Favorite Friday Fiction: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt by Fay Lamb and Various Authors

The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt by Fay Lamb and Various Authors is one woman’s journey to discover family and Christmas. I love journey stories, especially ones concerning the heart. You’ll enjoy this book.

Click to tweet: Review, “The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt is like a combination of The Amazing Race and The Ultimate Gift.” #Christmas #kindnessmatters

The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt

Grace takes delivery of a package and her life is turned upside down by nine sealed mystery envelopes from her late grandmother. Grammie’s instructions require Grace to take the journey of her lifetime, not only to far off places, but also into the deepest parts of her heart. As she follows the trail laid out for her and uncovers her family’s darkest secrets, Grace is forced to confront the loss and betrayal that has scarred her past and seek the greatest Christmas Treasure of all.

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Small Acts of Kindness: Just a Candy Cane

By Kathy Cheek

I have a favorite candy cane that I buy each year during the Christmas season. It is the Hershey Candy Cane with a ribbon of chocolate running through it. I have never bought any other kind since the first time I had one of these.

Last year when I was purchasing my annual first box of the season, I noticed the clerk behind the Walgreens counter looked stressed, tired and overworked––not real surprising this time of year. The last thing he needed was me piling on by rambling to him about my ultra-favorite candy cane, but I did. I just happen to think everyone should try them! He just continued to look stressed and totally uninterested in my candy cane monologue.

As I began to step away from the counter after paying, I poked a whole in the package and pulled out one of the candy canes to start enjoying right away. I pulled out a second one and turned back to the counter and offered it to him. In an instant, his wearied face broke into a giant look of surprise followed by an even larger smile. “For me?” He accepted it with a huge thank you. I watched him carefully lay it on a shelf behind him and he turned to me and said he looked forward to having it on his next break.

I wondered to myself if anyone had ever given him something for nothing or showed him a random act of kindness.

It was just a candy cane. Or was it more?

As we cross paths with people during our day, and especially during the frenzied hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, we need to offer smiles, patience, grace, and kindness. We just might change the course of someone’s stress filled day, with a smile…or with a smile and a candy cane.

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

Click to tweet: Small acts of kindness. Just a candy cane? #smallactsofkindness #compassion


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.

What to Do About Fall Back Blues

Some good thoughts about seasonal depression…

Betty Thomason Owens

Hello, Thursday Morning friends!

coffee, cup, laptop, memeI heard lots of complaining this year when the clocks rolled back an hour. Most complaints came from those who work forty hours a week (or more). They go to work in the dark and return home in the dark. The few precious hours of sunlight we get is lost to their internment in offices and cubicles.

SAD. Yes, it is sad, but not how you may be thinking. SAD is the technical term. Seasonal Anxiety Disorder (SAD). And it does often make people feel sad. It’s a proven fact, we need sunshine.

My mother-in-law has feared the sun for years. When she goes outside, she’s completely covered up. What she actually fears is the silent killer–melanoma. Not that she’s ever had it, but she did have breast cancer at one time. After that, she became  very fearful.

These days, she spends most of her…

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just a little over a week away. It’s a time when we look back over the past year and celebrate what we’re grateful for. One thing I’m most grateful for is my family. It’s changed over the years with the grandkids getting married and having kids. Now some of the great grandkids are married too.

We gather at someone’s home and have our annual feast. Turkey (of course), stuffing, cranberry sauce, both canned and homemade (there an on-going debate in my family as to which is the “real” kind), mashed potatoes, an appetizer, rolls, fruit salad, deviled eggs, and several pies. 2016 Thanksgiving

Festivities typically start around noon that day, with people arriving from all over. It’s a long way, but always worth it, as we only get to see the whole family once a year. The time becomes more and more significant as we get older too.

After a large meal, everyone goes for a walk even though it’s getting dark. The cool air helps counter the effects of the Tryptophan in the turkey. At least that’s what they say.

Charades is a family tradition after our evening walk each year. We form two teams (guys vs. girls) and each team comes up with movies, books, songs, and TV shows for someone on the other team to act out without saying anything or making any noises. Everyone has up to three minutes for their team to come up with the right answer. There’s always lots of laughter, teasing, and good-natured competitiveness. In recent years, we’ve added more games such as Fish Bowl and a Factoid Game. Whatever the details, it’s guaranteed to be fun.

So, how about you? What does Thanksgiving mean to you? How do you celebrate the holiday? Share it here.

Frozen Notes – A Book Review

A book review of one of my favorite author friends, Fay Lamb ❤

Betty Thomason Owens

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello! It’s Thursday Morning!

Well, it’s actually Wednesday as I’m working on this. When I realized that tomorrow is Thursday, and I had not finished reviewing that book I told you about last week.

First of all, let me say that I am a fan of author, Fay Lamb. I love her books. So, I was excited to find a new one (even though I somehow skipped one in the series). So, here are my impressions, and a short review — no spoilers (I hope)!

The setting: Amazing Grace, a fictional town in North Carolina, is a place I’d love to visit, if it existed.

The book’s cover: You don’t often see a black-and-white cover. But when you get into the story, you understand why. The main character’s life has lost color, meaning, she’s even lost faith.

I actually started reading this book on Kindle until the paperback arrived…

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Small Acts of Kindness: “Honey-dos” with Sweetness

By Ada Brownell

I interviewed Dr. Joyce Brothers for the newspaper where I worked and she said something that caught my attention.

She believed married people should thank each other more often. Her idea was to stop nagging your mate to do a job that needs doing. You ask kindly and if or when the job’s done, say “Thank you,” Dr. Brothers said.  She emphasized mates treated in this fashion will help each other more, and the atmosphere in the home will change for the better.

I tried her advice, and it works.  No, it didn’t happen with the first couple of Thank yous, but when I showed appreciation I got more help. My own attitude also improved.

It’s been years since we started thanking one another for even little things, we’ve made it a habit. What an improvement giving thanks has made in our marriage.

God gave us similar advice in the Bible.  Paul said in I Corinthians 13 the loving person is kind, joyful, loving, patient, gentle, faithful and full of self control (Galatians 5:22). These are all fruits of the Holy Spirit, and need to be cultivated. Being thankful is the beginning of growing greater things in our lives.

Let us not be among those Paul told Timothy would live in the perilous last days: “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money … unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJ).

Thanking one another, with kindness, separates us from that crowd.

Click to tweet: Married people should thank each other more often. #kindnessmatters #smallactsofkindness

First shared in-The Pentecostal Evangel, February 29, 2004


MEET ADA BROWNELL

The eighth child and the sixth redhead in a family of achievers, Ada Nicholson Brownell writes with stick-to-your-soul encouragement from her Missouri home where she lives with her handsome husband who is the father of their five children—not one of them with red hair or freckles.

Her latest novel is Peach Blossom Rancher.


PEACH BLOSSOM RANCHER

http://amzn.to/2arRVgG

The groans of a woman in the throes of birth pangs come from the barn loft of John Lincoln Parks. Who is it? He has enough to do trying to restore his horse herd and bring the peach orchards back to bearing fruit. Polly the cook/housekeeper delivers the baby, but John keeps finding people who need him or a miracle. The woman he hopes to marry is trying to get people wrongly held there out of the asylum for the insane. His neighbor, Edwina Jorgenson, is trying to run her father’s ranch since he was disabled, and now she has a peeping Tom. The peeper’s bootprints left under the windows are like those in John’s barn after a body was dropped there.

Will John achieve his goals and dreams, regain his faith, or be tried for murder? http://amzn.to/2arRVgG

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.

Dinner Out Every Week

I’d finally gotten out of the hospital after four months. I’d come home but was very limited in what I could do.  Walking with a walker and quite slowly at that, it was discouraging, even as I improved each week.  I was cooped up in the house, other than doctors’ appointments and physical and occupational therapy, since I couldn’t drive.

One of my friends recognized my plight and asked if she could take me out for dinner one night. “Sure!”  I said.  I’d get out of the house and spend time with a friend.   Toots MotisherWhat a great opportunity.  But then I had second thoughts.  How would I get around with the walker?  I was very slow with it. How could I get into her truck?  What if I didn’t have enough energy?

I talked to Toots about all of it and she assured me it’d be okay. That we would just go at my pace, and that she wasn’t in a hurry. As for the truck, she reminded me she could help me in. She said she could even lift me if I needed it and she didn’t mind at all. I had to admit that she was certainly strong enough.

So I agreed and we went out. Sure enough, Toots helped me in and out of the truck and we had a good time talking and just spending time together.  Then, to make it even better and more memorable she and I went out every week.  Toots doesn’t live near me, but was dedicated to ministering to me, even though I didn’t know I needed it.

It’s been over a decade now and I still remember how much it meant to me. Even the simple things can make a difference.. What have you done that’s made a difference in someone’s life? Or, perhaps someone’s made a difference in yours.   Share it here.