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?

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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]

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

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.

Small Acts of Kindness 2018

By Jennifer Hallmark

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”-Aesop

The Small Acts of Kindness blog is built upon this quote, one that resonates within my soul.  I began blogging about kindness on May 18th, 2015.  Mondays seemed to be the day when people could use a shot of good news. So, with the help of others willing to share their stories, I embarked on a journey to share kindness, one small act at a time. Ellen Andersen liked the idea and soon joined me as a contributor and friend.

I took a parable from the teachings of Jesus to illustrate what kindness means to me.

Jesus says in the Bible, Luke 10:30-37:

 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him,and departed, leaving him half-dead.  Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.  So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’  So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, Go and do likewise.”

I want to do likewise, showing mercy and grace in the world around me. It hasn’t been easy much of the time. It’s not hard to make a phone card or send an encouraging card to a friend or family member. But when it comes to people that don’t treat me well or a stranger, I don’t often do like I want.

My melancholy and introverted personality mixed with a tendency to be timid and fearful make stepping out to make a difference difficult . But I still want to. So I often do it afraid.

A few days ago, I’d taken my mother to the eye doctor. We sat across from an elderly man with an Air Force cap on. It took me about twenty minutes to work up the courage to say ‘hello’ and then ask if he served in the Armed Services. His countenance immediately brightened, he smiled, and shared with me a little about the years he served (right after World War II). I thanked him for his service to our country. His smile grew bigger.

After that, we went back to watching a show on HGTV that played overhead. But when he left, he smiled again and wished me a Merry Christmas. I truly believed that small encounter helped him better enjoy the day. And, except for the uncomfortable moments where I wrestled to bring myself to say something, it really wasn’t that hard.

Click to tweet: Being kind is something we all can do. #kindnessmatters #payitforward

In 2018, I plan to share more kindness, even if I have to do it afraid. I hope you’ll join me!

Favorite Friday Fiction: Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Story by Davis Bunn

Prayers of a Stranger by Davis Bunn is a really well-written Christmas story. Bunn creates life-like characters like Amanda that you can’t help but like and root for. The highlight for me was Amanda’s trip to Bethlehem…

Click to tweet: Contemporary Christmas novel by internationally-acclaimed author, Davis Bunn. #Christmas #FridayReads


Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Story

While visiting the Holy Land, Amanda answers the prayers of a stranger . . . and begins an amazing Christmas journey.

Amanda Vance is ambivalent about her husband’s idea for a big family holiday up north. Last year she planned a special Christmas in their own home, carefully preparing a nursery and the keepsake ornaments for their newborn. Now that room stands as empty as her heart.

Then a neighbor’s mishap turns into a last-minute chance for Amanda to take a much-needed vacation to tour the Holy Land.

An extraordinary turn of events allows Amanda to help answer a young mother’s plea for healing. Then, filled with a sense of awe, Amanda visits the place of Jesus’ birth. There she discovers anew the miracle of the Christ child—God incarnate as a tiny, vulnerable baby.

Her return to Florida marks a momentous shift in her soul and in her marriage as she begins to realize that her journey didn’t end in the Holy Land. And that God doesn’t just answer prayers of strangers . . . but also those of her own heart.

“A great story filled with emotion, depth, and spiritual beauty.” —Debbie Macomber, #1 New York TimesBest-selling Author

Small Acts of Kindness: Closure

By Jennifer Hallmark

A New Year approaches and with it, a fresh start. In 2017, Ellen and I have enjoyed sharing small acts of kindness that affected us and also displaying kindness through the posts of guest bloggers. But there is one more act of kindness you can do for yourself before the New Year begins.

Several years ago, I was discussing the New Year with a friend and she told me how she was already praying about the New Year and setting goals.

“That’s always good to do. But I have one question for you,” I said. “Have you brought the year 2017 to a point of closure?”

Click to tweet: Finding closure before entering 2018. #NewYear #goals

She asked what I meant. I explained that in the thesaurus, the word closure compares to conclusion, end, close, and finalization. Had she brought this old year to a close? Have you? Below are several questions you can ask yourself so you can successfully end the year 2017.

(1)    Have I taken a moment to examine all the people in my life to make sure there is no bitterness or unforgiveness against any of them? The point is not whether they deserved to be forgiven even if they hurt you badly. When Jesus went to the Cross and suffered like He did so we could go to heaven, His love erased any excuse we might have to hold unforgiveness towards anyone for any reason. Reconciliation is not always possible, but with the help of God we can forgive.

(2)    Have I looked at all the events in my life and come to a place of peace/acceptance? Some things that happened to me this year were not good. Have I reached a place where I can move forward? It helps me to write my feelings down either in prayer form or a declaration. In a catastrophic event like the concert shooting in Las Vegas or the hurricanes that ravaged so many areas, I put into a prayer my thoughts and feelings of that day.

In an event, such as sickness or pain, I first write what the doctor said, then what God said in His Word. At the end, I write a declaration that I have chosen to believe God over man. I don’t deny the diagnosis. I simply believe God for healing, either in this lifetime or the next. During hard times, I can go back and read and remember, using these prayers and declarations to strengthen my faith and give me hope.

(3)    Have I examined my goals and dreams I had for 2017? Which goals did I reach? Which ones were probably unrealistic to begin with? As I look back at my accomplishments and the things I didn’t accomplish or finish, it will help me to set new goals, plans and dreams for 2018. I can also release my goals and dreams back to God and believe He has a purpose and plan within it all.

2018 offers a clean slate. Make sure and take a moment to bring 2017 to a point of closure. Then you’ll be free to start the New Year with faith and hope in the One who makes all things new.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Yuletide Angel by Sandra Ardoin

The Yuletide Angel by Sandra Ardoin is a sweet, historical romance set in the 1890’s at Christmas. Ardoin spins a feel-good story with rich characters and descriptive settings. Another good holiday read…

Click to tweet: The Yuletide Angel combines romance with small acts of kindness. #FridayReads #Christmas


The Yuletide Angel

It’s the 1890s in Meadowmead and someone is venturing out at night to leave packages at the homes of the needy. Dubbed “The Yuletide Angel,” no one knows the identity of this mysterious benefactor. 

No one, except Hugh Barnes, a confirmed bachelor who finds himself drawn to the outwardly shy but inwardly bold Violet Madison, a young woman who risks her safety to help others. 

When Violet confesses her fear of eviction from her childhood home, Hugh longs to rescue her. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Hugh’s estranged brother shows up in town … and in Violet’s company. 

But Violet faces an even bigger threat. A phantom figure lurks in the shadows, prepared to clip the wings of her Yuletide Angel.

Favorite Friday Fiction: God Bless Us Every One by Eva Marie Everson

Cover photo for Favorite Friday FictionGod Bless Us Every One by Eva Marie Everson is a delightful tale which combines a contemporary story with Dickens’ in a masterful way. I really enjoyed how she wove A Christmas Carol and its themes throughout the book. A great read on a cold, wintery day…

Click to tweet: Why was A Christmas Carol by Dickens written in the first place? #Christmas #FridayReads


God Bless Us Every One

Charlene Dixon—called Charlie by family and friends—is devastated at the recent loss of her job. For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the headmistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up her dreams and returns to her grandmother, Sis, who raised Charlie as her own in the mountains of North Carolina.

When Charlie arrives—broken and confused—Sis immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school’s Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. Charlie doesn’t always like working with Dustin Kennedy, the drama teacher, but Sis encourages her to take a deeper look at why the book by Charles Dickens had been written in the first place and what it could teach Charlie about the needs of people in their own community.