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.

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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

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.

chriss-kids

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

AMAZON

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Sacred Journeys

carole

Johnny and me first day we met

By Carole Towriss
I’m not a huge fan of air travel. The lines, the straight-jacket chairs, food that tastes like cardboard… But without airplanes, I would not have half of my family.

Literally.

Asel-Mira

John, me and the babyhouse director/doctor with Mira the day we met her

Three of our four children are adopted from Kazakhstan. We brought Mira home in 1998 when she was three months old. After almost three weeks, including a ten-day delay, we were finally able to board the plane from the then-capital of Almaty. The airline stocked its fleet with old Aeroflot (Russian) planes, and when Russia doesn’t even want them anymore … lets just say they weren’t in tip-top shape.

On our walk across the tarmac, my husband casually remarked, “I think those tires are bald.” When we finally took our seats, I noticed the random pattern of dents all over the inside walls. It looked like someone had taken a sledgehammer to them. The engine noise was so loud I half expected it to fall out of the sky at any moment. Needless to say, when we lined up in Moscow to board the plane for home, I wanted to kiss the gleaming Delta plane waiting for us. Maybe even the captain.

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me with both kids the day we left for home

Two and a half years later we returned to Kazakhstan for our two youngest, seven-month-old Dara and six-month-old Johnny. Our flights this trip were grueling. Thirty-eight hours with no sleep. Four flights: DC to JFK, to Moscow, to Almaty, to the new capital of Astana, smack in the barren middle of the country. The last flight was on a tiny propeller plane with zero legroom. My husband and one of the other dads sat with their knees nearly to their chests for several hours. It looked pretty comical.

This trip was much faster, and we were in and out in ten days. In an old-world country like Kazakhstan, though, there are no seat-belt laws, no car seat regulations, and cribs are not readily available. So once they handed the babes over to us in court, we carried them almost 24/7.

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Dara and my husband first day

When we got on our third and last flight on the way home, the flight attendants must have noticed our weak arms and red eyes, and convinced some kind souls to give up their bulkhead seats, the ones with the built-in bassinets.  For the first time, both children fell asleep at the same time! Like first-time parents, we laid them into the baby-sized boxes attached to the wall, held our breath, slid our arms out from under our precious bundles.

Collapsed into our seats and smiled.

We arrived the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving. Our relatives greedily reached for the newest family members, then pulled back. “Is it OK? Can we hold them, or do you want to keep them?”

I managed a weary grin. “Nah, I held them across two continents and an ocean. You hold them for a while. I’ll cook.”

Like Carole, Mercy didn’t always enjoy air travel. She would do anything for her father and Lacewell Limited however…

Unlikely Mergercover of unlikely merger

No longer needed as her father’s nurse, Mercy Lacewell attempts to step into his shoes at his acquisitions firm. That means travel, engaging strangers, and making final decisions—nothing she feels equipped to do. If her best friend has her way, Mercy will simply marry one of the single, available men she meets, but they overwhelm her. So handsome and kind. And so many. Even if she felt obliged, how could she ever choose?

Should she shove all attraction aside and focus on her father’s business, or is God warming her heart with the possibility of forever?

ctowriss-LR-5Carole Towriss and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, writes, watches chick flicks and waits for summertime to return to the beach. She is the author of biblical novels In the Shadow of Sinai and By the Waters of Kadesh. She also writes for Christ to the World Ministries. You can find her at http://www.CaroleTowriss.com.