He had. Sometimes, I am blown away by the many struggles around us and how little power we have to make the changes that we would like to see. But, when you break it down to simple acts of love, things look a little brighter.

Simple acts of love, they are like taking a piece of your heart and using it to patch a hole in the heart of someone else.


Sherrie Giddens is your family friendly author, offering titles in various genres. While many of her children’s books are not Christian in theme, they do offer a moral compass, or educational experience.

Her adult titles delve into fiction and nonfiction themes that span the charming side of Christian Romance to the domestic side of life.

She brings her life experiences to the written word in a way that celebrates an individual’s many facets. We are all people of various interests and as an author, she shares those varied interests with her readers.

Member of ACFW

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Sherrie-Giddens/e/B006MW3Y6M/


Wildflowers and Toadstools: When God Seems Silent

Have you ever felt as if God was not listening? Maybe you wondered if God was even hearing you. Sherrie Giddens recounts a personal experience from on top of a mountain, where she learns that not only does He listen, He also answers in ways we might not readily recognize.

This title includes photos of the Alaskan landscape.

Reading time is approximately 45 minutes.

Small Acts of Kindness: Thank You!

By Bonita Y. McCoy

 In Lysa Terkeurst’s book The Best Yes, she tells us that two of the most important words in the English language are yes and no. Why? Because they guide the direction of our lives.

How we use these two words and when we use them can change us forever. These words seem so little, but if you think about it, it’s true. These two words are potent.

I would like, however, to add a third set of words.

Thank You. 

This month, my focus is on thankfulness, so today, I wanted to unpack the importance of saying “Thank You.”

I believe that when we say thank you to others we are doing several things. We’re admitting that we needed help: we are acknowledging their talents or expertise in an area, and we are showing gratitude for their willingness to come to our aid.

In the same way, I believe when we say thank you to our Father we are humbling ourselves and acknowledging that we can’t do life without him. As King David said it is in him that we live, and move, and have our being.

The Lord loves a contrite and humble heart. Through thanksgiving, we keep our hearts tender before him. Showing gratitude, allows us to be aware of the goodness and kindness of our God, giving him the glory for all the good things he does.

Today, I challenge you to look for God’s goodness and take a moment to give thanks. It will lift your heart and remind you how much he loves you.


Hello! I’m Bonita Y. McCoy. I hail from the Great State of Alabama where I live on a five-acre farm with three horses, two dogs, two cats, and one husband who I’ve had for over twenty-five years. I am a mother to three mostly grown sons and one beautiful daughter-in-law who joined us from Japan. I love God, and I love to write. My blog is an expression of both these passions. Drop by and visit. www.beautifulpiecesofgrace.blogspot.com 

Small Acts of Kindness: Encouraging Words

By Cindy Ervin Huff

I’d just completed the first leg of my flight to my first writer’s conference. I chose to go to one offered in Colorado because of an online writer’s course I was taking. The flight from Chicago to Denver had been uneventful and lonely. Anxiety over this new venture creeped into my thoughts. My resolve to go to the conference was fraught with doubts and anxiety. “Who did I think I was anyway?” God knew my heart. The short trip from Denver to Colorado Springs was a game changer for me.

I introduced myself to the woman sitting next to me. She was a published author attending the same conference. To this day, I don’t recall her name.  But I do recall the advice she gave me. “Take out some paper.” She instructed when I explained it was my first conference and I didn’t have a clue. She gave me a list of tips on pitching and talking to editors and publishers. My nerves settled by the time I got to the conference destination.

My first appointment was less than stellar. But my second with Susan King, from the Upper Room more than made up for it. After she looked at my devotional things and explained how to change them to submit to her. She took the time to share how I could approach publishers with my fiction idea. The next appointments went so much better.

God provided me with two women willing to share their knowledge with me.  It set me on a course to do likewise As I continued to learn the craft and gain experience I pass those nuggets on to newbie writers through my blog. When I attend my annual writer’s conference in Illinois I find those lost and confused attendees to encourage.

Think of your work, school, or family. Can you show kindness to someone who’s having a tough time?


Cindy Ervin Huff, a multi-published writer and 2014 Editor’s Choice winner for her first novel Secrets and Charades has a passion to encourage other writers on their journey. Check out her blog Jubilee Writer www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com or visit with her on social media.

Amazon Author page:https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016144/

Facebook Author page:   https ://www.facebook.com/author.huff11/

Twitter: twitter.com/CindyErvinHuff

Facebook:www.facebook.com/cindy.e.huff.


Secrets & Charades

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage?

Small Acts of Kindness: Starter Trouble

On a late Tuesday afternoon, while on vacation, heading to Pennsylvania, our van starter began malfunctioning. I stopped at a small town in Wisconsin and purchased a starter, but failed to find anyone to fix it.

We traveled down the road and stopped at a motel for the night. In the morning, I slid under the van and tapped the starter as my wife turned the ignition. It worked. We continued our travel.

Upon arriving in Pennsylvania, we went to Washington DC via tour bus. It was a great day. Upon return, I again climbed under the van and repeatedly hit the starter as my wife turned the ignition. It turned over.

I had a strong sense to attend a Wednesday night church service. We found a small church. On vacation we only attend church on Sundays, but not this evening.

After service, I slid under the van and banged the starter. This time it wouldn’t start. After several attempts, I gave up and went back into the church. I asked if anyone knew of a mechanic. A man stepped forward. He worked on vehicles. I told him my dilemma, to which he said, “No problem.”

I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t I get the starter fixed in the afternoon? My only defense is youth. I didn’t sense the need to. Enough said.

The mechanic opened his house to my family. And get this; his kids were nearly the same age as my kids. We had a great time with our new friends in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. Outside a storm raged but inside the house—peace.

When we woke up in the morning, he had the starter installed. He refused to take anything for fixing it and we were very grateful. We said our goodbyes and continued our vacation.

What we saw ten miles down the road sent chills through us. I switched channels on the radio station until I found the local news. A tornado had ripped through the area the night before. The time the tornado hit—the same time we would have been traveling through the small Pennsylvania town.

It looked like a war zone. Downed trees, destroyed buildings, and debris spread out over several blocks.

Had we not had problems with our starter we’d gone straight into the tornado. An act of kindness by a stranger protected my family. My sense of not fixing our starter but instead visiting our nation’s capital kept us from harm. Attending church on a Wednesday evening became part of the key in our protection.

God orchestrated our safety in the midst of the most famous civil war battlefield. That protection depended upon the obedience of his people.

I wish I had the contact information of the mechanic, but I forgot to get it. Maybe God whispered in his ear that his act of kindness saved a family from almost certain destruction, maybe death.

If not, I’ll give him the rest of the story on the other side.


Randy Tramp is a Freelance Writer, having written over 50 articles for newspapers and magazines and has released his debut novel, Night to Knight, published earlier in 2016.

Randy belongs to a local writing group, meeting monthly. He’s successfully completed Writing Essentials through Christian Writers Guild and Article Writing and How to Write a Novel through Believer’s Trust (a member) and was mentored by Dan Walsh.

In the Navy for 8 years, supervised inmates at a Federal Prison for 12 years and Children’s Pastor for 12 years, during which, on a mission’s trip, taught African’s about Children’s Ministry. His passions are to see families strengthened and relationships restored. A parent of 11 children (8 adopted) & 6 grandchildren, all ranging from 2 to 32.

Website: randytramp.com


Amazon Review of Night to Knight:

 It’s a military thriller with a heart. Commander Mark Steele has an exciting job in Special Forces. Though it’s dangerous, he knows his work is critically important. But that job separates him from his wife and child. When an injury brings him home, his wife is glad to have him back. But other issues cause struggles within the family, leading to distrust and hurt. Steele takes dangerous risks in his new work. The thriller plot thickens, as he seeks to save a life. But can he save his family?

 

Purchase:  E-Book   Book

Book Review: Hope by Fay Lamb

By Jennifer Hallmark

Today, I’d like to take a few moments and tell you about Fay Lamb’s newest book, Hope in the Ties That Bind series.

Wow. I really am amazed how much better each book in this series has been to me. The book, Charisse, started the journey and her second book, Libby, will always have a special place in my heart. This latest release, Hope, is even stronger.

I had a difficult time reading it at times because the main character, Hope, is dealing with a serious disease. My BFF Rose had Leukemia and the writing was so well-done that at times, it brought back memories. But grieving is not a bad thing, at times, and I felt a sense of release when I finished the book.

I’m not going to say a lot more because I don’t want to give away the story, but you’ll get to see Charisse and Libby again in this third book of the Ties that Bind. And there is yet one more book to go. Hurry up and write, Fay! 🙂

Make sure you read every book in the Ties That Bind series, especially Hope. You’ll be glad you did…


Hope

Hope Astor is literally a starving artist, living off the good graces of her friends as she seeks help for the fatigue that has plagued her for over a month. Dr. Daniel Duvall is a noted oncological surgeon whose life hasn’t been the same since losing his sister in a car accident the year before.

When Hope receives her diagnosis, she understands that her carefree artist’s lifestyle has left her without any options to save her life, but her friends try to convince her otherwise. They persuade Hope to seek treatment from the best doctor she knows. Trouble is, Hope is the reason Daniel’s sister is dead, and she doesn’t think saving her life is on his list of priorities.


Fay Lamb writes emotionally charged stories that remind the reader that God is always in the details. Three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, are available: Stalking Willow, Better than Revenge, and Everybody’s Broken. Hope is the third book in The Ties that Bind Series, which also includes Charisse and Libby. Fay’s adventurous spirit has also taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay will be: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series, and Delilah, Book 4 from The Ties that Bind.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook and on Goodreads. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor.


Small Acts of Kindness: Turning Things Around

Sometimes you need to be kind to yourself…

By Gail Kittleson

gailSpending the worst of the winter months in the Arizona mountains comes as a huge gift. We do this because of my sinus cavities. Yes, something good has come from those complicated caverns that have given me headaches for years. Miserable, repetitive winter headaches when I’m in Iowa…headaches that predict the rise and fall of barometric pressure, and trust me, that pressure fluctuates constantly in Iowa from December through March.

So through a series of circumstances over the past decade, we’ve been able to transplant from the frozen tundra to the Ponderosa forests of Gila County, just under the Mogollon Rim. The only downside is missing our grandchildren, but letter writing and phone calls help. So does the memory of nasty pain that stole full days of my life for years.

The benefit of feeling great and still being able to walk, even if it snows, adds so much to what psychologists call “quality of life.”  Another positive is meeting a variety of new folks in this diverse area. Yet another: incredible vistas to enjoy.

If all this weren’t enough, the wild animal friends traipsing our property provides daily inspiration. This bull elk captured our attention, and my husband captured him on video in our back yard.

This family of deer claims our yard as their “hood.” Several times a day, we see them passing through, and from time to time, they enjoy our carrot peelings and other veggie remnants.arizona-113684_960_720

What’s not to like? Honesty, I’ve always loved the mountains, always felt so much better stepping out of an airplane or vehicle in Denver or Glacier National Park. But I never dreamed I’d get to live in the mountains—just another of my pipe dreams.

Oops! Not so fast, Gail. You’ve encouraged other women to embrace their longings and seize the day. How about taking your own advice?

Our family experienced my husband’s two deployments to Iraq—one for fourteen months, one for a year. At the time, I had no idea his increased earnings there would pave the way for the fulfillment of this particular dream. Yep—we’ve always practiced frugality, but could never have afforded this luxury apart from Lance’s long, hot months in the Mideast.

Like my sinus difficulties, those deployments offered some pleasant side effects. So I’m going to end with a writing prompt for you writers that puts a character in dire danger. In the Arizona mountains. But dire can become delightful, right?

Prompt: Maggie Collier arched her back for a few seconds, then bent back down to her task. Cleaning out the iris beds would keep her busy for a week, if she kept at it for a couple of hours a day. She started to whistle, “It’s A Wonderful World,” but halted at a sound close behind her.

Turning slightly, she shivered. First a hoof, then a heavy animal scent enveloping her—a tangible, very large presence, defined by an enormous rack extending far above its head.


gailGail Kittleson taught college expository writing and English as a Second Language. Now she writes memoir and women’s fiction, and facilitates writing workshops and women’s retreats. In northern Iowa, she and her husband enjoy grandchildren and gardening. In winter, the Arizona mountains provide new novel fodder.


with-each-new-dawn

With Each New Dawn

In war-torn London, American Kate Isaacs grieves her husband, awaits their child’s birth, and welcomes her best friend Addie. But after her miscarriage, another meeting with mysterious Monsieur le Blanc launches her into Britain’s Secret Operations Executive (SOE). In late 1943, Kate parachutes into Southern France to aid the Resistance.

Domingo, a grieving Basque mountain guide-turned-saboteur, meets her parachute drop, tends her injured ankle, and carries her to safety. Reunited a few months later, they discover the injured Monsieur le Blanc who, with his dying breath, reveals a secret that changes Kate’s life.

In the shadow of the Waffen SS, Domingo’s younger brother Gabirel is missing. While Domingo seeks Gabirel, Domingo’s parish priest, Père Gaspard, creates a new identity for Kate.

As Kate and Domingo subject their mutual attraction to the cause of freedom, can mere human will and moral courage change the war’s tide and forge a future for them?

As God’s Chosen Ones, Put on Compassionate Hearts and Kindness (and New Windshields)

By Janell Butler Wojtowicz

fall-church-hill-crossesSince being widowed eight years ago, my mother, who lives on a limited income, has experienced many loving acts of kindness from people in her small-town Iowa church. They are a close-knit family of believers so I shouldn’t be surprised by their compassion; nevertheless, our gratefulness is abundant.

My brother and I live two and three hours away from Mom, so sometimes it’s not possible for us to be there in a timely manner to see to her needs. The practical kindnesses from her church have included fixing a garage door, minor household repairs, and checking her car battery. They’ve reached out with birthday cupcakes, holiday cookies, and fresh-from-the-garden produce. A couple takes her to concerts at a community college. When Mom broke her ankle, two ladies volunteered to stay overnight to keep an eye on her.

But one act of love still brings tears to my eyes. Mom, 84, recently put her house on the market to move into senior housing. She decided to take furniture and household items to the auction house to downsize and provide income. On the designated Saturday, my brother and I arrived to help church members who donated the use of a trailer, provided plenty of man-power, and brought cake and coffee to feed the helpers.

What they did not know, however, was that just days before the front windshield on my mother’s car had cracked and needed to be replaced. My brother checked her car insurance and found there was no glass coverage. I called my husband to asked about the cost. But before we could come up with a plan, the trailer had backed up to the garage to load items and we had to get back to work. A half hour later, with the loading complete, the pastor approached us and very quietly said, “We’ll take care of her windshield.”

I just about cried. (I did when I called my husband that night.)

A few days later, the auto glass company came to Mom’s house and replaced the windshield. The bill went to the church. It was a small act of kindness, but to our family it was huge.

I’m sure their acts of kindness to Mom and others in need will continue. After all, their compassion runs deep in their hearts as expressions of God’s love.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” – Col. 3:12


janell-butler-wojtowicz-2A native of Iowa, Janell Butler Wojtowicz released her debut novel, “Embracing Hope,” in November 2016.  She has spent over 30 years as a professional writer in higher education and Christian nonprofit public relations, and local government public information. In addition to writing fiction, she owns A Portrait in Words Freelance Service. Janell lives in New Brighton, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb, with her husband, Frank.


Embracing Hope

embracing_hope_coverUniversity dean Drew McKinley mourns his dead wife and still wears his wedding ring. Falling in love again is the last thing on his mind. Even as grad student Allison Bennett deals with financial hardships and academic challenges, she recognizes Drew’s unresolved grief from her own loss. Student senate president Chris Whitney carries around the secret burden of a dysfunctional family and a just-below-the surface temper.
Links

Small Acts of Kindness: Elderly Woman Befriends a Lonely Young Woman

By Christine Lindsay

me-sarah-at-6As a young woman of twenty-one, I didn’t have many friends. That is, until an elderly woman toddled into my life on her old-fashioned pumps. Eighty-something-year-old Eva’s kindness turned my life around from sadness and loss, to new horizons of shining hope.

The year prior to my meeting Eva, I had moved 3000 miles to the Pacific west coast. Right after starting my new life I met Mr. Wrong. No surprises that I met a Mr. Wrong when I’d been looking for love in all the wrong places. Sadly though, this supposedly good Christian girl became pregnant out of wedlock. My short walk on the wild-side brought me to the place of heart-breaking decisions.

Growing up in a single-parent family, I never had a loving, attentive dad. While my mom is my hero, and I knew I would also make a good mom, I wanted a loving daddy for my baby. Though it crushed me in every way imaginable I made an adoption plan for my child.

During those long, lonely 9 months while I waited for the birth of my little one, and our soon-to-come separation, I prayed and wept, long and hard in the dark each night in my single apartment. My young life had come to a stand-still. I felt that once I gave up my baby, that in some ways life would end for me.

Also during those months, 80-year-old Eva phoned me on a regular basis. Eva’s phone-calls kept me going through the days and weeks when all I could think about was the loss of my virginity, the loss of the joys that should be mine as a 21-year-old, and most of all the soon-to-be loss of my first-born.

Up to this point I’d never thought much about having children. Getting married to some wonderful guy, yes. Having a great job, yes. But as I nurtured the baby in my womb, and held her on the night she was born, I wanted nothing more than to be a mother. I wanted with all my heart to raise my baby girl, but like any good mom, I put my baby’s needs first, and did the hardest thing in my life—I gave my baby Sarah up for adoption.

sarah-at-2-weeks-old

Sarah at two weeks old

Those next 12 months were the hardest. No longer was I a carefree girl, but a woman who had lost her first-born. Another woman would hold the honoring role, and have that precious title of “Mom” in little Sarah’s life.

As for me—was life over? It sure felt like it.

But Eva was still there, phoning me, and having me over to dinner on Sunday afternoons after church. She didn’t let me slide into the deep depression that dogged me, even though all I could think about was little Sarah. Instead, Eva briskly steered me into helping her teach the teenage girls’ Sunday school class. Eva corralled me into helping her with the youth. Eva encouraged me to go out that summer as a camp counsellor. My 80-something-year-old friend inspired me to live. She persuaded me to go to places that would stir life into this 21-year-old who felt as though life had passed me by.

One afternoon, on a bright spring Saturday, Eva phoned to have me meet her at a specific corner. Bemused by Eva’s mysterious invitation, I obeyed, and she lead me to a church where a wedding was underway. I didn’t know the bride, but Eva did. A beautiful young woman strolled up the aisle on her father’s arm, and it wasn’t until she passed my pew that I realized the bride was totally blind. The wedding attendees were overjoyed. Joy can come to those who don’t expect it.

Outside, after the ceremony, Eva said to me, “Now go, girl, and think on the good things. Think on things that are lovely and pure, and worthy of praise. Things that give hope.”

I did exactly what my elderly friend advised, and those new shining horizons did open up for me, just like she said.

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present day-Christine and kids, including birth-daughter Sarah


small-size-finding-sarah-finding-me-girl-1Finding Sarah Finding Me:

Sometimes it is only through giving up our hearts that we learn to trust the Lord.

Adoption. It’s something that touches one in three people today, a word that will conjure different emotions in those people touched by it. A word that might represent the greatest hope…the greatest question…the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, it’s a word that represents God’s immense love for his people.

Join birth mother Christine Lindsay as she shares the heartaches, hopes, and epiphanies of her journey to reunion with the daughter she gave up…and to understanding her true identity in Christ along the way.

Through her story and glimpses into the lives of other families in the adoption triad, readers will see the beauty of our broken families, broken hearts, and broken dreams when we entrust them to our loving God.

100 % of author royalties from this braided memoir on adoption will be donated to Global Aid Network Women and Children’s Initiative for the lift-time of the book.

For Free Read of Chapter 1 of Finding Sarah Finding Me, Click HERE


Irish-born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama. Christine’s fictional novels have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite as well as 2nd place in RWA’s Faith Hope and Love contest. This author’s non-fiction memoir Finding Sarah Finding Me is the true-life story that started this award-winning career in Christian fiction and non-fiction and her speaking ministry.

 PURCHASE LINKS FOR Finding Sarah Finding Me

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Please drop by Christine Lindsay’s website  or follow her on Twitter and be her friend on Pinterest     Facebook  and   Goodreads

The Kindness Of A Stranger

By Patti Shene

img_20170127_094046-1I set out to do my grocery shopping at the Safeway, located twenty miles away, with the coupon book I had received in the mail tucked away in my purse. The federal government paid their employees twice a month, so every payday, this chore had become routine.

It’s hard to say why I would make the poor choice that I did, but for some unknown reason, when I left my vehicle to go inside, I had only the coupon book and my checkbook in hand. I was soon to regret that I didn’t have those items tucked safely in my purse.

After a good forty-five minutes of shopping, occasionally matching my purchases to the coupons in the book, I pulled into line at the cash register behind three other shoppers. It wasn’t until I started looking over the items in my basket to tear out the appropriate coupons that I realized I had no coupons.

Worse than that, no checkbook. Had I left it in the car? No. I knew I had cradled both items in my palm only a few minutes ago. I must have laid them down somewhere, but where? Probably next to an item I contemplated purchasing, but which one? Thoroughly rattled, I couldn’t even recall which aisle I had shopped in last.

The first act of kindness I encountered that day occurred at the Customer Service counter. When I asked if the checkbook had been turned in, the clerk told me it had not, but he immediately offered words of comfort. He told me to go on home and assured me the store staff would do everything they could to locate the missing checkbook. He also informed me there was no need to return my groceries to the shelves, as I had planned to do, since I had no way to pay for them. He cashed out my items, had me sign the receipt, and told me I could settle the bill the next day. I found that quite amazing since I was not very well known in that store!

shopping-cart-1275482_960_720

Still shaken, I made the drive home fraught with anxiety, mentally condemning myself. How could I have been so careless? So stupid? What would my husband say? Would my checkbook fall into the hands of someone who was smart enough to exploit my carelessness and write a bunch of checks against my account?

The second act of kindness I witnessed occurred about thirty seconds after I pulled into my driveway. I exited my vehicle to see a car pull up behind me. A lady emerged from the passenger side, and to my shocked surprise, presented me with my checkbook!

“We found it sitting on a shelf at Safeway,” she explained. “We could imagine what you were going through, and when we saw your address inside, we thought we would just bring it to you.”

I’ll always be grateful to the store personnel who were so understanding and trusting, and to that family. They could have simply called, but they took the time out of their busy day to make a forty mile round trip to extend a kindness.

It always brightens our day to receive an act of kindness from a friend or family member. Kindness shown by a stranger radiates unexpected sunshine and restores our faith in our fellow man.


headshot-final-1Patti Shene enjoys reading and writing, but most of all, she feels called to encourage others. She promotes the work of published and unpublished writers on her two blogs Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer, found on her website (www.pattishene.com).

She hosts a weekly radio show, Step Into the Light, on Blog Talk Radio, where she interviews guests who share their stories of ways they inspire others to make the journey from a dark time in their lives back to light.

“Friend”  Patti on her personal Facebook page at http://ow.ly/jKVE308q9dK

“Like” her Step Into the Light page at  http://ow.ly/pBVH308q8x4 and “follow” her on Twitter at http://ow.ly/9JY9308q8Iv

Small Acts of Kindness: MOPS: Mothers of Preschoolers

december2016daycareBy Julie Arduini

It was an organization that made me feel important and normal. At meetings I was encouraged that my toddler would not graduate in diapers or with a pacifier. As a new mom, we were given refreshments that weren’t first touched by our child’s sticky fingers. We heard powerful speakers who challenged and grew us as wives and moms. We even made crafts that perked up our home and often made life more efficient. I was a MOPS—Mothers of Preschoolers fan before I even realized the extent they were available to their moms, and more than once this organization met me in my deepest valley.

In 2001, they were the first to bring meals for a week after I miscarried. It was such a blessing because I was hurting in every way. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, but I had a small child to care for. Those meals, their cards, and most of all, their prayers carried me through that horrific first week. It was a dear friend and fellow MOPS mom who met with me to let me grieve. It was a gift of her time and love I will never forget.

By 2003, we had a baby daughter and she was chronically ill. Things were so critical at one point that we nearly lost her due to doctor error. My local MOPS chapter came with meals once again. They let me cry and vent. When some suggested we take legal matters, they didn’t push when we felt that wasn’t what God wanted us to do. And when they sat me down to tell me the doctor’s practice was an upcoming speaker for a meeting, they begged me to stay home. Yet, when I felt again, God wanted me to be there, it was a beautiful moment of public forgiveness we all got to be a part of.

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Once we recovered, we then learned we were moving to a state where we knew no one. MOPS was the key ingredient to why I was able to make the move. I made sure there was a chapter in our new area. When I reached out and let them know I was moving there, they called me every week to see how the move was going. My husband was already in Ohio, but I was back in New York trying to sell our house. I was taking care of a sick baby and homeschooling our son. My dad passed away. Those calls from my new MOPS home was a lifeline for me. When I finally made the move to Ohio, they met me the first day there with flowers and meals. There were meals for a week, as well as cards and greetings. They continued to reach out as we got used to the area and placed our daughter with specialists and therapies.

MOPS was the one constant in my life when everything else felt out of control. Although I have now “aged out” with my kids long out of pre school age, I was honored to serve as a mentor mom and remain a cheerleader for the moms I stay in contact with.

If you are a mom with a newborn through kindergarten age child or children, I hope you visit http://mops.org and find a group near you. As the website states, check out the grassroots movement that believes moms are world influencers.

 Click to Tweet: MOPS was the one constant in my life when everything else felt out of control. https://ctt.ec/OL0ef+ @JenHWrites


december2016daycareJulie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Goodreads, and Amazon. Check out her monthly newsletter here.


Entangled: Surrendering the Past

Book #2, Surrendering Time Series

entangledfinal“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives. 

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link:  Amazon (Kindle and Print):  http://www.amazon.com/Entangled-Surrendering-Past-Time/dp/0692713476/

Entangled is book #2. Although it can standalone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Entrusted-Surrendering-Present-Time/dp/0692709177/