The Cat Lady’s Secret is my favorite of several great books by Linda Yezak. This one focuses on acts of kindness, something very near and dear to my heart. The characters are fun, even quirky, the plots speeds along, and there are some interesting twists and turns before the story’s over. I recommend it as an enjoyable read…
The Cat Lady’s Secret
Emily Taylor loves to help people, loves to ease their burdens and make their dreams come true. But when a conman ruins her reputation, she discovers that helping others is safer and easier from behind the scenes.
When one of Emily’s gifts captures the attention of an avid journalist, her identity as the town’s anonymous benefactor’and her renewed relationship with her high school sweetheart’are threatened. As her private life begins to unravel, she realizes the one hope for regaining control lies behind prison walls.
By Kathy Cheek
I had finished watering the pots of flowers on my front porch and just sat down in one of the chairs by the small bistro table. A soft breeze carried the scent of flowers across the way and I noticed my neighbor had walked outside and was going to her mailbox for the day’s mail. I called out to her and asked if she wanted to join me sitting on the porch.
Joann walked towards me and said in a half question half statement, “You actually sit on your front porch?”
“Yes, I do.”
She joined me on the porch where we chatted a little while and then she had to leave to check on her mother at the nearby nursing home. It was good to catch up with my neighbor, even if it isn’t as often as we’d like.
Many of our visits are brief encounters as one of us pulls in or out of our driveway or find the other one doing yardwork, or me on my way back from a walk with my hair a mess. I am often a mess when Joann pulls in or out as she catches me sweaty doing yard work or returning from a long walk around the neighborhood.
But this time, we indulged ourselves and sat on my front porch. We weren’t the Waltons in the hills of Virginia with their big inviting front porch where their large family and various neighbors often gathered. Instead, we are – American suburbia… or, Dallas, Texas suburbia to be exact.
Joann travels often with her job and we rarely have time to visit, which means the opportunity to relax on the front porch was a big deal. I could tell she needed this relaxing reprieve more than I did. Travel and tending to her mother who had been back and forth between the nursing home and the hospital had her overextended with no relief in sight. She admitted she had been running on empty the last few weeks with another emergency with her mom.
I couldn’t do anything to change Joann’s hectic work schedule or control any of her mother’s medical emergencies. But I could offer her something that would help. I could offer her a place to relax for just a little while and to leisurely chat with a friend. Yes, Joann is my neighbor. I also consider her my friend—a front porch friend.
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.
These days, with technology and access to information, teaching kids values is a hard job. I have found 7 ways to teach your kids respect and kindness; they seem to work for me, and they have a lasting impact on your child’s life.
#1. Do chores and work together
Assign tasks to each of your children and complete them working together. Often, you will hear kids fight, intervene and help them solve their troubles. When they learn to respect the work that every member of the family does, they also learn to respect outsiders.
Also, if they do well, reward them with something like a pancake breakfast, or ice cream. Respect leads to good things for them.
#2. Help out strangers
Even adults tend to ignore those people in need on our day-to-day. However, a fun and caring exercise for your kids is to teach them to respect everyone–no matter how and where they live.
To do this, give out Christmas presents to children in need, collect food, and volunteering at a soup kitchen or shelter. Start from an early age, and you’ll see how your kid grows up to care and value everyone.
#3. Say hello and thank you
Sometimes as parents we tend to let our children get by without saying hello, and thank you, but this is a mistake. Your kid should always say thank you, and they should always say hi to those around them.
It’s up to you to set the example, next time you get on the elevator say hi and goodbye as you leave. When you give your kid something, have him say the “magic words”, they’ll slowly get used to it.
#4. Stay calm and calm them down
Being angry and frustrated only worsens things, but the truth of the matter is that you are the adult, not them. Remain calm at all times, no matter how bad your kid’s tantrum is, or how rude he is being. If your child sees you calm, he/she will mimic that behavior.
Instead of reprimanding them, sit down, give them a glass of water, and calm them down. As he cools down, so will you, and then you can all talk about what went wrong.
#5. Set limits and stick to them
Limits are there for a reason. Have your kids always ask for permission before taking something that isn’t his, same when they want to play outside, when they want to get something to eat, when they want to bake with you, or when they want to have friends over.
No matter how much you love them, your children aren’t your friends, and they should respect that you are the authority. If they respect you, they will respect others when you are not looking.
#6. Have them keep a diary or a journal
To learn kindness and happiness, your kids need a space of their own, where they can complain, and talk about their fears and worries. Buy them a journal and have them write daily on it, by doing this, they’re liberating themselves from anger and frustration while getting in touch with their emotions.
Nothing more meaningful today than caring for our earth. Your kids are going to live in a world where doing their part matters.
Create fun recycling bins together and show them how to separate each item. While also explaining why it is important. Teach them that the earth is as valuable as they are. When you play outside, show them the impact that their recycling has on their favorite tree, or park.
Respect Yourself, Respect Each Other
Teaching respect and kindness is the best gift you can give your kids, as it is something no one can ever take away from them. What do you think? Do these tips work for you? Let me know if you have any other ones!
Chidinma is the founder of Fruitful Kitchen, a blog that shares delicious recipes and lifestyle tips. Most of her recipes help women with fertility issues, especially fibroids, PCOS, and Endometriosis. Sometimes, however, you will find other interesting recipes, as well as cooking tips and tricks there.