Small Acts of Kindness: Do Something

By Jennifer Hallmark

Acts of kindness. One reason I like sharing what others are doing to make the world a better place is to inspire others. Everyone can do something. From helping a neighbor to donating time and/or money to community projects, you have value inside of you to share with others.

I found this article on the top ten most amazing Christian charities. You can look over their sites for ways to volunteer and/or donate.

(1) Samaritan’s Purse

(2) Compassion International

(3) Lutheran World Relief

(4) Operation Blessing International

(5) Advancing Native Missions

(6) Children’s Hunger Fund

(7) The Salvation Army

(8) Catholic Relief Services

(9) Lifeline Christian Mission

(10) Food For The Poor

Click to tweet:  You have value inside of you to share with others. #kindnessmatters #compassion

Whether you look within your community or around the world, opportunities abound to help others. Here’s a good video by Matthew West that made me think.

Personal Care at a Pharmacy

By Ellen Andersen

I buy my medicine from an independently owned pharmacy called Mauldin Family Pharmacy, about 3 miles from my home. I’ve been going there for over five years now and know all the employees by name. They know me too.  When I walk in, they greet me specially, saying, “Hi Ellen. How are you doing today?”  When I’ve called ahead of time, they have my prescription and any over-the-counter meds I often buy there, set aside in a bag for me, often already rung up.

Last month I went to pick up some medication. When I arrived, they brought it out and when I went to pay, I discovered I didn’t have my credit card. But I was completely out and needed it that night.  I HAD to have it.  I talked to Deb about it and Tony, the pharmacist, overheard the conversation. He came to the front and said,

“Go ahead Ellen. We can give you what you need for the next couple days. I trust you.”

“Thanks Tony!” I said. I took the medicine and headed home.  I went back the next day to pay and pick up the rest of the prescription.

I’m sure that never would’ve happened at a chain pharmacy or anywhere in a big city, but because this is a small, family-owned place where I’ve been a customer for years, they were willing to trust me. It made a difference, giving me peace of mind as well as the medicine I needed.

What has someone done for you that was out of the ordinary or that you didn’t expect? Encourage someone by sharing it with us here.

 

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham

The first Friday of the month is when I share my best-loved classic fiction and Margery Allingham is one of my favorite authors. In her long series of literary detective fiction with universal uncle, Albert Campion, The Tiger in the Smoke is the most thrilling. It will keep you looking over your shoulder…

The Tiger in the Smoke

London, ‘the Smoke’ to Cockneys and the hipsters who appropriate their slang, is living up to its nickname: an unusual cold snap has combined with the fug from coal-fires to produce the ‘Great Smog’, blanketing the city in choking shadow. And lurking in those shadows is Jack Havoc, a killer with a particular fondness for knives. Havoc is by far the most dangerous villain that Albert Campion has ever encountered, and his startlingly realistic menace, combined with the light touch common to all the Campion novels, gives the book a modern feel, as it straddles a line between Golden Age detective fiction and contemporary psychological suspense.

 

Small Acts of Kindness: Good Samaritan

By Andrea Merrell

Sometimes we don’t realize how one tiny act of kindness can impact someone.

It was late one night during a writers’ conference as I headed back to my room—exhausted. I could hardly wait to slip into my PJs and eat that last piece of dark chocolate that was waiting for me.

Almost to my room, I noticed a young woman sitting on the floor a couple of doors down the hallway. The contents of her large bag were spread all around her. Thoughts raced through my mind as I approached her. Was she sick? Had she fallen? When I got closer, she looked up with a rueful smile.

“I can’t find my key,” she said, obviously as tired as I was.

My heart went out to her. “Are you sure it’s not in there?”

She shook her head. “No, I’ve been through everything. I might have left it in my room. Guess I’ll have to walk all the way down to the front desk to get another key.”

It was then I remembered the app on my phone that gave us access to the front desk. “Wait, let me text them and see if they can send someone up to let you in.”

The relief on her face almost made me cry. Sure enough, within a short time, someone from the office came to her rescue. She thanked me and called me a Good Samaritan.

“Well, I don’t know about that. Never been called a Good Samaritan before. I’m sure anyone who came by would have stopped to help,” I said.

She shook her head again and looked a little sad. “Actually, they wouldn’t. Two people already passed by without saying a word. You were the third and the one to stop.”

To say that I was blown away would be putting it mildly. It was hard to imagine anyone passing this woman by without offering to help. Once she was inside her room and all was well, I slipped into my own room, thankful that I had not been the third one to look the other way.

We all need help from time to time, whether it’s from a friend or a stranger. God never meant for us to walk this journey of life alone. In fact, the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NKJV) that two are better than one. The Message puts it this way: It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps. But if there’s no one to help, tough!

Be that Good Samaritan when you see someone in need. It can be the smallest, simplest acts of kindness that mean the most.


 

Andrea Merrell is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. She teaches workshops at writers’ conferences and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues.

Andrea is a graduate of Christian Communicators and a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards. She is the author of Murder of a Manuscript and Praying for the Prodigal. Her newest book, Marriage: Make It or Break It, is now available on Amazon. For more information visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com.


Marriage: Make It or Break It

Some say marriage is a dying institution. Others say, “Stop the bus and let me get off.” But Andrea Merrell—after forty-plus years of marriage—believes this God-ordained institution is one of His greatest gifts to men and women. Marriage: Make It or Break It is a result of a lifetime of trial and error, keen observation, and years of studying God’s Word. With her signature dash of humor, she takes a candid look at attitudes and behavior that can make or break a relationship, the difference in how men and women think and approach life, and the importance of honest communication. You’ll find danger signs, roadblocks to bypass, and Scriptures to personalize and pray on a daily basis.

This journey won’t be perfect, and the road is guaranteed to be full of potholes. But if you’re ready to learn a few truths that will make marriage strong—and a lot of things that will destroy it—buckle your seat belt and let’s get this bus moving.

Small Acts of Kindness: Aiding a Veteran

By Josh  Drzewicki

Living in metro Detroit isn’t an easy feat. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of poverty stemming from the decline of the Motor City that started in the 1950s, continued with urban decay throughout the 1970s, that has evolved to now.

In fact, Detroit was the only city in the 50 biggest cities to lose population between 2010 and 2015. I didn’t grow up in Detroit or the metro area, but I feel a strong sense of belief in the biggest city in my state.

I know it’s a digression from the story, but many people just assume that Detroit is some horrible place that looks like it’s out of a Dystopian video game. While it’s not beautiful everywhere you go, and there is noticeable poverty, it’s still like other cities. That includes the care that we show the people who find themselves begging for money underneath the bridges or outside ball parks.

I was in the Do Random Acts of Kindness club while in university, and it taught me to give back. I was inspired to help this older gentleman, Matt, that I always saw near 8 Mile in my city. He was always sitting at the corner begging for money. He’s African American and an Army vet as I later found out.

The first time I encountered Matt was shortly after I moved to the area. It was June, hot, and sprinkling. He walked up to my window at a red light and asked for some change. I didn’t have anything in my car at the moment, so I told him next time. I encountered him a week later when I ran to get groceries. Again, I told him I didn’t have any money on me, but he could get in and we could get some food.

He hopped into my aging Chevy Cavalier and I drove a half mile to McDonald’s. I told him to order whatever and we could hang out and eat. I ordered a side salad and french fries (I’m vegetarian). Matt ordered a Big Mac meal and two more cheeseburgers. I thought it was a lot of food at first. Then I listened to him tell me his story. It helped me realize that even buying someone a meal can increase their quality of life. Even if it’s just one time.

I learned that Matt was in the Army in the 1990s, back when I was just a little kid. He was injured during a drill and discharged. Through the years, he’s been dealing with the VA system with little luck. Eventually, in the early 2000s, he was given some prescription painkillers. Despite having a steady job, he fell into addiction which caused him to lose his job and his girlfriend. A year later, he lost his house without steady work. By 2012, he was on the street devoting his whole life to finding drugs.

In 2015, some clergymen helped Matt. They taught him how to get help as a drug addict. While it got him off drugs, it didn’t get him off the street. He’s been living there since. He said it was the first time someone had bought him a meal in six months.

Not everything is like it seems. The city of Detroit or even Matt. With a little help and a little bit of food. Anything is possible. I haven’t seen Matt in months. I’m hoping it means he got off the street.


 Josh Drzewicki is a variety writer hailing from metro Detroit. In his free time, he enjoys long walks through the city while listening to NPR podcasts. He spends time attending the local National Stuttering Association meetings and playing video games.

 

Let There Be Light!

I’ve lived in my home for a little more than five years now and I love it. But the place is over 30 years old and so are its light fixtures. “Dim” would be an understatement to describe the lighting in the hall, the kitchen, and the nook.  Dad offered to help me improve and update it.  Dads are much less expensive than professional electricians and he assured me he could take care of this.

We went to a few lighting stores in the city and after about 45 minutes in the last store, I found what I was looking for. I talked to the salesperson and ordered what I wanted.

When the lights came a few weeks later, we got to work. We got everything out of the Dad replaces light in nook April 2017boxes and took out the directions. Dad took down the old fixtures and handed them to me.  I gave him the new lights and their respective covers.  In each case, Dad looked at the new light, examined  the wires in the ceiling, and figured out how they went together so he could install the new ones.

 

 

 

Between the two of us, we got the lights lined up in the hallway where they looked good and threw off adequate lighting.

Dad replaces light in kitchen April 2017

What a difference it makes! The increased light in the hallway makes it much more inviting when people come over and when I come home.  The lights in the nook, and the kitchen both make it easier to function in the kitchen as well as making it more comfortable on the eyes.

It took a couple hours for to take down and put up the five lights Thanks Dad. I couldn’t have done it without you!

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day: Flag Stories

By Edie Melson

This time of year it seems everywhere we turn the world is decorated with red, white, and blue. There are colorful banners, balloons, streamers, and of course the flags. Seeing this outpouring of patriotism brings special joy to those with a loved one serving in our military.

I should know, our oldest son went straight from high school graduation to Marine Corps boot camp to Iraq, where he served two tours as a frontline infantry Marine.

I’d always considered myself patriotic. I love our country and have always supported our military—at least from a distance. Yet it wasn’t until after our son enlisted that I discovered the deep meaning of patriotism and the true price our freedom carried. Even now, I can’t get through the Star Spangled Banner without tears. But it’s the flags that cause a stirring in my soul.

Now, every flag I see tells a story.

Some of them are easy to see as they wave over businesses and in front of massive buildings. They measure yards across and are visible miles away. I love to watch them billow and snap in the wind, colors popping in the sunlight. Their size brings to mind the thousands who have put their lives on hold and spent time serving in our country’s military.

In contrast, I also see smaller flags in residential areas and in the rural areas I drive through. I remember one particular flag, flying proudly from a rusty mailbox. The edges were frayed and the colors had paled in the hot sun of many summers. It whispered the story of our veterans who had paid a hard price for their service. They may no longer be whole, but they still stand proudly for the country they served.

During this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see multiple flags, lined up with mathematical precision. Every line straight no matter what angle I view them from. The symmetry of these banners remind me of those now serving in our military. In my minds eye I can see them standing tall, exhibiting excellence and pride in their service around the globe.

At times, the flags I pass hang limp, with no wind to give them life. They hug the poles that support them and bring tears to my eyes as I remember those who have paid the ultimate price. The sight of those flags always reminds me to pray for the families they’ve left behind.

One day, as I stood high up in an office building overlooking Saint Louis, I caught a glimpse of the familiar red, white, and blue reflected in the mirrored building across from me. I realized there was a parade, far down on the street below. I couldn’t see the street from my vantage point, but the huge flag being carried was a shattered reflection in the squares of mirrored glass of a nearby building. That flag’s reflection reminded me that whatever happens our flag still flies—shining bright as a beacon of hope around the world.


While My Soldier Serves

Thousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands.

In this book you’ll find the words to usher you into His presence. These prayers are a place to visit again and again as you take your own fears to God. They’re just a starting point, written to help you find your own voice as you call out on behalf of the one you love.

Amazon

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Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, no matter if she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction or other writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world.

Her passion to help those who are struggling find the strength they need to triumph is reflected in the characters she creates and the insight she shares. Connect with her on her website, through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Find her books on Amazon.com.