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.

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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.

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.

Small Acts of Kindness: No Kindness Unnoticed

By Christina Rich

Seventeen months ago, my husband went to be with Jesus. All the sudden, I was no longer a pampered, spoiled wife who was treated like a queen. All the sudden, I found myself… alone.

Not completely alone. The kids were around. My parents were around. My closest friends were around. But they had their lives and their own grief to deal with. I know the Lord says He’ll never leave us nor forsake us, but knowing scripture and trusting in it fully in the middle of losing the man you’d spent over half your life with is much easier said than done. I tried. Some days I succeeded, others I did not.

The March and April before my husband went to Glory, we were in one of the greatest seasons of our lives. We were in the middle of an on-fire ministry, ministering to the lost and broken. Looking back, it seemed as if we were at the beginning of doing great and mighty things for God. Little did we know it would come to a halt a few months later. The end of May he was diagnosed with cancer, by June 19th he abandoned his earthly tent.

During the few days he was in the hospital people came in to pray for us, but my husband always ended up praying for them, and on the occasion, he ended up ministering to them.

The few weeks we were home, people brought us things, like rocks with scriptures and flowers and meals.

The night before he was to meet Jesus face to face, many gathered around our bed and prayed over him until the ambulance showed up to whisk him away to the emergency room.

The next day, that last morning as his breathing became noticeably different, I prayed for strength. I asked God to send me help as we transitioned. I knew my husband was either going to be healed, in which we would need a support system as we declared God’s goodness, or he was going home, in which I would need a support system as I declared God’s goodness. I knew I couldn’t do what needed to be done alone.

A little after lunch, the hospital sent us to hospice and his room was flooded with family and friends. The few short hours we were there people came in and out. There were tears and lots of mourning. I wasn’t comfortable with the mourning. I don’t cry easy. I don’t like emotion, not from me. Although, as my husband said during his last sermon, “tears are good, they’re healing.” Anyway, a young couple we knew from a former church came in, having lost their newborn son a year and a half prior, they knew grief. They were my answered prayer. They rallied us to worship. They encouraged my husband to fight. I watched my husband’s demeanor change. It’s hard to explain, but he was ready to battle and to not except defeat. What I mean by that is that he wasn’t entering heaven sorrowful, he was going in victory.

The young couple left and a few minutes later my husband took his final breaths.

I’m not going to lie. This is hard to write, but each of those people, and the multitudes of people around the world that I don’t even know about, saw their ‘doing’ as a small thing. The visiting, the hours of praying, the fasting, the food, the gifts, the hand-holding… it wasn’t small. Not to me. Not to my kids. Not to God. It was huge.

My hope is this, if you feel the need to visit someone in the hospital, do. If you feel the nudge to send a thoughtful note, do. If you feel the urge to make a meal for a single mother, do. If you feel like taking a widow out for coffee, do. If you feel the Spirit moving you to pray, do. Those small things may mean the world to the very person on the receiving end, and you’ll be blessed too.

Blessings,

Christina


An Unlikely Governess

Bernadette Chambers has one last assignment before graduating Harris-Spotchnet’s Finishing School of the Peculiar Kind, and unfortunately, she’ll need more than her training has prepared her for when it comes to being a governess to a small child who witnessed her father’s kidnapping, but her lack of preparedness with the child is nothing compared to the sparks ignited by the child’s uncle and his desperate desire to keep his niece safe.

Retired Society Agent Isaac Clanton Willoughby, knew his brother was on the verge of a scientific breakthrough to cure a disease that took his late wife when he disappeared days before the cure was to be unveiled at Andropogon’s World Fair. Now it’s up to him to discern his brother’s secret codes, find out who took him, and ensure his niece’s well-being by hiring the perfect governess without becoming distracted by her beauty and intelligence. But when he discovers nothing is as it seems, can he push past his reservations and trust the woman to help him unravel the mystery left by his brother before it is too late?


 A mother of four children and a grandmother of one, Christina Rich is a romance author with Love Inspired Historical and Forget Me Not Romances, a speaker, a photographer, and painter.

You can connect with her on Facebook at Author Christina Rich, Twitter @Christinainspy, Instagram at inspyscribe, or at threefoldstrand.com

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: Reflections of God’s Love

By Maria I. Morgan

It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. An unusual shape on an x-ray prompted me to head to my gynecologist. Sure enough, following an ultrasound, it was confirmed: I had two large fibroid tumors – one directly behind the other. Because of the size of the fibroids, laparoscopic surgery was out of the question. I was scheduled for an abdominal hysterectomy.

The information from my doctor and every other article I read listed the recovery time as eight weeks. I was definitely not looking forward to so much down time. My surgery was scheduled for a Wednesday with an expected release date of Friday. Although my husband would be with me through the surgery and the weekend, he had an important conference he had to attend the following week. I wasn’t sure how I would manage to take care of our pets or myself so soon after major surgery.

Riley to the rescue. Although our daughter, Riley, and her husband live 4 hours away from us, as soon as she found out about the operation, she offered to come and help. Because she had limited time off, I knew it was a sacrifice for her. This was just the beginning of several small acts of kindness that were big reflections of God’s love.

Surgery went really well and I was taken to my room by mid-afternoon. That’s when the adorable bouquet arrived: Doggy Houser, M. D. – beautiful white carnations in the shape of a puppy complete with stethoscope and doctor’s bag. And the miniature floral version looked just like our grand-dog, Ollie.

Another act of kindness from our daughter and son-in-law.

Over the days and weeks that followed, the acts of kindness continued like ripples on water. One of our neighbors took care of our pets while I was in the hospital. My husband and daughter cleaned the house for me and ran to the grocery store countless times to make sure I had everything I needed. Some sweet friends from church made meals ensuring we wouldn’t go hungry. And one friend sent cards of encouragement every week – for eight weeks. Just to let me know she was thinking about and praying for me. Wow!

Such a great reminder of what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s fitting to echo the words of the apostle Paul, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” (Philippians 1:3, KJV)

Each act of kindness – such a beautiful reflection of God’s love.

Click to tweet: Acts of kindness after surgery. A beautiful reflection of God’s love. #smallactsofkindness #compassion


Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational writer and speaker. She is the award-winning author of Louie’s BIG day! Regardless of the age of her audience, her goal is the same: to share God’s truths and make an eternal difference.

Connect with Maria
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*The 3rd book in the Louie the Lawnmower series, Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig,” will be releasing on Amazon soon!

Louie and the gang are fired up about the neighborhood yard competition. But when a sarcastic shovel arrives on the scene, hurtful words cause big problems. Will the newcomer succeed in intimidating Louie and his friends? Or will her plan backfire? Join Louie and the others and discover whose words win.

Enter to win: leave a comment below listing a character quality you’d like to see featured in a future Louie book, along with your email address, and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to receive a copy of “Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig.” (Open to U.S. residents only. Contest will run through Monday, November 6th. Winner will be contacted via email.)

Other books in the Louie the Lawnmower series:

Louie’s BIG day!

Louie & the Leaf Pile

Small Acts of Kindness:  Sometimes in Three’s

By Beth Ann Ziarnik

Only one day stood between me and the big party I would host Sunday afternoon at church. Standing in my kitchen, I wondered how I would ever be ready. I was also a little sad that Jim would not be with me for that special day. He had died just three years before. It seemed like yesterday.

But people were depending on me, so there was nothing to do but keep moving. I grabbed my coat, ready to head for my hair appointment, when the doorbell rang. The poor flower shop man had chased all over, trying to deliver the beautiful bouquet from Sue and Becky.

As I quickly placed the vase on my dining table, it hit me. My Jim couldn’t give me flowers to celebrate my first novel’s book launch but, through the kindness of these dear friends, God had made the impossible possible. I wept all the way to my salon appointment.

Back home, while working on preparations, I thought about the kindness of my friend Jackie. I’d been terribly sick Tuesday through Thursday, and didn’t have the strength to run errands on Friday. Jackie put everything aside to be my chauffeur.  We ordered the cake, bought fruits and veggies, and picked up other last minute items. If not for her, I would have had zero chance of being ready.

Now late Saturday afternoon, I faced preparing all those fruits and veggies, as well as frosting one-hundred-and-fifty star shaped cutout cookies in various sizes. Overwhelmed? Absolutely!

The phone rang, my sister Shelly calling to see how I was doing. I filled her in. “Get yourself over here and help me,” I pleaded, knowing perfectly well that wasn’t happening. She lived several states away.

“Funny thing you should say that,” she said. “I’m just crossing the border into Wisconsin. We’ll be there in a couple of hours.” We included her daughter Nicole, baby Addie, and three-year-old Eli.

Two days before, Shelly had felt such a strong urging to attend my book launch that she chanced driving hundreds of miles in the middle of January, ignoring the snow and frigid cold. Before bedtime, the fruits, veggies and cookies were ready. So were the boxes of decorations, prizes, paper goods, and everything else we’d need.

Three acts of kindness. I will never forget the special friends and family who heard from God’s heart and came to my rescue that Saturday before launch.

Click to tweet: Through the kindness of dear friends, God had made the impossible possible. #Kindnessmatters #smallactsofkindness


  An avid fan of romantic suspense fiction and a firm believer in small acts of kindness, Beth Ann Ziarnik combines both in her debut novel, Her Deadly Inheritance. Besides reading, she enjoys fun times with family and friends and working puzzles.

https://www.facebook.com/beth.ziarnik

https://bethziarnik.wordpress.com


Her Deadly Inheritance

First a runaway. Now running for her life. Won’t Jill Shepherd’s family be surprised when she returns to Grand Island, Michigan to end their lies and scheme to have her declared legally dead? But when Jill exposes the mastermind behind her intended death, her family’s deception may kill any chance she has of remaining alive. 

Clay Merrick may seem to be little more than a handy-man restoring homes, but when the former Special Forces operative tracks a brutal killer to Jill’s historic house under renovation, he has most of the evidence he needs to bring the killer to justice … until Jill gets in the way. 

When the killer sets sights on Jill as the next victim, it’s not just Clay’s mission on the line, but his heart.