Small Acts of Kindness: Wedding Roses

By Sarah Van Diest

It was my wedding, well, it was my second wedding. I never dreamt I would have been divorced, much less get married a second time, but here I was, and ever so thankful to be here after such a long and difficult road.

I was nervous. And though I had an idea about how I wanted things to go, I didn’t have a solid handle on how to pull it off. I called in some friends to help make it happen. One did my hair. One did the food. One did the flowers. It was simple and it was perfect.

The wedding we planned was very small. Only family and a few friends were invited. Our pastor’s house served as our wedding venue. We had cheesecake and punch, the music was one guy with a guitar, and the kids played out in the backyard. It was cozy and sweet. I wouldn’t change a thing.

After our small ceremony, my wonderful groom took me off for our honeymoon and to the start of our new lives together. We left our five boys with various family member and went away for a week of learning to be us.

The boys were really the only thing I thought about back home.

But one of my sweet friends thought of something else. After the wedding, she grabbed my bouquet of red roses and dried them, preserving them beautifully for me. When we returned home from our honeymoon, she came over to deliver the bouquet. It was such a sweet surprise!

I had no idea how much that gesture would mean to me, but when she handed them to me, I cried. I’m still not exactly sure what the tears meant, but I think it was all things combined together: a second marriage, a blended family, a new start, and the knowledge of dear friends to support and cheer us on.

I still have those roses, 13 years later. I keep them as a reminder of that day and of my thoughtful friends and all they did to help make that day so special. They remind me that tiny gestures of kindness can be enormously impactful. They encourage me to be thoughtful of others. And they tell me that the kindness doesn’t have to be huge to be meaningful.

Click to tweet: Small acts of kindness. Kindness doesn’t have to be huge to be meaningful. #kindnessmatters #amreading

Sarah Van Diest is a writer and editor. She’s the mother of two boys, stepmother to three more, and wife to David. Sarah wrote this book as letters to a dear friend whose life was turning upside down. She’s done this for years for numerous friends and will continue to, Lord willing. It’s her gift to them. It’s hope written down.

God in the Dark

When you are in the dark places of your life, Sarah Van Diest offers a companion for the path you are walking. You will find a voice of comfort and truth to call you back to the light, to help you see that you are never alone, never too far gone, and never unloved. This collection of 31 devotions doesn’t minimize the reality of your struggles, but rather points you to where God is—walking right alongside you. Receive this hope in the pain, God in the Dark.


Small Acts of Kindness: Bridal Shower Bliss

BridalBy Jordyn Redwood

At the time I was getting married, I was living in the suburbs south of Kansas City, KS. I hadn’t grown up in Kansas and in fact one time boldly proclaimed that I would never live there. It’s not that I had anything against Kansas per se—other than the flat lands and humidity. Of course, God and His sense of humor had to prove me wrong and it was the first place I was able to find a nursing job—far away from the family and friends I had known in Colorado.

Now, I had friends in Kansas City but they were not the close, endearing friends that I had grown up with. All of my bridesmaids were out of state: Colorado, Wyoming, Illinois, and Texas. Seriously, could I have spread them further apart?

Because of this distance, these close friends of my youth didn’t really get to be a part of the normal wedding preparations like wedding dress shopping and making scrapbooks (there was no Pinterest then) of ideas for decorations and centerpieces.

Also, only two of four of my bridesmaids really knew one another, but we agreed to get together the night before my wedding for a shower at a local hotel after the rehearsal dinner.

I will never forget what those girls did. They gave me what they called a “Blessing Shower”. To this day, I haven’t heard of this being given to other brides, but I think it would be awesome to replace the “normal” bridal shower (as in gifting of lingerie and other things) with this concept.

Each of my friends shared a very poignant letter of how I had blessed each of them in their lives. It was emotionally overwhelming but so touching. Certain instances where I did things for them that I never considered important ended up being significant events to them for different reasons. I honestly was surprised at how significant some of these moments were for them and having them share that with me became a profound moment in my life.

I think we don’t do this enough—just take a person close to us, sit them down, and tell them face to face what they mean to us.

We need to stop reserving these words and moments just for funerals.

Jordyn-35eJordyn Redwood is a pediatric ER nurse by day, suspense novelist by night. She hosts Redwood’s Medical Edge, a blog devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction. Her first two novels, Proof and Poison, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal. Proof was shortlisted for the 2012 ForeWord Review’s BOTY Award, 2013 INSPY Award and the 2013 Carol Award. Her latest novel, Fractured Memory, released July, 2016. You can connect with Jordyn via Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest and her website.

Fractured MemoryFractured Memory

United States marshal Eli Cayne saved Julia Galloway’s life once…and he’s prepared to do it again. But his task would be easier if she could remember him—or the murderer who almost put her in an early grave and seems to be hunting her once more. To protect Julia from the latest threat against her life, Eli has to consider the possibility that he put an innocent man in jail. Julia has no memories of the serial killer called the Hangman, though, and no reason to trust Eli. But with the killer getting closer, she must work with Eli to confront her past—and the feelings growing between them.